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Events Punjab Govt To Lay Foundation Stones Of Three Sikh War Memorials From Oct 9

Chaan Pardesi

Oct 4, 2008
London & Kuala Lumpur
Punjab govt to lay foundation stones of three Sikh war memorials from Oct 9

Monday, 27 September 2010
CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister P.S.Badal Monday reviewed the arrangements for the foundation laying ceremonies of three historic Sikh war memorials of Wada Ghalughara at Kup Rahiran in Sangrur District, Chhota Ghalughara in Chak Abdalwari near Kahnuwan in Gurdaspur District and Chhaparchiri in District S.A.S. Nagar (Mohali) and appealed to one and all to participate with full vigour and enthusiasm to make these mega events a grand success.

Presiding over three separate meetings of the MLAs, Ministers, eminent personalities, senior civil and police officers from Mohali, Ropar, Gurdaspur and Sangrur districts here at Punjab Bhawan this evening, Chief Minister finalized the modalities of these functions to be held in connection with Chhaparchiri war memorial on October 9, Wada Ghalughara on October 18 and Chhota Ghalughara on October 23 in the presence of Managing Editor the Ajit group of Newspapers Dr. Barjinder Singh Hamdard, who was a special invitee on the occasion.

It may be recalled that on the pursuance of Chief Minister, the Chairman-cum-Managing Director of the renowned Infrastructure company L{censored}n & Toubro (L&T) A.M. Naik had agreed in principal to execute the construction of these prestigious memorials to at a cost of Rs. 44 crore and deputed the senior vice president of L&T A.K. Chhatwani to represent him on these special events.

Meanwhile, the Principal Secretary Tourism Geetika Kalha apprised the Chief Minister that the construction work of these projects had already been allotted to L&T by PWD (B&R) department as per the approved design plans. She also informed that the project cost of Chhaparchiri was estimated Rs. 27 crore, Chhota Ghalughara was Rs. 8 crore and Wadda Ghalughara was Rs. 9 crore and all these projects would be competed by September 30, 2011.

On this occasion, Renu Khanna, an eminent architect consultant made a power point presentation on the lay out design and pattern of these monuments in consonance with the historic background.

The Chief Minster impressed upon the MLAs, Ministers, Members of the SGPC to make all out efforts to celebrate these functions in a befitting manner to enable not only the people of Punjab but also in the country as well as across the globe, especially the younger generation to be informed about the paramount significance of these great legendary events in the Sikh History. He also approved the design and pattern of the invitation cards, posters and booklet depicting the brief history related to these monuments. Mr. Badal directed the Vice Chancellor of Punjabi University Patiala Dr. Jaspal Singh and Chairman Punjab State Backward Classes Commission Prof. Kirpal Singh Badungar to coordinate with the prominent intellectuals and personalities from different walks of life to be invited on these functions. He also asked his adviser Dr. Daljit Singh Cheema to prepare a list of invitees among the renowned serving and retired senior Sikh defence officers in general and all the ranks of Sikh Regiment in particular.

Prominent among other who attended the meeting included Speaker Punjab Vidhan Sabha Nirmal Singh Kahlon, Tourism Minister Hira Singh Gabria, Agriculture Minister Sucha Singh Langah, Information & Public Relations Minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan, Member Rajya Sabha Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, PWD (B&R) Minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa, Chief Parliamentary Secretary Finance Raj Khurana, former Minister Jathedar Tota Singh, former Minister Madan Mohan Mittal, former Parliamentary Secretary and MLA Batala Jagdish Sahni, SAD General Secretary Prof. Prem Singh Chandumajra, Chairman Milkfed Gurbachan Singh Babehali, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister D.S. Guru, Additional Principal Secretary to Chief MinisterGaggandip Singh Brar, Secretary PWD (B&R) Kulbir Singh and Director Tourism Mr.Hussan Lal, and Director Information & Public Reactions DS Mangat. Apart from these senior leadership and party workers of SAD-BJP and members of the SGPC were also present in these meetings.

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Now the history of these events .....

VADDA GHALLUGHARA, lit. major holocaust or carnage, so called to distinguish it from another similar disaster, Chhota (minor) Ghallughara that took place in 1746, is how a one-day battle between the Dal Khalsa and Ahmad Shah Durrani fought on 5 February 1762 with a heavy toll of life is remembered in Sikh history. As Ahmad Shah was returning home after his historic victory over the Marathas in the third battle of Panipat in 1761, the Sikhs harassed him all the way from the Sutlej right up to the Indus. Returning to the Central Punjab, they ravaged the country all around, annihilated the Afghan force in Char Mahal, drove away the faujdar of Jalandhar, plundered Sirhind and Malerkotla, defeated a force, 12,000-strong, sent by Ahmad Shah from Afghanistan to punish them and another led personally by the Afghan governor of Lahore, and even captured Lahore, all within a short period, June-September 1761. At a general assembly (Sarbat Khalsa) of the Dal at Amritsar convened on the occasion of Divali, 27 October 1761, it was resolved to punish the agents, informers and collaborators of the Afghans, beginning with Aqil Das of Jandiala, head of the heretical Niranjania sect and an inveterate enemy of the Sikhs. Aqil Das dispatched messengers post-haste to Ahmad Shah Durrani, who had in fact already entered India at the head of a large army.

