Friday, September 30, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

Ford, Mathew William
English Soldier (D. 1841)

An Englishman who started his career in 1804 as an ensign in a West India regiment. He successively served with the 7th Foot, the 70th Foot, the Ist Royal Scots and the 22nd Light Dragoons. In 1823, he was appointed paymaster to the 16th Foot. While stationed at Karnal in 1837, he embezzled large sums of money and deserted the British troops. He came to Lahore towards the end of the year and joined the Sikh army as a battalion commander on Rs 800 per month, later commuted for a jagir of three villages near Rawalpindi. Ford's battalion belonged to Avitabile's brigade. At the time of Maharaja Ranjit Singh's funeral procession, Ford commanded the regiment that lined up the streets of Lahore.

After the Maharaja's death, European employees of the court became suspect especially in the eyes of the Sikh troops. In March 1841, Ford was at Hazara when he was attacked by his own men and seriously injured. He escaped to Peshawar where he died of the injuries a month later.

Source: TheSikhEncyclopedia.Com

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The etymology of the term 'gurdwara' is from the words 'Gur (ਗੁਰ)' (a reference to the Sikh Gurus) and 'Dwara (ਦੁਆਰਾ)' (gateway in Gurmukhi), together meaning 'the gateway through which the Guru could be reached'. Thereafter, all Sikh places of worship came to be known as gurdwaras.
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