Bhai Veer Singh: Saint Sikh Scholar

Bhai Veer Singh Ji (1872-1957) was born on 5th December 1872 at Amritsar. He was a saintly Sikh scholar, poet, and writer, prominently celebrated for his contributions to Sikh literature and spirituality. Bhai Gurdas ji is known as the great initiator of Sikh Intellectual Legacy as he is the first Sikh Scholar to interpret Gurbani. The fifth Guru Arjun Dev ji blessed Bhai Gurdas’s Bani as key to Gurbani, due to his clarity of thought and clear understanding of Gurbani.


Bhai Veer Singh ji follows the same methodology and tradition and is thus regarded as shining star of the Sikh Intellectual Legacy .


Some key points about great contribution of Bhai Veer Singh include :


Literary Contributions: Bhai Veer Singh Ji was a prolific writer and poet, known for his inspiring poetry and prose in Punjabi and Braj Bhasha. He wrote extensively on Sikhism, its history, philosophy, and spirituality. The central theme of Bhai Sahib ji’s poetry revolves around the nature, plantation, rivers, trees, flowers, water fountains etc and he is very close to the nature. This is because of this theme that he is popularly compared with and remembered as Wordsworth of Punjabi literature.


Observing Spiritual life style: He was a devout Sikh and played a significant role in promoting Sikh values and principles by living a very pious and spiritually awakened life. He used to rise early in the morning i.e., amrit wela, daily visiting, Darbar Sahib and sitting in Sangat while listening to kirtan. He was also used to go on morning walk and was health conscious.


Religious Reforms: He was an advocate for religious reforms within Sikhism, emphasizing the importance of Sikh principles and ethics. He encouraged the study of Sikh scriptures and the practice of Sikh values in daily life.He was a leading figure in the Singh Sabha movement, which aimed to revive and reform Sikhism. We are celebrating 150th year of this reformist movement, this 2023 year.


Social Reformer: He worked to address social issues within the Sikh community, advocating for education and uplifting the status of women.


Poetry and Inspirational Works: Bhai Veer Singh Ji’s poems and writings often revolved around themes of spirituality, devotion, and the glory of the Sikh Gurus. His works, such as “Sundri” and “Rana Surat Singh,” are widely respected.


Legacy of Sikh Cultural Heritage : His contributions to Sikh literature and culture continue to inspire generations of Sikhs. He is remembered for his role in shaping Sikh identity and preserving the rich Sikh heritage.Bhai Veer Singh Ji’s life and work have left a lasting impact on Sikhism and the cultural heritage of the Punjab region.


Certainly, there are more aspects of Bhai Veer Singh Ji’s life and contributions to explore.


Educational Initiatives: Bhai Veer Singh Ji was deeply committed to education. He . He played a crucial role in promoting Sikh education and culture. He was the founder of Sikh Educational Conference which contributed in the promotion of modern education in the Sikhs.


Khalsa College, Amritsar: Bhai Veer Singh Ji played a pivotal role in the establishment of Khalsa College, Amritsar. This educational institution was founded in 1892 and aimed to provide quality education while preserving and promoting Sikh culture and values.  He also worked as a professor of Punjabi and religious studies at this college.


Literary Works: His literary works are a testament to his talent and dedication. He wrote not only poetry but also essays, plays, and historical works. Some of his notable literary contributions include “Kalgidhar Chamatkar,” and”Sri Guru Nanak Chamatkar,” .


Contribution to Punjabi literature: He is known as the founding father of modern Punjabi literature. Bhai Veer Singh Ji made significant efforts to revive and modernize Punjabi literature. His works in Punjabi helped standardize and elevate the language, making it more accessible and appealing to a wider audience.


Humanitarian Efforts: Bhai Veer Singh Ji was known for his compassion and humanitarian activities. He was actively involved in relief work during times of natural disasters and crisis, providing assistance to those in need. He founded Central Khalsa Yatimkhanna (The Central Khalsa Orphanage) at Amritsar.


Recognition and Awards: His contributions to literature and Sikhism earned him recognition and awards. He was honored with the title of “Bhai Sahib” by the Sikh community as a mark of respect. He was awarded country’s big Award Padama Bhushan and also honoured with the Sahit Academy Award. He was also awarded hon’rary doctorate degree by the University on account of his selfless dedicated works and contribution to the literature and intectual heritage.


