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GURU NANAK IN NORTH WEST FRONTIER PAKISTAN AND SINDH

Dalvinder Singh Grewal

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Jan 3, 2010
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GURU NANAK IN NORTH WEST FRONTIER PAKISTAN AND SINDH-Part I

Dr Dalvinder Singh Grewal

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Fourth Journey of Guru Nanak through Punjab, NWFP and Sind
Guru Nanak travelled Sind in third and fourth itineraries and went to all important places of religion and power. His third journey was from Gujarat where he entered Sind from Lakhpat Fort and went along the eastern part of Sind. While going to Mecca he travelled generally along Sind River and it is likely that he used both for this journey.

Guru Nanak visited all these places in India’s NWFP, Baluchistan and Sind, now in Pakistan. Guru had a great following in these area and Nanakpanthis were found in Sind in a great numbers and in quite a number among NWFP and Baluchistan most of which however migrated to India and other parts of the world. The people worshipped graves, mausoleums, peers, Bala Sundris, Khwaja Bhairon, Narsingh, Beer etc., and had forgotten the One Universal God and His Divine Name and truthful way of living and the strength of Truth. Guru Nanak converted them on to the path of Truth, Truthful living, God, Divine Name and meditation on Lord. Soon the teaching of Guru Nanak Dev spread all around Dharamsals and Gurdwaras were erected and teachings of Sri Guru Granth Sahib were followed. Even those who followed Udyare Lal also follow Guru Nanak’s teachings and have been paying obeisance at Sri Amritsar Sahib.[1]
Almost all the Hindus of Sind belonged to the Nanakpanthi or Nanakshahi group.There is a clear demarcation between the Udasis and Nanakpanthis. Udasis do not marry and also perpetuate their seats by installing the senior disciples, while the Nanakpanthis do marry. The former's place of worship is always known as darbar and the latter by the name of tikano (place of worship of Nanakpanthis).One finds the Guru Granth Sahib in both places of worship. Nowadays, along with Guru Granth Sahib and other images of Sikh Gurus and saints in durbars and tikanas, images of Hindu deities are also found. Many followers of the Sikh religion established durbars, tikanas, and gurdwaras in Sind, now in Pakistan.Now the few who remain in Sind take care of all these durbars and tikanas.In the middle of the River Indus at Sukkur is the island of Sadho Belo, where stands a complex of Sikh gurdwaras and Hindu temples. The origins of these buildings are attributed to Baba Bankhandi Maharaj, an Udasi ascetic. The Udasi group was founded by Baba Sri Chand, the elder son of Guru Nanak. Sri Chand, was given to asceticism and went on to gather a small group of his own followers who then came to be known as the Udasis -- literally, the 'renunciates'. It is believed that Sri Chand also visited Thatta and other towns of Sind. In order to commemorate his visit a large darbar was built in Fakir Jo Goth, a village that lies 5 km from Thatta. Nowadays, the Udasis and those who follow Sikhism are called Nanakpanthis.Nanakpanthis have evolved as a blend of the Sikh religion and Hindu practices. [2] "A significant factor in the survival of the Hindu religion in Sind during the Muslim period, in reasonably good shape, was the rise of the Sikh religion in the Punjab. With Sanatan Dharma having gone, more or less, moribund under prolonged Muslim rule, Sikhism came as a fresh breeze in the stale Sindhi atmosphere. The fact that Punjab and Sind were neighbours and their people, kin and their languages were allied made Sikhism tick very well in Sind. [2]

Gurdwara Dharamsala Guru Nanak Dev Ji at Dera Ismail Khan in NWFP
Guru Nanak Dev visited Dera Ismail Khan after visiting Fateh Khan, Gadag etc. [1] At the 1site where he stayed, a Dharamsala was built by his devotees. It is a beautiful and big building. This sacred shrine is located in Chhota Bazaar of Dera Ismail Khan and can also be reached from Topan Wala Bazaar. Its main gate opens in Chhota Bazaar. Inside this door there is a beautiful double storey square building, where Prakash used to take place. There are residential rooms around this building for pilgrims. Inside the darbar there is a Thara Sahib (pious seat) where Guru Nanak Dev stayed.[3]


