Unsung Heroes | History Corner | Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Ministry of Culture, Government of India

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Unsung Heroes Detail

Lal Singh Sahabana

Ludhiana, Punjab

June 27, 2022

Lal Singh (1886–1915), a resolute revolutionary of the Ghadar Party, was born in the village of Sahabana in the Ludhiana district of Punjab around 1886. His father's name was Daya Singh, and his mother's name was Prakash Kaur. He joined the British Indian Army but resigned after a few years and moved to the Philippines.

Many Indians in the Philippines received the Ghadr newspaper – the mouthpiece of the Ghadar Party. Lal Singh also read it and was swayed by the paper's nationalistic tone. The Ghadr exposed the true face of British imperialism and urged the people to rise up against them in order to end their rule. The Ghadr issued an appeal to its cadre on August 4, 1914, to travel to India and foment an uprising against the British government. Many ghadarites travelled to India to take part in the struggle for Indian independence. Nidhan Singh Chugga, Udam Singh Kasel, Isher Singh Dhudike, Jawala Singh Thathian, and sixty ghadarites boarded S.S. Korea on August 25, 1914, and arrived in Manila. Lala Singh, Gulab Kaur, and about fifty other people joined them from Manila. The ship arrived in Calcutta on October 29, but all were arrested and taken to the interrogation center at Ludhiana. Police detained 108 passengers in Multan and Montgomery jails without a trial. However, Police had no secret information about Lal Singh and he was released.

Out of jail, he met Nidhan Singh, Gandha Singh, and other ghadarites in Moga. The group decided to attack the Ferozepur Cantonment. On November 26, 1914, sixty Ghadar Party members gathered outside the Ferozepur Cantonment. However, Kartar Singh Sarabha informed them that British authorities had got a wind of their plan and had disarmed the sympathetic soldiers. The plan was abandoned, and the ghadarites dispersed. On their way back to Moga, a police party in Ghal Kalan Village, intercepted Lal Singh and 15 ghadarites. In the ensuing clash, Gandha Singh killed Bisharat Ali, a police sub-inspector, and Jawala Singh, a Zaildar. Villagers mistook ghadarites for thieves and surrounded them. Meantime, more reinforcements came. Ghadarites ran towards the nearby reeds to hide. Police set on fire the entire area. Ghadarites were trapped in the reeds. They found themselves surrounded by a large number of policemen and village folk. Lal Singh and seven other ghadarites were apprehended. On February 2, 1915, he was tried by Ferozepur Session Judge under sections 149, 302, 114, 307, 402, and 399. The court sentenced him to death in less than a month, making a mockery of the entire legal process. On March 25, 1915, Lal Singh was hanged in the Montgomery Central Jail. He was about 29 years old at the time.