Mangal Singh Kirpan Bahadur, Bhai
One of the Nankana Sahib Martyrs (1895-1921)
Was born in 1895, the son of Bhai Ratta and Mai Hukmi in the village of Uddoke, in Gurdaspur district. He lost both of his parents while yet a small child, and grew up in very adverse circumstances until, around 1908, he attracted the notice of Jathedar Lachhman Singh Dharovali during a religious divan for his melodious singing of the Sikh holy songs. The Jathedar, who had lately lost his infant son with no hope of another offspring, took the orphan under his own care, brought him home and treated him as his own son. Young Mangal Singh learnt reading and writing and helped his benefactor with farming. In 1913, he received the rites of Khalsa initiation at the Central Majha Khalsa Diwan. In 1915, he enlisted in the army but was court-marshalled two years later because he would not obey his commanding officer’s order to part with his kirpan. He was sentenced to one year’s imprisonment and dismissed from service, but, in view of an ongoing agitation among the Sikhs for freedom to wear or carry kirpan, his sentence was reduced to six months which he spent in Sialkot jail. On his release he was taken out by the sangat in a procession to Gurdwara Babe di Ber in Sialkot where he was acclaimed for his courageous stand in defence of his religious faith. The Panch Khalsa Diwan Bhasaur honoured him with the title of Kirpan Bahadur and a pension of Rs 7 per month.
Bhai Mangal Singh remained a faithful son to his godfather, Jathedar Lachhman Singh. He helped him organize the political conference at Dharovali on 1 to 3 October 1920 and participated in the liberation of Gurdwara Khara Sauda at Chuharkana on 30 December 1920. He joined his column for the liberation of Gurdwara Janam Asthan, at Nankana Sahib, never to come back alive.