MOHAN SIṄGH NĀGOKE, JATHEDĀR (1898-1969), Akālī politician and Jathedār of the Akāl Takht from 1935 to 1948, was born at the village of Nāgoke, in Amritsar district, on 25 December 1989. His father, Tahil Siṅgh, was a farmer of modest means, one of whose ancestors had been a soldier in General Ventura's regiment in the time of Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh. Mohan Siṅgh had his early schooling in his village and later joined Khālsā Collegiate School at Amritsar from where he passed his matriculation examination in 1918. He took up service as a clerk in the office of the deputy commissioner of Amritsar, but the Jalliāṅvālā Bāgh massacre proved a turning point in his career. He registered his protest by coming to the office the following morning in a black turban, with a kirpān slung across his shoulder. This was objected to by his superiors, but he preferred to leave government service to giving up his black turban and kirpān. He joined the first jathā of Akālī volunteers marching in February 1924 to Jaito, in the princely state of Nābhā. In the firing upon the Akālīs at Jaito, on 21 February 1924, Mohan Siṅgh had his thigh torn with a bullet shot. He was picked up and brought back to Amritsar, but as soon as his wound was healed, he again volunteered to go to Jaito. On his insistence he was included in the fourth jathā which was put under arrest as it reached the town. Mohan Siṅgh remained in jail from 18 April 1924 to 27 July 1925. In 1926, he was appointed a superintendent in the office of the Shiromanī Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee at Amritsar. He rose to be Mīt (assistant) Jathedār of the Akāl Takht in 1931, becoming a full Jathedār four years later. He held this office until 1948. As Jathedār of the Akāl Takht, he led the third jathā comprising 25 volunteers which started on foot on 10 January 1936 from Amritsar in connection with the morchā or campaign for securing Sikhs the right to carry the kirpān as their religious symbol, and was arrested on 17 January 1936. From 1944-48, he was president of the Shiromaṇī Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee. As president of the Shiromaṇī Committee, Jathedār Mohan Siṅgh gave special attention to bringing symmetry to the Golden Temple surroundings. To this end, old private houses, were acquired and demolished along with some of those owned by the Shiromaṇī Committee. New construction was undertaken according to a set design. In this process the parikramā or passage around the Golden Temple was considerably widened setting off the central shrine and bringing an open view to it.

         Upon the partition of the Punjab in 1947, Jathedār Mohan Siṅgh was nominated a member of the board set up by the Punjab government for the rehabilitation of displaced persons. In 1952, he was elected to the Punjab Legislative Assembly as a nominee of the Indian National Congress. From 1958-63, he served as a member of the Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board. He was again elected to the Punjab Legislative Assembly in 1967.

         Jathedār Mohan Siṅgh Nāgoke died on 2 March 1969 in Amritsar after a prolonged illness.


  1. Pratāp Siṅgh, Giānī, Akālī Lahir de Mahān Netā . Amritsar, 1976
  2. Mohinder Singh, The Akali Movement . Delhi, 1978
  3. The Daily Ajīt. 2 March 1983

Partāp Siṅgh Gill