Punjab Vidhan Sabha Constituencies

            The district was divided into five constituencies, viz. Anandpur Sahib, Kharar, Morinda, Nangal and Ropar. Out of these, Morinda was reserved for the Scheduled Castes. From these constituencies, 4 Congress and 1 Akali candidates were elected. The total number of valid votes polled by each of the contesting parties is given below :

Name of the Party

Total No. of valid votes polled

Percentage

Congress

77,745

42.17

Akali Dal (Sant Group)

25,197

13.67

Independents

23,741

12,87

Jan Sangh

18,350

9,95

Communist Party of India

16,962

9.20

Communist Party of India (Marxist)

16,422

8.91

Akali Dal (Master Group)

5,951

3.23

Total

1,84,368

100.00

            Mid term Poll, 1969 :-  In the Fourth General Elections, 1967, no political party had obtained  absolute majority in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. Some to the political parties. viz. the Akali Dal (Sant Group), the Jan Sangh, the Republican party and the Right Communists joined together to form the People’s United Front, which formed its Ministry on 8 march 1967. After sometime, defections started and a Cabinet Minister of Akali Dal (San Group) defected along with a few other M.L.A.s of Akali Dal and formed his ministry on 25 November, 1967, with the support of some Independents and the Congress Legislative Party. The relationship between the Ministry and the Congress Legislative Party-its main supporters – did not however, continue to be smooth for long and ultimately, the Congress Party withdrew its support. In such a situation, no single party or alliance of parties was in a position to form a stable Government. In the circumstances, as recommended by the Governor, Punjab, the President’s Rule was proclaimed in the State from 23 August 1968. Thus, the Punjab Vidhan Sabha constituted in 1967 stood dissolved necessitating a midterm general elections so as to constitute a new Vidhan Sabha.

            The Mid-term Poll throughout the State was held on a single day on 9 February 1969. Out of the total population of 4,71,594 (1961 Census) of the district, the number of electors was 2,75,458.

Punjab Vidhan Sabha Constituencies

            There were five Vidhan Sabha Constituencies  in the district, viz. Anandpur Sahib, Kharar, Nangal, Ropar and Morinda (reserved for Scheduled Castes). From these constituencies 1 Congress, 3 Akali Dal and 1 Jan Sangh Candidates were elected. The total number of valid votes polled by each contesting party is given below :

Name of party

Total No. of valid vote polled

Percentage

Congress

76,083

39.03

Akali Dal

65,473

33.59

Independents

25,242

12.95

Jan Sangh

10,288

5.28

Communist Party of India (Marxist)

8,358

4.29

Communist Party of India

5,081

2.61

Praja Socialist Party

2,948

1.51

Swatantra Party

1,443

0.74

Total

1,94,916

100.00

Bye election to the Morinda (Reserved) Constituency for the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, 1970 :-  This by-election was held on 25 May 1970 due to the vacancy caused by the death of the sitting Akali Dal M.L.A. The Akali Dal again won the seat. The total number of electors in the constituency was 55,916. The number of valid votes polled by each of the contesting parties was as under :

Name of the Party

Total No. of valid vote polled

Percentage

Akali Dal

25,587

49.79

Congress

25,258

49.15

Independents

538

1.06

Total

51,383

100.00

(Source : Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab, Chandigarh)

            Bye elections to the Anadpur Sahib Constituency for the PunjabVidhab Sabha, 1970 :-  This bye-elections was held on 20 December 1970, on account of the demise of the sitting Congress M.L.A. The Congress candidate was again declared elected from this constituency. The total number of electors in this constituency was 57,214. The number of valid votes polled by each of the contesting parties was as under:-

Name of Party

Total No. of valid votes polled

Percentage

Congress

21,747

50.30

Akali Dal

20,552

47.53

Independents

782

1.81

Republican Party of India

157

0.36

Total

43,238

100.00

(Source  : Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab, Chandigarh)

            Fifth General Elections to the Lok Sabha, 1971 :- In the fifth General Elections held in 1971, there was also only one Lok Sabha Constituency in the district, viz. Ropar. From this constituency, Congress candidate was declared elected. The total number of electors in this constituency were 5,24,476. The total number of valid votes secured by each contesting party in the district was as under :-

Name of party

Total no. of valid votes polled

Percentage

Congress

1,68,243

52.79

Akali Dal

1,26,993

39.85

Independents

13,812

4.33

Jan Sangh

9,669

3.03

Total

3,18,717

100.00

(Source : Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab, Chandigarh)

            Fifth General Elections to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha 1972 :-  The Fifth General Elections to the premature dissolution of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha constituted in March 1969.It was for the second time that the President’s rule was imposed in the State. In the wake of President’s rule, emergency was declared in the country due to Indo-Pakistan conflict in 1971. The preparation for the conduct of new general elections had, therefore, to be made under the shadow of emergency. The poll throughout the State was held on a single day on 11 March 1972.       

