Sunday, September 25, 2016
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Sundar Singh, Ragi
Head Musician at Sri Harimandar at Amritsar (1892-1937)


Was born at Amritsar in 1892, the son of Bhai Amar Singh Arora, himself a musician of considerable standing. Sundar Singh served his apprenticeship with Bhai Atra, a well-known rababi (rebeck-player), who was a disciple of Bhai Moti, a rababi of still greater repute in his time. He further chiselled his style under a noted Sikh musician, Uttam Singh.

On 10 September 1932, he was appointed ragi at the Harimandar where he soon rose to be the head musician. He had a rich melodious voice and his favourite instruments were dilruba, a string instrument, and harmonium, and his favourite mode was Khayal. He ranked among the leading Sikh musicians of his day and was invited to perform kirtan from distant parts. In 1937, he led a chorus to the village of Ahla, in Phalia tahsil (sub-division) of Gujrat district (now in Pakistan), where a gurdwara had suffered mob violence in which one of the officiants had lost his life. The Muslims of the area who formed about 80 per cent of the population obstructed the Sikhs entering the village. In the attack they launched, one Bhagat Singh was killed on the spot and several others seriously wounded, among them Bhai Sundar Singh. Bhai Sundar Singh was removed to the civil hospital at Gujrat where he succumbed to his injuries on 17 June 1937. His dead body was brought to Amritsar and cremated on 18 June.

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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