In providing an overview of a community’s history individual stories remain ignored. This is typified by the case of Shanghai Sikh  policeman, Atma Singh. In year 1937, burly Atma Singh killed a fellow policeman, another Sikh, after the latter allegedly insulted his wife. Taking a meat cleaver Atma Singh is supposed to have made a brutal attack. For this murder, he was sentenced to hang till dead.

On the day of his hanging, the rope broke and Atma Singh fell through the trapdoor and was concussed. There was no evidence of tampering and the hangman, who’d arrived from Hong Kong also found no defects in the way the rope parted. The Sikh community in Old Shanghai considered it as divine intervention. However, Atma Singh was not released and his sentence was reduced to life imprisonment. He was sent to an Indian prison, most likely Andamans. Interestingly, his neck was stretched by 2 inches.

A newspaper clipping on the incident: