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  • Punjab, the land of five rivers, India's bread basket, cradle of the Green revolution, land of Saint Soldiers. ਪੰਜਾਬ ਰੰਗਲਾ ਦੇਸ ਹੈ। ਇਥੇ ਕੁਦਰਤ ਆਪਣੇ ਪੂਰੇ ਨਿਖਾਰ ਵਿਚ ਬਹੁਰੰਗੀ ਤਸਵੀਰ ਪੇਸ਼ ਕਰਦੀ ਹੈ। ਹਰਿਆਵਲ ਤੇ ਸੋਕਾ, ਗਰਮੀ ਤੇ ਸਰਦੀ, ਮੀਂਹ ਤੇ ਔਡ਼, ਹੁੱਸਡ਼ ਤੇ ਤੀਖਣ ਬੁੱਲੇ, ਸਰੀਰਕ ਸ੍ਰਮ ਤੇ ਕੋਮਲ ਹੁਨਰ, ਮਾਲਾ ਤੇ ਚੰਡੀ, ਰੁੱਖਡ਼ਪਣ ਤੇ ਸਾਹਿਤਕ ਸਰਸਤਾ ਆਦਿ ਬੇਜੋਡ਼ ਜੋਡ਼ੇ ਅੰਕ ਸਹੇਲੀਆਂ ਵਾਂਙ ਇਥੇ ਗਲਵੱਕਡ਼ੀਆਂ ਪਾਈ ਨਜ਼ਰੀਂ ਪੈਂਦੇ ਹਨ। Eh Mera Punjab | Promote your Page too
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    The Nabha Native Cavalry contingent at the Delhi Camp of Exercise (1885)

    The Nabha Native Cavalry contingent at the Delhi Camp of Exercise (1885)

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    August 15 1947… India gains Independence

    Front page of Statesman newspaper published from Calcutta.

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    A Hindu Punjabi couple at Ferozepur, Punjab in 1941.

    A Hindu Punjabi couple at Ferozepur, Punjab in 1941.

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    Sikhs protesting against division of Punjab in Lahore on August 12, 1947.

    Sikhs protesting against division of Punjab in Lahore on August 12, 1947.

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    Inflated Bullock skins being used as  floats to cross the river Sutlej in Punjab, picture from the early 1900’s.

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    The Maharaja’s Residence-Save Our Heritage

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    In August 1991, when I first saw it, the house was in perfect fettle. This was surprising for it was constructed around the year 1830 and was then fully 160 years old. The marble plaque on the façade, fixed by some thoughtful British civil servant after the annexation of Punjab read, “Summer residence of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, AD 1830-1837”.

    Inspired by European architecture, the house was unlike a traditional vernacular residence. It had verandas on two sides with rooms on the remaining two and a central atrium. The side rooms and the verandas had lower roofs while that of the central foyer’s was higher. The rafters, door and window frames and every other timber fixture were first class teak.

    The house sat on the east bank of the Chenab River, just outside Rasulnagar (Gujranwala district), right by the ancient ferry where a young Ranjit Singh had deprived the Afghans of the Zamzama that now sits outside Lahore Museum. Here, long after he had defeated the Afghans and put an end to their predatory raids, the Maharaja would have reposed with his customary glass of strong drink, watching the brown waters of the Chenab roll past forever and ever.


    This house became part of my book Gujranwala: The Glory That Was (1992). It also featured in one of the episodes of my PTV documentary series “Nagri, nagri ghoom musafir” produced during 1998-1999. I returned to the house a number of times thereafter when I was pressing for it to be taken over by the district administration to turn it into a library or a museum so that it may be preserved forever.

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    But we, the people of Pakistan, have no connection with the dharti. We have severed the umbilical that would bond us with the motherland to give us a sense of belonging and pride. Without the connection, we drift aimlessly in a wasteland harbouring vague and false notions of Arab or Central Asiatic ancestry. The disconnect is so strong that nothing that belongs to this land turns us on. We simply do not care.

    Last August, I returned to Rasulnagar again to digitally preserve Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s house. What I beheld left me in tears. The house that had withstood every vagary of nature until about 2004, was a ruined hulk. The roof was gone; every single door, window and ventilator removed. What was once the interior of the house was now a pile of debris.

