Deccan Khalsa Diwan
Support Network after the Partition of India (1947)
A philanthropic organization of the Sikhs, now non-existent, was formed in Bombay on the eve of Indian Independence (August 1947), with Partap Singh as president and Harl Singh Shergill as general secretary. The Diwan’s main object was to provide help for the rehabilitation of persons uprooted from their homes in the north in the wake of intercommunal rioting.
It also offered its services to protect the old Sikh residents of Nanded in Hyderabad state, who were numerically a very small group and who felt apprehensive about the safety of their historic shrine in the town and of their own lives in the deteriorating law and order situation in the state, then held to ransom by the fanatical Qasim Rizvi. The Diwan sent a jatha, i.e. a band of volunteers, to Nanded at that critical juncture. For resettling nearly 1,000 displaced families who happened to come to Bombay leaving their hearths and homes in what became the State of Pakistan, it secured use of some military barracks in Koliwada locality, built during World War II and had them renovated.
The government later constructed pucca tenements which were rented out to the refugees, homeless immigrants. The colony is now known as Guru Tegh Bahadur Nagar. Under the auspices of the Deccan Khalsa Diwan was established the Guru Nanak Vidyak Society which opened in July 1947 a high school. The Society is now running more than two dozen schools in different suburbs of Bombay. It also took up the cause of Punjabi and had an optional paper in the language introduced in high schools as well as in colleges within the jurisdiction of Bombay University.