KAUR SINGH NIHANG, AKALIKAUR SINGH NIHANG, AKALI (1886-1953), scholar and religious preacher, was the eldest son of Bhai Mahari Singh and Mal Karam Kaur of Paddhar, a small village near Chakar in that part of Jammu and Kashmir which is now under Pakistan`s occupation. Tlic family traced its descent from one TrilokT Nath, who was among the group of Kashmir! Brahmans who had travelled to Chakk Nanaki (Anandpur) in 1675 to tell Guru Tegh Bahadur how they suffered pcrsccuiion at the hands of the Mughal satrap. Trilokt Nath`s son, Amolak Nath, wlio was Akali Kaur Singh`s great grandfather, received the riles o fKhalsa baptism and became Amolak Singli. Kaur Sirigli, whose original name was Puran Singh, was born on 28 June 1886.
He studied Sikh scriptural texts, Sanskrit, Braj and Indian system of medicine under Bava Mahari Singh Bcdl of Dupatta village in his native slate. In 1904, he came in contact with Giani Bagh Singh, a well known scholar of Peshawar, whom lie accepted as his teacher. Puran Singh became a skilled speaker and took part in debates espousing the Sikh faith in the odium theologium launched by Arya Samaj spokesmen. In 1906 he went on a pilgrimage to Takht Sri Hazur Sahib Abchalnagar, Nandcd, where he look the rites of the double edged sword and became a Niharig renamed Kaur Singh.
He started signing himself as Akali Kaur Singh Niharig.Then followed a long period of travels throughout the lengili and brcadlh of India and Afghanistan preaching the message of the Gurus. In 1907, lie started work on a line wise alphabetical index of the entire text of the Guru Granth Sahib. Completed in 1920, it was published in March 1923 under the title Guru Shabad Ratan Prakash popularly known as Tuktatkard.
Some time after 1920, Akali Kaur Singh returned to his native Kashmir where he became very popular as a deeply religious man and social reformer. In June 1928, he established at Chakar an institution named Guru Nanak Ashram, with a residential school for imparting general as well as religious education.He also set up a library and published a school bulletin called Ashram Samdchdr, later rcdc signated Kashmir Sikh Samdchdr. He also opened a chain of schools in small villages around Chakar.
After the attack of tribal invaders from Pakistan in 1947, Akali Kaur Singh devoted himself to the task of resettling the Kashmir! refugees. Besides the Guru Shabad Ratan Prakash (1923), Akali Kaur Singh published in 1929 an index of Bhai Gurdas`s works. Among his other publications were KavT Sainapati`s Sri Gur Sobhd (1925) and a standard breviary or missal of daily Sikh prayers, Gutkd Pramdnik Nilnem (1927). His Buddhlbdridh Hiiopadesh Ratndkar was a Gurmukhi transcript of Panchtantra, a Sanskrit classic.
His original works include Sukh Sdgararihdt Ghardd Vaid, a treatise on Ayurvedic system of medicine and Istn Sankai Mochan, a forceful plea for the social uplift of women (1925). At Patiala in 1952 (28 November), Akali Kaur Singh suffered a stroke as he was travelling from Delhi to Sarigrur, the site of a Kashmir! refugee camp, and was admitted to the Rajindra Hospital. He died there on the evening of 23 January 1953.
1. Atar Singh, Jivan Britant Akali Kaur Shigh Nihang Chandigarh, 1971
2. Himmat Singh, Akali Kaur Singh. Patiala, 1979