Today in Sikh History :29th March
|1552a||Second Patshahi, Guru Angad Dev Ji departed this planet from Khadur Sahib. He served as Guru for 12 years and none months. Today is the actual date of joti jot, though its is observed on a different date by Guru Khalsa Panth.
==> Guru ANGAD DEV (1504-1552): The mantle of the First Master fell on Angad, the second Sikh Guru, in 1539, and he graced the exalted position till 1552.
Born at "Mattae de Saran", a Punjab village, on Sunday, Vaisakh Vadi 1 sunmat 1561 (March 31, 1504) to father Pheru Mal and mother Dya Kaur, Guru Angad was originally known as "Lehna". In sunmat 1576, Guru Sahib married Khivi, daughter of Devi Chand. This marriage resulted in two daughters Bibi Amro and Anokhi and two sons Dassu and Dattu Ji. Lehna’s parents were orthodox Hindus and worshippers of the goddess Durga. The most momentous and exulting moment in Lehna’s life came around 1531 when he met Guru Nanak at Kartarpur. So powerful and profound was the Guru’s divine spell on him that he wound up domestic affairs and devoted himself entirely to the service of the Guru and of fellow-men in whom the Lord constantly dwells. Because of his patient and unpretentious service, he endeared himself to the Guru who lovingly called him "Angad" (i.e., of my own limb) and elevated him to the Guruship on Hadh 17th sunmat 1596. However, Guru Angad actually assumed Guruship on Asu 23rd sunmat 1596 and started his work.
Imbibing the spirit of the First Master, Guru Angad began to disseminate the gospel of Guru Nanak to redeem the caste-worn and custom-ridden contemporary society. He denounced formalism and ritualism, and highlighted the edifying experience of the adoration of the Guru (Guru Bhakti), service of the Guru (Guru Seva), and divine meditation (Nam Bhakti). These tie regarded as the noblest means of God-realization. Guru Angad held service in high esteem. Indeed, he placed love of God and service of humanity on the same pedestal.
To consolidate and propagate the mission of Guru Nanak, the Second Master collected the celestial songs and teachings of his predecessor which, together with his own compositions, he transmitted to mankind. There are sixty-two hymns by Guru Angad in the Adi Granth.
Drawing on his own reminiscences and the accounts gathered from Bhai Bala and other disciples of the First Guru, the Second Master produced the first biography of Guru Nanak (in sunmat 1601), and this became the earliest published prose-work in Punjabi. The bastardized version of this biography is available today and known as Bhai Bala’s version.
Guru Angad was also a great pioneer in education. He opened a School which, besides promoting the moral health of the students, organized wrestling exercises and manly sports. The Guru’s system of education sought a harmonious development of the physical, intellectual and spiritual aspects of the human personality.
In sunmat 1598, the Second Master modified and improved the Gurumukhi script and made arrangements for popularizing it. Besides, he established his headquarters at Khandoor, and under his divine spell many embraced the Sikh religion. The Guru commended the significance of honest work and corporate kitchens. He exhorted the Sikhs not to take to renunciation or asceticism but to carry on the worship of God along with their worldly duties and obligations. Thus, he strengthened Guru Ka Langar or the Temple of Bread, an imaginative measure which helped enlist all men In a league of love.
Guru Sahib left for holy abode on Vaisak 3rd sunmat 1609 (March 29, 1552) at Kadur Sahib, after serving 12 years, 9 months, and 17 days as Guru. At the time of Joti Joot, his age was 47 years, 11 months, and 29 days.
|1552b||Third Patshahi, Guru Amar Das Ji ascended to Guruship of Sikhsism. Amardas was influenced to Sikhims by Bibi Amro, daughter of Guru Angad Dev Ji. She was married to Amardas’s nephew. Bibi Amro was a very pious woman. She would get up early in the morning, take a bath and start reciting the hymns of Guru Nanak. One day Amardasheard Bibi Amro sing Guru Nanak’s Jap Ji and pauris of Asa-di-var. He was touched by the divinity and peity of the hymns. He learnt those gymns from her and started reciting them every morning.