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    Until 2004, the house stood in open fields. But this time round, there was next to the historical building, a semi-permanent house inhabited by what seemed to be a family of gypsies. They had plastered the walls of the Maharaja’s house with cow dung patties.

    No one seemed to know who had laid low this historic building. Neither the gypsies nor the men minding the nearby tube well. In fact, one man even ventured that the building had been in that state since the time of his ancestors!

    Though I do not know who to blame for the crime, I know the teak fixtures of the building now adorn the house of some well-connected thug. When he or his men started to dismantle this historic building which should have been part of the national heritage, the DCO and his minions simply looked away. No one bothered as it went down bit by bit.

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    Rasulnagar is historically a very interesting place because it sat on a busy ford. An elderly ferryman once told me that until well into the 1950s, there used to be fully 100 boats catering to the back and forth traffic. Moreover, this was the very place where Ranjit Singh, just 19-year-old and leading a small force, had routed a much larger Afghan army to bring their periodic raids to an end.

    This also is the place where the Sikhs under Sher Singh Atariwala, 15,000-strong, fought a desperate battle against the British in November 1848. The British prevailed, the Sikhs withdrew to the west of the river to fight and lose their final battle two months later at Chillianwala.

    All this — and more — makes Rasulnagar a tourist destination for the history buff. But we do not belong to this land, so what do we do with our heritage? We destroy it.

    By Salman Rashid.

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    A soda water making machine at Lahore in 1894.

    A soda water making machine at Lahore in 1894.

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    Save Heritage-The Mughal Caravan Sarai (Doraha-Punjab)

    Doraha Serai was built as Mughal caravan serais, by the Mughal ruler Jahangir. Once an example of fine Mughal architecture, this historical serai is in a dilapidated condition due to indifferent attitude of the government.

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    SIKLIGAR: The Weapon Makers of the Khalsa Army

    As a community, we have an incredibly rich history and yet we often know so little about it. The first time I learned about the Sikligar community was after watching Mandeep Sethi’s documentary at a local film festival, about this community of Sikhs known to be the weapon makers of the Khalsa army.

    Unfortunately, very little is known about the Sikligars by those living both within and outside of India and Mandeep’s film will be a first glimpse into the community for many. The Sikligars are found across India – displaced through years of colonization and government oppression.

    It is known that the community was given the name Sikligar by the 10th Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh Ji and yet even this honor has not prevented the community from struggling – Sikligars now live in extreme poverty in the slums of Rajasthan, Delhi and Agra. There are also encampments in Punjab. Although this community has been largely illiterate for the last 300 years (focusing on their trade and thus livelihood), the Sikligars are beginning to empower themselves through different means such as education.

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    Picture of a Sikh man in the late 1800’s.

    Picture of a Sikh man in the late 1800’s.

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    Manauli Fort A dying slice of history.

    Wedged in a legal battle between the Punjab Government and descendants of Nawab Kapoor Singh, who are contending the declaration of the fort as a protected monument, the fort has decayed alt beyond restoration.

    The grand gate that guarded the entrance of the fort has perished and only two of the four corner towers are still standing. These are, however, fissured and it is just a matter of time before the entire structure becomes a large heap of bricks.

    It is among the few forts that is made of bricks and hails from an era when stone was largely used.

    The small bricks, known as the Sirhindi brick among the locals, are hanging loose from alt every wall of the fort today telling a depressing tale of splendour lost. The villagers too rue the fact that the fort is dying.

    "Had it been maintained, it could have been a tourist attraction. Also considering the fact that it was won by Nawab Kapoor Singh himself from the Mughal kings, it is a picture of the state’s historical glory," said Mr Amar Singh, a resident of the village.

    The Punjab Archeology Department officials have nothing to say about the fort and why is it being allowed to decay.

    One of the t powerful of the Sikh leaders after the death of Banda Singh Bahadur, Nawab Kapoor Singh had organised the Sikhs first into the ‘budha’ and the ‘taruna’ dals and then into the Dal Khalsa.

    Other than being a great leader, Nawab Kapoor Singh was considered to be a good warrior.

    The last battle he fought was the battle of Sirhind in 1763 when he gained control over an area t of which forms the Ropar district now.

