22 Jan 2011: Malerkotla Shaheedi Day
In a function hosted by Namdhari Sikh Sangat Southall, UK, the Namdhari Sikh shaheeds were duly remembered and paid respect for their courage for the fight for freedom from foreign rule. The 139th anniversary of the Malerkotla massacres was on 17 & 18 January 2011.
The evening featured a special presentation on the historical aspects of the 1872 Malerkota incidence in which 65 men were blown to death with cannons, one 12yr old was cut to pieces and two women were sentenced to jail. In many British circles this hideous act was deplored as Henry Cotton in his “Indian and home memories” says
‘The reminiscences of 1872,would be incomplete without some reference to what I can only describe as the massacre of Malerkotla, for my part I can recall nothing during my service in India more revolting and shocking than these executions’
But the incident was soon forgotten as the persons responsible made statements to justify their actions. Sadly many a Sikh historian too have turned a blind eye. And the failure of the kukas to promote and fight for recognition of this instance was almost non-existence outside their circles. Thus for all these years the fight for the freedom struggle, which was pioneered by kukas, was forgotten. Only very recently has the government of India finally acknowledged the part played by the Namdhari Freedom Movement.
Today at Malerkota Shaheedi Samarak, a Memorial pillar symbolises the life of the 66 kuka martyrs who were blown off with cannons , without a trial and many without even their names recorded. The memorial KHANDA has 22 holes on each side representing the 66 cannon balls fired, as the martyrs sacrificed their lives for the cause of the Namdhari Sikhs fight for freedom and against cow slaughter.
Click here for the Background to the Malerkota Incidence.
The evening of 22 January 2011 started with an hour of Naam simran along with Sri Satguru Partap SIngh Jis pavitaar updesh. Sangeet Natak Acedmei winner Ustad Harbhajan Singh (with jatha) rendered kirtan with two shahbads of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji pertain to shaheedis. The main event of the day started with an introduction by secretary Ajeet Singh Saggu. The presentaion was done by raagi Satvinder Singh, Ajeet Singh, Parbjot Kaur, Sukhpal Kaur, Satwant Kaur, Pritpal Kaur, Satnam Kaur, and Mrs Kuldeep Kaur. With a slide show and narrations of important documents and a reading from Satgur Bilas, they captivated the congregation with the harrowing and chilling account of what happened way back in 1872. The presentation culminated with reading of the names of all shaheeds as the sangat did Naam simran in silence. The presentation was a fitting tribute to the Malerkotla Shaheeds.