SANTĀ SIṄGH, BĀBŪ (1887-1926), Babar revolutionary, was born the son of Sūbā Siṅgh at Harīoṅ Khurd, a village in Ludhiāṇā district. He passed his matriculation from the Mālwā Khālsā High School at Ludhiāṇā where he also worked for some time as an office clerk. In February 1920, he enlisted in the 54th Sikh Battalion as a sepoy, later shifting over to a clerical position. Henceforth he came to be known as "Bābūjī", a term by which a clerk is commonly addressed. For Santā Siṅgh the Nankāṇā massacre proved a turning poing as indeed it did for many another youth. He was fired with anti-British feeling. He secretly attended some of Kishan Siṅgh Gaṛgajj's lectures and became his admirer. Sant Kartār Siṅgh, who later became an approver in the Babar Akālī case, introduced him to Kishan Siṅgh. At this meeting which took place in October 1921, after a dīvān at Palāhī, Santā Siṅgh offered to take his discharge from the army and join the Chakravartī Jathā. Kishan Siṅgh advised him to remain in the army and work upon the soldiers. However in January 1922, Santā Siṅgh left the army and became a member of Kishan Siṅgh's Chakravartī Jathā, a radical group. Despite his poor physique and short stature, he soon earned the respect of his fellow jathedārs for his qualities of fearlessness and courage. He convened dīvāns in villages preaching violence. He also lent a helping hand in the production of the news-sheet Babar Akālī Doābā.

        With the shooting down of Bishan Siṅgh, zaildār of Rāṇīthūhā on 10 February 1923, Santā Siṅgh initiated the "reformation" (in Punjabi, sudhār, a euphemism for liquidation or murder) of loyalist village functionaries. He played an active part in eliminating some other marked persons, including Lābh Siṅgh, an ex-policeman, Hazārā Siṅgh of Bahibalpur, Sūbadār Gendā Siṅgh of Ghuṛiāl, Būṭā, lambardār of Naṅgal Shāmāṅ, and Rallā and Dittū of Kaulgaṛh. All of these murders took place betwen February and May of 1923. Police were in hot pursuit and he was betrayed into their hands by Sant Kartār Siṅgh, who had himself been a member of the Chakravartī Jathā. He was apprehended on 20 June 1923 in a train at Tapā railway station.

        At his trial Santā Siṅgh refused to reply to any question, saying that he did not expect any justice from the British government. He was awarded the extreme penalty of the law and was hanged on 27 February 1926.


  1. Ghosh, Kali Charan, The Roll of Honour : Anecdotes of Indian Martyrs. Calcutta, 1965
  2. Nijjar, B.S., History of the Babar Akalis. Jalandhar, 1987
  3. Nijjhar, Milkhā Siṅgh, Babar Akālī Lahir dā Itihās Delhi, 1985

Kamlesh Mohan