Meanwhile, the Sikhs had besieged Jandiala, 18 km east of Amritsar. Aqil Das’ messengers met the Shah at Rohtas. The latter advanced at quick pace but before he reached Jandiala, the Sikhs had lifted the siege and retired beyond the Sutlej with the object of sending their families to the safety of the wastelands of Malva before confronting the invader. Ahmad Shah, on the other hand, determined to teach the Sikhs a lesson, sent messages to Zain Khan, faujdar of Sirhind, and Bhikhan Khan, chief of Malerkotla, directing them immediately to check the Sikhs’ advance, while he himself taking a light cavalry force set out at once and, covering a distance of 200 km including two river-crossings in fewer than forty-eight hours, caught up with the Sikhs who were camped at Kup Rohira, 12 km north of Malerkotla, at dawn on the 5th of February 1762. The Dal Khalsa, comprising all of the misls and representatives of the Sikh chiefs of Malva, was taken by surprise.

The attacks of Zain Khan and Bhikhan Khan were easily repulsed, but the main body of Ahmad Shah, much larger and better equipped, soon overtook them. Having to protect the slow moving vahir or baggage train including women, children, old men and other non-combatants, the Sikhs could not resort to their usual hit-and-run tactics, and a stationary battle against such superior numbers was inadvisable. Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, the commander-in-chief of the Dal, decided that all the misls combining to form a single force should make a cordon around the vahir and start moving towards Barnala, 40 km to the southwest, with the agents of the Malva chiefs acting as guides. Thus “fighting while moving and moving while fighting,” says Ratan Singh Bhangu, Prachin Panth Prakash,“ they kept the vahir marching, covering it as a hen covers its chickens under its wings.” On several occasions, the Shah’s troops broke the cordon and butchered the helpless non-combatants, but every time the Sikh warriors rallied and pushed back the attackers. By early afternoon they reached a big pond, the first they had come across since the morning. The fighting stopped automatically as the two forces fell pell-mell, man and animal, upon the water to quench their thirst and relax their tired limbs. The battle was not resumed. The Sikhs marched off towards Barnala and Ahmad Shah thought it prudent not to pursue them in the little-known semi-desert with an army that had had no rest during the past two days, and had suffered considerable loss of life in the day-long battle.

Estimates of the Sikhs’ loss of life vary from 20,000 to 50,000. The more credible figures are those of Miskin, a contemporary Muslim chronicler, 25,000, and Ratan Singh Bhangu, 30,000. This could have been a crippling blow to the Sikhs, yet the tradition in no way acknowledges this as even a minor setback. Indeed, it advocates the reverse. According to Sikh tradition, a Sikh who had survived, but lost one leg in the melee, was passing through the heaps of dead bodies the evening after the massacre. As he was surrounded by his slain comrades, he paused for a moment and offered a prayer to Akal Purakh. It began with these famous words: Now all the fruit that is unfit to eat has been shaken from the tree.

In other words, this was a prayer of thanks to Akal Purakh, through whose grace the Khalsa was now purified of those who were unable to persevere in the midst of harsh oppression. From the very jaws of the most bitter defeat, the tradition brings forth victory, a victory which could only strengthen the Khalsa in both body and spirit.

The Sikhs rose again within three months to attack Zain Khan of Sirhind, who bought peace by paying them Rs. 50,000 in May, and they were ravaging the neighbourhood of Lahore during July-August 1762, Ahmad Shah, who was still in the Punjab, watching helplessly the devastation of the Jalandhar Doab at their hands.

Chaan Pardesi

Oct 4, 2008
London & Kuala Lumpur
Mr. Badal is very fond of laying foundation stones which we all know is a
political gimmicry. This would do no justice to those Sikh martyrs because it is
all being done as a political stunt. It is a cruel joke being played on
those brave Sikhs in order to achieve political mileage. How can he go back
more than 250 years back, but forget what happened only 26 years ago?

Mr. Badal should have also laid a foundation stone of Operation Blue Star, the
undeclared Indo-Sikh war of 1984 that was unleashed against the Sikhs which
continued for at least nine years and resulted in far more war casualities than
all the previous ghalugharas put together.

A friend of mine wrote to me about the above; and I thoroughly share similar views.It is abhorrant that a state that cannot afford a better standard for its people should waste time on such waste of time projects.This is no sincere effort by badal ji, it is a political gimmick and plays upon the emotions of the Sikh panth.

If Mr. Badal has any love for the Khalsa Panth, he should have also forced GOI to set up a 'truth commission' along the lines of South Africa to investigate the atrocities committed agianst the blacks by the white minority and find out all the facts. The fact is Mr.Badal does NOT want to face any reality and tries to dodge the core issues. He only wants to pay a lip service to the Sikh martyrs, and is diluting the lost blood of the sahids by such gimmicks.The white elephant of the Khalsa heritage is stil standing bare since 1999-- perhaps the same will happen to this over inflated claim....that he care for Sikh history that tiook place 250 years ago...and does not remember or understand that happened 26 years ago!!

badal Ji, the Sikh identity standing tall today, after 250 years ago is a good memorial of what happened 250 years ago, we dont need any building.Go help , raise the standard of the poor Sikhs, if you an iota of intelligence left as you grow to be a geriatric.