GURMAT GRANTH PRACHARAK SABHA, an association aiming at propagating Sikh religion through publications, was established at Amritsar on 8 April 1885 by Giani Sardul Singh to continue the work started by his father, Giani Gian Singh (d. 30 March 1884), the first secretary of Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Amritsar, established in 1873. Agia Singh Hakim of Amritsar was elected secretary of the Gurmat Granth Pracharak Sabha. On his death in April 1887, his son. Manna Singh Hakim, succeeded him as its secretary. The Sabha undertook to sponsor research and publish authentic texts of the Gurus` compositions and of other works such as Janam Sakhis and Gurpranalis.

Already at the initiative of Giani Gian Singh had been published the Gurpurb Prakash, the Guru Pankhid and the Sn Guru Kripd Katdkhya. The first publication under the auspices of the Pracharak Sabha was GurSikkhdn de Nitt Karam, the daily duties of the Sikhs, based on the first chapter of an earlier work, Sikh Dharam Shdstar. Other titles published included Sad Sidhdnt (1887), Gurmat Sidhdnt va Panchdng va PrashndvaK, ke Uttar, Thittdn Vdr Bdrdnmdh, Gur Mahimd Prakash, Sn Guru Granth Sahib Ji de Path di Vidhl, Gurpurb Patrikd (1893), GurprandU (1894), Sudhdsar Satak Pachisd, Gur Pranali Vidydrthidn de Kanth Koran VdK (1894) and Yatrd Hazur Abchalnagar Sahib Ji DI (1897).

The Sabha also discovered and printed an old manuscript Gur Bilds Dasam Patsdh Kd, an account in verse of the life of Guru Gobind Singh, completed by Bhai Sukkha Singh in 1797. Another important task undertaken by the Sabha was the preparation, at the instance of the Amritsar Singh Sabha, of an authentic recension of the Dasam Granth. Funds for the project were provided by the Sabha secretary, Bhai Manna Singh Hakim, himself. Thirty-two different recensions were collected and several prominent scholars and theologians were invited to study them. They met at the Akal Takht at Amritsar, and held formal discussions in a series of meetings between 13 June 1895 and 16 February 1896.

A preliminary report entitled Report Sodhak (revision) Committee Dasam Pdtshdh de Granth Sahib Di was sent to Sikh scholars and institutions, inviting their opinion. A second document, Report Dasam Granth di Sudhai Di was brought out on 11 February 1898. Basing its conclusions on a study of the old handwritten copies of the Dasam Granth preserved at Sri Takht Sahib at Patna and in other Sikh gurudwaras, this report affirmed that the Holy Volume was compiled at Anandpur Sahib in 1698. Another point of importance taken up by the Pracharak Sabha related to a controversy raised in 1893 regarding the administration of amrit of the doubleedged sword to women.

While the Lahore Khalsa Diwan entrusted the decision to a committee of five scholars Bhai Kahn Singh of Nabha, Giani Ditt Singh, Giani Thakar Singh of Amritsar, Giani Bhagvan Singh of Patiala and Babu Teja Singh of Bhasaur the Gurmat Granth Pracharak Sabha discussed the matter at its general meetings which were open to the public. As a result of these deliberations, Bhai Manna Singh Hakim published in 1900 a pamphlet entitled Mdi de Jdme nun Amrit Chhakdvan di Vidhi (Manner of administering the rites of amrit to women). This was the last important publication of the Guramat Granth Pracharak Sabha. The Sabha fell into oblivion as two new associations, the Khalsa Tract Society (founded 1893) and the Chief Khalsa Diwan (founded 1902), expanded the scope of their activity.

References :

1. Jagjit Singh, Singh Sabha Lahir. Ludhiana, 1974