• Shamsher singh

The Martyrdom of Bhai Ratan Singh Rakkad Babbar Akali (15 July 1932)


Bhai Ratan Singh Rakad the of Babbar Akali Movement was born in 1899 AD in village Rakkad Bet, Tehsil Balachour to Sardar Jawahar Singh. Influenced by Karam Singh Daulatpur, Bhai Ratand Singh joined the Babbar Akalis. Realizing the importance of weapons, he started collecting the weapons to prepare for unforeseen insurgencies. On the information of Alexander Tout of Mahitpur village, Bhai Ratan Singh was sentenced to five years in prison under the Unlawful Arms Act. After being released, very soon he started making bombs and weapons once again. As a retaliation against the regime, he threw bombs at the police stations of Balachour and Garhshankar. After these incidents, the police with the help of their informants succeeded in arresting Bhai Sahib once again. Bhai Sahib was sentenced to 20 years in prison this time and given the Kaala Paani sentence (in the Andaman Islands). Bhai Ratan Singh was the only prisoner of in the Kaala Paani Jail, from whom even the jailers were terrified. The high-security jail built on the Andaman Island had caused the inmates to scream out of torture, but Bhai Ratan Singh Rakkad caused the jailers to scream instead. While the likes of Savarkar, (founder of the Hindutva movement) used to write letters of apology to get out of the prison, Bhai Ratan Singh on the other hand exhibited such persistence that, the jailers themselves were forced to beg their superiors to have him leave their prison for another one. They became incapable of handling Ratan Singh and were constantly afraid that he would start a rebellion amongst the inmates inside the prison itself. Realizing the criticality of the situation, the British government brought Ratan Singh back to Punjab by train to turn him into a local jail. Then on 23 April 1932, at the Naruana Railway Station near Bathinda, Bhai Ratan Singh, along with ten other prisoners, attacked the police party and fled from their captivity. The police in-charge and the Munshi were also killed on the spot. After approximately eleven days, Ratan Singh went to his village. By now escaping from imprisonment had become a cyclic affair. He kept moving his whereabouts to mislead the police. Eventually Ratan Singh’s village Jamalpur was besieged. After injuring the men who were behind him, he went to the local Gurdwara in Gurne village to take refuge. He had numerous close encounters with the police. The police received multiple reports of being seen around many places, but each time they reached the location, they failed to take him into captivity. Out of desperation, the police put a reward of three thousand rupees on Bhai Ratan Singh. Later this amount was increased to ten thousand and rupees and finally 10 marabbas (250 forts) of land was declared as the reward to capture him. But greed is a dangerous trait. It makes one forget and dilutes the relations of even blood, religion and society in one which lives. The same thing transpired with Bhai Ratan Singh. The son-in-law of his aunt used to live in the city of Rourkee proper and he became quite friendly with the police out of greed. On hearing the news of the police team arriving at the village where he was currently staying, Bhai Ratan Singh took shelter in the house of Gainda Singh. The police set fire to the entire house and surrounded it. Bhai Ratan Singh retaliated by throwing mini-bombs like the ones used by Abdul Rahim, Bhagat Singh and Udham Singh. A local villager by the name of Hazara Singh was also killed in the midst of action. Eventually, on 15th July 1932 Bhai Ratan Singh was martyred while fighting the police. Ishar Singh, Gainda Singh and Pritam Kaur were sentenced to three years in prison for harboring Bhai Sahib Ratan Singh. The entire village was fined a sum of Rs. 8000 too. Even the pensions of the pensioners were stopped. The magnitude of the punishment gives us an idea of how dangerous a rebel Bhai Ratan Singh was for the British government.

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