6:19 am - Saturday December 15, 2018

सिख , करतारपुर, खालिस्तान व् पाकिस्तान : Siddhu , GopalSingh Chawla & Ranjit Singh

सिख , करतारपुर, खालिस्तान व् पाकिस्तान : Siddhu , GopalSingh Chawla & Ranjit Singh

राजीव उपाध्याय rku
करतारपुर , जो की गुरु नानक की कर्म स्थान है  और जहाँ उनके जीवन का अंतिम समय बीता , विभाजन के बाद पाकिस्तान मैं चला गया . तभी से सिखों की यह मांग रही है की उन्हें करतारपुर गुरुद्वारा बेरोकटोक जाने दिया जाय .अब तक एक दूरबीन से करतारपुर गुरुद्वारा देख कर सिख श्रधालू काम चला लिया करते थे . पाकिस्तान के नए प्रधान मंत्रि इमरान खान ने ने करतारपुर गलियारा,जिससे भारत के सिख आराम से बिना पासपोर्ट वीसा के जा सकें, खोलने की घोषणा कर एक प्रशंसनीय कार्य किया जिसका भारतीय जनता व् सरकार ने स्वागत किया है. परन्तु जिस हठधर्मिता से उन्होंने इस कार्य को किया वह दोनों देशों की क्षत्रुता बजाय घटने के बढ़ गयी .
एक तो अच्छा होता की इमरान खान इस सुन्दर मौके पर कश्मीर के बजाय भाईचारे को बढाने का ज़िक्र करते .कश्मीर राग अलापने को और बहुत मौके आने थे.परन्तु वह तो मात्र कठपुतली हैं .उनको नचाने वाली सेना ने प्रबल खालिस्तानी समर्थक सिख गोपाल सिंह चावला को आगे वशिष्ट लोगों मैं पंजाब के मंत्री सिद्धू के साथ बिठा कर गुड गोबर कर दिया .बची खुची कसर उनके बेलगाम जबान वाले अशिष्ट विदेश मंत्रि कुरैशी ने करतारपुर को इमरान खान की गुगली बता कर पूरी कर दी .अब जिस फैसले से भारत पाकिस्तान के बीच दूरियां कम हो सकती थीं वह बढ़ गयीं .
गोपाल सिंह चावला का एक इंटरव्यू नीचे दिए लिंक पर किल्क कर देखें .

पंजाब के मुख्य मंत्रि अमरिंदर सिंह की इज्ज़त देश मैं बढ़ गयी जबकि सिद्धू अपनी हरकतों से अब देश द्रोहियों मैं जुड़ गए .
सिद्धू की उम्र कम है . वह शायद भूल गए की १९४७ मैं सिखों को कितनी बेरहमी से पाकिस्तान से बिना सम्पत्ति निकाला गया था .लगभग बयालीस लाख सिख व् हिन्दू वहाँ से निर्ममता व् पूर्वक निकाले गए थे जिनमें लाखों को रास्ते मैं ही मार दिया गया .भारत विरोधी गोपालसिंह चावला के साथ बैठने से पहले उन्हें कुछ तो इतिहास का लिहाज़ करना चाहिए था .पाकिस्तानी इतिहासकार इश्तियाक अहमद ने गहन अध्ययन के बाद स्वीकारा है की १९४७ में लाहौर मैं हिंसा की शुरुआत मुसलामानों ने की थी .हालांकि इसका कुछ कारण मास्टर ताराचंद व् सिखों के पाकिस्तान बनाने के विरोध को भी जाता है .अच्छा होता की पंजाब के मुख्य मंत्रि बनने का दिवः स्वप्न देखने वाले नवजोत सिंह सिद्धू कुछ इतिहास भी पढ़ लेते .

जो विदेशी सिख अमरीका , कनाडा , इंग्लैंड व् ऑस्ट्रैला मैं बस गए हैं उनका पाकिस्तानी छलावे या पैसे के लालच मैं आना स्वाभाविक है.वहां की सरकारों का भी उन्हें परोक्ष समर्थन प्राप्त है जैसा की एयर इंडिया के हवाई जहाज को गिराने वालों को तीन साल मैं ही छोड़ने के फैसले से प्रतीत होता है . परन्तु वह प्रवासी न तो भारतीय सिखों के न ही समस्त सिखों के प्रतिनिधि हैं . उनको याद रखना चाहिए की महांराजा रणजीत सिंह की राजधानी लाहौर थी . वह चाहें तो पहले लाहौर जीत कर लाहौर से पेशवर तक के विस्थापित सिखों को उनकी संपत्ति व् खोया हुआ सम्मान दिलाएं .जिस भारत ने सिखों का दिल खोल कर स्वागत किया उसे क्यों गालियां देते हैं .महाराजा रणजीत सिंह के लाहौर का एक लेख नीचे उद्धृत है.
परन्तु इस सब से नुक्सान पाकिस्तान को हुआ है जिसने रिश्ते सुधरने का मौक़ा व्यर्थ गंवा दिया . परन्तु इमरान खान को भी समझ लेना चाहिए की पाकिस्तानी सेना की शर्तों पर बातचीत नहीं हो सकती . पाकिस्तान को आतंकवाद को ‘force multiplier’के बजाय मानवता विरोधी कृत्य मान उसका साथ छोड़ना होगा .

