Ram Singh Kuka, also known as Sant Ram Singh, is credited as being the first Indian to use non-cooperation and boycott of British merchandise and services as a political weapon. He was born to Sada Kaur and Jassa Singh and lived in the village of Raiyan near Sri Bhaini Sahib, Ludhiana.
Ram Singh served in the regiment of Bagagel, army of Maharaja Ranjit Singh during his youth and led a disciplined life, inspiring his fellow soldiers to be religious. He was critical of the behaviour of the Sikh army soldiers which he viewed as immoral and was generally disillusioned with the decline in values of the Sikh society.
He was a member of a unit of Prince Naunihal Singh’s platoon, sent in 1841 from Lahore to Peshawar to bring the royal coffers. On way back, the unit rested at Hazro Fort, now in Pakistan. It is said that Ram Singh and some soldiers of his regiment went to meet Sant Balak Singh, a great saint, who lived nearby. Balak Singh was overjoyed to see Ram Singh and told him, “I had been waiting for you.” Balak Singh taught the guru mantra to Ram Singh and asked him to keep it in his heart and pass it on to deserving seekers. Balak Singh gave him sugar bubbles, a coconut, five paise coins and took five rounds around him in reverence and bowed before him. In 1845, Ram Singh left the Khalsa (a special group of Sikh warriors) army and returned to Sri Bhaini Sahib to live the life of a pious householder pursuing the spiritual path.
On April 12, 1857, Sant Ram Singh administered amrit sanchar (a Sikh form of baptism) to five of his disciples and founded the Namdhari sect. On that day, Sant Ram Singh hoisted a white triangular flag in Sri Bhaini Sahib before a small group of artisans and peasants who formed the core of his Namdhari sect.
Sant Ram Singh named his sect Namdhari as the disciples had to enshrine the Lord’s name in their heart and soul. Sant Ram Singh believed that only a person of high moral values and principles could sacrifice his life for the cause of the nation and society.
In 2016, the Government of India officially decided to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Satguru Ram Singh.