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Gateway to Sikhism

 

1st September

 

1574 Joti Jot, Patshahi Third, Guru Amardas Ji.

Third Patshahi, Guru Amardas Ji, left this world for heavenly abode from Goindwal Sahib. Guru Amar Das served the house of Guru nanak for about twelve years with unbounded devotion, impeccable obedience and impeccant love. Today is the actual date of third Patshahi's Joti Joti, though it is observed on a different day by Guru Khalsa Panth.

==> GURU AMAR DAS (1479-1574), the seventy-three years old disciple who had distinguished himself for his humility and simplicity in Guru Angad's holy company was nominated Guru in 1552.

Born of orthodox Hindu parents in Baserke, a Punjab village, in Vaisakh sudhi 14th sunmat 1536 (May 5, 1479) to father TaejBhan and mother Sulakhani, Guru Amar Das married Srimatti Mansa Devi Ji on Magh 11th sunmat 1559. The marriage resulted in two daughters, Bibi Dani and Bhani, and two sons, Baba Mohan and Mohari.

Guru Amar Das was a great pilgrim. Once he happened to listen to a rapturous chanting of Guru Nanak's Japji by Bibi Amro, Guru Angad's daughter and his nephew's wife. He was so much enthralled by its supernal note that he repaired instantly to Guru Angad, the Second Master. He spent about 12 years, from 1540 to 1552 in selfless service and deep meditation, amidst an aura of holiness and splendor radiating from his beloved Guru. Amar Dass became a sikh of Guru Angad Patshah in sunmat 1597 and ascended to Guru Gadhi on Vaisakh 3rd sunmat 1609.

While expounding the gospel of Guru Nanak, the Third Master laid special stress on the service of the Guru and contemplation of the Lord's Name. He asserted that man could attain Sahaj (tranquility) through the path of the holy name. All doubts disappear and he attains Ananda (bliss) a stage achieved by the Bhakts through God-realization. He also held that these values could be acquired only through the Guru's grace.

During the 22 years of his ministry, Guru Amar Das took quite a few significant measures to consolidate the Sikh religion, as also to endear it to the masses of men. To widen the scope of the movement, he made Goindwal his missionary centre. Here he caused a big bavalli (a sort of well) dug and organized festivals on the occasion of Deepavall and Baisakhi. A large number of Sikhs from far-flung places flocked to Goindwal. Indeed it became the first place of pilgrimage.

Besides, the Guru set up twenty-two manjis, or dioceses in different parts of the country where Sikhism had taken roots. Each Manji was placed under the charge of a pious Sikh with whose effort the Sikh Sangats (congregations) met daily and chanted the Guru's hymns.

The Third Master invested the institution of langar with a kind of inviolable sanctity. Thus, no one could, have darshan of the Guru without first partaking of food in the langar. This had the desired effect of proclaiming and establishing the essential equality of all mankind. In the Guru's Temple of Bread, the rich and the poor, the high-born and the untouchable, ate together as members of an integrated human family. The Guru also fought other rampant social evils like Sati, drink and Purdah. With a view to marking out the Sikhs as a distinct people, Guru Amar Das prescribed a set of rites to be followed on occasions such as birth and death. The Guru also visited Hindu cities of pilgrimage and there, too, he propagated the gospel of Guru Nanak.

Guru Amar Das Patshah left for heavenly abode on Bhado Sudi 15 sunmat 1631 (Sept. 1, 1574 after serving 22 years, 5 months, and 23 days as the third Guru of GurSikhism.
Guru Amar Dass Jini Saewiyo Tin Dukh Darad Parhar Parae
(sawia M. 3 Kae)

-Ref. Guru Granth Ratnavali, (pp. 142) by Dr. D.S. Mani, Sardar Bakhshish Singh, and Dr. Gurdit Singh
Mahan Kosh (pp. 74)

1574 Gur Gadhi, Patshahi Fourth, Guru Ram Das Ji.

Guru Ramdas Ji ascended to Guruship of Sikhism. In 1546, at the age of twleve, Bhai Jetha came to Goindwal to visit Guru Amar Das with his village folks and never went back. He requested Guru Amar Das to accept him as his disciple. Later he became Guru Amar Das's most trustworthy devotee and a sincre and dedicated follower.

After being put to very hard and difficult tests, Bhai Jetha was declared the fourth Guru of the Sikhs. Bhai Jetha served the Guru for about twenty eight years before being anointed as the fourth Guru of the Sikhs. On this day a few hours before Guru Amar Das left for his heavenly abode, he called Baba Budha to anoint Bhai Jetha as the Guru of the Sikhs. He put five paisas and a coconut in front of Bhai Jetha, bowed and declared him to be the fourth Guru of the Sikhs, hence to be known as Guru Ram Das. Today is the actual of when Fourth Patshahi's ascended to Guruship though it is observed on a different date by Guru Khalsa Panth.

-Ref. The Sikh Religion and The Sikh People, by Dr. S.S. Kapor, Hemkunt Press, New Delhi, 1992.

==> GURU RAM DAS (1534-1581). the Fourth Master, ascended the holy gaddi (throne) of Guru Nanak in 1574 and continued to adorn the exalted office till 1581. Though he was the son-in-law of Guru Amar Das, being married to his daughter Bibi Bhani, yet he revered the Third Master as a Guru with an unwavering fervor. Inebriated with the nectar of the divine Nam, he spurned delights, and @pent all his time in an ecstatic communion with the Lord through moments of deep meditation.

Originally called Jetha Ji, Guru Ram Das was born in a Sodhi family at Lahore in 1534. His parents died when he was just a child. He was, therefore, brought up by his maternal grandparents. He had an opportunity to visit Goindwal, the seat of the Third Master, at a time when the bavali was being dug through voluntary labor. He immersed himself in this labor of love with such a rare verve and dedication that he won the Guru's appreciation and recognition. The Third Master was so highly pleased with the disciple that he gave his daughter Bibi Bhani to him in marriage. Nevertheless, he served Guru Amar Das with as much love and devotion as ever before. It was in 1574 that he was invested with Guruship and named Guru Ram Das.

Guru Ram Das's contribution to Bani is considerable. His compositions throb on born of love for fellowman and yearning for God. They inculcate in the people the adoration of God and the Guru. Rightly does the Master image an ideal man as one who had drunk deep at the fount of Nam and whose eyes are aglow with the love of the Lord. He sought a consummation of the human personality through God-realization.

The Vars (ballads) of the Fourth Master, enshrined in the Guru Granth Sahib, outnumber those of other contributors. After Guru Nanak and Guru Amar Das, it was he who expanded the range of the Ragas in the Adi Granth adding as many as eleven to the existing system. Notable among the Fourth Master's contribution to Sikhism is the establishment of a new Chak called Guru Ka Chak on the land gifted by Emperor Akbar to Bibi Bhani, the Guru's wife. Later, it grew into the city of Amritsar. Here the Guru started the digging of two sarovars (pools) which when completed during Guru Arjan's time, came to be known as Santokhsar and Amritsar So great was the Guru's magnetism that during his pontificate Amritsar emerged as a famous place of pilgrimage for the Sikhs.

With a view to transmitting the gospel of Sikhism as also to meeting the expenditure incurred on the ever expanding altruistic plans and programs, the Guru founded the institution of masands. The offerings of the Sikhs were collected by the masands who rendered these to the Guru.

Guru Ram Das also deputed learned missionaries to establish contact with the Sikhs outside the Punjab. Guru Amar Das had already set up 22 Manjis (dioceses). Accordingly, the Fourth Master bade Bhai Hindal and Bhai Gurdas begin their missionary work and preach Sikhism at Jandiala and Agra, respectively. The Guru also shifted his head-quarters from Goindwal to Amritsar. Besides, he got prepared handwritten Gutkas (booklets of holy hymns). The Adi Granth contains 679 hymns by Guru Ram Das.

Guru Ram Das had three sons - Prithi Chand, Mahan Dev and Arjan Dev. He considered the youngest son, Arjan Dev, the ablest and saintliest and, therefore, installed him as Guru in 1581.

-Ref. Guru Granth Ratnavali, (pp. 58) by Dr. D.S. Mani, Sardar Bakhshish Singh, and Dr. Gurdit Singh.

1581 Joti Jot, Patshahi Fourth, Guru Ram Das Ji.

Fourth Patshahi, Guru Ramdas Ji, left this world for heavenly abode from Goindwal. He served as Guru for only seven years. Today is the actual date of fourth Patshahi's Joti Joti, though it is observed on a different date by Guru Khalsa Panth.

1581 Gur Gadhi, Patshahi Fifth, Guru Arjun Dev Ji.

Guru Arjan Dev was anointed as the fifth Guru of the Sikhs by Bhai Budha. Guru Ram Das put five paisa and a coconut in front of Arjan Dev and bowed to him. Bhai Budha put the saffron mark on the forehead and declared him the successor of Guru Ram Das. Guru Ram Das breathed his last on the same day. Guru Arjan was only eighteen years old when he scended to Guruship. Before him, Guru Nanak had been declared a prophet (at the age of 38) when he came back from the house of God and re-emerged in the river Bein; Guru Angad, Guru Amar Das and Guru Ram Das were anointed Gurus ate the ages of 35, 73, and 40 respectively. Thus Guru Arjan Dev was the youngest of all the Gurus before him. Today is the actual of when fifth Patshahi's ascended to Guruship though it is observed on a different date by Guru Khalsa Panth.

-Ref. The Sikh Religion and The Sikh People, by Dr. S.S. Kapor, Hemkunt Press, New Delhi, 1992.

==> GURU ARJAN DEV (1563-1606) Guru Arjan, the 'Prince of Martyrs' and the 'Prophet of Peace', proffered his precious life to nurture the glory that was to be the Sikh Panth. The Fifth Master's life was marked by divine bliss and sublime sacrifices, born of a sweet acceptance of God's Will. Gifted with a quintessential poetic afflatus, and immeasurable imaginative sympathies, the Guru gave the movement of Sikhism a definite direction, perspective and program. He made the new faith coeval or coextensive with the whole gamut of existence and raised its exquisite edifice on values for which there is neither death nor change.

Guru Arjan Dev adorned the sacred throne of Guru Nanak from Sept. 1, 1581 to May 30, 1606. Born at Goindwal on April 15, 1563, he was the youngest and noblest son of Guru Ram Das and Mata Bibi Bhani. On 23 Hadh sunmat 1636, he married Ganga Devi, daughter of Krishan Chand of Mau village. He had an innate poetic sensibility which was exquisitely displayed in the epistles that he sent to his father from Lahore. They are deeply expressive of the pangs of separation and the exuberance of Love. The Fourth Master's decision to make Guru Arjan his spiritual heir was bitterly opposed by Prithvi Chand who contended that being the eldest son, he alone was entitled to the Guruship. Thus, he could never reconcile himself to his younger brother's installation as Guru.

Under Guru Arjan Dev the Sikh movement registered great progress. In sunmat 1645, he cemented the Santokhsar sarovar. Further, the Guru not only completed the construction of the Sarovars started at 'Guru Ka Chak' by his predecessor but also constructed two more Sarovars. He had the Harmandar built in the middle of Amritsar Sarovar and invited a celebrated Muslim divine, Mian Mir, to lay its foundation stone in sunmat 1645. Remarkable for its architectural and aesthetic beauty and unique in its conception, the temple with its four doors symbolizes the inborn equality of all mankind.

Indeed, it is open to all the four castes without any discrimination. Thus, the Guru sought a dissolution of all castes and creed distinctions. Unlike the Hindu shrines that are built on a high plinth, the Harmandar (the Temple of God) was built on a level lower than that of the surrounding areas, thereby making it imperative for the devotees to go down the steps in a spirit of true humility. In addition, the towns of Tarn Taran and Kartarpur flourished under the Guru's tutelage. He had a magnificent tank built at Tarn Taran (pool of salvation) in sunmat 1647 and a Bavalli constructed at Lahore. in sunmat 1651, he established the town of Kartarpur Nagar (Dist. Jullander) and Ramsar in sunmat 1659-60.

Guru Arjan undertook a tour of the Punjab to preach Sikhism. He rationalized the institution of the masands and ordained that every Sikh should voluntarily donate a tenth of his income raised by the sweat of his brow for religious purposes. The masands collected the offerings thus made and deposited them in the Guru's treasury. Again, when the Punjab was in the grip of drought and famine, Guru Arjan persuaded the Emperor Akbar to remit the land revenue for that year.

The most epochal achievement, however, of Guru Arjan was the compilation of the Adi Granth. The Guru devoted three years from 1601 to 1604 to the completion of the sublime project. He studied thoroughly the entire treasure of Gurbani, collected the hymns and psalms of the previous Gurus, and screened the utterances of the bhakts collected by the previous Gurus. He not only put the entire Bani together but also compiled it systematically under different ragas. Guru Arjan's genius for compilation is eminently projected by the vars included in the Adi Granth. He has added shlokas to the Bani of all the earlier Gurus in order to elucidate the deeper meanings. To compile the outpourings of his predecessors and the, Bhakts under various ragas (musical measures) obviously demanded an unflattering grasp of the musical measures. Besides being a notable compiler, Guru Arjan was also a gifted poet. More than half of the holy Granth consists of his own utterances. They comprise 2218 verses. Thus his work exceeds that of the other 35 inspired poets whose compositions are enshrined in the Guru Granth.

The essential message of Guru Arjan's hymns is meditation on Nam. The Guru has lucidly expatiated on the concept of brahmgiani (the enlightened soul). According to him, this enlightenment can be attained only through meditation on the Lord and the Guru's grace. In depicting the attributes of the brahmgiani, he has compared him to a lotus flower which immersed in mud and water is yet pure and beautiful. Without ill-will or enmity he is forever courageous and calm.

Guru Arjan set a fine personal example by living up to his own concept of a brahmgiani. All his holy compositions are characterized by humility and tenderness. He seeks the grace of God for the fulfillment of all kinds of human needs. With the compilation of the first volume of the Adi Granth, the Sikh religion registered greater unity and identity. The Sikhs now owned a unique Book or Granth of their own, and thus acquired a distinct and separate entity. Guru Arjan installed the holy Granth at the Harmandar and appointed Baba Budha Ji as the first Granthi of Harmandar Sahib. Thus, Amritsar became the most significant centre of the Sikh faith and the Sikhs emerged as a new and powerful community.

During the period between Guru Nanak and Guru Arjan, there was no conflict between the Sikhs and the Mughal Kings. Emperor Akbar was in particular a man of liberal views and he respected the ideals of the Sikh movement. But, with his death and the following enthronement of Jehangir, there was a total reversal of policy and change of attitude.

Jehangir's own writings reveal that he considered the spread of Sikhism as a positive threat to Islam. In a moment of fanatic frenzy, he characterized Sikhism as a 'shop of falsehood' and declared that he would extirpate it at the earliest opportunity. Thus he set about with a fanatical zeal to carry out his threat: and he trumped up the charge of treason against the Guru. With the complicity of the officials, Jehangir had the Guru soon imprisoned and tortured to death at Lahore in 1606. The martyrdom of Guru Arjan engendered a wave of shock and indignation among the Sikhs. No single event till then had so profoundly brought home to them the necessity of the sword. It is therefore not surprising that under the Sixth Master, Guru Hargobind they were militarized and prepared to face the Mugal might squarely. Thus emerged a new epoch in the history of Sikhism which led to a synthesis between Bhakti and Shakti (wordly power). Guru Arjan was the first Sikh Guru, who by his martyrdom lent to Sikhism a strength and solidarity that it had never known before. As desired by the Fifth Master, Guru Hargobind was ordained Guru in 1606, and, he guided and shaped the destiny of the Sikh community until 1645.

-Ref. Mahan Kosh (pp. 80)
Dr. D.S. Mani, Sardar Bakhshish Singh, and Dr. Gurdit Singh Guru Granth Ratnavali, page 90.

1839 Kharak Singh appointed Maharaja in a succession ceremony. Dhian Singh became the Wazir. Chet Singh became Kharak Singh's chief Advisor. Nau Nihal Singh arrived from Peshawar. Chet Singh started intrigues against Dhian Singh. Kharak Singh being ineffective was not willing to drop Chet Singh. Dhian Singh murdered Chet Singh, the first of the murder series. Nau Nihal Singh took over the administration and established certain co-ordination with Dhian Singh.
1922 Karam Singh and 4 other Babar GurSikhs died in a police encounter.

==> BABBAR AKALI MOVEMENT: Babbar is an Arabic word which means a lion. Sher and Akali are Punjabi words which mean lion and without death, respectively. In Sikh context Akali is a Sikh who worships the Almighty and who is without death or fear. When combined with word Babbar, word Akali means a Sikh who is without death and is fearless and brave, like a lion. This is how the Babbar Akalis really were. They defied death, fought with great courage, and received martyrdom. They fought the holy war without any selfish motive.

Babbar Akalis had established their rule in the Doaba region of Punjab in the early 20s. Commissioner Towshed of Jalandhar wrote a long letter to the Governor of Punjab,
The British rule is over in Doaba. No one is ready to cooperate with the government for the fear of the Babbars. There are some people, loyal to the British goverment, who visit my residence in a very secret manner and utter the news, in a low tone, into my ear.

In addition ot the brave men of Doaba, several Sikhs from the Majha and Malwa region also gladly accepted martyrdom. Those include Babu Santa Singh son of Sardar Suba Singh of village Shoti Harion (Tehsil Samrala); Babbar Nikka Singh son of Sardar Buta Singh, village Alowal, Tehsil Tarn Tarn.
(Source - Babbar Akalian da Itihas by Dr. Bakhshish Singh Nijjar)

There are some books available on the Babbar Akalis. Two prominent books about this topic are by Dr.' Bakhshish Singh Nijjar (M.A. PhD in history, M.A. Punjabi, M.A.M.L.O. Farsi). He is a Rtd. director of Punjab State Archives and curently living in USA. His books are:
1. Babbar Akalian da Itihas (Punjabi)
2. Babbar Akali Lehar da Itihas
3. History of the Babar Akalis
There is another gentleman, Dr. Gurcharan Singh Aulakh who recently wrote his PhD thesis on the Babbar Akalis. His book is called, Babbar Akali Movement and is published by Aman Publications, Punjab.

Two other useful books on the Akalis and Babbar Akalis are:
Babbar Akali Lehar (Punjabi) by Sunder Singh Babbar
Akali Lehar (Punjabi) Partap Singh Giani.

1923 Sharomani Gurudwar Prabhandak Committtee (SGPC) sent a Jatha of 25 members to begin Akhand Path 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.

1923 Babeli carnage took place.
1924 11th Shahidi Jatha of 50 Akalis, under the leadership of Santokh Singh Badhuwal (Ferojpur), courted arrest upon reaching 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.

1939 Second World War began.
1946 First Bababr Shahidi Conference, held at Gurdwara Chaunta Sahib (Babeli).
1950 Sikh Maha Samagham held.

==> The SIKH MAHA SAMAGAM opened at Patiala on Sept. 1, 1950. The Samagam was organized for the purification and moral rearmament of the Sikhs. Over 2 lakh Sikhs joined a mile long procession.Master Tara Singh was the President-elect, while Sardar Gurbachan Singh Kalsia was the Chairman of the Reception Committee. Bir Khalsa Dal, Istri Dal, and Singh Sabhas participated while thousands were introduced to amrit and baptized into Khalsa Panth. When a funds collection appeal was made for purchasing station-wagons and printing presses for preaching the Sikh religion, Sant Jawala Singh of village Harkhowal silently left the Samagam. However, he was prevailed upon by the organizers to address the gathering. Sant Ji uttered only two sentences and then retired. His speech was: When Guru Nanak started his mission, did he have a station-wagon or a printing press? Make your life illustrious and exemplary so that others in the streets could emulate.

-Ref. The Illustrated History of the Sikhs (1947-78), by Gur Rattan Pal Singh.

1951 Gurmat Maha Samagam at Patiala, attended by 400,000 Sikhs, condemned the Indian onslaught on the identity and entity of the Sikh Nation.

Sikh Maha Samagham opened at Patiala. The samagam was organized for the purification and moral rearmament of the Sikhs. Over 2 lakh Sikhs joined a mile long procession. Master Tara Singh was the President-elect, while Sardar Gurbachan Singh Kalsia was the Chairman of the Reception Committee. Bir Khalsa Dal, Istri Dal, and Singh Sabhas participated while thousands were introduced to amrit and baptized into Khalsa Panth. When a funds collection appeal was made for purchasing station-wagons and printing presses for preaching the Sikh religion, Baba Jawala Singh of village Harkhowal silently left the Samagam. However, he was prevailed upon by the organizers to address the gathering. Baba Ji uttered only two sentences and then retired. His speech was: When Guru Nanak started his mission, did he have a station-wagon or a printing press? Make your life illustrious and exemplary so that others in the streets could emulate.

-Ref. The Illustrated History of the Sikhs (1947-78), by Gur Rattan Pal Singh.

1985 North American Sikh Convention, Edmonton.

A North American Sikh Convention was hosted by the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) and held in Edmonton. The contents and the message cpnveyed at the convention is summarised through ISYF statement:
More than forty-five thousand innocent Sikh men, women, and children were slaughtered in the Punjab as a whole since June 6, 1984. About 2,000 Sikhs attended this conference. The speakers lashed out at the Indian government for the massacre of Sikhs. There was a total news blackout of Punjab, foreign correspondents were expelled to hide heinous crimes. After the Operation Bluestar, the Indian army continued its presence in civilian clothes in the Golden Temple Complex, and desecration persisted. Thousands of Sikhs and Sikh solidiers who had deserted the Indian army were tortured and languished in Indian jails.

 

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