ROCHA SINGH, SANT (1688-1803), a holy man and preacher of Sikh faith, was born of Brahman parents living at Kausari, a small village in Hazara district (now in Pakistan). Rocha Singh was barely 14 years of age when his father, Bhai Parijaba, died leaving his wife and a younger son, Mota Singh, to his care. He grew up into a handsome youth, tall in stature, but had little interest in worldly affairs. He roamed about seeking the company of saintly persons.

It is said that he met Guru Gobind Singh sometime after the evacuation of Anandpur in December 1705, and received from him the rites of initiation. The Guru instructed him to go back and preach Guru Nanak`s word in his own part of the country. For some time, Rocha Singh took up service with Mendar Shah, a rich businessman of Muzaffarabad, but gave it up to resume his religious pursuit. He went to Chhatar Kalas, a village on the bank of the river Jehlum in Muzaffarabad district, where Sant Parijab Singh, a Sikh saint, had his ded, which he joined as a disciple.

In recognition of his piety, service and dedication, Sant Parijab Singh, shortly before his death in 1736, nominated him as his successor. Rocha Singh constructed a large gurudwara there and brought many into the Khalsa fold by administering to them vows by the double edged sword.He enjoined upon the novitiates especially to bear upon their persons kirpdn, the sword, as prescribed in the Khalsa rahit. He always had in his retinue 300 to 400 armed Sikhs.

In 1756, he set out on an extensive tour through Hazara and Attock districts and the Pothohar region establishing gurdwards and imparting the vows of amrit & gatherings especially held for this purpose. Sant Rocha Singh spent his last days in the Gurdwara at Ravalkot, raised for him by a Muslim devotee, Salabat Khan, chief of Dhammni area. Appointing one of his disciples, Mela Singh, then barely 20, to succeed him, the old saint passed away at Ravalkot in April 1803.

References :

1. Buddh Singh, Giani, Gujjhe Hire. Amritsar, 1926
2. Chonven Ratan arthdt Punchh te Kashmir da Sikh Itihas. Amritsar, 1937