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Sikh History Timeline

Today in Sikh History :9th August


9th August


1922 Akalis arrested at Guru Ka Bagh.

==> GURU KA BAGH gurudwara was under the control of Mahant Sundar Dass. He had agreed to serve under a committee of eleven members appointed by the SGPC on August 23, 1921, but the land remained under his possession. The Sikhs used to hew wood from the land for common kitchen and Mahant, under instigation from others, lodged a complaint against the Akalis. The government was on the outlook for opportunities to retrieve its prestige, lost in the Key’s affair. On Aug. 9, 1922, five Akali Sewadars were arrested for cutting wood for Guru Ka Langar from Guru Ka Bagh. Subsequently a morcha was launched to seek the release of the five GurSikhs.

From Aug. 23 until Sept. 13, the government sided with the Mahant and ruthelessly lathi-charged the visiting Jathas. The violent use of force on the non-violent Akalis had great impact in and outside the Punjab. The Government brutality was condemned. The police beat the Akalis with iron-tipped rods and batons, till blodd began to flow and the brave GurSikhs fell unconcious. The insults heaped up on the Akalis were unbearable. They were given inhuman punishments and their religious symbols were desecrated and hair pulled out. The effect of all this on thousands of GurSikhs was tremendous, resulting in deep seated hatred against the British rulers and the Sikhs lost all faith in non-violence. The Babbar Akali movement took its final shape during this Morcha. The courage and persistent of Sikhs became world renouned during this period. From Sept. 13 until Nov. 17, Sikhs courted arrests. Finally, the government gave in and on Nov. 17, 1922, all Sikh demands were accepted and the agitation was successfully concluded. During this agitation 5605 Sikhs courted arrest including 35 members of the SGPC, over a dozen Sikhs accepted shahidi and thousands were injured.

-Ref. "Babbar Akali Movement, A Historical Survey," by Gurcharan Singh, Aman Publications, 1993.

1922 Babbar Akali movement launched.

==> BABBAR AKALI MOVEMENT: "Babbar" is an Arabic word which means a lion. Sher and Akali are Punjabi words which mean lion and without death, respectively. In Sikh context Akali is a Sikh who worships the Almighty and who is without death or fear. When combined with word Babbar, word Akali means a Sikh who is without death and is fearless and brave, like a lion. This is how the Babbar Akalis really were. They defied death, fought with great courage, and received martyrdom. They fought the holy war without any selfish motive.

Babbar Akalis had established their rule in the Doaba region of Punjab in the early 20s. Commissioner Towshed of Jalandhar wrote a long letter to the Governor of Punjab;

"The British rule is over in Doaba. No one is ready to cooperate with the government for the fear of the Babbars. There are some people, loyal to the British goverment, who visit my residence in a very secret manner and utter the news, in a low tone, into my ear."

In addition ot the brave men of Doaba, several Sikhs from the Majha and Malwa region also gladly accepted martyrdom. Those include Babu Santa Singh son of Sardar Suba Singh of village Shoti Harion (Tehsil Samrala); Babbar Nikka Singh son of Sardar Buta Singh, village Alowal, Tehsil Tarn Tarn. (Source – Babbar Akalian da Itihas by Dr. Bakhshish Singh Nijjar)

There are some books available on the Babbar Akalis. Two prominent books about this topic are by Dr.’ Bakhshish Singh Nijjar (M.A. PhD in history, M.A. Punjabi, M.A.M.L.O. Farsi). He is a Rtd. director of Punjab State Archives and curently living in USA. His books are:

  1. Babbar Akalian da Itihas (Punjabi)
  2. Babbar Akali Lehar da Itihas
  3. History of the Babar Akalis

There is another gentleman, Dr. Gurcharan Singh Aulakh who recently wrote his PhD thesis on the Babbar Akalis. His book is called, "Babbar Akali Movement" and is published by Aman Publications, Punjab.

Two other useful books on the Akalis and Babbar Akalis are:

Babbar Akali Lehar (Punjabi) by Sunder Singh Babbar
Akali Lehar (Punjabi) Partap Singh Giani.


1942 60,0000 Sikhs courted arrest under the "Britishers Leave India" movement.



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