Ranjit Singh’s Lahore

Akshay Chavan

The partition of India in 1947, didn’t just divide the land. It ripped the nation and also drove a deep wedge in our history, throwing a thick veil over chapters of our shared heritage, with what is now Pakistan. Take the ancient city of Lahore. Legends trace the origins of this city to the Indian epic, the Ramayana. Much more recently, at the turn of the 19th century CE, Lahore was the grand capital of the Sikh Empire from 1799 CE to 1849 CE. Today there are just fragments left of Lahore’s Sikh past. If the monuments that still stand there could speak, what stories they would tell!

The city of Lahore has ancient origins. Mythology and folklore trace it to ‘Lavapuri’ or the city of Lava or Luv, the son of Lord Ram. Ptolemy, the noted Egyptian astronomer and geographer, in his text Geographia written in 150 CE mentions the city of Laboca, which is believed to be a reference to Lahore. However, the current walled city dates back to the Mughal times, when it reached the height of its glory. It was during the Mughal rule between the 16th to 18th centuries CE that some of the grandest monuments were built in Lahore. But the decline of the Mughal authority and successive Afghan invasions, in the 18th century CE, meant that the city was ravaged, many times over.

t was at this time of deep decline that Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the great Sikh ruler, resurrected Lahore. He conquered the city in 1799 CE and made it the capital of his fast expanding Sikh empire. In the 18th century, Punjab was divided into small principalities called misls, which kept fighting among themselves. It was Maharaja Ranjit Singh who united these misls into a powerful empire.

While Lahore was at the heart of the Sikh empire, its inner core was still the Badshahi fort built by the Mughals. Within the fort, Maharaja Ranjit Singh used the Shah Burj, an old Mughal palace, for his office and the Sheesh Mahal as his private residence. His private apartments were lavishly furnished and never failed to amaze European visitors. One such visitor was British explorer and traveler Alexander Burns, who was granted an audience with Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1831 CE. In his book –Travels into Bukhara, A voyage up the Indus to Lahore and a journey to Cabool, Tartary and Persia, he gives a fascinating description of the Maharaja’s private apartments –

‘In one end of the room stood a camp bedstead which merits descriptions of the frame-work, posts and legs were covered entirely with gold and the canopy was one sheet of the same precious metal. It stood on footstools raised about ten inches from the ground, which were also made of gold. The curtains were of Kashmir shawls, near around it stood a chair of gold and in one of the upper rooms of the palace, we saw the counterpart of these costly ornaments. The little room in which we sat was superbly gilded and the side which was next to the court was closed by a screen of yellow silk.’

Sheesh Mahal at Lahore Fort

Sheesh Mahal at Lahore Fort|Shutterstock

The upper floor of Sheesh Mahal, used by the Maharaja as a bedroom has collapsed and very little remains of the Shahi Hammams or the royal baths. However, connected to the Sheesh Mahal is a building called Athdara or ‘house with eight doors’, which served as Ranjit Singh’s Court of Justice. The watchtower adjacent to Athdara served as the Maharaja’s private shrine where the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs was kept.

Moti Masjid at Lahore Fort

Moti Masjid at Lahore Fort|Wkimedia Commons

Within the fort is the Moti Masjid, which was used as a treasury during the Sikh times. While the Kohinoor and Timur Ruby were said to be kept at Gobindgarh Fort in Amritsar, the Lahore treasury too had a fabulous collection. It is believed that more than eight crore rupees worth of silver coins, a fabulous collection of jewels and some 48,000 extremely rare Kashmiri shawls were kept in this treasury.

The Badshahi mosque at Lahore was used as an ammunition depot by the Sikh army. A large number of arms and ammunition were stored here and it was connected to the Lahore Fort by a passage.

