Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Gateway to Sikhism

Shiromani Khalsa Diwan
Northwest Frontier Province 1920

Was founded in the 1920's by Sardar Jagat Singh Narag of Peshawar, a businessman, later a member of the provincial legislative assembly. The Sikh population of the North-West Frontier Province was according to the 1941 Census 62,411, about one half of which were Sahajdhari Sikhs. They were mainly businessmen and professionals, but a fair number also represented farmers concentrated chiefly in Hazara district. Sikhism had been introduced in the region in the days of the early Gurus. A number of Sikh residents were the descendants of Punjabi soldiers who had settled down here after the annexation of Peshawar by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1834. Every town had at least,one gurdwara. Singh Sabhas had been established in larger towns such as Haripur (1886), Kohat (1886-87), Loralai (1903) and Peshawar (1905). All the Singh Sabhas in the province came to be affiliated to the Shiromani Khalsa Diwan which in turn was affiliated to the Chief Khalsa Diwan, Amritsar.

A social and religious organization to start with, the Shiromani Khalsa Diwan also took up the cause of safeguarding the political interests of the Sikhs, especially after the Communal Award of 1932, and pressed for weightage for the Sikh minority in the legislature. It succeeded in securing for the Sikhs three seats in a house of 50. During the elections held early in 1937, the Diwan's candidates carried all the three seats. In the legislature they collaborated with the 9-member Hindu group to form a 12member Hindu-Sikh legislative party. After the adoption of the Pakistan resolution by the AllIndia Muslim League in 1940, the Shiromani Khalsa Diwan gave support to the Shiromani Akali Dal's Azad Punjab scheme for the protection of Sikh interests. Thereafter the Diwan became virtually an affiliated unit of the Shiromarii Akali Dal. During the general elections of 1946, the Diwan's candidates for the three Sikh seats in the provincial legislature contested as Akali Dal nominees. The Shiromani Khalsa Diwan, North-West Frontier Province, ceased to exist after the partition of 1947.

Source: TheSikhEncyclopedia.Com

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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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