MATHRĀ SIṄGH, DOCTOR (1883-1917) , patriot and revolutionary, was born the son of Harī Siṅgh, a Kohlī Khatrī, and Bhāg Sudhī, at ḍhuḍiāl in Pakistan. He attended the village primary school and passed his Matriculation examination from the Khālsā High School at Chakvāl. In 1901, he joined a pharmaceutical firm at Rāwalpiṇḍī, Messrs Jagat Siṅgh and Brothers, and in 1906 shifted to Nowsherā cantonment as a partner in another firm of chemists, H.D. Ṭhākar Dās and Company. He married in 1908 and had a daughter, but both his wife and the little child died in 1913. Mathrā Siṅgh decided to leave the country and seek his fortune in Canada. The newly adopted immigration regulations having become more stringent, he stopped at Shanghai where he set up temporarily a chemist's shop. Soon afterwards, he succeeded in entering California, but was deported as an illegal immigrant. Back in the Punjab, Mathrā Siṅgh learnt about the Komagata Maru sailing from Hong Kong with Indian immigrants direct to Canada, thus fulfilling the legal requirement for entry into that country. He left home again, but failed to catch up with the departing vessel. He now settled down in medical practice in Hong Kong. Reports of the treatment meted out to passengers of the Komagata Maru at Vancouver made Mathrā Siṅgh a rebel and he established contact with the leaders of Ghadar movement in the United States. He helped in distributing copies of the Ghadar and started working on the Indian soldiers in Hong Kong. After the outbreak of World War I in July 1914, Mathrā Siṅgh, following the party directive, came back to the Punjab where he was made a member of the central committee and was entrusted with the task of manufacturing bombs. Doctor Mathrā Siṅgh and Harnām Siṅgh of Kahūṭā, who had been deputed to incite the soldiers and tribesmen in the North-West Frontier Province to rebellion, escaped to Afghanistan, where they were interned. They were soon released on the intervention of Maulawī Barkat Ullah, another Indian revolutionary who as prime minister in the Indian government-in-exile had some influence with Amīr Habībullah, the ruler of Afghanistan.

         Mathrā Siṅgh was appointed a minister plenipotentiary and Harnām Siṅgh a secretary in the government-in-exile set up by Indian revolutionaries under Rājā Mahendra Pratāp. In his capacity as a minister plenipotentiary, Mathrā Siṅgh made secret trips to Iran, Russia and Germany. On his way back from Russia from one such visit, he was arrested at Tashkent on 2 November 1916, and brought to India via Iran. He was tried in the third supplementary Lahore conspiracy case and sentenced to death. He was hanged secretly on 27 March 1917. Even his dead body was not handed over to his family, and the cremation was performed within the premises of the Lahore Central Jail.


  1. Sainsrā, Gurcharan Siṅgh, Ghadar Pārṭī dā Itihās. Jalandhar, 1961
  2. Jagjīt Siṅgh, Ghadar Pārṭī Lahir. Delhi, 1979
  3. Gurdit Singh, The Voyage of the Komagata Maru. Calcutta, n.d.
  4. Isemonger, F.C. and J. Slattery. An Account of the Ghadar Conspiracy. n.d.
  5. Mohan, Kamlesh, Militant Nationalism in the Punjab 1919-1935. Delhi, 1985

Gurmukh Siṅgh Musāfir