Hazara Singh, Giani
Scholar and Educator (1828-1908)
Was born in Amritsar in 1828. He also used to inscribe his name as Bhai Hazara Singh Giani as well as Hazur Hari. His father, Bhai Savan Singh, was employed in the Golden Temple as a store keeper. The family had migrated from Harappa, now in Pakistan, to settle in Amritsar. Early in his career, Hazara Singh was apprenticed to Sant Chanda Singh, famous in his day in classical Sikh learning. Besides the Sikh texts, he studied Persian and Sanskrit and acquired facility in both. He had strong literary inclinations nurtured by his association with the education department set up by the British after the occupation of the Punjab in 1849 and by the Singh Sabha renaissance which provided new creative incentives. He was an active member of the Amritsar Singh Sabha and acted for a while as one of its secretaries. In the education department, Hazara Singh worked as an inspector for vernacular schools. He prepared textbooks in Punjabi such as Bhugol Manjari, Bhugol Darpan, Pratam Ganit, Hind da Sugam Itihas, Itihas Prashnotri, Gurmukhi Parkash and Dulhan Patrika. He rendered Shaikh Sa’adi’s Persian classics, Gulistan and Boston into Braj verse and adapted Nazir Ahmad’s famous Urdu novel Mirat ul Arus into Punjabi which was published under the title of Dulhan Darpan. In Punjabi, he wrote Suraj Prakash Chavarnika, which is an abridged version of Sri Gur Pratap Suraj Granth, and the biographies of Guru Har Rai and Guru Har Krishan.
His more enduring works were Guru Granth Kosh, a dictionary of the Guru Granth Sahib initiated by him but which received its current form from his daughter’s son, Bhai Vir Singh, celebrated Sikh savant and poet, and Varan Bhai Gurdas (4 vols) which is a commentary on the vars of Bhai Gurdas.
Giani Hazara Singh died on 27 September 1908 at the ripe age of eighty.