Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha was the most erudite Sikh scholar. Bhai Sahib’s erudition,
vision, hard work and devotion are unmatched. Mahan Kosh, his magnum opus, over
which Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha spent fifteen years bears eloquent testimony to his great qualities. Visualized
by him as the Encyclopcedia ofThe Sikh Literature, it comprises the exposition of
64,263 terms, relating in the first instance to Gurmat and Gurbani. He embellished his
exposition with illustrations richly drawn from seminal Sikh sources. To his exposition,
so opulently illustrated, Bhai Sahib sought to provide a wider perspective. Terms relating
to the ancient Hindu scriptures, masterpieces ofSanskrit literature, the Indian systems
ofprosody, music and medicine are explicated with as much authority.
Mahan Kosh, prepared in 1926 and published in 1930, is the 12th in the history of
encyclopredias in the world. Yet the world is unaware that a Sikh scholar did this pathbreaking
scholarly work single handed at that time, when no modern research facilities
were available. Magnificent source ofprofound and varied knowledge, Mahan Kosh
has remained shrouded in mystery, particularly for people in India and abroad, not
well-versed in the Punjabi language. For enabling them to make the best use ofthis vast
reservoir of knowledge, Punjabi University Patiala has embarked upon its English
translation. This stupendous project has been made possible by the liberal grant so
magnanimously sanctioned by Captain Amarinder Singh, the ChiefMinister ofPunjab.
Major A.P. Singh, grandson ofBhai Kahan Singh, has used his tremendous persuasive
skills in arranging resources for the purpose. Eight decades back, Patiala State had
rendered a great service by bearing all expenses of publication of Mahan Kosh in
Punjabi. The name ofthe House ofPatiala figures a second time in bringing this store of
knowledge in English version before the whole world.