Labh Singh, Babu
Akali Politician (1895-1947)
Was born in 1895 at the village of Lasara, in Jalandhar district, the son of Dula Singh. He spent his early youth at Quetta and passed his Matriculation examination from the high school there. In 1914, he took up service in the army as a clerk. Like all clerks, he was addressed there as “Babu”, which prefix stuck to his name for the rest of his life. He resigned his job as a protest against the killing of Sikhs at Nankana Sahib on 20 February 1921, and joined the campaign for the reform of Gurdwara management.
He was arrested in 1922 in connection with the Guru ka Bagh agitation. On 18 April 1924, he courted arrest at Jaito and was detained in Nabha jail. He was released along with other Akali prisoners after the passage in 1925 of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act. In 1926, he was elected president of the district unit of the Jalandhar Akali Jatha.
In 1928, he participated in a protest march against the Simon Commission, and in 1930 he, along with a batch of 100 Sikh volunteers from his district, participated in the Civil Disobedience movement launched by the Indian National Congress. He was taken into custody in Delhi, but was released after the Gandhi-Irwin Pact was signed in 1931. He was arrested under the Defence of India Rules during the Quit India movement. He organized from 25 to 27 November 1944 at Jandiala, in Jalandhar district, a massive Sikh conference to celebrate the silver jubilee of the Shiromani Akali Dal.
In 1945, he was elected president of the Shiromani Akali Dal which office he held until his death on 9 March 1947 at Jalandhar. He was stabbed by a Muslim fanatic while leading a peace march after communal disturbances in the town. The Civil Hospital and a gurdwara in Rainak Bazar at Jalandhar commemorate his memory.