DĪVĀN SIṄGH, BHĀĪ (d. 1924), one of the martyrs of Jaito Morchā, was born around 1874, the son of Sāhib Siṅgh of the village of Mahingarvāl in Hoshiārpur district of the Punjab. As he grew up, he joined government service in the railways and was an assistant engineer when he resigned in protest against the deposition by the British of Mahārājā Ripudaman Siṅgh, ruler of the princely state of Nābhā, in July 1923, and became an activist in the Akālī movement for the reformation of the management of Sikh shrines. As the Shiromaṇī Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee was outlawed by government in October 1923, Dīvān Siṅgh was appointed chairman of the district committee for the management of Gurdwārās in Hoshiārpur district. When the Akālīs decided to lead 500-strong shāhīdī jathās, bands of volunteers vowed to win martyrdom, to Jaito where a Sikh religious ceremony had been intruded upon by police in February 1924, Dīvān Siṅgh offered himself as a volunteer, but the Shiromaṇī Committee turned down his request. The first shahīdī jathā left Amritsar on 9 February 1924. Its progress on foot through the countryside caused much excitement. Dīvān Siṅgh could not restrain himself and he caught up with the Jathā at Bargāṛī, its last halting point before reaching Jaito on 21 February 1924. He was marching in line with the standard-bearers ahead of the Jathā when the waiting contingent of the Nābhā State army opened fire on them. Dīvān Siṅgh was hit by a bullet in the head and died on the spot near Ṭibbī Sāhib, a sandy hillock, about a furlong short of the destination, Gurdwārā Gaṅgsar Sāhib.


    Akālī te Pradesī. Amritsar, 15 March 1924

Gurcharan Siṅgh Giānī