Friday, October 25, 2013

WHO ARE KASHMIRI SIKHS ?

                                                                         
                      
GURUDWARA  CHHATTI  PAADSHAAHI  OF KASHMIR 
Photo Autar Mota 

 WHO ARE KASHMIRI SIKHS ?

Sikhs who had substantial presence in Muzaffarabad ,Mirpur,Baramulla, Poonch, Rawalkote and Kotli were Brahmins who were converted to sikhism either by 6th Guru or during the rule of Raja Sukh Jeevan Mal .These sikhs write Bali, Issar, Dutta, Sasan, Raina , Reen ,Soodan and other Brahmin surnames .These sikhs have fair complexion .
Most of them who were living in POK had to come to Jammu Camps as refugees after the partition of the country . Special camps were set up for them in Jammu’s Gole Gujral , Simbal and Bhour and some more  villages in 1947.  A handful of these POK refugees opted to stay in Kashmir valley . These refugees could be seen living in Dharmshalas of Temple Complex  near Rambagh Bridge or  Chhatti Paadshaahi Gurudwara near Saida Kadal in srinagar city  .  Like many innocent people who used to live in peace and brotherhood for centauries in this  subcontinent , these Sikhs  also suffered a lot during the Tribal Raid  and communal frenzy  of 1947  .
As per Swarn Singh president of Central Committee of All Jammu and Kashmir Refugees (1947)

“ I am a native of Kotli in Muzaffarabad  now  in POK . I headed the delegation that visited POK sometime back.. Our Historic Gurdwara near Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), has been partly demolished and converted into police lines. At the time of partition, sikh presence in POK was substantial . After the communal  riots  of 1947 .  majority of Sikhs migrated to India , while the remaining were either converted or killed . All the six members of the Sikh jatha that I headed  were guests of a relative who has converted into Islam. The neo-converts in POK are now called Sheikhs.”

Some Sikhs were also settled in Kashmir after Maharaja Ranjit singh’s forces entered the valley . These Sikhs now live in Traal , Palapora , Chithisinghpora , Hutmurrah , Ranbirpora ,Tahab, Khanpur Sarai ,Beerwa , Nowgaam ,Mattan ,and some more villages in South kashmir . These Sikhs are mostly Sodhis / Rissam  who too were Brahmins . These Sikhs were settled in uninhabited Areas and Karewas of Kashmir . They were granted agricultural land by Hari Singh Nalwa ,Bhiman Singh and Sher Singh ( Governors or revenue collectors of kashmir during sikh rule ). Some sikhs who accompanied the Army of Maharaja Ranjit Singh were also settled in Kashmir along with these Brahmin Sikhs . These Sikhs became agriculturists / farmers . As time passed and income earning patterns changed in kashmiri society ,this segment of sikhs turned poor . They were also lesser educated and had  no option but to  take up ordinary Government jobs  of peons and drivers for survival . Lately education is spreading fast within this sect of sikhs and   young boys from this community are proving   good doctors , lawyers and engineers for the society at large .

A few kashmiri Pandit families  in Kashmir  also converted to Sikhism . I vividly remember  One such family that  lived in Naidyar Rainawari near DAV school in their ancestral house .  This was all during the visit of sixth  sikh guru to Kashmir  .  MATA  Bhag Bhari  who presented a cloak to Sixth Sikh Guru in kashmir  was a saintly lady from Rainawari only . Her son Pandit Seva Ram ( who later came to be known as Bhai Seva Ram  ji ) was the first caretaker of Chhati Paadshaahi Gurdwara (  Initially a small wooden structure  but later  a Gurudwara and a Dharmshala was constructed by Hari Singh Nalwa the then Sikh Governor of Kashmir ).

Some Ramgharia and Mazahabi sikh families have  also settled in Kashmir but their number is insignificant .  

 For someime ,  Brahmin Sikhs  of kashmir also carried on with some Brahminical Practices like performing Shradas for the dead. This practice has now been discarded . If you see their land / revenue records  ,Word Brahmin is also mentioned in these papers .

Another group of  Sikhs mostly khatris with surnames like Sethi, Anand , Kandhari, Sahni , Bhasin etc. also came to kashmir from Punjab during Dogra rule for trade and commerce These traders were well off and opened shops selling Gold ornaments , Trading in Tea and cloth . Some families opened Hotels and started Transport business . One family opened a Cinema Hall  while the other started a Printing press .  With them also came the noted Engineer  Sardar Ganda Singh from  Punjab  who planned and built   Hari Sing High street and some other buildings in  Amira Kadal. These Sikhs remained confined to Srinagar city only. They  gave good education to their children who either joined their  parental profession or took up good  jobs  outside the state .  
Generally   Khatri Sikhs from Punjab  living in valley  did not marry   their children with  Kashmiri Sikhs . But  now with the spread of education  and many other factors , things have changed  and  the Sikh society in Kashmir is  socially  better integrated .

 And lastly I need to mention that  Guru Nanak Dev ji , Guru Hargobind sahib ji and Guru Har Rai ji are the three sikh Gurus who visited kashmir .

 “Sach kahoon suun leho sabai jin prem kio tin hee prabh Paayo.”
( Guru Gobind Singh Ji )
I tell the truth; listen everyone. Only those who have Loved, will realize the Lord

( Autar Mota 24.10.2013 )                                                            

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8 comments:

  1. Very informative article. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Plz clarify whether kashmiri Sikhs have been local converts or mostly foreigners who settled in Kashmir, and if kashmiri Sikhs are local converts then why is kashmiri not known to them as a mother tongue

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  3. as per the historical references available so far, majority of Sikhs were brought by Raja Sukh jeevan Mal during Pathan rule in Kashmir and the other chunk during Maharaja Ranjit Singhs time, while brahmin convertees are quiet a few and they are confined to Anantnag and Pulwama district only, their features, cultural resembelance and even language is ample proof to this fact

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  4. can you name the langyage spoken by sikhs o mattan , tral etc

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  5. I'm a Sikh with Mattu surname which is a Kashmiri brahmin surname.

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  6. Sirname KALA / KALLA ? Belongs to?

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  7. its all mixed up. no direct philosophy.

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  8. Chidiyaan ton baaz bann de hi, na koi jaat vakhaiee dendi aa te na sunaaiee. Kaun brahmin ? kehra shudr ? "Manas ki jaat sabhe ek hi pehchan bo"

    "Sri Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Sri Waheguru Ji ki fateh"
    .

    ReplyDelete