top of page
  • Malkiat Singh Duhra

The Babbar Akali Movement

Updated: Jul 11, 2021

The Babbar Akali movement came into existence when the peaceful Akali struggle for Gurdwara reform was passing through a critical stage. Popular Sikh shrines like Nankana Sahib, Tarn Taran Sahib, and Guru-ka Bagh were occupied by the Mahants, who had made the shrines into their personal property, vanquishing the sanctity of the holy places. Mahants had become the puppets of the British government. With the open backing of the Government, the Mahants stood against the Akalis and attempted to finish them off and put an end to their peaceful struggle for Gurdwara reformation. Kishan Singh raised a Babbar group because of the bloody massacre of Jalianvala Baag, Marshal Law, episode of Budge Budge Port, arrest of Sardar Ajit Singh, Rowlatt Act and Nankana Massacre in which 260 innocent persons were killed. The Babbar Akalis movement was a 1921 splinter group of militants who broke away from the mainstream. Akalis adopted non-violence over Gurdwawra reforms. The militant unit was established as Shahadat Dal Association (martyrs) in September 1920, later evolving into Babbar Akali movement. By 1922, they had organized themselves into a military group and began killing informers, government officials and ex-officials. They also published an illegal newspaper describing British exploitation of India. It was declared an unlawful association by the British in April 1923. The Babbar Akali movement recruited from World War One veterans dissatisfied with broken land grant promises and former members of the Gadar Party which returned from Canada to achieve freedom. The Babbar Akali made their first appearance during the Sikhs Educational Conference held at Hoshiarpur on March 19, 1921. Working Committee of the Babbar Akali was elected in 1922 with Sardar Kishan Singh as Jathedar, Dalip Singh as Secretary, and Banta Singh as Treasurer. Sardar Karam Singh was appointed as Editor of Babbar Akali Doaba Akhbar. The names of other Babbar Akalis are Master Mota Singh, Amar Singh, Tota Singh, Gubachan Singh, Narayan Singh, Chatar Singh, Chanchal Singh, Thakar Singh, Shankar Singh, Bijla Singh, Sunder Singh, and many members of Gadhar Movement (about 500 Babbar Akali). The Babbar Akalis were fearless patriots, full of life, and laid down their lives for the freedom of India, and they had to raise the sword to achieve it. Many of them were tortured to death by the British, but they kept on working underground till India got freedom in 1947. This movement was ruthlessly suppressed because Babbars had scarce resources and awards on their heads. In the first Babbar case, 133 Sikh Babbars were tried; 6 were hanged in February 1926 (Kishan Singh, Santa Singh, Dilip Singh, Nand Singh, Karam Singh, and Dharm Singh) In the second Babbar case, 37 Babbars were tried; 6 were sent to gallows in February 1927. Although the Babbars were physically extinguished by 1925, their thunder could be heard until India got freedom. The Babbar Akalis were Gursikh, who were against the imperialist policies of the British government. They did not approve the policy of non- violence and non-cooperation, but they believed that freedom could be achieved by fighting with the British. They appealed to the Hindus and Muslims through articles, leaflets, Babbar Akalis Doaba Akhbar, and religious congregations to join them for the noble cause. Babbar Akalis declared it necessary to teach a lesson by eliminating the toadies (stooges) and those who were responsible for the massacre of the Akalis at Nankana Sahib. It was generally felt that Mr. C N Kings the commissioner of Lahore, J W Bowring, the superintendent of police, Mahant Devi Das, Narain Das and Basant Das were responsible for the Nankana Sahib massacre. Babbar Akalis also aimed to paralyze the informers and the supporters of the British government such as some Zaildars, Sufedphoses, Lambardars, Patwaries, and police informers, and other Toadies by terrorizing them through various forms of punishment. The credit to achieve freedom goes to the non-violence movement of Congress, Akali Dal and other parties, but the reality is that the British got scared with the violent movement of Babbar Akalis, Gadhar Party and violent group of Congress and other parties during 1920 to1947. The British understood that they can not survive in such a dangerous situation and it is better to leave India as soon as possible (moreover their economy was shattered in World War 2). About 1 million people died during the division of India in 1947 as the British quit India quickly without making necessary arrangements for the division of India. Our younger generation almost forgot the Babbar Akalis, Ghadre Babae and other freedom fighters. It is the responsibility of the seniors to inculcate the knowledge of freedom fighters from generation to generation. There would have been no freedom without the violence of Babbar Akalis and Ghadre Babae as they stood up for their rights and fought militarily to achieve freedom. Singh Sabhas (1873)-Chief Khalsa Dewan (1902)-Ghadar Movement (1913)- Babbar Akalis (1920) played important roles in gaining freedom. The aim of all these movements was to get freedom by adopting different actions taken from time to time. People of Duhra village have built Desh Bhagat Yadgar Hall in the memory of Freedom Fighters. It gives inspiration to the younger generations to keep democracy alive and make India whatever our freedom fighters imagined.

Image Source:

69 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

The Punjabi Language

Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language native to the region of Pakistan and India. It is one of the most widely spoken native languages. Over 95% of people who speak Punjabi as their first language live in


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page