Baba Kahn Singh

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Baba Kahn Singh (1788-1878) was the father of Dr Charan Singh, the famous doctor, poet and musicologist who was born at Amritsar in 1853. Kahn Singh was also the grand-father of Bhai Vir Singh (December 5, 1872 - June 10, 1957) the renowned Sikh poet, scholar and theologian. The family traces its ancestry back to Diwan Kaura Mall (d. 1752), who rose to the position of vice-governor of Multan, under Nawab Mir Mu'ln ul-Mulk, with the title of Maharaja Bahadur. Baba ji was, perhaps, the first in the family to become a Sikh.

Kahn Singh was of a retiring disposition and some years in the company of wandering ascetics. He turned a recluse when he was still in his early teens and spent his entire youth in Sikh centres at Hardwar and Amritsar acquiring training in traditional Sikh learning. His mother's affection ultimately reclaimed him to the life of a householder at the age of 40, when he got married. An adept versifier in Sanskrit and Braj as well as in the traditional system of medicine, Baba Kahn Singh passed on his interests to his only son.

In addition to his practice of indigenous medicine, he collected and transcribed Sanskrit manuscripts and wrote verse in Braj thereby laying the foundations of the family's literary tradition. His son, Charan Singh, studied Sanskrit, Braj, Persian and prosody, besides Ayurveda and Western medicine.

Baba prepared a hand written copy of the Guru Granth Sahib which was written in the hand of Bhai Suhel Singh who was Baba ji brother-in-law. Baba ji watched and took pleasure in the daily progress of the large pages being inscribed in handsome Gurmukhi calligraphy by Suhel Singh. The completion of the work on 25 February 1862 (Phagun Vadi 5,1918 Bk) was marked by rejoicing and feasting and distribution of charity.