Presently Government Higher Secondary School No. 3 is housed in this building. The building is in good condition, all the four doors have marble frame. Dharamsala was maintained by SGPC before 1947. Presently it is in the hands of Waqf Department. [2][3]
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Gurdwara Kali Devi, Distt Dera Ismail Khan
Another Gurdwara in Dera Ismail Khan is Gurdwara Kali Devi. This place is on the main road beyond Topan Wala crossroad. There are workshops close to it and its spire is visible from inside the street. Before Guru Nanak Dev came to this city, Goddess Kali was worshiped here. Guru Nanak Dev stayed at some distance from the temple of Kali. The moment Guru Nanak entered the town; the idol of `Kali fell to the ground. The priest lifted it up but it fell again. Someone said that a saint had come here and maybe it was happening due to his presence. The priest went to him. Guru Nanak Dev explained the meaning of One Universal Lord to him and advised him to remember Him only. After this incident the worship of idols was abolished and converted the place into dharamsal. Later Sri Guru Granth Sahib was installed. Over a period of time the priests again placed the idol of Kali Devi. This temple came to be known as Gurdwara Kali Devi to commemorate this event. There is a school housed in the premises at present. [1][4]
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Mankera:
After Dera Ismail Khan, Guru Nanak Dev proceeded towards Sind. En route they stayed outside Mankera. The area was full of dates and grams. Mardana wanted to eat grams. A boy heard Mardana showing the desire to eat grams. Considering them saints, he spread thatch on ground and brought dates and roasted grams for them to eat and requested permission to go home to bring milk. Guru Nanak blessed: ‘May God bless you with joys of sleep in best of beds and delicious of sweets of love and affection. May you be satisfied with appreciations as that of a king.” The blessings to the boy proved to be true. Meanwhile the Muslim head of Mankera died without any offspring. The executives decided that tone hey will not install anyone from among themselves to avoid any conflict of interest; hence they must select someone from outside. Whosoever enters the town early in the morning should be installed as ruler. The boy who had presented dates and grams to the Guru and Mardana stayed for the night in his fields along with them and started back home early in the morning. The gate had not opened then, so he sat in front of the gate. When the gate was opened the security in charge found him outside and took him to the state executives, who in turn established him as the ruler. Guru Nanak blessed in boys kingdom in a natural way. [5]
Redeeming the persons this way, Guru Nanak proceeded to the area of Fofalzai Pathans. This area was dominated by Khelzai and Barakzai Pathans and Balouches where Hindus were only a few. It has mounds of salt and the land is red, water of river is white, the grass around is fresh green and the sun rays present an ecstatic view. Guru Nanak enjoyed viewing of these for quit long. [5] He moved to Sangar, Manger, Deredin Pnah, Dera Gazi Khan and reached Roh Des. [1]
Roh Des
. Lot of offering is received which the caretakers share among themselves. King Allauddin once prayed at his grave for a victory. Having won, he offered millions of rupees and numerous other valuable items. [6]
Guru Nanak held discourses with the persons attending the fair and put them on Divine Path and forbade them grave worship. [6] Next he moved through Sangar, Mangar, Deredin Pnah, Peer Adal and reached Dera Gazi Khan district.

Guru Nanak Ji came to Sakhi Sarwar from Dera Ismail Khan and the place where he stayed is known as Thara Sahib. Sakhi Sarwar is about 400 kilometer from Lahore. It is also called by the name of "Nagaha" and a metalled road leads direct to this town from Dera Gazi Khan; the railway station which serves it too. A semi cobbled road leads into the city.

Legend of Sakhi Sarvar is as follows, “Chowkhandi is the name of the house of the Peer also known as Sakhi Sarvar Sultan Lalan Wala. Many Muslims and some Hindus offer goats, baked sweet bread and money at the place. His name was Sayyed Ahmed. His father Sayyad Zainul came from Arab and settled at Karsi Kot in town Sultan. He married Ayashan, the daughter of Peero Jatt from whom Sayyed Ahmed was born in Bikrami Samwat 1142. He meditated under the guidance of Sheikh Maujood Chishti Peer and gained miracle power. He had a fight with Samer brothers’ in connection with a woman. Afraid of them he went to village Dhaunkal in Wazirabad district. He then married Zaina the daughter of Karam Khan and a Sarajudin was born out of the union. The old enemies came here too to kill him and afraid he went to desert. Feeling thirsty he started deep meditation on God for water and a spring emerged at Ngaha the village he established in Samwat 1201. People flocked to him from far and near considering him to be a peer. The old enemies finally caught up and killed him and all his relatives in Bikrami Samwat 1224. His grave became a place of worship and fairs are held in Chet and Had. [6]

