Amar Singh, Barian Kalan

Amar Singh, son of Hakim Singh, Barian Kalan village, Hoshiapur district, was one of the friends of Bela Singh the immigration interpreter and informant in Vancouver. Inspector Hopkinson included Amar Singh on his 18 March 1914 list of nine informants and their friends cooperating with the immigration department in Vancouver. Also on the list were Amar Singh’s brother, Ganga Ram, and Bela Singh. Amar Singh testified on Bela Singh’s behalf at his trial in September 1914, supporting his claim of self-defence. His story illustrates the troubles that he and his compatriots encountered travelling in wartime, whatever their politics. In February 1915 he left for India via Seattle only to be delayed in Hong Kong, unable to get a passage because normal service had been interrupted by the mutiny in Singapore of the Muslim 5th infantry regiment and the 36th Sikh regiment − mutinies instigated by Ghadr activists. He and his companions made their way to Burma and were arrested as they continued through that country on foot. He wrote for help to his brother, Ganga Ram, in Vancouver who  appealed to his superiors in the immigration department to intervene. The surviving documents do not show what happened next.

Sources:  I.M. Muthanna, People of India in North America. Part First (Bangalore: Printed at Lutus Printers, 1975);  National Library and Archives Canada, Immigration files, RG 76.