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:Battle of Saragarhi INTRODUCTIONSaragarhi is the incredible story of 21 men of the 36th Sikh Regiment (currently the 4th Sikh Regiment) who gave up their lives in devotion to their duty. In keeping with the tradition of the Indian Army, they fought to the death rather than surrender. The Battle at Saragarhi is one of eight stories of collective bravery published by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). It has been mentioned as one of the five most significant events of its kind in the world which includes the Saga of Thermoplyae associated with the heroic stand of a small Greek force against the mighty Persian Army of Xerxes in 480 B.C.THE BATTLEThe British colonial rulers had constructed a series of forts to control the NWFP (North West Frontier Province - today a state in Pakistan) and to provide security to troops against marauding tribesmen and their lashkars (large body of troops). Most of these forts had initially been built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh as part of the consolidation of the Sikh empire in Punjab and the British added some more. The British had only partially succeeded in gaining control over this region, consequently, skirmishes and sometimes serious fights with the tribals were a frequent occurrence. However, the NWFP was a good training ground for the Indian Army to hone its skills and techniques.Two such forts on the Samana ridge of the Hindukush & Sulaiman ranges that is Fort Lockhart and Fort Gulistan were a few miles apart. Since these forts were not inter-visible, a signalling relay post called Saragarhi was located mid-way on a bluff to provide heliographic communications between them. This post or picket had been fortified to provide safety and protection to the signalling detachment. In 1897 there was a general uprising in the NWFP engineered by Afghans as part of their policy, which came to be known as the 'prickly heat policy' to direct the wrath of the tribals against the British. In this uprising, Mullahs (Muslim religious leaders) played a prominent role. It was the duty of the 36th Sikh to occupy Gulistan and Lockhart forts. On 3rd and 9th September 1897, Orakazai and Afridi lashkars attacked Fort Gulistan. On both occasion the attacks were beaten back. A relief column was sent from the fort to assist in beating back these attacks.The relief column from Lockhart on the return trip reinforced the signalling detachment at Saragarhi making its strength to 1 NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer) and 20 ORs (Other Ranks). In a renewed effort, on 12 September 1897, hordes of tribesmen laid siege to Fort Lockhart and Saragarhi, with the aim of overrunning the latter and at the same time preventing any help from the former. The Commanding Officer of 36th Sikh, Lt. Col. Haughton, was at Fort Lockhart and was in communication with the Saragarhi post through helicograph. The defenders of Saragarhi under the indomitable and inspiring leadership of their detachment commander, Havildar Ishar Singh, resolved to defend their post in the best tradition of their race and regiment. They were not there to hand over the post to the enemy and seek safety elsewhere. Havildar Singh and his men knew well that the post would fall, because a handful of men in that make-shift fort of stones & mud walls with a wooden door could not stand the onslaught of thousands of tribesmen. These plucky men knew that they will go down but they had resolved to do so fighting to the last.The Saragarhi post after the BattleFrom Fort Lockhart, troops and the Commanding Officer could count at least 14 standards and that gave an idea of the number of tribes and their massed strength against the Saragarhi relay post (estimated at between 10,000 to 12,000 tribals). From early morning the tribals started battering the fort. The Sikhs fought back valiantly. Charge after charge was repulsed by the men of the 36th Sikh. The tribal leaders started to make tempting promises so that the Sikhs would surrender. But Havildar Singh and his men ignored them. For quite some time, the troops held their own against the determined and repeated attacks by the wild and ferocious hordes. A few attempts were made to send a relief column from Fort Lockhart but these were foiled by the tribals.At Saragarhi, the enemy made two determined attempts to rush the gate of the post and on both occasions the defenders repulsed the assault. While the enemy suffered heavy casualties, the ranks of the defenders too kept dwindling as the fire from the attackers took its toll and their ammunition stocks were depleting. Unmindful of his safety, Sepoy Gurmukh Singh kept signalling a minute-to-minute account of the battle from the signal tower in the post to Battalion HQs. The battle lasted the better part of the day. When repeated attacks failed, the enemy set fire to the surrounding bushes & shrubs and two of the tribesmen under cover of smoke, managed to close in with the post's boundary wall in an area blind to the defender's observation and rifle fire from the post holes. They succeeded in making a breach in the wall. This development could be seen from Fort Lockhart and was flashed to the post.A few men from those defending the approaches to the gate were dispatched to deal with the breach in the wall. This diversion by the enemy and the defenders' reaction resulted in weakening of the fire covering the gate. The enemy now rushed the gate as well as the breach. Thereafter, one of the fiercest hand-to-hand fights followed. One of the Havildar Singh's men, who was seriously wounded and was profusely bleeding, had taken charge of the guardroom. He shot four of the enemy as they tried to approach his charge. All this time, Sepoy Gurmukh Singh continued flashing the details of the action at the post. Beside this the Commanding Officer of 36th Sikh and others at Lockhart Fort also saw his unique saga of heroism and valour unfold at Saragarhi. The battle had come too close for Sepoy Gurmukh Singh's comfort, so he asked Battalion HQs for permission to shut down the heliograph and take up his rifle. Permission was flashed back. He dismounted his heliograph equipment, packed it in a leather bag, fixed bayonet on his rifle and joined the fight. From this vantage point in the tower he wrought havoc on the intruders in the post. He died fighting, but took 20 of the enemy with him.The tribals set fire to the post, while the brave garrison lay dead or dying with their ammunition exhausted. Next morning the relief column reached the post and the tell tale marks of the epic fight were there for all to see. The tribals later admitted to figure of 180 dead and many more wounded. This episode when narrated in the British Parliament, drew from the members a standing ovation in the memory of the defenders of Saragarhi. The story of the heroic deeds of these men was also placed before Queen Victoria. The account was received all over the world with awe and admiration. All the 21 valiant men of this epic battle were awarded the Indian Order of Merit Class III (posthumously) which at the time was one of the highest gallantry awards given to Indian troops and is considered equivalent to the present-day Vir Chakra. All dependants of the Saragarhi heroes were awarded 50 acres of land and 500 Rupees. Never before or since has a body of troops - that is, all of them won gallantry awards in a single action. It is indeed a singularly unique action in the annals of Indian military history.MemorialA tablet erected in the memory of these brave men.The Government of India have caused this tablet to be erected to the memory of the twenty one non-commissioned officers and men of the 36 Sikh Regiment of the Bengal Infantry whose names are engraved below as a perpetual record of the heroism shown by these gallant soldiers who died at their posts in the defence of the fort of Saragarhi, on the 12 September 1897, fighting against overwhelming numbers, thus proving their loyalty and devotion to their sovereign, the Queen Empress of India, and gloriously maintaining the reputation of the Sikhs for unflinching courage on the field of battle.165 Havildar Ishar Singh332 Naik Lal Singh834 Sepoy Narayan Singh546 Lance Naik Chanda Singh814 Sepoy Gurmukh Singh1321 Sepoy Sundar Singh871 Sepoy Jivan Singh287 Sepoy Ram Singh1733 Sepoy Gurmukh Singh492 Sepoy Uttar Singh163 Sepoy Ram Singh182 Sepoy Sahib Singh1257 Sepoy Bhagwan Singh359 Sepoy Hira Singh1265 Sepoy Bhagwan Singh687 Sepoy Daya Singh1556 Sepoy Buta Singh760 Sepoy Jivan Singh1651 Sepoy Jivan Singh791 Sepoy Bhola Singh1221 Sepoy Nand SinghSource:Sainik Samachar and Sikh Review, www.BharatRakshak.com
Namdhari( Kuka)Movement After the fall of kingdom of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, there were several attempts to raise the old glory of the Khalsa. Several movements to reform the Sikhism were started. First one being Namdhari movement, which was started by Baba Ram Singh Namdhari after anglo Sikh wars. He was a soldier in Khalsa army. Like the Nirankari, this second reform movement known as the Namdhari, or Kuka, movement also had its origin in the north-west corner of the Sikh kingdom, away from the places of royal pomp and grandeur. It harked back to a way of life more in keeping with the spiritual tradition of the community. Its principal object was to spread the true spirit of Sikhism shorn of tawdry customs and mannerism, which had been growing on it since the beginning of Sikh monarchy. In the midst of national pride born of military glory and political power, this movement extolled the religious obligation for a pious and simple living. They were called "Kukas" because of their peculiar style to recite the Gurbani (Sayings of the Gurus). This style was in a high pitched voice, called Kook in punjabi, and thus Namdhari Khalsa's were named Kukas.The founder, Bhai Balak Singh (1799-1862) of Hazro, was a holy man whose noble example and sweet persuasive manner won him a number of followers. The most prominent among them was Baba Ram Singh who undertook the direction of the movement after Bhai Balak Singh, giving it a more positive orientation. Baba Ram Singh, born at Bhaini, in Ludhiana district in 1816, was a soldier in the Sikh army. With his regiment he once happened to visit Hazro where he fell under the influence of Bhai Balak Singh. He became his disciple and dedicated himself to his mission. For his religious pursuits he had ample time in the army which, towards the end of Ranjit Singh's day, was comparatively free from its more arduous tasks. In the 1845 Anglo-Sikh war, Baba Ram Singh fought against the English at Mudki.He gave up service after the occupation of Lahore and returned to his village, Bhaini, which became another important centre of the Namdhari faith. Upon Baba Balak Singh's death, in 1862, the chief responsibility passed on to Baba Ram Singh, whose growing influence helped in the extension of the movement in central and eastern Punjab. An elaborate agency for missionary work was set up. The name of the head in a district—Suba, meaning governor— had a significant, though remote, political implication. There were altogether twenty-two such Subas, besides two Jathedars, or group leaders, for each tahsil and a Granthi, Scripture-reader or priest, for each village. In the government papers of that period, Baba Ram Singh' s mission is described thus:He abolishes all distinction of caste among Sikhs; advocates indiscriminate marriage of all classes; enjoins the marriage of widows;enjoins abstinence from liquor and drugs . exhorts his disciples to be cleanly and truth-telling.To the points mentioned could be added a few more such as reverence for the cow, simpler wedding ceremonies and abolition of infanticide which received equal emphasis. Baba Ram Singh was never reconciled to the rule of the British. His prediction about its early recession was implicitly believed by his followers, who were forbidden to join government service, to go to courts of law or learn the English language. The movement thus acquired a strong political bias. Its chief inspiration was, in fact, derived from opposition to the foreign rule and everything tending to remind one of it was shunned. English education, mill-made cloth and other imported goods were boycotted. In its advocacy of the use of the Swadeshi, the Kuka movement forestalled, in the sixties of the last century, an important feature of the nationalist struggle under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi.Kukas even avoided use of the post of fives established by the British and depended upon their own system of postal communication. Messages from their leader were conveyed with special despatch and alacrity. A fast-riding follower would carry the letter to the next village where another devotee, setting all other work aside, would at once speed on with it. People left off their meals unfinished to reach forward a message.A spirit of fanatical national fervour and religious enthusiasm grew among the Kukas and the personality of Baba Ram Singh became the focal point of a close and well-organized order. The prospect was not looked upon with equanimity by the government, who, after the incidents of 1857, had become extra watchful. When, in 1863, Baba Ram Singh wanted to go to Amritsar for Baisakhi celebrations to which he had invited his followers from all over the Punjab, the civil authority became alarmed. The Lieutenant-Governor charged the Deputy Inspector-General of Police and the Deputy Commissioner of Amritsar to ascertain the real intentions of Baba Ram Singh and his companions. The of ficials were notin favour of imposing any restrictions, especially on the occasion of a religious fair. But two months later, when Kukas announced a meeting to be held at Khote, a village in Ferozepore district, prohibitory orders were issued banning all Kuka meetings.The Kuka organization was subjected to strict secret vigilance, and intelligence officers in the districts sent in alarming reports about its aims and activities. It was bruited about that Baba Ram Singh was raising an army to fight the English. Bhaini and Hazro were kept under continuence survaillance. Baba Ram Singh was sent to Andaman islands under Life imprisonment for treason, he wrote letters to his disciples in Punjab and other places. A selection of letters was published by Dr Ganda Singh a few years ago. The letters reveal Baba Ram Singh's undying faith, his strength of character and his love for his followers. An occasional note of loneliness appears in these letters, though his spirit of patient fortitude always proved stronger.Baba Ram Singh passed away on November 29, 1885. But many of his followers did not believe that he was dead. They continued to hope that he would one day come to the Punjab and free India from the shackles of the English. The Kuka movement marked a significant stage in the development of national consciousness in the country. In the seventies of the last century, when the English were reinstalling themselves in India after the revolt of 1857, it gave them another rude jolt.Like the Nirankaris, Namdharis also formed themselves into a separate sect. Today, they form a distinctly cohesive group among the Sikhs. Two things immediately mark them off from the latter—the style of their headgear and their adherence to the personality of their leader, Baba Jagjit Singh. Apparelled in immaculate, white homespun, they wind round their heads mull or longcloth without any semblance or embellishment and without giving it any sharp, emphatic lines.While chanting the sacred hymns, they work themselves up to such ecstatic frenzy that they begin dancing and shouting. From these shouts and shrieks—kuk, in Punjabi—some humorously inclined youth in a Ludhiana village called them Kukas, little knowing that they were conferring upon the newly developing order a name which would be widely accepted and which would outlive the more carefully chosen appellations adopted by its authors. The Kuka outbreak was followed by a secret campaign for the restoration of Maharaja Duleep Singh, the last Sikh king of the Punjab exiled by the British. The Punjab was in the 1880's astir with rumour. Anticipation filled the air. Reports were studiously kept in circulation that Duleep Singh would lead a Russian invasion into India and overthrow the British. A network of secret communication was laid out. Duleep Singh's emissaries kept infiltrating into India in spite of government vigilance. His statements and proclamations—as from "the Sovereign of the Sikh nation and Implacable Foe of the British Government"—were smuggled into the country for distribution. But he could not even get to India and died in a hotel in Paris. Dilip Singh, youngest son of Ranjit Singh had 6 children, 5 daughters and one son. All died issueless.Article taken from these books.Encyclopedia of Sikhism edited by Harbans Singh ji. More details on KUKA movement In the post 1857 phase of freedom struggle Namdhari movement occupies a very significant place in the annals of history. It was founded at a time when the socio-religious teachings of the great Gurus were slowly being shadowed by other considerations and the political life was at its lowest ebb. Namdhari movement was an off shoot of Sikhism. The Kuka Movement was launched on the Baisaki day in April 1857 at Bhaini (sahib), in Ludhiana District of Punjab. The leader of the Namdhari movement Baba Ram Singh was inspired by Maharaj Singh’s struggle against aliens and worked for social reforms and gave a call for the political battle against the Britishers.Baba Balak Singh, an Udasi Arora in Hazro, founded Namdhari sect popularly known as Kukas in the district of Rawalpindi in the Year 1847. Ram Singh, a carpenter, became his successor and moved the head quarters to Bhaini (Ludhiana).The Kukas succeeded in keeping their real objective hidden from the Britishers for almost five year. The government however officially came to know of the Kukas in 1863 with the report submitted by the Deputy Commissioner of Sealkot.With a view to impart impetus to the organization, Guru Ram Singh divided the whole country into 22 regions and each region was put under one able and wise person called the Suba or the lieutenant. Women participation was ensured by including Hukmi in the list of Suba’s to give representation to the women folk. Training in weapons began to be imparted and paramilitary was organized.After the Sikhs lost the war against the British forces, the Khalsa army had been disbanded and many patriotic solders were being pursued. With the coming together of the Kukas, these patriotic soldiers grabbed this opportunity to join the Namdhari ( Kuka) movement. Besides the ex-soldiers the Kuka recruits included those who either were related to the ex-soldiers, or those who had turned against the British rule after the revolution of 1857,or even those who had were inspired by the Kukas and had thus resigned from the British service.Guru Ram Singh adopted non-violence and non-cooperation as the two weapons to succeed in his mission. Kukas boycotted the English regime and everything connected with it was shunned. "English education, law courts, mill made cloth and other imported goods were boycotted." The Kukas also avoided the use of Post Offices and depended upon their own postal system, which was remarkably efficient. They adopted their own legal system and rejected the British system as it did not suit the Indian way of living. Guru Ram Singh himself held the courts initially and later on this responsibility was given to his lieutenants.During their brief span, the Kukas had thrice revolted against the British. The first such attempt was made as early as in 1869 when a number of Kuka’s belonging to Ferozepur and Sirsa attacked the Deputy Inspector Dewan Baksh alongwith his constable Soobe Singh, snatched their weapons and wounded them.The second episode occurred when in response to challenge given by the government by way of sacrilege of the Sikh religious places, the Kukas attacked the slaughterhouses at Amritsar and Raikot in June 1871. They freed the cows by murdering the butchers and fled away. The real perpetrators could not be traced and the blame of the act was put on 12 innocent Hindus and Sikhs by forced confessions these confessions were supported by false evidence extracted from these 12 people leading to the capital punishment of the lower court. The Kukas acting on the advice of their Guru surrendered and proved themselves guilty by producing the weapons thus exposing and eroding the faith of many on the British legal system. Four Kuka’s in this case were executed in September 1871 with a Banyan tree at Rambagh hanged and some others were sentenced to long term imprisonment.The treatment meted out to the Kukas by the Government did not subdue them. In spite of the restriction imposed on Guru Ram Singh, Kukas gathered at Bhaini on the Maghi festival in January, 1872. One group decided to attack Malerkotla against the advice of the Guru. 68 Kukas were captured of which 66 were blown after tying them to the cannons. Subsequently another 16 Kukas were blasted at Malerkotla and four were sentenced to life imprisonment. Kukas headquarters at Bhaini was also searched. Nothing much of consequence was found except few kirpans, latchets and some ornamental Khukaris. Guru Ram Singh and eleven of his follower were deported to Rangoon. Ram Singh died in Rangoon in 1885.Even though the number of Kukas were very small, they were little more than ten thousand in 1881, the movement occupies a very important place in the history and this became a source of inspiration for generations to come. Guru Ram Singh and the Kukas also occupy a prominent place in the history for they were amongst the first to initiate non-co-operation and the use of Swadeshi as political weapons. Boycott of British goods, government schools, law courts, even the postal service, use of hand spun cloth were some of the tools used by the Kukas as an expression of resentment against the foreign rule. These were the very things, which were propagated by Gandhiji after he came to the political scene.
