A Gurdwara, a Smadh, a bit of history

In close vicinity of #Lahore Railway Station dwell crowded streets of Naulakha
here iron-smiths clank metal and across the corner the famous Landa Bazar attracts customers
It’s an unlikely venue to run into a Gurdwara

For once this was the fabled Dara Shikoh Chowk with palaces, a garden and a katra (bazar)
Only grace spared to this ugly commercial district is this serene structure clad in graceful white adorned with traditional Kesari offering a peace of mind and solace to seekers

Beside the main facade, a Nishan Sahib flutters in bright colours
This Gurdwara commemorates the Sikh Martyrs who lost their lives in the grounds of Shaheed Ganj
We shall come to that story in a bit

A little to the side, in close vicinity is the smadh of Bhai Taru Singh
He was a disciple of Mani Singh and as the story goes both the teacher and the disciple were hacked to death by a governor of Lahore Zakariya Khan to assert his vengeance upon Sikhs
There’s a history to that

Around mid of 18th century Mughal throne was losing its grip
Sikh movement had organized into armed raids
In one such raid Faujdar of Eminabad Jaspat Rai got killed
Diwan Lakhpat Rai of Eminabad to avenge his brother’s death instigated Yahya Khan governor of Lahore against Sikh bands

History books tell us of a bloody encounter in the area Pathankot – Basauli Hills, with 7000 Sikhs falling in the battle and another 3000 taken captive and later executed at Lahore
Some sources place the massacre of 3000 Sikhs at Lahore in the area called Shaheed Ganj

This battle that happened in Shivaliks in 1746 is regarded as Chota Ghalughara which would translate to ‘Small Holocaust’
The ‘Great Holocaust’ for Sikhs would happen in 1762 while fighting the merciless forces of Ahmad Shah Abdali

There’s more to the story of Shaheed Ganj

A Muslim – Sikh dispute over Shaheed Ganj goes back on the pages of history
the former laying a claim that there existed a mosque in the times of Dara Shikoh before the place was handed over to the latter to build a gurdwara
a British court decided the matter in favor of Sikhs

A landmark decision came from Lahore High Court back in 1950s
a renewed petition for taking over the property to rebuild a mosque was rejected
surprisingly Auqaf department took good care of it and with Sikh pilgrims frequenting Lahore the Gurdwara was renovated and rehabilitated.

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author bio

Imran Saeed

I am a teller of old tales. History, folklore, military, and more. Mostly covering Pakistan, my homeland, but also the Great White North, where I am currently settled.
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