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Zarina Patel

Kenyan trade union activist, was born in Gharjak, a village now in Pakistan. His father, a carpenter of very modest means, migrated to Kenya in 1920 in search of better opportunities. Makhan Singh was a serious and brilliant student whose early childhood was influenced both by the Sikh religion and by the momentous social upheavals in India of that historical period. The Indian Mutiny of 1857, the brutal massacre of civilians in Jalianwalla Bagh in Amritsar, and Gandhi’s call for peaceful non-cooperation in the fight for freedom made deep impressions on him. His own family’s poor economic status drew him to Lenin’s October Revolution and the study of capital versus labor.

The fourteen-year-old Makhan Singh arrived in Kenya in 1927 and studied in a Nairobi school for the next three years Financial constraints denied him access to higher education and he started working in his father s printing ...