Jathedar Sardar Kartar Singh ji Jhabbar

Jhabbar received more reports from his confidential aide Sardar Waryam Singh at Nanakana sahib about debauchery of Mahant Narain Das. A noble Hindu sessions judge from Sindh had visited Gurdwara Nanakana sahib where his 13 years old daughter was raped by one of the Mahants. Akali party decided to free up this Gurdwara from Mahant Narain Das. Bhai Kartar Singh Jhabbar's Jatha and other Jathas were sent to free up this Gurdwara. Saka Nankana Sahib happened when Mahant Narain Das killed 50-100 Sikhs who had gathered at Gurdwara at Nankana sahib under Gurdwara reform movement free up Gurdwara from Mahant. Noted activists like Bhai Dalip Singh ji were massacred by hooligans gathered there by Mahant. Mahant was later arrested by and was found guilty of crime.

At the same time struggle for Independence was spearheaded by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Later known as Mahatma Gandhi). Gandhi wanted to use Sikh's resentment against British towards Independence struggle. On 22 February 1921, two days after massacre, Governor of Punjab, Gandhi and other Sikh and Hindu leaders visited Nankana Sahib. Initially British governor did not gave the keys of Gurdwara to Akali party but he had to bow to pressure from Jhabbar and his accomplice and thus Gurdwara Nankana sahib was freed. Then Punjab governor in a confidential memo to the government of India noted "The Akali movement is likely to be a cause of much greater concern than the civil disobedience campaign of Gandhi."

Thn two episodes during the year 1923 happened first deposition of Maharaja Ripudaman Singh of Nabha second Saka Gangsar Jaito was started by Akalis Jhabbar actively participated in these agitation. Akalis would take out Jatha from Golden Temple walk through villages and then at Jaito government would arrest them, so many people were arrested that all jails were full and government had to bow to pressure and hand over Gurdwara Gangsar to Akalis. Thus after long and peaceful struggle which cost the Sikhs 400 dead in police firing, 20,000 injured, 30,000 jailed men and women, besides dismissals from services, withdrawals of Jagirs and pensions, confiscation of properties, imposition of fines, Rs 15 lacs, the corrupt, and anti-Sikh maryada Mahants and pujaris were driven out from Sikh Gurdwara, which were not brought under the control of the Guru panth through this act. This added another glorious chapter of Sikh chronicles of eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Jathedar Jhabbar, realizing the nature of long drawn out Morchas at Jaito and Bhai Pheru decided to remain outside jail so as to help arrange volunteers for this struggle. The 8th 500 strong Shaidee Jatha was sent by him from Gurdwara Sacha Sauda. He toured through out Punjab, delivered spirited speeches and exhorted Sikhs to get baptized to fight Govt. with heart and soul. But Jhabbar was arrested and sentenced 18 years of Jail, but released after four and half years of indescribable hardships in different jails, Jhabbar was released as a mere skeleton, thoroughly shattered in health., for the govt. would not take the risk of his dying inside a jail.

After Gurdwara act was passed in 1925, taking possession of all the properties in the name of different Gurdwara in Punjab was a Himalayan task. Several tenants accused Jhabbar of forcibly throwing them from properties, some even accused him of murder. But Jhabbar was exonerated of all these crimes. Jhabbar and his 25 member squad took possession of the properties worth annual income of a Lac and a half of Gurdwara Kot Bhai Than Singh, from local western educated nawab, in September 1937.

Jhabbar would now attend Panthic functions and speak on current subjects. Sometimes, he would expose Govt. misdeeds publicly. On one such report a warrant was issued against him in 1944. By then he had developed urinary trouble. He was arrested and later sentences to one year imprisonment. He was 70 years old then. On release, he again engaged himself in gurmat parchar and panthic activities. During the partition of 1947, Jhabbar came to India after every Hindu and Sikh had left Nankana Sahib area. He then occupied himself in resettlement of refugees on this side of border. Himself with the family he settled in village Habri in Karnal district. During his remaining 14 years of life, he got a High school, a paved road, a Hospital, and other similar amenities for the area sanctioned by govt. In 1962, after a brief illness, he passed away when he was 88 years old. Bhai Narain Singh records, "I frequently visited him during his illness. First of all he would always inquire about

news regarding Panthic welfare."

Such is a life story, in brief of Akali Jathedar Kartar Singh Virk aka 'Jhabbar'. The Sikh nation, as such, is eternally indebted to these Akali and Chief Khalsa Diwan crusaders for their acts of Panthic devotion, rare chivalry and wise leadership.

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  1. Copyright © Narain Singh ""Akali Lahir da Nayak Sardar Kartar Singh Jhabbar"
  2. Translated by Sandeep Singh Bajwa from the book provided by Sardar Manmohan Singh ji Virk, Grandson of Sardar Kartar Singh ji Jhabbar.