BASANT SINGH, PANDIT
BASANT SINGH, PANDIT (1868-1941). eminent Nirmala scholar which status is betokened by the prefix Pandit (meaning a man of surpassing learning) added to his name, was born on 26 June 1868, the son of Bhai Kala Singh of a Jatt Sikh family of Dhingarian village, 3 km north of Adampurin Jalandhar district of the Punjab. Having served his apprenticeship with the head of the village dera or monastery, Basant Singh left home at the age of 16 and went to Nirmal Panchayati Akhara, premier institution of the Nirmalas, at Kankhal, near Haridvar in Uttar Pradesh, where he learnt Sanskrit and studied classical religious literature under Pandit Divan Singh. Two other centres of learning where he studied were Amritsar and Varanasi. Ordained a missionary sadhu of the Nirmala sect, he joined the dera at Thikarivala, in present day Sarigrur district of the Punjab. After the death of Pandit Divan Singh in 1893, Basant Singh became the head of the Thikarivala Dera at the comparatively young age of 25. Among his students at the seminary was the well known Pandit Kartar Singh of Dakha. He also wrote commentaries on Guru Granth Sahib and the Dasam Granth which have remained unpublished.In 1901, he was appointed to impart religious instruction to the young Maharaja of Patiala, Bhupinder Singh.
He continued to hold that position of royal tutor for a long time and taught many a young prince of the family, including its future ruler, Yadavinder Singh. After his retirement from the state service he raised several new buildings for Nirmala monasteries, among them the Thikarivala Dera, Sukdev Kuti at Kankhal and Nirmal Anand Bhavan Nivas at Rishikesh. Pandit Basant Singh died at Kankhal on 28 June 1941.
1. Ganesha Singh, Mahant, Nirmal Bh usan arthat Itihas Nirmal Bhekh. Amritsar, n.d.
2. Pritam Singh, ed., Nirmal Sampradai. Amritsar, n.d.
3. “Pandit Basant Singh Number” of the weekly Ni`rma/ Pattar. 26 June 1943