NIHAL SINGH DAMDAMIAN
NIHAL SINGH DAMDAMIAN, 19th century Nirmala saint, a native of Mimsa village of the former princely state of Patiala, received initiation and religious education at the hands of Mahant Dunna Singh, of Uchcha Buriga, a Nirmala sanctuary at Damdama Sahib, Talvandi Sabo, in present day Bathinda district, and became head of the Buriga after the latter`s death. He was respected for his humility and unassuming nature and for the zeal with which he served in the Guru ka Larigar and the loving care with which he looked after the cattle in the shed. In 1860, he with a band of youthful devotees, went to Dera Baba Ram Rai in Dehra Dun and, felling one of the tallest trees in the pine forest of its extensive estate, brought it to Talvandi Sabo carrying it on their heads all the way to Patiala and thence on bullock carts arranged by Maharaja Narinder Singh of Patiala to Damdama Sahib where it was put up as the religious flagmast. Reaching Damdama Sahib, Nihal Singh humbly stood at the entrance where the sangat had deposited their shoes and would not enter the Takht Sahib until he had obtained pardon by paying penalty for having violated the Sikh code of conduct forbidding any dealings with the followers of Baba Ram Rai.
This enhanced his reputation, and when Dharam Dhuja Akhara, the famous Nirmala seat, was established at Patiala in 1862, Nihal Singh was one of the four mahants appointed to assist the head of the institution in its administration. Mahant Nihal Singh had established Buriga Damdamiari at Muktsar which became a centre for several derds or seminaries which also he helped to set up in the region for imparting religious education. The exact date of his death is not known, but an old deed in the possession of Giani Gurcharan Singh of Muktsar shows that he appointed his successors to the Burigas at Talvandi Sabo and Muktsar in 1928 Bk/AD 1871.
1. Mahant, Dial Singh, Ninnal Panth Darshan. Delhi, 1965