By Dr. Bakhshish Singh Nijjar

Four Babbar Akalis, Jathedar Karam Singh Daulatpur, Babbar Ude Singh Ramgarh Jhungian, Babbar Bishan Singh Mangat and Babbar Mahinder Singh Pindori Ganga Singh, fought valiantly, in the precincts of Gurdwara Chaunta Sahib, on September 1, 1923 against the British mounted cavalry and the mounted police, under the express command of Mr. Smith, the superintendent of police Jalandhar. The Babbar Akali Jatha formed in Doaba had aimed at winning freedom by violent means. Their first target was to eliminate the stooges of the British government who would informed the Government about the activities of the Babbars resulting in the failure of their plans.

The above four Babbars published “Babbar Akali Doaba” newspaper, with inflammatory speeches against the Foreign Government. These issues were freely distributed among the people of Doaba and among the soldiers of the Sikh Regiments, and called upon the soldiers to revolt. The people were further asked to finish and plunder the stooges. These four Babbars looted the Government Revenue from Kaka Lambardar of village Bichhauri, looted Seth Munshi Ram of village Jadla for the purchase of arms and ammunition. They killed Diwan of village Hyatpur Ruski, Buta Lambardar and his grandson Surjan Singh of village Nangal Shamau, attempted to kill Labh Singh of village Dhade Fateh Singh, killed Mistry Labh Singh of Garhshankar, the police tout and informer and Hazara Singh safaidposh of village Behbalpur, Ralla and Dittu Lambardar brothers, the sycophants of village Kaulgarh.

This created great awe among the stooges of the Doaba. Being terrified by the Babbars Akalis, they left the Doaba. Nobody came forward to inform the police about the activities of the Babbars. The Babbar Akali Raj was practically established there. Mr. Townsend, the then commissioner of Jalandhar wrote to the Central Government, “I had been in Jalandhar before, and had friends amongst the old Sikh Zaildars and other gentlemen of position. Many of them came to see me (in 1923) when went back to Jalandhar, as 4 commissioner, | was very much struck by the extreme terror exhibited and induced by the outrages committed by the Bab bar Akalis. Many of them only spoke to me in whispers and this too in my own house. The British Government had no hold in the Doaba… On account of this terrorism we could hardly get any evidence to show who was responsible for these outrages. It is a most critical state of affairs.”

The four Babbars were absconders. The Royal awards for their arrests were published in the newspapers and the posters were posted at all the public places in the Punjab, particularly in the Doaba. Lured the greed of Royal favors, the renegades began their efforts to trace the absconding Babbars as well as other absconding Babbars, such as Dhana Singh Behbalpur, Dalip Singh Dhamian Kalan, Waryam Singh Dhugga and Banta Singh Dhamian Kalan.

Anup Singh Manko, one of the most trusted associate of all the leading Babbars in connivance with Bagh Singh Manko had planned to get all the Babbars arrested. The villages of Domeli and Babeli of the erstwhile Kapurthala state were the rendezvous of these Babbars. Kabal Singh son of Bhag Singh Manko was posted at Domeli to send information regarding the movements of the Babbars to his father who was in touch with the Deputy Commissioner, and the superintendent of police, Jalandhar.

On August 31, 1923, these Babbars were staying with Shiv Singh of village Babeli till afternoon of September 1. Bhag Singh of Manko alerted the superintendent of police Jalandhar and informed the Deputy Commissioner, Jalandhar. During the night, Anup Singh made all the weapons of the Babbars unserviceable except one pistal with one cartridge which Jathedar always kept with his body.

According to the records, the Babbars tried to escape out of the village and they were attacked by the police when they were crossing a cho (stream). All the four fought valiantly before they were gunned down.

The prosecution witness, however glorified the official version, only, while he did not speak a single word about the bravery of the Babbar Akalis who kept throwing away the troops for couple of hours. There was only one fire from the pistol of Jathedar Karam Singh which threw the whole force into a pell-mell condition. It was after the bomb thrown upon them by Babbar Ude Singh which did not burst, because Anup Singh had made all the weapons useless during the night and the Babbars were not aware of it. Only after the failure of the bomb all the troops and the mounted police dared to surround the Babbars. Due to this high treason of Anup Singh Manko, he was murdered in July, 1936, along with his only son by three Babbar Akalis, Gurdit Singh Daler of Mandhali, Babbar Kartar Singh Kirti of Chak Kalan and Babbar Ujjagar Singh of Panialian Kalan. The former two Babbars were hanged while the third was given life sentence.

Gurdwara Chaunt Sahib was built in the sweet-memory of Guru Rai’s visit to this place, when He spent a night there. The Guru was going from Amritsar to Kiratpur with his troops. A fair is held here every year in the month of March. On September 1, a fair is held at the sepulchral structure (Smadhi) of these martyr Babbars to honor their supreme sacrifices. The people of the surrounding villages venerate the martyrs and remember them with great affection

Article extracted from this publication >> April 22, 1988