Reaffirmation of Sikh Values (1890 A.D - 1940 A.D ) Reaffirmation of Sikh Values (1890 A.D - 1940 A.D )After the decline of Sarkar Khalsa in 1850's, Khalsa population dwindeled very fast. There were over 1.5 million Sikhs when Ranjit Singh was ruling (1830's) but in the first survey conducted by British they found Sikhs to be numbered approximately 780,000 in Punjab. This survey furthers reiterates that Sikh numbers have gone down due to people being assimiliating into Hinduism. Those people who became khalsa during Ranjit Singh's time to take advantage through him, now left Khalsa. Hindu reform movements led by many reformists like Arya Samajis, etc all over India and Punjab were striking hard and zealously working to cut the numbers of Khalsa. Dayanand, a Baniya Swami from Gujrat launched a movement called ARYA SAMAJ, which shunned Idol Worship but mocked Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind singh. Dayanand's ideals could be summed up in few words.Idol Worship is bad. Hindi is the only language of everyone in India. Muslims can be converted to hindusim after Shuddhi rite. Only way to worship is through old "Aryan" ways of Havan Widows can be married. Marriage between different castes is OK.Even though many of these ideals are good and are in consistent with Sikhism. Dayanand made a grave mistake when he criticized Guru Nanak by calling him "a Fool". Anyway, Arya Samaj was only successful in Punjab where many Punjabi Hindus converted to Arya Samaj. Thus sowing the seeds of future confrontation.Movements like Arya Samaj only helped Sikhs to reaffirm their values. Maharaja Rajinder Singh of Patiala on September 7, 1890. In the address presented to the Maharaja, it said: In peacetime, the Sikhs mostly are land-cultivators and artisans— poor men for the most part—and the light of western education and civilization has not reached them in their remote and ignorant villages. Lethargy has fallen upon the people. The beginnings of disintegration threaten. The religious faith in the Timeless God, once received with enthusiasm from the great Nanak and the sacred Gurus who followed him, is no longer the sustaining power it was. Even the few Khalsa students who come forth from the recognized colleges of the Punjab exhibit a tendency to despise and abandon the religious and civil traditions of their fathers, instead of becoming patriotic leaders to guide their people to higher planes of enlightened usefulness. The great educational institutions of the Province provide culture for "leisured" and well-to-do subjects of the Crown, and show even the less-favoured youth among Hindus and Mohammadans the way to emoluments in Government's services, at the Bar, and elsewhere. It is owing, however, to no want of energy on the part of the Sikhs that they have failed more largely to take advantage of these institutions, as may be seen from their readiness to join board and indigenous schools near their homes; but partly because of their traditionary surroundings (mainly agricultural), and partly because of their poverty, Sikh boys have hitherto found little opportunity for joining the larger schools and colleges, thus working their way to intellectual, moral and material advancement. The result is that the Sikh community is very poorly represented in the learned profession; and in posts of honour and responsibility in the civil administration. Sikhs now serving in the British army see their sons left in their native villages, far from the tide of civilization, which is being taken at the flood by the rising generation of other communities. Besides this the purely secular education imparted in public schools is calculated, under existing circumstances, to slowly obliterate the distinctive characteristics of the Sikhs, to check the development of the qualities which enabled them to attain to a proud position, and to merge them finally in the general mass of the surrounding population.Thus, by 1890's Sikh effort was to create institutions which will strengthen Sikhism. Efforts were at last succeeded when decision to create the first Institution of Sikhs, Khalsa college Amritsar was agreed upon by all parties. Sir James Lyall, Governor of Punjab was invited to put the foundation-stone of the Khalsa College on March 5,1892. The teaching started with the opening on October 22, 1893, of middle school classes. This is how the report describes the inaugural ceremonies: The Khalsa School was opened on the 22nd October at Amritsar in the late Pandit Bihari Lal's house near the Hall Gate. The religious part of the opening ceremony was conducted a day earlier in the spacious Hall of the school premises, with great enthusiasm. Asa-diVar and other sacred hymns were sung by a selected body of trained musicians, and karahprasad was freely distributed. There was a very large gathering of native gentlemen present on the occasion, and they all rose to offer prayers to the Timeless God and to ask Him to grant prosperity to the new institution. After the ceremony was over, a procession was formed of those present, and the whole gathering consisting of about one thousand gentlemen moved, singing hymns, to the Town Hall where a public meeting was already arranged for. The spacious Hall was full, and many had to remain standing in the verandah and on the road.The Singh Sabha movement made a deep impact on Sikh psyche. Sikhs understood that need of the hour was to protect their identity. Khalsa now was facing a different kind of threat, earlier Khalsa had faced military and persecution threat against its beliefs by Mughals. Now the threats were at the core beliefs of Khalsa, against Punjabi language, against Guru Nanak, against right to keep hair. Singh Sabha urged the Sikh youth to come back to Sikh ideals. Youth leaders like Kartar Singh Jhabbar used to preach in rural Punjab to stop Sikh youths from Drinking alcohol, and other wrong activities. Stimulated by the Singh Sabha preaching, the Sikh youth began to assemble for religious discussion . In 1891 was formed what came to be called the Khalsa Vidyarthi Sabha or the Sikh Students Club. This association of Sikh young men, the first of its kind, was established at Amritsar on the initiative of Dr Sundar Singh Sodhbans. The Sabha used to congregate every Saturday. The members would thereafter go to the Harimandir and circumambulate the sacred pool chanting hymns from the Guru Granth. They set up special programmes to mark the anniversaries connected with the lives of the Gurus. But Golden Temple management least appreciated their fervour. On the occasion of their annual meeting in September 1893, the students set out from Bunga Mananwalian reciting holy songs. They first went to the Akal Takht to offer ardas, but Bhai Multana Singh Ardasia refused to lead the prayer for them. He rejected the request for the reason that the young men were in sympathy with the Singh Sabha and had written in a local newspaper disparagingly about the Golden Temple priests.Singh Sabha started a movement to free gurdwaras from the control of hereditory mahants. The Mahants were not only harassing the pilgrims but also going against the basic philosophy of Sikhism. Smoking, Idol Worshipping, drinking, abuse, etc was common at these pilgrims center under the influence of these mahants. Singh Sabha declared to free these gurdwaras through non-violent means. By 1928 almost all the Gurdwaras in Punjab were freed from the control of Mahants, more than 5000 Sikhs were martyred by these mahants, directly or indirectly. At Nankana Sahib Gurdwara , Mahant Narain Das, hired mercenaries to fire indiscriminate at the group of Singh Sabha members who had come to take control of the Gurdwara, about 200 were killed by firing, rest were burned alive by the mahant. Later he was punished by British government.The affirmation in Sikh values played a great role in this period of 1890's to 1930's when Sikhs turned back to Khalsa and basic philosophy of Sikhism. Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee was established, which elected its officers to administer the gurdwaras all over Punjab and many other parts of country. Akali party later came out of Singh Sabha movement.Excerpts taken fromThe Encyclopedia of Sikhism Edited by Harbans Singh ji.Published by Punjabi University, Patiala
Singh Sabha Movement Important Sikh Reform Movement - 1873 onwardsA reform movement among the Sikhs which assuming a critical turn in the seventies of the nineteenth century, became a vitally rejuvenating force at a time when Sikhism was fast losing its distinctive identity. Following closely upon the two successive movements, Nirankari and Namdhari, it was an expression of impulse of the Sikh community to rid itself of the base adulterations and accretions which had been draining away its energy, and to rediscover the sources of its original inspiration. It was, however, quite different from its precursors in source, content and outcome. The Nirankari and Namdhari movements were inspired by individual holy men who, unhappy at the dilution of Sikh doctrine and practice, desired to set right some of the aberrations purely religious in nature, and who ended up in founding their separate sects.The Singh Sabhas, on the other hand, arose out. of a common awareness of the danger to the very existence of the Sikhs as a separate religious community. It was led by men deeply religious but with no claims to divine knowledge and no ambitions for exalted priesthood. In contrast with the earlier, exclusively sectarian cults, the Singh Sabha movement possessed a mass appeal and base. It influenced the entire community and reorientated its outlook and spirit. The stimulus it provided has shaped the Sikhs' attitude and aspiration over the past more than one hundred years.Like other Indian reform movements of the nineteenth century, the Singh Sabha was the result of the Sikh intelligentsia's contact with western education and institutions. The transfer of political power to the British in 1849 led to the transformation of the world in which the Sikhs and other Punjabis had lived. The British differed from past rulers in that their presence affected major changes in Punjabi society and culture. The most obvious innovations arose from the administrative structures and the political orientation underlying them. Within two decades, the colonial power introduced a new bureaucratic system complete with western style executive and judicial branches necessitating emphasis on western education and attainment of skills required for new occupations such as law, administration and education. Considering the Sikhs as an important element in their colonial strategy and the centrality of religion in the Sikh society, the ruler took particular care to control the central Sikh institutions notably those at Amritsar and Tarn Taran. British officers headed management. committees, appointed key officials, and in general provided grants and facilities to insure continued Sikh sympathy for the raj.At the same time, however, the government also patronized and assisted the rapid spread of Christian missionary activities, thus introducing yet another element in the mosaic of Punjab's religious patterns. The challenge of western science, Christian ethics and humanitarianism had provided self-examination and reinterpretation of religious belief and practice. The result was the rise of numerous reform movements which even with their professed approach to liberalism and universal humanism remained essentially communal competing for conversions to their respective creeds. In the Punjab the Hindu Brahmo Samaj, Dev Samaj and Arya Samaj, and the Muslim Aligarh movement of Sayyid Ahmad and Ahmadiyah movement of Qadian were quite active. For the Sikhs, strangely somnolent since the forfeiture of political authority, besides the awareness of rapid depletion in their numbers and of general laxity in religious observance among themselves, two other motivating factors were at work : a reaction to what. was happening in the neighbourly religious traditions and the defensiveness generated by Christian proselytization and the odhim theologicum started by Hindu critics especially the Arya Samajists.The Christian missionary activity commenced in the Punjab along with the advent of the British rule. Even while Ranjit Singh ruled in Lahore, an American Presbyterian Mission had been set up at Ludhiana close to the Sikh frontier. With the abrogation of Sikh rule in 1849, the Ludhiana Mission extended its work to Lahore. Amritsar, the headquarters of the Sikh faith, became another major seat of Church