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Baba Bujha Singh and His Life in Jamshedpur

Baba Bujha Singh

Baba Bujha Singh was an Indian Revolutionary and an activist of the Ghadar Movement, the Kirti Movement, the Tenant’s Struggle, the Communist Parties and the Naxalite Movement. He initially traveled to Argentina with the intention of addressing poverty issues in his homeland. However, during his time there, he encountered like-minded individuals who were passionate about freedom and were part of the Ghadar movement. This encounter ignited a deep sense of patriotism within him. His journey then led him to become a revolutionary, as he embraced socialist ideology and became an ardent follower of it.

These Ghadarites eventually yook him to Russia, where he received an education from Eastern University of Moscow that instilled grand aspirations within him. These aspirations were not self-serving or limited to his family; instead, they were dedicated to alleviating the suffering of humanity, securing the freedom of his nation, ensuring a brighter future for the people, and pursuing revolutionary ideals of great magnitude.

Baba Bujha Singh organised the CPI (M) in Punjab when the former was founded in 1964. He worked as a member of the Jalandhar District Committee. He was also known as the 'Face of the Naxalite Movement' in Punjab. In the 1970 Congress of the All India Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries, he was elected as a delegate. During this period, he was organiser of Jalandhar and Kapurthala districts. Warrants were issued for his arrest in the Achcharwal Conspiracy Case after he took a prominent part in land acquisition activities in Samaon (Bathinda) in December 1968 and the Quila Hakiman land acquisition incident on June 18, 1969. Following the murder of landowner General Balwant Singh in Quila Hakiman, Baba Bujha Singh became a fugitive, and a reward of Rs. 5000 was placed on his capture.

Here's an excerpt from the book "Baba Bujha Singh- The Untold Story" telling us about his connections to the Kirti Party, Hazara Singh, and the labourers of Jamshedpur.

"Police was upturning every stone to arrest Achhar Singh Chhina in the Fatehwal (district Amritsar) Murder Case. Some cousins of Bujha Singh from Chakk Mai Dass had a soda water factory in Jamshedpur (then in Bihar). Bujha Singh sent Comrade Chhina to Jamshedpur after consulting the Party. After this the Kirti Party established links with Jamshedpur and Tata Nagar. Tata Nagar had steel industry and the Kirti Party wanted to organise workers of these factories. In Chakk Mai Dass, the Kirti Party held its secret conference in 1939. This conference deputed Hazara Singh to organise workers in Tata Nagar. He took up his duty in April 1939. After three months of hard work, he was successful in forming an organisation of the workers parallel to the union which was pro-owners. The Kirti Party launched a strike when owners did not listen to the workers’ demands. When the owners tried to run the factory by bringing in workers from the outside in trucks, a confrontation ensued. The goondas hired by the owners threw up Hazara Singh in front of a truck and he was run over under its wheels. The sacrifice of these martyrs is a milestone in the history of working-class revolution. Continuing Hazara Singh’s work Naina Singh Dhoot, Kartar Singh Sarinh, Hardev Rai, Abdullah (Bihar), Daya Singh (Bihar), Bujha Singh, Gurcharan Singh Randhawa and Gandharv Sen continued to organise the workers. But they were arrested one after the other as it was easier for the state to recognise Punjabis in a non-Punjabi land.

In the beginning of 1938, the Congress held its party elections. In the Punjab Congress elections, Dr. Satpal and Dr. Gopi Chand Bhargav were the contenders. Dr. Satpal’s group was being supported by Kirti Party, Socialists, and the Naujwan Bharat Sabha. Dr. Gopi Chand Bhargav was being supported by the Akalis and CPI (Josh group). Dr. Satpal was elected president. The Kirti Party was a dominant force in this election. Bujha Singh played an important role in this election. He did not restrict himself to Punjab but also became active at the all-India level and tried to win over the delegates to Kirti Party’s line and defeat the Congress line. Due to these activities, the pro-British Congress stalwarts like Mahatma Gandhi and Jawahar Lal Nehru were handed a defeat in the Congress. Subhash Chandra Bose was elected national president of the Congress in Tripura Session in 1939. During this session the leadership of Kirti Party, including Ram Kishan B.A. National, Bujha Singh, Dr. Bhag Singh and Achhar Singh Chhina held a secret meeting with Subhash Chandra Bose. The Kirti Party held that Subhash Chandra Bose was an able leader. It was of the opinion that Subhash should meet communist leaders of the Soviet Union and struggle for freedom should be intensified. They held that India could be liberated with the help of a communist country. The Kirti leadership put up this proposal to Subhash Chandra Bose. Subhash Chandra had accepted this proposal and asked for a meeting with the Russian communist leaders.

The leaders of the Congress party could not digest their defeat. They had suspicions about the leaders of the Kirti Party. From within, they were against the revolutionary model of Soviet Union. Their struggle was only for securing their own rule. The Congress party represented feudal and capitalist classes. They knew about connections between Subhash Chandra Bose, the Kirti Party and the Soviet Union. They struck their first blow against the Kirti Party by dissolving the Punjab State Committee in 1939. They had not accepted their defeat in the elections. They created such a situation in the Congress Party that Subhash Chandra Bose had to resign from the post of president. Bose had to launch a new party, the Forward Block. He had resigned from the party post in March 1940 in the all-India level session in Ramgarh. Bose held another secret meeting with the leaders of the Kirti Party during Ramgarh Session. They came to the conclusion that the British would not be thrown out without the force of arms. They came to the conclusion that foreign help would be effective. So, they decided to take help from Russia.

