Dalip Singh, Sant
Saint, Campaigner for the Disabled and Akali Activist (1883-1948)
Son of Ishar Singh and Har Kaur, was born in 1883 at the village of Lahri, in Hoshiarpur district. He was hardly five years old, when his father died. He was brought up by his maternal grandfather, Nihal Singh, at his village Dumeli. He received his early education from a local Sikh priest, who also trained him in the singing of gurbani.
Dalip Singh was a child with peculiar traits. He was fond of solitude. One day he wentout and did not return home. He built for himself a cell (the site, now called Baba Rana) for meditation. He was then a youth of about twenty. He remained wrapped up in deep meditation for forty-eight days in his cell. As he refused to return home, the residents of the village built for him a cottage. He ground the grain into flour and did his own cooking, refusing to accept food even from his own mother. In his cottage, he started a small langar (free kitchen) for the poor and needy.
He was convinced that selfless service to fellow men was the essence of true religion and the highest worship of the Almighty. Whenever he came across a disabled, blind, dumb, lame, sick or orphaned child, he brought him to his cottage and looked after him. He brought up many such children and trained them for earning their livelihood. Sant Sarvan Singh Ghandhari, born blind, and Giani Harbans Singh born a cripple, who are now running the dera of Sant Baba Dalip Singh, grew up under his care. The former was enabled to earn his Master's degree in Music (Classical and Instrumental) and the latter to qualify for practice in the indigenous system of medicine.
Baba Dalip Singh combined with his saintly disposition a revolutionary urge gave shelter to the Babar Akalis engaged in anti-government activities and provided them with food and money. He himself took part in the Akali movement and led a jatha during the Jaito morcha.
During the Hindu-Muslim riots in 1947, he saved the lives of many Muslims at great personal risk. Sant Dalip Singh died in 1948. Apart from the dera he founded, a Khalsa College at Dumeli commemorates his name.