On the birthday occasions ,August 30, 2021
Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha (1861-1938 AD), the great Punjabi scholar, is remembered in the Sikh community by the title of ‘Bhai Sahib or Panth Ratan’ for his all-round scholarship and all-round personality. Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha is one of the leading commentators on Gurbani after Bhai Gurdas ji.By writing dozens of books and interpreting Gurbani, he established the Gurmat ideology and special emphasis on the identification of its tradition.
At the same time, on the basis of logic and argument, he presented his scientific views by refuting the imaginary views related to religion. From this learned family of Nabha, Bhagwant Singh Hari Ji, son of Bhai Saheb’s daughter in law Bibi Harnam Kaur and grand daughter in law Dr. Rachpal Kaur also contributed to the Punjabi literary service.
At present Bhai Saheb’s great grandson Major Adarshpal Singh is also interested in social service as well as literary interests.Some questions and answers with Bhai Sahib’s great grandson Major AP Singh on the occasion of Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha’s birthday (30August 2021):
Question: -According to lineage tradition In a relationship Major AP Singh Ji,
What is yours relation with Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha.
Ans: My elder Baba Naudh Singh Ji was a prominent man of village Pitho (Bathinda).
Who for some time had been in the company of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
His son Baba Sarup Singh was designated as priest of the shrine dedicated to Baba Ajapal Singh Ji (Nabha). After this his grandson Baba Narayan Singh Ji (1841-1916 AD) served at this place who was the father of Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha. My honorable father Sudarshan Singh was the grandson of Bhai Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha and son of Bhagwant Singh (Hari Ji). Thus according to the lineage tradition I am the great grandson of Bhai Kahn Singh Ji Nabha ,in the relationship.
Question: Any memories of Bhai Sahib’s life that you may have heard from your elders?
Answer: Religion, literature, history, music, walking , hunting, gardening and playing tennis were his special hobbies. He was very interested in learning different languages.
When learning Persian opportunities, he was opposed from home,so they left home and ran away. Learned Persian from masters in Lucknow, Delhi, Lahore etc.
Question: Is there any event in the life of your elders that you are very proud of ?
Ans: Bhai Kahn Singh’s father Baba Narayan Singh Ji possessed a very strong power of consciousness. He had memorised many text of the Holy Guru Granth Sahib.
He regularly used to complete the recital of the holy scripture four times a mounth. It has been heard from many elders and scholars that on three occasions , Baba Narayan Singh Ji solely performed uninterrupted recitation of Guru Granth Sahib in one sitting .Once Maharaja Hira Singh (Nabha) listened to the whole text with devotion. At the completion of the recitation,the Maharaja desired to grant s fief, but Baba Narayan Singh Ji declined to accept any reward for the performance. When at the end of the ceremony ,Baba ji sat in a palanquin to go back to his residence , the Maharaja Hira Singh relieved one baearer of the palanquin and carried it on his owen shoulder, thus Maharaja Hira Singh expressing great devotion and devotion to Baba Narayan Singh Ji.
Question: What works of Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha have you read?
Ans: The total number of compositions of Bhai Sahib Ji, is in dozens. I haven’t read the entire work in terms of research. But whenever the time came, many of the books written by him were read little by little like a normal reader, and got to learn a lot. Bhai Sahib’s son Bhagwant Singh Hari Ji , daughter-in-law Bibi Harnam Kaur and granddaughter-in-law Dr. Rachpal Kaur read all the literature written by Bhai Sahib from the point of view of research and all three of them contributed to the enrichment of Punjabi literature by writing some books themselves.
Question: The world of Punjabi literature considers Bhai Sahib to be a great lexicographer, Sikh thinker and researcher.Which of these do you value the most?
Answer: Undoubtedly Baba ji (Kahan Singh Nabha) established himself as the great commentator of the Sikh community by writing many other original books like Gurumat Sudhakar, Gurumat Prabhakar and Gurmat Martand. But I value him as the great lexicographer of Punjabi because Gurushabad Ratnakar Mahan Kosh ( Encyclopaedia of Sikh Litrature) is a milestone in the field of Punjabi lexicography. It is a literary work that can be expected from an organization but not from a single person. The Mahan Kosh is a storehouse of knowledge, the importance of which will remain forever in the history of Punjabi litrature.
Question: What other activities did Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha do in his life besides reading and writing books, tell us a bit about his diplomatic acumen?
Ans: He worked hard all his life to settle the dispute between Nabha and Patiala states.
Bhai Sahib has held various senior positions in the State of Nabha and the State of Patiala such as Musahib, Private Secretary, City Magistrate, Nehar Nazam, Mir Munshi, (Foreign Minister), Judge High Court, Member Judicial Council, and Advocate Political Agency etc. Bhai Sahib was sent by the state of Nabha as a lawyer to the political agents of the Phoolkian states. Bhai Sahib was well versed in such political affairs, which is why Maharaja Hira Singh ji named him Niti ji.Colonel Dunlap Smith, a British officer and political agent at the time, wrote a letter to the Government of Nabha on July 18, 1905, praising Bhai Kahn Singh’s wisdom and loyalty. I have not found any officer in the Phoolkiyan states (Nabha, Patiala, Jind) who does the work of his Maharaja and the state so honestly. “
Question: Apart from Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha ‘s works, what other personal belongings do you have?
Answer: We have at Vrijesh Bhawan Nabha holding his personal belongings like sword, gun, watches, takua, seals, hand stick (khundi), certificate etc.Some time ago his excellent Sitar (Musical intrument) was also present there. He was very fond of singing and playing classical music.They bought everything of high quality.The clothes he wore were very clean, hygienic and of high quality but he always liked to be simple. His natural dress and cultural temperament were especially exemplary of elegance and uniqueness. It was his privilege to write a book like ‘Sikh Religion’ by introducing Sikh religion and history to an English gentleman like Max Arthur Macauliffe.
He also spent a long time in the England for reading the final proof of this book.
Overwhelmed by this devotion and love, Mr. Macauliffe wrote all the rights to his book in the name of Bhai Kahan Singh.
This inscription is still with our family (Vrijesh Bhawan Nabha). Mr Macauliffe also offered to give up his house in London (UK), but Bhai Sahib (Kahan Singh) refused.
Question: Do you feel that Bhai Sahib did not get the place and respect in the world of Punjabi literature that he deserved?
Answer: The contribution of Bhai Sahib (Kahan Singh Nabha) to Punjab, Sikhism, Punjabi language and Punjabi literature is easily realized by everyone who comes across ‘Gurushabad Ratnakar Mahan Kosh ( Encyclopaedia of Sikh Litrature) ‘. It becomes the moral duty of all of us to respect the man of the age. Much more work is needed to move forward with the work they have started so that our new generation stays connected to its heritage, religion and culture.
Question: Tell us something about Bhai Sahib’s contribution to Sikh philosophy?
Answer: Under the influence of the Singh Sabha movement, Bhai Sahib remained active throughout his life in his efforts to bring Sikhism back to its former glory. In the context of sectarian animosity, Bhai Sahib came forward to defend the Sikh tradition and preach his golden heritage. For the first time, Bhai Sahib began to examine Sikh history, Gurbani and Sikh literature in accordance with the principles of Gurmat. Valuable debates began on endless small and big issues of Gurmat (Sikhism).
Question: Do you consider Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha as your role model?
Ans: There is no doubt that our entire family considers Bhai Sahib as their role model.
Because the entire literature created by him clarifies the purpose and purpose of life.
My prayer to Akal Purakh(God) is that this process of Shabad Chintan,word contemplation will continue in Punjab.