Once when Amardas was returning from hardwar, he met a man who was a God seekr and wanted a teacher to show him the right path. he was influenced by the knowledge and divinity of Amardas. He asked Amardas about his religious-teacher so that he could him join him as well. The question shook Amardas to the roots. he did not have a teacher. He went straight to Bibi Amro and asked her to take him to Guru Angad.
Next morning Bibi Amro and Amardas reached Khadur Sahib where Guru Angad was residing. Upon hearing of the arrival of Amardas and Bibi Amro, Guru Angad stood up to receive him. But Amardas, 20 years older than Guru Angad, hastened to fall at the Guru’s feet and said, "I am here to be your disciple, to serve the house of Guru Nanak dev under your divine commands, please accept me as the servant of this house." Guru Angad embraced him and said that he was not the servant but a future master of that house. This meeting took place in 1540 when Amardas was about 60 years old. On this day, Amardas, aged 70 years, was anointed the Third Guru of the Sikhs by Baba Budha, at the instructions of Guru Angad Dev who breathed a little later. Today is the actual date of Gur Gadhi, though it is observed on a different date by Guru Khalsa Panth.
-Ref. "The Sikh Religion and The Sikh People," by Dr. S.S. Kapor, Hemkunt Press, New Delhi, 1992
|1699||Baisakhi day, Guru Gobind created the Khalsa order at Anandpur Sahib. Earlier Hukamnamahs were sent to Sikhs all over Hindustan and beyond to vist Anandpur. The people were asked to visit with their hair unshorn. The hill chiefs, who, according to one account, were taken into confidence about Guru’s program, were present in strength. He Abolished the corrupt and debased institution of ‘masands’. Created a small regular army and fortified Anandpurs with a ring of smaller fortresses around it.
==> HOW DID THE MISLS COME INTO BEING? For ten years after Banda Bahadhur’s shahadat, Sikhs were quite. In 1726, Bhai Tara Singh of village "Vaa" accepted shahadat after fighting the ruling forces. This incident re-awakened the Sikhs and unrest erupted all over Punjab. The Subaedhar of Lahore and Delhi ruler, Mohammad Shah, agreed to an annual payment 1 lakh rupee compensation and viceroyalty (Nawabi) in return for peace in the region. On the Vaisakhi day of 1733, the Panth bestowed this resposbibility upon Sardar Kapur Singh. Henceforth, he came to be popularly known as "Nawab Kapoor Singh".
After Banda Bahadhur’s Shaheedi, Diwan Darbara Singh was recognized as the Jathaedhar for the whole Sikh Panth. Upon his death in 1734, Nawab Kapoor Singh became Panth’s Jathaedhar. By now the Sikh population has grown significantly. To ease the management of Panthic affairs, Khalsa forces were divided into two groups; namely, "Budha Dal" and "Taruna Dal". Budha Dal, under the leadership of Nawab Kapoor Singh, resided at Akal Bugha. The Taruna Dal was further split into five groups as follows:
During Taruna Dal’s absence, when their jathas were touring various region of Punjab, the rulers repossessed Panth’s jagir. As a result, the unrest erupted once again. When Nadir attacked Delhi in 1739 and shook the very roots of mughal empire, there was virtaully no government in Punjab, in any real sense. Sensing an opportunity, the Sikhs seized control of entire Punjab and built a fort, DalaeWal, on the banks of river Ravi. This fort was later destroyed by Khan Bahadhur.
The war between the Sikhs and the ruling forces persisted over time. More the government suppressed the Sikhs, more the Sikhs faought back and realised increasing gains. On Oct. 14, 1745, Dal Khalsa was broken into 30 small groups. These groups fought independent wars. However, they collectively defended the Panth’s interest whenever it was threatened.
In Jan. 1748, Ahmad Shah Abdali started his attacks. This made the attainment of Panth’s objective of establishing its rule, rather difficult. However, by now the number of small jathas had swelled to more than double, 66.
On March 29, 1748, Vaisakhi day, all these jathas gathered in Amritsar. On this occasion, Nawab Kapoor Singh, put forth a proposal for establishing a strong common leadership for the Panth. This proposal was accepted by everyone and the common leadership was called "Dal Khalsa". Jassa Singh Ahluwalia was anonymously elected as the leader of Dal Khalsa. Under his leadership, 11 misls were established; namely,
NOTE:- the 12th misl Phulkia, under the leadership of Sardar Alla Singh Patiala, is a separate misl from the above 11 misls. Unfortunately, this misl often worked against the Panthic interests. Among the damage they did to the Panth was the reinforcement of the Brahminincal tradition of Nirmalae Sikhs and in total disrespect to women many Patialites kept countless Ranis, performed anti Sikhi parades, etc.
The above misl were announced on the Vaisakhi day and every Sikh soldier given an opportunity to select his own leader. Everyone could join any misl they desired to. It was agreed that each misl would be autonomous in terms of its internal affairs but shall abide by the command of Dal Khalsa’s Jathaedhar for all common and Panthic affairs.
This arrangement worked well for the Sikhs. Numerous surrounding areas came under their protection, some willingly on their own while others were forcibly brought under their control. However, this arrangement did not last for too long, as Abdali attacked for the fourth time in Nov. of 1756. During this attack, the whole organization of the Sikhs fell apart and they had to start its re-establishment from scratch. During the fifth attack, Abdali encouraged the Marathas. However, as he left for Kabul, Sikhs captured Lahore and issued their own coins under the name of Jassa Singh. When Abdali heard this news, he attacked for the sixth time, this time specifically to destroy the Sikhs. Feb. 5, 1762 saw a grave war in which 10-12 thousand Sikh soldiers and 18-20 thousand Sikh children and women were killed. This day is marked as the "Major Holocaust" in Sikh history. Despite such enormous destruction, Sikhs became extremely fearless and only eight months after the major holocaust, they successfully defeated Abdali in the war of Pipli Sahib, Amritsar, on Oct. 17, 1762.
After Abdali’s retuirn to Kabul, Sikhs gathered once again in Amritsar in Dec. of 1762. During this meeting, Dal Khalsa’s common leadership was reestablished from scratch. Panth was divided into two major groups; namely, "Budha Dal" and "Taruna Dal". Budha Dal, under the leadership of Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia had six misls; namely, Ahluwalia, Singhpuria, Dalaewaliya, KarodhaSinghs, NashanaWali, and Shaheedi. This group was assigned the responsibility of eliminating the enemy. Taruna Dal came under the leadership of Jathaedhar Hari Singh and had five misls; namely, Bhangia, Ramgarihia, Kania, Nakia, and Sukarchakia. This group was given the responsibility for security and maintenance of Amritsar and all religious places.
Taruna Dal captured Kasur region while Budha Dal captured Duyaba and Jaladhar. Together they captured Batala. The killing of Sirhind Subhaedhar during the bloody war of Jan. 14th, 1764 and successfully capture of Sirhind, marked the beginning of Misl Raj. Slowly, the Punjab region from Jamuna to Attak came under the collective control of the misls. On May 15, 1765, Sikhs gained complete control of Lahore.
Subsequently, Abdali attacked for the ninth time and Sikhs had to leave Lahore. However, they reassumed control as soon as he returned to Kabul. The final two attacks of Abdali were extremely weak. During his last attack he did not dare proceed any further and simply returned from Jaehlam. By now the Sikhs had successfully established their rule over the entire Punjab.
-Ref. "Sikh Misla Tae Sardar Gharanae", (in Punjabi) by Sohan Singh Sital
|1748||The Sikhs assembled at Amritsar on Baisakhi day and by a gurmatta, decided to form Dal Khalsa by reorganization of over 60 arms jathas, bands, into eleven associatios (misls) under the overall command of’ Jassa Singh Ahluwalia. Nawab Kapur Singh because of his age sought retirement from active overall leadership. These were:
Phoolkia under Ala Singh of Patiala was the twelth misl, but it was not a part of the Dal Khalsa and sometimes acted against the interests of the community.
|1849||Darbar was held at Lahore where the British Government deposed and exiled Maharaja Dalip Singh, the last ruler of Punjab, and proclaimed the annexation of the Sikh kingdom to the British Empire. They had been moving calculatingly and strategically towards the Punjab for sometime. On this day, the Sikh state ceased to exist as the solidiers laid down their arms with tears in their eyes exclaiming "Aj Ranjit Singh mar Gia" meaning that on today the Sikhs solidiers felt the death of their beloved Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
==> Maharaja DALIP SINGH, the youngest son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who was born in Lahore, on Feb. 1837, to mother Maharani Jind Kaur. His date of birth is disputed by some and alternately suggested as Sept. 4, 1838. Many foreign journalists have wrongly named him as Dhalip Singh and Duleep Singh. However, it should be noted that his correct name is Maharaja Dalip Singh. He assumed the Punjab throne as a child, after Maharaja Sher Singh, on Sept. 18, 1843. During his reign several wars were fought with the British. Unfortunately, he was surrounded by corrupt advisors as illustrated by the following quote.
The agreement of March 9, 1846, after the first Sikh war with the British, included the following conditions:
However, towards the end of this year, another set of arrangements were made, under which a council was established to run the Punjab affairs. This council was headed by a British Resident. Further, British forces were brought in to maintain peace in the country. Lahore darbar was charged 22 lakh annually for the maintenance and upkeep of such forces.
However, this arrangement did not last for too long. As in April of 1848, a war erupted among the Sikhs and British. At the end of this war, Sikh kingdom was annexed and Maharaja Dalip Singh was sent out of Punjab to FatehGadh (Uttar Pradesh, dist. Karrukhsbad) under the care of Sir John Spencer Login.
Maharaja Dalip Singh was still a child at the time of the annexation of Punjab and there was no one to dispense any religious education to him. His companions (AudiyaPrasad, Purohit GulabRai, Fakir Jahurudeen) had absolutely no interest or sympathy with GurSikh Dharam. As a result, BhajanLal, a local resident brahmin who had converted to christianity, was given the responsibilities of Dalip Singh’s education. Under his influence, Maharaja Dalip Singh adopted christianity on March 8, 1853. A few days prior to adopting christianity, Dalip Singh had presented his hair as a gift to lady Login.
On April 19, 1858, Dalip Singh left for England and started residing at Elveden resident in Norfolk. Dalip Singh married a German lady, Bamba Muller (educated form Cairo missionary school) on June 7, 1864. This marriage resulted in three sons (Victor Dalip Singh, Frederick D.S., and Edward D.S.) and three daughters. Two of his sons were brought up as english gentlemen. The elder, Prince Victor, held a commission in the 1st Royal Dragoons and married a daughter of the Earl of Coventry. He died in 1918 at the age of 58. The younger brother, Prince Frederick was educated at Eton and Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he took history Tripos and later took his M.A. He held a commission in the Suffolk Yeomanry and then transferred to the Norfolk Yeomanry. He resigned his commission in 1909 but rejoined the corps in 1914 and was two years on active service in France. He was awarded the Territorial Decoration. Prince Frederick was deeply interested in archaeology and became a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and contributed articles to various periodicals on this subject. He died in August 1926, at the age of 58. One of Maharaja’s daughters married Dr. Sutherland, lived in Lahore, and was popularly known after her parents as Princess Bamba Sutherland.
Maharani Bamba died in 1890. Later, Maharaja Dalip Singh married an english lady, A.D. Etherill, who lived after Maharaja’s death. Maharaja’s later years were extremely difficult. He was barred from returning to Punjab, and his pension severed. He died pretty much as an orphan, in Oct. 22, 1893 in Grand Hotel of Paris.
-Ref. Mahan Kosh.
The Anglo-Sikh wars resulted in ultimate liquidation of the Sikh power, and on 30th March, 1849, Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s short lived kingdom was annexed by the British. Maharaja Dalip Singh was taken away to Fatehgarh in the U.P., and put under the tutelage of Sir John Login of the Bengal Army., with the result that after two years the young Maharaja expressed desire to renounce his faith and embrace Christianity. He was baptised, granted a pension, sent to England and given an estate in Suffolk. The married Bamba Muller, daughter of a European merchant and an Abyssinian mother.
