Dina Nath, Pandit
Supporter of the Gurdwara Reform Movement (B.1888)
An active supporter of and participant in the Sikh Gurdwara reform movement 1920-25, was born in 1888, the son of Pandit Bil Krishan of Amritsar. In the wake of the agrarian protest in, the Punjab in 1907, he joined the Indian National Congress. He was secretary of the Amritsar District Congress Committee when the Gurdwara reform or Akali movement got under way with the establishment in November 1920 of a representative Sikh body, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.
Pandit Dina Nath was in sympathy with the movement and joined the Akali agitation for the restoration of the keys of the toshakhana or treasury of the Darbar Sahib, which had been taken away by the British Deputy Commissioner on 7 November 1921. He was arrested on 26 November 1921 along with a group of Sikh leaders at Ajnala, a sub-divisional town in Amritsar district, was charged with delivering seditious speeches in defiance of the ban on political meetings, and was sentenced to five months’ rigorous imprisonment and a fine of 1,000 rupees or six months’ additional imprisonment in default thereof. Similar punishments were awarded to other arrested leaders. This, however, led to further intensification of the agitation, and the government was eventually forced to surrender the keys to the Akali leader, Baba Kharak Singh, on 17 january 1922. Of the 193 persons arrested, 150 were released but Pandit Dina Nath was one of those who were retained in custody. The Deputy Commissioner offered to set him free if he would put in an application in writing which he refused to do. Pandit Dina Nath was however released soon thereafter unconditionally along with other detainees.