The place where Guru Nanak Dev had stayed is located in the compound of the tomb of Hazrat Sakhi Sarwar. Munshi Hukum Chand writes, "The Southwestern side is known by the name of Baba Nanak, while the other cells are on the eastern side". This sacred place lies between the mosque and mazar (tomb). The fair is held every year, but no recitation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib is done. [30][15] He moved next to Hanad through Jampur. In this city people call a hill as the beard of Hirnkashyap. From Jampur Guru Nanak moved to Fazalpur and Miranpur. [6]

Gurdwara Thara Sahib at Uch Distt Bahawalpur
Uch Sharif is a very famous town. It is in tehsil Ahmedpur Sharqia of district Bahawalpur. The mazar (tomb) of Pir Jalauddin Bukhari is outside the town about 1 km west of it. This tomb is built on a mound. There is a well in the fields on the northern side of the city which is- known as Sat Guru Nanak Dev Ji's well or commonly called as Karrade Da Khooh. It is said that the descendants of the Pirs have five relics of Guru Nanak Dev.[7][8]
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Well

(1) A pair of Guru Nanak's Kharawan (wooden sandals) (2) Bairagan (walking stick which is used to place one's hand while taking rest) (3) Pather Ka Gurj (mace) (4) 2 Stone Kanga (bracelet) (5) A boat 1.5 ft x 1 ft. He had discourses with the, local pirs and revealed this Shabd. (Sri Rag Ashtpadia M-1 Page 64)

Gurdwara Nanakwara, Kandhkot, Distt Jacobabad
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This holy shrine is in Suniar (Goldsmith) Bazaar of tehsil Kandhkot of district Jacobabad. The locality is also known as Nanakwara. This place is remembered as Nanak Darbar. Dhanna Singh Ji is the priest here. Darbar is a double storeyed beautiful building. There are also temples of Kali Mata, Sri Rama and Hanuman Ji adjacent to the darbar, and religious worship takes places in all these temples. Recitation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib also takes place beside the idols. At Diwali, Vaisakhi and Janamashtami big gatherings take place. Sangat runs into thousands at this place. [1][9]

Gurdwara Sadhu Bela, Sukkur
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At Mithan Kot, the five rivers of Punjab meet River Sind. This used to be the border of the kingdom of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The Guru had stayed here. This place has become an important spiritual site known as ‘Sadh Bela’. This place was discovered by Baba Nav Khandi ji, an ‘Udassi Sadhu’. From here the Lord moved to the Karachi ‘Bandar’—a city by the ocean. Sikhs sacrificed dearly to establish a gurdwara at this place, which was known to many as ‘Akali Bunga’. These places are now in Pakistan. This sacred shrine is on an islet in the River Indus flowing between Rohri and Sukkur. After crossing Rohri bridge a road runs along the river towards Sukkur. Walking along this road a very big and spacious building is seen in a grove of trees on the left hand side. This is the shrine of Sadhu Bela. This shrine can only be reached by a boat which lands right at the main gate of the shrine. There is a beautiful building in white marble on the left of the foyer. It was the sacred place where Guru Nanak Dev had stayed and showed the sadhus the correct path to lead life. It is a big islet. There is a captivating building of white marble on this islet which is known as Dharam Mandir. There are other temples and Samadhs of Udasi Sadhus who later managed the affairs of the Gurdwara with dedication. There is a library about half a kilometer from the Gurdwara. In this temple Sri Guru Granth Sahib is placed alongside the idol of Udasi Baba Sri Chand.
On the front face of the building this Shabd composed in Sri Rag (Mohalla 1 Ghar 1) is engraved:

‘If I had a palace made of pearls, inlaid with jewels, scented with musk, saffron and sandalwood, a sheer delight to behold—seeing this, I might go astray and forget God, and God’s Name would not enter into my mind. Without the Lord, my soul is scorched and burnt. I consulted my Guru, and now I see that there is no other place at all. If the floor of this palace was a mosaic of diamonds and rubies, and if my bed was encased with rubies, and if heavenly beauties, their faces adorned with emeralds, tried to entice me with sensual gestures of love—seeing these, I might go astray and forget You, and Your Name would not enter into my mind. If I were to become a Siddha, and work miracles, summon wealth and become invisible and visible at will, so that people would hold me in awe—seeing these, I might go astray and forget God, and God’s Name would not enter into my mind. If I were to become an emperor and raise a huge army, and sit on a throne, issuing commands and collecting taxes—Nanak says: all of this could pass away like a puff of wind. Seeing these, I must not go so astray that I forget God, and God’s Name does not enter into my mind. (p.15)

