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May 11th

1981 : Akali party passed resolution "Sikhs are a Nation".

1685 : Ram Rai visited Guru Gobind Singh Sahib Ji at Poanta Sahib, asks for forgiveness. Ram Rai is forgiven, but not his followers

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May 13th

1835 : Raja Ranjit Singh surrounded the forces of Mohammad Khan.

1708 : Guru Gobind Singh Sahib Ji visits Burhanpur.

1673 : Sahib Guru Gobind Singh Ji's anand-karj to Mata Jito Ji (Mata Jeet Kaur Ji)

1665 : Guru Tegh Bahadhur Sahib Ji visits Bilaspur.

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May 15th

1765 : Khalsa Forces under the leadership of Sardar Hari Singh and Bhuma Singh of Missal Bhangiaa'n conquered Lahore.

1629 : Mukhlis Khan reached Amritsar with his forces to fight Guru Har Gobind Sahib Ji.

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May 17th

1762 : Jassa Singh Ahluwalia defeated Jain Khan.

1973 US Government recognized Sikh Dharma as a religion.

The United States Government recognized Sikh Dharma as a religion, granting them the privileges and protection enjoyed by other churches in America.

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May 18th

1711 Battle of Batala between Baba Banda Singh Bahadhur and followers of Saekhul Hind.

1922 Judgement of Babbar Akali Conspiracy Case Trail No. 1 is announced. Ganda Singh turned informer while the following were sentenced :-

Tota Singh Peshori - 5 years imprisonment

Tara Singh Thethar - 5 years imprisonment

Bela Singh - 4 years imprisonment

Chanchal Singh Jandiyala - 1 year imprisonment

while Amar SIngh Kot Badhay Kha, Narayan Singh Chattiwind, and Prem Singh Granthi were acquited.

Additionally, warrants were issued fro Master Mota Singh, Kishan Singhm Gurbachan Singh Ambala, Wattan Singh Kahri Sahri, Amar Singh Delhi and Bijla Singh

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May 19th

1919 The British regime acknowledged right of the Sikhs to wear their religious sword and removed all restrictions on Kirpan Sahib.

A long agitation against restrictions on Kirpan Sahib was successfully concluded. This agitation saw hundreds of Sikhs in Jails. However, upon its conclusion all restrictions on Kirpan Sahib (specifically in armed forces) were removed all over British India and Burma. Kirpan Sahib is the second Kakaar, out of a total of five Kakaars, mandated for GurSikh's attire. Others include Kaes (unshorn hair), Kanga (comb), Kasha (underwear), and Kadha (bangel).

==> 5 K's: useful sources for information on 5 Ks include :-

Kapur Singh (1989), "Parasaraprasna: An Enquiry into the Genesis and Unique Character of the Order of the Khalsa with an Exposition of the Sikh Tenets," Guru nanak dev University, Amritsar, 2nd ed. (first published in 1959)

Kirpal Singh (1971), "Sikh Symbols," The Sikh Missionary Society, Gravesend, UK Santokh Singh (1991), "Sword of the Khalsa," Gujral Printers, Jammu.

Teja Singh (1951), "Forms and Symbols in Sikhism: Its Ideals and Institutions," Orient Longmans, Calcutta, pp. 30-35

Trilochan Singh (1977), "The Turban and Sword of the Sikhs," The Sikh Missionary Society, 10 Featherstone rd, Southall, Middx, UK

J.P.S. Uberoi (1975), "The Five Symbols of Sikhism," in Harbans Singh, ed., "Perspectives on Guru Nanak," Punjabi University, Patiala, pp. 502-513 also published in

Fauja Singh, ed., "Sikhism," Punjabi University, Patiala, 1969, pp. 123-128

Bishan Singh (1975), "Gurmat Kakkar Philosophy (Punjabi)," Khalsa Brothers, Amritsar.

1940 A meeting of all Sikh parties was held in Amritsar, to explore the issue of Sikh sovereignty and a sub-commitee was set-up to explore the matter.

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May 20th

1606 The Mughal royal decree to apprehend Guru Arjan Dev Ji was announced.

1704 Anandpur Sahib was attacked unprovoked by the combined forces of neighbouring Hindus Rajas.

1912 Kahan Singh began compiling Mahan-Kosh, a Sikh Encyclopedia.

==> KAHAN SINGH: is among the noted learned Sikh scholars. He was born on Bhado Wadi 10th sunmat 1918 (1861) in village Sabaj Banaera, Patiala, to father Bhai Narayan Singh and mother Mata Har Kaur Ji. As a child Kahan Singh was very active and thereby extremely close to his parents. He learned Gurmukhi from Bhai Bhup Singh. He was initiated to read Sri Guru Granth Sahib at the age of five by his father. At seven years of age, he was fluent in reciting Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Subsequently, Kahan Singh was sent to Delhi for Sanskrit education. He studies initially from Bawa Kalyan Das then Pandit Sri Dhar, Bansi Dhar, Bhai Vir Singh, Bhai Ram Singh, and Bawa Parmanand. He studied poetry from Bhai Bhagwan Singh Dughu. Subsequently, he learned music from Mahant of Gurusar Maharaj, Gaja Singh. At 20 yrs. he started learning Pharsi and english. By the age of 22, Bhai Kahan Singh had accomplished the basic necessary for understanding and analyzing Sikh literature.

