Monday, December 05, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

Gopal Singh
An Akali Reformer (1883-1941)

Was born in November 1883 at the village of Sagari, in Rawalpindi district, now in Pakistan. His father, Sundar Singh (d. 1895) was a small shopkeeper. Within three years of Gopal Singh's father's death, his two elder brothers also passed away and the responsibility of looking after the family fell on him. He worked hard to see the family business flourish, and simultaneously started participating in the Singh Sabha activity in the district. A more active phase of his career began as the Akali agitation for the reformation of Gurdwara management picked momentum. He had been nominated a member of the first Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee constituted in 1920.

He was a member of the jatha or band of volunteers sent to liberate the gurdwara at Panja Sahib from the control of the mahants or priests who had become the target of public censure. For canvassing support for the Guru ka Bagh agitation, he was arrested in 1922 and prosecuted on the charge of inciting people and spreading hatred against the British government. He was again arrested in 1923 when the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee were banned by the government. Totally, he spent 13 years of his life in jail. When the Shiromani Akali Dal split after the Gurdwaras Act had been passed in 1925, Gopal Singh joined the faction led by Baba Kharak Singh. He died in 1941, and a motion condoling his death was passed by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee at a meeting of its general body held on 26 October 1941.

Source: TheSikhEncyclopedia.Com

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The etymology of the term 'gurdwara' is from the words 'Gur (ਗੁਰ)' (a reference to the Sikh Gurus) and 'Dwara (ਦੁਆਰਾ)' (gateway in Gurmukhi), together meaning 'the gateway through which the Guru could be reached'. Thereafter, all Sikh places of worship came to be known as gurdwaras.
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