(d) Samrala Tahsil
Samrala tahsil of Ludhiana district with an area of 873 sq. kilometres is situated on the south bank of the Satluj between 30o – 38’ and 30o – 59’ North Latitude and 76o – 2’ and 76o – 24’ East Longitude. The population of the tahsil was 2,17,446 in 1961 as compared to 176,725 in 1951. It contains the towns of Samral, the tahsil headquarters (population 5,439 in 1961), Khanna (population 24,416) and Machhiwara (population 5,413 in 1961). It comprises 292 villages).
Bahlolpur. – The town is situated in Samrala tahsil on a ridge over the Budha nala, 10 kilometres east of Machhiwara by road and 50 kilometres from Ludhiana via Samrala. It lies in 30o-54’-0” latitude and 76o – 18’ – 35” longitude. Its population was 1,205 in 1961.
The town was founded in the reign of Akbar by 2 khanzadas- Bahlol Khan and Bahadar Khan Afghans. Their descendants owned land in the area attached to the town and resided at the place until the opening years of the present century. Thereafter, they became obscure and the family lost its importance. The town itself betrays signs of decay as a result of languishing of trade on the river, which was largely responsible for its importance.13
13. its population, 3,369 in 1868, had fallen to 2,418 in 1891 and 2,194 in 1901. The Deputy Commissioner wrote in 1881.
“The steady decay of the place may be attributed to two causes : the first is that during the Sikh a number of Pathans of Bahlolpur served in the wars, and brought wealth and plunder to the place ; but since out (British) rule these men have given up service and have been living on their savings ; the second, the health of this town is very bad on account of the large jhil formed by the Budha Nala close under its walls.” (Ludhiana District Gazetteer, 1904, Pt. A. P. 227).
The town has a Government High School (Co-educational) with Basic class and an Ayurvedic Dispensary. It has a number of old monuments in addition to the Mazbra of Hussain Khan built in the time of Akbar. The Maqbara of Alawal Khan, Suba of Dakkan, and a mosque and Maqbara of Abdul Rehman Khan built in the time of Emperor Shah Jahan are all in ruins. A few other Maqbaras at the place have suffered such rapid deterioration as to have been leveled to the ground. The construction of a Pucca road to Samrala via Jhar Sahib and a regular bus service are expected to salvage and sustain its importance.
Jhar Sahib. – Jhar Sahib is about 48 kilometers from the district headquarters by road via Samrala. It lies on 76o – 18’ Longitude and 30o – 54’ Latitude. There is a kacha/Pucca road from Samrala to Jhar Sahib about 14 kilometres in length. The village has been entered in the Revenue Records as Chuharpur. It is about 13 kilometers form Samrals. In fact the old village was deserted long ago and the new habitation has been named after the historical Gurdwara, which has been constructed there. Its population was 287 in 1961 against 106 in 1951.
While coming out of Chamkaur fort in the night Guru Gobind Singh is believed to have spent about 8 hours in the Jhar (jungle) and did not meet any Sikh there. thereafter he left for Machhiwara, where he met 2 of his 5 pyaras, namely Bhai Daya Singh and Bhai Dharam Singh, and a disciple man Singh. Earlier a small Gurdwara was built at the place. A very big building was raised in 1956-57. Free langar is available all the time. About 85 acres of land is attached to the Gurdwara. The Gurdwara is under the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee but is managed by a local committee.
Khanna. – The town, according to the Revenue Records, 1882, was founded by kahana Rajput and derived its name from him. However, it come to be pronounced as ‘Khanna’ throught common usage. The place has been continuously under habitation and has never been deserted. Very little is known about the early history of the town. During the Misl period Khanna became the seat of one of the petty chiefs among whom the territory was divided. Mai Daya Kaur was the last representative of the ruling house. The large Jagir lapsed on her death in 1850. Among the places of interest may be mentioned an Imperial Serai built in the time of Emperor Aurangzeb, and old Sikh fort and a Baoli (tank) of bricks, at present dry and in ruins, built by Mai Daya Kaur.
