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Sikh History Timeline

Today in Sikh History : 9th July


9th July


1609 The foundation stone of 12 feet high Akal Bunga (Sri Akal Takhat Sahib) was laid by Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji himself in front of the harimandir Sahib. The five story building was completed in 1609. The Akal Takhat was carefully constructed by Baba Buddha Ji and Bhai Gurdas Ji. No mason was employed as per Guru’s instructions that no labour would be acquired for its construction.

==> AKAL TAKHAT – an institution, initially named Akal Bunga, established by Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib in sunmat 1665 for Sikh Governance, located in front of Harmindar Sahib, Amritsar. Regular diwans were conducted daily, during early morning and evening by Guru Sahib. AkalBunga, represents the centre for all Panthic jathaebandia (groups). It is where Gurmat resolutions are announced and procalamations made that are binding to all Sikhs around the world. Akal Bunga is the first Takhat for Sikhs and hence popularly known as Akal Takhat. Some of the arms preserved at this location include:

1. Sri Sahibs (swords) of Guru Hargobind Sahib that represented Miri and Piri
2. Sri Sahib (sword) of Guru Gobind Singh Ji
3. Sri Sahib (sword) of Baba Buddha Ji
4. Sri Sahib (sword) of Bhai Jaetha Ji
5. Sri Sahib Baba Karam Singh Ji Shaheed
6. Sri Sahib Bhai Uday Singh Ji, who was with Guru Gobind Singh Ji
7. Sri Sahib Bhai Bidhi Chand Ji
8. Dudhara Khanda (double-edged sword) of Baba Gurbakash Singh Ji Shaheed
9. Dudhara Khanda (double-edged sword) of Baba Deep Singh Ji
10. Dudhara Khanda of Baba Nodh Singh Ji Shaheed
11. Khadag Bhai Vachitar Singh Ji which weighed 10 Saer
12. Guru Hargobinds Sahib’s Guraj weighing 16 saer. It was given to Dharamvir Jassa Singh by Matta Sundari
13. A sword like weapon belonging to Guru Hargobind Sahib Guru Hargobind Sahib’s Katar
14. Baba Ajit Singh’s Katar
15. Baba Jujhar Singh’s Katar
16. Guru Hargobind Sahib’s kirpan
17. Guru Hargobind’s Paeshkabaj
18. Baba Deep Singh’s Paeshkabaj
19. A sword like weapon of Baba Deep Singh Ji Shaheed
20. Pistol of Baba Deep Singh Ji Shaheed
21. Two arrows of Guru Gobind Singh each cxontaining one Toala of gold
22. Medium sized Khanda of Baba Deep Singh Ji
23. Two kirpans of Baba Deep Singh Ji
24. Two small Khandas of Baba Deep Singh Ji
25. Chakar Of Baba Deep Singh Ji
26. Small Chakar of Baba Deep Singh Ji
27. Baba Deep Singh Ji’s chakar for head decoration

-Ref. Mahan Kosh (pp. 36)

1850 Bhai Maharaj Singh arrived in Singapore aboard the Mahomed Shaw, accompanied by his disciple, Khurruck Singh, and moved to Outram Jail.

==> Bhai MAHARAJ SINGH: Born in village Rabbon, near Malud, Ludhiana Dist. Parents named him Nihal Singh. As a young lad, he went to stay at Bhai Bir Singh’s Dera at Naurangabad. Did sewa for many years, took Amrit at the hands of Bhai Bir Singh, was given the name Bhagwan Singh, and eventually became his chela. The Dera was practically a military camp with 1200 musketmen and 3000 horsemen. It had always been a sanctuary for political refugees. It became the centre of the Sikh revolt against Dogra dominance over the Punjab.

Hira Singh Dogra, the chief minister of the Punjab, attacked the Dera in 1844 with 20000 troops and 50 cannon. Several hundred Sikhs, including General Attar Singh Sandhanwalla, Prince Kashmira Singh and Bhai Bir Singh were killed. Bhagwan Singh became the head of the Dera.

The British, who had been waiting for the right moment to intervene and establish their authority, made their move in 1847. They deported Rani Jinda. The Sikh chiefs revolted, including Bhagwan Singh. He was welcomed by Sikhs saying Ah Wo Maharaj, because of his sanctity, thus, soon he came to be referred to as Bhai Maharaj Singh.

During the second Anglo-Sikh war that followed, at the battles of Ram Nagar, Chillianwall and Gujrat, he was very active providing personal inspiration and organizing supplies for the Sikh Army. Soon after the defeat at Gujrat, all the other Sikh chiefs had been captured or had surrendered.