Inspiration to Future Generations: Bhai Veer Singh Ji’s life and works continue to inspire Sikhs and individuals worldwide. He has a very deep feeling about the beauty of nature, flow of waters in the rivers, blooming of flowers and his poetry describe his feelings in very touching words. His writings promote dedication, selflessness, and spirituality, making him a revered figure in Sikh history.


Bhai Veer Singh Ji’s multifaceted contributions in the fields of literature, education, spirituality, and social reform have left an indelible mark on Sikh culture and continue to resonate with people who value his teachings and principles.


Founder of Several Institutions: Bhai Veer Singh Ji founded several institutions dedicated to Sikhism, education, and literature. Some of the notable institutions established by him include:


Founder of Khalsa Tract Society: Bhai Veer Singh Ji founded the Khalsa Tract Society in 1894. This society was instrumental in publishing and distributing religious literature, particularly Sikh religious texts, to promote Sikhism and its values.


Punjabi Sahit Sabha: Bhai Veer Singh Ji was a co-founder of the Punjabi Sahit Sabha in Lahore in 1886. This literary society was dedicated to the promotion of Punjabi literature and language. It played a crucial role in the revival and development of Punjabi literature.


Khalsa Samachar: Bhai Veer Singh Ji was the founder of and remain associated with the publication of “Khalsa Samachar,” a Punjabi newspaper that served as a platform for discussing social and religious issues and spreading awareness about Sikhism. This was the first initiative in the field of journalism in Punjabi language in modern times to promote Punjabi.


These institutions have had a lasting impact on Sikh education, literature, and culture, and they continue to contribute to the preservation and dissemination of Sikh heritage and values. Bhai Veer Singh Ji’s vision and efforts in founding these institutions have left a significant legacy in the Sikh community.


Bhai Veer Singh Ji, in addition to the previously mentioned institutions, also co-founded the Central Sikh Library in Amritsar, which is an essential institution for the preservation and dissemination of Sikh religious and historical literature. He was a key figure in establishing and organizing this library, which holds a vast collection of Sikh manuscripts and books.


He established first Punjabi Printing Press at Amritsar. Imminent Punjabi writer Dhani Ram Chatrik was working in the said press at initial stage.


Bhai Veer Singh Ji’s contributions extended to various facets of Sikh life, encompassing religion, education, literature, and community development. His work in establishing and supporting these institutions has had a lasting impact on the Sikh community.


Founder of the Punjab & Sind Bank Ltd :


The Punjab & Sind Bank Ltd was established on April 24, 1908 as a private sector bank.It originated from the vision of luminaries such as Bhai Vir Singh, Sir Sunder Singh Majitha, and Sardar Tarlochan Singh. They wanted to create a financial institution that would specifically cater to the financial needs of the people in the region of Punjab. The bank was set up to support agriculture, trade, and industry in the region, and it aimed to provide banking services with a focus on social and economic development.


Bhai Veer Singh Ji was the first among the three founders of the Bank and all these three were  born in year 1872. The idea of starting a Bank bestowed upon by Waheguru ji and conceived in the mind of Bhai Veer Singh ji while he was writing Kalgidhar Chamatkar. The bank was started after offering ardas at Shri Harmander Sahib ji on 24th June 1908.


After passing through several odd situations such as partition of India, Punjab & Sind Bank has since grown and expanded its operations to serve customers not only in Punjab but across the country. It’s now one of the public sector banks in India, regulated and controlled by the Government of India.


Bhai Veer Singh Ji’s contributions primarily revolved around Sikhism, literature, and education. He was the prominent among others who started the interpretation of Gurbani. Bhai Veer Singh ji’ written “Punj Granthi” comprising meanings of selected Gurbani was first published in 1906. This was regarded as the top among others for many years. This first edition of Punj Granthi took only 6 days while completing in 1906,  but after 30 years Bhai Sahib ji realised the need to re work on this Punj Granthi, and edit it on the basis of studies of comparative literature of other religions. This task took 6 long years for completion. Now this is among the top interpretations of Gurbani.