enterprise with branches at Tarn Taran, Ajnala and Jandiala. The United Presbyterian Mission was active in Sialkot. Other organizations, notably the Cambridge Mission, the Baptist Mission and the Church of Scotland, entered the field and were amply rewarded with converts, mostly from the lowest stratum of society. The rate of conversion was not alarmingly high. Yet. there were instances which aroused community's concern.In 1853, Maharaja Duleep Singh, the last Sikh sovereign, who had come under British tutelage at the tender age of eight, accepted the Christian faith-a conversion hailed as the first instance of the accession of an Indian prince to the cummunion of the Church. The Sikh ruler of Kapurthala invited the Ludhiana Mission to set up a station in his capital, and provided funds for its maintenance. A few years later the Kapurthala ruler's nephew, Kanvar Harnam Singh, converted a Christian. The Ludhiana Mission noted in its annual report for 1862 : Until the Rajah of Kapurthala invited missionaries to his capital no instance had occurred in India in which the progress of the Gospel had been fostered by a ruler. Besides conversions to Christianity, there were reversions from Sikhism back to Sanatanist Hinduism at such a large scale that the fact was noted in the government's annual report for 1851-52:The Sikh faith and acclesiastical polity is rapidly going where the Sikh political ascendancy has already gone. Of the two elements of the old Khalsa, namely, the followers of Nanuck, the first prophet, and the followers of Guru Govind Singh, the second great religious leader, the former will hold their ground, and the latter will lose it. The Sikhs of Nanuck, a comparatively small body of peaceful habits and old family, will perhaps cling to the faith of their elders; but the Sikhs of Govind who are of more recent origin, who are more specially styled the Singhs or Lions, and who embraced the faith as being the religion of warfare and conquest, no longer regard the Khalsa now that the prestige has departed from it.Bhai Kanh Singh of NabhaThese men joined in thousands, and they now desert in equal numbers. They rejoin the ranks of Hinduism whence they originally came, and they bring up their children as Hindus. The sacred tank at Amritsar is less thronged than formerly, and the attendance at the annual festivals is diminishing yearly. The initiatory ceremony for adult persons is now rarely perfomed.And again in the report for 1855-56:This circumstance strongly corroborates what is commonly believed, namely that the Sikh tribe is losing its numbers rapidly. Modern Sikhism was little more than a political association (formed exclusively from among Hindus), which men would join or quit according to the circumstances of the day. A person is not born Sikh, as he might be born a Muhammadan or born a Hindu ; but he must be specially initiated into Sikhism. Now that the Sikh commonwealth is broken up, people cease to be initiated into Sikhism and revert to Hinduism. Such is the undoubted explanation of a statistical fact, which might otherwise appear to be hardly credible.The resulting cultural upheaval affected the Sikhs from 1860 onward. Despite their early education in gurdwara schools or through instruction by gianis (Sikhs learned in religious lore) or local teachers, an emerging Sikh intelligentsia began to study western subjects and joined in associations that discussed religious and social issues. In Lahore, for example, several Sikhs were members of Dr. G.W. Leitner's orientalist Anjuman-i-Punjab, set up in 1865, where they became skilled at literary criticism and debate over historical issues. Debates were held on whether Urdu or Hindi was the more appropriate language to replace Persian as official language. Punjabi in Gurmukhi script was ignored even by the Punjab Education Department as a mere dialect without a written literature. The Oriental College established at Lahore in 1864 to encourage oriental studies had courses in Sanskrit, Urdu and Persian but not in Punjabi. Some Sikh members of Anjuman-i-Punjab like Raja Harbans Singh and Rai Mul Singh pleaded the cause of Punjabi but without success until Sardar Attar Singh of Bhadaur presented a list of 389 books written on different subjects in Gurmukhi script and collected in his personal library. Dr. Leitner was convinced and he not only introduced Punjabi as a subject in the Oriental College but also got it introduced in the Punjab University of which He was the first Registrar ; but that was later in 1877.What really shook the Sikhs out of their slumber were two incidents that occurred one after the other in early 1873. In February 1873, four Sikh pupils of the Amritsar Mission School- Aya Singh, Atar Singh, Sadhu Singh and Santokh Singh -- proclaimed their intention to renounce their faith and become Christians. This shocked Sikh feelings. The boys had hardly been persuaded by their parents and other wise men not to carry out their intention when another provocation followed. One Pandit Shardha Ram of Phillaur, who had been engaged by the British to write a history of the Sikhs, came to Amritsar and began a series of religious discourses in Guru Bagh in the Darbar Sahib complex. During his narration of Guru Nanak's life story he garbled certain facts and spoke disrespectfully of the Sikh Gurus and their teachings. Some Sikh young men in the audience objected and challenged the speaker to a debate. The Pandit quietly disappeared from Amritsar but not without leaving some leading Sikhs thinking.Sardar Thakur Singh Sandhanvalia (1837-87), Baba Khem Singh Bedi (1832-1905), Kanvar Bikrama Singh (1835-87) of Kapurthala and Giani Gian Singh (1824-84) of Amritsar convened a meeting in Guru Bagh, Amritsar, on 30 July 1873. It was decided to form an association which should adopt measures to defend the Sikh faith against the onslaught of Christian missionaries and others. The name proposed for this body was Sri Guru Singh Sabha. Its first formal meeting took place in front of the Akal Takht on 1 October 1973. It was attended by priests of different gurdwaras, gianis, representatives of Udasi and Nirmala sects and members of other classes of the Sikh society. Sardar Thakur Singh Sandhanvalia was appointed its chairman, Giani Gian Singh secretary, Sardar Amar Singh assistant secretary and Bhai Dharam Singh of Bunga Majithia as treasurer.The main objects of the Singh Sabha were (i) to propagate the true Sikh religion and restore Sikhism to its pristine glory; (ii) to edit, publish and circulate historical and religious books ; (iii) to propagate current knowledge using Punjabi as the medium and to start magazines and newspapers in Punjabi; (iv) to reform and bring back into the Sikh fold the apostates; and (v) to interest the high placed Englishmen in and ensure their association with the education programme of the Sabha. It was the Singh Sabha's policy to avoid criticism of other religions and discussion of political matters.Prof.Gurmukh Singh.In 1877, Punjabi was introduced in the Oriental College. Bhai Harsa Singh, a granthi of Darbar Sahib, Tarn Taran, was the first teacher and Bhai Gurmukh Singh, who was later to be one of the central figures of the Singh Sabha movement, one of the first. batch of students. Bhai Gurmukh Singh, after completion of his own course, was appointed to teach Punjabi and mathematics in the Punjab University College. He got some leading Sikh citizens of Lahore, such as Diwan Buta Singh and Sardar Mehar Singh Chawla, interested in the Singh Sabha work. As a result Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Lahore, was set up on 2 November 1879. It started holding weekly meetings. Diwan Buta Singh as president, Bhai (also known as Professor) Gurmukh Singh as secretary and Bhai Harsa Singh, Ram Singh and Karam Singh as members formed its working committee. The movement picked up momentum and Singh Sabhas appeared at many places not only in the Punjab but also in several other parts of India and abroad from London in the west to Shanghai (China) in the East.Singh Sabha General (renamed Khalsa Diwan soon after) was set up on 11 April 1880, as a coordinating body at Amritsar. Raja Bikram Singh of Faridkot and the Lieut-Governor of Punjab were its patrons, Baba Khem Singh Bedi president, Sardar Man Singh, sarbarah or manager of Darbar Sahib, vice-president, Bhai Gurmukh Singh of Lahore chief secretary and Bhai Ganesha Singh secretary. The Diwan opened Khalsa schools for general education and floated papers and periodicals to propagate Singh Sabha ideology as well as its religious activities. But ideological differences soon arose between the president and the chief secretary. The former, supported by the priestly class, considered Sikhs as a part of the Hindu community and did not favour a total break with old established social customs and practices. Himself being a direct descendant of Guru Nanak, he claimed special position of reverence for himself as well as for all members of clans to which the Gurus had belonged. Bhai Gurmukh Singh, on the other hand, was a progressive reformist believing Sikhism to be a separate sovereign religion having equality of all believers without distinction of caste or status as its basic social creed. The result was the setting up of a separate Khalsa Diwan, Lahore, on 10-11 April 1886 under the presidentship of Sardar Attar Singh Bhadaur with Professor Gurmukh Singh as secretary. The Amritsar Khalsa Diwan re-organized itself as a bicameral body consisting of Mahan Khand comprising the aristocracy, and Saman Khand representing the commonalty of believers and the priestly class. Some smaller organizations were also active for achieving the aims of the movement. Gurmat Granth Pracharak Sabha, Amritsar, established on 8 April 1885 was engaged in research and publication of books on ideological and historical topics. Khalsa Tract Society came into existence through the efforts of Bhai Vr Singh in 1894. Shuddhi Sabha for conversions and reconversions into Sikhism was founded in April 1893 by Dr. Jai Singh., Among the local Singh Sabhas, the one at Bhasaur was the most active under its leading light, Baba Teja Singh. Among individual scholars; Giani Gian Singh, the historian, and Pandit Tara Singh Narotam were the most prominent.Both the Diwans, despite mutual bickerings and even litigation, worked for the same aims with the same programmes, but the Khalsa Diwan Lahore soon stole a march over its rival in popularity by virtue of its progressivism and the total dedication and hard work of Bhai Gurmukh Singh who had enlisted the help of two other colleagues, equally dedicated and industrious. They were Giani Ditt Singh and Bhai Jawahir Singh Kapur. The former as editor of and chief contributor to the Diwan's weekly newspaper, the Khalsa Akhbar, made it a forceful medium for the propagation of the Diwans ideology. Giving his judgement in a defamation case against Giani Ditt Singh, the district judge of Lahore, R.L. Harris, observed in February 1888 that(a) The Lahore faction had about 30 Singh Sabhas attached to it, while the Amritsar faction had about six or seven Singh Sabhas including Rawalpindi, Ferozepore and Faridkot.