|Kartar Singh Sarabha
|Date of Birth||:||1896|
|Date of Death||:||Nov 16, 1915|
|Place of Birth||:||Sarabha|
Revolutionary Kartar Singh, the great devotee of Bellona, the goddess of war, was only twenty years old when he sacrificed himself on the altar of goddess of freedom. There was only one aim of his life, only one desire, only one hope – all that held meaning in his life was revolution. Kartar Singh was born in Sarabha, a village in district Ludhiana, in 1896. He was the only son of his parents. He was still very young when his father died. His grandfather brought him up with great care. After passing the ninth grade, he went to Orissa to live with his uncle. He completed his high school and began college while there. It was the year 1910-1911, when he had the opportunity to read a lot of books outside the narrow range of school or college text books. This was also the time of nationalist movement. It was this political environment that aroused the feeling of patriotism in him. It was then that he decided that he must travel to America. The family did not have any opposition to that. He arrived in San Francisco in 1912. Having arrived in the “free nation” his tender heart was subjected to blows and humiliation at every step. He would be very upset when he heard himself being called a damn Hindu or black man by the whites. At every step he felt his country’s dignity and respect in jeopardy. It was impossible for him to remain calm. The question began to haunt him. How would the country become free if peaceful means failed. Without wasting much time in thinking, he began to organize Indian laborers. Many persons joined him when the work progressed. A special meeting of these people took place in May 1912. A few selected Indians attended that meeting. All of them took vow to dedicate their mind, body and wealth for the freedom of their country. Meantime the exiled Punjabi patriot Bhagwan Singh reached there. Meetings began to take place in a great number.
Intensive teaching became the name. Work was increased. The file was prepared. Then the need for a paper was felt. A paper named Gadar was launched. Its first issue was published in November 1913. Kartar Singh was also a member of its editorial board. His pen was very powerful. The dedication with which Kartar Singh worked gave courage to all others. In the meantime he joined an institute in New York to learn how to fly a plane and began his mission there wholeheartedly. In September 1914 Kamagata Maru ship had to return without unloading its human cargo after its passenger suffered indescribable tortures at the hand of the imperialist whites. So Kartar Singh along with Kranti Priya Gupta and an American anarchist named Jack went to Japan. He met Baba Gurdit Singh in Kobe and held consultations with him. From Yugantar Ashram, San Francisco, copies of Gadar, Gadar ki Gunj and many other publications were printed and distributed regularly. Propaganda was increasing every day. Enthusiasm kept in the air. Kartar Singh forcefully advocated for returning to India. Then he himself sailed for Colombo (Sri Lanka). In those people returning from America and going to Punjab were quite often safely. But Kartar Singh did. He dedicated himself to the Party wholeheartedly. They lacked organization. Somehow that was created. In December young Maratha revolutionary Vishnu Ganesh Pingle also reached India. Through their efforts Shachindra Nath Sanyal and Ras Behari also came to Punjab. Kartar Singh was everywhere – if there was a secret meeting in Moga, he was there, next day, message was to be spread among the students in Lahore, he would be the first to be there. Next, the efforts were being made to have an alliance with Ferozepur Cantonments soldiers or there was a need to go to Calcutta for acquiring the arms. He would go everywhere. But there was no money. For that Kartar Singh suggested armed robbery. Many of his colleagues were dumb-founded at the suggestion. He asked them not to worry, told them that even Bhai Parmanand is in favor of robberies. He was given the job to confirm this assertion. Next day he told his colleagues that he had asked him and had his consent. He could not bear the thought that due to the lack of finances, there should be a delay in launching a revolution. He even did robberies to collect money. Preparation was made for revolt to take place in February 1915. In the first week (of Feb. 1915) he along with Pingle and some other friends went to Agra, Kanpur, Allahabad, Lucknow, Meerut and other places to meet people and consult them about the coming revolt. Finally the day for which they waited so long was drawing near. February 21, 1915 was the day fixed for launching the revolt all over India. All preparations were being made according to that. But at the same time a rat was sitting at the root of the tree of their hopes branches was nibbling at it. Four or five days before (the appointed date) it was suspected that every thing would be ruined because of the betrayal by Kirpal Singh. The misfortune of India can be the only reason for all this. Kartar Singh reached Ferozepur with his fifty or sixty colleagues according to the place. He met with his friend soldier Havaldar and talked to him about the revolt. But Kirpal Singh had already spoiled everything. Indian soldiers were disarmed. Arrests were made on a mass scale. Havaldar refused to help. Efforts of Kartar Singh were unsuccessful. He went to Lahore disappointed. The pace of arrests all over Punjab was quickened. There they were caught. They were chained. Judges were very impressed by his bravery. But like an enemy with big heart they did not call his bravery as bravery but remembered him with shameless words. Not only they showered abuses on Kartar Singh, but gave him the sentence to be hanged. He smiled and thanked the judges. The case lasted for a year and a half. On November 16, 1915 he was hanged. That day too he was happy as always. His weight too increased. He embraced the hanging rope with the words, “Victory to Mother India.”