DHANNĀ SIṄGH (1888-1923), a Babar revolutionary, was born at the village of Bahibalpur, in Hoshiārpur district. His father, Indar Siṅgh, could barely afford to send him to the village primary school where Dhannā Siṅgh learnt to read and write in Punjabi and Urdu. Early in his youth he was converted to radical politics by Karam Siṅgh, of Daulatpur, leader of the Chakravartī Jathā, and helped organize the Jathā's major dīvāns at Māhalpur (March 1921) and at Kukkaṛ Muzārā (October 1921). The Chakravartī Jathās of Kishan Siṅgh Gaṛgajj and Karam Siṅgh merging together made up plans at a meeting at Jassovāl on 25 December 1922 to maim, plunder or murder informers and helpers of the British government. Dhannā Siṅgh was assigned to "liquidating" Arjan Siṅgh, a paṭvārī, who had caused the arrest of Master Motā Siṅgh in June 1922. He, along with Būṭā Siṅgh and Sādhā Siṅgh, of Paṇḍorī Nijjhrāṅ, made attempts on the life of Arjan Siṅgh. He was also involved in the murders of Būṭā, lambardār of Naṅgal Shāmāṅ, Hazārā Siṅgh of Bahibalpur and Lābh Siṅgh, a mistrī of Gaṛhshaṅkar, who had had Kishan Siṅgh Gaṛgajj arrested in February 1923. Dhannā Siṅgh himself fell victim to a ruse. Javālā Siṅgh, described as a "black sheep" of the Babar Akālīs, acting in collusion with a police sub inspector, Gulzārā Siṅgh, lured Dhannā Siṅgh to Mannanhāṇā village, in Hoshiārpur, where Mr Horton, the British superintendent of police, and his party reached on the midnight of 25-26 October 1923. Dhannā Siṅgh was overpowered but, displaying remarkable presence of mind, he had his hand released with a sudden jerk and crashed into one of the officers holding him, simultaneously pulling out the safety pin of the bomb which he always carried hidden around his waist. Dhannā Siṅgh was torn to pieces by the explosion, but so were his captors. Two head constables and three constables died on the spot, sub-inspector Gulzārā Siṅgh and another constable died at Māhalpur on their way to hospital, and Mr Horton at Hoshiārpur.


  1. Babbar, Sundar Siṅgh, Itihās Babbar Akālī Lahir. Amritsar, 1970
  2. Nijjhar, Milkhā Siṅgh, Babbar Akālī Lahir dā Itihās. Delhi, 1986
  3. Nijjar, B. S. , History of the Babbar Akalis. Jalandhar, 1987
  4. Mohan, Kamlesh, Militant Nationalism in the Punjab 1919-1985. Delhi, 1985

Kamlesh Mohan