The Multifarious Faces of Sikhism
throughout Sikh History
Page 1 of 1
Time of origin: approximately 1879
‘Kachoo’ literally means ‘knife’
and to ‘Katieh’ is ‘to cut’.
This was a short lived Sikh sect that existed
in the mid to late 1800s.
By 1871, a Nirmala ‘Sant’
(holy man) named Niranjan Singh
had become a great Sanskrit Pundit in Kashi.
Later, around 1879, he decided to visit the
at the Ganges so as to gain benefit of the holy
wisdom of ‘Sadhus’
(holy men) there.
Ghats at Kashi (also known as Varanasi), circa
early 20th century
Mahant Ganesha Singh states that whilst at
the festival, Niranjan Singh fell into the company
of a learned Sanatan Hindu Pundit named Bhai
Synassi. He daily visited the Pundit
at his Ashram and discussed knowledge of the
profound - contained in the ancient texts, known
to be very hard to master. False rumours began
to spread that Niranjan Singh had forsaken his
Sikh Nirmala faith and had become a disciple
of the Pundit.
As Niranjan Singh’s Nirmala Guru arrived
at the Kumbh festival, other Sadhus told him
that his disciple had forsaken his Nirmala Sikh
faith. When Niranjan Singh came to pay homage
to his Guru, his Guru severely (and unjustly)
reprimanded and demeaned him in front of all.
Feeling hurt, Niranjan Singh turned back from
his Guru then returned in anger. In uncontrollable
rage, taking a knife, he cut his hair and placed
it in front of his Guru and said:
‘Is this all your
Sikhi or is there some thing else.’ ‘Bharat
Mat Darpan’, by Pandit Ganesha Singh
Nirmala, 1926, Pa. 99
A Nirmala Sikh in the company of Hindu Sadhus
at Varanasi, circa early 20th century
On seeing this, many students who studied under
Niranjan Singh, Nirmalas and Udasis gathered
behind him in protest. Thus, out of a moment
of madness came into being the Sikh sect of
This sect, if it can be called that, was composed
of learned Nirmalas and Udasis and lasted till
death of Niranjan Singh. Once Niranjan Singh
had gone, the sect merged back into the Nirmala
and Udhasi orders.
Sriman 108 Pandit Sucha Singh Ji Nirmala
A Nirmala scholar
Kachho Katia did not believe in having any
‘Guru’ - living
or otherwise. They believed one may do as one
wishes. They believed in individualistic spiritual
pursuit. Wearing clean, well kept and beautifully
scented saffron colored clothes, they where
men of exceptional character, but had become
disenchanted with the holy orders of their time.