(b) The Lahore party comprised enlightened educated men who are freeing themselves from the thralldom of priesthood by seeking to purge their religion of all the grossness that has clung to it by the devices of the priestly class . represented by the Bedi Guru or Sodhi class . theiropponents are naturally the priestly class who would like, if possible, to maintain their sway over the conscience of men, though it might be at the expense of the true spiritual and religious growth ; and so we find Bedi Khem Singh, as the head of the priestly class, in league with Raja of Faridkot, opposing and trying to stifle the spirit of reformation.Sikhism And HinduismThe most hotly contested argument within the Singh Sabha movement was whether Sikhs were Hindus. The Sanatanists, or the conservatives of the Amritsar Diwan, saw Sikhism as an offshoot of a broadly defined Hinduism. Examples from the Adi Granth and accompanying literature were used to prove that the Gurus had no intention of separating Sikhs from their Hindu roots, and had in fact revered Hindu gods and scriptures. In this the conservatives were enthusiastically supported by the Arya Samajists. On the other side, the Tat Khalsa or the progressive Khalsa Diwan Lahore made Ham Hinda Nahiti (we are not Hindus) their battle cry. They too used quotes from the Scripture and historical analysis to combat what was seen as the most dangerous threat to Sikh survival. The tract warfare over the issue was heated and prolonged. Scores of tracts and booklets on the subject appeared, the most reasoned and convincing of which was Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha's, Ham Hindu Nahin, first published in 1898,Another bone of contention between the two Diwans was of relatively less importance. Both had been convassing government's support for the opening of a Khalsa College. Khalsa Diwan Amritsar had mooted the suggestion as early as 1883 but inter-Diwan disputes hindered progress. Ultimately when Khalsa Diwan Lahore succeeded in enlisting the support of the government as well as of the Sikh aristocracy, and an establishment committee was set up in 1890 under the chairmanship of the Director, Public Instruction, Punjab, Colonel W.R.M. Holroyd, succeeded the following year by Dr W.H. Rattigan, with Sardar Attar Singh Bhadaur as vice-chairman and W. Bell of the Government College, Lahore, as secretary, there was wrangling over the location of the college. At last the protagonists of Amritsar won the day and the foundation of the college was laid by the Lieut-Governor of the Punjab on 5 March 1892.Mutual recriminations indulged in by the two Diwans had led neutrally inclined elements to voice the need for uniting the different sections under a central organization. The idea met with reverberating support at a large gathering of Sikhs in Malvai Bunga at. Amritsar on 12 April 1900. The conference unanimously voted for the establishment of a new Khalsa Diwan, supreme in the affairs of the community, and formed a committee to draw up the constitution of such a unitary body. This was also necessitated by the fact that death had denuded the old Diwans by snatching many of their leading lights within a short period at the turn of the century. Sardar Thakur Singh Sandhanvalia and Kanvar Bikrama Singh had already died in 1887. Now came, in quick succession, the deaths of Sardar Attar Singh of Bhadaur and Dr. Jai Singh (June 1896), Raja Bikram Singh of Faridkot (August 1898), Professor Gurmukh Singh (September 1898) and Giani Ditt Singh (September 1901). The responsibility of leading the Singh Sabha movement was therefore taken over by the new organization, the Chief Khalsa Diwan, formally established at Amritsar on 30 October 1902. Bhai Arjan Singh of Bagarian was elected its first president, Sardar Sundar Singh Majithia secretary and Sodhi Sujan Singh additional secretary. Membership was open to all amritdhari Sikhs, i.e. those who had received the rites of the Khalsa initiation, and who could read and write Gurmukhi Members were also expected to contribute dasvandh or one tenth of their annual income for the common needs of the community. The Chief Khalsa Diwan adopted all the aims and programmes of the old Khalsa Diwan, viz. insistence on separate identity of the Khalsa Panth, spreading the teaching of the Gurus as well as general education on modern lines, disseminations of information on traditional and on current issues and safeguarding the political rights of the Sikhs by maintaining good relations with the government and Sikh rulers. It carried out its mission with the help and cooperation of the local Singh Sabhas most of whom sought affiliation with the new Diwan, and of eminent individuals such as Bhai Vir Singh, Bhai Mohan Singh Vaid, Bhai Takht Singh, Babu Teja Singh, Bhai Kahn Singh and Bhai Jodh Singh. Its earliest success came in the conversion of 35 persons including a Muslim family of six in a largely attended divan (religious assembly) held through the efforts of Babu Teja Singh, at Bakapur, village near Phillaur in Jalandhar district, on 13-14 June 1903. Next came the passing of the Anand Marriage Act, 1909, which gave legal validity to the exclusively Sikh ceremony of marriage. The Bill was piloted in the Imperial Legislative Council successively by Tikka, heir apparent, Ripudaman Singh of Nabha, and Sardar Sundar Singh Majithia. Another milestone in the social history of the Sikhs was the establishment of the Sikh Educational Conference held annually since its inception in 1908 to the present day under the Educational Committee of the Chief Khalsa Diwan. Some of the other achievements of the Diwan were the removal of idols from the compound of the Darbar Sahib, Amritsar (1905), and the preparation of a common code of conduct for the Sikhs laying down in detail the way the Sikhs should perform their religious-ceremonies (1916).For over a decade, the Chief Khalsa Diwan consolidated its position and had remarkable success at fostering Sikh identity and strengthening Sikh institutions. From 1914 onward, however, the organization began to lose its hold on and popularity with the Sikh masses. Loyalty to the government in order to seek favours for the community was one of the bases of the strategy of the Diwan, as had been the case with the old Khalsa Diwans of Lahore and Amritsar, but the climate in the country had started changing since the advent of the twentieth century so that the pro-government policy of the Chief Khalsa Diwan became increasingly suspect in view of its soft stance during the peasant unrest of 1906-07 and the Rikabganj agitation in 1914, open denunciation of the Ghadar activists (1915-16), and over-enthusiasm for Sikh recruitment bordering on virtual conscription during the Great War (1914-18).Moreover, although the Singh Sabha movement had done a tremendous lot to revitalize the religious spirit of the Sikhs, it had done precious little to cleanse the rot that had set in the Sikh religious places. While the masses, now better aware of their true religious past, were becoming more and more impatient. of the management of gurdwaras under a corrupt and degenerate priesthood secure under legal protection, the Chief Khalsa Diwan continued to pursue the path of helpless inactivity for fear of British displeasure. A single instance will illustrate the point. Khalsa Diwan Majha, one of the several regional organizations for management reform in religious places had been established in 1904. The Chief Khalsa Diwan, pleading Panthic unity, asked it to affiliate with the central body. It obeyed ; but watching impatiently over the years the indifference of the central leadership, it revived itself as an independent body in March 1919. A few days later, on 13 April 1919, occurred the Jallianvala Bagh massacre which radically changed the political as well as religious scenario in which the Chief Khalsa Diwan became practically irrelevant, and the central stage was occupied by the Gurdwara Reform movement. The Chief Khalsa Diwan. is, however, still active, especially in the educational field, and enjoys the affiliation of a large number of local Singh Sabhas.The main motivation of the Singh Sabha movement was search for Sikh identity and self assertion. The entire period can be interpretedand understood in terms of this central concern. Under this Singh Sabha impulse, new powers of regeneration came into effect and Sikhism was reclaimed from a state of utter ossification and inertia. Its moral force and dynamic vitality were rediscovered. The Sikh mind was stirred by a process of liberation and it began to look upon its history and tradition with a clear, self-discerning eye. What had become effete and decrepit and what was reckoned to be against the Gurus' teachings was rejected. The purity of Sikh precept and practice was sought to be restored. Rites and customs considered consistent with Sikh doctrine and tradition were established. For some, legal sanction was secured through government legislation. This period of fecundation of the spirit and of modern development also witnessed the emergence of new cultural and political aspirations. Literary and educational processes were renovated. Through a strong political platform, the Sikhs sought to secure recognition for themselves.The most important aspects of the Singh Sabha movement were educational and literary. By 1900, orphanages, a system of Sikh schools, institutions for training preachers and granthis, and other self-strengthening efforts gained broad support from Sikhs in the Punjab and, especially, migrant communities abroad. In northwest. Punjab Baba Khem Singh Ledi took a prominent part in building Khalsa schools. Sikh schools were also built in Amritsar, Lahore, Firozpur and in some villages such as Kairon, Gharjakh, Chahar Chakk, and Bhasaur. One of the best known institutions was the Sikh Kanya Malta Vidyalaya of Firozpur founded by Bhai Takht Singh. The teaching of Gurmukhi and Sikh scriptures was compulsory in these Khalsa schools.The impetus given to education in its turn stimulated the publication of books, magazines, tracts; and newspapers. The earliest venture in Punjabi journalism was the Lahore Khalsa Diwan's Punjabi weekly Khalsa Akhbar. In 1899, the Khalsa Samachar was founded and soon became the leading theological journal of the community. Its circulation increased under the editorship of Bhai Vir Singh, who rose to prominence as a novelist, poet. and commentator of scriptural writings. The Khalsa Advocate (English) later became the spokesman of the Chief Khalsa Diwan.A large number of books on Sikhism, both in Gurmukhi and English, were published. Of the Gurmukhi, Giani Gian Singh's Panth Prakash and Tadrikh Guru Khalsa and Kahn Singh's voluminous encyclopaedia of Sikh literature (Gurushabad Ratanakar Mahan Kosh) were of lasting significance. Max Arthur Macauliffe's monumental work on the life and teachings of the Sikh Gurus and the Faridkot Tika, an exegesis of the entire Guru Granth Sahib, were also published during this time.The Singh Sabha movement checked the relapse of the Sikhs into Hinduism. Large number of Hindus of northern and western Punjab and Sindh became sahajdhari Sikhs and the sahajdharis were encouraged to become the Khalsa.
