Today in Sikh History : 31st July
Agreement reached between the Dal Khalsa and Maharaja Vijay Singh of Jodhpur.
Sardar Udham Singh was hanged to death in London for killing Michale O’Dwyer, Governor of Punjab during the Jallianwalla Bagh massacare.
==> JALLIANWALA BAGH INCIDENT: A meeting was called in 1919 to protest – the arrest of Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew and Dr. Satyapal, two prominent leaders in Punjab at the time and – against the repressive Rowlette Act of the British Government Several hundred people had assembled at Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar to participate in this protest. Brigadier General Dwyer was sent to disperse the assembly. He intially proceeded with an armoured car. However, the streets leading up to the Jallianwalla bagh were too narrow for the armoured vehicle and consequently the soldiers had to abandon the vehicle and travel by foot. Upon reaching the Jallianwala bagh, Brigadier General Dwyer opened fire on the innocent and unarmed people, killing almost all. When the firing stooped, a total of 1302 people been killed, including 799 GurSikhs. Udham Singh from Sunam (Punjab), was a child at that time, whose father was among the killed. He vowed to kill the cruel General.
A subsequent enquiry was held into the shooting. As a result, Brigadier General Dyer retired, went back to England, and subsequently died six years after the Jallianwala massacre.
However, The Sikh community felt further insulted, when Rur Sngh, the custodian of the Golden Temple, offered a Saropa to Sir Michael O’Dwyer, Lieuetnant Governor of Punjab. General Dwyer was also offered a Kirpan (Sword of honor) and it was qouted in the British Parliament by Lord Finlay that he had been made a Sikh.
Udham Singh came to England and spent many years of hard work planning ways to fulfill his childhood vows. It is said that Udham Singh took up work in Sir Michale O’Dwyer’s residence in England, who was the Governor of Punjab during the Jallianwala massacre. Udham Singh worked there for sometime and therefore got to know Sir O’Dwyer very well. Seezing an opportune moment Udham Singh gunned down Sir O’Dwyer at a public meeting in England as he stood to address the gathering.
-Ref. Babbar Akali Movement, A Historical Survey, Dr. Gurcharan Singh, Aman Publications, 1993.
Amar Singh Ambalvi, first Vice-President of AISFF, passed away.
==> AMAR SINGH AMBALVI: was born in 1917 at village, Raulu Majra, a few miles from Rupar, Punjab. After early schooling he joined army in 1935, from where he resigned in 1939 and graduated privately in 1942 and continued his graduate studies on part time basis. With his M A., LL.B., he was admitted to the law and practiced in the Punjab High Court for several years. Very early in life, Sardar Amar Singh Ambalvi became very involved in the Sikh youth movement and the political affairs of the Sikh Panth. Giani Kartar Singh took liking to this young man and saw in him great potential for leadership. He offered his political mentorship during his the early days of contemporary Sikh politics.
Sardar Ambalvi is best known for his work with Sikh youth and Sikh intellegentia through the institution of the All India Sikh Students Federation. In the early forties, when the Muslim students had organized Muslim Students’ Federation, the Hindu youth were well organized into Rashtryia Svam Sevak Sangh, the Communists had their Students’ Federation and the Congress was patronizing the Youth Congress, the Sikh students were out of moorings. Most were ignorant and others were indifferent towards their rich heritage and responsibilities for the future of their nation in free India. In response to this need, the All India Sikh Students was organized. Sardar Amar Singh Ambalvi was one of the founding pillars of the AISSF. In early days he came into fame for a demonstration that he led against apostate (Patit) Maharaja of Kapurthala. The maharaja was facilitated at a function at the Khalsa College, Amritsar. The college was the premier educational institution of the Sikhs at that time and the Maharaja was invited to preside over a commemorative function. The Sikhs took exception to the honor being given to him. Sardar Amar Singh Ambalvi organized a student demonstration which he led himself. The Sikh Students marched with black flags and shouted slogans Patit Maharaja go back. Arnbalvi was arrested by the British authorities. The incidence established the name recognition of the Ambalvi and it further solidified his resolve to organize the Sikh youth to protect their inheritance. Earlier he had organized the Sikh students along with Sardar Avtar Singh Daler under the banner of a well knit organization All India Sikh League. This organization could not keep its tempo and the youth leaders began to look elsewhere. Eventually, a meeting of the Sikh students’ representatives convened in the Law College dormitory to hold discussions on alternatives. This meeting was attended by Sardar Amar Singh Ambalvi along with Sardars Sarup Singh, Jawahar Singh, Sardul Singh, Raghbir Singh, Narinder Singh, Kesar Singh, Dharambir Singh, Inderpal Singh, Agya Singh and Balbir Singh. Inspired from deliberations of this meeting, a call was issued to the Sikh students under the heading Sikh Students Organize. When AISSF was formally established, Sardar Amar Singh Ambalvi became a member of the first Central Executive Committee and served in that capacity until his retirement from that organization. He rose to the office of the Vice President in 1948 and was elected as the President of AISSF at their Annual Meeting held at Patiala on January 28, 1950. He succeeded Sardar Sarup Singh who had been re-elected for several times earlier to lead the AISSF.
During his presidentship of the AISSF, Sardar Ambalvi brought the message of the Federation home by addressing student study circles, meetings and conferences. He has always been a member of the group of extremists in Akali Organization. Sardar Ambalvi, who was always identified with the Federation was exceptionally energetic, pushing and daring as well. Sardar Ambalvi was arrested in 1942, 1943, and 1950 for his work with the community to stand for their political rights. Besides, AISSF, he was a very active member of the premier organization of the Sikhs, the Shromani Akali Dal. He served that organization as their General Secretary in 1946, 1947, 1948, and 1949. This was a very crucial period in Sikh history. The fate of the Sikh Nation was being determined in New Delhi and London by Hindu, Muslim and British leadership. The Sikh leaders were not up on the consequences of those determinations. Sardar Ambalvi was the main person who worked behind the doors in negotiating with the political parties, particularly the Muslim League, for the discussion of a future of the Sikhs after British quit India. He was leader of the Sikh Youth who served a liaison between Master Tara Singh and Mr. Jinnah. It was through the efforts of this group that Mr. Jinah had consented to publicly support the Sikh demand until the time that this understanding was sabotaged by the stooges of Indian National Congress. Thoughout his life, Sardar Ambalvi has been the chief exponent of keeping the separate entity of the Sikhs and for the creation of a place on earth where Sikhs may breath a sigh of freedom. After partition, Sardar Ambalvi played a very prominent role in getting the famous Anandpur Sahib’s resolution unanimously passed on October 17, 1973.
Sardar Amar Singh Ambalvi left for heavenly abode on July 30, 1995 at the age of 78, only a month after a sudden death of his son in a car accident. The cause of Ambalvis death was a sudden heart attack as he remained healthy until the last breath. Sardar Ambalvi died exactly 50 years after the first annual session of the All India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF) where he was appointed as its first vice-president.
-Ref. K-net message from Harbans Lal Oct. 11/95.