Thursday, December 08, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

M

MA-1 IIKA SINGH ([)oter)
Mathra Sigh was born in 1883 at Dhudial, District Jhclunt (now in Pakistan) His father's name was Dhai Hai Singh. He took his education from Khalsa High School. Chakwnl At the age of 18 he left the school to take up scrv'ice with n private pharmaceutical fan of Rnwalpir ii, Merars Jaat Singh & Brothers where he serves for five years. Do=ing this period he picked up working knowledge of ms edicines and then in 1906 became a partner in a firm of Chemists. H D. Thakar Dais & Co. of Naushchra Camoeunem and henceforward Matlua Singh became Dr. Mathm Singh. MLthisa Singh decided to go to Atcerica afer the death of his wife and daughter in 1913. O n reaching Shanghai he learnt that it was not possible to enter Canada and consequently changed his mind and set up a tempursry medical stall in Shanghai. A little later he made another attempt to go to America This tine lie was allowed to enter the country but since his comp actions were not allowed, he returned to Shanghai and Urea to India alongwith them. This made bun a bitter critic of Birtish government. Meanwhile he heard about Baba Gurdit Silo taking a whole shipload of people to Canada by a privately hired boat, Komagata Mare. He and his brother Labh Singht thought of availing themselves o1' the opportunity. But when they reached the harbour, the ship had already left. Thereupon, they decided to travel by another ship upto Shanghai where they hoped to catch the Koenagata Maru. Once again they were too late for it, Maths Singh and lies brother now took up residence in Hong Kong. They got in touch with some YugantM Ashram leaders and adopted their programme enthusiastically. BY distributing cyclaayled copies of the Ghtrdx paper and by holding

public meetings Mathra Singh endeavoured to prepare the Italians there for a rebellion avainst the British rulers in India. The Hong Kong govcrnnxnu got scent of his activities and did not allow the returning KomaGtta Maru to stop there. Mathra Singh who had drawn a list of 50 people who would nuke use of that ship to return to the Punjab and help in the engineering oh a political revolution in the eountn•, was not disappointed and immediately arranged another ship fix the purpose. Alter arriving back in the Punjab in May 1914, he got himself filly involved in revoluttonal) work. Having some knowledge of science he took upon himself the work of bomb manufacturing,. When the police learnt about his activities and attempts were being made to arrest him he quietly slipped away to Kabul where the Afghan Government appointed bin Chief Medical Officer.
It was about this time that an official announcement was ttssde declaring him absconding and a reward of one square of land and two tt»usand rupees on his head. At Kabul he continued his national activities. In course of his stay there, he is said to have paid one visit to Germany and several visits to Iran.
When the Provisional Crovernnxnt sins established at Kabul through the efforts o: Raja Mahendra I'astap and Maulvi Barkat Ullah, it is said that Dr. Mathra Singh was appointed one of the ministers. As inch, he once hapMed to go to Russia. where all of a sudden he was :rested at Tashkent through the treachery of an Indian acquaintance of his.
He was brought to Lahore via Iran and detained In the lasmure Central Jail where after a brief trial in camera he was sentenced to death and hanged on March 27. 1917. Even his dead body was not handed over to his family and was cremated in the Jail itself.

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The etymology of the term 'gurdwara' is from the words 'Gur (ਗੁਰ)' (a reference to the Sikh Gurus) and 'Dwara (ਦੁਆਰਾ)' (gateway in Gurmukhi), together meaning 'the gateway through which the Guru could be reached'. Thereafter, all Sikh places of worship came to be known as gurdwaras.
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