Thursday, July 07, 2022


Footprint legacy of the Sikh state in Kashmir

PUNJAB NEWS EXPRESS | December 31, 2021 12:35 AM

By Dr Jasbir Singh Sarna
Maharaja Ranjit Singh conquered the Jammu region in 1800 CE. Firstly the areas of Mirowal and Nirol were captured. Heads of these areas offered Nazranas (Gifts) of rupees eight thousand to Sher-i-Punjab. When The Raja of Jammu, came to know that Khalsa army was approaching, he at once offered rupees Twenty thousand for the food and meals to Khalsa army. In return Sher-i Punjab gave a Khilat to Raja of Jammu.

In 1819, Kashmir was conquered and brought under the Khalsa flag. Before the Sikh rule, the Afghans perpetrated countless unprecedented atrocities on residents , which was documented by a muslim historian.Nine Governors were appointed in Kashmir by Lahore Darbar from time to time. There are still some footprints of Sikh Rule in Kashmir :
Foot Prints of Gurmukhi in Kashmir.
Mehan Singh Governor Kashmir laid out the extant pavilion in the paved courtyard of the Basant Bagh towards the river Jhelum, has three inscriptions fixed on the western side of the platform, cut in Persian, Punjabi and Hindi, on three extant white marble slabs stating that the garden was laid out by Mehan Singh in 1835.
Situated in the center of buildings along Jammu kashmir Archives. Its architecture resembles the arches of Darbar Sahib Amritsar. Polished Black stones are utilized in its construction. Situated in Shergarh Fort, Srinagar.
Sheikh Bagh:
Garden was laid out by Sikh Governor Sheikh Ghulam Mahi-ud-Din (1841-46) near the locality of Amira Kadal. Actual site of the garden now occupied by the Church Mission School, Christian Cemetery, Court, Shopping centers etc. After the death of Sheikh Ghulam, he was buried in the Ziratgah of Makhdum Sheikh Hamza, Srinagar, Kashmir.
Shaheed Bunga, Barzala-Baghat, Srinagar : A fierce battle took place on 12th June 1841 on the banks of Doodhganga rivulet near Ram bagh between the Mutineer Sikh soldiers (mostly kashmiri and Punjabi sikhs) and Dogra/Gorkha regiments. The Khalsa troops in Lahore manifested uneasiness for their brethren in Kashmir and were anxious to march for their relief. Raja Gulab Singh dogra, therefore decided to make a short work, ordered his four battalions and a thousand Gorcharas to launch an attack with heavy and continued fire. More than 400 Mutineers achieved martyrdom and few escaped to Lahore. There it was rumored that Raja Gulab had Slaughtered the Khalsa as if they had been Afghans."Shaheed Bunga Gurdwara" erected in their memory.
Gurudwara Pehli Patshahi, Hari Parbat, Srinagar :
After visting some Muslim Shrines and Hindu temples, Guru Nanak Sahib stayed inside the Hari Parbat hill. With the consent of emperor Jehangir, foundation stone of the Gurdwara was laid by Guru Hargobind Sahib with his own hands in 1620 CE. A Bir of SGGS brought from the city and installed in this small Gurdwara. A pandit was appointed as a caretaker. During Sikh rule, this Gurdwara was located by some Gursikhs and constructed by S. Hari Singh Nalwa.
Gurdwara Nanaksar Mattan :
Guru Nanak Sahib stayed near Mach Bhawan. At the instructions of Guru ji, a Dharamshala was built by Pandit Mukanda, Pandit Braham Das, Kamal Faqir etc at this site. During Afghan reign, S. Gurmukh Singh (Member of the council of Noor Din Bambazi, Governor Kashmir) constructed a splendorous Gurdwara in 1766 AD. During Sikh rule Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa constructed seven small Gurdwaras on the three sides of twin springs in which seven Birs of SGGS were installed. There were 84 rooms associated with these Gurdwaras. During the reign of Maharaja Partap Singh Dogra, all these Gurdwaras were removed from 1905-1909 AD. Now - a - days only one Gurdwara is seen on the right side of the spring, near surya mandir.
Sheikh Imam-ud-din (1819-1859), who succeeded his father, Sheikh Ghulam Mohu-ud-din, as governor of the Sikh province of Kashmir in 1845, had earlier served under Kanvar Nau Nihal Singh and had in 1840 assisted his father in the campaign against Mandi. He resides at Shiekh bagh house on the back side of Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Amira Kadal Srinagar, where later on PWD department was functioning but nowadays CRP companies occupied all the buildings. After his death, he was buried near Hari Parbat along with inscriptions, close to the grave of Makhdum Sahib.
Governor Mihan Singh :
Mihan Singh (1834-1841) was well known for Loyalty, Efficiency, Administrator and capacity of taking great decisions. He had served with the famous military Commander Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa. As Governor of Kashmir, he sorted all the issues of Kashmiris with his intelligence and extraordinary capacity. His main achievements were Dastur-ul-Amal(Twarikh-l-kashmir), Agricultural improvements, Poultry Farming, peace, Re-establishment of Shawl Industry, Establishment of Dharmarth department, Suppression of Galwans, Foundations of Shergarh Fort, Basant Bagh etc. He was residing in a splendor bungalow, where today the Deputy Commissioner's Srinagar Office is located. On the bank of river Jhelum, behind Mihan Singh house , a beautiful garden is located where a beautiful black Gurdwara Chinar Baba Nanak Srinagar Guru Nanak Dev ji after climbing down from the peak of Shankaracharya, sat on the banks of Dal lake and ardently gazed at Lotus flowers which have been growing in the Dal lake since ancient times.