Hazuri Baug

Hazuri Baug|M Fasih via Wikimedia Commons

Maharaja Ranjit Singh used the Hazuri Bagh, next to the Lahore Fort as his summer residence. Built in 1818 and supervised by Maharaja’s foreign minister and confidant Fakir Azizuddin, it was one of Ranjit Singh’s favourite retreats. In the center of its marble pavilion was an open hall with glass ceilings where the Maharaja held court. During hot summer months, Ranjit Singh lived in the underground chambers of Hazuri Bagh.

Around the Lahore Fort were the great havelis and mansions of Sikh nobility. Sadly, hardly any of them survive today. Maharaja Ranjit Singh passed away in the Lahore Fort on 27th June 1839 at the age of 58. His body was kept lying in-state at the Dewan-i-Am of Lahore Fort. Four of his wives and seven concubines committed Sati on his funeral pyre.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s tomb

Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s tomb|Wikimedia Commons

Just west of Hazuri Bagh lies the samadhi or tomb of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Work on the tomb was started in 1839, the year of his death, by his son and successor, Maharaja Kharak Singh but was completed only in 1851. In the samadhi, there were lotus shaped marble urns, which contained the ashes of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and four of his wives.

After the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Lahore durbar descended into a cesspool of intrigue. His son and successor Maharaja Kharak Singh lived in his own haveli inside the Lahore Fort. It is here that he died – he is said to have been poisoned on 5th November 1840, by courtiers. Kharak Singh’s haveli is now used as an office of the Archeological Survey of Pakistan.

Roshanai Darwaza

Roshanai Darwaza|Wikimedia Commons

The next in line to the Sikh throne was Prince Nau Nihal Singh, the favourite grandson of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. But in a twist of fate, he died after a stone slab fell on him as he was returning from his father’s funeral. This happened under the Roshnai Darwaza of Lahore city that still stands in the city today. Nau Nihal Singh’s old haveli is now a girl’s school. It is the grandest surviving havelis in Lahore city.

The next ruler of the Sikh empire was Maharaj Sher Singh, the surviving son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who too was assassinated in 1843 CE. This meant that the throne passed on to the five-year-old Duleep Singh, the last ruler of Punjab. It was his mother Rani Jindan who served as the regent. The haveli of Rani Jindan located in the Lahore Fort can still be seen today. This is where Rani Jindan lived with her son Duleep Singh, before being exiled to Churnar near Benares (Varanasi) in 1848 CE.

Nau Nihal Singh’s Haveli

Nau Nihal Singh’s Haveli |Wikimedia Commons

With the annexation of Punjab in 1849 CE Lahore came under British rule. A number of buildings and havelis belonging to the Sikh courtiers were converted into British offices. However, the greatest destruction happened in two waves, first during the Partition of 1947, when Hindu and Sikh properties were occupied by Muslim refugees from India. And the second was in 1992 when a large number of temples, baradaris and samadhis were destroyed by fanatics as a retaliation against the Babri Masjid incident in India.

Sadly today, the Sikh legacy of Lahore is ignored. It has slipped between ignominy- the Muslims of Lahore look towards it as a dark era of ignorance and its geographical separation from India has meant that it has never gotten its due here as well.

The partition of the Punjab in mid-August 1947 took place as part of a negotiated settlement brokered by the British between the Indian National Congress, the All-India Muslim League and the Sikhs of Punjab to partition India and transfer power to India and Pakistan. The total population of the undivided Punjab Province was 33 million. It included territories directly administered by the British (pop. 28 million) and several princely states. The Punjab was a Muslim majority province while Hindus and Sikhs together made up a very large minority of 44-47%. The principle on which India and the Punjab were divided was that Muslim-majority areas were separated from the rest of India and given to Pakistan. The demand to partition India was made by the main communal party of the Muslims, the All-India Muslim League. It insisted that Indian Muslims were not a minority (one-fourth of the total population of India) but a separate nation by virtue of their Islamic faith and culture. When the Muslim League demanded the partition of India the Sikhs of Punjab demanded the same principle to be applied to the Punjab. The Indian National Congress wanted to keep India united but realizing that the Muslim League was insistent on the partition of India on 8 March 1947 it threw its weight behind the Sikh demand for the partition of the Punjab. Viceroy Mountbatten came to the conclusion that the partition of India had become inevitable. Therefore on 3 June 1947 the Partition Plan was announced which required the Punjab and Bengal assemblies to vote on whether they wanted to keep their provinces united or partitioned. Both assemblies voted in favour of partitioning their provinces.

