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Teja Singh Akarpuri, Jathedar
Active Figure in Gurdwara Reform Movement (1892-1975)


Was born at Akarpura, a village 13 km northwest of Batala, in Gurdaspur district of the Punjab. His father was Pala Singh and mother Partap Kaur. He matriculated from Khalsa Collegiate School, Amritsar, in 1911, and enlisted in the 24th Sikh Battalion of the Indian Army the following year. Leaving the Army, he became a patvari in the revenue department of the Punjab at the end of 1914. He was promoted ziledar in 1918. The Nankana Sahib massacre of February 1921 proved a turning point in the life of Teja Singh. He resigned from government service and joined the Akali agitation. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee appointed him administrator of Gurdwara Premsati at Kamalia, in Montgomery district, now in Pakistan.

He was appointed jathedar of Sri Akal Takht at Amritsar on 29 April 1921. On 13 October 1923, he was taken into custody by the Punjab Government and released on 27 November 1926, in the second batch of Akali detenues. He resumed his duties as Jathedar Sri Akal Takht which position he retained until 21 January 1930. During 1932, he was appointed at first acting president and later president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and president of Shiromani Akali Dal. He became a member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee again in 1933 and was elected its vice-president. He was president of Sri Nankana Sahib management committee from 1935 to 1938. In the Punjab Assembly elections in January 1937, he contested the Batala constituency as a nominee of the Shiromani Akali Dal, but lost to Sir Sundar Singh Majithia, leader of the Khalsa National Party. He was again elected a member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee in 1939. In 1940, he became president of the Shiromani Akali Dal, and presided over the first Sarb Hind (lit. All-India) Akali Conference at Atari, in Amritsar district, on 10-11 February 1940. Jathedar Teja Singh Akarpuri was a member of the first Lok Sabha from 1952 to 1957 representing his native district., Gurdaspur. He died at his ancestral village Akarpura on 20 November 1975.

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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