Sunday, September 25, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

 

3rd January

1961 Master Tara Singh was released from jail, where he was confined in connection with Punjabi Suba agitation.

==> MASTER TARA SINGH: Master Tara Singh was born on 24 June, 1885, in Haryal in Rawalpindi district of North Western Province of undivided India. His mother, Moolan Devi, was a pious lady and his father, Bakshi Gopi Chand, was a patwari of the village and was a well known and respected person. Tara Singh's original name was Nanak Chand. In 1902 Nanak Chand embraced Sikhism and came to be called Tara Singh.

Tara Singh had a bright educational career and was a scholarship holder almost at all stages of his education. In 1907 he passed his B. A. examination from Khalsa College, Amritsar. Later Tara Singh joined as headmaster of Khalsa High School, Lyallpur, at an honorarium of Rs. 15 per month. Since then he came to be known as Master Tara Singh. His career as a teacher ended in 1921, following the Nankana tragedy.

He also edited two Akali newspapers, Akali (Udru) and Akali te Pardesi (Grumukhi) in which he forcefully put forward the aims and objectives of the Akali Dal.

He took an active part in national politics till his death on 22 November 1967.

-Ref. "Master Tara Singh, by Verinder Grover, Deep & Deep Publications Delhi, 1995.

1980 Elections were held for the Indian Lower House. Akalis won 1 out of 13 seats.
1985 After the attack on Sri darbar Sahib, the leaders of the Akali Party were incarcerated. In November 1984, the Rajiv adminsitration began secret talks with Longowal and some other Akali learders. The mediators were Attar Singh (an employee of the Punjab University, Chandigarh), Prithipal S. Kapur, and Manjit Khehra, an advocate. They were decorated by Rajiv administration. On this day, Rajiv announced the formation of a panel for the solution to the Punjab problem.

==> SRI DARBAR SAHIB also known as Harminder Sahib and Golden Temple was constructed by Guru Arjun in the middle of an sacred water tank (sarowar).

"Har Japae Har Minder Saajia,
Sant Bhagat Gun Gawae Ram" -Suhi Shant Mahala 5

In sunmat 1621, with Guru Amar Das's permission, Guru Ram Das started the digging of a tank (Taal) near villages Tugh, Gumtala, and Sultanwind. This digging was completed by Guru Arjun Dev in sunmat 1645 and named "Santoksar".

Simultaneously, with Guru Amar Das's permission, a village was established nearby and named "Guru Ka Chaak". Guru Sahib's residence in this village were popularly known as "Guru Kae Mahal". To the west of these residences, next to the tree known as "DukhBhanjani Baeri", the digging of a tank was started in 1634. However, this digging remained incomplete and was eventually completed by Guru Arjun Dev after he ascended to the Gur Gadhi. Guru Arjun Dev vigorously pushed all of the projects initiated by Guru Ram Das. He invited business people, scholars, and skilled people from all over, to come and settle around this area and establish new markets. As a result this area came to known as "Ramdas Pur". Bhai Sallo is especially noted for his hard work in establishing and populating this area. His contributions are extremely noteworthy.

In sunmat 1643, the construction of permanent sarowar began and its name changed to "Amritsar". As a result the surrounding city also adopted the "Amritsar" name. On magh 1, sunmat 1645, Guru Arjun Dev Patshah asked Sain Mian Meer to lay the foundation stone of Harminder Sahib. The foundation stone was laid right in the middle of the sarowar and upon completion of its construction, Sri Guru Granth Sahib's prakash was established in sunmat 1661.

Harminder Sahib is the most prominent among all Sikh gurudwaras, where Akhand Kirtan is performed for most of the day. The Vaisakhi Maela celebrations in Harminder Sahib were established by Guru Arjun Dev, while the Diwali Maela celebrations were instituted by Baba Budha Ji, immediately upon the release and safe return of Guru Hargobind from the Gawalior fort.