Maharani Bamba spoke and understood only Arabic, and in the beginning the Maharaja had amusing difficulties when attempting to converse with his fiancee. She bore him Prince Victor Dalip Singh, (b. 1866, d. 1918), Prince Fredrick Dalip Singh (b. 1886, d. 1926), Princess Bamba Jindan (b. 1869, d. 1957), Princess Katherine, Prince Albert Edward Dalip Singh (b. 1879, d. 1893), and Princess Sophia Alexandria (b. 1874, d. 1948). The children of Maharaja Dalip Singh died issueless. Dalip Singh came to India twice and was reconverted to his paternal faith. In 1886 he made an attempt to leave England for good and settle down in Punjab, but his attempt failed and he was not allowed to proceed beyond Aden. He did not return to England and died in Paris in 1893.
Princess Bamba Dalip Singh, who later married an English gentleman Dr. Sutherland, continued to keep in her custody the collection of paintings and objects of arts, belonging to her father. She died in Lahore on March 10, 1957, without having any issue, and thus her death ended the line of the Sikh ruling dynasty. She bequeathed the collections to Pir Karim Bakhsh Supra of Lahore who sold it recently to the Government of Pakistan.
The collection consists of 18 oil paintings, 14 water colours, 22 ivory paintings, 17 photographs, 10 metallic objects and 7 miscellaneous articles.
-Ref. "The Princess Bamba Collection" an official publication of Department of Archeology, Pakistan "Sikh Portraits by European Artists," by F.S. Aijazuddin, a comprehensive source of textual and visual information on the Princess Bamba Collection (Karachi: Oxford Univ. Press)
Maharaja Dalip Singh’s life is a tragedy in the true sense of the word. He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but died very poor in a hotel in Paris.
Most people do not know that he wanted to reclaim his kingdom by launching a war against the British. Although he had become Chritain at one time, yet he re-entered Khalsa Panth by taking Khade di Pahul (amrit).
Maharaja wrote the following letter to Sardar Sant Singh who was his relative from his mother’s side. Here is the text of the letter:
Note: Maharaja Dalip Singh stayed sometime in Aden. During his stay at Aden, the Maharaja Dalip Singh was baptised and re-entered the Sikh faith. He was baptised on May 26, 1886. There is a photograph of Maharaja with full beard (which is tied back) and beutiful uniform and turban. In this picture he looks very handsome and a true Maharaja. This picture must have taken when he was around 35-40. This picture is not the one that most of us have seen where the handsome Maharaja is standing with a sword in his right hand.
-Ref. "History of Freedom Movement in the Punjab – Maharaja Duleep Singh Correspondence, Vol III," published by Punjabi University Patiala.
|1922||Akali Dal renamed as "Shiromani Akali Dal".|
|1940||The Khalsa National Party at its meeting in Lahore, under Sunder Singh Majithia, saw danger in the division of India into Hindu and Muslim independent states, and said that the Sikhs would not tolerate for a single day the unadultrated communal rule of any community. As a logical sequence, it asked for restoration of Sikh sovereignty of Punjab, which was held in trust by the British during the minority reign of Maharaja Dalip Singh.
The Khalsa Sewak, a Sikh newspaper, came out in support of a Sikh state from Jumuna to Jamraud, while Dr. V.S. Bhati, a Sikh from Ludhiana, propounded a scheme of Khalistan, a buffer state between Pakistan and Hindustan consisting of Sikh districts and Sikh states under the Maharaja of Patiala.
-Ref. "The Sikhs in History," by Sangat Singh, 1995
|1981||SGPC adopted the motion "Sikhs are a Nation". When the Presdient Gurcharan Singh Tohra, was asked the question that the SGPC was turning political, he answered "On October 10, 1946, Ishar Singh Mahjaiol, had moved in the house a resolution for the creation of a Sikh State. The resolution was seconded by Sardar Swaran Singh. The "Sikhs Are a Nation" proposal was part of S. Ganga Singh Dhillon’s speech at 54th All India Sikh Educational Conference that took place on March 13, 14, and 15, 1981. In his presidential address, S. Ganga Singh Dhillon wrote: "SIKHS ARE A NATION We all are born equal, with a human right to preserve our religious and cultural heritage, improve our economic inheritance and freedom to mould our destiny.|
|1987||Renu and Maninders’s wedding|