Hari Singh Usman
(1880 – 1969) – (Punjab)
Baba Hari Singh Usman (Aged 89) was born in Baddowal, District Ludhiana in 1880. After serving in the British Indian Army for a brief period, he moved to the U.S.A. in 1907 but returned to India as he found the Indian community there to be mistreated. He then joined the Ghadar movement, led by Lala Hardyal, Baba Sohan Singh, and other revolutionaries, and became a key member of the organization.
In 1914, the Ghadar party planned an armed uprising in India, and Baba Hari Singh was given the dangerous task of accompanying a ship carrying arms and ammunition, procured with German assistance, to centers of rebellion in India. However, the British intelligence discovered the plot and the ship was lost at sea, and Baba Hari Singh had to flee to Indonesia under the name and passport of Usman Khan.
Despite orders to shoot him on sight in India, Baba Hari Singh made a fortune for himself by obtaining jobs in tea, rubber, and coffee plantations, with the help of the German Consul to Indonesia. During World War II, he offered his services to the Japanese and played a significant role in the foundation of the Indian Independence League and the India National Army, where he worked closely with Netaji Subash Chandra Bose.
Baba Hari Singh’s eldest son, Hira Singh Handry, who was born and raised in Indonesia, fought and died for India’s freedom on the South Eastern Front. After the war, Baba Hari Singh went back to Indonesia to assist the Indonesians in their freedom struggle, and he was imprisoned. However, with the help of some Indian merchant friends in Jakarta, he secured his release and returned to India in 1948 after an absence of 41 years. He spent the rest of his life in his ancestral village of Baddowal and passed away in 1969.