Khanna is a Class II Municipal town situated on the Northern Railway and the G. T. Road about 42 kilometres from Ludhiana. it lies on 30o – 42’ – 11” North Latitude and 76o – 13’ – 32” East Longitude. Its population was 24,416 in 1961 as compared to 12,646 in 1951. The town has developed into a flourishing market for groundnut, maize, cotton, gur, wheat and other agricultural products. A new Mandi and Model Town are under construction. Khanna is fast growing in industrial importance. It has several oil and cotton mills and can boast of the first groundnut pressing Mill in the State, which will not only extract maximum oil from the nuts but is also expected to yield valuable by products.
The town has A. S. Degree College, A. S. Higher Secondary School, Government Girls Higher Secondary School, Khalsa High School, Putri Pathshala High School, Sanskrit College and 5 Primary Schools. There are Civil Hospital, Ladies’ Maternity Hospital, Municipal dispensary and Veterinary Hospital. There are 3 dharamshalas and P. W. D. Rest House.
Lal Kalan Gurdwara (Guru-Sar). – 10 kilometres from Samrala on Ludhiana road linked by an approach road, it lies on 76o – 6’Longituder and 30o – 50’ Latitude.
While coming from Machhiwara disguised as uch-ka-pir, Guru Gobind Singh is said to have stayed here beneath the beri tree. As Musalmans were in pursuit, he did not stay here for long and left for Katani, a place at a distance of 3 kilometres from Lallan Ke on the bank of the Sirhind Canal.
The sixth Guru Har Gobind is also said to have stayed and tied his horse beneath the tree. There is a small round Gurdwara built in memory of both these Gurus. The town storeys of the building therefore, contain ‘Manjis’ of the 6th and the 10th Gurus.
The derohi of this Gurdwara was built by Guru Ram Singh (Kuka Guru) of Bhaini Sahib. The Gurdwara is looked after by a Namdhari Granthi.
Machhiwara.- Initially fishermen might have settled at the place and hense it got the name of abode of fishermen. It is situated on the ridge over the Budha Nala, about 30 kilometres to the east of Ludhiana on the old Rupar road. A metalled road about 10 kilometres long connects the town with the tahsil headquarters of Samrala, onwards which there is also a metalled road to Ludhiana. A new Pucca road has recently been built from Machhiwara to Rohan. It has reduced the distance of Nawan Shahr from Samrala to barely 30 kilometres. Rahon is thus 23 kilometres distant from Samrala. Earlier these stations had to be reached by the much longer route via Ludhiana and Phagwara. A bridge on the river Satluj is expected to be completed shortly to enable through traffic to pass over it. Machhiwara has a Police Station, Veterinary Hospital, Primary Panchayat and a Canal Rest House. The small town lies in 30o – 55’ – 0” Latitude and 76o-12’ – 1” Longitude. The population was 5,413 in 1961 as compared to 4,681 in 1951.
Machhiwara is said to have existed since ancient times. The name of the place finds mention in Mahabharata ; but no historical evidence is forth-coming to prove that it is older than 900 years ago when it was founded under the Ghori dynasty on the south bank of the Satluj like Ludhiana itself. It was during the Ghorian period when the Rajputs first settled at the place. Under the Sikhs Machhiwara became headquarters of the Sodhis, who had built here a large brick fort at present occupied by the Police Station and a Diwankhana.