According to the priests this Shabd was revealed to Guru Nanak at this place. The fairs of Diwali and Janamashtami are held. Sangat assembles on different occasions. They call themselves Nanakpanthis, whereas the priest Baba Dhanna Ramji is an Udasi Sadhu. The tree beneath which Gun Ji was seated still exists. It is a normal part of the rituals to have a dip in the river. The care and control of Gurdwara is in the hands of Waqf Board. [2][10]

Gurdwara Pehli Patshahi Jind Pir, Distt Sukkur
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Sukkur is a famous city of Sind province. It is located on the Lahore-Karachi railway line. The railway station serving this city is called Rohri and a bridge built across the River Indus links the towns of Sukkur and Rohri. Just after crossing the bridge a road goes down at right hand. This road keeps turning along the bridge and reaches Gurdwara Jind Pir. Here he held discussions with the followers of Khwaja Peer. Seeing the spiritual strength of Guru Nanak they all bowed before him. [11] A very beautiful Gurdwara commemorates the visit of Guru Nanak. Guru Nanak came here from Sadhu Bela, an islet in the river Indus. Jhule Lal Udasi sadhu was its first priest. From Sakhar and Bhakhar Guru Nanak proceeded to Shikarpur.[12]
Gurdwara Pehli Patshahi at Shikarpur, Distt Sukkur

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Shikarpur is a very big town of Sukkur district. There is a sacred shrine of Guru Nanak Dev in this town commemorating his visit to the place. In Sindhi language it is known as "Puj Udasian Samadha Ashram". It is a very big shrine and the Banyan tree in whose shade Guru Nanak Dev sat, is still there. Prakash of Sri Guru Granth Sahib takes place daily. There are the samadhs of Udasis besides the Prakashasthan. A wooden baradari is built on these samadhs and has been painted red. It is because of these samadhs that the place is known as Samadh Ashram. The Sangat is Nanakpanthi. The Langar is distributed round the clock. [1][13] [14][15]

Shikarpur is largely inhabited by people of Turkic decent). There, Noor Nishtar, a poor butcher who was grazing some goats, caught sight of Guru ji, who was wearing the attire of a fakir, he kindly took the Guru a glass of milk.Guru Nanakasked the reason for him bringing the milk. The butcher replied: “I'm a poor man, I haven't a penny. I have heard, if we serve the fakirs, they give blessings which become true. That's why I bought the milk for you, thinking that you would make me a rich man of this land.” Guru ji replied: “Take a bath in amrit vela (early in the morning), reciting the name of the lord. Always serve the needy, if you can. By that alone all your wishes will become true.”

A weaver named Dawood brought a galicha (carpet or Dari) forGuru Nanak. He asked the Guru to put the galicha down and sit down on it.Guru Nanaksaid: The earth is the galicha, which is spread by the lord. This galicha neither grows old nor becomes dirty. [16][17]

There was a pregnant female dog that was shivering with cold. Guru ji said: "Put this galicha on this pregnant female dog and give her food." Guru ji asked about his wish. Dawood toldGuru Nanak that he was childless and wanted a child. Guru ji gave him blessings that his wish will be fulfilled. From there Guru ji moved towards Sind.[1][13][14]

One Kanaya Lal of Sind joined Guru Gobind Singh, who made it his duty to serve water to the wounded on the battle-field. Kanaya Lal gave water not only to the Hindu wounded but also to the Muslim wounded. Some Sikhs thought it wrong to revive enemy soldiers. They took Kanaya Lal to the Guru, who appreciated his action and asked him to go and preach Sikh Dharma in Sind. He came to be known as "Khat Waro Bao (Khaat wala Bawa) because he gave his sermon while sitting on a cot." From Shikarpur Guru Nanak proceeded through Rukanpur, Larkana and reached Harappa and Moijo Daro.[1][15]

Gurdwara Pehli Patshahi at Bulani, Distt Larkana
Bulani is a well-known town of Sind province. Guru Nanak Dev honoured its people by setting his foot here. His shrine is beautifully built. Nanakpanthi Hindus are the priests. Prakash of Sri Guru Granth Sahib takes place daily. A shepherd by the name of Nur Nusrat served Guru and wished to know the prayer which brings good fortune. Guru Nanak Dev told him that all good fortune lay in virtue and in not deviating from the path shown by the religion. Dawood, a weaver, of the same place, presented a valuable rug to Guru Nanak Dev. He spread this rug under the puppies of a {censored}, which were shivering with cold and said, "My rug is this green grass". His teaching was that our happiness is useless if a person sitting close by is in pain. Guru Nanak spread the Divine Name among the present. The Gurdwara in his commemoration had land grants. [14][16] The Sangat enthusiastically assembles at this place and the Guru's langar is running. [5][16]
 

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