DIVAN SINGH, BHAI
DIVAN SINGH, BHAI (d. 1924), one of the martyrs of Jaito Morcha, was born around 1874, the son of Sahib Singh of the village of Mahingarval in Hoshiarpur district of the Punjab. As he grew up, he joined government service in the railways and was an assistant engineer when he resigned in protest against the deposition by the British of Maharaja Ripudaman Singh, ruler of the princely state of Nabha, in July 1923, and became an activist in the Akali movement for the reformation of the management of Sikh shrines.
As the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee was outlawed by government in October 1923. Divan Singh was appointed chairman of the district committee for the management of gurdwaras in Hoshiarpur district. When the Akalis decided to lead 500strong shahidi jathas, bands of volunteers vowed to win martyrdom, to Jaito where a Sikh religious ceremony had been intruded upon by police in February 1924, Divan Singh offered himself as a volunteer, but the Shiromani Committee turned down his request. The first shahidi jatha left Amritsar on 9 February 1924.
Its progress on foot through the countryside caused much excitement. Divan Singh could not restrain himself and he caught up with the Jatha at Bargari, its last halting point before reaching Jai to on 21 February 1924. He was marching in line with the standard bearers ahead of the Jatha when the waiting contingent of the Nabha State army opened fire on them. Divan Singh was hit by a bullet in the head and died on the spot near Tibbi Sahib, a sandy hillock, about a furlong short of the destination, Gurdwara Gangsar Sahib.
1. Akali te Pradesi. Amritsar, 15 March 1924