SANTA SINGH, BABU
SANTA SINGH, BABU (1887-1926), Babar revolutionary, was born the son of Suba Singh at Harion Khurd, a village in Ludhiana district. He passed his matriculation from the Malwa Khalsa High School at Ludhiana where he also worked for some time as an office clerk. In February 1920, he enlisted in the 54th Sikh Battalion as a sepoy, later shifting over to a clerical position. Henceforth he came to be known as “Babuji”, a term by which a clerk is commonly addressed. For Santa Singh the Nankana massacre proved a turning poing as indeed it did for many another youth.
He was fired with anti British feeling. He secretly attended some of Kishan Singh Gargay`s lectures and became his admirer. Sant Kartar Singh, who later became an approver in the Babar Akall case, introduced him to Kishan Singh. At this meeting which took place in October 1921, after a divan at Palahi, Santa Singh offered to take his discharge from the army and join the Chakravarti Jatha. Kishan Singh advised him to remain in the army and work upon the soldiers. However in January 1922, Santa Singh left the army and became a member of Kishan Singh`s Chakravarti Jatha, a radical group.
Despite his poor physique and short stature, he soon earned the respect of his fellow jathedars for his qualities of fearlcs Sriess and courage. He convened divans in villages preaching violence. He also lent a helping hand in the production of the news sheet Babar Akali Doaba. With the shooting down of Bishan Singh, zaildar of Ranithuha on 10 February 1923, Santa Singh initiated the “reformation” ( in Punjabi, sudhar, a euphemism torliquidation or murder) of loyalist village functionaries. He played an active part in eliminating some other marked persons, including Labh Singh, an expolice man, Hazara Singh of Bahibalpur, Subadar Genda Singh of Ghurial, Buta, lambardar of Narigal Shaman, and Ralla and Dittu of Kaulgarh.
All of these murders took place between February and May of 1923. Police were in hot pursuit and he was betrayed into their hands by Sant Kartar Singh, who had himself been a member of the Chakravarti Jatha. He was apprehended on 20 June 1923 in a train at Tapa railway station. At his trial Santa Singh refused to reply to any question, saying that he did not expect any justice from the British government. He was awarded the extreme penalty of the law and was hanged on 27 February 1926.
1. Ghosh, Kali Charan, The Roll of Honour: Anecdotes of Indian Martyrs. Calcutta, 1965
2. Nijjar,B.S., History of the Babar Altai`s. Jalandhar, 1987
3. Nijjhar, Milkha Singh, Babar Akali Lahir da Itihas. Delhi, 1985