His knowledge of Sikh scriptures and history is most profound and unrivalled. Beside being trained in the old school of Sikh scholarship wherein depth of knowledge and mastery of detail was more emphasized, he has also cultivated the variety and vastness of view which is characteristic of western learning. He not only possesses an intimate knowledge of the most obvious and the most distant facts, but he also knows how to marshall them and use them to some purpose.

Belonged to the earliest batch of the Singh Sabha reformers, Kahan Singh greatly influenced the formation of the modern opinion about Sikhism. Mr. M.A. Macauliffe, the author of the Sikh Religion, found in him a guide, philosopher, and friend. If Bhai Dit Singh and others were responsible for the social and religious reforms, Bhai Kahan Singh has worked for the whole movement as a writer, articulating its principles in works.

His work Mahan Kosh, is a unique reference and probably the only one of a kind available to Sikh preachers. It is a dictionary and an encyclopedia combined of sikh literature. It contains words occurring in the original Sikh scriptures as well as in other allied books.

Mahan Kosh, today is not only an all-inclusive work for ready reference, but contains solid articles on great and intricate topics connected with the Sikh history and religion. It represents a whole library of literature on Sikhism.

Kahan Singh Nabha passed away on Nov. 23, 1938.

-Ref. Mahan Kosh.

1922 Harnam Singh Mehdipur is assaulted by Chakarvartis of Kishan Singh Gargaj group.

1923 Ralla and Dittu of Kaulgarh were murdered.

1930 Akali Jatha left Peshawar to help the Pathans.

Akali Jatha, led by Master Tara Singh, left for Peshawar to help the Pathan followers of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, who had been fired upon in Kissa Khwani Bazar. Tara Singh was arrested in Lahore and incarcerated in Gujrat jail. The Akali volunteers were not permitted to proceed beyond Dina in Jhelum, where they were lathi charged till every one of them bacame unconscious.

-Source The Sikhs in History, by Sangat Singh, 1995

==> MASTER TARA SINGH: Master Tara Singh was born on 24 June, 1885, in Haryal in Rawalpindi district of North Western Province of undivided India. His mother, Moolan Devi, was a pious lady and his father, Bakshi Gopi Chand, was a patwari of the village and was a well known and respected person. Tara Singh's original name was Nanak Chand. In 1902 Nanak Chand embraced Sikhism and came to be called Tara Singh.

Tara Singh had a bright educational career and was a scholarship holder almost at all stages of his education. In 1907 he passed his B. A. examination from Khalsa College, Amritsar. Later Tara Singh joined as headmaster of Khalsa High School, Lyallpur, at an honorarium of Rs. 15 per month. Since then he came to be known as Master Tara Singh. His career as a teacher ended in 1921, following the Nankana tragedy.

He also edited two Akali newspapers, Akali (Udru) and Akali te Pardesi (Grumukhi) in which he forcefully put forward the aims and objectives of the Akali Dal.

He took an active part in national politics till his death on 22 November 1967.

-Ref. Master Tara Singh, by Verinder Grover, Deep & Deep Publications Delhi, 1995.

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May 21st

1920 The Akali, a Punjabi daily nespaper, started publication.

The Akali, a daily newspaper in Punjabi was started by the Sikh leaders of Shironamni Committee and Shiromani Akali Dal. The newspaper was meant to protect the rights of Sikhs and provide a political voice for their interests. It was published from Lahore and brought out by Master Sunder Singh Lyallpuri and Giani Hira Singh Dard. Under the editorship of Mangal Singh Gill, it played the role of the precusor of the Akali Movement. In its veru first issue, it outlined its programme advocating Panthic control over the Gurudwaras, Khalsa College, Amritsar and repairing the demolished wall of Gurudwara Rakabganj, Delhi.

1921 The militant Akalis held a meeting and deputed Bela Singh and Ganda Singh to murder J.W. Bowring in Lahore. J.W. Bowring was was Police Captain during the Nankana Sahib massacre. Akalis were convinced that he had conspired and aided Mahant Narayan Dass in carrying of the Nanakana Sahib massacre. Since then, he had been moved to Lahore. Unfortunately the plan foiled by a government agent, Sadhu Singh, who has poised as a staunch Akali supported and worked with Akali newspaper. Both were arrested at the Lahore railway station on May 23, 1921 and tried under Babbar Akali Conspiracy Trial No. 1.

