Chand, headed the movement.
The Nirankaris laid emphasis on Guru Nanak and on Sikhism before the
establishment of the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh at Anandpur. In this they
pursued a path open to both orthodox Sikhs, kesadharis, and to the non-
baptised ranks of the sahajdharis, but drew members mainly from the urban
non-Jat section of the Sikh community. Their dependence on Gum Nanak and
early Sikhism for their model of ‘pure’ religion separated them from another
movement, the Namdharis.
Baba Ram Singh (1816–85) was the founder of this movement. In 1841, he
became a discipline of Balak Singh of the Kuka movement. Those who
accepted Balak Singh’s leadership saw him as a reincarnation of Guru
Gobind Singh. Before his death, Balak Singh chose Ram Singh as his
In 1857, Ram Singh formally inaugurated the Namdhari movement with a
set of rituals modelled after Guru Gobind Singh’s founding of the Khalsa.
To initiate followers into the new community, Ram Singh used a
recitation of gurbani (hymns from the Granth Sahib), ardas (the Sikh
prayer), a flag, and baptism. Every baptised Sikh was required to wear the
five symbols (kakka). Instead of the sword, Ram Singh required them to keep
a lathi. In addition the Namdharis wore white clothes with a white turban and
carried a rosary to further set them apart from all others.
The Namdharis were to abandon the worship of gods, goddesses, idols,
graves, tombs, trees, and snakes. They were also told to abstain from
drinking, stealing, adultery, falsehood, slandering, backbiting and cheating.
Further, the consumption of beef was strictly forbidden, since protection of
cattle remained one of the Namdharis’ most ardently held values.
Amritsar Singh Sabha Shaken by Namdhari unrest, the speeches of
Shraddha Ram of Arya Samaj, and by Christian conversions, a small group of
prominent Sikhs decided to form the Singh Sabha of Amritsar, which held its
first meeting on I October 1873. Thakur Singh Sandhawalia became its