    Founder of the Singhpuria misl, Nawab Kapoor Singh died childless and his nephew Khushal Singh succeeded him as the leader of the misl. Sardar Khushal Singh played a significant role in expanding the territories of the misl.

    "Khushal Singh was succeeded by his son Budh Singh after whose accession the misl’s power began to decline. He divided his territory among his seven sons. Gopal Singh got Manauli. Gopal Singh’s son Jai Singh succeeded at Manauli and finally it came into the hands of his son Umrao Singh," related Mr Gurdev Singh of the Archeology Department, Punjab.

    "We have heard about Umrao Singh from our parents. He was a generous man who did a lot of good for the village," recalled Mr Amar Singh.

    Hundreds of acres of land around the fort was within its boundaries. “At least 400 acre of land was directed controlled by those who controlled the fort. There was a small gurdwara built inside and the largest gate of the fort was known as the hathi khana,”said Mr Amar Singh.

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    Sarai Amanat Khan (Tarn Taran-Punjab)

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    Punjab’s border villages abound in historical monuments which cry out for conservation.

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    ((Lahore Gate of Serai Amanat Khan, which is urgently in need of repairs.)

    KALANAUR is a village close to the Pakistan border in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district. It was here that 12-year-old Akbar was crowned emperor on February 14, 1556. In those days, Kalanaur was a flourishing city. But today it is only a sad reflection of its former glory.

    Presenting a sorry picture is the Takht-e-Akbari, the throne built hastily for the coronation upon the sudden death of Akbar’s father, Humayun. It now stands behind a rusting tin fence. A mosque built to commemorate Akbar’s tajposhi (coronation) now has a timber stall, with cows tethered near by. Its rotting doors and crumbling masonry predict that it will collapse soon. The decline of the 450-year-old mosque with its four minarets and three domes began just 50 years ago. A picture in contrast is the well-maintained and renovated Siva temple near by, also built to celebrate Akbar’s coronation.

    Some of Kalanaur’s old havelis are like nearby Lahore’s. It also had stately gardens and palaces. Today even their ruins are non-existent. The Anarkali Bazaar here was a popular destination and business was so good in those days that traders visiting Amritsar and Lahore had to visit Kalanaur too.

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    ("throne" at Kalanaur where Akbar was crowned emperor in 1556)

    Punjab’s nearly 300-kilometre-long border with Pakistan extends from Pathankot to Fazilka. Most of it is along two rivers flowing east to west - the Ravi in the north and the Satluj in the south. For about 70 km, from Lopoke to Atari to Khem Karan, there is no river gracing the land; hence both countries have dug canals to meet their water requirements.

    Despite the hostilities, the armies and paramilitary forces on either side, the intense patrolling, and the lights and the fencing, people do get across. There are gaps in the fencing wherever the rivers become the border, and at some places where the fencing is broken.

    On the Indian side one finds that fields are cultivated up to approximately a kilometre beyond the border fencing. Pakistani and Indian farmers tend their fields side by side, speaking the same language, sometimes slyly exchanging more than just gossip - like where the next consignment of heroin or currency is to be buried. The electrified and well-lit fence with concertina wires in between does not pose an obstacle for people determined to do smuggling. Indian liquor, amongst other goods, moves to the other side, despite the Border Security Force (BSF) manning the gates. Seizures of heroin have increased, suggesting that vast quantities are coming from the other side.

    The people who live here have experienced upheavals and have adjusted admirably. Before Partition, many big landowners of East Punjab had their lands in West Punjab, which was better irrigated. The real Punjab - the land of the five rivers - is now in Pakistan. Several canal systems built after Partition made India’s Punjab the fertile place it is now.

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    (The 450 year old mosque in the village, with four minarets and three domes.)

    Dera Baba Nanak, the massive and glossy white gurdwara where Guru Nanak spent 12 years, is further down the Ravi river. Its development has been slow as people were reluctant to spend money on its renovation because of the threat of war. The narrow alleys that lead to it are hemmed in by the walls of houses that are surprisingly spacious. Each house has a narrow entrance, since they were designed as fortifications. The houses have intricate woodwork on their trellises and ornate balconies.

