Today in Sikh History : 1st August
|1863||Maharani Jind Kaur, mother of Maharaja Dalip Singh, passed away in Kaesington, England and was cremated in Nasik Nagar on the outskirts of Bombay, India. She was arrested by the British government in 1847 and imprisoned at the Shaekhpura fort. After numerous efforts, she managed to join Maharaja Dalip Singh in England. She was by Lord Dalhousie as "the only woman in the Punjab with manly understandings."
==> Maharani JIND KAUR: was daughter of Sardar Manna Singh Auhlakh, a resident of village Chandh, district Sialkot, Tehsil Jafarwall. She was wife of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and mother of Maharaja Dalip Singh. Once the British government gained control of the Khalsa Raj’s affairs, she was initially kept under house arrest at Saekhupura and subsequently jailed at Chunar fort (U.P. district Mizapur). However, she escaped in a beggar’s attire and reached Nepal, where she lived with dignity. In 1861, Maharani Jind Kaur reached England to visit her son Maharaja Dalip Singh, where she died on Aug. 1, 1863 at the age of 46. Her body was brought back and cremated in Nasik Nagar, on the outskirts of Bombay.
On March 27, 1924, Maharaja Dalip Singh’s daughter, Bamba Dalip Singh, brought the ashes of Maharani Jind Kaur from Nasik Nagar and buried it next to Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s samadh. Sardar Harbans Singh Rais of Atari performed the last rights (antim Ardas) on this occasion.
-Ref. Mahan Kosh (pp. 523)
Here are a few glimpses of her life from "Maharani Jind Kaur" by Dr. B.S. Nijjar that also sheds light on the sad, unfortuante affairs of Sikh state after the death of Sher-i-Punjab, and offers a rare glimpse of the treachery of some Dogras and Brahmins.
At one time the Dogras has become so influential that the Raja Hira Singh wanted to be the king by pushing aside Maharaja Dalip Singh. The Sikh army did not like him. They liked Maharaja Dalip Singh.
There was a general discontent among the Sikh army and they were not happy with the way Rani was behaving. She had became louder in her demands. She asked for more jagirs for her brothers and more yearly allownaces for herself. She spoke of the designs against every survivor of the royal family and of intending flight to the southern side of Satluj where the English would at least secure for her son, his father’s protected territory. This, of course, was a great miscalculation on her part.
Rani an Accomplished Administrator
However, Rani issued a proclamation praising the fidelity of the Khalsa troops. She had shown considerable energy and spirit in conducting the State business, with the courage and determination seldom shown by any woman in Sikh history. Lord Hardinge had un-willingly praised her for her regular life and devotion to the State affairs. She commanded the obedience of regimental committee as well as Sardars, who were also represented in the Supreme Council of Khalsa. However, she committed the impardonable sin of compromising with the Army. Several conferences with the military officers took place and at one of those, the Sardars said that the army would not let the Government go on.
Weakness of Rani
Harding wrote to Ellenborough about administration of Rani Jind Kaur, on October 23, 1845 A.D., "Rani now reviews the troops unveiled, and dressed as a dancing woman, which displeases the old but gratifies the young; but her irregularities are so monstrously indecent that the troops have held her horse and advised her to be more chaste or they would no longer style her the Mother of all the Sikhs."
The officers adamantly told the Rani that that army could govern very well for itself. The demand of the increase in pay was, however, not conceded nor was it definitely refused. But the troops were declaring loudly that Rani and her brother were unfit to reign and must be imprisoned or put to death and Peshaura Singh [son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, but not of Jind Kaur] be seated on the throne. The general joy expressed at the death of Hira Singh [son of raja Gulab Singh dogra] and Pandit Jalla, was thus giving place to appreciation of the order and justice prevailing under their rule. The Khalsa army now became openly independent of the Civil authority and almost acted as Kingmakers.
Jawahar Singh Comes to Power
After the overthrow of of Raja Hira Singh and his favourite Pandit Jalla, the ministerial office was not immediately filled and for some time all power of the Sikh Kingdom remained in the hands of the "Army Panchayat." In May, 1845, A.D., however, Jawahar Singh brother of Rani came to power as he was appointed to the exhalted office of Prime Minister for five months from May 1845 to September 1845 A.D. The Prime Minister immediately did his best to win over the army. He raised the salary of the soldiers by half a ruppes and thus consolidate his position. [An average soldier made about Rs/. 11 a month at that time.]
