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guptveer1469

Peshawar Under Sikh Rule

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Bijla Singh, HSD or any other Sikhs view on this is highly appreciated.

Decline Under Sikh Rule

Ranjit Singh lead the Sikh army and invaded Peshawar in 1818 after wresting it from Afghanistan - resulting in Peshawar's darkest times as a part of The Sikh Kingdom of Punjab. In the wars between to two nations, the city's population was decimated as up to half of its inhabitants were killed or expelled under the Sikh reign.[21][22] The famous mosque at Ghor Khatri which was built by Jahan Ara Begum, daughter of Emperor Shahjahan, was destroyed by the Sikhs around 1823 and replaced with a temple to Gorakhnath, which remains until the present day. [23][24]

All but one of Peshawar's grand Mughal mosques were destroyed under Sikh rule[25]. In contradiction to some Sikh sources, which continue to insist that no Sikh ever desecrated a mosque,[26] of the many Mughal mosques that existed prior to the Sikh invasion, only the Mohabbat Khan Mosque survived Sikh depredations as it was used as an execution ground. Even there, the Sikhs destroyed the crowns of the minarets which had to be rebuilt later by the British[27].

Sikh rule of the city from 1834 to 1843 was administered under an Italian general named Paolo Di Avitabile, whose reign was described as one of "gallows and gibbets".[28] British Gazetteers noted that General Avitable used the minarets of the famed Mohabbat Khan Mosque as gallows.[29][30][31] Despite claims that no Sikh desecrated a mosque,[32][33] the desecration of Peshawar's mosques by their appointed administrator is well documented.

In regards to Sikh rule in Peshawar, the British noted:

“ Of the monuments of the Muslim period, too very few have survived our own times, not because the Muslim kings were not endowed with architectural tastes and talents or that they did not construct any attractive edifices, but because everything of architectural value that existed here was destroyed by the Sikhs, especially during Avitabile’s reign as the Governor of Peshawar. The only buildings of any antiquity and historical interest are the Gor Khatri, also called Serai Jahanabad, and the Mosque of Mahabat Khan. Even these did not escape the tyrant’s hand, while the mosque was desecrated and its lofty minars were used as gallows, the Serai was converted into the residence of the governor, and the mosque of Jahan Ara Begum built inside was replaced by a temple, which still stands there.[34] ”

The Sikhs also proceeded to destroy Peshawar's own Shalimar Gardens, as well as burn a large portion of the city. They felled many trees in the city gardens for use as firewood[35]. The Sikhs also destroyed much of the Bala Hisar Fort during their reign, but rebuilt it in its current form under the governance of Hari Singh Nalwa, briefly renaming it Samir Garh[36].

Sources:

21. ^ http://faculty.ed.umuc.edu/~jmatthew/naples/blog19.htm

22. ^ http://www.pakistanpaedia.com/psr/peshawar.html

23. ^ http://jang.com.pk/thenews/jan2007-weekly/...01-2007/foo.htm

24. ^ http://www.nwfptourism.com.pk/Gor%20Gatri.html

25. ^ http://pakistaniat.com/2008/02/26/masjid-m...-khan-peshawar/

26. ^ http://www.sikh-history.com/sikhhist/warriors/nalua.html

27. ^ http://www.geocities.com/prpakistan_peshaw...uhabat_khan.htm

28. ^ http://www.thesikhencyclopedia.com/europea...tml?directory=1

29. ^ http://www.nwfpuet.edu.pk/peshawar.htm

30. ^ http://www.geocities.com/prpakistan_peshaw...uhabat_khan.htm

31. ^ http://chowk.com/articles/5763

32. ^ http://www.sikh-history.com/sikhhist/warriors/nalua.html

33. ^ http://www.lifestylepakistan.com/tourism/P...2&MqId=1442

34. ^ http://splus.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-n...ifying-Peshawar

35 ^ http://www.pakistanpaedia.com/psr/peshawar.html

36 ^ ibid

This is taken from WikiPedia. A fellow Hindu wikipedian noticed this and informed me (as i edit on wiki occasionaly) and said that he suspected biased views in this article. So now I need help to correct this article, and also portray Peshawar under Sikh rule.

Bhul Chuk Maaf,

WJKK WJKF

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Kaljug Singh    37

Fateh!

Well, regarding this quote:

In regards to Sikh rule in Peshawar, the British noted:

" Of the monuments of the Muslim period, too very few have survived our own times, not because the Muslim kings were not endowed with architectural tastes and talents or that they did not construct any attractive edifices, but because everything of architectural value that existed here was destroyed by the Sikhs, especially during Avitabile's reign as the Governor of Peshawar. The only buildings of any antiquity and historical interest are the Gor Khatri, also called Serai Jahanabad, and the Mosque of Mahabat Khan. Even these did not escape the tyrant's hand, while the mosque was desecrated and its lofty minars were used as gallows, the Serai was converted into the residence of the governor, and the mosque of Jahan Ara Begum built inside was replaced by a temple, which still stands there.[34] "

Look at the source in footnote 35. The above paragraph has just been lifted from the very biased review of the book the reviewer is discussing. It says nothing about the British saying that, it is the author of the review, Syed Mohammad Tahir, who is saying it. If you read the rest of his review and you can see the bias in favour of the Moghuls.

I wouldn't be surprised if the rest of the sources are misrepresented as well.

Regards

K.

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Kaljug Singh    37

Fateh!

OK, I'm going to check through each of the sources mentioned. I'll come back and edit this when time permits until I have done all of them.