:Fall of Sarkar Khalsa After the fall of kingdom of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, there were several attempts to raise the old glory of the Khalsa. Several movements to reform the Sikhism were started. First one being Nirankari movement, Which was started by Baba Dyal (1783-1855). He was contemporary of Ranjit Singh. A man of humble origin. He preached against the rites and rituals that were creeping into Sikhism. He saw that Sikhism was being assimiliated into Hindusim in front of his eyes. His main target was the worship of images against which he preached vigorously. He re-emphasized the Sikh belief in Nirankar—the Formless One. From this, the movement originating from his message came to be known as the Nirankari movement.Situation after the fall of Sarkar Khalsa was were such that to quote Sardar Harbans Singh in Heritage of the Sikhs he says " The Sikhs were deeply galled at the fall of their kingdom, but not unduly dismayed. They attributed the outcome of their contest with the English to the chances of war. They were also aware that, despite the deceitfulness of courtiers such as Lal Singh and Tej Singh, they had fought the ferringhi squarely, and maintained their manly demeanour even in defeat. In this mood, it was easier for them to be reconciled to their lot after normalcy was restored. The peaceful spell which followed, however, produced an attitude of unwariness. Conventional and superstitious ritual which, forbidden by the Gurus, had become acceptable as an adjunct of regal pomp and ceremony during the days of Sikh power gained an increasing hold over the Sikh mind. The true teachings of the Gurus which had supplied Sikhism its potent principle of reform and regeneration were obscured by this rising tide of conservatism. The Sikh religion was losing its characteristic vigour and its votaries were relapsing into beliefs and dogmas from which the Gurus' teaching had extricated them. Absorption into ceremonial Hinduism seemed the course inevitably set for them."Two factors which separated the Sikhs from other Punjabis were the outward marks of their faith, especially the kesas. Baba Dyal's influence was confined to the north-western districts of the Punjab. In 1851, he founded at Rawalpindi the Nirankari Darbar and gave this body the form of a sect. On his death, four years later, he was succeeded in the leadership of the community by his son, Baba Darbara singh . The latter continued to propagate his father' s teachings, prohibiting idolatrous worship, the use of alcohol and extravagant expenditure on weddings. He introduced in the Rawalpindi area the anand form of marrying rite. Anand, an austerely simple and inexpensive ceremony, became a cardinal point with leaders of subsequent Sikh reformation movements. Sardar Harbans Singh ji further quote "What an unambiguous, crucial development the Nirankari movement was in Sikh life will be borne out by this excerpt from the annual report of the Ludhiana Christian Mission for 1853:Sometime in the summer we heard of a movement . . . which from the representations we received, seemed to indicatea state of mind favourable to the reception of Truth. It was deemed expedient to visit them, to ascertain the truenature of the movement and, if possible, to give it a proper direction. On investigation, however, it was found thatthe whole movement was the result of the efforts of an individual to establish a new panth (religious sect)of which he should be the instructor They professedly reject idolatry, and all reverence and respect for whatever is held sacred by Sikhs or Hindus, except Nanak and his Granth They are called Nirankaris, from their belief in God, as a spirit without bodily form. The next greatfundamental principle of their religion is that salvationis to be obtained by meditation of God. They regard Nanak astheir saviour, in asmuch as he taught them the way of salvation. Of their peculiar practices only two things are learned. First, they assemble every morning for worship, which consists of bowing the head to the ground before the Granth,making offerings and in hearing the Granth read by one of their numbers, and explained also if their leader be present.Secondly, they do not burn their dead, because that wouldmake them too much like Christians and Musalmans, butthrow them into the river."Many people at this time held the view that British was trying to favour Sikhs by making sure that Sikhs were building institutions. The above comment by Ludhiana mission in 1853 discredits any such accusations since at that time British and Sikhs had just fought two lengthy wars. Also Nirankari movement was started four years after Anglo-Sikh war when relations between Sikhs and British were very bad. British only favoured Sikhs in early part of twentieth century when money and land for Khalsa college and other such institutions was granted by British (British also helped create institutions like Aligarh Muslim university and Benaras Hindu university, so Sikhs were not favoured on the expense of others).This Nirankari movement in late 20th century was hijacked by Arya Samajis and other neo Hindu fanatics who wanted Sikhs to drop all their symbols and assimiliate into their religion. These New Neo Nirankaris who believed in "Living Gurus" confronted Sikhs at Amritsar in 1979 on the Baisakhi day when their living guru "Gurbachan" was trying to create Seven Stars just like Guru had created five beloved one's, obviously to proove to the Sikhs that he is more or less like Guru Gobind Singh (a very serious blasphamy for Sikhs, it is like telling christians or muslims that "I am christ" or "I am mohammad".Sikhs under Akhand Kirtani Jatha started their march from Akal Takht to stop Gurbachan but were greeted by bullets. This whole incident was solely responsible for the turmoil in Punjab in 1980's. These new nirankaris have been aptly named "Naqli Nirankaris" or the "False Nirankaris". Article taken from these books.Encyclopedia of Sikhism edited by Harbans Singh ji.
The Sepoy Mutiny 1857 THE SEPOY MUTINY 1857 ALLAHABADCAWNPORERELIEF AND DEFENCE OF LUCKNOWCAPTURE OF LUCKNOW Anglo Sikh Wars brought an end to the Khalsa rule in Punjab. These two series of wars, First Anglo Sikh War and Second Anglo Sikh War left Sikhs leaderless. The Dogra generals who lead Sikh armies were in alliance with British and reaped a profit of their own by getting small kingdoms (like Kashmir). In the years that followed the Anglo-Sikh wars of 1849, sikh armies were disbanded by the British imperialists. Then happened the mutiny of 1857, which was nothing more then an attempt by Marathas to bring back the old order of Mughals. Mutiny in British armed forces was encouraged and several hundreds of British women, children were murdered by these mutineers, all over North India. Eighty Years Bahadur Shah Zafar, from the lineage of Mughals was asked to take up the leadership of mutineers, which he reluctantly agreed. He had actually no other choice. During the Mutiny of 1857, the Muslims sought restoration of the rule of Muslim princes and rulers, and the Hindus hoped to put the Maratha rulers back into power. The princes of the two communities had a unity of purpose in putting up a common front against a common enemy, the British. Because of the earlier British repression of the Sikhs, they were too disorganised to think of putting up a united leadership to reclaim their lost kingdom. Sikh community was leaderless.Moreover, the situation in the Punjab was quite different from the one that prevailed in the rest of India. An important and the main factor was that the Sikhs had nursed a serious grudge against the Purbias who, despite the Sikhs having never given them any cause for offence, had by their betrayal and other overt and covert acts, helped the British during the Anglo-Sikh wars and later in the annexation of Punjab. The British used the Sikh grievance and the consequent "natural hatred" towards lhe Purbias. Kavi Khazan Singh in his work, 'Jangnama Dilli', written in 1858, mentions that the Sikh participation against the Purbia soldiers was in reaction to their boast that they had vanquished the Sikhs in 1845-46 and in 1848-49. Another contemporary observer noted: "The animosity between the Sikhs and the Purhias is notorious. The former gave out that they would not allow the latter to pass through their country. It was, therefore, determined to take advantage of this ill feeling and to stimulate it by the offer of rewards for every Hindostanee sepoy who should be captured. The bitter memories of Purhia co-operation with the British were so fresh in Sikh minds that any coalition between the two became impossible. The people who now claimed to be fighters for freedom were the same who, eight years earlier, had actively helped the British to usurp Sikh sovereignty. On top of that they were trying to bring back the same Mughal empire which over the years had wreak havocs on Sikh Gurus and famous Gursikhs.The pleas of Purbias were so hollow and incongruous with their earlier conduct, that they fell on deaf ears of the agprieved Punjabi Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims whose independence they had helped the British to roh. Besides, it is a well-accepted view that the risings in 1857 were just revolts by the princes to regain their feudal or territorial rights. It was far from being any ideological struggle for any common Indian interest. In this context, the Sikhs in the background of their rule in Punjab and egalitarian tradition could harldy be expected to side with Muslim and Hindu princes to regain their kingdoms, nor could religious taboos which affected Hindu and Muslim sentiments, against many of which the Sikh Gurus had led a crusade, in any measure inflame Sikh sentiments. It was on account of all this that the Punjab was not afiected hy the rebellion which convulsed the rest of northern India. Punjabi Mussalmans turned a deaf ear to their Hindustani co-religionists exhortation of Jihad against the pig-eating despoilers of Islam. Punjabi Hindus and, with greater reason, the Sikhs refused to listen to the belated appeal to save Hindu Dharma from beefeating foreigners who used cow fat to grease their cartridges. However, there were stray cases of Sikhs joining the mutineers. It was reported that a large number of Sikhs gathered at Ropar and declared the Khalsa Raj for which the leader of the band was immediately put to death. A Sikh Chief, Raja Nahar Singh, was executed for supporting the cause of the rebels. After annexation Bhai Maharaj Singh had moved from village to village in Majha region and incited the people to rebel.The Cis-Satluj chiefs of Patiala, Malerkotla, Kalsia, Nabha, Faridkot and Jind, along with their mercenary forces, rendered full help to the British in suppressing the rebellion. These chiefs owed their existence to the British and were always outside the main Punjab, being hostile to Ranjit Singh. They still remembered with gratitude the support extended to them hy the British against Maharaja Ranjit Singh. But for the British protection, Ranjit Singh would have overpowered them long ago.This mutiny led British to recruit for their armed forces heavily among the communities which had been neutral to this rebellion. Especially, Gurkhas, Rajputs of Rajasthan, Punjabi Muslims and Sikhs. Sikhs started enlisting with British forces and were thus back to the profession of their liking, the military services. Ninety Years later when India became independent Indian leaders decided to call the Mutiny of 1857 as "The first war of Independence", which in reality was the last war of Mughals. Excerpts taken from these books. Sikhism, its philosophy and History, edited by Daljeet Singh and Kharak Singh. The radical Bhagats written by Daljeet Singhj ji.ALLAHABADAlthough everything was quiet at Allahabad at this time, the situation was very confused and the news of the mutiny in the north caused considerable anxiety and doubt. However, no precautionary measures were considered necessary until the 5th of June, when all civilians and women and children were ordered into the fort. This was just in time, for, at 10 p.m. on the 6th of June, the 6th Native Infantry, which was stationed in the cantonments two miles from the fort, unexpectedly mutinied. The men attacked their officers in the mess and then plundered the treasury. Incendiary, rapine