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Akali Dal History After 1940


Apr 4, 2005
I was reading history of Akali dal on allaboutsikhs.com .I found it quite interesting
I am just posting parts of it mainly after 1940

For full artcle read

Akali Dal, Shiromani | Sikh Organisations :Gateway to Sikhism

The Pakistan Resolution passed by Indian Muslim League at Lahore in 1940, demanding a separate country comprising Muslim majority provinces, posed a serious threat to the Sikhs. In Pakistan as envisaged by the Muslim League, Sikhs would be reduced to a permanent minority, hence. to a subordinate position. The Shiromani Akali Dal opposed tooth and nail any scheme for the partition of the country. It successively rejected the Cripps' proposal (1942), RajaFormula (1944) and the Cabinet Mission Plan (1946). But the existing demographic realities were against the Sikhs. Nowhere in the Punjab did they have a sizeable tract with a Sikh majority of population. To counter the League demand for Pakistan, .the Shiromani Akali Dal put forward the Azad Punjab scheme proposing the carving out of the Punjab of a new province, roughly between Delhi and the River Chenab, where none of the three communities--Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs-would command an absolute majority. But the proposal did not gather sufficient support. Even the Central Akali Dal led by Baba Kharak Singh, set itself up against it. The Shiromani Akali Dal, under the prevailing circumstances cast its lot with the Indian National Congress trusting to it the protection of Sikhs' minority rights. In a public statement made on 4 April 1946, Jawaharlal Nehru said, "redistribution of provincial boundaries was essential and inevitable. I stand for semi-autonomous units as well.... I should like them [the Sikhs] to have a semi-autonomous unit within the province so that they may experience the glow of freedom." The working committee of the Shiromani Akali Dal adopted on 17 March 1948 a resolution advising its representatives in the provincial assemblies as well as at the Centre formally to join the Congress party. Minority grievances, however, kept accumulating. Sikh members of the East Punjab Assembly, including a. minister in the Congress government, complained of increasing communal tension and discrimination against their community in recruitment to governement services. The major irritant was the language question. After Independence, the Sikhs expected Punjabi, mother tongue of all Punjabis, to replace Urdu as the official language and medium of education in schools. Even a resolution of the Central Government published in the Gazette of India dated 14 August 1948 declaring that "the principle that a child should be instructed in the early stage of his education through the medium of his mother tongue has been accepted by the government" did not induce the Congress government of East Punjab to declare Punjabi as the medium of instruction. On the contrary, the majority Hindu community went so far as to disclaim Punjabi as their mother tongue. At the Centre too the Constituent Assembly rescinded its own resolution of August 1947 and declared on 26 May 1949 that "statutory reservation of seats for religious minorities should be abolished." The leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal finally veered round to the view that, in the absence of constitutional guarantees to safeguard rights of the minorities, the only way out for the Sikhs was to. strive for an area where they would be numerous enough to protect and develop their language and culture. They therefore decided to press for the formation of a linguistic state coterminous with Punjabi language. Master Tara Singh reactivated the Shiromani Akali Dal and launched the campaign which came to be known as the Punjabi Subs movement. In a signed article published in the Punjabi monthly Sant Sipahi, December 1949, he said that "whatever the name that might be given it, the Sikhs wanted an area where they were free from the domination of the majority community-an area within the Indian constitution but having internal autonomy as did Kashmir."

