Singh is a common title, middle name, or surname used in South Asia, mainly in India and Nepal and in Punjab used originally by the Hindu and Sikh Kshatriyas (warriors and kings). It is derived from the Sanskrit word सिंह Simha meaning Lion. It is used as a surname or middle name by Hindu communities like the , Rajputs, Jats, Yadavs,Gurjars and Ahirs among others, and Sikhs. Generally this surname is found in males.
By the sixteenth century, "Singh" had become a popular surname among the Maratha and Rajput warriors. It was adopted into Sikhism in 1699 as per the instructions of Guru Gobind Singh; the use of Singh as a last name is mandatory for all baptized male Sikhs since 1699, regardless of their geographical or cultural binding. Some Brahmins like Bhumihar Brahmins (see Kingdom of Kashi and Royal House of Benares) and Maithil Brahmins (see History of Mithila) and Rajpurohits also use this surname. The general editor of the book People of India (Bihar and Jharkhand), published by Anthropological Survey of India (ASI), and noted academician-bureaucrat, the late Kumar Suresh Singh, said that the surname "Singh", which used to denote connection with power and authority, was used in Bihar by Brahmin zamindars, like the surname "Khan" in Muslims. "Singh" has gradually emerged as a hereditary title to be used as a middle name, highlighting connections to a warrior status or occupation. The surname has also been widely adopted by other groups of India like Yadavs and Jats. However, this is not an exclusive usage, and many Hindu groups including Scheduled Castes and Vaishya have adopted this title without any significant warrior status or ties.
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