The old town is surrounded by several historical buildings, which include Sujan Shah Wali Masjid, built in the time of Mohammad Shah by the ancestors of Saiyed Qasim Ali, the mosque of Mehar Ali Saha or Qazi Masjid, built in sotne during the reign of Sikander Lodhi in AH 923 or 1517 A. D. by lady Fateh Malik and the Ganj-I-Shahidan or the treasury of martyrs, west of the town which probably signifies the tomb of all those killed in the famous battle of Machhiwara in 1555 A. D. The Diwali Devi, Bhadarkali, brick temple about a kilometre of an old mosque built of blocks of kankar (hard bits of mortar). Around the site of the mosque are many ruined graves and the grounds is littered with the remains of old buildings. Many of the bricks are of unusually large size, which shows that the place is fairly old. There is a well which is said to have contained an inscription showing that the man who sank it had previously sunk 360 similar wells in Machhiwara. 5 wells to the west of the town are built of large bricks. They also indicate that the town are built of large bricks. They also indicate that the town might have formerly extended to the west. Sodhi Karam Singh built a Gurdwara at the place to commemorate the visit of Guru Gobind singh about 265 years ago. The tenth Guru on departure from Chamkaur and after staying for the day at Jhar Sahib (Chuharpur) came to Machhiwara in the night, took water from the well distance from the well. While the Guru was asleep, his disciples, Daya Singh, Dharam Singh and Man Singh spotted him and recognised him from the diamond fitted in his ring. The Guru was bare-footed and his feet were bleeding. They placed their heads on his feet. The guru woke up and met them. Gulaba and Panjaba came to know about the arrival of the Guru and his Sikh disciples and took them to their house. Thereafter they shifted to the house of Gani Khan and Nabi Khan, Muslim well-wishers of the Guru. They arranged to take out the Guru on a charpoy disguised as Uch-Ka-Pir after clothing him with blue garments, which were dyed at the place. It was planned to take the Guru to Guru Sar (Lal Kalan) and Katana Sahib (Katani). The party was intercepted at Kirpan Bhet, a place some 3 kilometres away from Machhiwara and the Guru was allowed to proceed further on confirmation of the Mughal army and the Persian teacher of the Guru. The original Gurdwara enclosing the karir tree has been vastly extended and improved. The house of Panjaba and Gulaba, which contains the earthern vat in which the garments of the Guru were dyed blue by a local dyer, and the house of Gani Khan and Nabi Khan along with ‘bhora’ and attari’ have been converted into Gurdwaras.
At Gurdwara Charan Kanwal big annual fairs are held on the occasions of Baisakhi (in April) and Maghi (January).
Rahawan. – Rahawan is situated about three kilometres from Khanna on the road to Samrala. Rahawan lies on 30’ – 43” – 34o North Latitude and 76’ – 13o – 32” East Longitude. Its population was 2,390 in 1961 as against 1,484 in 1951. The place has got an old mosque built of bricks, in a very bad state of presentation at present. The village has got a Government Primary School (Co-educational) and a Sub-Post Office attached to the school. There is a panchayat in the village.
Archaeological explorations at the old site have yielded antiquities dating back to about 1,000 B.C. ; earthern wares and other objects discovered from the thehs are believed and belong to the Aryan period.
Serai Lashkari Khan. – Situated at a distance of about 26 kilometres from Ludhiana on G. T. road towards Khanna, Serai Lashkari Khan is an impressive building with the four walls still in tact. The structure, however, appears to have been neglected since long. The vast enclosure about 100 yards on each side gives some idea of its magnificient structure and exceptional size. The interior of the Serai has been allotted to agriculturists and is under cultivation.
The Serai has 4 gates on four sides and 120 “hujras” (small rooms), 30 on each side. Of the two wells, one adjoining the mosque in the centre of the courtyard is broken and in disuse. The other is used for irrigation. A small contingent of soldiers could easily be deployed in the Serai for safety of the inmates as is evident from the comstruction pattern of gates.
Built by Lashkari Khasn, a moghul military general, in the reign of Emperor Aurangzeb in 1078 A. H. (1667 A. D.), as inscribed on marble slab on the forth gate, the building is a typical specimen of the carvan Serais which were built at convenient distances all along the road from Delhi to Lahore. The huge structure was strong and spacious enough to protect the hosts of traders and their wares from pilfering during their sojourn on the way. Like the similar carven Serai at Doraha, which is almost completely ruined, the gateways of the Carvan Serai were decorated with enameled tiles in geogmetrical designs.
