ATAR SINGH ATLEVALE, SANT
ATAR SINGH ATLEVALE, SANT (d. 1937), Sikh holy man and preacher, born in early fifties of the nineteenth century, was the eldest son of Bhai Kishan Singh and Mai Naraini, a devoted couple of Mirpur, in Jammu and Kashmir state. Atar Singh, originally known as Hari Singh, was adopted by his childless uncle, Mehar Singh, who had migrated to the village of Jore, in Khariari tahsil of district Gujrat, now in Pakistan. Hari Singh thus moved to Jore and joined the business of his foster father. His work frequently took him to Rawalpindi where he began to attend congregations at the Nirankari Darbar established by Baba Dayal (1783-1855) and then headed by Bhai Sahib Ratta (d. 1911) whose follower he became.
The Nirarikaris were a reformist sect aiming at purifying the prevalent Sikh usage garbled in the rising tide of conservatism during the days of Sikh rule in the Punjab. TJie Nirarikaris popularized Anand ceremony, i.e. marriage by Sikh rites in the presence of the Guru Granth Sahib. Hari Singh fled his own marriage in 1875 when he discovered that it would be solemnized not by Anand rites but in accordance with the old Brahmanical custom. He quietly slipped away from the bride`s village, Barnali, and made his way to Sri Hazur Sahib at Nanded, in the South. From Nanded he returned to Damdama Sahib, in Bathinda district, where he devoted himself to the study of Sikh theology.
Later, he changed his name to Atar Singh and established a dera or preaching centre at Atla Kalan, near Mansa (29Â° 59`N, 75Â° 24`E), in Bathinda district, where students were trained in scripturereading and in kirtan or Sikh devotional music. He soon came to be known as Sant Atar Singh Atlevale. It was only years later that the members of his family learnt about his whereabouts. Hari Singh had made Atla Kalan his permanent abode, though he started visiting Rawalpindi to attend ceremonies marking the death anniversary of Baba Dayal. Sant Atar Singh Atlevale died on 18 June 1937. He was succeeded as head of the dera at Aila Kalan by his pupil, Sant Lakkha Singh, later, jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib, Talvandi Sabo.