Ghadarite Revolt & Imprsionment

Although he never sought political office, as a true Gursikh he could not accept slavery and repression, so along with the Ghadarites from the USA and Canada he became an active participant in the armed revolt against the British Government for the country’s freedom. In fact, he was the only leader of note from Punjab who, along with his companions, participated in that revolt. It is worth noting here that the top Hindu leader of the Indian National Congress, M. K. Gandhi, opposed the the Ghadarite revolt and declared his support of the British Government in World War I , saying, “Was it not the duty of the slave, seeking to be free, to make the master’s need his opportunity?…it was our duty to win their help by standing them in their need.” Earlier the so-called ‘Punjab Kesri’, Lala Lajpat Rai, (whose brutal beating served as a catalyst to Bhagat Singh) called the Ghadarite – fanatics who were dangerous to the national cause.

The revolt was betrayed as the groups plans were turned over to the British. Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh Ji and his companions were arrested on

May 9, 1915 and tried in what is commonly known as the Second Lahore Conspiracy case. However, it was as a true Gursikh deeply meshed in Sikh Dharma (righteousnesses) more than being merely a political freedom fighter that saw his participation in this fight for his country’s liberation from the yoke of foreign control. Only 38 years old, with a wife and three young children to provide for, he was sentenced to life imprisonment (in 1916) and his property was confiscated. His eldest daughter (ten at the time), who could not bear being separation from her dear father, died within a month of his imprisonment. His son Balbir Singh was only six years old and his daughter Daler Kaur was just two.

During his prison term, of over 15 years, he faced unprecedented sufferings, not for any political or personal reasons, but only because of his determination to live strictly in accordance with the Khalsa (Sikh) Code of Conduct made known to him at the time of his initiation into the Khalsa fold (baptism). In Multan jail, one of the hottest places in India, (now in W. Pakistan) with temperatures going up to 122°F in May and June, he remained without food and water continuously for 40 days. This was because he was not allowed to prepare his food himself according to the Gurmat principles and he would not take food prepared by non-Amritdharis (non-baptised Sikhs). He was chained to iron gates in the open for many days to face the scorching heat of the sun and bear the brunt of hot winds.
At night he was put into a 6′ x 4′ cell without ventilation. This is only one instance of the many tortures inflicted upon him. He had to bear such terrible sufferings in prison that twice he was given up for dead even by members of his own family. Even after suffering such inhuman tortures, he remained steadfast in his beliefs and never once wavered from following strictly the Khalsa Code of Conduct. When the Khalsa Panth came to know of his tortuous sufferings, the whole Sikh Panth (community) observed February 1, 1923 as a special day of prayer for him in particular and for other suffering Sikh prisoners in general.

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