Banta Singh, Bhai
One of the Nankana Sahib martyrs (1894-1921)
Was the son of Bhai Bhola Singh Dhillon and Mai Bhag Kaur of village Biheri, in Hoshiarpur district. He was born on 25 October 1894. As a youth, he had engaged in wrestling and gone out hunting. He had also learnt to read and write Punjabi in the Gurmukhi script. He excelled at performing kirtan, singing the holy hymns.
He enlisted in 28th Punjabi Battalion in May 1911 and served with his unit in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) during 1913-15. In 1915, the Battalion moved to Mesopotemia (now Iraq) to take part in the First Great War. Banta Singh was wounded in his right arm on 13 January 1916 and was retired on medical grounds in August 1916.
Back in his village, he took to his ancestral occupation of farming. He was visiting Chakk No. 91 Dhannuana in the newly colonized canal district of Sheikhupura to see a relation.
There he found some volunteers preparing to join Bhai Lachhman Singh Dharovall’s jathi on its way to Gurdwara Janam Asthan at Nankana Sahib. Banta Singh at once decided to accompany them. Inside the shrine, he was done to death, along with other members of the jatha at the bidding of the custodian, Mahant Narain Das, on the morning of 20 February 1921.