By Principal Gurmukh Singh in Soora Dec. 1995
Delhi’s Singhs used to call him Daar Jee. For the children at home he was of course Daar Jee but the Sangat also referred to him as such out of respect.
Daar Jee was born in 1907 in Gujranvala Pakistan in a very simple family. Khalsa College Gujranvala was a very well respected school at the time and perhaps second only to Khalsa College Amritsar. The principal at the time was Sd. Teja Singh jee, who later became renown as Sant Teja Singh jee. The College opened around 1908 after the Chief Khalsa Divan, Amritsar’s Educational Conference. The Khalsa Schools all had Gurdvaras in which the students daily went for divans. The elders who studied in Khalsa Schools know how Sikh history was taught and the lessons of Gurbani were firmly implanted. Before graduating from the tenth grade, students were also initiated with Amrit.
So, when our Daar jee left Khalsa school in 1923/24, he was already amritdhaaree. His household situation did not allow him to study further and for this reason he took up employment at the Punjab and Sindh Bank. For some time he worked at a clerical job and then later he found a better job. He became the stenographer for the Gujranvala Sessional Judge. In those days, only the English would become judges and because of this, Daar jee worked for quite some time with English officers. This experience allowed him to secure a big post later on in life. At these two places, Daar jee worked for 16-17 years.
Daar jee went about like any ordinary person. The period between 1921 to 1925 was very important in Sikh history as historic Gurudvaras were liberated and many Singhs either went to jail or were martyred. Perhaps because of the nature of his job, Daar jee could not participate in this movement, but he had complete sympathy for it. From 1924 to 1940 Daar jee came in contact with the followers of Sant Baba Nand Singh jee Kaleranvaalay and he followed their rehit and lifestyle and adopted their method of worshipping Sree Guru Granth Sahib jee. He did parkaash of Guru Sahib within his own house and engrossed himself in devotion.
In 1942 the British opened an Eastern Group Supply Council office in Shimla. Bhai Sahib took a job as an assistant. In those days Bhai Sahib Bhai Randheer Singh jee and his companions were in Shimla for the summer months for a keertan smaagam. Bhai Soorat Singh jee Pooran jee was also there in those days. Meeting Pooran jee was a natural occurance. Pooran jee was in contact with Bhai Sahib Randheer Singh from 1938 in Lahore. When in 1942 Daar jee met Bhai Sahib, the influence of dera-culture upon him turned into the influence of Khalsa rehit. He received naam along with his family and the women began to wear keskees.
Daar jee was already coloured in divine colours, but in the company of Bhai Sahib, the colours became even deeper. In Keertan, Daar jee would play the bells and sing with the keertanees for hours.He would listen to ran sabaaee keertans in one sitting, from start to finish. Usually, a cream coloured dastaar was seen swaying behind the tabla player at every smaagam.
Pooran jee tells us that he was transferred to Delhi in 1943 and the following year, Daar jee was also transferred to the Agriculture Ministry in Delhi. In Delhi, Bhai Sahib with the help of Bhai Ajeet Singh arranged for Bhai Sahib Randheer Singh to do keertan at Guru Tegh Bahadur jee’s Shaheedee purab in Gurdvara Sees Gunj Sahib in 1944. This was the AKJ’s first smaagam in Delhi and it has now been over a half century that the Dusehra smaagam has taken place in Delhi.
In 1945, Satguru jee blessed Daar jee even more. Many candidates for the post of Assistant Regioanl Food Commissioner had arrived in Delhi and Daar jee was working as a clerk in this department. The other candidates had more education than Daar jee, but Daar jee applied anyway. Before the interview, Daar jee asked Pooran jee should I go to my interview with my beard open or should I tie it? Daar jee had left his beard open since meeting Bhai Sahib. Pooran jee suggested that he go in his Khalsa form after performing an ardaas. Guru Sahib himself would help.
Daar jee performed the ardaas and went to the interview in Khalsa form. The English office saw the impressive appearance of Daar jee and gave him the job. After becoming an officer in 1945, Daar jee was transferred to Karachi where he stayed till partition. He then returned to Delhi, where he stayed for six years.
Daar jee did not remain stationary in Delhi. He made a program with Bhai Sahib and at every week long break at Dusshera, he organized a smaagam. In Delhi, many Gursikhs were prepared: Master Harbans Singh, Bhai Avtar Singh, Bhai Darshan Singh Dilruba, etc.
Daar jee along with three or four other close companions used to secretly organize Sree Akhand Paath Saahibs within their homes and enjoyed their Rauls thoroughly. Like this, the Singhs stayed always immersed in BaaNee. Daar jee encouraged many others to become keertanees and helped the needy find jobs and encouraged them to receive amrit. After a brief posting in Bombay, Daar jee returned to Delhi where he retired and stayed in the Sangat.
Daar jee finished his journey on earth by repeating Guru Guru on June 16th, 1995 at the age of 88.