ARJAN SINGH, BHAYEE
ARJAN SINGH, BHAYEE (1875-1946), of Bagarian, titled chief much honoured in Sikh piety, was a descendant of Bhai Rup Chand, a devoted disciple of Guru Hargobind, who had bestowed on him the title `Bhai` (also written as Bhayee) or holy brother. Rup Chand belonged to the village of Vadda Ghar, in Amritsar district, but upon receiving Guru Hargobind`s blessing he founded (1631) a village in the Malva region of the Punjab which he named Bhai Rupa. Rup Chand`s sons, Bhai Param Singh and Bhai Dharam Singh, received the rites of Khalsa baptism at the hands of Guru Gobind Singh.
They accompanied the Guru to Nanded in the South. Param Singh is said to have died there while Dharam Singh was sent back to the Punjab by the Guru with many gifts, including a giitka or breviary and a sword which are still preserved by the descendants as sacred relics. Born in 1875 the son of Bhai Kishan Singh at Bagarian, a village now in Sangrur district, to which the family had shifted, Arjan Singh had his early education under his uncle Bhai Narain Singh who was a reputed man of letters and who taught him several modern Indian and classical languages. Arjan Singh succeeded to his estate when he was very young.
Besides his position as a landed aristocrat, he was acknowledged by the Sikh ruling chiefs of Patiala, Nabha,Jind, Faridkot, Kapurthala and Kalsia as a religious mentora status the Bhais of Bagarian had always enjoyed in view of the family having been blessed by the Gurus themselves. They presided over the religious and social ceremonies in the Sikh princely families. Bhai Arjan Singh himself administered the rites of initiation to Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala and Maharaja Ripudaman Singh of Nabha, and installed the latter on the throne after the death in 1911 of his father, Maharaja Sir Hira Singh. Bhai Arjan Singh was widely respected in the Sikh community.
He was chosen to be the first president of the Chief Khalsa Diwan established on 30 October 1902, serving in that capacity for nearly 15 years. In 1934, he presided over the Sarab Hind Sikh Samparadai Conference at Bhaini Sahib and in 1938 over the 27th Sikh Educational Conference at Amritsar. He was awarded by the British government the title of Sardar Bahadur in 1916, and, in June 1919, the Order of the British Empire was conferred upon him. He also served as president of the Khalsa Pratinidh Diwan, Ludhiana, and as a member of the Amritsar Khalsa College Managing Committee as well as of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. Bhai Arjan Singh died at Bagariari on 8 November 1946.
1. Gian Singh, Giani, Itihas Riyasat Bagarian. Patiala, 1917
2. Caveeshar, Sardul Singh, House of Bagrian. Lahore, 1939
3. Griffin, Lepel and C.F. Massy, Chiefs and Families of Note in the Punjab. Lahore, 1940