1923 Second declaration of the Babbar Akalis owning the Kaulgarh murders was issued in Babbar Akali Doaba newspaper.

1924 Viryam Singh Babbar hanged until death.

1924 5th Shahidi Jatha of 500 valiant Akali Satyagrahies courted arrest on reaching Jaito.

==> WHERE IS JAITO? A village under Nabha, which falls on the Bathinda-Ferozpur railway line. It is 96 miles from Lahore and 17 miles from Bathinda.

WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF JAITO? On this place situated near a fort, is a historical Gurudwara of Guru Gobind Singh Patshah. Maharaja Hira Singh constructed the beautiful buildings of this Gurudwara. The sarowar is popularly known as Gangsar. About a mile and a half north of Jaito is Tibhi Sahib Gurudwara, where Guru Gobind Singh Patshah used to organize and participate in the evening recitation of Rehras. Both Gurudwaras have extensive land sanctioned to it by the Nabha rulers. Additionally, extensive financial resources are made available on an annual basis from the Nabha rulers and the surrounding villages. A maela celebration is held every 7th of Pooh month (Dec.-Jan.) and Katak (Oct.-Nov.) Puranmashi. Jaito's markets are well renowned. People come from far distances to buy and sell their herds.

WHY AKALIS COURTED ARREST? The key issue involved was resoration of Maharaja Ripudaman Singh of Nabha. Maharaja of Nabha, well-known for his pro-Tat Khalsa Proclivities, had a dispute with Maharaja of Patiala, known for this pro-government role. Although Maharaja of Nabha had absolutely no dispute with the government, as a result of mediation, he was forced to abdicate in July 1923. Col. Michin, with the help of troops and armoured cars, took the Maharaja by surprise on July 8, 1923 and taunted him with the query, Where is that Akali? The news of deposition by the government raised a strom of protest against the Government's interefernce in Nabha and was decsribed as a challenge to the Akali movement. As a result tensions mounted. The Akalis, in defiance of state orders, continued to hold diwan indefinitely. The Nabha police in order to arrest all the Akalis, including the one reading the holy Granth Sahib, was said to have disrupted the Akhand Path on Sept. 14, 1923. This dispute took such a tragic shape and got so inflames by Feb. 21, 1924 that several people lost their lives. After sixteen shaheedi jathas apart from one from Bengal and another from Canada, the agitation process was completed two years later, on August 6, 1925, after the concurrent bhog of 101 Akand Paaths.

-Ref. Mahan Kosh

The Sikhs in History, by Sangat Singh, 1995.

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May 22nd

1606 The Mughals apprehended Guru Arjan Dev Ji under the Royal decree announced on May 20, 1606. Guru Sahib asked his family to leave for Dalla (in Doaba), yet he made no plans to either flee, or hide in the hills or in the jungles.

1710 Baba Gurbakhash Singh (Banda Bahadur) killed Wajir Khan in Chapud-Chidhi and destroyed Sirhind. Then he established his capital at Mukhlas. Until 1720 everything was conducted from this capital.

-Ref. Amritsar Ji Dae Darshan Eshnan Utay 500 <admin-profanity filter activated> Di Ethasak Directory, Satnam Singh Khalsa Advocate, pp. 73.

1960 Punjabi Suba Convention was held at Amritsar. It was attended by Dr. Kitchlew, K.G. Jodh, Zaheer Qurashi and leaders of Socialist and Swatantra Parties.

1964 11 Sikhs were gunned down at Paonta Sahib (Himachal Pradesh) by the Mahant's henchmen.

The sangat of Poanta Sahib had requested head of Tarna Dal (not Nihal Singh, but the one before him) to visit the Gurdwara. They complained that the residing masand was abusing the Gurdwara premises through drinking, raping women that came alone, and making prostitutes dance inside. After several such requests Babaji decided to visit Poanta Sahib accompanied by 13 GurSikhs. They left, from Gurdwara Haria Welan Hoshiarpur, riding horses and horse drawn carts. When they arrived near Gurdwara Poanta Sahib, two GurSikhs carried Babaji's message for the masand requesting initiation of a Akhand Path at the Gurdwara. The masand did not give a definitive answer, instead assured to respond before the next morning. Meanwhile the masand confided with the local police chief, one of his corrupt friends who endorsed and permitted his evil acts.

Babaji started the Akhand Path next morning which proceeded uninterrupted for 2 days. On the 2nd day, the masand came with the police. They arrested Babaji who was outside at that time and fired at the GurSikhs inside, who were conducting the Akhand Path. The GurSikhs had no guns. For they had not come with the intent to fight, but rather to hear the sangat's concerns. As a result they were brutally massacred. Eleven died and two survived. As each Pathi was shot while reciting the Guru Granth Sahib, another simply pushed his body and continued the uninterrupted recitation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Nihal Singh, 21 at the time, continued with his choar sewa (even when he had been shot 3 times) until the last GurSikh was shot. As the Akhand Path was interrupted, Nihal Singh finally fell. The only survivor was the youngest GurSikh, a 11 year old, who was found hiding behind a nagara (drums). Besides him all others were presumed dead. It wasn't until the bodies were being loaded up in a cart that a small child saw Nihal Singh breath and informed the local sikhs. The local sikhs who had gathered by now, screamed to get him some medical attention. Fortunately they succeeded in their efforts. He received medical attention and survived with Vaaheguru's grace. He was subsequently honored by many gurdwaras as Jinda-Shaheed Jathedar. The masand was finally removed. Akhand paths are held each year in the commemoration of this event.

