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KARTAR SINGH, a martyr of faith

Knowing Christ 

Kartar Singh,who was a contemporary of Sadhu Sundar Singh, was a Sikh and the son of rich Zamindar (Land owner)in the land of Punjab, India. All the hopes of the family were centered in this boy, for there were no other sons to carry on the name. Like Sadhu Sundar Singh he was brought up in the midst of luxury, and preparations for his future were made by giving him the best education possible. Nothing was forgotten that could make his training complete for the fulfillment of the ambitions of his father for the boy. However, in spite of an utter neglect of religion in this education, there grew up in his mind a desire after spiritual things, which his secular training could not satisfy. He heard of Christianity, and little by little, got to know and understand its claims, until a deep conviction of its truth laid hold of him. The more he studied it the more he felt it supplied the cravings of his own soul, until at last he saw but one path - and that the strait and narrow one before him. 

Tempted but not yielded 

Kartar now took the irrevocable step of declaring himself a Christian, a fact that filled the hearts of his people with dismay. Many attempts of various kinds were made to win him from persisting in this determination, but finding him not to be tempted by ordinary means, his father sent to him the beautiful girl who was his chosen wife. This poor girl came before him in all her tender promise of life, and with tears besought him to desist from taking a step that would mean such terrible loss to her. Looking upon her misery his heart was touched, yet even in this last temptation God gave him strength, and with much tenderness he put the sweet Hindu child from him, declaring that the one heart he had to give already belonged to Christ his Savior. The broken-hearted girl returned to the house of her future father-in-law to tell how useless had been her protests, since Kartar had said all his love had been given to Another. 

Persecuted but not yielded 

Not long afterwards, Kartar was driven forth homeless from the house of his father. To enable him to buy food and sufficient clothes, he then took up the work of a laborer, and undiscouraged by his hard lot, this tenderly reared boy bent his back to tasks which the servants of his father would have despised. Very soon, however, Kartar began his mission to the people of his own country, and went preaching among the towns and villages of Patiala, where he trod the thorny and difficult path that was to prepare him for the harder future awaiting him. After preaching in many places in the Punjab, Kartar turned his steps towards the mountains that lay between him and the darkest Tibet, and after some weeks of weary journeying over rough country, he found himself in the land of his choice. 

Preached amidst persecution 

The Buddhism of Tibet has no place for Christ, whose very name arouses the deepest feelings of hatred and opposition. No record remains that Kartar met with much personal kindness or that his message was accepted, but no thought of going back seemed to have occurred to his mind. These people were without Christ and had need of Him, and as Christ had given His life, so Kartar was prepared to sacrifice his life also, that at least his witness should be borne and his love testified to before his persecutors. Although the sight of his youth and the fervor of his message touched hearts, there was little courage to take his part, and it was only after his death, the fruit of his labors and testimony became known. 

Kartar saw, as our Savior did before him, that the thorny path could only end in one way. In spite of numerous efforts to drive him out of the country, he continued his preaching in many places for some time, but eventually he was hauled before the Lama of Tsingham and charged with unlawfully entering the country with intent to teach a foreign religion. The end he had looked forward to had come, and with undaunted courage, he faced the inevitable, trusting to God to give him the necessary grace to witness to his faith to the end. On the way to the judgment seat, he delivered his last message, urging on the crowd the necessity of seeking salvation through Jesus Christ, and one at least of all who heard his words remembered them and through them found the Savior. 


Arrived at the place of execution Kartar was stripped of all his clothes and was sewn up in a wet yak skin, which was then put out in the sun. A cruel mocking crowd stood about to witness his tortures, and as the skin, shrunk and tightened round him, they laughed to hear the bones cracking in the slow process of death. By his side on the ground lay the New Testament that had been his one and only comfort through the hard days that had followed his confession of his Master. Unheeded it lay until on the third day, when Kartar knew the end of was drawing on, he asked that his right hand might be set free for a moment. This was done, probably more from curiosity than mercy. Collecting all his strength, Kartar wrote his last message on the flyleaf of his Testament. It was written in Urdu, which was translated into English as follows: 

From God I life besought, not once but a hundred thousand times,

That to what Friend again is oft I might return it.

That love for Him, Khasrawa, shall not be less than hers - the faithful Hindu wife,

Who on the burning pyre draws to her heart the loved one,

And lays her life beside him.

The life he gave to me was what I gave to Him:

True is that though I did it all, yet all I could not do. 

No cry of anguish escaped the brave lips, but as evening came on, Kartar gave thanks aloud to God for comfort in death, and quietly passed away with the words, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit".


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