Source 21. It points to an encyclopaedia of Naples. Presumably the author of the article wants us to read the bit about Abu Tabela (Avitabile). Well, this source says the following about Maharaja Ranjit Singh:

"One of the stories they tell about Singh is that despite his many conquests, he did not allow wanton destruction of life or property, and that throughout his life he never passed a sentence of death. "

Regarding Avitabile, he says:

"Avitabile quickly earned the reputation of being a bloodthirsty and ruthless enforcer of Sikh authority. Every morning, they say, Avitabile would have a few Muslims thrown to their deaths from a minaret just as a warning to the locals. He meted out absolutely gruesome "justice" as governor of Peshawar, something that no doubt helped to drive the population away from the city; the population of Peshawar was reduced by half in the years of Sikh rule. "

It's clear this is hearsay. The author mentions no historical sources to support this. Even if Avitabile was a sadist, he was a Christian not a Sikh, and to blame his excesses on Ranjit Singh is pretty silly.

Source 22. Is from pakistanpaedia, another wiki that claims that the population of Peshawar was halved, but provides no sources. So basically the proof of this assertion is that some other guy said it first.

Source 23 and 24. Both point to the same news article by the same author, who is a Pakistani politician, who makes the claim that this mosque was destroyed and replaced with the Goraknath temple, but he doesn't give any reference to historical texts to prove this. Pretty much hearsay again. Besides, why would Sikhs build a Hindu temple?

Source 25. An article blogged by a Pakistani author who says that this mosque was the only one that survived the depredations of the Sikhs. He cites no historical source, so again its hearsay. This author even points out that the legendary cruelty of Avitabile is unconfirmed, especially the legend of his using the minarets as gallows.

Source 26. A Sikh History article on Hari Singh Nalwa. It says he never destroyed any mosques. :-)

Source 27. A paragraph on the Muhabat Khan mosque by an anonymous author who says the same thing about Avitabile using the minarets as gallows. No historical source cited. But the author put this sentence in quote marks, so it must be true - right? Um, no. There is no mention of the minarets being destroyed by the Sikhs and being rebuilt by the British.

Source 28. A paragraph about Avitabile from the Sikh Encyclopedia which mentions the same rumours about Avitabile's rule of Peshawar being described as one of "gallows and gibbets". There are sources here, yay! Alas, none mention where this description originated and whether there was any truth to the rumours.

Source 29. From a page on the Engineering University of Peshawar. It is the same as one of the earlier source. There is no mention of Avitabile. Repetitious and irrelevant.

Source 30. Exactly the same as source 27. Repetition. Maybe saying it twice will make it true?

Source 31. This is an article written by a travel journalist. It mentions the same claims regarding the minarets, but it does not claim to be based on anything but the journalists knowledge of Peshawar, and of course therefore there is no historical text referenced to verify this rumour.

Source 32. Exactly the same as source 26. Repetition.

Source 33. A paragraph from a tourism guide. The actual line here that the author of this article is probably referring to is this one: "A guide told us that during the Sikh-period, the minarets were used a lot as gallows." So an old illiterate peasants words constitutes historical prrof, I guess.

The authors in his next sentence after citing these sources claims that "the desecration of Peshawar's mosques by their [the Sikh's] appointed administrator is well documented," which might be true, but this article certainly proves no such thing.

Sources 34 and 35 and 36 (which is the same as 35). These I have discussed above. The Sikhs may have destroyed the Shalimar gardens for firewood (I suppose the author would prefer the Sikhs to perish in the cold?), but these sources do not offer any evidence to support the claim. The Columbia Encyclopaedia claims that Bala Hisar fort was still being used as military headquarters in the 21st century so the claim that it was destroyed by the Sikhs is likely false. What is definite is that the authors cited source certainly doesn't substantiate his claim.

If this guy had handed in this essay at university to be marked, it would have been thrown back in his face.

Regards,

K.

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Thanks brother :D

WJKK WJKF

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chatanga    1,068

what you have quoted in the first post seems to me to be from a english man called olaf caroe. he was the british envoy to afghanistan during the british rule in india. he was a friend of the afghans and hated the sikhs. he wrote a book about how great the afghans were. I read this book over 15 years ago but could still remember how he said the sikhs had destroyed the afghan heritage blah blah blah and all that.

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apnepart2    2

wikipedia is a joke. although it is interesting but it has become boring and a lot of unstable people edit a lot there. i used to edit wiki a lot and have created a lot of mischief, which is still there, but i am not going back. i am stable now lol !

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HSD*^    18

muslim authors from the region often portray the sikh rule as a joke and a period of death and lawlessness. yet they do not take into account that pakistan is just as bad.

as for peshawar all i have to say that the article is a lie - to some extent. at first many people welcomed the sikh rule over the tribal conflicts of old. but then maharaja ranjit singh (in his infinite wisdom!) appointed an italian to rule peshawar called Avitabile. this man had served under napoleon but became a british agent when he came to the punjab. ranjit singh was always impressed with foreigners and often trusted their lies and hyperbole over his own sikh commandeers. he gave him rule of peshawar after he had done other things for the maharajah. avitabile had no respect for non-europeans or their way of life. he built or took over a palace and took many local girls and women as concubines. he used dogras and other non-sikh troops to rule with an iron fist. a sikh ruler would have known these actions would have sown unrest and dissatisfaction among the populace and made the work of the soldiers and commandeers in afghanistan harder but he did it nonetheless. the money he gained from ruling was transferred to europe as he was not interested in staying in the punjab. he offered the british ridiculous amounts of help when they went to afghanistan. god knows what else he told them. so all in all, i say it was the italians fault and had nothing to do with sikhs.

also, the british army destroyed or took over a lot of buildings they thought were sikh regimental HQs, regardless of whether they were or not.

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