Jivala Singh, Sant
Pious Saint (1889-1957)
Widely revered for his piety especially among Sikhs in the Doaba region of the Punjab, was born on 1 May 1889 at Latigeri, a village in Hoshiarpur district. His parents, Narain Singh and Raj Kaur, were known as highly religious persons. Javala Singh was their eighth child and the only brother of seven sisters. He received instruction at the village primary school and at the gurdwara. Tall and of athletic built, he joined the army on 5 January 1907 as a soldier in the 35th Sikh Battalion. It was during his service at Rawalpindi that he came in contact with Sant Aya Singh, spiritual successor to the celebrated saint Sant Karam Singh of Hoti, a village near Mardan cantonment in the North-West Frontier Province. He formally became disciple of Sant Aya Singh on 5 March 1911.
Javala Singh saw action in France during World War 1, but resigned from the army on 1 January 1917 and joined the dera at Hoti to devote himself to a life of contemplation and service. At the persuasion of Sant Harnam Singh of his native Hoshiarpur district and with the permission of his religious mentor, Sant Aya Singh, Javala Singh returned home to the Doaba in December 1918 and settled in a lonely place between the villages of Harkhoval and Pandori Bibi, about 11 km southwest of Hoshiarpur. Santgarli, the name by which his dera came to be known, attracted Sikhs in increasingly large numbers. They came drawn by Sant Javala Singh’s pious manner and by the simplicity and lucidity of his religious discourses. Thousands received the rites of Khalsa initiation at his hands, among them being Maharaja Yadavinder Singh, ruler of Paliala state.
Sant Javala Singh supported the Akali and Babar Akali movements and set himself staunchly against the heresy preached by the Panch Khalsa Diwan of Bhasaur. At his initiative several gurdwaras were raised or rebuilt at Sikh holy places, such as Anandpur, Patna and Talvandi Sabo.
Sant Javala Singh died at Domeli, a village in Kapurthala district of the Punjab, on 13 November 1957.