Serai Lashkari khan is a characteristic relic of the mughals and conveys the impression about its massive size which should have been commensurate with the volume of trade which must have flowed along the high way to central Asia through the heat of Hindustan.
Samrala. – A municipal town and the headquarters of the tahsil of the same, name, Samrala is about 34 kilometres to the east of Ludhiana on Ludhiana-Chandigarh Road. It is also connected by road with Khanna, Machhiwara, Ropar and Rahon. Samrala is situated on 30o – 50’ – 12” North Latitude and 76o – 11’ –36” East Longitude. Its population was 5,439 in 1961 as compared to 4,734 in 1951. Samrala is a Class III Municipality. It has a Government Higher Secondary School for Boys and Government High School with Basic Class for Girls. It has an Industrial Training Institute. There is a Veterinary Hospital and Primary Health and Family Planning Centres. Samrala has a Samiti Rest House, a Canal Rest House, Post and Telegraph Office and Police Station. The situation of the town on the National Highway from Chandigarh to all the principal towns in the State has greatly added to its importance.
Sanghol. – Sanghol, popularly known as Ucha Pind, in Samrala Tahsil, is situated about 20 kilometres from the tahsil headquarters and about 54 kilometres from Ludhiana on the Chandigarh-Ludhiana road. The village lies in 76o – 23’ Longitude and 30o- 47’ Latitude. Its population rose to 2,408 in 1961 as compared to 614 in 1951. The village is situated on top of a big mound, which is believed to be very old. Practically the whole of the new village has been constructed with the burnt bricks dug out from the ruins of earlier inhabitations. Surface finds from the mound, especially after the rains, include copper, silver and gold coins and beads etc. As a result of digging or even ploughing by the farmers in the lower strata of the mound large quantities of antiquities and earthern-wares of a special conical type have been recovered from time to time. The coins found at the place clearly establish the historical sequence at least from the Gupta period up to the Sultanate. Among the coins the earliest is a gold coin of Kumar Gupta, 14 and the last one bears the name of Sultan Balban.
14. The coin was purchased by the State Museum from a local resident, who had found it form the surface towards the west of the mound. It bears the inscription alongside the figure of the ruler : “Kumargupta Prakarmi”. On the reverse is the figure of goddess Laxmi. Coins from Gupta period up to the reign of Balban were collected by Shri Tara Chand of Sanghol, at present Professor at H.N. College, Hariana. An article on the same was published in jagriti, dated June, 1956.
The earthen-wares are posts and vases of varying sizes. Large size bricks or tiles with deep marks of 3 fingers have been found at the place. Other articles include grinding-stone, votive tanks and clay seals. A large carved red sand stone trough has also been found at the place.
The antiquities accidentally dug out or found from the surface of Sanghol clearly indicate that the site was a flourishing town in early times. Perhaps it was abandoned several times. Hence the great height of the mound and the name Ucha Pind, because it is visible from a long distance.
Some of the stone sculptures recovered from Sanghol bear marked Mongoloid features. The names given to some of the localities of the village even at present, such as “pheelkhana” and “mahal” are indicative of the fact that the place enjoyed a very high status and was probably the seat of the ruler of the area. Sanghol is said to be the ancient Sangal Deep ruled by Raja Sang. The famous Rup and Basant brothers, who figure in legendary history, are said to have belonged to Sanghol.
The bulk of the archaeological evidence at Sanghol leavers little doubt that the mound, which is still about 70- 80 ft. raised from the surrounding area, is very ancient and excavations at the place might yield rich historical data.
Sanghol is situated close to the old bed of river Satluj as evidenced by white sand found over a wide stretch near the locality. Sometimes boat oars have been reported to have been found here. The site seems to be contemporaneous with the mounds at Sunet and Hathur.