    The bus services to Narowal in Pakistan have broken the psychological block to investing in Amritsar. This town looks much the same as it was before Partition when there was a railway bridge across the Ravi connecting it to its twin town Narowal. The bridge was dismantled owing to the mutual fear and suspicion existing between the neighbouring countries. Today to reach Narowal, the devout have to travel 300 km instead of 15 km when the bridge was there.

    In December and January, the border is shrouded in mist from evening to the next morning and sometimes for days on end. But even in January’s perpetual fog, there is colour - from the yellow of the oranges and kinoos that are abundant from Jalalabad to Fazilka to the bright green of the young wheat stalks. Early March is the loveliest time when there is colour in the fields and in the orchards. The yellow of the mustard fields is interspersed with the pink and white of the peach and pear trees. In April, the burning red of gulmohars, the purple of jacarandas and the flashing yellow of laburnums herald the beginning of the harsh summer. Two very hot and sterile months follow. With the monsoon setting in June, farmers prepare to transplant paddy. By August, Punjab is all green. By the end of September, when harvesting starts, it is golden. In many parts, water levels get so high that it becomes a problem. And while the Satluj waters Pakistan, the barrages at Ropar, Harike and Hussainiwala keep Punjab a State with water surplus.

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    Border towns like Ajnala, Gurdaspur, Khalra, Jalalabad and Fazilka are crowded with crumbling old havelis and alleys that still retain the pre-Partition mix of Sikh, Hindu and Muslim architectural styles. Some of these are crumbling but determinedly inhabited. Outside each border town the BSF and the Army have their housing complexes. In Ferozepur cantonment, the Indian Army has preserved many colonial buildings.

    At Pul Kunjrian near Dhanoi Kalan village, close to the Atari-Wagah border, is a square pond near the site of a weekly market that used to be held before 1947. Two platforms were built to its north and south about 200 years ago. While one platform was a stage for girls to dance on, the other was for the privileged to watch from. To the east is a domed room with latticed windows where the women sat. This room has fading frescoes from that time depicting amorous scenes from Krishna’s life. Kunjri means prostitute. According to legend, a dancing girl was crossing the drain here when her slipper fell into it. She asked a courtier of Maharaja Ranjit Singh to build a culvert, which he did and which is still there.

    The Atari-Wagah border is the scene of Beating the Retreat. It was originally meant to indicate a cessation of hostilities between the two nations. However, tension runs high as the ceremonial lowering of flags takes place at dusk, watched by emotional crowds on either side. It is a daily spectacle of crude jingoism sponsored and incited by the BSF, who give the spectators flags to wave.

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    (Frescoes at Pul Kunjrian near Atari)

    Two monuments here commemorating Partition are mocked daily by a few youth, driven by communal propaganda. One is a black marble tripod-like structure erected by the peace-promoting members of the Folklore Research Academy of Amritsar and the other is a white marble tablet bearing moving quotes from Amrita Pritam’s “Waris Shah” on one side and from Faiz Ahmed Faiz on the other.

    About a kilometre away is the once-again busy Atari railway station, which connects India with Pakistan. Pir Heere Shah Ka Dargah, a shrine here, has a pandit and a maulvi in attendance.

    About 15 km from the railway station is the village of Rajatal established by Raja Todar Mall of Akbar’s court, where a domed structure of that period is struggling to resist the onslaught of age and abuse. Near by and close to the BSF post is another shrine for communal harmony, called Lakhdatar Shahanshah, which is revered by all communities. There are many such spots on both sides of the border.

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    (THE ATARI mosque, in ruins. In the foreground are mustard fields.)

    Rancour towards Pakistan is not noticeable amongst those living close to the border. Hate is flaunted more by those who did not suffer Partition.

    About 20 km down the road and running parallel to the border at Chhabal, beyond Atari, is Serai Amanat Khan, built during the Mughal period. (Serai, meaning an inn, has vast squares enclosing hundreds of rooms.) Only its huge arched gates and a mosque, which was restored recently, remain. The gates, with the mosaic falling off rapidly, are in ruins but the inside is a surprise. There is a 150-year-old bustling Punjabi village, with twine manjhis (cots) put outside most homes for people to rest on. Near the ancient well is a haveli with coloured glass windows. Above its arched and embellished entrance are late 19th century paintings recording different stages of the British presence in the subcontinent. One shows a clock tower, another depicts an Englishman in a top hat, and another a steam locomotive. The sets of the movie Pinjar were based on this house. This Mughal serai, one of the four such remaining in Punjab, is the last before Lahore.