His other publications with the year of its publication is given here under :

  1. Sundri (Novel)                                        :             1898
  2. Bijay Singh.                                         :             1899
  3. Satwant Kaur(part 1) :             1899-1900
  4. An inspirational dialogue between Husband’ Sister and and the wife : 1903
  5. Rana Surat Singh Kaviya :             1905
  6. Punj Granthi Steek :            1906
  7. Lehran de haar :             1907 – 1921
  8. Baba Naud Singh :             1907 – 1921
  9. Raja Lakh Daata Singh :             1910
  10. Pracheen Panth Prakash :             1914
  11. Ganjnama Translated. :             1914
  12. Bharthari Hari Jiwan te Niti Satak :             1916
  13. Mattak Hulare. :            1922
  14. Shri Guru Kalgidhar Chamatkar :             1925
  15. Puratan Janam Sakhi Edited :             1926
  16. Gur Partap Suraj Granth with Comments :             1926-35
  17. Guru Granth Kosh(2nd Edition) :             1927
  18. Satwant Kaur (Novel) Part 2. :             1927
  19. Shri Guru Nanak Chamatkar :             1928
  20. Preet Veena.                         :             1929
  21. Kambdi Kalai.                      :             1933
  22. Devi Pujan Partaal                       :             1936
  23. Sant Gaatha Part 1.                         :            1938
  24. Punj Granthi Steek (Re worked) :             1939
  25. Kabit Bhai Gurdas Steek -2.                        :             1940
  26. Guru Granth Sahib Teeka (Karaj Arambh). :             1937
  27. Ashat Guru Chamatkar Part 1. :             1951
  28. Barha Maha Kant Mahol.                      :             1952
  29. Mere Saiyaan Jio.                       :             1953
  30. Gurbalam Sakhian Patshahi 1 :             1955
  31. Gurbalam Sakhian Patshahi 10 :             1955
  32. Santhya Shri Guru Granth Sahib ji in Seven Volumes published after his death 1958 to 1962
  33. Ashat Guru Chamatkar Part 2. :             1968
  34. Amar Lekh Part 1.                   :             1968
  35. Sikaan Sadharan Birhaan te Jodarian :             1973
  36. Sahitak Kalian.                  :             1973
  37. Awaz Aiee.                 :             1974
  38. Sant Bimla Singh (Part 1 & 2).                    :             1974-76

Besides these hundreds of his tracts have been published by Khalsa Tract Society.


Now the list of books comprising Interpretation and decoding of Gurbani is given below :

  1. Mool Mantra te Punj Pourian da Teeka.
  2. Rehras Sahib
  3. Kirtan Sohila.
  4. Sri Raag di Vaar.
  5. Barha Maha Maaj
  6. Maaj Raag di Vaar
  7. Asa di Vaar
  8. Jaitsari di Vaar
  9. Raag Bairari Complete
  10. Lavan Raag Suhi
  11. Bilawal di Vaar
  12. Ramkali Anand
  13. Onkaar
  14. Sidh Goshat
  15. Tikke di Vaar
  16. Maru Vaar Dakhne Mohalla Punjwan
  17. Barha Maha Sukhari
  18. Salok Saiskriti
  19. Gaatha Mohalla Punjwan
  20. Phunhe Mohalla Punjwan
  21. Salok Bhagat Kabir ji
  22. Shabad te Salok Shiekh Farid ji
  23. Sawaye Sri Mukhvak te Bhattan de
  24. Salok Mohalla Nouwan
  25. Kosh of different words blessed in Shri Guru Granth Sahib – this valuable work was originally created by Giani Hazara Singh the maternal grandfather of Bhai Veer Singh ji. This work was duly edited and huge additions were made by Bhai Sahib. This was published and more additions were continuously being done by Bhai Sahib.
  26. Teeka Vaaran Bhai Gurdas – this was also originally created by Giani Hazara Singh ji and handed over to Bhai Veer Singh ji with the wish that now he should re work on it and do more additions and corrections. Now all his books and literature is being published and distributed by Bhai Veer Singh Sahitya Sadan New Delhi.

This rare and historical literary contribution to the Sikh literature and intectual heritage was made by Bhai Veer Singh ji.


Bhai Sahib Veer Singh ji is remembered by Sikh Sangat, intellectuals, academicians, writers with all devotion and respect, his divine wisdom will be continuously remembered by the generation to come. His literature and spirituality will continue to inspire the students and youth. He left for his heavenly abode on 10th June 1957 at Dehradun where he has spent last leg of  his life full of spirituality and divine bliss.

Jatinder Pal Singh, Ludhiana (M) 9316029647