Sanghol has a Janta (Co-educational ) High School, Girls Middle School and Primary School. The village has got a panchayat.
Till 1948 Sanghol formed part of the former Princely state of Patiala and was included in the erstwhile Pepsu on the merger of the States thereafter. The village was transferred to Ludhiana district on January 25, 1950 in connection with the exchange of enclaves.
MAULVI RAJAB ALI
Rajab Ali hailed from an old and well known Syed family of northern India ; his ancestry dated back to Syed Mahmud, a celebrated the ologian who migrated in 1501 A. D. from his home in Multan and attached himself to Sikandar Lodhi of Delhi. Fifty years later, in Akbar’s time, the Syed was granted a Jagir at batala to which additions were made later by Emperor Jahangir. During the reign of Muhammad Shah one of the descendants of the family was granted twelve villages in Ludhiana district. They continued to flourish until the beginning of the nineteenth century when Deqn Mohkam Chand, representative of Maharaja Ranjit Singh at Jullundur, seized the Jagir and reduced its holders to poverty.
To Maluvi Rajab Ali belonged the privilege of the restoring the fortunes of the family. He started his career in 1826, as a teacher at the Delhi Madrasa on a salary of Rs. 10 p. m. For this post he was especially selected by Joseph Henry Taylor on account of his intellectual attainments. After one year’s service at the Madrase, Rajab Ali moved to the south in search of more lucrative employment. He stayed for a short time at Bharatpur, Akbarabad and Gwalior and was for some time engaged by John Reef Ouseley at Hoshangabad. Thereafter he took up services as Amin in Bhopal State. Later he secured post in the office of the Political Agent at Ambala and soon rose to the position of Head Reader (Mir Munshi). In this capacity he was transferred, in 1839 to Ludhiana to serve under Mr. Robinson. Later on he accompanied Henery Lawrence to Lahore where he gained the confidence of the Punjab Chiefs and gentlemen with whom his work brought him into close contact. The late Sir Herbert Edwardes held Rajab Ali in the highest esteem. In 1848 he wrote of him ; “I believe his judgment on questions of policy to be valuable and that he has always proved to Sir Henry Lawrence a trust-worthy depository of most secret information. I hope also to be able to testify that the Mauvi though a ‘Sahib- I-Kalam’, is by no means afraid of the gleam of a ‘shamshir’. He behave with great coolness and bravery in the Cown Riot in Lahore in 1846”. This opinion was endorsed by Currie, Clerk Melvill, Barnes, Montgomery and Temple, all of whom knew the Maulvi well and had ample opportunities of studying his character. Sir Henry Lawrence wrote in 1853 : “During the Lahore troubles I hardly know what we should have done without Rajab Ali ; and he has ever since been of the greater use to me in all political arrangements and negotiations”. In conferring on him jagir assignments valued at Rs. 2,696 per annum in aligarh and both Talwandis (Tehsil Jagraon, Ludhiana District), the governor-General, John Lawrence, remarked in 1868 that it was “In consideration of most valuable services rendered to the State at the time of negotiations with the Ruler of the Punjab to obtain permission for the British Force to cross the Sikh Frontier and proceed to Afghanistan, in the campaigns which led to the annexation of the Punjab and during the siege of Elhi in 1857”. During the Mutiny the Maulvi’s services were placed at the disposal of the Quarter Master General for the purpose of assisting Hodson at Delhi in organising and working the intelligence service and he was thoroughly successful in the discharge of these important duties. He received a cash reward of Rs. 10,000 in recognition of his services during the siege.
Maulvi Rajab Ali was given the title of Khan Bahadur in 1846 and that of “Arastu Jah” (Great as Aristotle) in 1858. He died in 1869.
The family library of Rajab Ali at Jagraon was believed to contain some three thousand old and rare manuscripts in Persian and Arabic. Some of the most outstanding original historical materials out of the collection are now available in the Punjab State Archives, Patiala.
