Bhai Vir Singh Ji
Bhai Vir Singh was born into a family of
scholars, and he grew up in the holy city of
Amritsar. He finished his Matriculation
winning the district boards gold medal.
When he was still at school, he was married
to Bibi Chattar Kaur.
Considered to be the harbinger of modern
Punjabi literature, Bhai Vir Singh wrote
prose, novels, poems, plays and historical
research. He also started publishing
Khalsa Samachar, the first Punjabi
daily. Through the pages of Khalsa
Samachar, he tried to bring about social
and religious reform such as importance of
education, equal rights to women, abolition
of the caste system, and so on. He
established the Khalsa College in Amritsar,
and with the help of Wazir Singh, he set up
a lithographic press in Amritsar in 1892.
The following year he started the Khalsa
Tract Society with a view to serving the
country and the Khalsa Panth. He was a great
scholar not only of Sikhism but also of
Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam.
Bhai Vir Singh also edited and published
Prachin Panth Prakash and Janamsakhi,
the life-story of Guru Nanak Dev. He
organised the Chief Khalsa Diwan, a
representative body of the Sikhs for
bringing about religious and social reforms.
SInce very few cared to get themselves
educated during his day, he formed the Sikh
Educational Committee for spreading of
Bhai Vir Singh inspired novelists like Nanak
Singh, Bhai Mohan Singh Vaid, Charan Singh
Shahid, Master Tara Singh, and Gurbakhsh
Panjab University conferred on him a
doctorate in Oriental Learning, and the
Sahitya Akademi awarded him its first annual
award for outstanding contribution to
Punjabi literature. He was also awarded the
Padma Bhushan. He was nominated member of
the Punjab Legislative Council in 1952.
Singh was the most important writer and
theologian in Punjabi who expounded Sikh
history and philosophy for more than
fifty years. He is regarded as the Bhai
Gurdas of the twentienth century. His
most important works are Guru Nanak
Chamatkar, Kalgidhar Chamatkar, Baba
Nodh Singh and Meray Saeeyan jeeo.
His poetry possesses the
sublimity of Milton, the spontaneity of
Wordsworth, the music of Tagore and the
mysticism of Yeats. He was the 'finest
flower' in the renaissance of modern
Singh sang of the struggles of the
village folk. He wrote poems on freedom
Singh was very versatile. He was poet,
novelist and critic. He found spiritual
lessons in the objects of Nature. The
Kikar Tree is a symbol of the spiritual
seeker who must face the slings and
arrows of worldly people. His poetry
throbs with the longing of the
individual soul to rejoin the Universal
Soul. The hurdle between man and God is
the Ego. Once that is subdued, man may
meet God, face to face. He would find
beauty and God's presence in the
ordinary things of life. He believed man
could find peace and bliss through self
control and spiritual effort.
Singh was also a historical novelist.
His important works in this genre are
Sundri, Bijay Singh and Satwant Kaur.
Their popularity, is such that they have
been reprinted many times.
Vir Singh was not only a philosopher but
also a stylist. Even his prose captures the
dignity and harmony of poetry. Kalgidhar
Chamatkar is full of purple passages. A
registered society, Bhai Vir Singh Sahitya
Sadan, is now busy publishing his works and
popularising them among the masses. His
centenary was celebrated in
India and abroad in 1972.
Bhai Vir Singh's creative talent was
recognized by the government and the Punjab
university. He was given the title of Padam
Shri by the Gov. of
India and a Honorary Doctorate by the
Punjab University. H. Chattopadhaya called
him the "sixth river in the land of the five