Monday, September 26, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

 

14th March

 

1822 Akali Phula Singh, a brave Sikh General of Maharaja Ranjit Singh died while fighting near Naushera. He headed one Sikh outfit "Misl Shaheedan" and played an active role in empire building efforts of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

==> PHULA SINGH AKALI was son of Siha village (Bangar) resident Eshwar Singh. After being introduced to amrit through Nihangh Singh (of Naena Singh Shaheedhi misl), he assumed the name Phula Singh. He was one of the precious flowers of Kalgidhar's Akali garden. He led the Akali movement in restoration of our Gurudwaras and general improvement of the whole Panth. He traveled extensively in pursuit of Gurudwara reforms. However, he maintained his residence in Amritsar. Even today there is a "burgh" and an establishment, named after him, in Amritsar. Akali Phula Singh helped Maharaja Ranjit Singh fight and successfully win numerous wars. He was so true to his faith and strong in his principles that he did not hesitate in pointing Maharaja Ranjit Singh's lapses in public forums. Further he actively sought appropriate punishment (Tankha) for such lapses.

On 14th March. 1823, Akali Phula Singh accepted shaheedhi while fighting with the Khalsa Dal forces in the battle of Sarhadhi and Mulkhaayo. The Shaheedhi place is marked on the banks of Ludhae river, four miles north of Naushehra city. Even today, several Nihanghs reside on this location and serve langer from the land associated with Singh Sahib's Jagir. Both Vaisakhi and Deshehra maela celebrations are held each year on this location. Akali Phula Singh never married and hence did not have any children. However, generations from his younger brother, Bhai Sant Singh, do flourish in Taran Taran region. The Mahant managing Akali Phula Singh's Angitha (place of Shahadat) once attempted to sell some of the associated land. As a result, a bitter dispute erupted in 1916, among the Sikhs and the Mahant. A court case was filed in this regard. As a result in 1918, the Mahant was removed by court orders and a committee was established to manage the affairs of this location.

-Ref. Mahan Kosh (pp. 822)

1922 Kishan Singh Gargaj delivers a fiery and anti-British speech at Anandpur Sahib, on the occasion of Holla Mohalla.

==> HOLLA MOHALLA, a day of celebration designated by Guru Gobind Singh Patshah. No day is considered auspicious in GurSikhism. However, three days are set aside as maela celebrations for increasing social networking, sharing, etc.; namely, Vaisakhi, Diwali, and Holla Mohalla. The first two were set aside by Guru Angad Patshah. To encourage, educate, and demonstrate the weaponry skills and knowledge of war strategies, Guru Gobind Singh Patshah established the traditions of Holla Mohalla at HoalGadh (a fort at Anandpur Sahib) on ChaetBadhi 1st of sunmat 1757. The gathered Sikhs were split into groups for playing war games. Guru Sahib personally observed such war games and coached the participants. The winning teams were given saroopas in sangat. GurSikh Panth maintains this tradition by holding this maela annually at Anandpur Sahib.

-Ref. Mahan Kosh.

1923 First attempt is made to kill Labh Singh Dhadda, responsible for the arrest of Kishan Singh.
1924 2nd Jatha of 500 Akalis, led by Sardar Inder Singh of Village Mirza of Sialkot, was arrested at Jaito.

==> WHERE IS JAITO? A village under Nabha, which falls on the Bathinda-Ferozpur railway line. It is 96 miles from Lahore and 17 miles from Bathinda.

WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF JAITO? On this place situated near a fort, is a historical Gurudwara of Guru Gobind Singh Patshah. Maharaja Hira Singh constructed the beautiful buildings of this Gurudwara. The sarowar is popularly known as "Gangsar". About a mile and a half north of Jaito is "Tibhi Sahib" Gurudwara, where Guru Gobind Singh Patshah used to organize and participate in the evening recitation of Rehras. Both Gurudwaras have extensive land sanctioned to it by the Nabha rulers. Additionally, extensive financial resources are made available on an annual basis from the Nabha rulers and the surrounding villages. A maela celebration is held every 7th of Pooh month (Dec.-Jan.) and Katak (Oct.-Nov.) Puranmashi. Jaito's markets are well renowned. People come from far distances to buy and sell their herds.

WHY AKALIS COURTED ARREST? The key issue involved was resoration of Maharaja Ripudaman Singh of Nabha. Maharaja of Nabha, well-known for his pro-Tat Khalsa Proclivities, had a dispute with Maharaja of Patiala, known for this pro-government role. Although Maharaja of Nabha had absolutely no dispute with the government, as a result of mediation, he was forced to abdicate in July 1923. Col. Michin, with the help of troops and armoured cars, took the Maharaja by surprise on July 8, 1923 and taunted him with the query, "Where is that Akali?" The news of deposition by the government raised a strom of protest against the Government's interefernce in Nabha and was decsribed as a challenge to the Akali movement. As a result tensions mounted. The Akalis, in defiance of state orders, continued to hold diwan indefinitely. The Nabha police in order to arrest all the Akalis, including the one reading the holy Granth Sahib, was said to have disrupted the Akhand Path on Sept. 14, 1923. This dispute took such a tragic shape and got so inflames by Feb. 21, 1924 that several people lost their lives. After sixteen shaheedi jathas apart from one from Bengal and another from Canada, the agitation process was completed two years later, on August 6, 1925, after the concurrent bhog of 101 Akand Paaths.

-Ref.
Mahan Kosh
"The Sikhs in History," by Sangat Singh, 1995

 

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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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