GULAB SINGH GHOLIA, SANT
GULAB SINGH GHOLIA, SANT (1853-1936), Sikh saint and scholar, was born in 1853 to Bhai Dal Singh and Dharam Kaur of Bhattivala, a village 6 km south of Bhavamgarh, in the present Sarigrur district of the Punjab. He received his early education in the village dharamsald, and then spent five years at the derd of Bhai Ram Singh, at Manuke, in Faridkot district, learning kirtan and studying the Sikh texts. Realizing that, to properly comprehend and interpret certain theological terms used in the Scripture, knowledge of Sanskrit was essential, he shifted, in 1873, to the village of Dhapali (now in Sarigrur district), where he apprenticed himself to Giani Anokh Singh. He studied Sanskrit and Vedanta with him for ten long years.
But his thirst for knowledge was slill unquenched, and he went to Rislukesh to read further in the classics under Pandit Nihal Singh and Pandit Advaitanand. He also acquired knowledge of Indian medicine. The Singh Sabha reform was already under way and there was great enthusiasm among the Sikhs to spread the correct Sikh doctrine and practice. Sant Gulab Singh decided to devote himself to preaching the Guru`s word. He travelled extensively in pursuit of his mission.
Once, in 1890, Maharaja Hira Singh, ruler of the princely state of Nabha, met him at Prayag (Allahabad) and invited him to settle down in his state, but he declined the offer. Likewise, he declined to take over the derd at Manuke, after the death of BhaT Ram Singh.He eventually moved to Gholia Khurd, 5 km north of Manuke, where, in 1907, he established a gurudwara which henceforth became the centre of his activities.
His active participation in the Gurdwara Reform movement commenced in 1914with the Gurdwara Rikabganj agitation. Later, lie was elected, unopposed, a member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and was nominated to its religious subcommittee. He was one of the Panj Piare who inaugurated karseva at the Amritsar pool on 4 Har 1980 Bk/17June 1923. In his old age, Gulab Singh Gholia built a gurudwara, Anand Bhavan, at Moga where he died on 3 July 1936.
1. Visakha Singh, Sanl-Sipalii, Malva Itihns, vol. II. Kishanpura Kalan (Firozpui), n.d.