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    (The entrances to the now renovated serai rooms next to the Delhi Gate at Noormahal in Nakodar. The shelves are for lamps.)

    It was Sher Shah Suri (1472 - 1545) who first linked Painam near Dhaka, now in Bangladesh, with Peshawar, which was in Afghanistan until Maharajah Ranjit Singh annexed it, by stitching together several existing roads. The entire road was finished during Akbar’s reign; kos (1 kos is roughly 3 km) minars were built to show the way and after every 20 kos or so, a serai was built. These austere fort-like structures had the same pattern. Two elegant and mammoth gates - the one pointing north was called Lahori Darwaza and the one facing south was called Delhi Darwaza - enclosed within fort-like walls a large square of about 10 acres (4 hectares). The compound inside was divided into four equal quadrangles. A part of one of these had a small, plain but handsome mosque and a well. Cubicles with verandahs for travellers to stay in were built along the walls. Even in these utilitarian serais the Mughal rulers could not resist adding vast mosaic flourishes to the gates. Similar serais are in Jehangir Pind in Kapurthala district and Noormahal in Nakodar, whose impressively decorated gates were designed by Noor Jahan.

    From Chhabal, a road goes south to Asal Uttar, the scene of Havaldar Abdul Hameed’s valiant last stand against a brace of Pakistani Patton tanks and then Khem Karan, which was for a while in 1965 occupied by Pakistan. Apart from Hameed’s tastefully made memorial within a well-kept garden, there are a couple of others to the Madras Regiment along the way. The many memorial tablets here make it impossible to forget that this peaceful vista of endless irrigated green was a killing field once. Soldiers from the Madras Regiment faced the first attack in October 1965. Khem Karan is a small old town with narrow alleys and a modern railway station.

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    (A detail from the gate of Noormahal. The gate was designed by Noor Jehan)

    Over the Harike barrage, which holds in check the waters of the Beas and the Satluj, is Ferozepur. On the other side of the Satluj is Hussainiwala, on the border. Across the river is the elegant memorial to Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, who were cremated quietly at this spot after they were hanged on March 23, 1931. In the right-hand corner of the memorial park is an arched tunnel-gate with shell and bullet holes dating back to the 1965 conflict . The railway line to Pakistan passed through this gate until 1965 but now, the line stops short of the left bank of the Satluj barrage. The only sign that a railway ever passed through here is the massive platforms striding across the Satluj that once supported a bridge.

    At Hussainiwala, people watch a relatively simple Beating the Retreat ceremony, which is a class apart from the tension and vulgar shouting at the Wagah border. Even the soldiers are informal with each other. People of this region, known as Malwa, are demanding that this route be reopened for trade. Lahore via Kasur is 90 km from here.

    Sadki near Fazilka is another place where Beating the Retreat is held. Unlike the crowds from all over India at Wagah, the few spectators here come from the towns and villages on either side of the border. Only a flimsy split bamboo fence `defends’ the border.

    For the few aged persons in the crowds, this border is still unreal. There were no anti-tank ditches or so many fertile fields when they were young. The road that now stops at the Sadki border had once gone on to Sahniwal and Multan. Harappa of the Indus civilisation fame is just about 100 km from here. All the places on either side of the border were one for them, and no matter how realistic they are, they cannot forget those times.

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    History of Punjab to 1947

    Lasting from 2700 to 1700 BCE, the Indus River Valley civilization—one of the oldest civilizations in the world—was partly located in the Punjab.

    Outsiders Invaded
    Historically, successful invaders of the Indian subcontinent have entered India by land from the northwest. After passing through the mountain passes of theKarakorum and Hindu Kush ranges, the invaders would cross the Punjab to reach the rest of India. Some of the most important invaders by land were the Aryans, Persians, Greeks, Mongols, Turks, and Afghans. Only the British conquered the Indian subcontinent from the south coming by the sea.

