ARUR SINGH, SARDAR BAHADUR SIR
ARUR SINGH, SARDAR BAHADUR SIR (1865-1926), sarbarah (manager) of the principal Sikh shrines at Amritsar and Tarn Taran from 1907 to 1920, much maligned for his role during the popular movement for reform in the managment of Sikh shrines, came of a well known Shergil family of Naushahra in Amritsar district, also called Naushahra Narigli, to distinguish it from another village sharing the same name, Naushahra Pannuan, in the same district. His grandfather, Jassa Singh, had been for two years in charge of the Golden Temple under Lahina Singh Majithia. Arur Singh was hardly four years old when his father, Harnam Singh, a deputy superintendent of police, died in 1868.
Brought up under a court of wards and educated at Government High School, Amritsar, Arur Singh came into full possession of his family estate in 1885. In 1888, he was made an honorary magistrate class II, with powers over 133 villages of Kathu Narigal police circle. In 1907 he was made magistrate class I and a provincial darbari (courtier), and was also appointed by government sarbarah in spite of the reformers` demand that the right to appoint the sarbarah should vest in the Sikh community itself. It was bruited about that Arur Singh had set apart for certain British officers valuable presents from the to shakhana (treasury) of the Darbar Sahib.
An agitation was set afoot against him on this account. However, it came to nothing; likewise, later complaints laid against him of mismanagement and corruption in the gurdwaras under his charge were rejected. Things came to a head when Arur Singh and the priests of Sri Darbar Sahib publicly honoured General Dyer, responsible for Jalliarivala Bagh massacre in 1919. Demand for his removal as sarbarah gathered momentum day by day. Ultimately, Arur Singh bowed to the popular will.
He not only resigned the office of sarbarah but also tendered at a meeting at Jalliarivala Bagh sometime during August 1920 a public apology for his acts of omission and commission relating to the management of the shrines under his charge. The government, however, in view of his loyal services, conferred on him a knighthood on the New Year Day of 1921. He had already been awarded a C. I. E. (Companion of the Indian Empire) in 1913; he now became Sardar Sir Arur Singh, K.C.I.E. (Knight Companion of the Indian Empire). Arur Singh died in 1926.
1. Griffin, Lepel, and C.F. Massy, Chiefs and Families of Note in the Punjab. Lahore, 1940
2. Mohinder Singh, The Akali Movement. Delhi, 1978
3. Dyer, R.E.H., Disturbances in the Punjab. London, 1920
4. Pratap Singh, Giani, Gurdwara 5udhar arthat AkaJi Lahir. Amritsar, 1975
5. Josh, Sohan Singh, Akali Morchian da Itihas. Delhi, 1972