Letter, dated 1st May, 1854 ; From Honry Brereton, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, to G. C. Barnes, Commissioner and Superintendent, Cis-Sutlej Stes, Kussowlie, runs : “In continuation of may letter No. 102, dated 7th last, I have the honour to inform you, that Rae Imam Buksh (sometimes called mamoo Khan) upon receiving from me the personal property of the late Ranee of Raekote, produced a sword, which has been a treasured Heirloom in the family for some generations. He expressed a wish, that the sword should be forwarded, to the Governor-General (A). It may be interesting to have its history, which is as follows” :-
2. When Gooroo Govind escaped from his enemies at Makhowal he sought refuge and received protection from the Raekote Chief15 ; in gratitude for this kindness he presented him his sword, which was all he possessed with the injunction that it should not be worn or carried except in battle or in some great emergency16.
15. Rai Shahbaz Khan.
16. “Parwardgar tum ko salamt ba kramat Rakhe aur riya sat par mukim farmave. Aur Is Shamsher Ko mutbarak samajh baja tor par apne pas rakhna.”
(Punjab Government Records 22-9-1854 (Anarkali Tomb, Lahore) No. 7 – 10.
3. The sword was treasured with religious care, until the time of the late Rai17 who took it with him on occasion of a sporting excursion contrary to the earnest remonstrances of his followers. His horse happening to fall with him, he drew the sword to cut the stirrup leather by which he was entangled. The struggles of the horse, however, were violent and the Rai received from the drawn weapon a wound on his thigh, the haemorrhage from which quickly caused his death.
17. Rai Ilyas Khan by name who died in A. d. 1802.
4. This sword has been greatly sought by various Sikh chiefs from Ranjeet Singh18to the present Maharajah of Putteealah19 who have at different times offered very large sums for its possession. All temptations have been, however, indiganantly repelled by the late Ranee20 and the presentation of this treasured memento of the Great Sikh Gooroo by Rai Imam Bux is, I think, a graceful act on his part and deserves acknowledgement. It would be gratifying to him if the sword were forwarded to England, deposited in honour with the other historical relics of the Sikh Empirs.
18. Maharaja Ranjit singh wanted to get this sword. Mian Kadar Baksh, a trusted officer of the Raja of Kapurthala, was sent for this purpose, but the Rani refused to part with the sword, for any amount of cash money or Jagir.
19. Maharaja Narindar singh Sahib Bahadur of Patiala, who ruled Patiala State from 1845 to 1862.
20. Ranee Bhag Bharee, widow of Rai Ilyas khan. She dies in April, 1854.
5. I have translated the following inscription from Goormookhi which is engraved on the sides of the blade :-
“May God’s protection rest on me. There is one God, and true Gooroo whom I worship. This is the signature of the 10th Khalsa Ootar (i.e. Gooroo Govind). This sword is the protection of all kinds of harms, the Omnipresent God is with me always, God the protector of the lives of men”.
6. I have deposited the sword in the Treasury ; pending your directions ………………
Notes (A) :
Excerpt from an application of Rai Imam Baksh and Rai Ahmad Khan to the Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana in the persian Language :
“Roze ke janab mai Sahiba Muzamma mukarmma (Rani Bhag Bhari)
rahlat farme shudand wa Sahib Deputy Commissioner Bahadur
Zila Ludhiana barai mazart wa tasifi ma beksan wa daryaft
Hal ronaq afroz kasba Raikot shudand. Ma fidwayan bakhyal
Khud fahmida shamsher-I-mutbarka Guru Gobind Singh ra
Keh bihtar azin………..?……………. bebaha nazar Shahan
Bakhana-I-khud nadashtand khidmate Deputy Commissioner
bahadur barai Nazar Shahnshah Ingiiaia bahadur bazaria
janab mustajab Governor-General Sahib Bahadur guzaranidem”
(Punjab Government Records)
23 September, 1854- No. 7 –a.
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