and murder followed. The mutineers were joined by all the town rabble, and their savagery was terrible and continued for days.Although the Commissioner and other senior officers were unprepared, Lieutenant Brasyer was ready and, as soon as the firing started in the cantonment, he quietly assembled his men and gave them instructions and encouragement. There were three guards of the 6th Native Infantry, numbering about two hundred men, in the fort in charge of the different gates. Lieutenant Brasyer, entirely on his own initiative, decided to disarm these men. He immediately went to the main gate with a party of Sikhs and instructed the officer in command of the guard to order his men to give up their arms. The guard, who, it was afterwards learnt, had been given ammunition to hold the gate for the rebels, defiantly refused. Lieutenant Brasyer saw that determined action was necessary, so he caused his Sikhs to support him and advanced towards the guard. It was thought that the Sikhs might join the mutineers, but Brasyer had an irresistible influence over his men and the Sikhs did not waver. Lieutenant Brasyer immediately ordered the guard to pile arms and stand clear. The guard hesitated and one man lunged forward at Brasyer with his bayonet, but the officer's orderly knocked aside the musket and saved his life. The Sikhs now adopted a determined attitude and the mutinous guard, seeing that the Sikhs were firm; gave way. Brasyer then personally disarmed all the men of the 6th Native Infantry in the fort and his Sikhs supported him throughout. The guards were made prisoners and turned out of the fort the next day.As soon as the guards had been disarmed, Lieutenant Brasyer organized the defence of the fort, which he held against the rebels with his four hundred Sikhs, a party of invalid British artillerymen and a small number of volunteer civilians until reinforcements arrived.The following is an extract from the London Times of that timeLieutenant Brasyer commanded the Seikhs at Allahabad. It was to him that the Europeans were indebted for preventing the rebels from taking the fort.This was the first important British success in the Mutiny and it was a stroke which has never been properly appreciated. Allahabad was the key to the north-west and, once secured, it formed an advanced base of operations. But for Brasyer's initiative and intrepidity, the war against the mutineers would have taken a very different course.The importance of Lieutenant Brasyer's success is borne out by this extract from a report by Lord Canning, the Governor-General, to the GovernmentI shall not be surprised if that strong fortress Allahabad, with all its valuable stores and war munitions, has fallen into the hands of the insurgents. That would indeed be a climax to our misfortunes, more serious than the seizure of Delhi.After the 6th of June the fort was subjected to a desultory siege, for the place was surrounded by a large force of rebels, who remained in possession of the bazaar and city. The rebels were well armed and had two guns. Brasyer wrote as follows about his Sikhs at this timeAll this time my faithful Seikhs, on whom so much depended, were craving to be led against the enemy outside, or anywhere, rather than be kept idle within the Fortress, so I found it necessary to temporise with them a little. `Now, as we are all on special duty, doing hard work, and in hot weather,' said I, `let us discard the cap and heavy clothing. Adopt your national dress, and show how Seikhs can fight, and save this Fort and all within it.The Ferozepore Sikhs therefore from this time on discarded their caps and heavy coats and wore red turbans and Sikh blouses throughout the Mutiny. This pleased the men immensely, especially as Brasyer himself adopted the dress.A few days later Colonel James Neill arrived with a British battalion, the 1st Madras Fusiliers, and took over command at Allahabad. By this time the whole countryside had broken out into revolt, so from the 12th of June Colonel Neill carried out a series of vigorous sorties against the rebels. The Ferozepore Regiment, now known as Brasyer's Sikhs; played a prominent part in these operations and won further distinctions. These sorties met with considerable success and the district was soon in a state of submission. On the 17th of June the rebels were defeated and driven out of the city and the British administration was reestablished.Before the end of the month Lieutenant Montague arrived from Mirzapore with the remainder of the Regiment and joined Brasyer, who had been promoted to captain for his gallantry at the beginning of the month.The situation at Cawnpore was now serious and it was essential to send a force to relieve the British garrison as soon as possible. Transport was immediately collected and an advance column, consisting of Madras Fusiliers and Ferozepore Sikhs, set out for Cawnpore; on the 30th of June.On the same day General Havelock arrived in Allahabad with the 64th and 84th Foot and the 78th Highlanders, and he set off for Cawnpore a few days later, taking with him his British troops and a detachment of the Ferozepore Sikhs. By this time Cawnpore had been captured by the rebels, so General Havelock decided to drive them out and then march to the relief of Lucknow, where the British were besieged in the Residency.A portion of the Ferozepore Sikhs were left behind in Allahabad, under Lieutenant Montague, to hold the fort and patrol the surrounding district. Here the Sikhs did excellent work and fought several successful engagements with parties of mutineers in the area. On one occasion a guard of two non-commissioned officers and eight sepoys, surrounded by about a thousand rebels at Sahunga, gallantly rescued a wounded British officer and fought their way back through the rebels to the main guard.CAWNPOREGeneral Havelock joined forces with the advanced column on the 12th of July and moved on towards Cawnpore in very trying conditions in the hot weather. On the following day, just as the combined force was preparing to campnear the village of Fathepur, a large party of mutineers advanced from the village to attack the British force. Although his men were exhausted after a long march under a scorching sun, Havelock decided to attack. He immediately deployed his troops and utterly routed the enemy in a short, sharp fight. After a much-needed rest on the next day, the force continued the march early on the 15th of July. However, it was found that the enemy had re-formed and was holding the village of Aong in strength. General Havelock immediately attacked the enemy positions and threw back the mutineers at the point of the bayonet. It was now learnt that the enemy was preparing to blow the important bridge over the Pandu river, six miles farther on, so Havelock had to push on without resting in order to save the bridge and secure a passage over the river. Brasyer's Sikhs moved forward in skirmishing order and occupied the cliffs overlooking the bridge. This enabled the guns to come forward and cover the Madras Fusiliers, who stormed the bridge and put the enemy to flight.The same evening General Havelock learnt that a number of women and children had been made prisoner at Cawnpore and had to be rescued at all costs. He therefore decided to continue the advance without delay, even though his men had had no rest and the column was still twenty-two miles from Cawnpore On the 16th of July the force advanced to within a few miles of the town before meeting any resistance. Here some ten thousand rebels opposed the British advance on the town. General Havelock personally led his now-small force of nine hundred men round the enemy's left flank and took the enemy by surprise from the rear. The 78th Highlanders were in the lead and rolled up the enemy's left flank with a brilliant charge. The 64th and 84th Foot and Brasyer's Sikhs then passed through and carried the enemy's position. They captured the guns on the right and the enemy retreated. Leaving the guns behind, protected by Brasyer's Sikhs, the British infantry regiments followed up their success and inflicted further losses on the enemy, who eventually lost heart and fled in disorder.General Havelock and his men camped for the night in the open and entered Cawnpore early on the 17th of July, but they were too late to stop the brutal murder of the women and children by the mutineers.Forest, in his History of the Indian Mutiny, wrote as follows about Havelock's advance from AllahabadIn nine days Havelock and his veterans had marched 126 miles under an Indian sun in the hottest season of the year, each man carrying a heavy weight of ammunition, and had won four pitched battles and sundry combats against highly disciplined troops far exceeding them in number. During four days' fighting they had killed or wounded many hundreds of their enemies, and had captured twenty-three pieces of artillery. Their advance had been one of suffering, of privation, and of fatigue. . . . Battle after battle was won by desperate fighting; the cholera and the sunstroke slew many survivors of the combat, but on they went with unflinching resolution until Cawnpore was reached.After a few days' rest Havelock, leaving General Neill with a small force to hold Cawnpore, crossed the River Ganges by boat and set out to march to the relief of Lucknow, forty-five miles away. His force, which was only fifteen hundred strong and included Brasyer's Sikhs, moved out on the 29th of July and almost immediately encountered a large force of the enemy opposing their advance. Havelock drove the enemy out of the villages of Unao and Basiratganj and utterly defeated them in two brilliant battles. However, Havelock's force was seriously depleted by sickness and battle casualties and he had to withdraw to Mangalwar; a few miles north of the river, and await reinforcements. It was quite obvious that the remnants of his force had little chance of forcing the way to Lucknow and carrying out the relief of the besieged garrison in the Residency. Forrest wrote in his HistoryTwo victories had been won. But if the road to Lucknow was to be so roughly contested there was little chance of reaching the Residency. What soldiers could do Havelock's men had achieved. But they could not fight the pestilence of the tropics. For some days cholera and dysentery had done deadly work among them. A sixth of his force had perished-half on the battlefield, half by disease.A few days later Havelock received a small number of reinforcements and a few guns, so he moved forward again on the 5th of August. He encountered the enemy in Basiratganj and utterly routed the rebels for a second time, but again was forced to withdraw to Mangalwar. He was still not strong enough to fight his way to Lucknow, which was reported to be held by thirty thousand mutineers.On the 11th of August Cawnpore was threatened by four thousand mutineers, who had arrived in Bithur from Saugor, and General Neill called for aid, while, at the same time, the enemy was also reported to be collecting again in Basiratganj. Havelock was determined to strike another blow before recrossing the river to Cawnpore, and he set out with his force the same evening. He once again defeated the enemy in a fierce battle a few miles north of Basiratganj during the next morning, and then withdrew for a third time and crossed the river to Cawnpore.On the 16th of August Havelock led his much-depleted force against the mutineers in Bithur. After a long march of eight hours the weary force gained contact with the enemy, who were holding one of the strongest positions that