Buttan Singh, Kahri (1886-1921)

Buttan Singh was a Sikh pioneer in Vancouver, a member of the Ghadr Party, and one of the seven wounded in the Bela Singh shooting in the Vancouver Sikh gurdwara; and he was among those arrested in connection with Hopkinson’s murder, although released. He was the son of Mehar Singh, Kahri village, Hoshiapur district, Punjab and another Sikh immigrant who had formerly served in the Indian army. In his case, he had joined the army to in penury after his father died. He had served in the Punjab 76th Infantry Regiment and had been dismissed with thirty-three others after an attack on one of the officers by someone in his regiment. His immigration to Canada followed directly in 1906. In Vancouver he was close to Balwant Singh Khurdpur; he became a Ghadr Party member; and he served on the Shore Committee at the time of the Komagata Maru. He left Vancouver on the same ship as Balwant Singh in December 1914, and he accompanied Balwant Singh’s wife from Shanghai to India. He was arrested in India; in Lahore in 1917 he was initially sentenced to transportation for life in connection with the Ghadr conspiracy and then had his sentence reduced and served time in Hazaribagh Central Jail in Bihar until March 1920 when he was released under a general amnesty. He died prematurely a year later.

Sources: Sohan Singh Pooni, Keneda de Gadri Yodhe (Amritsar: Singh Brothers, 2009); Struggle for Free Hindustan: Ghadr Directory, Punjab Section, 1915 (published Mehrauli, New Delhi: Gobind Sadan Institute for Advanced Studies in Comparative Religion, 1996).