Events from Sikh history this week included: Gurgaddi Divas Guru Granth Sahib Ji (Oct 21), Saka Panja Sahib (Oct 30), Jyoti Jot Guru Gobind Singh Ji (Oct 25). Coming up is the Prakash Divas of Guru Nanak Dev Ji next week and I will be posting about that soon.
Background on Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Hasan Abdal: In 1521 Guru Nanak Dev Ji and Bhai Mardana arrived in Hasan Abdal and were doing kirtan. This created jealousy in Wali Khandari, who was used to having this attention from the locals. He had the only water supply in the area, and cut off the locals from being able to use it so they would stop following Guru Ji once they realized Guru Ji had no water. Guru Ji sent Bhai Mardana to ask Wali Khandari for water for the villagers. He went three times. Wali Qandhari rudely refused, and asked him to ask his Master (Guru Nanak). Guru Ji asked everyone to remember God. He asked the villagers to push away an embedded rock and a fountain of water sprang from it. Wali Qandhari’s fountain dried up, and he he became angry. He threw a giant rock from the mountain towards Guru Ji from the top of a hill. Guru Ji stopped the rock with his hand, leaving the imprint. Seeing this, Wali became a follower of the Guru. This rock still stands and Gurudwara Panja Sahib has been built there (see picture to the right). Panj means five, panja meaning outstretched palm.
Now moving forward in time to the 1900s. We previously learned about Saka Nankana Sahib and the freeing of Nankana Sahib from mahant Naryan Daas had taken over the Gurdwara and was doing bad deeds. After this, in 1922, Mahant Sundar Das was doing very bad things, and the Sikhs told him to stop his actions. As a result, he took amrit but he did not change his thinking. He wanted revenge against the Sikhs. A group of five Singhs was arrested for cutting Acacia wood for langar from land attached to Guru Ka Bagh. They were all sentenced with lengthy jail time for stealing from the mahant. The extreme punishment caused agitation amongst the Sikhs. The police started beating and torturing Sikhs, arresting 5 Singhs daily until the jails were filled, and there was plans to move the Sikhs to a fort in Hasan Abdul using a train.
Seeing the conditions of the Sikhs the local sangat wanted to provide them with langar. They asked the trainmaster to stop for langar, but he refused. The sangat decided to stop the train themselves. Bhai Karam Singh is reported to have said “Baba Nanak had stopped a mountain with one hand. Cannot his Sikhs stop a train?” The 300 members of sangat were doing Naam Japna and lied on the railway tracks. The train was approaching, and in front were lying Bhai Karam Singh and Bhai Partap Singh. The driver refused to stop. The train rode over Bhai Karam Singh and Bhai Partap Singh, then stopped. Bhai Partap Singh encouraged the sangat to serve the langar before tending to their injuries. Both became shaheeds. Six others had injuries. Subsequently, the train driver was arrested and asked why he had stopped. His statement was “I had been given orders to not stop the train at any cost. As per the orders, I did not stop the train and was moving at full speed. When the train hit Shaheed Partap Singh I felt as if it had hit a huge mountain. I fell down and my hand got lifted from the speeder and the train stopped. After investigating the engine, it had been found that the brake had not been applied. I felt that some unseen hidden power (Vaheguru) stopped the train” (account from Bibi Harnaam Kaur, wife of Shaheed Partaap Singh http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Saaka_Punja_Sahib,_True_Story ). May we all reflect on these amazing parts of our history. These Singhs made a big sacrifice to feed their fellow Sikhs langar and Waheguru Himself stopped that train so that the Sikhs could do it.