THE SIKHS OF KASHMIR : A HISTORIC ANALYSIS 

Presented at the First Sikh History Congress 2023,New Delhi.

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 Kashmir(1) is picturesquely set in the lap of the snow clad Himalayas with such an unrivalled combinations with rich, alluvial Soil, crystal clear streams, torrents, broad lakes, glacial Mountains, lofty Crags, shady Chinar groves and pine forests.

According to François Bernier, "Nature has exhausted all his skills in the creation of this country".The Kashmir Valley is 84 miles long and 24 miles broad with an area of about 4500 sq. miles at an altitude of 5200 feet.(2)

  The valley is encircled by pansal, pir panjal, Darwar, Harmukh and sonmarg mountains representing the natural defence line for the kashmiris. The Valley has been interpreted by various writers and historians. Kashmir being the most famous country of the world, and is celebrated both for its attractions and its wonders. The creator has created Kashmir like a second heaven. 

   In the annals of history, especially in Chinese and Tibetan, it has been said that Kashmir engulfed by snow covered peaks is like a diamond. The distinct ontology of Kashmir is Known through its Vibrant colors. 'Raj Tarangani' (3)and 'Neeltam Puran', the ancient manuscripts about Kashmir tell us about a famous folklore that about 6000 years ago Kashmir was in the form of a big lake known as Satisar which was 56 kos long and 16 kos wide. 

      1

The founder of Sikh religion Guru Nanak Dev ji(1469-1539) was one of the most travelled great persons during his lifetime. The Guru profoundly influenced people through his Bani by travelling thousands of miles on foot in four directions:

 Waho Waho Bani Nirankar hai

 Tis Jevad Avar Na Koi'

          The ancient Persian manuscript 'Dabistan-e-Muzahab authored by Mobid Zulfiqar Ardestani Sasani, who travelled a lot in Kashmir tells about the unique path of Guru Nanak, his personality, his education, his bani, the way to attain Allah:

*Nanak Panthian ka maroof Guru sikhan nand-v-but-v-Butkana Ahitkaad ndarad.

•Chun dar Nanak aasare Aj Darveshi Yafat. 

•Nanak Kayal toheed Bari Bhud Harkatai Ajj V Zahar N Shud.

. Guftand Baba Nanak Khudae ast'. (4)

These words of Zulfkaar Ardastaani have made clear many of the founding principles. 

In the ancient Janam Sakhian, the description of Udasis by Guru Nanak  is somewhere found to be elaborate and somewhere very scarce. . Guru ji used to change his attire according to season and opportunity. The evidence of this is stated by Puratan Janam Sakhi as such: 

"Tritian udasi uttarkhand ki udasi Karan lage tit udasi Ak dee Par Sake,

Khakhriyan ate phul aahar karda tha. Ate Paireen chamraa, ate sir Charmraa. Saari deh Lapeteas, ate mathe tikka kesar ka" (5)

 The companions of Guru ji were Hassu-Lohar' and Sheehan Cheeban. Crossing the snow covered mountains of Himalaya without the modern equipment indicated towards the strong determination of Baba Nanak. All Janamsakhis and Vaars of Bhai Gurdas mention about Guru ji's journey to Sumer parbat but give no indication on how to reach there.

 Guru Nanak Sahib reached village Bakhta (Jasrota) via Batala and rested beneath a Peepal tree. From here Guru ji reached Purmandal and brought salvation to the daughter of the King. Then Via Bahu fort Guru ji crossed Tawi river and reached the cave of Jaamdev. "Tat Shin Jammu pur meh aaye" (Guru Nanak Parkash)

After reaching the 'Cave  of Jaamdev’ of Jammu, Guru ji had a discourse with Yogis and recited a Shabad/ hymn(6). Guru Sahib reached the Cave of Garabhyoni (Vaishno Devi) ,near Trikuta hills in Katra town. Guru ji also sat and talked with the pandits of Garabhyoni cave and recited the Shabad/hymn (7). After listening to the Shabad/hymn, the pandits repented upon their bad deeds and touched the feet of Guru ji. The Mazawar of Mehndi Peer also came to meet Guru ji. Guru Ji stopped them from following useless rituals and inspired them to pray to Allah (8). Then Guru ji went straight to 'Sheer Manjra' and after that reached Kishtwar. At Kishtwar, he stayed at 'Sidhian di Bageechi'. Guru Nanak had discourses with Sidhas. From Kishtwar, Guru Sahib reached Bhaderwah. Guru ji asked people to pray to one Akal Purakh. From here Guru ji reached Kailash Parbat via Chamba crossing the hills of Chatargala.

Guru Nanak after penetrating into the higher Himalayas met 'Siddhas' and 'Yogis'. From here Guru Ji went to Nepal, Sikkim, Tibet, Bhutan, Nankang (China). These holy men had renounced the world and were busy in meditation, in penance and in yog. They did not bother about the world and how the people were passing their days. Nanak convinced them that their ways and means to attain salvation were wrong and that they were selfish people. From here he reached Sakradu via Gartok, Rudok, Chashul, Upshi, Kara, Hemus Gumpha, Leh, Nimu, Basgo and Khalase. He entered Ladakh and admired the creation of the Creator by crossing the snow covered peaks in Pangong Lake, via Chushul. From Chushul, Guru ji crossed Indus river and reached Upshi and Karu village and then reached 'Gumpha Hemus'. Here Guru Ji sat on a rock and this rock has been preserved in the memory of Guru ji. From Hemus, Guru ji walked along the path that was adjacent to the Sindh river that reached Sakardu. Sakardu is also situated on the banks of Sindh river.

There is a narrative in Basgo town passed on from generation to generation that when Guru ji along with his companions was passing through this town along with his followers, a demon attacked them. Demon rolled a big boulder (Pather) on Guru Ji, The boulder still bears the marks of Head and Back of Guru ji, It Seems that Guruji is Sitting in a meditation Posture.   Now "Gurdwara Pathar Sahib" is situated at this place. In Leh, also Guru Ji sat under an old tree known as “Dattan Sahib” which still exists today (9).Guru Sahib reach Sakardu from Khalase, (10) and stayed near the fort in Skardu and a historical Gurudwara , Gurudwara Nankiana situated here. Sakardu is also remembered as "Nanak Peer di Thaan''. At this place Guru ji had dialogues with Kalandar Gosh Bukhari. There was an old road from Skardu to Kargil. Guru ji reached South while walking on this way. There is a historical Gurudwara dedicated to Guru ji at Kargil also. Guru ji reached Baaltaal after crossing snow covered peaks from Kargil towards South. From here, Guru Sahib reached the famous pilgrimage of Hindus Amarnaath' after crossing the mountainous and snow covered paths. 

"Teh te chal gur aaye agaaree

Amarnath pekao tripurari "(11)

Here Guru ji suggested to the pandits to meditate on the name of Akal Purakh without which immortality is not possible(12). After travelling a long distance from Amarnath, Guru Sahib, while relishing the beauty of the Creator, sat near the beautiful Lidar river of Pahalgam. A Nishan Sahib was later on  erected by  Akali Kaur Singh Nihang . From Pahalgam Guru Ji reached Ashu Mukam, where a Shepherd served goat's milk to Guru ji and his companions. Form here Guru Ji Sat near the Sukhdevi hill at Matan Where Guru ji met Pali Hasna (a muslim Shepherd). and he called Guru ji a dacoit. After climbing down from the mountain, Guru ji reached Mach Bhawan(13) Which is the old name of Matan. 

The chief of Matan Nagar was Pandit Munkda, who was suggested by Guru ji to build a 'Dharamshala' at that place and meditate on Nam and start 'Langar". Guru ji stayed at Matan Sahib for many days, Here Pandit Munkda built a small 'Dharamshala' which at times of Muslim rule was destroyed and only the 'Thara Sahib' was left. Historians have dated the foundation of the 'Martand' around 370 to 580 A.D. Brahmdas Pandit and Kamaal Fakir came and met Guru Ji at this place. 

A Pandit Brahmdas of Bejbehara was egoistic of his knowledge. Being a great scholar, he used to carry books on his two camels. That is why Brahm das Pandit felt it beneath his status to go and talk to Guru Nanak Sahib. Brahm das possessed many supernatural powers as he was a disciple of Devi. After listening to the praise of Guru Sahib from other people and on the persuasion of Kamaal Faqir, Brahmdas went to meet Guru Nanak Sahib at Twin Springs (Matan) near which Guru Sahib was staying. Before meeting Guru Ji, he wanted to impress the Guru by showing miracles. It is said that Brahmdas had a carpet on which he flew in the sky. Many people sat around Guru ji to listen to his views. When Brahmdas reached Matan de Chashme(14)  on his carpet, he could see all the people except Guru Nanak. When he asked people about where the 'Nanak' from Punjab was, they said that he was sitting in front of him. Due to Brahmdas's ego and pride, he could not see Guru ji.

The next day when Brahmdas went to meet Guru ji on foot instead of the carpet, he could see him and asked him, "Why were you invisible to me yesterday"? Guru  ji said that he could not see him as he was in Pitch dark yesterday. Brahmdas said that he came to meet Guru ji in the daylight and the question of darkness does not arise. Guru ji said that there is no bigger darkness than ego and Guru Sahib said yesterday you were flying on the carpet and feeling proud of being a great person. Numerous insects and birds fly in the air but they are not countable? After listening to Guru ji, Brahmdas became ashamed of himself. At Mattan Sahib Guru ji sung and preserved Raga Asa.Guru Sahib uttered this Shabad after breaking the ego and corrupt soul of Brahmdas Pandit:

*ਦੁਧ ਬਿਨੁ ਧੇਨੁ ਪੰਖ ਬਿਨੁ ਪੰਖੀ ਜਲ ਬਿਨੁ ਉਤਭੁਜ ਕਾਮਿ ਨਾਹੀ ॥ 

ਕਿਆ ਸੁਲਤਾਨੁ ਸਲਾਮ ਵਿਹੂਣਾ ਅੰਧੀ ਕੋਠੀ ਤੇਰਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਨਾਹੀ।। (15)

 

*ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਬੇੜੀ ਪਾਈਐ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਗਡੀਅਹਿ ਖਾਤ ।।

ਪੜੀਅਹਿ ਜੇਤੇ ਬਰਸ ਬਰਸ ਪੜੀਅਹਿ ਜੇਤੇ ਮਾਸ ॥

ਪੜੀਐ ਜੇਤੀ ਆਰਜਾ ਪੜੀਅਹਿ ਜੇਤੇ ਸਾਸ ॥

 ਨਾਨਕ ਲੇਖੈ ਇਕ ਗਲ ਹੋਰੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਝਖਣਾ ਝਾਖ ॥੧॥(16 )

After Matan Sahib,Guru ji reached Anantnag,Bijbehara,Awantipura,Shankaracharya hill and finally reached under Chinar tree in Srinagar.

  Guru Sahib stayed inside the fort of Hari Parbat. He had a discourse with Pandas and Muslim Faqirs there. Guru Hargobind Sahib erected a small room in memory of Guru Nanak Sahib. Lateron Governor Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa built a Gurdwara in the memory of Guru ji under the Sikh rule and it is still situated there.

After Staying at Srinagar for a few weeks, Guru Sahib went  towards Wular Lake which is famous in the world for its pure water.  After touching the soil of Kamraz,Guru ji reached kot tirath,Baramulla and then moved towards the South-East via Tilla Bal Gundaee (Distt. Jhelum) crossing Jhelum river and Chinab reached Sialkot. After staying there for some time, Guru Nanak Sahib reached Talwandi (Punjab) via Pasrur.

 Similarly Guru Hargobind Sahib visited the Valley in 1620 (17).The Prominent Gurdwaras commerated are at Nowshera, Rajouri,Dharamshala Singhan (Khampur Sarai), Srinagar, Baramulla, Kalimpura, Parampillan-Uri, Dulanja, Khanda,Kathie and Nulchi. 

  Guru Har Rai Sahib visited the Valley in 1660.This Gurdwara was not traced out until recently but its mention was made in Tarikh - Kalan(18) a Persian manuscript and in Guru kian Sakhian (19) of Giani Garja Singh. Similarly Guru Gobind Singh ji visited only Jammu City on 20th March 1692 on the invitation of Jammu Raja  Rajput  Gaja Singh. Guru ji's visit is well mentioned in Sakhi No. 50 of Bhatt Vahis. The principal available chronicle of Jammu  Rajdarshani (20) Persian Source also testifies Guru ji's visit. 

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     Guru Amardass had sent several Sikh Dharam pracharak like Bhai Phera, who spread the message of Sikh values in the hilly regions of Jammu. .Guru Arjan Dev had also sent some missionaries to Jammu and Kashmir, who had travelled to the state through Poonch, and reached the Kashmir region. Bhai Madhu Sodhi is a prominent name among them, he  traveled many pockets of the State .

 Mata Bhag Bhari, Bhai Sewa Dass, Bhai Katu Shah etc are some prominent followers of Sikhism at that point of time. Bhai Madho Sodh stayed in Kashmir for almost a year and resided near Kathi Darwaza area. Later Guru Hargobind Sahib sent Bhai Garhia to Kashmir to spread the sacred message of Guru Nanak. Bhai Garhia and Bhai Sewa Dass worked tirelessly in the mountainous regions of Kashmir for the parchar activities and introduced many people in the Sikh fold. During Guru Har Rai's time some Sikhs accompanied Guru Ji to Srinagar like Bhai Makhan Shah Lubana, Bhai Kamliya. Guru Tegh Bahadur gave martyrdom along with his devout dicipiles like Bhai Mati Das, Bhai Sati Das and Bhai Dayala at Chandni Chowk of Delhi to save the Kashmiri Pandits from being forcibly converted into Islam by the emperor Aurangzeb. More than a dozen Kashmiri Pandits under the leadership of Pandit Kirpa Ram of Mattan came to Anandpur Sahib to meet Guru Tegh Bahadur to help and save them from the atrocities of the Emperor. Guru Gobind Singh Ji had also given a reference in 'Bachattar Natak' to the incident of Kashmiri Pandits. 'Bhat Vahi Multani '' (21) also testifies appropriately. 

2.

    During the time of the Afghans, the Sikhs were permanently settled in the parganas of Tral, Nougam, Krun and Hamal. Majority of the Sikhs were converted Punjabi Brahmans. During the first world-war, the little state claims to have provided a larger percentage of army volunteers than other states in India, during the great war of 1914-18 CE . During the Mughal rule, the Sikhs were the inhabitants of different pargans of Kashmir under different caste tags like Dutt, Soodan, Sasan, Sadiwal, Chibber, Raina, Reen, Rance, Bali etc. Large families of devotees of Sikh Gurus like pandit Braham Dass, Kamal Faquir, Bhai Katu Shah, Bhai Bhag Bhari, Bhai Sewa Dass, Bhai Sain Dass, Bhai Mukhan Shah Lubana, Bhai Chanda, Bhai Garhia, Bhai Phara, Bhai Kanna etc along with many Masands and head of Manjis resides in Kashmir . During Guru Arjan Dev's time Bhai Mado Sodhi converted thousand people into the sikh fold.

Mado Sodhi kashmir vich Gursikhi de chal chaliye. ( Varian Bhai Gurdas) 

 Eventually, during the time of Guru Hargobind Sahib many conversions of Muslims also documented.

  In the time of Afghan Governor Raja Sukh Jiwan Mal (1753-62 CE), a Sehajdhari Sikh brought hundreds of Sikh Soldiers with him. After the death of Sukh Jiwan Mal Sikh soldiers settled in Kashmir especially in the Pargans of Tral, Naugam, Kruhin and Hamal. Except some stray references, no separate figures for the Sikh population available. At the end of the Afghan rule, the population of Sikhs was more than 5000 (22). In 1819, the Sikh army after the conquest of Kashmir, S. Hari Singh Nalwa and other Generals visited the historic Gurdwara Mattan Sahib, where 2000 Sikh' (23) agriculturists with sporting beards and long hair received and welcomed them. The Sikh population census was not conducted during the Sikh rule but population figures by contemporary writers are mere estimates. In this time Punjabi Brahmins converted to Sikh faith. 

3.

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 thousands 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.The news of conquering Kashmir was delivered to Maharaja Ranjit Singh at Shahbad by Sardar Jaimal Singh Lamtanga. On receiving news of conquering Kashmir Sher-e-Punjab directly headed  towards Harimander Sahib, Amritsar for the Ardas. He offered rupees 1,25,000 for the lighting to be done in Amritsar.

 After the eight generations of Muslim rulers and 500 years of Islam history,  Khalsa rule was established in Kashmir. S. Hari Singh Nalwa was popularly known as the face of Khalsa army and watch guard of Sikh rule. He was one of the top generals of that time. The bravery and courage of Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa was well known from Peshawar to Kabul. Even today Afghan mothers frighten their children whenever they cry or persist for something with the name of S. Hari Singh Nalwa as 'Hari Rangla Aaye'. S. Nalwa was well educated in the command of different languages like English, Urdu, Punjabi, Farsi, Pashto etc. He was an eminent army general, good administrator, politically intelligent, Excellent warrior and a true spirit of Khalsa.

He did the Governorship in Kashmir with sovereignty, bravery and courage. The major steps taken by him to ensure the peace, harmony and security among the Kashmiri people by decreasing the unnecessary taxes, allowances for Shudi religion conversions, attacking the Khakhe and Bambha Pathans, Vagar etc. Maharaja Ranjit Singh was so pleased with his Governorship and long services for the Khalsa Raj that Maharaja allowed him to issue a coin in his name in Kashmir Valley. 

 Before the Sikh rule, the Afghans perpetrated countless unprecedented atrocities on Sikhs and Hindus, which was documented by a muslim historian.Nine Governors were appointed in Kashmir by Lahore Darbar from time to time but Dewan Moti Ram became twice.Out of these Governors, Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa and col. Mehan Singh were diligently exemplified Governors of Kashmir. After the death of Mehan Singh, Kashmiri people fondly remembered him and exclaimed with sorrow "Kutgau  Mehan Singh"(24)  means “Where has gone Mehan Singh.

The first complete map of Kashmir was gifted to Sher-i-Punjab by captain Kalud Wadai.Jagirs were attached to Gurdwaras, temples, Churches and Mosques during Sikh rule. Total of 30 Jagirs were attached till 1835 and 3116 Jagirs till 1846. Then to gain the cooperation and goodwill of the Kashmir elite, engaged in literary and religious pursuits, another sum of two lakhs of rupees was earmarked for the maintenance. Yet another sum of one lakh was allocated for the maintenance of religious establishments of Muslims, Hindus and  Sikhs. 

4.

 Jammu and Kashmir is the epitome of Punjabi civilization and not the name of a mountainous region surrounded by fixed boundaries. It has been the misfortune of the Punjabis that this Jammu Kashmir UT has  been geographically isolated for political reasons . The Punjabi language is one of the vital languages of the state and is well recognised in the legislation of the J & K. There are several dialects spoken around these rivers like Dogri, Pahari, Gojari, Poonchi, Chubali, Pothwari etc but the truth is that these spoken dialects have grown up drinking the milk of Punjabi mother. The Punjabi is the common heritage of Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists etc. Punjabi dialects spoken are intermingling with each other with close affinity. These dynamic waves are full of essence in different sub dialects of Punjabi language. The Punjabi language and literature enhanced the historic cultural aspects in our state and in this way invaluable assets of our rich glory and heritage are conceived in our soil. It is a true fact that Jammu and Kashmir has linguistic, Social, Cultural, Literary, Political, Historic, Economic, Religious relations with Punjab State and Communication links only through this language. The uniqueness of the Punjabi literature lies in the fact that, this belongs to every citizen irrespective of the caste, creed and religion. There is no script rigidity, it is easily written in Gurmukhi, Persian, Devnagri as per one needs, knowledge or suitability.

   In the time of colonel Mian Singh, Governor of Kashmir many poets and scholars of different languages were gathered under one Umbrella. There were 115 Muslims and 193 Pandit, Punjabi Hindu and Sikh recipients, who got literary stipends, their total number was 308 (26).During this period a large number of Muslim Pirs, Faquirs, Sufis, Saints were granted monthly and yearly stipend out of this Dharmarth fund.The census conducted in the state has made it clear that the major languages of the State are Punjabi, Kashmiri, Pahari, Dogri etc. According to the census of 1971, if we add Dogri, Pahari, Gojari, Bakerwali etc as dialects of Punjabi, then the Punjabi speakers should be more than 18 lakh (18,27, 971). On this evaluation and analysis, Punjabi speakers should be at number one position (27). Unfortunately, some people stick to this language with the Sikh community. 

 In J&K, a large number of Punjabi literary figures enriched the character Oriented society. Days are not far apart,when the Punjabi writers of the valley will not only achieve excellence in their works,but also produce literature of greatness.

 The Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Bill, 2020 was introduced in Lok Sabha on September 22, 2020. The Bill declares Kashmiri, Dogri, Urdu, Hindi and English as the official languages to be used for the official purposes of the union territory. It is the  misfortune of Punjabis that  this honey-like Sweet and lovely language was thrown out of this category. 

5.

There are mainly four phases of their origin in Jammu and Kashmir. 

 The first phase started during the travels of Sikh Gurus . Later on other Guru Sahiban sent their missionaries to these pockets for the propagation of Sikhism. Most of the ancestors of the Sikhs came to the valley during the time of Mohmmad Gaznavi', when they were uprooted from Mathura' etc and settled in Kashmir, Pothohar, Rawalpindi etc. All these people have castes' like Dutts, Sasan, Soodan, Sadiwal, Raina, Reen, Lou etc.

    The second phase was the time of Afghan Governor, a Sehajdhari Sikh Raja Sukh Jiwan Mal' (1753-62 CE), who brought hundreds of Sikhs from Potohar, Rawalpindi, Hazara, Punjab etc into the Valley, they are called Jinsi Sikhs ( They receive grains instead of Cash).After the death of Raja Sukh Jiwan Mal, they all settled in the valley. During the Afghans, Sardar Diwan Singh was the Chief commander of armed forces in the army of Karim Dad Khan, an Afghan Governor.In this period the condition of Gurdwaras in Mattan, Anantnag, Bij Behara and Sri Chand was renovated and Satisfactory.

     Third phase was the time of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Sikh ruler, who brought Sikhs from the Punjab, Pothohar, Rawalpindi etc and settled here. In the time of Governor Kashmir S. Hari Singh Nalwa, a 'Shuddhi Movement' Started where about 50,000 Brahmans converted to Hinduism and Sikhism.

    Fourth Phase was the time of Maharaja dogra Gulab Singh, who respects the Sikhs, being a martial race recruited in his army and allotted some Jagirs to them in villages.

   In the early phase, the ancestral occupation of the Sikhs was Agriculture. Wherever they settled on the remote, barran and border hill tops, the agriculture output was negligible. In due course by their hard toil and sweat, they make remarkable achievements in Agriculture. They are very hardy people and mostly agriculturists.    

6.

 The ascent of Sikhs started during the time of Khalsa rule under Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Some of the Kashmiri Sikhs were well famous as Lion hunters. It was the desire of Maharaja Ranjit Singh that a special regiment of Kashmiri Sikhs should be recruited in his army because he knew that Kashmiri Sikhs were very secretive about the rugged and wild roads and without them Tibet, Gilgit, Askardu etc regions would be difficult to conquest. Many Kashmiri Sikhs recruited in the Khalsa army and fought against Tibetans in 1841 CE and sacrificed their lives for the sake of their motherland. In the time of Maharaja Sher Singh Khakas and Bambas attacked government forts. Hundreds of Kashmiri Sikh soldiers fought with those invaders in Kurri and  Uri forts. In this way many Sikhs were killed in the forts of Poonch, Gilgit, Askardu, Srinagar and Sopore. There were about 17,000 Sikhs of Kashmir in the army of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and there were about 200 posted as Sardars and Jamadar ranks. They got about 45,000 Jagirs . In this way Sikhs in Jammu, Kashmir and Poonch got 89,000 Jagirs as testified from the old records (28).

After the fall of Sikh kingdom, Dogras within three months, Suppressed and perpetrated unlimited atrocities on Kashmiri Sikhs. It was only Maharaja Gulab Singh, who later visited Kashmir personally and resettled Kashmiri Sikhs in villages and recruited them in his army. They were sent to Gilgit, Askardu, Graze etc, where they fought with great valour and determination. Most of these Kashmiri Sikhs died while fighting. In the Punjab  Gurdwara reform movement, hundreds of state Sikhs got imprisonments and later came back to their respective towns. 

During monarchy rule in Kashmir, seven historic Gurdwaras in Mattan Sahib were dismantled. Sikhs were kept silent by the rulers, by giving them lollipops. Bhai Vir Singh also wrote a poem 'Mattan' in this connection. One Englishman J. Duguid clearly shows in his photo 1870-73, seven Gurdwaras at Mattan. In this way some Gurdwaras disappeared during Dogra rule . 

 In October 1947, Kabalis backed by the Pakistan army attacked the north-western borders of the state. They started abducting women, murdering non-Muslim males members and looting and setting ablaze the houses. Their main aim was to target the Hindu/Sikh community and capture Srinagar City's airstrip. On 22nd October, they attacked the border area of Muzaffarabad and entered the Kashmir region and murdered in large numbers from 22 october to 5th November. Thousands of Sikhs were murdered in Muzaffarabad, Hal Dadiyal, Alibeg, Sarhala, Koijata, Dev Bitala, Poonch , Kamraz, Baramulla, Handwara, Mirpur, Kotli etc. These attacks were sudden and so strong that many Sikhs got killed, fighting with the Kabalis. Sikhs killed in these areas were about nearly 20,000. If we add figures of Sehajdhari and Nanak Naam Leva, then the figure is high. The Rufugees in this holocaust was about 14,000. 

After 1958, Sikhs by their sweat and blood got education in every field. Although earlier due to their financial conditions, they took ordinary government jobs of peons and driver/cleaners for their survival. Lately education is spreading fast and now the Sikh community produced good doctors, Engineers, Agriculturist, Lawyers, IAS, IPS, KAS officers for the society at large.Upto 1966, there was not a single officer among 46 departments. The Sikhs with castes and tribes like Dutt, Chibber, Mohyal, Sasan, Raina, Reen, Bali, Isher, Lou, Sodhi, Rissam etc were the residents of this land. The Sikhs were present during the time of Afghan rule and later most Brahamns were converted to Sikhism during the time of Governor S. Hari Singh Nalwa. During Afghan rule certain Sikhs settled in Mattan, Palapura, Hutmurah, Chithi singhpora and some villages of Kamraz but during Sikh rule, Sikhs of Berwa, Tral, Ranbir Pora, Khanpur Sarai, Nowgam Singh pura (Baramulla) are converted Brahmins. Sodhis and Rissams too Brahminis settled in far flung areas and Karewas of Kashmir. Some Sikhs like surnames Sethi, Sahni, Bhasin, Kandhari, Anand etc came to Kashmir during dogra rule. Some Mazahbi and Ramgarhia Sikhs, whose number is insignificant, also settled in the valley. The Sikhs who had a substantial presence in Muzaffarabad, Mirpur, Poonch, Baramulla, Rawalakot, Kotli were Brahmins. They converted to Sikhism during the time of Sikh Guru's and during the time of Raja Sukh Jiwan Mal. Hundreds of Sikhs were killed during the turmoil in Kashmir. The barbaric massacre of 35 Sikh villagers at village Chatti Singh pora (Anantnag) in Kashmir during the president Bill Clinton (USA) official visit to India 20th March 2000. The Identity of the perpetrators remains unknown till date. Similarly in Mehjoor Nagar ,Banahal etc Sikhs were killed . Every year Sikhs of Valley raised the demand for probing these gruesome massacres but the authorities till date have not succeeded in bringing to justice, behind these tragic incidents.

 In short it can be said that Sikh Gurus  spread the fragrance of Sikhism in the nook and corner of Jammu and Kashmir with their sacred footsteps which will always propagate toheed (oneness of God). The above given route is the probable route travelled by Guru Sahiban  and on this route the historical Gurdwaras associated memories would keep enlightening the coming generations.  The Sikhs protected their religion and culture but sweeped the land with their blood too. In perspective, the history of Sikhs and the disciples of Guru Nanak, Sacrificed tremendously for this land. It is also true that cruelty and oppression was also perpetrated on this community by the timely rulers. It is a natural phenomena that if a political power is deprived from the community, their religion, Social, political and economic power loss simultaneously.

 Kashmiri Sikhs are the aborigines of Kashmir. They sacrificed their lives for their motherland.

'Hami se rangay bahhar, Hami se Rangay Chaman,

Hami ku Gulstan mein, Koi Aishiana Na Milla' 

(Spring dyed from us grass dyed from us, We didn't find any Ashiana in Gulistan
 

References and Notes 

1. Kalhana - Rajatarangani, Book I, Vol. I. PPL 25-27

 "But according to legends, Kashmir was a lake called Satisar. The drainer of this lake was an assetic named Kashyapa; Hence the reclaimed land was called kashyap-pur or Kash-yap-mar and later 'Kashmir'.

2. Travels in the Mughal Empire; ed; and Trans. Archibald Constable, New Delhi, reprint 1968, PP: 400-401.

3. Rajatarangini, Eng Trans from Sanskrit, J.C. Dutt, Kings of Kashmir, Pp 416-417.

4. Dabistan e Mazahib. Persian, Nawal Kishore Press, Kanpur, January 1904, p 26-50

5. Indian Office Records, British Library (M. S. Punj B-6)

6. ਕੂੜੁ ਬੋਲਿ ਮੁਰਦਾਰੁ ਖਾਇ ॥

ਅਵਰੀ ਨੋ ਸਮਝਾਵਣਿ ਜਾਇ ॥

ਮੁਠਾ ਆਪਿ ਮੁਹਾਏ ਸਾਥੈ ॥

ਨਾਨਕ ਐਸਾ ' ਆਗੂ ਜਾਪੈ ॥੧॥(140)

7.SGGS. 903

8.SGGS. 1024

9.  Kirpal Singh Lt- 'Guru Nanak in Ladakh; The Sikh Review, Calcutta, Aug. 1966. 17-18

 10. Fauja Singh, Kirpal Singh - Atlas Travels of Guru Nanak, Punjabi University, Patiala, 1976, pp:30 

11.Giani Singh, Giani  - Sri Guru Panth Parkash (VOI-I) (Ed.) Gyani Kirpal Singh, Amritsar, Oct. 1970, pp: 533

12.'  Gur Tirath Cycle Yatra' - Traveller and Author, Bhai Dhana Singh Chahal Patialvi (ed) Chetan Singh, Patiala.2016, pp: 494

13. Due to the large number of fish, the English men kept its name as "Mach Bhavan" . The old name is "Martand Tirath" . After the visit of Guru Nanak Sahib, it became famous as Matan Sahib. 

14.Gur Tirath Cycle Yatra, Ibid, 488-89

15.    ਸ਼੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ, ਅੰਕ  354

16. ਸ਼੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ, ਅੰਕ 467

17. Harbans Singh (Editor-in-Chief). The Encyclopaedia of Sikhism,vol-2, Punjabi University,Patiala,1996,pp.232-235

   “ The journey to Kashmir was made in 1620 in the company of Emperor Jahangir,and Srinagar,Baramulla,Uri and Punchh were among the places visited.”

18.Tarikh -Kalan(Persian),Scribed by Mir Ahmad S/o Noor Mohmad,Punjab Archives,Patiala,pp264,525.

19. Swaroop Singh Koshish (Ed.Padam Piara Singh). Guru kian Sakhian,Amritsar,1991,pp.44-45

"ਗੁਰੂ ਹਰਿ ਰਾਇ ਜੀ ਮਹਿਲ ਸਤਮਾਂ ਬੇਟਾਂ ਬਾਬਾ ਗੁਰਦਿੱਤਾ ਜੀ ਕਾ, ਸੰਮਤ ਸਤਰਾਂ ਸੈਂ ਸਤਾਰਾਂ ਕ੍ਰਿਸ਼ਨਾਂ ਪਖੇ ਜੇਠ ਮਾਸ ਕੀ ਪੰਚਮੀ ਕੋ ਦਿੰਹੁ ਸ੍ਰੀਨਗਰ ਆਏ। ਕਸ਼ਮੀਰ ਦੇਸ਼ ਮੇਂ, ਗੇਲੇ ਮਖਨ ਸ਼ਾਹ ਆਇਆ ਬੇਟਾ ਦਾਸੇ ਕਾ, ਪੈੜਾ ਬੰਨੇ ਕਾ, ਨਾਤੇ ਬਹੌਲੂ ਕੇ, ਬੈਸ ਸਾਊਨ ਕੀ, ਪੇਲੀਆ ਗੋਤਰ ਬਨਜਾਰਾ। ।”

ਗੈਲੇ ਮਖੂਚੰਦ ਚੇਲਾ ਅਲਮਸਤ ਜੀ ਕਾ ਪੋਤਾ, ਗੁਰਦਿਤਾ ਜੀ ਕਾ, ਪੜਪੋਤਾ ਬਾਬਾ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਚੰਦ ਜੀ ਕਾ, ਨਾਦੀ ਬੰਸ ਗੁਰੂ ਨਾਨਕ ਜੀ ਕੀ ਹੋਰ ਸਿਖ ਫਕੀਰ ਆਏ, ਮੱਖਨ ਸ਼ਾਹ ਕੇ ਟਾਂਡੇ ਮੈਂ ਚਾਰ ਮਾਸ ਕਸ਼ਮੀਰ ਦੇਸ ਰਹੇ।(ਭੱਟਵਹੀ ਤਲਉਢਾ, ਪਰਗਾਣਾ ਜੀਂਦ)"

20. (a) Ganeshdas Badehra-  Rajdarshani, manuscript photo copy, S. P. S. Library, Srinagar, Kashmir, Acc. No. 2519,page 203-204.

(b)   Rajdarshani- Ganesdas Badehra's (A Persian History of Northwestern India from earliest time to A.D. 1847) Translated by: Dr. Sukhdev Singh, Charak, Jammu, 1991, P: 152:153.

“It so happened that Guru Gobind Singh came to Jammu Hills via purmandal, Raja Gaja Singh and Jaswant Singh, both the brothers reached the place of Nihal and received the Guru. The Guru Prayed for their well being and gave a dastar to the Raja and a steel-spear to Jaswant Singh, It is said that the spear was in possession of Main Rattan Dev till the reign Ranjit Dev and he carefully and respectfully guarded it."

21.  Sarup Singh Koshish-Guru Kian Sakhian, ibid,p.79.Amritsar, 1991, P. 79 

‘ਸੰਮਤ ਸਤਰਾ ਸੋ ਬੱਤੀਸ ਜੇਠ ਮਾਸੇ ਸੁਦੀ ਏਕਾਦਸੀ ਕੇ ਦਿਹੁੰ ਸੰਗਤਾਂ ਹੁਮ ਹੁਮਾਇ ਕੇ ਦਰਸ਼ਨ ਪਾਨੋ ਆਈਆਂ। ਇਸੀ ਦਿਵਸ ਭਾਈ ਅੜੂਰਾਮ ‘ਦੱਤ’ ਮਟਨ ਨਿਵਾਸੀ ਕਾ ਬੇਟਾ ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾ ਰਾਮ ਖੋੜਸ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਨੋਂ ਕੇ ਸਾਥ ਲੈ ਕੇ ਕਸ਼ਮੀਰ ਦੇਸ ਸੇ ਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਕੇ ਦਰਬਾਰ ਸੇਂ ਆਇ ਫ਼ਰਿਆਦੀ ਹੂਆ। ਇਸ ਹਾਥ ਬਾਂਧ ਬੇਨਤੀ ਕੀ, ਜੀ ਗਰੀਬ ਨਿਵਾਜ਼। ਕਸ਼ਮੀਰ ਦੇਸ਼ ਦਾ ਹਾਕਮ ਹਮੇਂ ਜਬਰੀ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਨ ਬਨਾਏ ਰਿਹਾ ਹੈ।ਸਹਾਈ ਹੋਨਾ। ਸੱਚੇ ਪਾਤਸ਼ਾਹ “ਅਸੀ ਦੁਖੀਏ ਆਪ ਕੇ ਦਰਬਾਰ ਮੈਂ ਆਏ ਹਾਂ, ਹੋਰ ਸਾਡੀ ਫ਼ਰਿਆਦ ਸੁਣਨੇ ਵਾਲਾ ਕਾਈ ਨਹੀਂ।” ਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਨੇ ਇਨ੍ਹੇ ਧੀਰਜ ਦਈ, ਕਹਾਂ ਤੁਸਾਂ ਕੀ ਸਹਾਇਤਾ ਬਾਬਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਜੀ ਕਰੇਗਾ, ਦੇਖੋ ਕਿਆ ਹੋਤਾ ਹੈ। ਇਤਨਾ ਕਹਿ ਕੇ ਅਕਾਸ ਕੀ ਤਰਫ਼ ਦੇਖਾ! ਏਕ ਘਰੀ ਬਾਦ ਸੰਗਤ ਕੀ ਤਰਫ਼ ਦੇਖ ਬਚਨ ਹੋਆ, ਸੀਸ ਦੀਏ ਬਿਨਾਂ ਏਹ ਕਾਰਜ ਸਫ਼ਲ ਨਹੀਂ ਹੋਏ ਗਾ, ਅਗੇ ਸੀਸ ਗੁਰੂ ਅਰਜਨ ਦੀਆ ਥਾ, ਹਬ ਹਮੇਂ ਦੇਨਾ ਪਏਗਾ-ਇਤਨਾਂ ਕਹਿ ਕੇ ਸਮਾਧੀ ਮੇਂ ਇਸਥਿੱਤ ਹੋਇ ਗਏ।”

22. Sarna, Jasbir Singh - - The Sikhs in Jammu and Kashmir, kashmir, 2021,P.80-86

"1835.     5,000

1891.     11,399

1895.      38,465

1901.       25.828

1911.      31,553

1921.       39,507

1931.        50,662

1941.     65,835

1947.     74,953

1961.     63,069

1971.   105,873

1981.   133,675

2001.   194,983

2011.     234,848"

 

23. Sharma,D.C.  Kashmir under the Sikhs, Delhi,Seema Publications,1983,p.35

24. Suri,Sohn Lal . Umdat -ut-Tawarikh (Persian) ,vol.3rd,P.166

25. Leech,Major.Revenue of Kashmir for the year 1836-37, F.S.G,18thNov.1843,No 13-17 as cited by Sharma D. C.

26. Parmu,, R. K- A History of Sikh rule in Kashmir, kashmir, 1977,p.310

27. Sarnal, Jasbir Singh - Jammu kashmir de Sikh Twarikh, kashmir, 1997,P.134

Punjabi Language Census

Language   1931             1941              1961               1971

 

Punjabi       3,29,501.      10,75,273     1,09,174          1,59,098

                                        (+Dogri)

Dogri.         5,49,917.         *.                  8,69,993.        11,39,215

Chabali.      44,460.           82,933.              *.                 *

Parari.         6,33,036.        5,31,319.       2,43,370.       2,47,602

Gojari.        3,77,762.          *.                  2,90,932.        3,30,440

Bakerwali.   *.                      *.                    *.                   11,616

Pothohari.     51,062.           *.                     *.                     *.           “

28. Budh Singh,Giani-  Chonve Rattan (Poonch ate Kashmir da Sikh Itihas),  kirpa Sagar Press,Lahore, 1937,P.14

Jasbir Singh Sarna

Native of Kashmir, Independent historian, poet, Journalist. A well known writer with 56 published books in Punjabi and English. Retired Agriculture Officer

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