Baba Giana Singh taught the most number of Gatka students in colonial times, when Gatka was under threat. Baba ji himself learnt shastravidia from either Baba Mangal Singh or Baba Swaran Singh. He published some books on the Adi Guru Granth Sahib ji which were printed by the SGPC. Dr Trilochan Singh writes in Ernest Trump & Hew McLeod as Scholars of Sikh History:
'Bhai Gian Singh, a Nihang scholar spent over forty years on similar textual study. He has recorded his findings of some very rare Manuscripts. He left one copy of his findings with me and another with Nihang Chief in the historic Damdama Sahib Dera. He published some basic findings.
Guru Gobind Singh got a number of copies prepared at Damdama a place specifically built for Scriptural studies at Anandpur. In all these, the hymns of Guru Tegh Bahadur were included. The author of this book has two copies dated 1705 AD and 1707 AD.(autographed by Guru Gobind Singh). Randhir Singh research scholar who had studied and recorded his notes in a book and Gian Singh Nihang who prepared notes on over a hundred codices (Birs) studied both these codices (Birs). Both of them found the 1705 AD codex the best and textually the most correct out of those studied by them. There no doubt exist many authentic and correct copies.
Prof G S Mann writes Randhir Singh, Kundan Singh, and Gian Singh Nihang published Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji dian Santha-Sainchian are Puratan Hathlikhit Pavan Biran de Praspar Path-Bhedan di Suchi ( The list of textual variations present in the early sacred manuscripts and printed versions of the Guru Granth Sahib) in 1977, which includes important textual details in the early scriptural manuscripts.
Although he was a great scholar he was a renowned master of Shastravidia and taught thousands of Singhs according to Baba Santa Singh at Akali Phoola Singh burj in Amritsar. He was known to have a lot of bir ras or warrior spirit, and gave physical beating to anyone who cared to transgress his patience.
Baba Santa Singh comments in the foreward to his the book written by Baba Giana Singh on Shastravidia that: 'Nihang Singh Baba Gian Singh Sutantar Purane Shastardhari Singh Han te Shastra vidia de vi change giata hai, ustad banke unna hazare singhan nu shastra vidia sikhai hai.' Nihang Singh Baba Gian Singh is a old wise armed Singh, who knows Shastravidia very well, being a Master, he has taught thousands of Singhs Shastravidia.' This book has been translated into English and will be published in the next few weeks.
The cover to the book titled Shastar Vidia - Baba Gian Singh - Buddha Dal press, Lower Mal Road, Patiala
Baba Giana Singh notes:
IK Oankar Vahiguru ki fi fateh! Sabh to pahila shastra-vidia da mul mantra parna chahida hai. Jo Gurmukh shastar vidia sikhna arabh kare, os da ih faraz hai ki mul mantra kant karake jarur hi nitnem naal paria kare. Jo Singh Sabh Gurmukh Nitnem Naal Path karega us singh nu datte Maha Akal de kazaney vicho Adi Shakti prapat hovegi, jo bharosey rakhega te bachan sat kar manega.
The mul mantra is Bhagauti Astotra, found in the Buddha Dal Gutka Sahib. I have translated this into English and it is available................http://www.kamalroopsingh.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/sri-bhagauti-astotra-patisahi-10.html. Bhagauti Astotra is in puratan seventeenth century sarups of Sri Dasam Granth Sahib, one example is the sarup at Patna Sahib (1698 AD). It is not in the current printed edition. It was written by Maharaj, but many Nihang Singhs and Sants have preserved it orally. Its in the current Buddha Dal Gutka Sahib. Its also used in Shastra Puja.
One of Baba Gian Singh students is also called Gian Singh. he is still alive and is about 98 years old, he reads a Panj Granthi and Das Granthi everyday at amritvela followed by practice of Shastarvidiya, he was a student of Sant Baba Gurbachan Singh Bhinderawale. He has trained 17 Singhs into skilled teachers of Shastarvidiya. May Maharaj allow Baba Ji to keep inspiring us, and the best of health. This photo was taken at Akali Phoola Singh Burj, Diwali, 2005. Baba Ji is an exponant of Jhatka Gatka, or Jang vidiya. Pictured below:
Another famous student of Baba Giana Singh 'Sutantra' is Baba Pritam Singh from Patiala, pictured below, with a video of his Gatka: