Saturday, December 03, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

 

28th April

 

1635 Painda Khan was killed by Guru Hargobind in a personal dual.
1671 JanamDin Bhai Rupa, devoted Sikh of Guru HarGobind Sahib.

==> Bhai RUP CHAND: Village Wadghar (near TaranTaran) resident Akal Singh, accidently married his daughter Surti with Sadhu, the grandson of Suklani resident Sultania Sadhae. Bibi Surti brought her husband to Sri Guru Har Gobind Patshah's darbar at Daroli. Guru Sahib converted Sadhu to a Singh and blessed him with the honor of "Gurmukh". In sunmat 1671, Sadhu was blessed with a son. When the parents brought the child in Guru Sahib's presence, the sixth Guru baptized the child and named him "Rup Chand". He turned out to be a very noble and devoted sewak and earned the honor of "Bhai" from Guru Sahib. In sunmat 1688 (1631), Guru Sahib established a village named "Bhai Rupa", named after Bhai Rup Chand.

Bhai Rup Chand was given a "Khanda" and a "Kadsha" (spade) for use in preparation and serving of langar. Both these items are well preserved today in the possession of Baghadias.

Bhai Rup Chand's sons Param Singh and Dharam Singh served Sri Guru Gobind Singh after being initiated into the Khalsa order. Param Singh died in Abchalnagar while Dharam Singh returned home with Guru Sahib's permission. Before departing, Dharam Singh received a book of prayers (Gutka), a sword, a small knife, and a small Khanda, from Guru Gobind Singh Patshah.

Bhai Rup Chand died on Sawan Vadhi 1 sunmat 1766. The village that encompasses his cremation place is known as "Bhai Ki Samadh" in district Ferozpur.

Bhai Rup Chand had seven sons, Bhai MahaNand Ji, SadaNand Ji, Bhai Param Singh Ji, Bhai Surtia Ji, Bhai Dharam Singh Ji, Bhai SukhaNanad Ji, and Bhai KaramChand Ji. The descendents of Bhai MahaNand, KaramChand, etc., are residents of Bhai Rupa, Bhai Ki Samad, Nohiyawala, Thati, etc. villages. However, the main descendents ghadhis are Bhai Rupa and Baghadias.

-Ref. Mahan Kosh (pp.1045)

1835 Maharaja Ranjit Singh reaches Peshawar.
1921 The wall of Gurdwara Rakab Ganj was rebuilt.

==> MORCHA OF RAKAB GANJ
How did it Get Started?

With the transfer of the capital from Calcutta to Delhi in 1911, preparations began to be made to build the Viceregal Lodge opposite the place where Gurdwara Rakab Ganj is situated. The government considered that the old six-cornered enclosures walls of the Gurdwara was too ugly to stand in front of the Viceroy's palace and proposed that it should be demolished. In 1912 under the Land Acquisition Act the government acquired from an accommodating Mahant the whole land lying between the Gurdwara and the outer wall.

The Cheif Khalsa Diwan, whom the British government accepted as the only representative body of the Sikhs, seemed inclined to accept the Government position in view of the fact that the government did not want to do so to injure the feelings of the Sikhs but simply to improve the appearance of the Gurdwara.

On January 14, 1914, the British Indian Government razed the wall of the Gurdwara to the ground on the pretence of making the road straight. The wall was 400 long, 2 feet thick, and 11 feet high. The bricks of this wall were used for the construction of the raod. 50 Bighas of land (about 25 acres) belonging to the Gurdwara was also taken for the purpose of constructing a raod and a sum of Rs. 8000 was deposited to take possession of the Garden within the wall. This wall too was razed to the ground.

The Sikh community was shocked and had justified fears that the whole historical shrine might be demolished in the due course. The Cheif Khalsa Diwan came under fire and was blamed for permitting the British government to commit this act of sacrilege. While the ultra loyalists like Arur Singh, Raja Sir Daljit Singh and Gajjan Singh of Narangwal supported and even encouraged the Government to go ahead with its plan, Sir Sunder Singh Majithia and his Chief Khalsa Diwan Executive soon realized that they has committed a blunder.Sardar Harbans Singh Attari and Sardar Harchand Singh (members of Cheif Khalsa Diwan Executive) walked out of a ChieF Khalsa Diwan meeting by saying that Chief Khalsa Diwan was betraying the Sikhs by its abject submission to the British Government.

The first thing S. Harchand Singh did was to meet with Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh and explain to him the inside story as to how some of the ultra loyalists had sold the interests of the Sikhs to the British government. Only Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh could awaken the masss. Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh took up the cause seriously and brought about the awakening of the type Baba Ram Singh brought some decades ago. The first telegram of strong protest against the demolition of the wall was sent to the Viceroy by him on behalf of his Jatha which he called Tat Khalsa Sangat, Narangwal.

On April 12, 1914 on the Baisakhi festival Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh organized a large Panthic Conference with the help of Baba Jawand Singh Nihang of Patti. Thousands of people attended the conference. A resolution was passed that a strong agitation would be launched to prevent the descration of the historical temple.

Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh announced, he alongwith a Shahidi Jatha of 500 would sacrifice his life to prevent the descration and demolition of the historical shrine. Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh was later arrested under Second Lahore Conspiracy Caseand spent about 16-17 years in the Indian prisons.

The wall of Gurdwara Rakab Ganj was rebuilt on April 28, 1921.

-Ref. 1. Sri Amritsar Ji De Darshan Ishnan ate 500 Sala(n) Di Itihasik Directory.
2. Autobiography of Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh (English translation of Jail Chittia(n) by Dr. Trilochan Singh). Most of the detail is taken from the Translator's Introductory Thesis of this work.

 

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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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