The Kirti Party chalked out a plan in April 1940 to send Subhash to Russia through Afghanistan. Ram Kishan B.A. National, Achhar Singh Chhina and Subhash Chandra Bose were to leave on 7 June, 1940. But Bose did not arrive on the agreed date. Both these leaders deputed Bhagat Ram Talwar to receive Subhash Chandra Bose and left for Kabul. They asked Talwar to bring Bose to Kabul. They told him that by the time Bose arrived they would come back from Russia after talking to the Russian leadership. Both of them reached Amu Darya travelling on foot for two months. On the one side of the river there were Afghan guards, and on the other bank, the Russian Army was present. Both of them tried to swim across the river. Comrade Ram Kishan could not succeed in crossing the river and was martyred when he drowned. Comrade Chhina entered into Russia.

Subhash Chandra Bose had to go to jail during the Hollwell agitation, that was why he could not arrive at the said date. He resorted to hunger strike in the jail. When his health deteriorated the government released him on parole. Ram Kishan B.A. National, one of the four close associates of Subhash Chandra Bose, had been martyred. Achhar Singh Chhina had reached Russia. The Kirti Party deputed Bujha Singh to re-establish contact with Subhash Chandra Bose. Bujha Singh and Dasaundha Singh left for Calcutta to meet Subhash Chandra Bose.

As we know, the party had sent Naina Singh Dhoot to Tata Nagar after Hazara Singh was martyred. He too had been arrested there. Kartar Singh Sarinh, Hardev Rai, Daya Singh and Abdullah (Bihar) too were sent there but all of them were arrested. After their arrest the party had sent Harbans Singh Karnana to work among the workers in Tata Nagar.

Tata Nagar was a new thing for Karnana. When Bujha Singh and Dasaundha Singh left for Calcutta, they decided to visit Tata Nagar on their way. Bujha Singh sent a message to Karnana to leave for Calcutta and wait for them there. Bujha Singh and Dasaundha Singh went to Tata Nagar to take stock of the situation of party work there. When Harbans Singh Karnana reached Calcutta, he was promptly arrested. It was in the end of June 1940. The revolutionaries in Calcutta secured his bail and sent him back to Punjab and paid the bail amount to the court.

Meanwhile, Bujha Singh reached Tata Nagar. The workers there were disturbed about the continuous arrests. Their strike had not been successful. Bujha Singh stayed there to back up the workers. He started organising the workers and launched many struggles. In the initial days of his activity among the workers he was arrested by the Bihar police. The police were happy that they had caught a big fish. The Bihar police enquired from the Punjab government about him and sent him to Rajanpur jail. This jail was situated on the border of Baluchistan."

He was apprehended in Nagar, a village near Phillaur, on July 27, 1970. Tragically, he met his demise in a staged police encounter during the night of July 27-28, at the age of 82, on the canal bridge at Nai Majara, located near Nawan Shehar-Jadla.

The poet Shiv Kumar Batalvi wrote the poem Budhe Rukh Nu Fansi in his honour. The poem dedicated to 'an old naxalite' goes:

"मेरे पिंड दे किसे रुख्ख नूँ

मैं सुणिऐं जेल्ह हो गई है

उहदे कई दोश सन :

उहदे पत्त साविआँ दी थाँ

हमेशा लाल उगदे सन

बिनां 'वा दे वी उडदे सन।

उह पिंड तों बाहर नहीं

पिंड दे सगों उह खूह च उगिआ सी।

ते जद वी झूमदा ताँ उह सदा छावाँ हिलांदा सी

ते धुप्पाँ नूँ डरांदा सी

ते राहिआँ नूँ तुरे जांदे उह

धुप्पाँ तों बचांदा सी

ते पानी भरदीआँ कुड़िआँ नूँ

धी कहि के बुलांदा सी

ते इह वी सुणन विच आइऐ

कि उसदे पैर वी कई सन

ते उह राताँ नूँ तुरदा सी

ते पिंड दे सारिआँ रुख्खाँ नूँ मिल के

रोज़ मुड़दा सी

ते अध-रैणी हवा दी गल्ल करके

रोज़ झुरदा सी

भला यारो अजब गल्ल है

मैं सारी उमर सभ रुख्खाँ दिआँ

शाख़ाँ ताँ तक्कीआँ सन

की रुख्खां दे वी मेरे दोसतो

किते पैर हुन्दे ने ?

ते अज्ज अख़बार विच पड़्हिऐ

कि उह हथिआर-बंद रुख्ख सी

उहदे पल्ले बन्दूकाँ, बम्ब ते लख्खाँ संगीनाँ सी।

मैं रुख्खाँ कोल सदा रहिंदीआ

छावाँ ताँ सुणीआँ सन

पर बम्बाँ दी अजब गल्ल है ?

ते इह झूठी ख़बर पड़्ह के

मैनूँ इतबार नहीं आउंदा

कि उसने पिंड दे

इक होर रुख्ख नूँ मार दित्ता है

जिहड़ा पिंड दे शाहवाँ दे घर

विहड़े च उगिआ सी

जिस तों रोज़ कोई काग

चुगली करन उडिआ सी।

ते अज्ज किसे यार ने दसिऐ

जो मेरे पिंड तों आइऐ

कि मेरे उस पिंड दे रुख्ख नूँ

फांसी वी हो रही है

उहदा पिउ किक्कराँ वरगा

ते माँ बेरी जिही हो रही है ।"

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