Friday, October 21, 2016
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Dhanna Singh
Army General and Civil Administrator

A Babar revolutionary, was born at the village of Bahibalpur, in Hoshiarpur district. His father, Indar Singh, could barely afford to send him to the village primary school where Dhanna Singh learnt to read and write in Punjabi and Urdu. Early in his youth he was converted to radical politics by Karam Singh, of Daulatpur, leader of the Chakravarti Jatha, and helped organize the Jatha's major divans at Mahalpur (March 1921) and at Kukkar Muzara (October 1921). The Chakravarti Jathas of Kishan Singh Gargajj and Karam Singh merging together made up plans at a meeting at Jassoval on 25 December 1922 to maim, plunder or murder informers and helpers of the British government. Dhanna Singh was assigned to "liquidating" Arjan Singh, a patvari, who had caused the arrest of Master Mota Singh in June 1922.

He, along with Buta Singh and Sadha Singh, of Pandora Nijhran, made attempts on the life of Arjan Singh. He was also involved in the murders of Buta, lambardar of Nangal Shaman, Hazara Singh of Bahibalpur and Labh Singh, a mistri of Garhshankar, who had had Kishan Singh Gargajj arrested in February 1923.

Dhanna Singh himself fell victim to a ruse. Javala Singh, described as a "black sheep" of the Babar Akalis, acting in collusion with a police sub-inspector, Gulzara Singh, lured Dhanna Singh to Mannanhana village, in Hoshiarpur, where Mr Horton, the British superintendent of police, and his party reached on the midnight of 25-26 October 1923. Dhanna Singh was overpowered but, displaying remarkable presence of mind, he had his hand released with a sudden jerk and crashed into one of the officers holding him, simultaneously pulling out the safety pin of the bomb - which he always carried hidden around his waist. Dhanna Singh was torn to pieces by the explosion, but so were his captors. Two head constables and three constables died on the spot, sub-inspector Gulzara Singh and another constable died at Mahalpur on their way to hospital, and Mr Horton at Hoshiarpur.

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