Today in Sikh History :18th April
1st Sikh Educational Conference by Chief Khalsa Diwan held.
The first Sikh Educational Conference organized by Chief Khalsa Diwan was held at Gujranwala.
==> SINGH SABHA, a reform group of Amritdhari GurSikhs who objectively sought the eradication of the wrong practices in re-establishing the true traditions of GurSikhism. Their initial efforts for religious propagation and education resulted in the establishment of Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Amritsar, in 1872. Sardar Thakur Singh Sandawalaia was the first chief, while the temporary offices and gathering facilities were organized at Guru Ka Bagh. The objectives of Singh Sabha, Amritsar, were to inculcate the principles of SIkh religion as preached by the Sikh Gurus among the Sikhs with a view to restoring Sikhism to its pristine purity, preach the principles of Sikh religion by word of mouth, by publication of historical and religious books, and through magazines and newspapers, encourage propagation of Punjabi, reclaim apostates and attract the sympathies of those highly placed in public adminsitration to the educational progress of the Sikhs. The Singh Sabha was to shun politics.
Next in 1879, another Singh Sabha was established at the Prakash place of Guru Ram Das Patshah, in Lahore. Diwan Buta Singh and Bhai Gurmukh Singh were the chiefs of this organization. The successful efforts of these Singh Sabhas resulted in several Singh Sabhas springing around the country. Singh Sabha had a clear perception of Sikhism as enunciated by the Sikh Gurus, and was determined to restore it to its original shape, without any compromise with Hindusim. A number of Singh Sabhas were established and affiliated to the Singh Sabha, Lahore. Amrit Prachar (administration of baptism) to all, including Muslims and lower classes, was an effective movement which, however, brought about conflict with certain Pujaris of the Sikh shrines. Gradually, the Singh Sabhas constructed their own gurudwaras with granthis, ragis, and updeshaks, and they became centres of new rivivalism.
The warming up of the Singh Sabha activity was discernible by a decision to establish Khalsa Diwan at Amritsar. This came into being in 1883 to oversee the functioning of over three dozen Singh Sabhas. There were, however, differences over the provisions of the conmstitution of the Khalsa Diwan. THese resulted in a break, with Lahore Singh Sabha spearheading a Khalsa Diwan at Lahore with a membership of all except three of the Singh Sabha affiliated to it. Suffices to say that the Singh Sabha Lahore, became the focal point of the Sikh reform movement.
The Singh Sabha movement played its historic role by exposing the evils which had crept into the social and religious life of the Sikhs. It reclaimed Sikhism from a state of utter ossification and inertia and articulated the inner urge of Sikhism for reform and gave it a decisive direction. It not only checked the relapse of the Sikhs into Hinduism but also retaliated by carrying prosewlytsing activities into the Hindu camp. A large number of Hindus were baptised and the Sikh population which was 17,06,165 in 1881 rose to 21,02,896 in 1901 and never dwindled again. Thus the Singh Sabha movement proved to be the elan vital in the regeneration of the Sikh society.
In 1888, Khalsa Diwan was established in Lahore. Subsequently, on Nov. 10, 1901, Shiromani GurSikhs gathered at Ramgarhia Bunga, Amritsar, and laid the foundation of Chief Khalsa Diwan. This organization actively corrected numerous traditions in GurSikhism and continues to do so til today.
-Ref. Mahan Kosh (pp. 193)
The Sikhs in History, by Sangat Singh, 1995
4th Shahidi Jatha of 500 valiant Akali Satyagrahies, led by Jathaedar Puran Singh Bahowal (Hoshiarpur), courted arrest on reaching Jaito.
==> WHERE IS JAITO? A village under Nabha, which falls on the Bathinda-Ferozpur railway line. It is 96 miles from Lahore and 17 miles from Bathinda.
WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF JAITO? On this place situated near a fort, is a historical Gurudwara of Guru Gobind Singh Patshah. Maharaja Hira Singh constructed the beautiful buildings of this Gurudwara. The sarowar is popularly known as Gangsar. About a mile and a half north of Jaito is Tibhi Sahib Gurudwara, where Guru Gobind Singh Patshah used to organize and participate in the evening recitation of Rehras. Both Gurudwaras have extensive land sanctioned to it by the Nabha rulers. Additionally, extensive financial resources are made available on an annual basis from the Nabha rulers and the surrounding villages. A maela celebration is held very 7th of Pooh month (Dec.-Jan.) and Katak (Oct.-Nov.) Puranmashi. Jaito’s markets are well renowned. People come from far distances to buy and sell their herds.
WHY AKALIS COURTED ARREST? The key issue involved was resoration of Maharaja Ripudaman Singh of Nabha. Maharaja of Nabha, well-known for his pro-Tat Khalsa Proclivities, had a dispute with Maharaja of Patiala, known for this pro-government role. Although Maharaja of Nabha had absolutely no dispute with the government, as a result of mediation, he was forced to abdicate in July 1923. Col. Michin, with the help of troops and armoured cars, took the Maharaja by surprise on July 8, 1923 and taunted him with the query, Where is that Akali? The news of deposition by the government raised a strom of protest against the Government’s interefernce in Nabha and was decsribed as a challenge to the Akali movement. As a result tensions mounted. The Akalis, in defiance of state orders, continued to hold diwan indefinitely. The Nabha police in order to arrest all the Akalis, including the one reading the holy Granth Sahib, was said to have disrupted the Akhand Path on Sept. 14, 1923. This dispute took such a tragic shape and got so inflames by Feb. 21, 1924 that several people lost their lives. After sixteen shaheedi jathas apart from one from Bengal and another from Canada, the agitation process was completed two years later, on August 6, 1925, after the concurrent bhog of 101 Akand Paaths.
-Ref. Mahan Kosh,
The Sikhs in History, by Sangat Singh, 1995.
Sikh Shops looted in Chandigarh.
Sikh Shops were looted in Chandigarh. On this day, hooligan Hindus from Patiala and other towns went to Chandigarh in trucks and cars and took out a procession. This procession was cordoned off by the Central Reserve Police (CRP). The Hindu processionists looted more than two dozen shops in various parts of the city and set fire to 6 vehicles of the Sikhs.
-Ref. THE SIKHS’ STRUGGLE FOR SOVEREIGNTY, An Historical Perspective By Dr. Harjinder Singh Dilgeer and Dr. Awatar Singh Sekhon. Edited By: A.T. Kerr Page 110-119.