AMAR SINGH WASU
AMAR SINGH WASU (1884-1932), Akali activist and journalist, was born Ganga Ram at the village of Wasu, in Gujrat district, now in Pakistan, in 1884, the son of Ladha Mall and Lachhmi Devi. Under the influence of the Singh Sabha movement, the family went through the Sikh initiatory rites, Ganga Ram becoming Amar Singh Khalsa and his father Ram Singh. Amar Singh matriculated from the Mission High School, Gujranwala, and joined in 1902 the Khalsa College at Amritsar, passing the intermediate examination of the Panjab University, Lahore, in 1904.
In 1906, he went to the United States to train as a journalist, returning to India in 1908. He had vowed not to take up government service under the British. In partnership with the historian Karam Singh, he set up an Ayurvedic pharmacy the Sannyasi Ashramat Sargodha in 1908. While at Sargodha, Amar Singh married Ram Kaur, daughter of Bhai Narain Singh, of Gharuan, a village in Patiala district. It was an inter caste marriage encouraged by Singh Sabha enthusiasts but opposed by the orthodox. When Bhai Jodh Singh, theologian and educationist, formed in 1909 a group of Jivan Sevaks or those dedicating their lives to the service of the Sikh community, Amar Singh was amongst the few who volunteered to join the new society and work for it on a small fixed honorarium for twenty years.
In 1920, Amar Singh, now known as Amar Singh Wasu after the name of his village, became editor of the English weekly, the Khalsa Advocate, started by the Chief Khalsa Diwan. When this paper closed down, he took over as assistant secretary of the Chief Khalsa Diwan. As the reformist Sikhs assumed charge of the Nankana shrines after the massacre of 1921, Amar Singh was appointed to administer them. At the time of Guru ka Bagh morcha, he was shifted to Amritsar. From 1927 SO he remained a member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. Amar Singh died at Sargodha on 27 June 1932 after a prolonged illness.
1. Ashok, Shamsher Singh, Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee da Punjab Sala Itihas. Amritsar, 1982
2. Sahni, Ruchi Ram, Struggle for Reform in Sikh Shrines. Amritsar, n.d.