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May 23rd

1606 Jahangir received false reports on Guru Arjan's blessing Khusrau.

A report about Guru Arjan's blessing Khusrau and affixing a saffron mark on his forhead poured into Jahangir's eras. That made him to call for Guru arjan into his presence and set the stage for confrontation with the Sikhs. Khusrau's indiscreet revolt against his father on April 6, 1606 had helped to strengthen the position of Islamic revivalists. Khusrau was pursued by Shaikh Farid Bukhari who in turn was being followed by Jahangir. Anyone helping Khusrau directly or indirectly was immediately punished. Khusrau crossed river Bease and was followed by Shaikh Fard Bukhari who inflicted on him a crushing defeat near Bhairowal. Khusrau was captured on April 27, 1606, near Chenab and brought as prisoner to Lahore. Upto May 22 there was no mention at all of Khusrau's calling on Guru Arjan much less the latter's blessing on him.

1848 Maharani Jind Kaur exiled and sent to Banaras prison.

==> 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 yourng; 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.

1914 Guru Nanak Jahaz (Koma gata Maru) reached Vancouver port, Canada. However, it was forced to return to India.

==> KOMA GATA MARU: Punjabis traveling to foreign land in search of better jobs were being discriminated against at the begining of 20th century. The Canadian government had issued prohibition against their entry and the British ships had refused to accept any Punjabi travelers. The Canadian law stated, for the purpose of preventing immigration from india and other countries, that only those passengers could land in Canada who travelled on a through ticket without any break in journey from their land of birth. However, no company provided such a service between the Indian and Canadian ports. As a result, many Punjabis were stranded for months in Hong Kong, unable to get tickets for their final destination, Canada.

Baba Gurdit Singh of Sarhali village, a well established businesses in Calcutta, Malaya, etc., heard of the stranded Punjabis in Hong Kong and decided to challenge this prevalent situation. He rented "Koma Gata Maru", a Japanese ship and named it "Guru Nanak Jahaj". Sri Guru Granth Sahib accompanied the passengers along with Kesri Nishan Sahib.

On April 4, 1914, this ship sailed out of Hongkong and reached the Vancouver port on May 23, 1919, with 167 passengers. However, these passengers were not allowed to land at Vancouver and were forcibly returned to Calcutta in the same ship, after a long and painful struggle. Upon return, the ship was fired upon by the British at BajBaj Ghat in Calcutta. The returning passengers were either arrested or killed. Only a few managed to escape. Baba Gurdit Singh jee escaped the death and lived in disguise for almost 8-9 years. What started as a simple individual business venture turned into a major political event. The returning passengers were no longer considered as better job opportunity seekers but were prosecuted as freedom fighters.

-Ref. Hindustan Gadar Party: A Short History by Sohan Singh Josh, People's Publishing House, New Delhi, 1977.

KOMAGATA MARU INCIDENT - A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE

Komagata Maru was a merchant ship leased by S. Gurdit Singh to move Indians to Vancouver, Canada. The Canadian govt. was anti-Indian and did not favor their entry to Canada. This adventure was neither directly connected to the Ghadar Party nor was it an outcome of any freedom figting organization. However, it gave a unique twist to the Indian history and freedom struggle in India. The Ghadar journal helped to give it a direction of prevalent discontent and moulded it into a radical movement. And there was a very good reason for it.

The Canadian govt, in order to check further influx of Indians, adopted tought measures. Most notorious of them was "Canadians Privy Council Order No. 920," popularly known as "Continuous Journey Clause." This made the lives of Indo-Canadians very difficult. They could not visit their families and they could not visit them because there was no direct ship service from India to Canada. The Indians, specially Sikhs, used all means to persuade the Canadian govt to withdraw the order, but they won't listen. A deputation of Bhai Balwant Singh, Narain Singh, Bhai Jawala Singh, and Bhai Nand Singh even went to London in April 1913, and later visited India to present their case to the British and British-Indian govt, respectively. It all failed.

Baba Gurdit Singh, a wealthy businessman from Singapore, in order to satisfy the continuous journey clause, chartered his own ship from a Japanese company that would take passengers directly to Canada. The ship sailed on April 4, 1914 from Hong Kong with 165 passengers on board. More passengers joined in Shanghai, Moje and Yokohama and the number rose to 376. 346 were Sikhs and remaining were Punjabi muslims and Hindus. (Some people put the total at 372.) Before leaving, he consulted a leading Britsh solicitors at Hong Kong who assured him that there was no bar to the Indian admission to Canada. He agreed to pay $60,000 as the charter fee.

