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June 2005


Sant Ekam Singh Sond


Rarely a person lives up to his name. But, ‘Ekam’ Singh was one of those rare personalities who not only lived up to his name meaning ‘UNITY’ but made a name of himself as an ambassador of harmony, goodwill and peaceful coexistence amongst not only the Sikh fraternity but the whole of the Asian community in the United Kingdom.


        Born in Lehli Khurd in the Hoshiarpur district of Punjab in 1908 to S. Jiwan Singh Sond and mother Prabh Kaur, Ekam managed to get his primary education in a nearby village. Simultaneously he started to work with his father as a wood worker and soon mastered the skills of a good carpenter.

     MeanwhileIn 1924, his father had gone to East Africa where the young Ekam later joined him in 1927. He started work in an English firm where a very prominent Ramgarhia, S. Tara Singh Kalsi was also working. S. Tara Singh was a source of knowledge and his lectures on the plights of the Ramgarhias was meant to create awareness amongst the Ramgarhiakom. His book ‘Qaumi Dukhrey’ was a result of his untiring effort to unite the community. He was vehemently opposed by the Jats and a restraint order was passed against him so that he was not able to speak anywhere in public.



This challenge was taken up by Ekam Singh who assembled some of his friends and managed to solidify the Ramgarhia brotherhood in East Africa – mainly in Nairobi. This was time the Ramgarhia Board and Gurdwaras came into beingIndia at the time was under the British rule and martyrs like Bhagat Singh and the Babbar party was in full swing. Ekam, who was a revolutionary at heart and was very much impressed by the likes of Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh, left East Africa for India and joined the ‘Gadar’ movement to fight for Indian independence,. He was an expert ‘Gatka’ player and with his companions had quite a few confrontations with government officials in Punjab.

   He came back to East Africa in 1939 and started working for the East African Railways. He got transferred to Kampala in Uganda, where his family joined him. He lived lavishly here with drinking and hunting deer and lions as his main hobby.

   It was in 1953 that Satguru Partap Singh of Bhaini Sahib paid a visit to East Africa and it was a turning point in the life of Ekam Singh, who turned from Ekam Singh to ‘Sant’ Ekam Singh. The divine and pious personality of Satguru Partap Singh Ji was enough to transform this carnivore to a person who would later on become the President of the Namdhari Sangat. It was mainly due to the efforts of Sant Ekam Singh and some of his companions that Satguru Partap Singh Ji agreed to enact the festival of ‘Hola Mohalla’ in 1959 at Kampala.

   He left Kampala and came to Birmingham U.K. in 1972. He started the Namdhari congregations in a house in Birmingham and later on made a huge contribution to the Sangat by initiating the buying of the Namdhari Gurdwara on Coventry Road. This huge building was a Cinema previously and was duly converted to a temple by the efforts of Sant Ekam Singh. The cost of the building at the time was £50000, which was collected mainly by the untiring efforts of Sant Ekam Singh and his committee members. Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji when paid His visit to Birmingham, praised Sant Ji for all his efforts in the purchase of the building. Satguru Ji always used to say that ‘Ekam Singh’ lives up to his name of ‘Ekka’ (unity) as whenever Satguru Ji visited Birmingham, he was warmly welcomed by the officials of nearly all Asian communities who were cordially invited by Sant Ji. These community officials held Sant Ekam Singh in high esteem and Satguru Ji very well knew this. It was mainly due to the assurance and sincerity of Sant Ekam Singh Ji that Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji agreed to celebrate the 1984 Hola Mohalla in Birmingham. This was the first ever Hola programme to be ever performed in the United Kingdom.


    Sant Ekam Singh was the founder President of Sikh Heritage Trust, which worked feverishly to develop the neglected holy and historic places and land in Pakistan. Bhai Lalo’s place in Eminabad for example, which has undergone a considerable change after the trust took over.

   Sant Ekam Singh received many awards and mementoes from different societies of which he was an active member. The Heritage trust and Ramgarhia Sabha honoured him with ‘Maan Patars’ at various parties held in his honour, attended by VIP’s including High Commissioner of India. Although Sant Ji was not a very literate person but his approach to the high authorities in various sectors of the Government was phenomenal.

   A person of immense courage, discipline, and love with dedication to the Sikh Community as a whole and especially to the Ramgarhia clan was his untiring devotion. A person who still lives fondly in the hearts of all who knew him.   
At the age of 16, in 1924, he got married to Bibi Isher Kaur d/o S.Kartar Singh of village ‘Sandla Feniya’. The couple is blessed with 2 sons .Elder son was late Sardar Parget Singh and his wife is Mrs Balbir Kaur Sond with family of 3 sons and 2 Daughters. Sant Ekam Singh's 2nd son is   Sant Regbhir Singh lives at Birmingham in UK. His wife name is Mrs Davinder Kaur and family of 2 sons and 3 Daughters.

                                                                                           Article by S.Harjinder Singh Kanwal, Coventry

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