Tuesday, 20 July 2010
Centenary of an Unsung Hero: Swarn Singh-Younger uncle of Bhagat Singh
Swarn Singh, who died on 20th July, 1910, according to Malwinderjit Singh Waraich, author of many books on revolutionaries and revolutionary freedom movement of India, was the younger uncle of Bhagat Singh. Incidentally Swarn Singh died at almost same age-23 years, as Bhagat Singh kissed the gallows around same age.
Swarn Singh, the youngest son of S. Arjan Singh was born in 1887 at Khatkar Kalan , exact date of birth is not yet known. Along with his elder brothers-Kishan Singh,father of Bhagat Singh and Ajit Singh, close associate of Lala Lajpat Rai and Sufi Amba Prasad, he also got his education from Saidas Anglo Vedic school Jalandhar. As Kishan Singh and Ajit Singh were both active in freedom struggle, so Swarn Singh also followed their path. He was particularly associated with Ajit Singh’s activities in Lahore, like organizing Bharat Mata society and ‘Mohabbatan-e-Watan’ and focusing on peasant problems of those days. Ajit Singh used to bring out lot of literature in Urdu and English those days and Swarn Singh played major role in publishing activities.He was accused for publishing and selling books and pamphlets like—‘Bandar Bant’,’Divide and Conquor’, “Peshwa’,Hindustan Mein Angrezi hakumat’,’Ghadar’, ‘Baghi Masih’, ‘Amanat mein Khayanat’ and many others Because of his activities, he was also jailed many times and caught tuberculosis in jail. In a book edited by well known historian Dr. Ganda Singh for Punjabi University Patiala-‘Seditious Literature in The Panjab’, all the intelligence reports of those days, collected in the book, give vivid description of Swarn Singh’s activities and also refer to his being at the advanced stage of consumption, because of which he could not be tried for certain cases against him. So it is clear that Swarn Singh dedicated his life to nation, though he came from a well to do family and because of jail sufferings, he became consumptive, he did not receive any proper treatment for that and passed away on 20th July 1910, at the age of just 23 years.
Veerender Sandhu, author of family history of Bhagat Singh in Hindi has referred to Swarn Singh as being appointed Superintendent of an orphanage in Lahore in 1905, where lot many orphan children were brought by his elder brother Kishan Singh from Rajputana, because of severe drought there. Swarn Singh turned out this orphanage into a revolutionary training centre for children. He became a propaganda secretary of ‘Bharat Mata Society’ established by his elder brother Ajit Singh. After Ajit Singh’s deportation to Mandalay jail in Burma in 1907, Swarn Singh published his anti British articles from Lahore and he was convicted on 20th July 1907 and sentenced to one and half year imprisonment, where he caught consumption. He was tortured in jail by putting him with Mahasha Ghasita Ram for drawing water from well like oxen are put up. He refused to obey the illegal orders and he was confined to isolated cell for long time.
Swarn Singh was married to Bibi Hukam Kaur, who suffered silently, while he was in jail, rather than celebrating his married life with her and later she lived a widowed life for 56 years, dyeing without an issue in 1966.All her affections she gave to Bhagat singh, who was also very caring of both of his aunts. Harnam Kaur, also without an issue, waited for 38 years for the return of her husband Ajit Singh from exile, who returned to India in March 1947, only to be with her for last six months of his life, passing away in Dalhousie on 15th August 1947, at the dawn of independence.
The whole family fo Bhagat singh served the nation. His grandfather Arjan Singh trained his three sons and grandson Bhagat Singh for serving the nation.In fact Bhagat Singh was pledged to nation by his grandfather on his thread ceremony in early childhood. Bhagat Singh’s father suffered jail terms many times as Congress party activist and remained member of Punjab Assembly during 1937 elections. Kishan Singh’s younger brother Ajit Singh remained deported and exiled for nearly four decades. Ajit Singh’s younger brother Swarn Singh was no less active than other members of his family in patriotism and suffering for nation, however he remained most unknown and least talked about. It is time for the nation to acknowledge and recognize Swarn Singh’s selfless service to the nation and his contribution to freedom struggle by celebrating his death centenary in a befitting manner. Would the people’s organizations and Govt. of India and Punjab pay attention towards their long delayed duty in this regard?