The ship arrived on the shores of Vancouver on May 23, 1914. The passengers were not allowed to land and the ship was cardoned off by the police. The "Times" (London) of that day carried a categorical statement of the Prime Minister of British Columbia that they would not admit these orientals. Leading Indians (mostly Sikhs) in Vancouver formed a 'Shore Committee.' It paid $22,000 as installment of the charter money for the ship, and filed a test case in the Supreme Court in the name of one passenger Munshi Singh in the hope that they would get more favourable verdict. On July 7, the full bench of Supreme Court gave its unanimous decision that they cannot overrule the Immigration Department's dicision.

Food had run out in the ship. Some local Sikhs managed to deliver potatoes and other things on one occasion during the night on a hired boat. The passengers were very angry and they took control of the ship from the Japanese Captain. The Canadian govt retaliated by ordering a harbour tug "Sea Lion" (sort of tow truck for ships) to push the ship out of the shore. The angry passengers mounted an attack on the police by throwing lumps of coal and bricks. The army regiments had taken positions and it was like a war zone. The Sikhs of Vanocuver were so angry that and decided to burn the city of Vancouver if their countrymen were fired upon by the police, army and the militia who had sourrounded the ship. Somehow a decision was made and the ship sailed back into the sea towards India. Before the ship reached Yokohama, the war broke out. The British govt ordered that no passengers were allowed to land from where they had boarded the ship. At Yokohama, Bhai Sohan Singh Bhakna had delivered 200 pistols and a several hundred cartridges when the ship docked there for a short period. In addition, Ghadar Party literature was also loaded into the ship in flour bags. Many Ghadarites had also boarded the ship from Shanghai.

The Komagata Maru (Guru Nanak Jahaj) reached Calcutta at Budge Budge harbour on July 23, 1914 after a two-month long struggle.

Note:

The Canadian govt had employed agents to commit murders of the Indian community leaders. One such agent was Bela Singh and his band who worked for the Canadian immigration and Mr. William Hopkinson (a high official on the govt) who was a great enemy of the Indian community. Their main job to strike terror in the heart of the Indian (Sikh) community. On September 5, 1914, Bela Singh fired at the Sikh congregation which had gathered to mourn the death of one Ram Singh by Ram Singh. Bela Singh went on firing with two pistols and killed two people and seriously wounded several others. A case was filed agaisnt him. Bhai Mewa Singh shot dead Mr. Hopkinson in the court who was there as a defense witness. Bela Singh was later acquitted. This infuriated the Indian immigrants in Canada. Bhai Mewa Singh was later sentenced to death. Mewa Singh, in his confessional statement said, "This is what led me to take Hopkinson's life and sacrifice my own life to in order to lay bare the opposition exercised upon my innocent people through his influence in the eyes of the whole world. And I, performing the duty of a true Sikh and remembering the name of God, will proceed towards the scaffold with the same amount of pleasure as the hungry baby does towards its mother. I shall gladly have the rope around my neck thinking it to be a rosary of God's name ."

Bhai Mewa Singh's martyrdom day used to be celebrated in Vanvouver Gurdwara every year (maybe it still is). (I have added this note only to emphasise that govt agents are always active in our own community.)

In the diwans held at Gurdwaras of Shanghai and Hong Kong, Komagata Maru formed a central issue and Indians were asked to return to India to avenge the insult. It was no coincidence that the first jatha of Ghadarites came from Shanghai and reached Calcutta alomost on the heels of Komagata Maru. All those who arrived on subsequent ships at Calcutta were rigorously inspected, and those suspected to be dangerous were either arrested or forbidden to reside elsewhere other than their native villages. Many Ghadarites reached Punjab using various routes and methods.

Komagata Maru Reached Budge Budge Harbour (ghaat)

Komagata Maru arrived at Calcutta on September 29, 1914. The passengers pretty much knew what was in store for them in India. Therefore, they threw all the objectionable things in the sea. When they arrived in Calcutta, they were searched thoroughly three times. No arms were found.

At Calcutta, the police wanted the passengers to board the train bound for Punjab immediately, but the passengers insisted that they have to deposit the Holy Guru Grnath Sahib (which was on baord) in one of the local Gurdwaras. Some boarded the train while the other defied the police and started to march towards Calcutta in the form of a procession. The police informed the 2nd Battaion of Royal Fusileers. Thirty English policemen barred the processions' entry into the city. A brawl followed and police opened fire, killing 18 processionists and wounding at least 25. The police chief was shot dead by Bhai Munsha Singh who was one of the passengers. Two other officials were killed and and eleven got injured. Two Punjab policemen were also dead. The officials were cared for and got medical treatment, but no one cared for the wounded passengers. Many passengers were tortured. Sixty passengers escaped from the police seige and crossed river Houghley during night. Seventeen of them were later arrested.

