During the reign of Maha Raja Ranjit Singh , Hindus so western Punjab and Deraja came under the influence of Sikhism.
Few accepted the Pahul and joined the Khalsa fraternity.
Others remained Hindu, but gave up worship of Hindu gods and the recitation of Hindu Vedas
They read granth and joined gurdwaras.
They were half Hindus and Half Sikhs.
Dayal Das (d. 18550 ) a bullion merchant/shopkeeper of Peshawar belonged to this Hindu-sikh community.
He condemned idol worship, obeisance to holy men, pilgrimages and Brahmanical ritual and Hindu deities.
Taught that salvation is through meditation on the name of God
Therefore, Nirankaris meet for morning worship in their dharma Salas.
They accepted Nanak as Guru and Adi granth as sacred scripture.
In order to be different from Hindus, Muslims, and Christians, they threw the dead into water.
He taught that god is one and was formless (nirankar).
He called himself as Nirankari
He soon became guru and got disciples (Nirankaris).
This group got opposition from Hindu Brahmins
Thus Dayal Das moved from Peshaware to Rawlpindi.
Nirankaris were ostracized by both Hindus and Sikhs.
Therefore they had to build their own place of worship.
The biggest was in Rawalpindi.
After his death his sandals became as object of veneration.
They were placed on altar alongside the Granth.
The temple was named after him, Dayalsar . it became the headquarter.
After Dayal Das’s death his eldest son (of the three) Darbara Singh, succeeded.
He built new centers (biras).
He issued hukumnamas (encyclicals) to the Nirankaries.
It is to save Sikhs from Brahmanical control.
The encyclicals cover the ceremonies dealing with birth, engagement, marriage, death, behavior appropriate for the regular worship of God.
There was always emphasis on Adi Granth.
It is sais that ritualism in general to be avoided.
He standardized rituals.
These rituals were different from the Hindu ones, based on the Granth.
Darbara Singh (d.1870) was succeeded by his youngest brother Rattan Chand (d.1909).
Rattan Chand was succeeded by his son Gurdit Sing (d. 1947).
The next guru was Gurdit Sing’s son Hara Singh.
After the partition the headquarter was shifted first to Amritsar and then to Chandigarh.
Nirankaris worship gurus other than the ten recognized by the Sikhs.
Dayal Das and his successors were addressed as Sri Satguru.
Nirankaris believe in the tradition of living gurus.
Nirankari movement checked the absorption into Hinduism.
They disapprove of the militant Khalsa.
Hara Singh died 15 January 1971
After Hara Singh’s death his first son Gurbakhsh Singh with the association of his younger brother Man Singh Nirankari, became the sixth Guru
A group of Nirankaris published tracts to propagate their teaching.
The main themes are:
The condition of the Sikh Panth declined after Guru Gobind Singh.
Brahmins dominate Sikh religious life.
Superstitious and meaningless rituals began to replace Gurbani (Teaching of the Gurus).
Baba Dayal came to save the Sikh religion.
They depict Baba Dayal as successor of Guru Gobind Singh.
The tract presented Nirankaris not as a breakaway group.
Nirankari Gurus were attributed with supernatural powers.
Nirankari Young Men’s Association
It attempted to record Nirankari History
They had to pack up whatever they could and go to India from Rawalpindi
As most of them were business people, most of them lost resources and spread to find work. They lost the central shrine and their collective wealth.
Their shrine in Rawalpindi was used as refugee camp for Nirankaris for some time.
Hara Singh protected the scattered members in India by extensive visits.
Their shrine in Chandigarh was formally opend in 1976.
Nirankari’s are different from Sant Nirankaris
Nirankaris are slowly losing their separate identity.
They may merge with Sikh or Hindu parent body.