In Sunmat 1818, Ahmad Shah Abdali blew up the Harminder Sahib with explosives and leveled the sarowar. However, Jassa Singh Ahluwalia once again laid the foundation stone on 11 Vaishakh, sunmat 1821. And through Dees Raj's diligent efforts Harminder Sahib was reconstructed in a few years. Abdali, on three occasions, 1757, 1761, and 1762 pulled down Harimandir Sahib and defiled the sacred tank by caracases of cows. The Sikhs for the first time in 1757 defeated Afghan forces at the battle of Amritsar. The following year, they captured retreating Afghan forces and made them clean Harimandir and the sacred tank.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh took control of Amritsar in sunmat 1859 and decorated Harminder sahib with white marble and gold. Additionally during 1805-9, "Ram Bagh" was developed in remembrance of Guru Ram Das and "GobindGadh Fort" was established in remembrance of Guru Gobind Singh. Khalsa College was established by the Panth in 1892.

-Ref. Mahan Kosh (pp. 267)

For further details on Harminder Sahib, interested readers are referred to the following:

Madanjit Kaur, "The Golden Temple: Past & Present", Guru Nanak Dev university Press, Amritsar, 1983
Patwant Singh, "The Golden Temple", Time Books International, New Delhi, 1988
Patwant Singh, "Gurudwaras in India and around the world", Himalayan Books, New Delhi, 1992
"Sri Harmandir Sahib Da Sunehiri Itihas" by Late Jathedar (of Akal Takaht Sahib) and former Head Granthi of Golden Temple) Kirpal Singh. pp. 389-390. This is the most authoritative book so far on the Golden Temple.

==> SIAN MIAN MIR was an exemplary and accomplished saint who was a close associate of Guru Arjun Dev and Guru Har Gobind Sahib. Sian Mia Mir witnessed the torture of Guru Arjan Patshah at the hand of Mughal rulers of the time. He laid the foundation stone of Sri Harmandir Sahib that is still burried intact.

Mian Mir was a descendant of Khalifa Umar. He was born in 1550 at Seesthan but lived in Lahore for most part of his life. He died on 11 August 1635 in Lahore. His grave is in Hashimpur near Lahore. His famous disciple MullahShah was the Peer for Shahjada Darashikoh.

-Ref. Mahan Kosh

==> WHO REALLY LAID DOWN THE FOUNDATION STONE FOR SRI DARBAR SAHIB?
Jathedar Kirpal Singh disputes in his book "Sri Harmandir Sahib Da Sunehiri Itihas" that the foundaiton stone of the Golden Temple was NOT laid down by Sayyad Mian Mir. His main point is that had this been the case, it would have been recorded by the Sikh hisorians such as Rattan Singh Bhangoo. He says that the first person to ever mention that the "foundation stone of the Golden Temple was laid down by Sayyad Mian Mir" was Boote Shah.

Rattan Singh Bhangoo was convinced that Boote Sha Shah being a baised Muslim writer cannot write true Sikh history. Rattan Singh Bhangoo says,

"Heh to haal likhaige aise | Hui nuksan singhan no jaise |
Mat kit aisee likh dikhravai | Jis te raj hamaro javai |

Bhangoo also told Captain Murray (who was interested in documenting the Sikh history),

"Hindu Turk mail kash nah(i) |
Muslman kad sach kahai |
(Panth Parkash page 40)

According to Jathedar Kirpal Singh Boote Shah did mention that Sayyad Mian Mir laid down the foundation stone of the Golden Temple, but he had failed to provide source of that information.

NOTE that Boote Shah's real name was Ghulam Muhiuddin. He wrote in his book called Treekh-i-Punjab that Sayyad Mian Mir was invited to Amritsar by Guru Arjan Dev Ji to lay the foundation stone of Darbar Sahib.

-Ref. "Sri Harmandir Sahib Da Sunehiri Itihas" by Late Jathedar (of Akal Takaht Sahib) and former Head Granthi of Golden Temple) Kirpal Singh. pp. 389-390. This is the most authoritative book so far on the Golden Temple.

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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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