Singh, Sadhu Sundar

Reference code(s): GB 0102 CWM/LMS India Personal Box 1
Held at: School of Oriental and African Studies Library
Domain: archival
Title: Singh, Sadhu Sundar
Date(s) of contents: 1918-1929
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent and medium: 1 box


Name of creator(s): Singh | Sundar | 1889-1929 | Indian Christian 'sadhu'

Administrative/Biographical history: Sundar Singh: born in a Punjab village, 1889; of mixed Sikh and Hindu stock; his early dislike of Christianity resulted in a symbolic burning of the Bible; soon after followed a vision of Jesus Christ and he was baptized, 1905; determined to become a Christian sadhu (holy man); associated briefly with a semi-Franciscan brotherhood and attended an Anglican theological college for a few months, but had no formal church affiliations; travelled and preached in mountain regions from his centre at Kotgarh, c1910-c1916; wrote about the many hardships in the Urdu Christian press, his accounts forming the basis of books about him by Alfred Zahir, 1916, and Rebecca J Parker, 1918; began to travel abroad, 1918; visited Burma, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, and China; travelled to Europe, North America, and Australia, 1920; visited Europe again, 1922; following the publication of B H Streeter and A J Appasamy's The Sadhu (1921), Sundar Singh was identified as a living mystic and several more books were published about him; some people did not accept his accounts of his early adventures and his later years were dogged by controversy and ill health; set off to travel once more, 1929; his fate, and the circumstances of his death, are unknown.

Rebecca Jane Parker: born, 1865; née Perkins; a church member in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire; married Arthur Parker (1858-1935, a London Missionary Society (LMS) missionary in South India) in Calcutta, 1888; adoptive mother to Sundar Singh; working with her husband in the Trivandrum area, she ran a hostel and boarding home for Christian girls and Bible women; established an embroidery industry, employing over 1,000 Christian women; awarded the Kaisar-i-Hind medal by the British government for social service, 1921; retired, 1925; died at Leamington Spa, England, 1946. Publications: Sadhu Sundar Singh, called of God (1918 and subsequent editions); Sundar Singh, At the Master's Feet, translated by the Rev Arthur and Mrs Parker [1922]; Children of the Light in India: biographies of noted Indian Christians [1929]; Father of Twenty-Five Thousand: Arthur Parker, missionary in India [1939]; How They Found Christ: Stories of Indian Christians (1940).

Custodial history: The papers were deposited with the London Missionary Society by Rebecca Parker's son and form part of the special series of personal papers of individual LMS missionaries and officers.

Immediate source of acquisition: Deposited on permanent loan with the records of the London Missionary Society by the Congregational Council for World Mission (later Council for World Mission) in 1973.


Scope and content/abstract: Letters, 1918-1929, of Sadhu Sundar Singh in India to Rebecca Parker, the subjects including his work and activities.

System of arrangement: Arranged chronologically.


Language: Romanised Hindustani (Urdu?) and English

Conditions governing access: Unrestricted.

Conditions governing reproduction: No publication without written permission. Apply to archivist in the first instance.

Finding aids: Unpublished handlist.


Related material: The School of Oriental and African Studies also holds records of the Conference of British Missionary Societies, International Missionary Council, including papers relating to Sadhu Sundar Singh, 1929-1930s (Ref: CBMS/H/PB6/71/46, CBMS/H/PB28/93/94, CBMS/H/PB52/117).

Copies: Published on microfiche by IDC Publishers.


Archivist's note: Compiled by Rachel Kemsley as part of the RSLP AIM25 project. Sources: Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, ed Gerald H Anderson (1998), for Sundar Singh; LMS Register of Missionaries, ed James Sibree, for details of Rebecca Parker under her husband Arthur's entry; British Library OPAC, for her publications.

Date(s) of descriptions: Mar 2002

Ancient religions
Child welfare
Evangelistic missionaries
Evangelistic missionary work
Indigenous lay workers
Missionary work
Religious activities
Religious experience
Religious groups
Social welfare
Women missionaries

Personal names
Parker | Rebecca Jane | 1865-1946 | missionary
Singh | Sundar | 1889-1929 | Indian Christian 'sadhu'

Corporate names

South Asia