(Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit’)
During the times of the British Raj (rule) in India, a group of a few Sikhs from Punjab had been residing in Gurdwara Mata Sahib Kaur Ji in the city of Nanded, where the holy Takht Sachkhand Sri Hazoor Sahib Ji is situated. Jathedar Prahlada Singh was their leader, who originally belonged to the Krorhiya Misl. When he passed away, Jathedar Giana Singh was selected as his successor.
These Punjabi Sikhs did not enjoy good relations with the local Sikhs. A few clashes had taken place between them, and the local Government, as would be expected, sided with the local Sikhs. Over time, this made it difficult for this group of Punjabi Sikhs to remain in Nanded.
The Punjabi Sikhs resolved to return to Punjab and approached the Nizaam (King) of Haidrabad state to seek permission to enter Punjab, who in turn approached the British Government, which refused them entry.
The Punjab Government had reservations over these Sikhs, as they suspected them to have anti-British sentiments which may lead them to raising a rebellion against the British Raj. In reality, these Sikhs had no such intentions, they realised that their weapons and armaments had caused the Governmental bodies to view them with suspicion. As a result, they offered their weaponry to the holy Takht Sachkhand Sri Hazoor Sahib Ji, taking only a Nishaan Sahib (flag or standard), a Nagaara (kettledrum) and the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji they returned to Punjab along with a handful of Sikhs under the leadership of Jathedar Giana Singh.
Upon their entry into Punjab, no one was there to welcome these Sikhs. They wandered like Nomads. During this time they met with Bhai Kooma Singh of SaTlaanee, who gave them a cart, two bulls and a ‘Manja‘ (cot). Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji was installed on this ‘Manja‘ and the Sikhs would travel by this cart.
One could deem this to be the re-establishment of the Budhha Dal.
After the death of Jathedar Giana Singh, Jathedar Teja Singh became the next chief of Budhha Dal. When Jathedar Teja Singh died, Jathedar Sahib Singh became the next chief.
Jathedar Sahib Singh had served in the Patiala Royal army. He was an educated person. He joined the Budhha Dal and worked as a head Granthi. When he became the chief of Budhha Dal, he made efforts to purchase properties for the Budhha Dal. He met with many Sikh officers and inspired them to help the Budhha Dal. Thus, he succeeded to purchase properties, horses and other articles for the Budhha Dal‘s members. He was popularly known as ‘Kalaa-dhaaree‘. The Budhha Dal developed to a large organisation under his leadership. He passed away in 1942 in Sri AmriTsar Sahib Ji and was succeeded by Baba CheT Singh Ji. He passed away in 1968.
Jathedar SanTa Singh was declared the next chief of Budhha Dal. He hailed from Gujranwalan district, now in Pakistan. It is under his leadership that the present Budhha Dal touched the peaks of development. He begun to cultivate the land owned by the Budhha Dal and engaged many of his followers in Agriculture. New markets were established, which became a good source of income for the Dal. A few Gurdwaras were constructed and a few others were renovated. Educational institutions were established, namely the Budhha Dal Public School in the city of Patiala, which is now amongst the premier school league in Punjab.
Jathedar Santa Singh established a printing press and published religious literature. Sri Sarabloh Granth with translation was published in two volumes. When Bhag Singh Ambala wrote his controversial book on Sri Dasam Granth Sahib Ji, Jathedar SanTa Singh wrote the preface of the much appreciated response given in Sri Dasam Granth Darpan by Bhai Sahib Harbans Singh Ji. The Budhha Dal also publishes a monthly magazine.
If the Budhha Dal is the richest Nihang organisation today, it is primarily due to the efforts of Jathedar Santa Singh and his leadership. His controversial role in the Kar Seva of Sri Akal Takht Sahib Ji during 1984 however, pushed the Budhha Dal back many years, but after he appeared before Sri Akal Takht Sahib Ji and having served his Tankhah, the Budhha Dal is again shining in ‘Chardhi Kala‘ (High spirits).
Jathedar Santa Singh has appointed Jathedar Surjit Singh as his successor.
Note: Recently, Baba Balbir Singh has been appointed as the succerssor of Jathedar Santa Singh, though there is controvery over this issue. A full article will be written on this topic and will be added in this section. At present, there are two persons who claim to be ‘real’ successor of Jathedar Santa Singh. The first one is Baba Surjit Singh and the other is Baba Balbir Singh.