Tribute to Baba Kharak Singh
Baba Kharak Singh was born in 1868 at Sialkot. He was from the first batch of graduates of the Punjab University, Lahore.
In 1912 he was elected Chairman of the Reception Committee of the 5th Session of the Sikh Educational Conference held at Sialkot. He presided over the historic session of the Central Sikh League held in Lahore in 1920, at which Mahatma Gandhi, the Ali Brothers and Dr. Kitchlew were present and advised the Sikhs to throw in their lot with the Congress. In 1921 he helped found the S.G.P.C. and was unanimously elected its President. Afterwards, too, he held that exalted office of several occasions.
He launched the first morcha against the government in November, 1921, which is popularly known as the Keys morcha. He was among the first to be arrested. His arrest led to a vigorous storm of protest against the Government. Within six weeks the Government bowed and released him. In the same year he was elected President of Punjab Provincial Congress Committee. A few weeks after this event he was arrested and sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment.
In a lecture at Lahore he said "In the fight for India's freedom if you find a bullet in my back, do not count me as one amongst the Sikhs of the Gurus and do not cremate my dead body according to the Sikh rites. A disciple of the Great Gurus is an ideal saint-soldier and it supposed to fight in the vanguard and face the bullets in the chest and not in the back, and we the Sikhs shall never allow any foreigner to rule over Motherland, and we shall brook no injustice."
He organized a mammoth demonstration in 1928 when the Simon Commission visited Lahore. He was again sent to jail in 1931 but was released after six months. He was re-arrested in 1932 and detained for 19 months in prison. Once again he was taken in custody in 1935 for his scathing criticism of the Communal Award.
He was again sent to the jail in 1940 for participating in Satyagrah movement in 1940. In spite of his old age, Babaji did not stop his activities. He was one of those leaders who unhesitatingly took up the cause of the I.N.A. in 1945. During the elections of 1946 he toured the whole of the Punjab and the N.W.F.P. and made a magnificent contribution to the success of the Congress.
According to Jawahar Lal Nehru, during his whole life had never surrender to what he considered to be wrong or evil, whatever the consequences might have been.
At another place Mr. Nehru said about him, "There are few hands which can uphold the honour and preserve the dignity of the national Flag better than those of Babaji".
He died on 6th October, 1963