By the way, Bhai Maharaj Singh was one of the first people of Punjab to launch a freedom movement in Punjab after the British took over Punjab. He said in 1849:
There will be another National War, let all the true Sikhs rise on the day fixed.

Bhai Mahararaj Singh, a Sikh priest of reputed sanctity, and of great influence, the first man who raised the standards of rebellion beyound the confines of Multan in 1848, and the only leader of note who did not lay down his arms to Sir Walter Gilberts at Rawalpindi.
- Henry Lawrence, Resident of Lahore

Bhai Maharaj Singh’s other name was Bhai Nihal Singh. His belonged to a line of Sikh revolutionaries who wanted to return to the creed of the Gurus. The pinions of this movement were Baba Bhag Singh of Pothohar, his worthy and more popular disciple Bhai Bir Singh of Naurangabad in Amritsar and the latter’s successor Bhai Maharaj Singh.

Bhai Maharaj Singh plan of action against the vastly superior British was framed in the jungles of the Chumb Valley.
1. To rescue Maharajah Dalip Singh from Lahore Fort.
2. To organize a United Front of all anti-British forces.
3. Organized disruption by subversion and suprise attacks on British treasuries and cantonments.
He displayed superb military generalship and knowledge of tactical warfare. What sustained him was his rich spiritual heritage.

The British reacted by moving Dalip Singh to securer confinement, encouraged Muslim zealots to locate him for them and offered hugh rewards for information of his whereabouts. On the other hand, the British tried to portray him as a religious leader to lower his following as a Military or political leader. It was the British officers who coined the term Karnivala since it they did not want to admit the failures of their intelligence. Bhai Maharaj Singh, undoubtedly, was certainly a Miracle Maker since it became impossible for the British to arrest him. This was due to the support given to him by the public that he was able to hide among the people.

He was captured together with 21 unarmed followers on Dec, 28 1849, near Adampur. Vansttart, the Deputy Commissioner of Jallundar who arrested him, wrote.

The Guru is no ordinary man. He is to the natives what Jesus was to the most zealous of Christians. His miracles were seen by tens of thousands, and are more implicitly believed than those worked by the ancient prophets.

Even more generous was Mcleod, Commissioner of the Doab,

had he remained at large, but a little longer. more outrages of an alarming character would have been attempted . the result of which, would perhaps be impossible to foretell.

It was found too risky to put Bhai Maharaj Singh on trial in India and he was deported to Singapore. He arrived on the Mahomed Shaw, on 9th July 1850, together with a disciple, Khurruck Singh, and moved to Outram Jail. He was kept in solitary confinement in a cell 14 by 15 feet, which, because of the walling up of the windows, had been further rendered dark, dinghy and absolutely unhealthy (Secret Consultation Papers, 28th Feb 1851, #52-57). He was practically blind within three years, developed cancer on his tongue, and had rheumatic swellings and pains in his feet and ankles. The Civil Surgeon, Singapore, recommended that Bhai Maharaj Singh be allowed an occasional walk in the open, but this was turned down by the Government of India. The result was that his health continued to deteriorate, and about two months before his death, his neck and tongue became so swollen that it became very difficult for him to swallow.

Bhai Maharaj Singh died on 5th July 1856. He was cremated on a plot of land outside the prison, presumebably by Khurruck Singh, who also died in prison later. Locals, mainly Hindu Tamils began to revere the spot, marking it with stones. Offerings of flowers found their way there, Sikhs and Muslims joined in. The Sikhs placed a structure on this spot, turning it into a small temple. In 1966, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib was moved to the Silat Road Temple. Only the stones were re-erected outside the temple. Large numbers of Sikhs and non-Sikhs come to the samadh to worship, with offerings of valuables, a practice against Sikh tenets.,

Bhai Maharaj Singh was the head of the Order now known as the Hoti Mardan Valli Sant Khalsa Sampardai, recent illustrious heads were Sant Attar Singh and Sant Isher Singh. He was thus not only a revolutionary fighter but also a recognized religious personage of very high standing. Many believe him to be a Karniwala.

-Source – extracted from ‘Bhai Maharaj Singh Saint-Soldier’ by Choor Singh, Singapore.

1922 Kishan Singh Gargaj considers merger of both the Chakarvarti Jathas. He alongwith Assa Singh, reaches Hayatpur to meet Karam Singh.
1975 Akali Dal initiated their protest against the emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi and launched an agitation. It should be noted that Akali Dal was the only organization to raise such protests. This agitation was successfully concluded on Jan. 17, 1977. A total of 43,472 Sikhs had courted arrest during this agitation.

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