The Dogra Rajas could not tolerate the high position of Jawahar Singh and thus spared no effort to exploit the Khalsa soldiers against him. Raja Gulab Singh instigated Pishaura Singh, another son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh to revolt as he was to be fully supported by the former. At the instigation of the Dogra Rajas, Prince Pishaura Singh revolted and occupied Attok, but was defeated by Jawahar Singh’s forces and murdered. It was a blunder on the part of Jawahar Singh as the Sikh army did not appreciate this hasty step of their Prime Minister and turned against him. Raja Lal Singh, the Commander-in-chief of the Khalsa Army, all the more, exploited this situation. A meeting of the Army Panchayat was called and the matter was put before them.
Ultimately Jawahar SIngh was summoned to appear before the Army Panchayat. Jawahar Singh was not unaware of the fury of the Army Panchayat. He rather fully anticipated his fate. Therefore, he took his nephew Maharaja Dalip Singh with him in the hope that the presence of the Maharaja might influence the Khalsa troops in his favour in securing a pardon.
But the fierce and infuriated soldiery sorrounded the elephant on all sides, and the boy Dalip Singh was rougly snathced from the arms of his uncle. Jawahar Singh bowed before the troops, and with folded hands, implored them to hear him for a moment. They, however, would not allow him to utter a word even. He was stabbed with a bayonet on the left, and as he bent over on the right, a man sent a bullet through his brain. Jawahar Singh fell from the ‘howdah’ a corpse, and his body was dragged from the elephant and mangled with swords of those who sorrounded it.
Bawa Rattan Singh and Bhai Chaittu, the councillors of Jawahar Singh, were killed without any ceremony, on the same spot. The cash, in gold and silver coins, which Jawahar Singh and the Rani had brought with them and their fort, was now plundered by the soldiers, and the Rani and her slave girls were compelled to retire to the tents which had some days previously been pitched for their reception. The whole thing was, thus, well premeditatd and planned. The boy Dalip Singh was separated from his mother for a while and kept with the soldiery, fearing that the Rani in her rage and excitement might destroy herself and her child. When these fears had subsided, the prince was again made over to his mother. The soldiers. however, kept a strict watch over Rani’s tents the whole night, to prevent any accident. She passed the night in fearful screams and shrieks, lamenting over the death of her beloved brother and cursing the Khalsa. As morning broke, she was permitted to to see the mangled body of her brother. Her lamentations and painful cries renewed with a violence which moved the bystanders to pity and melted even the iron hearts of those who had been instrumental in causing her brother’s murder.
Weeping bitterly, Jind Kaur threw herself and her child on the body of her brother. When partly by entreaties and partly by force, she was separatd from the corpse, she rolled upon the ground, tearing her hair and her clothes. This hearth rending spectacle touched the sympathies of the most valorous spectators. The scene was terminated at noon, when the Maharaja with great difficulty, was persuaded to return to the city. The corpse of the murdered prime minister was also carried to the city, where his funeral obseques were performed outside the Masti Gate, in the presence of several Sardars of the court.
From: "Maharani Jind Kaur" by Dr. B.S.
|1944||The Working Committee of the All Parties Sikh Conference met at Amritsar. It held that the C. Rajagopalachari’s formula "was mainfestly unfair and detrimental to the best interests of the country and the Sikh Community." It regarded Gandhi’s approval of the same as "breach of faith" on the part of the Congress leaders and violative of assurances to the Sikhs "at its Lahore session in 1929".
==> CR FORMULA: enunciated by C. Rajagopalachari, on July 10, 1944, with which Gandhi was in agreement envisioned, "Muslim contiguous districts in the north-west and east of India, wherein the Muslim population is in absolute majority" holding a plebiscite after termination of war on the basis of adult suffrage to decide the formation of a sovereign state separate from Hindustan, in return for Muslim League’s cooperation for the formation of a provisional interim government for the transitional period. It envisioned transfer of population on a voluntary basis.
-Ref. "The Sikhs in History," by Sangat Singh, 1995.
|1980||Khalistan Flag Hoisted for the first time. The Sikh Youth Organisation, Dal Khalsa, hoisted the flag of Khalistan at the very spot where 13 GurSikhs fell martyr while defending the Guru Khalsa Panth against the Nirankaris, on April 13, 1978.
==> WHO WERE THE MURDERED GURSIKHS?
Further, the Nirankaris were hurling grave and malicious insults against the GurSikhism religion, beliefs, and sentiments. Oblivious to the GurSikhs, the Nirankaris had other plans, including a para-military platoon armed with lethal weapons, guns, revolvers, acid-filled bottles and mechanical propellants for shooting poison-tipped arrows, all well positioned behind a row of trucks. The GurSikh protestors were persuaded by the police officers on duty into believing that steps were being taken to stop further provocations of GurSikhism sentiments. Then the voice of Gurbachan Singh. Nirankari chief, was heard over the sound system, saying "these sikhs think they can stop us from freely carrying out our program. Let them know today, how mistaken they are. Time has come to be active for those, who have come here for this job". Suddenly the para-military platoon briskly advanced toward the GurSikh protestors. The police on duty hurled tear-gas bombs against the unarmed GurSikhs, converting them into sitting ducks for their hunters. Even some Hindu police officials like O.D. Joshi joined the Nirankaris attacks on the protesting GurSikhs. When it was all over 13 lay dead and over 50 were seriously injured. The batch of protesting GurSikhs were from Akhand Kirtan Jatha and Bhindranwale jatha, led by Bhai Fuaja Singh, included the following 13 who layed their lives:
The irony of the Sikh situation was this that Punjab was being ruled by a so-called Sikh Party; Amritsar was one of the holiest cities of the Sikhs; one minister, Mr Jiwan Singh was also present in the city; the city was the headquarters of the Akali Party and the Sikh Parliament (SGPC) and the Nirankaris had long been attacking the Sikh religion and this was known in the Government. Furthermore all the killers of the Sikhs escaped from the Punjab safely, even with the help of officials of the Punjab Government (including Niranjan Singh, an official of the Punjab and, allegedly, the Chief Minister of the Punjab).
Throughout the world the Sikhs exhibited their fury. However, the Akali ministers of Punjab province bowed before the Central (Hindu) Government and refused to ban the activities of this gang of bohemians. Meanwhile these ministers addressed various Sikh congregations and spoke against the Nirankaris so that the Sikh masses should not become furious against them for their indifferent (or pro-Nirankari) attitude.
Thus this became the starting point of the new phase of the struggle of the Sikh nation. The lead was given by the Sikh Youth under the guidance of the Sikh intelligentsia. They had to fight various platforms: the Hindus, the Communists and some of the pseudo-Akalis, who loved their office more than their nation.
This amritsar massacre was one of the most significant incidents of this century for GurSikhs. It led to the murder of Lala Jagat Narain, the rise of the Khalistan demand, attack on the Golden Temple and Sri Akal Takhat, and enormous destruction of lives and properties in Punjab, Delhi, and other locals of GurSikh population. It should be noted that although Gurbachan Singh’s movement call themselves Nirankaris, they do not have anything in common with the original Nirankari movement that made enormous sacrifices and significant contributions for GurPanth’s reform. For details see the description on Nirankaris below.
On October 6, 1978, a Hukumnama bearing the seal of Sri Akal Takhat (by the Jathedar of Sri Akal Takhat, Amritsar) was issued, calling upon GurSikhs all over the world to socially boycott these fake "Nirankaris" and not allow their faith and creed to grow or flourish in the society. This Hukumnama was prepared by a committee comprising of the following:
Through this Hukumnama, all GurSikhs were asked to stop "roti beti di sanjh", food and marital relations, with the fake nirankaris. Gurbachan Singh was subsequently killed by the GurSikhs on Apr. 24, 1980. However, the repercussion of the initial event continue to persist.
-Ref. The Illustrated History of the Sikhs (1947-78), by Gur Rattan Pal Singh.
|1981||Through Aug. 2, the All Canada Sikh Convention was held in Calgary that gave the Canadian Sikhs a national body, "Federation of Sikh Societies of Canada". Specific resolutions at the conference took the shape of projects for the first time.|