Freedom fighter who died while seeking communal harmony : The Tribune India

Freedom fighter who died while seeking communal harmony

Freedom fighter who died while seeking communal harmony

Babu Labh Singh

Tribune News Service

Aparna Banerji

Jalandhar, August 14

While incarcerated at the Central Jail, Multan, in 1942 for supporting Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘Quit India Movement’, freedom fighter and gurdwara reform leader Babu Labh Singh fashioned a Tricolour out of a piece of his yellow ‘dastar’, a dyed cloth and a strip of white fabric.

The flag was hung in their barrack on January 26, 1943, to celebrate “Azadi Din” (Independence Day). Though they wanted to send a message of resistance to the British regime, they were tortured for it.

Doaba’s Akali freedom movement ideologue Babu Labh Singh was killed in 1947 by rioters when he was trying to broker peace and prevent communal tension among communities at Rainak Bazaar in Jalandhar.

The Jalandhar Civil Hospital in the name of Babu Labh Singh, who was killed by rioters at Rainak Bazaar in March 1947.

The Civil Hospital and Shaheed Babu Labh Singh Nagar are named after him, but locals do not know much about his legacy.

Historian and Ghadarite scholar Chiranji Lal Kangniwal said, “Shaheed Babu Labh Singh was as much a Mahtama Gandhi follower as he was a Akali loyalist. When hatred gripped the populace, he worked untiringly to negotiate peace and prevent riots and paid for it with his life. He was born in the Mand area, but settled in Jalandhar city to mobilise residents for the cause of freedom.”

A gurdwara at Rainak Bazar in his name.

“He hoisted the national flag before Independence in prison when it was viewed as a crime by the British and suffered immense torture for it. Despite a hospital and other places being named after him, people don’t know his sacrifices for freedom and Hindu-Muslim unity.”

Born in 1895 to Dula Singh at Lasara village in Phillaur (Jalandhar), Labh Singh started as a clerk that earned him the prefix ‘Babu’. Angered by the Nankana Sahib massacre in 1921, he donned a black turban to his work to the utter chagrin of his British officers which led to him quitting his job.

As per the book “Akali Lehar De Mahaan Neta”, authored by Pratap Singh Gyani, a former Takht Jathedar, Babu Labh Singh was a part of the first Guru Ka Bagh Morcha in 1922 and also contributed to the Jaito Morcha.

Born in Phillaur

Born in 1895 to Dula Singh at Lasara village in Phillaur (Jalandhar), Labh Singh started as a clerk that earned him the prefix ‘Babu’. Angered by the Nankana Sahib massacre in 1921, he donned a black turban to his work to the utter chagrin of his British officers which led to him quitting his job.

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