Four years before the setting up of the Arya Samaj, the Sikh gentry of Amritsar had convened meeting to protest against the speeches of a Hindu orator who had made scurrilous remarks against the Sikh Gurus. These protest meetings had been organized by a society which described itself as the “Singh Sabha”. It had the support of the rich, landed gentry and the orthodox. The society’s object included the revival of the teachings of the Gurus, production of religious literature in Punjabi, and a campaign against illiteracy. Thakhar Singh Sandhawalia was president and Gyani Gian Singh, Secretary of the Amritsar Sri Guru Singh Sabha.

The rapid expansion of the Arya Samaj and the anti-Sikh bias of many of its leaders constituted a challenge to the Singh Sabha movement. It also brought about the final rupture between the Arya Samaj and some of its Sikh supporters. The Amritsar and Lahore Singh Sabha rejoined hands and doubled their efforts to start a college of their own. Ata largely attended meeting held in Lahore, a place was drawn up; a “hukum nama” was issued from the Golden Temple asking Sikhs to give one tenth of their income towards the building of the college. English well-wishers organized a committee in London to raise funds in England. Sikh princes, encouraged by the Viceroy made handsome contributions. Money began to pour in from all over the province. On March 5, 1892, the Lietunant Governor Sir James Lyall, who had taken personal interest in the venture, laid the foundation stone of the Khalsa College at Amritsar.

An Englishman Dr. S.C. Oman, was appointed Principal. The Chief Justice of Punjab High Court, W.H. Rattigan, became president of the College establishment committee, which was controlled by vice president Sir Attar Singh and the secretary Jawahar Singh Kapur.

Article extracted from this publication >>  April 24, 1987