Komagata Maru incident created a sharp reaction against the injustice to the passengers all over the world, but the premier organization of India, Indian National Congress, which was supporting the British Imperialist Goverenment's war efforts in the World War I with money amd men, did not utter single word of condemnation against the foreign rulers.

The saga of Komagata Maru is the story of callous attitude of the Imperial Government and the racist policy of the Canadian government at that time. While every action of the passengers cannot be justified, it was a reaction to the treatment that was meted out to them. Komagata Maru became a by-word for British oppression among the Punjabis. A passenger told an enquiring British officer, "This ship belongs to the whole of India. This is the symbol of the honour of India and if this was detained, there would be mutiny in the armies."

Soon after this incident, Ailane-e-Jang (Proclamation of War) was prepared by the Ghadar Pary which was circulated to a very large number of people. An important meeting was held in Sacramento, (California) and Indian were asked to go back home and wage a war against the Britors who were fighting the World War I. A large number of Punjabis did go back to India and started their revolutionary activities. Shahid Kartar Singh Sarabha, Raghubor Dyal Gupta and many others did not even wait for the meeting and left for India. Little bit later 60-70 Indians left by S. S. Korea which included some prominent leaders on the West Coast of USA. Some of them were sent to other countries to persuade the Indians of other countries such as Burma, Phillipines, China, and Hong Kong to go back to India and start the revolution.

Baba Gurdit Singh, who escaped the police bullets, remained underground until 1920. On the advice of Mahatma Gandhi, he made a volunatary surrender at Nankana Sahib and was imprisoned for five years. (Mahatma Gandhi did not help him in any other way!) He died on July 24, 1954.

Such was the story of Komagatu Maru.

Sources:

1. Sailani Desh Bhagat by Harnam Singh Tundilaat, a well-known "Ghadarite" (ghost written by Lal Singh Kamla Akali).

2. The Punjabi heroic Tradition by Dr. Satya M. Rai, Professor, Department of Political Science, Hindu College, Delhi Uni.

3. Ghadar Movement by Harish K. Puri, professor, Political Science, Guru Nanak Dev Uni. This book is published by Guru Nanak Dev University.

1921 Bela Singh and Ganda Singh are arrested and the militant Akali's conspiracy to murder J.W. Bowring, for his part in the Nankana Sahib massacre, ends in a fiasco. A government agent, Sadhu Singh, poised as a straunch Akali supporter working for "Akali" newspaper facilitated their arrest. They were tried under Babbar Akali Conspiracy Case Trail No. 1.

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May 24th

1606 Guru Arjan Dev reached Lahore for martyrdom in protection of the Dharam. For 6 days he suffrede emmense tortures. At the time of martyrdom, Sai Mia Meer and a priest from Puratgal, Saint Jaerom Jaevier witnessed the martyrdom.

-Ref. Amritsar Ji Dae Darshan Eshnan Utay 500 <admin-profanity filter activated> Di Ethasak Directory, Satnam Singh Khalsa Advocate, pp. 67.

1710 Baba Banda Singh Bahadur enters Sirhind city.

==> BANDA SINGH BAHADHUR: born on KatakSudhi 13 sunmat 1727 to Rajput father Ramdev who was a resident of the Rajori village in Jammu. He was named Lashman Dev by his parents. Since childhood, he exhibited extremely fondness for sanskrit literature and hunting. However, he plunged into deep remorse after killing a pregnant deer. As a result he discarded all his hunting tools and became a disciple of Vaesnav JankiPrasad. He shed all his material wealth, started onto the seekers path for enlightenment, and adopted the new name, Madho Dass.

Wondering in search of enlightenment, when he traveled towards south India and reached the banks of Godawari, he fell in love with this beautiful new place. He established his Ashram and started living here. In sunmat 1765, when Guru Gobind Singh Ji reached Nandaedh, he was extremely impressed and influenced by Guru's preaching. He offered himself as "Satguru Da Banda" (Satguru's person). Guru Gobind Singh Ji introduced him to Amrit and changed his name to Gurbakash Singh. However, he remained popularly known in our Panth as "Banda".

To eradicate the prevalent injustices, Guru Gobind Singh sent Banda accompanied by the following five GurSikhs to Punjab:

Baba Binod Singh

Baba Kanh Singh

Baba Bajh Singh

Baba Bijae Singh

Baba Ram Singh

Banda went to Punjab in sunmat 1765 accompanied with a Hukamnama from Guru Gobind Singh addressed to all the GurSikh. In this Hukamnama, Guru Gobind Singh asked GurSikhs to help Banda in his efforts. Before departure, Banda received three arrows from Guru Gobind Singh and the following instructions:

1. Remain celibate ("Jatt rakhana")

2. Live, operate, and act under the dictates of Khalsa ("Khalsae dae Anusari hokae rahna")

3. Never consider yourself to be Guru ("Aap nu Guru na manenna")

4. Eat only after serving others ("Vartakae Shakana")

5. Help the orphas, poor, unprotected, helpless, destitute, or disolate. ("Anatha di sahiata karni")

Upon reaching Punjab, Gurbakash Singh strictly followed Guru Sahib's instructions and successfully punish all who had previously mistreated the Khalsa Panth. On the 1st Hadh sunmat 1767, after conquering Sirhind, Wajir Khan was punished and eventually killed for the mistreatment of Sahibzadas.

