Gulab Kaur, also known as Bibi Gulab Kaur, was an Indian freedom fighter. She is known for her revolutionary activities that significantly contributed to India’s freedom from British rule. Gulab Kaur is counted among those women revolutionaries who played a crucial role in addressing many prevailing social evils such as gender inequality and Sati. She died in 1941.
Gulab Kaur was born in 1890 (51 years; at the time of death) Uddari Weblog in Bakshiwala village in Sangrur district, Punjab, British India (now, India). She belonged to a poor Sikh family and was very young when she got married to a guy named Mann Singh. During that time in Punjab, workers and people with farming backgrounds were migrating to foreign countries in search of employment. Due to the same reason, the couple migrated to Manila, the capital of the Philippines, in the hope to have a better future as a family, but their ultimate destination was to settle in the United States. Reportedly, during her stay in the Philippines, she came in contact with the Ghadar Party which sowed seeds of revolutionary ideas in Gulab Kaur.
She belonged to a poor Sikh family of farmers in Punjab, India. AID India
Her father was a peasant.
She got married to a man named Mann Singh at a very young age.
The Ghadar Movement
When lower-class people and poor farmers were tired of dealing with the violence and cruelty of the Britishers they decided to leave India and move to other countries for a better life. Most of the Sikhs went to America, where they had to deal with inequality, racism, and humiliation. These circumstances made most of them revolutionaries. On 15 July 1930, the Ghadar Party was founded. The Ghadar Party was an international political movement founded by Overseas Citizens of India to defeat the East India Company’s rule in India. The initial members of the party were mostly Punjabi Indians working on the West Coast of the United States and Canada, but as more and more people got to know about the party, the movement kept spreading in India and among Indian communities all around the globe.
The Journey from Gulab Kaur to ‘Ghadri Gulab Kaur’
After meeting members of the Ghadar Party, she researched more about the party by hearing their preachings. She was so much influenced by the party’s work and its intentions that she decided to join the party. In Manila, she used to meet Indians and promote the party for more people to join it. She would often encourage people to join India’s independence movement through her motivational speeches.
Parted ways with Husband and came to India
Reportedly, Gulab Kaur and her husband, Mann Singh, parted ways after Gulab Kaur decided to return to India along with Hafiz Abdullah of Jagraon, who was the President of the local branch of the Ghadar Party in Manila, and a group of 50 Ghadrites, while her husband wanted her to come along with him to the United States. Gulab Kaur refused the proposal of her husband to settle in the United States as, by that time, she had become a hardcore revolutionary under the wave of the Ghadar movement following which Gulab, along with 50 other revolutionaries of the Philippines, headed to India. They sailed for India after joining the S.S. Korea batch, changing at Singapore from S.S. Korea to Tosha Maru.
Restlessly Served Day and Night!
After her return to India along with other Ghadrites, she started working in the villages of Kapurthala, Hoshiarpur, and Jallandhar, where she would hold secret meetings and distribute weapons, arms, and ammunition with the help of other Ghadar party leaders such as Banta Singh Sanghwal, Piara Singh Langeri, and Harnam Singh Tundilat. She was known for her bravery as she tricked British authorities multiple times. She kept close supervision of the party printing press by masquerading as a journalist and kept the leaders informed about every move that the Britishers made. She gave powerful speeches for making more people unite with the Ghadar party and influenced many women to come ahead and participate in the war against injustice. Women looked up to her and followed her because she played a huge part in empowering women and speaking up against the social evils that were present at that time.
Blood, Sweat, and Tears for Freedom
One day, she got the news that her husband returned to India for taking part in the movement, and she decided to meet him with some other Ghadrites. When she was on her way to meet her husband, she was captured by the British authorities. Subsequently, in 1929, British authorities caught her, and she was sent to prison (Shahi Qila) for her rebellious actions for 2 years in Lahore, British India (now in Pakistan), where she was tortured and tormented in ways one could not imagine. Even after this kind of behaviour, the patriot did not stop speaking out loud against immorality, which made her stay in the prison more difficult, and she was molested by the people there. After 2 years, when she came out of jail, she had become very weak and ill because of all the suffering and misery that she had to go through. Even after her release from prison, she kept her revolutionary activities alive.
Some sources say that she passed away in 1941 (age 50 years; at the time of death) AID Indiadue to some illness, while a few others say that she died in 1931 The Better India at the age of 40 years.
- Because of her revolutionary activities, she earned the famous title of “Ghadri Gulab Kaur”. INUTH
- In 2014, a writer named Kesar Singh wrote a novel about Gulab Kaur titled ‘Gadar Di Dhee Gulab Kaur’ in Punjabi.
- On 10 January 2021 in Delhi, amongst farmers’ protests, a book titled ‘Gulab Kaur Gaddar Lehar Di Daler Yodha’ was released which is written by Rakesh Kumar.
- Meenakshi Lekhi, Minister of State Culture and External Affairs, released a pictorial book titled ‘India’s Women Unsung Heroes: The Brave Women of our Freedom Struggle’ in Delhi on 27 January 2022 as part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM), commemorating 75 years of India’s Independence; Bibi Gulab Kaur was mentioned in the book as one of the heroes.
- Every year, a fair, ‘Mela Ghadari Babian Da,’ is held in Jalandhar, Punjab from 30 October to 1 November. In this fair, multiple cultural programs take place like folk dance, and drama (skit) to give tribute to Gulab Kaur and other freedom fighters.
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