Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Episode 2 of India Travels: Gurdwara Kahnuwan Sahib (Part 1)

Passages from my diary of my trip to India, April 2012:

The first night in Panjab we spent at Gurdaspur. It was the first time I had spent time at Gurdaspur. It was very sad to hear how innocent young Sikh men aged 15 to 35 were picked up the Police and killed during the 1990s. Locals told of how villages upon villages across Gurdaspur district were wiped clean of young people and a generation of Sikhs was wiped out.

The next day Gursikhs took us to visit Gurdwara Kahnuwan Sahib in district Gurdaspur. This Gurdwara marks the spot where the Chhota Ghallughara (the smaller holocaust) took place. In Sikh history there have been two ancient holocausts, the Chhota Ghallughara which took place in 1746 and the Vadda Ghallughara (the bigger holocaust) which took place in 1762. The more recent carnage of the 1980s and 90s, has also come to be known as Ghalughara (holocaust).

The Gurdwara Chhota Ghallughara Sahib marks the place were nearly 10,000 Sikh men, women and children were wiped out in 1746. Yahya Khan and Lakhpat Rai had taken a pledge to wipe out the Sikhs. They chased and surrounded the Sikhs taking refuge in the forest area of Kahnuwan. The forest was set on fire to make sure no Sikh survived. Retreating regiments of the Sikhs braved an onslaught under the command of Nawaab Kapoor Singh jee. Even though the Sikhs were hungry, they did not lose their determination and fought on in the scorching heat. During the building of the fairly recent Gurdwara Sahib, the Sangat discovered weapons belonging to the Sikhs who were martyred in the holocaust. Unfortunately the shastar were on open display without any security or any measures to preserve them to the best condition. After speaking to a local member of the Sangat they said they would notify the management committee to keep the shastar in an air tight case and under better security.

To be continued...

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