Thursday, December 08, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

Gurudwara Shaheed Ganj Singh Singhnian,Naulakha Bazar, Lahore

This historical site is located opposite Shaheed Ganj of Gurdwara Bhai Taru Singh Shaheed Ganj in Naulakha Bazaar. According to Sikh historians at least 250,000 Sikh men and women were rpartyred at the behest of Mir Mannu, the Governor of Lahore. When Mir Mannu was made the Subedar of Punjab in 1764 he made a vow not to leave a single Sikh alive. At his orders Sikhs' men and women, were arrested, brought here and then they were murdered. Once there used to be a mosque here and the Muslims used to call it Shaheed Ganj mosque.
When Divan Kaura Mal ersuaded the Sikhs to help Mir Mannu at the time of the battle of Multan, he handed over this place to the Sikhs who made it a place of worship. An adage was popular amongst the Sikhs about the oppression of Mir Mannu.
'Mir Mannu saadi datri, asin mannu dey soye
Jyon jyon sano kap da, asin dunay teenay hove. "
(Mir Mannu is our sickle and we are Mannu's anseed The more he clips us the more we increase in number)
A dispute around this Shaheed Ganj erupted in 1910 AD when Muslims tried to take over the possession of Shaheed Ganj. In 1936 AD the dig ute became so grave that the police had to open fire. The Muslims filed a suit and the lower court decided the case in their favour. Later the Higher Court dismissed this case. Governor Emerson maintained its status as a Gurdwara. The last case was dismissed by the court on 6th may 1996 due to the non appearance of the witnesses and thus it continues to be a Gurdwara even today.
According to some historians, about two and a half lakh Singhs-Sikh women folk, young and old Singhs and Children were martyrised here. As the women suffered most to immortalism on account of thier heroic deeds, it was named Gurdwara Shahid Ganj Singhnian. In march 1764, when Mir Manu assumed the governorship of Punjab, he announced to exterminate the Sikh's root and branch. At his orders, the Sikhs were imprisoned and brought here to be killed. It is here on the basement, that the devoted women were made to mill grain. Their children were butchered mercilessly and garlands, made of their severed limbs, were put around their necks. When Diwan Kaura Mal's men gave assistance to Mir Manu in Multan expedition, they got possession of this place. The Sikhs started reciting Sri Guru Granth Sahib at this place and a Gurdwara was constructed. It gained importance when the sardars of the Bhangi Misl captured Lahore. Shere-i-Punjab, Maharaja Ranjit Singh also used to visit this shrine twice or thrice a week to pay his homage. The Maharaja granted a Jagir to this Gurdwara but the management remained with the Mahants. On 1st December A.D. 1934, Shiromani Committee got the management of this historic holy place. But after partition, this place was abandoned. At present, the management of this place is with the Waqf board. Although the building is in a good condition but Guru Granth Sahib is not placed.

Acknowledgements:

Text and photographs:Historical Sikh Shrines in Pakistan : Iqbal Qaiser
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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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