Havelock had ever seen, around the village. Havelock decided not to wait, and his men assaulted the position with great gallantry. After some hard hand-tohand fighting the position was carried and the enemy utterly routed. Brasyer's Sikhs were on the left flank and threw back a large force of the enemy, entrenched in the bank of a nullah, at the point of the bayonet and captured his guns.After the battle Havelock returned to Cawnpore and issued his famous order of the day in which he saidSoldiers, your labours, your privations, your sufferings and your valour will not be forgotten by a grateful country.This quotation is inscribed on his statue in Trafalgar Square, and on the reverse The Regiment of Brasyer's Sikhs is included amongst the units listed as the Defenders of Lucknow. The 14th Sikhs are the only unit of the Indian Army mentioned on a monument in England.Owing to casualties and the serious sickness from cholera and other diseases amongst his British troops, Havelock had to remain in Cawnpore for nearly a month awaiting reinforcements. There was very little fighting and the Ferozepore Regiment was detailed to escort a convoy of sick and wounded to Allahabad. The Sikhs escorted the wounded safely back, in spite of encountering a number of rebels during the journey, and then returned to Cawnpore.In the middle of September Sir James Outram arrived in Cawnpore with a large force of reinforcements and bridging operations over the Ganges were begun. The mutineers attacked the bridge from the northern bank and Brasyer's Sikhs were sent over to cover the construction. The Sikhs drove the enemy back and the bridge was completed without further interference.On the 21st of September two brigades, about three thousand strong all told, set out for Lucknow under General Havelock, accompanied by Sir James Outram.The enemy opposed the advance at Mangalwar and at Alambagh, in the southern outskirts of Lucknow, and were utterly defeated by the British in two gallant battles. Havelock and Outram halted at Alambagh on the 24th of September while they decided the best means of extricating the British forces in the Residency.RELIEF AND DEFENCE OF LUCKNOWThe sick and wounded, heavy baggage and large supply train were left at Alambagh, protected by a guard of three hundred men drawn from all units, in the force.On the 25th of September the advance from Alambagh began. General Neill's Brigade was in the lead and the 78th Highlanders and Ferozepore Regiment were detailed as rearguard and ordered to hold the bridge at Charbagh until everything had passed. The Madras Fusiliers, with the 84th Foot, forced the bridge and Havelock then led his force round east of the city. This move evidently surprised the rebels, for he met no serious opposition until he arrived a short distance from the Residency. Meanwhile, the Highlanders and Sikhs were heavily engaged at Charbagh, where they were attacked by a large force of rebels. After three hours' fighting they defeated the enemy and were able to push on. However, they had lost touch with the main British column and took the wrong road. This mistake proved most fortunate, for they suddenly encountered the rear of some guns which were holding up Havelock's advance and rushed them without ceremony. The 78th Highlanders and Ferozepore Regiment were now in front. The Residency was only some five hundred yards away, but since it was now dusk and the column was strung out over a considerable distance General Outram suggested halting. General Havelock, however, was determined to reach the Residency without delay and ordered the 78th High-landers and Brasyer's Sikhs to advance. This column, led by Sir James Outram and General Havelock, dashed forward through the narrow streets of flat-roofed, loopholed houses held by the mutineers. The Highlanders and Sikhs fought their way forward with desperate gallantry under continuous fire from the enemy and eventually reached the Bailey Guard Gate of the Residency to the deafening cheers of the gallant garrison. In describing the assault Brasyer wroteOnward went the devoted band into a fire that seemed, as General Havelock said, as if nothing could live under it. The Highlanders, being Europeans, were placed in front, but the Seikhs followed them closely, pressed eagerly forward, and loudly cheered. Eventually it became a pell mell race for who should be first. Here Neill fell. Continuing this rushing, the troops were all intermixed, jumping over cuttings, and other obstacles in the street, until they finally reached the gateway of the Residency. But this was not only shut, but barricaded. A scramble ensued, the enemy firing from the roofs and windows of houses at us in every direction. At this moment I caught sight of a gap at the side of the gate, forced my way through this, and in reality was the first European of the relieving force who entered the beleaguered Lucknow Residency.During the day's desperate fighting many acts of gallantry were performed and the Regiment suffered a very large proportion of casualties. One noteworthy feat of gallantry was that of Sepoy Nihal Singh, of the Ferozepore Sikhs, who carried General Neill, when he was mortally wounded in the final charge, to the rear under heavy fire.The rearguard, with a number of sick and wounded, had not been able to reach the Residency and had remained in the Moti Mahal. So, on the next day, a detachment of the 5th Fusiliers and Brasyer's Sikhs was sent to reinforce them and help them to withdraw to the Residency. Although the Sikhs and Fusiliers fought their way through and drove the enemy back from the buildings and gardens adjacent to the Mod Mahal, the enemy fire from the Kaiserbagh was found to be too heavy to admit of the rearguard convoy being moved back. Further reinforcements from the 78th Highlanders were then sent forward and the rearguard was safely withdrawn to the Residency after dark.After arriving in the Residency area Sir James Outram took over, from General Havelock, the command of the British forces. Although the rebels had been outwitted, they had not been decisively defeated and still occupied the city in great strength. It was found to be quite impracticable to carry out the original intention of withdrawing the besieged people in the Residency and all the relieving force could do was to aid its defences. Although this was not really a relief of the Residency, it was a very gallant rescue from a situation of the gravest peril. There were now 2,000 additional troops, so there was no longer an imminent danger of the garrison being overwhelmed. However, the Residency was besieged as closely as ever, and Sir James Outram had to stand on the defensive and await relief in his turn.With the increased number of troops in the Residency positions had to be enlarged and so for the next few days several sorties were made to improve the position. The Regiment of Ferozepore was in General Havelock's sector and took part in the sorties along the eastern face of the Residency to clear the enemy from the gardens and houses up to the Chata Manzil. These sorties were entirely successful and improved the defences of the Residency. Lieutenant Cross, of the Ferozepore Sikhs, was wounded in one of these sorties, but otherwise the Regiment suffered very few casualties.On account of the Sikhs' good service, General Havelock promoted each man to a grade higher in rank, and all subadars were granted the 1st Class Indian Order of Merit.For the next two months Brasyer's Sikhs were put in charge of the Bailey guard, one of the most important positions in the Residency, and they also held the defences on the right of General Havelock's sector bordering the Pyne Bagh. Outram's force was given no rest by the enemy and it had always to be on the alert. Duties were constant and arduous, while rations were scanty throughout the siege. On one occasion, when the enemy blew a breach in the defences, a detachment of the Ferozepore Sikhs checked a large force of the enemy who stormed the breach, and gave the garrison time to form and repulse the enemy. Jemadar Gowahir Shah was in command of the guard and was awarded the Indian Order of Merit for his gallant conduct.At last, on the 17th of November, a relieving force under General Sir Colin Campbell, Commander-in-Chief in India, arrived at Lucknow. The situation at Cawnpore, however, had again become: critical and General Campbell had to return there as quickly as possible. He therefore decided to evacuate the Residency and return to deal with the rebels at Lucknow at a later date. On the night of the 22nd November all the British forces were withdrawn successfully from the Residency together with all the women, children and wounded. The enemy were taken completely by surprise by this operation, which had been carefully planned and boldly executed.General Outram was left with a force of some four thousand men to hold Alambagh and contain the enemy at Lucknow. The Ferozepore Regiment was included in General Outram's force and held defensive works at Alambagh for three months. Duties were very arduous on account of the large perimeter to be held. while the enemy kept in constant touch and there were almost daily skirmishes and minor encounters. The enemy delivered a number of attacks, but these were all beaten off with losses to the rebels.On the 22nd of December General Outram took the offensive and threw back a large enemy force which had attempted to sever his communications to Cawnpore. Reporting on this action, Outram wroteThe gallant way in which, with a, cheer, the 78th and the Regiment of Ferozepore, led by their commanders, dashed at a strong position held by the enemy (30,000 men and 6 heavy guns), excited much admiration.On another occasion a most determined attack was made by the enemy on the defences held by the Ferozepore Regiment. Before dashing off to counter-attack the enemy Captain Brasyer sent the following message, scribbled on an envelope, to General Outram : General, the enemy is in force on our right picket; I am off. This action was completely successful and five thousand of the enemy were driven off. Later General Outram told Brasyer that his scribbled report satisfied him more than all the documents tied with red tape he had ever received. Forrest, in his book, wroteFull justice was not done by Sir Colin Campbell or the Chief-of-Staff to Outram's defence of Alambagh, which must be viewed as a fine example of courage and good conduct, and will always stand out as a glorious episode in the annals of the Indian Mutiny.CAPTURE OF LUCKNOWAt the beginning of March, 1858, Sir Colin Campbell, with a large, well equipped force, joined General Outram at Alambagh and started methodical operations against the rebels at Lucknow,, The enemy were holding three lines of defences north of the city covering the Kaiserbagh, their citadel. These had been strengthened since the relief of the Residency, and houses were now fortified and roads barricaded.Sir Colin's plan was to send General Outram with his division north of the River Gumti to turn the rebels' position, while his main force attacked the Kaiserbagh from Dilkusha Park.For a few days the Ferozepore Regiment, now only three hundred and twenty strong, protected the Commander-in-Chief's camp, but it was soon in action against the enemy and took part in the operations to force back the rebels from their first line of defences along the canal. By the 13th of March the British had reached the Little Emambarra, which was held in strength and had to be captured. On the 14th of March one hundred men of the Ferozepore Regiment, under