Gurdial Singh, Jathedar
Religious Scholar and Campaigner (1886-1958)
Also known as Giani Gurdial Singh or Sant Gurdial Singh Bhindranvale, was born in 1886 at Adampur, near Moga, now in Faridkot district of the Punjab. He studied up to matriculation. He enjoyed the patronage of Tikka (later Maharaja) Ripudaman Singh of Nabha, whom he accompanied to England in 1910. On return from abroad in 1912, he joined the seminary at Bhindar Kalan run by Sant Sundar Singh where he studied Sikh theological and historical texts. When the first Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee was formed in November 1920, Gurdial Singh was nominated a member. He was one of those who persuaded the Committee to take up the question of the forced abdication and dethronement of the Nabha ruler, Maharaja Ripudaman Singh, in July 1923.
Consequent upon the launching of what is known as the Jaito morcha or agitation to protest against the government’s action, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee was outlawed and its members put behind the bars. Sant Gurdial Singh was arrested on 7 January 1924 and imprisoned in Multan Central Jail. While under detention he used to give discourses on gurbdni for the benefit of his jail-mates. On release in 1926, he went back to Sant Sundar Singh, who appointed him jathedar in charge of a newly established gurdwara and missionary centre at Bopa Rai, a village in Ludhiana district. He was elected to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee in 1945. Besides teaching regular students at the seminary, Sant Gurdial Singh delivered a serialized discourse on the entire Guru Granth Sahib spread over a whole year. He had given 23 such annual series before he died at Bopa Rai Kalan on 28 March 1958.