ṬHĀKAR SIṄGH, DOCTOR (1885-1945), a Ghadr activist who also took part in the Akālī movement of 1920-25, was the son of Sher Siṅgh of Ikulāhā, a village 6 km southwest of Khannā (30º-42'N, 76º-13'E) in Ludhiāṇā district of the Punjab. He was an undergraduate at Khālsā College, Amritsar, when he gave up his studies to go to China. He was employed as a sanitary inspector on the Canton-Kowloon railway where his duties included dispensing medicines to sick employees which earned him the popular title of "Doctor".

        The Ghadr movement which took birth on the west coast of the United States and Canada in 1913 soon spread to Asian countries, collectively known as the Far East. Ṭhākar Siṅgh was among the first immigrants to join it. He sailed for India at the end of 1914 with the intention of preparing ground for a revolution in the country. Mevā Siṅgh another member of the Ghadr party, who had been chief officer of the French Consular Police at Canton had written a letter to Harchand Siṅgh of Lyallpur commending Ṭhākar Siṅgh to him. This letter was apparently intercepted by government, for on arrival in India Ṭhākar Siṅgh was restricted to his village. No certain evidence coming forth against him he was permitted to go to Hong Kong in May 1915. A letter of his written in November 1915 from Canton and addressed to Giānī Bhagvān Siṅgh, granthī or scripture-reader at San Francisco and a Ghadr revolutionary, was intercepted. This letter spelt out a plan for a simultaneous outbreak at Ludhiāṇā and Fīrozpur and for establishing a state in which all property would be held in common, all necessities of the people supplied and all men trained for military service. Doctor Ṭhākar Siṅgh was arrested at Hong Kong and sent to India where he was interned on arrival in October 1915. He was tried at Ludhiāṇā and sentenced to five years' rigorous imprisonment and a heavy fine. Soon after his release in early 1920, he joined the Akālī movement for Gurdwārā reform. He was arrested on 18 February 1922 for joining a demonstration against the visit of the Prince of Wales and sentenced to three years' imprisonment and fine in lieu of which a major portion of his land was attached.

        As he reached Amritsar on 30 December 1924 after his release from the Mīāṅvālī jail, Doctor ṭhākar Siṅgh was honoured with a siropā or robe of honour at Srī Akāl Takht. By this time the Jaito morchā or agitation in the princely state of Nābhā had come into full swing. The Shiromaṇī Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee and Shiromaṇī Akālī Dal had been outlawed. Ṭhākar Siṅgh acted as vice-president of Shiromaṇī Akālī Dal from 7 November 1925 to the end of January 1926. He became head of the District Akālī Jathā, Ludhiāṇā, on 23 March 1926. By the end of 1926, most of the Akālī leaders were released from jail and the Gurdwārā Reform movement had come to an end. Doctor Ṭhākar Siṅgh retired from active politics and went to live in Rājasthān. He, however, died in his native Ikulāhā on 12 August 1945.


  1. Saiṅsarā, Gurcharan Siṅgh, Ghadar Pārṭī Itihās. Jalandhar, 1969
  2. Jagjīt Siṅgh, Ghadar Pārṭī Lahir. Delhi, 1979

Harbhajan Siṅgh Deol