NIDHAN SINGH CHUGGHA
NIDHAN SINGH CHUGGHA (1855-1936), a prominent Ghadr leader, was the son of Sundar Singh of the village of Chuggha, in Moga district. A militant revolutionary, he was cited by the British as “art extremely dangerous criminal and one of the worst and most important of the [Ghadr] conspirators.” In 1882, Nidhan Singh left home for Shanghai where he worked as a watchman and served as treasurer of the local Gurdwara. He married a Chinese woman from whom he had one son. He lived in Shanghai for many years and then migrated to the United States of America. Shortly after his arrival in the United Ssates, the Ghadr Party was formed by Indian patriots.
Nidhan Singh joined the Party and was elected a member of its executive committee. In April 1914, he was elected president of the then newly established Khalsa Diwan Society, Stockton, California. On the outbreak of World War I, he, like other Ghadr leaders, returned to India to make an armed rebellion against the British. He left San Francisco on board the S.S.Korea on 29 August 1914. He disembarked at Nagasaki in Japan and went on to Shanghai to raise funds for the Ghadr Party. Money which had been collected for the Komagata Maru passengers, who were not allowed to land in Shanghai, was transferred to Nidhan Singh. With this money and with six automatic pistols and 600 rounds of ammunition Nidhan Singh left Shanghai aboard the S.S. Mashima Maru.
This ship and the Tosa Maru, both carrying Ghadr volunteers, arrived in Penang in Malaysia approximately the same time and were detained by the British. Nidhan Singh spent the time trying to seduce the troops and getting arms but without much success. He was a member of the delegation which called on the Governor of Penang, who allowed the ships to proceed. Nidhan Singh reached Ludhiana on 7 November 1914. He was almost immediately assigned to making preparations for an armed uprising in the district. He played a key role in setting up factories for making bombs at Jhabeval and Lohatbadl. Nidhan Singh made a plan to raid the regimental magazine at Firozpur Cantonment on 30 November 1914, but it did not materialize.
He was arrested disguised as a wandering mendicant at the village of Kamalpura, along with Rur Singh of Chuhar Chakk on 29 April 1915. Tried in the first Lahore conspiracy case, Nidhan Singh was awarded death sentence which was later commuted to transporation for life. A deeply religious person and a staunch believer in the Sikh faith, Nidhan Singh was one of the Panj Piare who laid the foundation of the Harimandar at Panja Sahib on 14 October 1932. He was president of Gurdwara Lohgarh (Dina), and of Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Moga, for some time. He died on 6 December 1936 at Moga.
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