Tribute to Malerkotla Shaheeds
Southall (UK) 22 Jan 2011: Today Namdhari Sikh Sangat Southall, hosted a program to remember the shaheeds of Malerkotla and the pardes gavan of Sri Satguru Ram Singh Ji. The sangat paid homage to the shaheeds for their courage while taking on the might of the British rulers for gross injustice. The 139th anniversary of the Malerkotla massacre was on 17 & 18 January 2011. The evening featured a special presentation on the historical aspects of the 1872 Malerkotla 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’
However the incident was soon forgotten as the persons liable made statements to justify their ghastly actions. Sadly, majority of Sikh historians too have turned a blind eye. 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 three pronged Khanda symbolizes the life of the Kuka martyrs who were blown off with cannons. They were blown without any trial and many without even their names recorded. The memorial khanda has 22 holes on each prong representing the 66 cannon balls fired, The Namdhari Sikh martyrs sacrificed their lives for the cause of the fight for freedom and against cow slaughter.
The evening of 22 January 2011 started with an hour of Naam simran along with recorded pavitaar updesh of Sri Satguru Partap Singh Ji. After the Naam SimranSangeet Natak Academy Award 2011 laureate Ustad Harbhajan Singh and accompanying jatha, rendered sweet kirtan with two shabads of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji pertaining to martyrdom. Ustad Ji first rendered the drupat with ‘Pritham madkat madmathau’. Ustad ji further sang the following shabad of Bhagat Kabir, ‘Dugmug Chhad re Man Baura Ab to Jare Mare Sidhi Pa-eeyai Leeno Hath Sindhaura’
To introduce the main event, stage secretary Anjan Saggu quoted Giani Gian Singh ‘ Un singhan ka haal to parheo kitabon mahi.’ It was followed by a passionate speech by Satwinder Singh Bhogal. He mentioned that after annexation of Punjab in 1849, the Namdhari movement emerged as the resistance movement against the foreign occupation. The movement adopted non-cooperation & boycott as a political weapon. When other organizations were competing to be the allies of the new rulers, the Kuka movement held aloft the flag of independence. Afterward the excerpts from Satgur Bilas were read to acquaint the sangat with the contemporary situation. It was followed by the presentation which consists of speeches and slide show. The slide show and narrations of important documents captivated the congregation with the harrowing and chilling account of what happened way back in 1872. This presentation was delivered by Satvinder Singh, Ajeet Singh, Parbjot Kaur, Sukhpal Kaur, Satwant Kaur, Pritpal Kaur, Satnam Kaur and Kuldeep Kaur. The entire program explained how the events of those eventful days unfurled. The presentation ended with the kavita ‘Nahin bhool sakda jag nu namdharia da amar fashana’ rendered by Prabjot Kaur, Satwant Kaur, Satnam Kaur with Sarabjeet Singh on tabla.
A few minutes silence was observed by the congregation to pay respect to the brave shaheeds. The names of those Shaheeds were read aloud in this silence; hence delivering a fitting tribute to the Malerkotla Shaheeds.
Full audio of program is posted on kukasikhs.com
Compiled by Namdhari Sikh Sangat Southall UK.