Southall Remembers Malerkota Shaheeds
A black day in Namdhari history and a black day for British justice in India.
The sacrifices of 66 namdhari sikhs at Malerkotla on 17/18 January and the pardes gavan of Sri Satguru Ram Singh Ji (18 Jan 1872) were remembered by Southall’s sadh sangat on the evening of 19th and morning of 20th January 2008. The sangat congregated to pay homage to the Namdhari Shaheeds in the form of naam simran, kavitas, katha & talks, sangeet and shabads. After the customary naam-simran, Gen Secreatary Ajeet Singh Sagoo introduced the evening’s program and narrated to the sangat the happenings of those faithful days as seen and told by Giani Gian Singh in his writings of the Paath Parkash. Giani Ji writes no less than 28 kabits (quatrains) on Kukas. Kabits 24-26 describe the happenings at Malerkotla:
The Pujaris persisted in their hostility towards them.
Nevertheless, both the Kukas and the Nirmalas blessed by the Guru, flourished.
And now, listen, how the Kukas sacrificed their lives in the cause of Dharma and found their place among the martyrs of faith.
In between the second and the third decades of the (19th Century)
Bikrami Samvat, cows came to be slaughtered in larger numbers and at various places.
The Hindus felt miserable and helpless.
They were not powerful enough to seek remedy with the Government.
And, then the courageous Kukas were roused to action.
They put a number of slaughterhouse butchers to sword.
Prominent Hindus at Amritsar and various other places were
arrested and persecuted by the English Government.
When they were about to be executed, the Kukas, on their own, came forward,
led evidence to prove that they and none else, had dealt the deadly blow.
Happily, they went to the gallows and, from thereon, to the land of God Himself.
After that, there was yet another act of rare heroism at Malerkotla.
There were about sixty Kukas who, having resolved to court certain death, dispatched the butchers and protected the cows.
They were engaged by the armed forces of the Muslim State of Malerkotla, but the Sikhs repulsed them.
The Patiala troops practised subterfuge, took false oath, persuaded them to their point of view and finally got them arrested.
Absorbed in the love of Sabad, they gladly offered themselves to be blown off by the cannon.
They were, they thought, exceedingly fortunate to die for their faith.
In Southall, Shaam Kaur told the sangat, in English, the historical facts related to the gruesome deaths of the 66 sikhs. Then Youngester Shyam Singh alongside with his sister read two poems – ‘ toopa de aag’ & ‘Desh kaum de vaste’. The flow of kavitas carried on as Sant Baldeep Singh Chana portrayed in a powerful voice the blasts of the cannons and the shaheedi of the 12 yr old Bishan Singh – the 50th shaheed on 17 Januray 1872. As the evening matured, special guests of the evening – the Southall ramgahria hockey team – contributed in the form of a shahbad sung by Bhagat Singh and his Jatha. The hockey team had come to commemorate fellow player Sant Harjeet Singh Chana who suddenly passed away in Dec 2007. Following this Ragi Davinderpratap Singh (from Buffalo, USA) performed a shabad ‘Satgur mein balhari thohay’ in Rag Basant. The final item of Kirtan was the Shabad ‘ Mai mey Dhan’ by Ustad Harbhajan Singh, accompanied by Ustad Gurdev Singh, ragi Satvinder Singh and Narinderpal Singh (tabla). The evening drew to a close by a talk by Pradhan Gurtejpal Singh Chana in which he outlined the importance of all Sikhs getting together on such occasions.
The occasion carried on the following morning with Asa de Var by Ustad Harbhajan Singh ji & Satwinder Singh ji with Tabla by NarinderPal Singh ji. This followed by thoughts of various speakers from the stage including:
Anjan Saggu, who outlined the reason of government’s high handedness resulting in blowing up of 66 Namdhari Sikhs by cannons at Malerkotla. The real reason was ”They are true followers of Guru Gobind Singh, and cannot be diverted from their resolve to establish a government of their own ” as quoted by Giani Gian Singh in the book Namdhari Sikhs A Brief Account. Kuldip Singh Chana, said that 60-70 years after Satguru Ram Singh ji started His mission, Mahatma Gandhi adopted the weapons of non-cooperation & boycott to contribute in India’s independence struggle. Ragi Satwinder Singh Bhogal, further mentioned that Nelson Mandela and American civil rights activists Martin Luther King etc also followed the path shown by Satguru Ji, even though the inspiration came from Mahamata Gandhi, who himself adopted Satguru Jis protocol. He emphasized that there is a strong need to communicate this message all over the world. This second part of the program to commemorate the martyrs of Malerkotla and mark the Pardes Gavan day of Satguru Ram Singh ji concluded with Ardas done by Sant Kuldip Singh Rayat seeking His return.
As a closing note in 2007, the Indian Government finally bestowed the official status to the sacrifice of Namdhari shaheeds and recognized the Namdhari Movement’s contribution in achieving India’s independence.
Report and audio files are posted on www.kukasikhs.com
Report by Namdhari Sikh Sangat Southall Committee
Photograph by courtesy of Namdhari-world.com