    During the late 18th century, the Mughalemperor’s authority declined in thesubcontinent. The Punjab became a battleground fought over by competing empire builders: the Persians, Afghans, British, and Sikhs. The Persians under Nadir Shah invaded from the northwest in 1737-1738 to sack Lahore and Delhi and to cart off Mughal treasure (the Peacock Throne and Koh-I-noor diamond). Then, the Afghans launched a series of invasions of the Punjab to loot and dominate the area. At the same time, the British East India Company was beginning to expand its influence and control over northwest India, including the Punjab.

    Ranjit Singh Created a Sikh State.

    Finally, the Sikhs, native to the Punjab, found a leader who yearned to create a powerful Sikh state. In 1793 when he was 13 years old, Ranjit Singh (1780-1839) succeeded his father as the ruler of a small Sikh state. Five years later at the age of eighteen, he embarked on his ambitious plans to expand his territory and to unite all Sikhs under his rule. Ranjit Singh created a large and powerful Sikh state, which included all of the Punjab, through clever diplomacy and waging numerous wars against rival Sikh princes, Muslim rulers, and Afghan invaders. Throughout his long and successful rule, he avoided conflict with the expanding British empire. 

    Today many Sikhs view Ranjit Singh as their greatest military and political leader.  Ranjit Singh did not create a sectarianstate where Sikhs and their religious creed received preferred treatment. He was a popular ruler who appointed Muslims and Hindus as well as Sikhs to important positions. He frequently appeared among his people. He listened to them, addressed their complaints, and treated all of his subjects equally, regardless of their caste or creed. Although Ranjit Singh is seen as a model Sikh ruler, he would not have chosen to rule in the sectarian fashion.

    Sikh State Fell Apart
    Following the death of Ranjit Singh, the Sikh empire soon fell apart. His oldest son and successor, Kharak Singh, was soon ousted from power, imprisoned, and then poisoned to death. Sikh generals supported rival claimants to the throne; corruption, civil strife, and political chaos resulted. To divert the people’s attention from the political problems of the kingdom, the Sikh leaders whipped up anti-British sentiment and sent the Sikh army to attack British territory in December 1845.

    The British defeated the Sikhs in three months after a series of hard fought battles. They forced the Sikhs to accept British resident advisors, which enabled the British to interfere in the internal affairs of the Sikh kingdom. Anger at British interference led to a second British-Sikh war in 1848-1849. The British quickly defeated the Sikhs and then eliminated the Sikh government. Then, the British began to directly rule the territory.

    Sikhs Accepted British Control

    The Sikhs accepted British control and remained loyal to their new rulers during the general Indian rebellion of 1857-1858. The British rewarded the Sikhs by giving them preferential treatment in appointments to the British army and the civil service. Under the leadership of John and Henry Lawrence, the British government greatly transformed the Punjab. The British government built a network of canals and dams to irrigate the Doabs, or lands, of rich alluvial soil between the rivers of the Punjab. This combination of nature (alluvial soil) and technology (irrigation) have helped to make Punjab one of India’s richest agricultural areas today.

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    ਪੁਰਾਤਨ ਵਸਤਾਂ ਦਾ ਵਿਰਾਸਤੀ ਖਜ਼ਾਨਾ ਸੰਭਾਲੀ ਬੈਠਾ ਗਹੌਰ ‘ਚ ਤੁੰਗ ਪਰਿਵਾਰ

