SANTOKH SIṄGH, BHĀĪ (1893-1927), a Ghadr leader, was born in Singapore in 1893, where his father, Javālā Siṅgh, of the village of Dhardeo (Amritsar district), was employed as a gunner in the army. Santokh Siṅgh had his early education in a school in Singapore and learnt Punjabi (Gurmukhī script) at home from his father. For higher education he came to the Punjab and joined the Khālsā College at Amritsar, from where he passed the Entrance examination in 1910. He gave up his studies and went to the United States of America in 1912 where he came in contact with Sant Vasākhā Siṅgh and Bhāī Javālā Siṅgh, who were owners of potato ranches and were working for the freedom of India.
Santokh Siṅgh joined the Ghadr movement and in a short time had himself elected as the general secretary of the party. He visited Siam (Thailand), Burma and Shanghai for the purpose of collecting money and arms to raise in India an armed rebellion against the British. Santokh Siṅgh was arrested along with some other Ghadr leaders in the San Francisco conspiracy case, and sentenced in April 1918 to 21 months imprisonment. As the Ghadr revolt was crushed by the government with a heavy hand, Santokh Siṅgh turned towards Soviet Russia to work out a new strategy for continuing the struggle for the liberation of India. He, along with Bhāī Ratan Siṅgh travelled secretly, sometime in the summer of 1922, to Soviet Russia where both of them underwent training at M.N. Roy's Communist University of the Toilers of the East. They attended the 4th Congress of the Communist International from 5 November to 5 December 1922, met Communist leaders from various countries and exchanged views with them. Resolved to start a revolutionary journal in the Punjab, Santokh Siṅgh left Russia in May 1923 to return home. It was a hazardous journey for him. Before reaching India, he was put under arrest. The case against him lingered for about a year and then he was bound down for good behaviour for one year in his village, Dhardeo. In 1926, Bhāī Santokh Siṅgh launched from Amritsar the Kirtī, a Punjabi monthly dedicated to the cause of workers and peasants. But he had not long to live. He fell a victim to tuberculosis and died in 1927 when he was only thirty-four.
Sohan Siṅgh Josh