However, Gurbakash Singh became popular among the Khalsa Panth, his self-godliness started awakening. As a result he started adopting and engaging in practices that were against Gurmat. In sunmat 1771, Banda Bahdhur expressed desires to establish his own Gadhi in Sri Harmindar Sahib and sought his self-worhsip. He started a new slogan of "Sachae Sahib ki Fateh" in contrast to the traditional "Vaaheguru Jee Kee Fateh". This resulted in a severe split among Khalsa Panth. Those following the principles as laid by Guru Gobind Singh came to known as "TattKhalsa" while the followers of Gurbakash Singh were known as "BandaiKhalsa". Today there are very few Bandai Sikhs. They do not believe in any other holy scriptures other than Sri Guru Granth Sahib. All their practice are according to Gurmat principles.

Eventually, Banda Bahadhur was cornered by the pursuing enemy forces at "Gurdaspur de Gadhi". It is also popularly known as Bhai Duni Chand di Hawaeli. After months of sustained attacks from AbdalSamadKhan and others with a force of over 20,000, Banda Bahadhur was arrested along with his companions and taken to Delhi. He accepted Shahadat on Chaet Sudhi 1st sunmat 1773.

-Ref. Mahan Kosh

1960 Master Tara Singh and hundreds of Sikhs arrested.

1998 Darbara Singh died - first known casuality of India's nuclear explosion.

Darbara Singh, who was appointed Governor of Rajasthan (India) just 24 days ago, died. He is the first known casuality of India's nuclear explosion. Darbara Singh had taken ill when he visited the site of the nuclear test at Pokhran with India's Prime Minister. He was a severe diabetic and had been advised to go to Delhi for treatment. According to family sources, Mr Singh's blood sugar level had shot up during his Pokhran visit where he suffered a mild stroke. He was rushed to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi for medical treatment. He suffered an heart attack at 1415 hrs today and died soon after. Doctors, however, declared him dead only at 1700 hrs. He was 71.

Darbara Singh was born on February 25, 1927 into a farmer's family at Chak 26 J B Village in Lyallpur district, now in Pakistan. He was native of the village Malsiyan, near Nakoddar in Punjab. An engineering graduate from Punjab Engineering College, Roorkee, he was a member or office bearer of various decision-making bodies, from the panchayat to the Lok Sabha. He joined the Quit India movement in 1942. He was elected chairman of the Panchayat Samiti Shahot (Jalandhar-Punjab) in 1964 and became member of the zilla parishad the same year. He won the Punjab assembly elections thrice -- in 1967, 1969 and 1972. He was first elected to the Punjab vidhan sabha in 1967 as an independent from Nakodar. In 1969 he became the Punjab Speaker and was renominated in 1972. He was a deputy minister in the Punjab government from 1968 to 1969. He was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1996 from Jalandhar and during the 1997 Lok Sabha elections he offered the seat to former Prime Minister of India, I.K. Gujral.

Apart from politics, he remained very active in fields of education and social work. He was founder president of the Guru Nanak National College for boys and another for girls in Nakkodar in Jalandhar district.

-Source The Times of India, Monday 25 May 1998

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May 25th

1606 GUR GADHI, Patshahi Sixth, Guru Har Gobind Ji.

Pattshahi sixth, Guru Har Gobind Sahib Ji, ascended to Guruship of GurSikhism. Just after the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev, Baba Budha anointed Hargobind as the sixth Guru of the Sikhs. Guru Arjan had sent to Hargobind, five paisas and a coconut through a messenger. baba Budha put those in front of Hargobind and applied a 'tilak' (saffron mark) on his forehead, bowed to him and declared him to be the next Guru of the Sikhs. The Guru then asked baba Budha to adorn him with a sword. Baba Budha who had not handled a sword before, tied it on the wrong side of the Guru. On realising his mistake he wanted to move it to the right side, but the Guru said not to remove that sword, but instead to put another one on the right side, which Baba Budha did. Thus the Guru wore two swords simultaneously. He declared that one sword represented 'Piri' (spirituality) or Bhakti) while the other represented 'Miri' (Temporality or Shakti). He told his followers that in the Guru's house spiritual and temporal powers would be combined. He declared that his rosary would be the sword-belt and he would wear the emblem of royality on his turban. Further he instructed the Sikhs to keep a sword and a horse and always recite the name of God from their lips.

