Friday, December 09, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

Bhai Atma Singh

Bhai Atma Singh (1881 - 1921), one of the Nankana Sahib martyrs, was the son of Bhai Hira Singh, a Mazhabi Sikh of village Mustrabad in Gurdaspur district. The family later shifted to village Dharovali in Sheikhupura district where Atma Singh came in contact with Bhai Lachhman Singh, an active Akali reformist, and also learnt reading and writing in Gurmukhi script. He also received the rites of Khalsa initiation. He married and raised a family of five children - three sons and two daughters.

Bhai Atma Singh enlisted at the outbreak of the First Great War in 1914 and served in the 32nd Punjab Battalion. On release from the army in 1918, he cultivated closer association with Bhai Lachhman Singh and started taking an active interest in the Gurdwara reform movement. He took part in the Dharovali conference on 13 October 1920 and later in the liberation of Gurdwara Sacha Sauda. He was one of the members of the Jatha led by Bhai Lachhman Singh Dharovali which entered Gurdwara Janam Asthan at Nankana Sahib on 20 February 1921 and fell a martyr in the wholesale slaughter launched by the hired assassins of Mahant Narain Das, the hereditary custodian of the shrine.

Saka Nankana Sahib

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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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