Kaur Singh Chakkar (1892-1954 A.D.)
In 1947, Punjab was divided among India and Pakistan due to religious fanaticism spearheaded by a shrewd lawyer named Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Jinnah had created a party called Muslim League which was full of semi-literate bigoted Muslim youth. To make sure that British award them a new state of Pakistan they started attacking Hindus and Sikhs all over Punjab and Bengal. This was in keeping with their Agenda that Muslims are a separate nation from Sikhs and Hindus and thus are entitled to a country for Muslims. In 1944-47 peaceful situation in Punjab was totally changed to that of hatred. Hundreds of innocent Sikhs and Hindus were killed, many innocent muslims were also killed due to the revenge factor. The worse affected were the fairer sex, women. Hundreds of Sikh, Hindu and Muslims women were abducted by the rival communities. Mr. Kaur Singh Chakkar was one such humanitarian who freed the abducted woman from the clutches of rival communities and send them back to their families. He worked truely in the khalsa spirit and without any religious discrimination he was responsible for exchange of thousands of woman across the border.
The troubles and tribulations of the Hindu and Sikh abducted women of occupied Kashmir, especially of district Muzaffargarh, had an altogether different tale of woe. Their recovery got complicated owing to thc armed hostilities between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue. When the tribals attacked Kashmir, the Muzaffargarh area was the first to be occupied by them. Thc Hindus and Sikhs of the area were killed and a large number of women abducted. About 1,600 women and children were lodged in a Camp. On account of hostilities with India, the Pakistan Government had banned the entry of Indian officials not only in Kashmir but also in the adjoining districts of West Punjab. Consequently, all abductions of the West Punjab migrated to those districts to avoid detection. The non-Muslim women and children of Amor Camp could not be brought to India for four long years. It was reserved for Akali Kaur Singh Chakkar to recover them and bring them to India.
Akali Chakkar Kaur Singh belonged to Averha Chakkar, Tehsil Uri, District Muzzffarabad, Kashmir. He did not marry and devoted himself to missionary work of Sikh religion. During the tribal invasion of Kashmir, he lost 111 relatives including his aged mother. This stirred him into action. He went to Delhi and became guide of the first Indian army which landed at Srinagar to stem the tide of tribal invasion and remained there till cease-fire was declared. Later on, he devoted himself to the recovery of abducted women. In 1951, he met one Goodwill Mission from Pakistan, convinced them about the miserable conditions of women and children at Amor Camp and was also able to secure a promise of help.
Soon after Chakkar Kaur Singh reached Lahore, the Indian Government also encouraged him and introduced him to Pakistan officials as a great orator having knowledge of Islam and other religions. Two police inspectors and eighteen police constables along with conveyance were given to him by the West Punjab Police Deptt. Wherever he went, hostile crowd gathered around him which was dispersed by his police escort.
Chakkar Kaur Singh had undertaken three recovery tours in Pakistan. Indian recovery officers in Lahore gave him very difficult cases like that of Amor Camp. He pursued them with diligence and recovered the girls, details of which he has given in his diary. But his most remarkable achievement was the recovery of 1,200 women and children from Amor Camp.
Sabar Hussain, the Commander of Amor Camp, had a personal grievance. His daughter Kulzam Akhtar had been left in Srinagar (Kashmir) in India. He had been trying his best to bring her to Pakistan, but not succeeded. Because of the Indo-Pakistan conflict in Kashmir, no Kashmiri Muslim could go to Pakistan or come to India. When Chakkar Kaur Singh contacted Sabar Hussain, he told him frankly that first his daughter should return before he could agree to the return of the Hindu and Sikh women and children in his camp. This was a very difficult problem. But Chakkar Kaur Singh took it as a challenge. After coming to India, he worked for six months in Srinagar meeting political leaders like Sheikh Abdullah and Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed to request them to allow Kulzam Akhtar to go to Pakistan so that the Hindu and Sikh women of Amor Camp could be recovered. Ultimately, he was successful. He personally brought the Muslim girl from Srinagar to Jammu then to Jalandhar to secure her entry into Pakistan through Deputy High Commissioner, Pakistan. In this way, 1,200 women and children were brought to India. Where the Government of India failed, a Sikh missionary succeeded in recovering abducted women.
Amid the recovery of abducted women and children, there were some very rare heartening episodes of noble deeds. Fateh Mohammed, a Muslim constable took a Sikh girl, 16 years old, whose parents had been murdered in the communal riots, to his house. While holding a copy of the holy Quran, he swore before his young daughters, wife and aged mother that he would treat the girl as his own daughter. He kept his vow and served the girl for a number of months. He made an earnest effort to locate her relations in East Punjab. Ultimately, he was able to find her brother who came to Lahore to take her, in the office of the C.L.O., East Punjab, and she gave a detailed statement as to how she was looked after by Fateh Mohammed. Her statement is preserved in East Punjab Liaison Agency Records No. LV-26ES.
Similarly, S. Narain Singh of Bathinda area gave shelter to a Muslim girl of tender age whose parents had been murdered during the communal riots. He got her admitted in the school along with his grand daughters. When she came of age, he was able to locate one distant relative of hers through the Pakistan High Commissioner’s Office. He also prepared dowry articles for her marriage. These, he gave her at the time of farewell on the Indo-Pak border. The episode was published in the New York Times, U.S.A. with the title Sweetest Revenge.