Two successive half--way measures, Sachar Formula and the Regional Formula, devised by Congress and Sikh leaders by mutual counsel, failed to resolve the linguistic and political issue. The Akali leader, Master Tars Singh, once again gave the call for a Punjabi Suba in October 1958. The Sikh masses responded enthusiastically. The government once again initiated negotiations which culminated in what is known as the Nehru-Tars Singh Pact of April 1959. The truce did not last long. Call for a fresh morcha issued from the Shiromani Akali Dal, on 22 May 1960. The campaign meandering through many a vicissitude continued until the emergence on 1 November 1966 of a Punjabi-speaking state. But before this consummation was reached, the Shiromani Akali Dal had been riven into two, one section led by Master Tina Singh and the other by his lately arisen, but infinitely stronger rival, Sant Fateh Singh, Shadow of this division and of certain unresolved issues such as the non-transfer to it of the state capital, Chandigarh, certain Punjabi-speaking areas still remaining outside of it and maldistribution of water resources, continued to bedevil electoral politics in the new Punjab. In the first election to the state legislature in the new Punjab (1967),"the Shiromani Akali Dal carried 26 seats in a house of 104, and its leader, Gurnam Singh, a retired judge of the Punjab High Court, formed on 28 March 1967 a ministry with the support of some other small groups, including Jana Sangh, Communists and independents. But the ministry fell soon afterwards owing to internal dissensions. On 26 May 1967, two Akahs, Harcharan Singh Hudiara and Lachhman Singh Gill sided with the Congress during voting on a no-confidence motion against the ministry. The ministry survived the motion but Hudiara on the same day announced the formation of a separate Akali Dal. On 22 November, Lachhman Singh Gill with 19 other M.L.A.s openly rebelled against the Shiromani Akah Dal legislative party, reducing the joint front led by Gurnam Singh into a minority. Lachhman Singh Gill then formed, with the support of Congress party, a new ministry which fell on 21 August 1968 when the Congress group withdrew its support. The crisis led to the dissolution of the state legislature and the state was placed under President's, i.e. Central Government, rule necessitating a mid term poll. The two factions of the Shiromani Akali Dal became one again and registered a resounding victory at the hustings, emerging as the largest single party with 43 seats against Congress 38, Jana Sangh 8, Communists 5, and others 11. Gurnam Singh again formed a ministry in coalition with the Jana Sangh, the Communists supporting from outside. This ministry was brought dawn on 25 March 1970 by internal party dissent. A young Akali leader, Parkash Singh BAdal, then formed the government (27 March 1970) supplanting Gurnam Singh as Chief Minister. This Akali government too had a short tenure. In the fresh Punjab Assembly elections which took place in March 1972, the Shiromani Akali Dal could muster a bare 24 seats out of a total of 117, making way for the Congress party to form its government. This led to self-retrospection on the part of the Shiromani Akali Dal. The Working Committee,of the Dal at its meeting held at Anandpur Sahib, in the Sivalik hills on 16-17 October 1973 adopted a statement of aims and objectives. This statement, known as the Anandpur Sahib Resolution (q.v.),, has, since then, been the cornerstone of Akali politics and strategy.

The Shiromani Akali Dal enjoyed another brief spell of power in the Punjab when at the elections in the wake of Rajiv Laungoval accord, settlement between Rajiv Gandhi, then Prime Minister of India, and Sant Harchand Singh Laungoval, the Akali leader, signed on 25 July 1985, it won an overwhelming majority of seats in the state legislature and formed its government led by Surjit Singh Barnala. Owing however to internal party pressures and the non-implementation by the Government of India of the Rajiv-Laungoval accord, this ministry also proved brittle. In the crisis which overtook the state after its dismissal by the Government of India, the Shiromani Akali Dal gradually became split into several factionsAkali Dal (Bidal) led by a former chief minister of the Punjab, Parkash Singh Badal, Akali Dal (Laungoval) led by Surjit Singh Barnala, also a former chief minister of the Punjab, and Akali Dal (Mann), led by a new entrant into politics, Simranjit Singh Mann, formerly, a high-ranking member of the Indian Police Service.



1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
kds ji

We need more historical articles like this one covering topics for the time between 1922 to about the mid-1990's. It would be good if they could be gathered in one place. If only someone could do it! Ome has to hunt here and there to get one or maybe two articles for a particular subject. Then there are gaps on some topics, or gaps for a span of several years on another topic. And also there is a lot of controversy surrounding particular authors. So articles are needed that tell the same story of an event from more than one person's point of view. All of these factors make it very difficult to put everything into a time-line and see the sequence of events or understand how cause and effect unfolds.

An example -- before, during and after 1984. Another example, the AKJ/Nirankari dispute. I could make a long list.

Thanks for your work

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