Hola Mahalla – UK
The ‘Hola Mahalla’ is one of the most eagerly awaited celebration in the Namdhari Calendar. It encompasses three important events – the Hola Mahalla, the Parkash Purabs of Satguru Balak Singh Ji and Satguru Partap Singh Ji. Hence it is also known as the ‘Tribeni-Sangam’.
With the personal blessing of Satguru Uday Singh Ji, Namdhari Sikh Sangat UK celebrated this year’s Hola on Sunday 23rd March 2014. The Sadh Sangat congregated at Namdhari Sikh Sangat Southall for a day long program. Phase 1 of the program was from 5.00am to 7.30am and included the recital of Asa de Vaar, followed by Paath de Bhog. The vaar was performed by Ustad Harbhajan Singh accompanied by Ustad Kiranpal Singh, Gurtejpal Singh and youngster Kartar Singh (tabla). The closing solaks of two paaths of Adi Guru Granth Sahib ji were read by Ajeet Singh, Gurtejpal Singh and Balvinder Singh.
After a refreshment break during which Langar was served, phase 2 of the program started. Secretary Ajeet Singh Anjan made the introduction to the days remaining items and shared with the sangat the historical events which led to celebrations of the Hola Mahalla. This was followed by two shabads rendered by Southall’s Mehal Kaur (Pupil of Ustad Harbhajan Singh). The shabads sung were Guru Arjan Dev Ji’s compositions of ‘Thaakur Thumh Saranaaee Aaeiaa’ and Bhai Gurdas Jis ‘Kab Laagai Masataki Charanan Raja’. Charanjeev Singh (East London) accompanied on tabla. Contributions from Southall carried on with a talk on Sri Satguru Balak Singh Ji by Bibi Balraj Kaur Sian. Bibi ji covered most aspects of Satguru Jis life including his birth and the passing of Gurgaddi to Satguru Ram Singh Ji.
Next on stage was the Ladies Jatha, led by Bibi Gian Kaur, who sung another bani composition from the Kabit Savaiye of Bhai Gurdas – ‘Pavan avitaar mithr Aj Maerai Aeae Hai’. Following this was Sant Harbhajan Singh Gahir (from Croydon). In his katha he talked by about the transformation of’ HOLA MOHALLA from ‘Holi as first perpetuated by Sri Guru Gobind Singh Maharaj, who in A.D. 1701 gathered Sikhs at Anandpur to hold the first Hola fair. In due course this festival was given an uplift with the inclusion of martial arts as one of its salient features.
Ajeet Singh shared with the congregation the availability of books, literature, CD’s and DVDs (collections of Sant Kirpal Singh) at a stall outside the hall and then introduced Sant Baldeep Singh (Maidenhead) who encompassed the hola in the form of a kavita to a very appreciative sadh sangat.
Carrying on, Ajeet Singh, concentrated on the life and contributions of Sri Satguru Partap Singh and how by grouping together the birth anniversary of Sri Satguru Balak Singh Ji and Hola, Sri Satguru Partap singh Ji made the festival more delightful. (Sri Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji made it Tribeni-Sangam – the convergence of three, by permitting celebrations of birth anniversary of Sri Satguru Partap Singh ji during this festival.).
Following this was the long awaited ‘hallay da diwan’. It was led by Sant Balkar Singh (from Canada and for many years a personal sewak of Sri Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji) along with the UK jatha. Sant Balkar Singh carved delightful melodic compositions along with a powerful delivery of historic kathas on the hola. He befitting ended his diwan with the shabad ‘Holi keenee sant save’.
Following the diwan, anmol kirtan was done by Ustad Harbhajan Singh, Ustad Gurdev Singh & UK Jatha (Tablas Sarabjit Singh & Gurdev Singh). Starting with a drupat (‘Subh Bachan Bol Gun Amol’- (Guru Arjan Dev)), Ustad ji went on to sing the shabads ‘Hano Kurabaanai Jaao Thinaa Kai Lain Jo Thaeraa Naao’– (Guru Nanak Dev) and ‘Jap Man Jagannaathh Jagadheesaro Jagajeevano’ – (Guru Ram Das).
Preservation of Satguru Ji’s sermons and the recording of history is largely done now on digital media. Previously these were recorded in analogue form and converted to digital for preservation for future generations. In the UK, Sant Mohinder Singh Chana and Sant Kirpal Singh Chana have devoted their lives doing this seva. Namdhari Sikh Sangat UK acknowledged their work by honouring their work during this Hola. Sant Balkar Singh and Sant Harvinder Singh Sian presented them with honourer shields. On behalf of the sangat, Sant Balkar Singh was presented with a siropaow by Sant Swaran Singh Sian. These presentations were stage-managed by UK Pardhan Sulakhan Singh.
In the closing minutes of the mela, researcher and historian Surjit Singh Jeet shared with the sangat his latest finds. One is a letter by Queen Victoria written to the then Viceroy of India, in which the killing of cows was promoted in India during the Raj. And another was a letter written by Satguru Ram Singh Ji to the ruler of Aden, requesting him to help Maharajah Dilip Singh in all ways possible while the Maharajah’s stay in Aden.
The mela draw to a close with a playback of a recording of Pavitaar Updesh by Sri Satguru Uday Singh Ji (recorded at closing of Hola Mahalla in Sri Bhaini Sahib).
The closing ardas was done by Pardhan Sulakhan Singh.
Report compiled by Namdhari Sikh Sangat Southall.