[Born : 09 - 06 - 1903]

Bakht Singh Bakht Singh Chabra (Also known as Brother Bakht Singh)(1903–2000) was a Christian evangelist in India and other parts of South Asia. He is often regarded as one of the most well-known bible teachers and preachers and pioneers of the Indian Church movement and Gospel contextualization. According to Indian traditions, he is also known as 'Elijah of 21st Century' in Christendom. According to his autobiography, Brother Bakht Singh first experienced the love and presence of the Lord Jesus Christ when he was an engineering student in Canada in 1929. Even though previously he had torn up the Bible and was strongly opposed to Christ and Christianity, he developed a great love for the Lord Jesus Christ and an intense desire to read and study the Bible. After hearing the Lord's voice and having been convicted of his sinful life, he confessed his sins and accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior and dedicated his life to serving Him. He was India's foremost evangelist, preacher and indigenous church planter who founded churches based on New Testament principles. He began a worldwide indigenous church-planting movement in India that eventually saw more than 10,000 local churches. Singh died on September 17, 2000,

Childhood years

Bakht Singh was born to religious Sikh parents in 1903 in the Punjab region which is now part of Pakistan. He studied in a Christian missionary school, but was never influenced by the Christians, and in his heart he always despised Christians. He was actively involved in social work through the Sikh temple. After graduating from Punjab University he went to England for higher studies in 1926 and studied Agricultural Engineering. His parents were not in favor of him going to England; they were concerned that he would be influenced by Christians. Bakht Singh promised his parents that he would not be converted.

Life in England and Canada

In England, he enjoyed the freedom of, and was greatly influenced by, the British lifestyle. He quickly adapted to this lifestyle, started smoking and drinking, traveled around Europe, and indulged in all kinds of fun and entertainment. He shaved his long hair, which was a mark of his loyalty to Sikh religion. Years later[when?] he went to Kings College in London, and in 1929, Bakht Singh went to Canada and continued his studies in agricultural engineering at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. He was befriended by John and Edith Hayward, local residents and devout Christians, who invited him to live with them. The Haywards always read the Bible at every supper; they also gave him a Bible. He liked their company and he visited church and started reading the Bible. After seeking for some time, he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and God; he was baptized on February 4, 1932 in Vancouver, Canada.

Christian work in India

Bakht Singh returned to India in 1933 and met his parents in Mumbai. He had earlier informed his parents about his conversion by a letter. Reluctantly, they accepted him but requested him to keep it a secret for the sake of the family's honor. Upon his refusal, they left him. Suddenly, he was homeless. But he started preaching the gospel in the streets of Mumbai. Soon he started attracting large crowds.

Bakht Singh began speaking as a fiery itinerant preacher and revivalist throughout colonial India, gaining a large following. He at first preached as an Anglican evangelist before becoming independent. "Singh’s role in the 1937 revival that swept the Martinbur United Presbyterian Church inaugurated one of the most notable movements in the history of the church in the Indian subcontinent," stated Dr. Jonathan Bonk in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions published by Simon & Schuster Macmillan in 1998.

He started thoroughly contextualized local assemblies patterned on New Testament principles after spending a night in prayer on a mountaintop in 1941. He held his first "Holy Convocation", based on Leviticus 23, in Chennai in 1941. After this, the convocations were held annually in Madras and Hyderabad in the South, and in Ahmedabad and Kalimpong in the North. The one in Hyderabad was always the largest, drawing up to 25,000 participants. They would eat and sleep in huge tents, and meet under a large thatched pandal for hours-long prayer, praise and teaching meetings that began at dawn and ended late at night. The care and feeding of guests was handled by volunteers. Expenses for the meetings were given by voluntary offerings; no appeals were issued.