Sunday, December 11, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

 

8th August

 

1881 Lord Ripon's statement exposed the Britishers true desires that they never wanted Sikhs to be the masters of their Gurudwaras. He wrote, " I think it would be politically dangerous to allow the management of the Sikh templaes to fall into the hands of a committee emancipated from government control." As such the mahants under the government thumb failed to become the honest interpreters of the wishes of the Panth. For example, they issued a Hukamnama from Sri Akal Takhat in 1915 condemming the Komagata Maru Sikhs.

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

Subsequently, they instituted the election system among Gurudwaras, the most evil system that has ensured friction and continued disunity among the Sikh community to date. There is no religious or spiritual group in the world where leaders are not appointed based on merit but rather elected based popular vote.

1898 Raja Bikram Singh of Fridkot, who published the "Fridkoti Teeka" passed away.

==> FARIDKOTI TEEKA: Teekas (commentaries) on Guru Granth Sahib have been written in one form or other ever since the compilation of Guru Granth Sahib. However, the first formal Teeka in line with the traditional interpretation of Sikh scriptures was written by Sant Giani Badan Singh Ji of Dera Sekhwan at the request and encouragement of Maharaja Bikram Singh of Faridkot. It took him six and a half years to complete it. It was completed in 1883. This Teeka was reviewed by a committee appointed by Mahant Shamer Singh of Patna. After incorporating the comments of this committee, the first edition of this Teeka was published [funded] by the Maharaja Balvir Singh of Faridkot in 1906 which was printed by the Wazir Hind Press (started by Bhai Vir Singh) at Amritsar. The second edition of this Teeka was published by Maharaja Harinder Singh of Faridkot in 1928. This Teeka is known as the "Faridkoti Teeka." It is still available in the market.

Pandit Tara Singh Narotam, the contemporary of the author of Faridkoti Teeka, also started the Teeka, but he died when he finished it up to Basant Rag. Then some people borrowed it from his heir just to review the draft, but never returned it. Only the Teeka of Sri Rag is available from his draft which is in the possesion of very few researchers and scholars at this time. It is not generally available.

- Ref. Gurmat Sahit Vivechan (Punjabi, published by Punjab Languages Department). This is an extremely useful book on the history of Gurmat literature. It contains 25 essays by top-notch scholars.

1922 Guru Ka Bagh morcha was launched.

5 GurSikh saewadars were arrested and charged with cutting wood for Guru ka Langar from Guru Kae Bagh. The undercurrent of official hostility blew up in the form of "Guru Ka morcha" agitation. On instructions from the Home Secretary, District Magistrate Amritsar ordered the mass scale arrest of Akalis. The authorities obtained a complaint, from a reluctant Mahant, on cutting of useless "kikar" trees. The institution of criminal proceedings against 5 Akalis lokking after the Gurudwara, and their conviction the following day to 6 months rigorous imprisonment, provoked the Sikhs to assert their right. This provided an opportunity for the authorities to wreek untold atrocities on thosusands of Akali volunteers over a period of three months. It was remarkable the way the Akali volunteers offered themselves to be beaten mercilessly without raising an arm. They heroically kept the vow of non-violence taken before the Akal Takhat. It was not for nothing that the Golden Hawk, popularly associated with Guru Gobind Singh, was sighted daily at Guru Ka Bagh, and gave the Guru's blessings to his devotees, and assured them success.

This gurudwara was under the control of Mahant Sundar Dass. From Aug. 23 until Sept. 13, the government sided with the Mahant and ruthelessly lathi-charged the visiting Jathas. However, Sikhs persisted with their non-violent agitation. The courage and persistent of Sikhs became world renouned during this period. From Sept. 13 until Nov. 17, Sikhs courted arrests. Finally, the government gave in and on Nov. 17, 1922, all Sikh demands were accepted and the agitation was successfully concluded. During this agitation 5605 Sikhs courted arrest, over a dozen Sikhs accepted shahidi and thousands were injured.

1923 Third proclamation announcing rewards for the arrest of the Babbars was issued.

 

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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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