    ਵਪਾਰ ਨੂੰ ਆਕਰਸ਼ਿਤ ਕਰਨ ਲਈ ਵਪਾਰਕ ਹਵੇਲੀ, ਵੱਡੀ ਹਵੇਲੀ, ਕਈ ਹੋਰ ਹਵੇਲੀਆਂ ਵੇਖਣ ਨੂੰ ਮਿਲਣਗੀਆਂ, ਜਿਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਦੇ ਬਾਹਰ ਕੇਵਲ ਵਿਰਾਸਤੀ ਗੱਡਾ ਜਾਂ ਮੰਜਾ ਹੀ ਹੁੰਦਾ ਹੈ, ਪਰ ਲੁਧਿਆਣਾ ਜ਼ਿਲ੍ਹੇ ਦੀ ਬੁੱਕਲ ਵਿਚ ਵਸੇ ਥਾਣਾ ਦਾਖਾ ਦੇ ਪਿੰਡ ਗਹੌਰ ਵਿਚ ਸਵਰਗੀ ਸਰਪੰਚ ਸੁਰਮੁਖ ਸਿੰਘ ਦਾ ਤੁੰਗ ਪਰਿਵਾਰ ਆਪਣੀ ਪੁਰਾਣੀ ਹਵੇਲੀ ਵਿਚ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਸੱਭਿਆਚਾਰ ਦੀ ਜਿੰਦ-ਜਾਨ ਪੁਰਾਤਨ ਵਸਤਾਂ ਦੀ ਵਿਰਾਸਤ ਸੰਭਾਲੀ ਬੈਠਾ ਹੈ। ਪਿੰਡ ਸਾਹਿਬਆਣਾ ਤੋਂ ਆ ਕੇ ਗਹੌਰ ਵਸੇ ਤੁੰਗ ਪਰਿਵਾਰ ਦੀ ਪੁਰਾਣੀਆਂ ਚੀਜ਼ਾਂ ਪ੍ਰਤੀ ਲਗਨ ਅਤੇ ਸ਼ੌਕ ਦਾ ਕੋਈ ਮੁੱਲ ਨਹੀਂ। ਹਵੇਲੀ ਵਿਚ ਦਾਖਲ ਹੁੰਦਿਆਂ ਹੀ ਘੁੰਗਰੂਆਂ ਨਾਲ ਸਵਾਰਿਆ ਰੱਥ ਅਤੇ ਬਾਬੇ ਵਾਲਾ ਗੱਡਾ ਵੇਖ ਭੁੱਖ ਲਹਿੰਦੀ ਹੈ। ਅਵਤਾਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਤੁੰਗ ਅਤੇ ਉਸ ਦੇ ਲਖਤ-ਏ-ਜਿਗਰ ਧਰਮਵੀਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਦੀ ਵਿਰਾਸਤ ਸੰਭਾਲ ਦੇ ਖੇਤਰ ਵਿਚ ਸੇਵਾ ਵੇਖ ਲੇਖਕ ਉਦੋਂ ਦੰਗ ਰਹਿ ਗਿਆ ਜਦ ਰਸ਼ੀਅਨ ਜਾਜ ਮਾਡਲ 1953, ਨਿਸ਼ਾਨ ਦੀ ਵਨਟਨ, ਜੌਂਗਾ ਛੇ ਸਿਲੰਡਰ, ਯੂ. ਕੇ. ਦਾ ਬੁਲਟ ਮੋਟਰਸਾਈਕਲ 1967 ਮਾਡਲ, ਮਹਿੰਦਰਾ ਦੀ ਵਿਲੀਜ਼ 4×4, 1964 ਮਾਡਲ, ਲੰਬਰੇਟਾ ਮੋਟਰਸਾਈਕਲ, ਜਾਵਾ, ਯੈਜਦੀ, ਹੋਰ ਦਰਜਨਾਂ ਪੁਰਾਣੀਆਂ ਗੱਡੀਆਂ ਦੇ ਨਾਲ ਕੋਠੇ ਉੱਪਰ ਵੱਜਣ ਵਾਲਾ ਸਪੀਕਰ ਗ੍ਰਾਮੋਫੋਨ ਥੋੜ੍ਹੀ ਜਿਹੀ ਚਾਬੀ ਦੇਣ ਨਾਲ ਹੀ ਯਮਲਾ ਜੱਟ ਦੇ ਗੀਤ ਗਾਉਣ ਲੱਗ ਪਿਆ।