The actual transfer of power to India and Pakistan proved to be bloody and bitter. Some people have described it as one of the ten great tragedies of the 20th century. The estimated loss of life during the partition of India is one million and 14-18 million people forced to cross the international border in search of safe havens. For the Punjab alone, the loss of life is estimated somewhere between 500,000-800,000 and 10 million people forced to flee for their lives. More importantly, after World War II the first case of ethnic cleansing took place in the Punjab. Therefore it bore the brunt of the partition violence. Thus at the end of the 1947 all traces of a Muslim presence in the Indian East Punjab were wiped out, except for some Muslims remaining in the tiny princely state of Malerkotla (total population 88,000). In the Pakistani West Punjab, Hindus and Sikhs became conspicuous by their absence.

Given the fact the pre-partition Punjab had a robust legacy of ‘live and let live’ tradition bequeathed by the efforts of Muslim Sufis, Hindu Sants and Sikh Gurus, such an outcome at the end of 1947 was too drastic and traumatic remained an intriguing and perplexing puzzle. There were some peculiarities which rendered the Punjab vulnerable to violence in case the competing parties and their leaders could not agree to keep their province united. Among them the main factor was that nearly a million Punjabi Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs had recently been demobilized from the British Indian Army. Additionally there were criminal gangs operating all over Punjab. These two elements and partisan government functionaries, politicians and ethnic activists formed nexuses that began to coordinate attacks on the ‘enemy community’. Once the British were gone and two partisan administrations came to power in the divided Punjab whole-sale attacks on the minorities started taking place. By the end of the year ethnic cleansing had been achieved.

The main argument set forth in this study is that the partition of India was a necessary but not a sufficient basis for the partition of the Punjab. In other words, if India had not been partitioned the Punjab would not be partitioned. However, there was no logical necessity for the Punjab to be partitioned if India was partitioned. Why could not Punjabi Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs agree to keep their province united? Why did the violence that took place in the Punjab dwarf the violence that took place in other parts of India? I explain these with the help of a theoretical framework developed in a chapter entitled ‘A theory of ethnic cleansing’. Fear of an uncertain future, lack of communication between the leaders of the estranged communities, the waning authority of the British and the consequent unreliability of the state institutions and functionaries created the social and political milieu in which suspicion and fear proliferated, generating angst among the common people. In such situations reaction and overreaction lead to intended and unintended consequences which aggravated and finally resulted in the biggest human tragedy in the history of the Indian subcontinent.

There is the first holistic and comprehensive study of the partition of the Punjab. It covers chronologically the events which unfolded during 1947 and covers the whole of Punjab – the 28 districts and the princely states. During 1 January – 14 August 1947 it was under British rule. According to Sir Evan Jenkins, the last British governor of Punjab, only some 5000 fatalities had taken place till 4 August 1947. From 15 August to 31 December 1947 those figures shot up to anything between 500,000 to 800,000 by the end of 1947.

For the period when the British were still in India I have extensively used the secret fortnightly sent by the British governors to the Viceroy and other members of the administration. Altogether that means hundreds of items spread over more than two thousand pages. Additionally I have used the 10,000-page Transfer of Power twelve volumes and the thousands of items in them as well. I have also used newspaper reporting, eye-witness accounts and secondary material as well to construct a multi-layered account. Thus high politics centred on the Viceroy, the views the Punjab administration, and the experience of the people as told to me in interviews are combined to bring forth the events as they unfolded. Such use of the source material is unprecedented. In this regard, the remarks of Governor Jenkins have been used extensively to shed light on Punjab deteriorating into anarchy and chaos as criminals, politicians and biased officials joined ranks while concurrently the authority of his government diminished rapidly; ultimately being flouted openly just outside his office. Conveying that atmosphere in graphic details adds another dimension to the very last moments before British rule ended.

No official documents are available from either India or Pakistan on that period. I have, for the first time in 65 years, brought to light the events on both sides with more than 230 first-person accounts. I also spoke to people now settled in other parts of India and Pakistan and in London, Stockholm and several US cities. It took me 12 years to collect the evidence to tell the story of what happened after power was transferred to the East and West Punjab administrations.

The conclusion I reached from my research is that in March 1947 the Muslims started large-scale violence, mainly against Sikhs but also against Hindus, in the Muslim-majority districts of northern Punjab. Yet at the end of that year more Muslims had been killed in East Punjab than Hindus and Sikhs together in West Punjab. How and why that happened is for the first time presented in this book of mine.

Ishtiaq Ahmed, The Punjab Bloodied, Partitioned and Cleansed: Unravelling the 1947 Tragedy through Secret British Reports and First-Person Accounts (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2012).

Filed in: Articles, World

One Response to “सिख , करतारपुर, खालिस्तान व् पाकिस्तान : Siddhu , GopalSingh Chawla & Ranjit Singh”

  1. December 6, 2018 at 9:47 pm #

    If Nehru / Gandhi had been really nationalistic, Kartarpur would have been a Bharatiya territory.

Leave a Reply