CHANDA SINGH (d. 1930), better known as Chanda Singh Vakil or lawyer, was born at Kaliarivali, district Sirsa, in the present Haryana state, in a Sikh farming family of moderate means. He was the eldest of the three sons of Dial Singh. An attack of smallpox in his childhood had deprived him of his eyesight, but this did not deter him from carving his way in life. He passed his primary classes from the village school and went to Amritsar for his middle school course. He took his Matriculation at Government High School, Delhi. He was gifted with a phenomenal memory and excelled at studies.

Throughout his school career, he held a merit scholarship.He passed the qualifying examination in law from Lahore and started legal practice at Sirsa, where he soon made a name for himself as a lawyer. In April 1889, Chanda Singh was married to Ved Kaur daughter of Bhai Uttam Singh of the village of Bura Dalla, in Gurdaspur district. The marriage was a significant one at that period of time. It was solemnized strictly in accordance with the Sikh rites, for the bride`s father was an enthusiastic member of the Singh Sabha. He had selected Chanda Singh from among seven likely young men by casting lots in front of the Guru Granth Sahib.

He cheerfully accepted the choice thus made even though the bridegroom was blind. Chanda Singh was administered amrit, i.e. the vows of the Khalsa, before the nuptials. Marriage into a Singh Sabha family brought Chanda Singh into prominence in the Sikh community. He shifted from Sirsa to Firozpur, where he started taking active interest in the Singh Sabha. He was coopted a member of the Khalsa Diwan, Lahore. He and Giani Ditt Singh provided personal assistance to Dharam Singh of Gharjakh, then working president of the Khalsa Diwan. In 1890, he was appointed a member of the Khalsa College Establishment Committee and two years later he became a member of the working committee of the Khalsa Diwan, Lahore, as well as of the Khalsa College Council.

He also remained president of the Firozpur Singh Sabha for many years. He participated as a delegate in the annual session of the Indian National Congress at Lahore in December 1893, defying a resolution of the Khalsa Diwan, Lahore, forbidding its members to attend the conference. Later, he Figured prominently in two new Sikh societies the Chief Khalsa Diwan and the Sikh Educational Conference. During the Jaito campaign, he led out aJ`atha of Akali volunteers from Firozpur and courted arrest. Chanda Singh died on 4 May 1930. He had no sons, and his only daughter had predeceased him. He bequeathed his house, land and property to Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Firozpur. As willed by him, his house was converted into a gurdwara which is now known as Gurdwara Akalgarh.

References :

1. Jagjit Singh, Singh Sabha Lahir. Ludhiana, 1974
2. Dhillon, Gurdarshan Singh, “Character and Impact of the Singh Sabha Movement on the History of the Punjab.” Ph.D. thesis submitted inl973 to the Punjabi University, Patiala.