That is the reason Lotus flowers are frequently mentioned in the bani of Guru Ji. From there Guru ji straight came and sat under the Chinar tree, near an ancient well, where Guru ji began his meditation. This historic Shrine was called 'Gurdwara Chinar Baba Nanak'. However, after Guru Nanak Ji's elder son Baba Sri Chand (1494-1643) started spreading the thoughts of Sikhism under this tree during his Kashmir visit, it became famous as 'Chinar Baba Sri Chand'. Shri Chand ji came here to gain expertise in Persian, Sanskrit, Sharda etc in the institution of Pandit Purshotam Das in Srinagar. Bhai Kamlia, Bhai Gonda etc, Sikhs were also present with him. Many people became followers of Baba ji in Kashmir. Kashmiri Sikhs constructed some pilgrimage rooms and Shops in 1904.One Udasi Mahant Harnam Das Langra came to Kashmir in 1932 and informed Dogra Raja Partap Singh about this Gurdwara. With the help of the government, Mahant Harnam Das became custodian of this historic Shrine.
Sikh Coins :
Maharaja Ranjit Singh also continued in his kingdom the same coin which was minted at Amritsar.In 1819, Kashmir was incorporated into the Khalsa state. At that time coins of many countries and kings were in circulation in Kashmir.
As Kashmir was a major trading center, various coins were in circulation and merchants came from far and wide to trade. During the Sikh rule in Kashmir, the Sikhs introduced their own coin which included Maharaja Ranjit Singh's "Sone de Mohar" which contained "MaseRati “pure gold. The inscription on the front was like rupees and the letters were Gurmukhi but on the other side was written Waheguru ji'. 'Waheguru ji'. 'Waheguru ji three times.
The Nanak Shahi' rupee was also called Nanaki rupee in Kashmir. The 'Sone de Mohar' was made in the mint of Amritsar, the price of which was equal to 'Nanakshahi' fifteen rupees. But from then on, it started to be made from the mint of Kashmir. The 'Nanakshahi' rupee was an important coin of the Sikh state. One such coin is still in the museum in Srinagar, Kashmir. In Persian, the words are engraved on one side: Zarb Kashmir, 1876 Bikrami On the other side:Degh wa Tegh Fateh wa Nasrat Bedrang, Yaft az Nanak Guru Gobind Singh has also been found on coins which had Gurmukhi inscription.Usually script on coins was Persian but Hughel had identified a coin, on both sides Gurmukhi was engraved. Maharaja Ranjit Singh was so pleased with S. Hari Singh Nalwa's conquest of Kashmir that by a special order, gave Nalwa the great right to issue a coin in his name in Kashmir. According to this order, S. Hari Singh Nalwa issued a coin bearing his name which was minted at Srinagar. On one side of the coin was engraved in Persian letters 'Sri Akal Sahai 'and 'Sammat 1878 and on the other side was inscribed 'Hari Singh' 'Yak Rupee', below.

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