-Ref. "The Sikh Religion and The Sikh People," by Dr. S.S. Kapor, Hemkunt Press, New Delhi, 1992

1675 Kashmiri Panditsi, led by Kirpa Ram, arrive in Anandpur Sahib to ask Guru Tegh Bahadhur for help in preserving Hindu dharam.

Kashmiri Pandits, led by Kirpa Das of Mattan (Martand), reached Chak Nanki, Kahlur (old name of Anandpur Sahib). He appealed to Guru Tegh Bahadhur for his help in against the prosecution of Kashmiri Pandits by Aurangzeb's forces and resulting extinction of hindu dharma. After appointing Gobind Rai as the next Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadhur left for Delhi on July 11, 1675. After Guruji's martyrdom, Pandit Kirpa Das stayed back and became Kirpa Singh after taking amort in 1699 and died fighting at Chamkaut along with the two elder sahibjadas of Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

When Guru Tegh Bahadhur sacrificed himself to save the Kashmiri Pandits from extinction in 1675, Guru Gobind Singh put his stamp on this truth by proclaiming "The Lord (Guru Tegh Bahadhur) protected the sacred thread and the frontal mark of the Hindus: He performed a great deed in the age of Kalyug." However, it is strange that the Kashmiri Pandits did not build any memorial in honour of Guruji. On the other hand the present generation has started doubting the veracity of this event.

1739 Sikhs attack Nadir Shash and relieve him of much of his booty.

Nadir Shah was on his way to Iran with billions of Rupees as well as a large amount of gold, pearls, and other valuables. When he reached Akhmur (near Jammu), Khalsa army attached him from the rear and releived him of much of his booty. Astonished at this, he questioned accompaning Zakaria Khan about the desperados. The anecdote runs:

SHAH: Have you got any troublesome people in the country?

ZAKARIA: None, except a sect of the Sikh faqirs, who assemble twive a year to bathe in a tank which they regard as a place of pilgrimage.

SHAH: Where are their abodes?

ZAKARIA: Their homes are the saddles of their horses.

SHAH: It seems probable these rebels will raise their heads.

Having taken a hint from Nadir Shah, Zakaria Khan started a fresh attack on the Sikhs. The Sikhs fled to the hills and to the forests but still continued visiting Amritsar.

1984 100,000 Indian Army troops are mobilized and deployed throughout Punjab surrounding all important Gurdwars including the Golden Temple complex.

1985 Sikh Symposium held in Toronto.

Through May 26, a Sikh Symposium was held in Toronto. The symposium was organized to provide an opportunity to analyze the Punjab situation, explore basic issues, and develop strategies to bring some realism into our community, especially in the wake of tragic happenings in Punjab that affected Sikhs all over the world. The papers presented at the symposium covered a wide range of subjects, such as "Together-Reflections; Sikh Identities; Obstacles to Render Aid to Sikhs; Cultural restraints on Sikhs in India; Economic Restraints on Punjab; The Khalsa its Universality; Psychology of Violence; Role of Media; Unspeakable; and What Went Wrong".

1994 Continued censorship of all communication with Punjab.

Continuation orders issued for censorship of all communication to and from Punjab. The copy of the document containing the top secret order pertaining to the Indian government's official discrimination, harrasment, subjugation and humiliation of the Sikhs is shown below.

==> TOP SECRET ORDER - May 25, 1994

Whereas the Administrator (UT) Chandigarh, is satisfied that this measure is necessary in the interest of public safety and tranquillity.

Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by Sub-Section (1) of Section 26 of the Indian Post Office Act 1898 for censorship of Postal articles and by Section 5 (2) of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 for censorship of telegraphic messages, the Administrator (UT) Chandigarh is pleased to direct that all Postal articles and telegraphic messges of any description whatesoever addressed to or emanating from the:

(1) Office bearers, important members and important workers of:

i) Akali Dals, Dal Khalsa, Khalsa Raj Party, National Council of Khalistan and their front organisations;

ii) Central Coordination Committee of Local Gurdwara & Sikh Institutions, Chandigarh;

iii) A.I.S.S.F.;

iv) Sikh Lawyers Forum;

v) Panjab Bachao Morcha;

(2) Office bearers, important members and important workers of Anand Marg and its branches;

(3) Any organisation/person from whom danger to the' security ofthe State/VIP;

(4) Persons residing in Pakistan;

shall be detained and forwarded to the Deputy Superintendent Of Police (CID) UT/Chandigarh to return to the Postal/Telegraph Authorities direct for delivery such Postl articles/telegraphic messages as are intercepted in accordance with this Office Order which it is not necessary to detain permanently in the interest of public safety.

This Order is to remain in force for a period of six months with effect from the date of issue.

--(Signed) Sanjay Kothari--

Home Secretary,

Chandigarh Administration

Dated Chandigarh,

the 25.5.1994

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