HOTI, BAWA PREM SINGH (1882 – 1954)
HOTI, BAWA PREM SINGH (1882 – 1954) Bawa Kahan Singh, the grandfather of Bawa Prem Singh Hoti shifted to the North West Frontier Province after its annexation to the kingdom of Maharaja Ranjit Singh from Goindwal (Amritsar). He got his education from indigenous institutions and gained proficiency in Punjabi, Persian and a working knowledge of English. Pashto was his mother tongue. His surroundings reverberated with the heroic deeds of the Sikhs.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Hari Singh Nalwa, Akali Phula Singh were a kind of mythical heroes in that area. This attracted Bawa Prem Singh towards Sikh history and he started research in it.He migrated to Patiala at the time of the Partition of Punjab in 1947 along with his library which is now a proud acquisition of the Punjabi University Library\’s research section. His first historical biography Akali Phula Singh (1914) was well received by readers.
Encouraged by this he wrote detailed biographies, Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1918), Kanwar Naunihal Singh (1927), Hari Singh Nalwa (1937), Khalsa Raj de Badeshi Karinde (1945), Khalsa Raj de Usraiye (Part I), Maharaja Sher Singh (1951), and Nawab Kapur Singh (1952). Another writing of his has been edited by Fauja Singh and published by the Punjabi University, Patiala (Punjab) under the title \’Punjab da Samajak Itihas\’ (Social History of Punjab) (1979).Basically Bawa Prem Singh can be termed as the product of the Singh Sabha movement of the later part of the 19th century. Inspired by its ideology, he wanted to present the glorious period of Sikh history before his countrymen.
He collected a lot of basic historical material in these biographies but these are more documentary than literary. His contribution to the historical literature of Punjab pertaining to the 19th century is monumental. Although his style is descriptive and engrossing yet at some places his attitude has become subjective and the descriptions of events charged with emotion.
1. Amarjit Singh, Punjabi sahit da itihasâ Qissa kal, Amritsar, 1981.
2. Kohli, S.S., Punjabi Sahit da Itihas, Ludhiana, 1955.
3. Mohan Singh, A History of Punjabi Literature, Amritsar, 1956.
4. Ramdev, Jaginder Singh (ed.), Punjabi Likhari Kosh,Jullundur,1964.
5. Sekhon, S.S. and K.S. Duggal, A History of Punjabi Literature, Delhi, 1992.