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MATHRA SINGH, DOCTOR

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MATHRA SINGH, DOCTOR (1883-1917), patriot and revolutionary, was born the son of Hari Singh, a Kohli Khatri, and Bhag Sudhi, at Dhudial in Pakistan. He attended the village primary school and passed his Matriculation examination from the Khalsa High School at Chakval. In 1901, he joined a pharmaceutical firm at Rawalpindi, Messrs Jagat Singh and Brothers, and in 1906 shifted to Now shera cantonment as a partner in another firm of chemists, H.D. Thakar Das and Company. He married in 1908 and had a daughter, but both his wife and the little child died in 1913. Mathra Singh decided to leave the country and seek his fortune in Canada.

The newly adopted immigration regulations having become more stringent, he stopped at Shanghai where he set up temporarily a chemist`s shop. Soon afterwards, he succeeded in entering California, but was deported as an illegal immigrant. Back in the Punjab, Mathra Singh learnt about the Komagata Maru sailing from Hong Kong with Indian immigrants direct to Canada, thus fulfilling the legel requiremenl for entry into that country. He left home again, butfailed to catch up with the departing vessel. He now settled down in medical practice in Hong Kong. Reports of the treatment meted out to passengers of the Komagata Maru at Vancouver made Mathra Singh a rebel and he established contact with the leaders of Ghadr movement in the United States.

He helped in distributing copies of the Ghadr and started working on the Indian soldiers in Hong Kong. After the outbreak of World War I in July 1914, Mathra Singh, following the party directive, came back to the Punjab where he was made a member of the central committee and was entrusted with the task of manufacturing bombs. Doctor Mathra Singh and Harnam Singh of Kahuta, who had been deputed to incite the soldiers and tribesmen in the North-West Frontier Province to rebellion, escaped to Afghanistan, where they were interned. They were soon released on the intervention of MaulawT Barkal Ullah, another Indian revolutionary who as prime minister in the Indian government in exile had some influence with Amir Habibullah, the ruler of Afghanistan.

Mathra Singh was appointed a minister plenipotentiary and Harnam Singh a secretary in the government in exile set up by Indian revolutionaries under Raja Mahendra Pratap. In his capacity as a minister plenipotentiary, Mathra Singh made secret trips to Iran, Russia and Germany. On his way back from Russia from one such visit, he was arrested at Tashkent on 2 November 1916, and brought to India via Iran. He was tried in the third supplementary Lahore conspiracy case and sentenced to death. He was hanged secretly on 27 March 1917. Even his dead body was not handed over to his family, and the cremation was performed within the premises of the Lahore Central Jail.

References :

1. Sainsra, Gurcharan Singh, Chadar Parti da Itihds. Jalandhar, 1961
2. Jagjit Singh, Chadar Parti Lahir. Delhi, 1979
3. Gurdit Singh, The Voyage of the Komagatamaru. Calcutta, n.d.
4. Isemonger, F.C. and J. Slattery. An Account of the Chadar Conspiracy, n.d.
5. Mohan, Kamlesh, Militant Nationalism in the Punjab 1919-1935. Delhi, 1985

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