Namdhari, host of Netaji in Bangkok, top RSS leader passed away
With the recent passing away of Sardar Sewa Singh Namdhari, India lost another link with Netaji Subash Chandra’s era. A great day in the life of Sardar Sewa Singh Namdhari was never fade away either with ripe age nor a gap of more than six decades. It was at his place in Bangkok in 1940s that Netaji Subash Chandra Bose came to interact with the local Indian community. He was then a young man doing business with his father. Local Indians came in hordes to meet the charismatic leader. Namdhari’s father, Sardar Pratap Singh’s house was chosen to host the meeting with Netaji, as more than 1,000 people could be accommodated at that house. He was also greatly respected in the local Indian community. As an 18-year old, Namdhari worked hard with his father to ensure that everything went off well when Netaji came to their place. Once while recalling that meeting, Namdhari said, “Netaji came to the meeting place exactly on time. The crowd went wild on seeing their hero in flesh and blood for the first time. People lifted him on their shoulders and started chanting slogans like Netaji Zindabad and Bharatmata ki jai. Many in the crowd started weeping in the wake of his brilliant oratory. They felt helpless sitting thousands of miles away from their motherland.”
“Netaji exhorted the Indian community for help so that he could fight the British. He spoke for over 30 minutes and the moment he completed his emotionally charged speech, the expatriate Indian community started giving everything they had with them. When almost everybody had contributed, he was taken aback that his main host Sardar Pratap Singh didn’t contribute anything. He asked his host the reason for not helping for the cause of his motherland. Namdhari was present when Netaji asked this question. After a pause, Sardar Pratap Singh said that he was waiting to see how much money was collected. After that he would donate the same amount later. Netaji was overwhelmed with this gesture and embraced his host. Even after the passage of so many decades of that meeting, Namdhari remembered every word Netaji spoke to his father: “Now, I am convinced that with sons like you, your motherland would be free sooner than later,” Netaji said.
Namdhari was born in Bangkok. He was proud of the fact that the Thailand’s strong Indian community saw Netaji as no less than God. Even though the generation that greatly admired him is almost negligible, it is a legacy they have left to their successors. Unlike in India, one can still find photos of Netaji in his khakhi dress placed at vantage points in Indian homes.
Once India got freedom in 1947, Sewa Singh Namdhari shifted to Delhi. He was very active with RSS and was head of Delhi unit in 60s. He worked with the likes of Bala Saheb Doras, Kedar Nath Sahni, Vijay Kumar Malhotra and others. He was also a very active member of Cow Protection Movement. For a while, he was also heading the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Delhi chapter.
Santokh Singh Chawla, Namdhari’s youngest son, says that till the last days of his life, his father, who is the grand patriarch of the Namdhari Sikh community of India and Thailand, asks his grand and great-grand children to adopt the ideals of Netaji in their lives.