    ਪੁਰਾਣੀ ਹਵੇਲੀ ਦੇ ਬੈੱਡਰੂਮ, ਸਟੋਰ ਵੇਖ ਮਨ ਖੁਸ਼ ਹੁੰਦਾ ਸੀ। ਇਕ ਸਾਈਡ ਪਿਆ ਬੇਬੇ ਦਾ ਪੁਰਾਤਨ ਸੰਦੂਕ, ਗਾਗਰ, ਪਤਾਬਾ, ਮੁਗਲ ਕਾਲ ਦੇ ਸਟੈਂਪ ਪੇਪਰ, ਸੰਨ 1943 ਤੱਕ ਦਾ ਕੈਲੰਡਰ, ਵਲਟੋਹਾ, ਤਾਂਬੇ ਦੀ ਗਾਗਰ, ਬਿਨਾਂ ਬਿਲਡਿੰਗ ਪੂਰਾ ਟਿੱਪਰ 1900 ਮਾਡਲ ਸੇਫ ਵੇਖਦਿਆਂ-ਵੇਖਦਿਆਂ ਜਦ ਨਜ਼ਰ ਰਸੋਈ ਵੱਲ ਗਈ ਤਾਂ ਤੁੰਗ ਪਰਿਵਾਰ ਦੀ ਸੱਸ-ਨੂੰਹ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਪਿੱਤਲ ਦੇ ਭਾਂਡਿਆਂ ਦਾ ਬੇਸ਼ੁਮਾਰ ਭੰਡਾਰ ਵੇਖ ਕੇ ਇੰਜ ਲਗਦਾ ਸੀ ਕਿ ਪੂਰਾ ਪਰਿਵਾਰ ਹੀ ਪੁਰਾਣੀਆਂ ਚੀਜ਼ਾਂ ਨਾਲ ਇਸ਼ਕ ਪਾਲੀ ਬੈਠਾ ਹੈ। ਗਹੌਰ ਵਾਲੀ ਪੁਰਾਣੀ ਹਵੇਲੀ ਵਿਚ ਉੱਖਲੀ-ਮੌਲਾ, ਹੱਥੀਂ ਆਟਾ ਪੀਸਣ ਵਾਲੀ ਚੱਕੀ, ਪਾਣੀ ਗਰਮ ਲਈ ਹਮਾਮ, ਹੱਥੀਂ ਕਪਾਹ ਵੇਲਣ ਵਾਲਾ ਵੇਲਣਾ, ਸਰਜੀਕਲ ਲਾਈਟ ਨਾਲ ਪਰਿਵਾਰ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਝੂਲਾ ਸੰਭਾਲ ਕੇ ਰੱਖਿਆ ਹੋਇਆ ਵੇਖਣ ਨੂੰ ਮਿਲਿਆ, ਜਿਸ ਵਿਚ ਅਵਤਾਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਤੁੰਗ ਸਮੇਤ ਪਰਿਵਾਰ ਦੇ ਦਰਜਨਾਂ ਬੱਚੇ ਪਲ ਕੇ ਵੱਡੇ ਹੋਏ ਹਨ। ਸਾਹਿਬਆਣਾ ਵਾਲੇ ਗਹੌਰ ਵੱਸੇ ਤੁੰਗ ਪਰਿਵਾਰ ਦਾ ਖੇਤੀਬਾੜੀ ਵਿਚ ਵੀ ਕਾਫੀ ਨਾਂਅ ਹੈ। ਮੁਦਕੀ ਵਾਲੇ ਤੁੰਗ ਐਗਰੀਕਲਚਰ ਫਾਰਮ ਨੂੰ ਪੀ. ਏ. ਯੂ. ਵੱਲੋਂ ਪ੍ਰਮਾਣ-ਪੱਤਰ ਦਿੱਤਾ ਗਿਆ ਹੈ। ਭਾਵੇਂ ਬਾਬਾ ਸ਼ੇਖ ਫਰੀਦ ਪੁਰਬ ਸਮੇਂ ਫਰੀਦਕੋਟ ‘ਚ ਅਵਤਾਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਨੂੰ ਵਿਰਾਸਤ ਸੰਭਾਲ ਦੇ ਖੇਤਰ ਵਿਚ ਕੀਤੀ ਜਾ ਰਹੀ ਵਡਮੁੱਲੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਬਦਲੇ ਸਨਮਾਨਿਤ ਕੀਤਾ ਜਾ ਰਿਹਾ ਹੈ ਪਰ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਦੇ ਪੁਰਾਤਨ ਵਿਭਾਗ ਨੂੰ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਵਿਚ ਅਵਤਾਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਤੁੰਗ ਵਰਗੇ ਪਰਿਵਾਰਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਵਿਰਾਸਤੀ ਮੇਲਿਆਂ ਉੱਪਰ ਬਣਦਾ ਮਾਣ-ਸਨਮਾਨ ਦੇਣਾ ਚਾਹੀਦਾ ਹੈ।

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