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Gateway to Sikhism

 


13th March

 

1849 The Sikh army fought the British forces at Gurjrat. The British had vastly superior artillery. Sikhs fought valiantly but were routed. Raja Sher Singh and the remaining army surrendered thus ending Sikhs opposition to British.
1921 To his dismay and amazement, Mahatama Gandhi learnt that the Sikhs did not consider themselves to be Hindus, which he had perceived them to be. Precisely, for his Gujarati audience, he wrote in the Navjivan, "Till today, I had thought of them as a sect of Hinduism. But their leaders think that theirs is a distinct religion." Gandhi went back to add, "Their sacred book is the word of their gurus and, apart from that book, they accept no other scriptures as holy."
-Source "The Sikhs in History," by Sangat Singh, 1995
1928 Central Sikh Association presented the Sikh case before the Simon Commission.
1940 Sardar Udham Singh of Sunam killed Sir Michael O'Dwyer, who was Lieutenant General of Punjab at the time of the Jallianwala incident in Amritsar. He was killed in London.

==> JALLIANWALA BAGH INCIDENT: A meeting was called in 1919 to protest :-

the arrest of Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew and Dr. Satyapal, two prominent leaders in Punjab at the time and
against the repressive Rowlette Act of the British Government

Several hundred people had assembled at Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar to participate in this protest. Brigadier General Dwyer was sent to disperse the assembly. He intially proceeded with an armoured car. However, the streets leading up to the Jallianwalla bagh were too narrow for the armoured vehicle and consequently the soldiers had to abandon the vehicle and travel by foot. Upon reaching the Jallianwala bagh, Brigadier General Dwyer opened fire on the innocent and unarmed people, killing almost all. When the firing stooped, a total of 1302 people been killed, including 799 GurSikhs. Udham Singh from Sunam (Punjab), was a child at that time, whose father was among the killed. He vowed to kill the cruel General.

A subsequent enquiry was held into the shooting. As a result, Brigadier General Dyer retired, went back to England, and subsequently died six years after the Jallianwala massacre.

However, The Sikh community felt further insulted, when Rur Sngh, the custodian of the Golden Temple, offered a Saropa to Sir Michael O'Dwyer, Lieuetnant Governor of Punjab. General Dwyer was also offered a Kirpan (Sword of honor) and it was qouted in the British Parliament by Lord Finlay that he had been made a Sikh.

Udham Singh came to England and spent many years of hard work planning ways to fulfill his childhood vows. It is said that Udham Singh took up work in Sir Michale O'Dwyer's residence in England, who was the Governor of Punjab during the Jallianwala massacre. Udham Singh worked there for sometime and therefore got to know Sir O'Dwyer very well. Seezing an opportune moment Udham Singh gunned down Sir O'Dwyer at a public meeting in England as he stood to address the gathering.

-Ref. "Babbar Akali Movement, A Historical Survey,"
Dr. Gurcharan Singh, Aman Publications, 1993.

1969 Lachhman Singh Gill was arrested as an act of revenge by the Gurnam Singh government.
1981 54th All India Sikh Educational Conference held during 13-15 March in Chandigarh. It was organized by the Chief Khalsa Diwan.
1981 A critical development, the radicalization of the Sikh establishment took place at The Sikh Educational Confernece, Chandigarh. To meet the demand for a Sikh Homeland which is founded on Sikh claim to distinct nationhood, some clever politicians and writers had beeen asserting that Sikhs are a separate community and not a sperate nation. At this conference, Sardar Ganga Singh Dhillon of Washington in his enlightening presidential address explained how the Sikhs are a seperate nation.

Thus the 54th All-India Sikh Educational Conference organizsed by Chief Khalsa Diwan passed resolution that Sikhs are a separate Nation and demanded consultative status with non-political bodies of the United Nations on the lines of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The folowing arguments were advanced in favour of these resolutions:

  1. That the Sikhs are a Nation
  2. They are not confined to India and as such have to face many problems which require international intervention for their resolution; and
  3. the Government of India has utterly failed to help the Sikh settlers abroad. For instance, it did not come to their rescue when Indian, mostly Sikhs, were thrown out of Uganda by Idi Amin, with stock and barrel. It did not offer even lip sympathy, not to speak of rendering any aid, legal or financial, when the Sikhs recently launched an agitation against the order for the use of helmets in Britain.

The resolution was lustly greeted with the slogan Khalistan Zindabad. Dr. Sohan Singh, a former Director Health, Punjab, went so far as to say that the creation of Khalistan was the only way to end blatant discrimination against the Sikhs in India since independence.

The Government immediately swung into action. S. Inderjit Singh, who was Chairman of the Reception Committee of thso conference was immediately removed from Chairmanship of the Punjab & Sind Bank, a nationalise bank originally owned and started by the Sikhs. Chief Khalsa Diwan was forced to diswon the resolution passed and condemn those who has raised slogans in favor of a separate Sikh State.

-Source. History of Sikh Struggles, Vol. 1, By Gurmit Singh, Atlantic Publishers & Distributors, 1989. pp. 54-56

1981 Resolution was passed at the 54th All India Sikh Educational Conference, held at Chandigarh, for creation of the International Secretariat to coordinate the activities of the Sikh Nation in the field of economic, education, cultural, political, and religious affairs."

-Source. History of Sikh Struggles, Vol. 1, By Gurmit Singh, Atlantic Publishers & Distributors, 1989. pp. 67

 

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