            There were five Punjab Vidhan Sabha Constituencies including one reserved for Scheduled Castes in the district, viz. Anandput Sahib, Kharar, Morinda (reserved), Nanagal and Roapr. The total number of electors in the district was 2,94,329. From these constituencies, 3 Congress, 1 Akali Dal and 1 Communist Party of India candidates were declared elected.

            The number of valid votes polled in favour of each contesting party is as under :-

Name of Party
Total no. of valid votes polled
Percentage

Congress

78,250

38.44

Independents

49.374

24.25

Akali Dal

37,545

18.45

Communist Party of India

23,455

11.52

Communist Party of India (Marxist)

13,395

6.58

Congress (O)

1,552

0.76

Total

2,03,571

100.00

            Sixth General Elections, 1977 :-  The Sixth General Elections were a landmark in Indian politics. For the first time since Independents, the reins of the Central Government passed into the hands of the bloc of  four former opposition parties- Janata Party, comprising the Organization Congress, the Bhartiya Lok Dal, the Jan Sangh and the Socialist Party. The Congress for Democracy was also merged later on in this back. The newly formed Janata Party was voted into power with overwhelming majority by the bulk of electorates in the Northern States.

            Elections to the State Assemblies were not held due to the reason, that their term of office had not expired. But after the Lok Sabha elections, the Janata Party Government decided to hold early elections in a number of States on the plea that a climate of uncertainly had come to prevail in the wake of the candidates rejection in the Lok Sabha elections of the Congress candidates in several States. As a result of this, elections to some of the States including Punjab were held. In Punjab, the elections to the Vidhan Sabha were held on 12 June 1977, and completed on the same day. In these elections, the Akali Dal and the Janta Party secured majority of the votes defeating Congress. Consequently, on 20 June 1977, the Akali Janata formed coalition Government in Punjab.

Lok Sabha Constituency

            There was only one Lok Sabha Constituency in the district, viz. Ropar which was reserved for Scheduled Castes. The Akali Dal candidate was elected from this constituency. The total number of electors in this constituency was 6,37,090. The total number of valid votes polled by each the contesting parties is given as under :-

Name of Party

Total no. of valid votes polled

Percentage

Akali Dal

2,75,851

57.38

Congress

1,93,190

40.19

Independents

11,690

2,34

Total

4,80,731

100.00

(Source  : Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab, Chandigarh)

Punjab Vidhan Sabha Constituencies

            There were five Vidhan Sabha Constituencies in the district, viz. Anandput Sahib, Kharar, Nangal, Ropar and Morinda (reserved for Scheduled Castes). From these constituencies 3 Akali Dal and 3 Janata Party candidates were elected. Out of the total population of 5,59,538 (1971 Census) of the district the number of electors was 3,61,488.

            The total number of valid votes polled by each contesting party is given below :-

Name of Party

Total no. of valid votes polled

Percentage

Akali Dal

84,968

36.41

Congress

63,629

27.28

Janata Party

33,492

14.36

Independents

33,646

14.42

Communist Party of India

17,595

7,53

Total

2,22,220

100.00

  (Source  : Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab, Chandigarh)

            Seventh Lok Sabha Elections, 1980 :-  The Janata Government formed in March 1977 did not remain stable. As the party had been formed with the merger of four major political parties, its members reverted to their previous loyalties. This led to difference within the Janata Party resulting in defection by many M.Ps who formed a new group which ultimately led to the fall of Janata Government at the centre. The group of M.Ps who had defeated from the Janata Party was able to form with the support of Congress (I), a new Government. However the relationship between the new Government and the Congress (I) did not remain smooth for long, with the result that the Congress (I) withdrew its support and the Government fell without facing the Parliament even once. In this way, the Sixth Lok Sabha was dissolved midway on 22 August, 1979. Consequently, the Seventh General Elections were held in the country on 3 Janurary 1980.

            There was only on Parliamentary Constituency in the district viz. Ropar which was reserved for the Scheduled Castes. The Congress (I) candidate was elected from this constituency. The total number of electors in this constituency was 7,64,571, out of which 5,29,664 voted. The total number of valid votes polled by each of the contesting parties is given as under :-

Name of Party

Valid votes polled

Congress (I)

2,71,689

52.27

Akali Dal

2,28,671

43.99

Janata Dal

2,448

0.47

Independents

16,997

3,27

Total

5,19,805

100.00

Report on the General Elections to the Lok Sabha and Punjab Vidhan Sabha, 1980 p.63

            Seventh Elections to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, 1980 :-  The term of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha constituted on 12 June 1977 was due to expire in 1982. However, after the Lok Sabha elections held in January 1980, which resulted in the change of Government at the Centre, it was felt that a climate of uncertainty had come to prevail in the States which were not rules by the Congress (I). The Congress (I) Government at the Centre decided to go for fresh elections in such States, including Punjab. Accordingly, the Punjab Vidhan Sabha wad dissolved by the President under Article 85 of the Constitution on 17 February, 1980. The elections to the Vidhan Sabha were held on 31 May 1980 and completed on the same day. The Congress (I) won majority of seats defeating the Akali Dal and other contesting parties and formed its Government in the State.

            There were five Vidhan Sabha Constituencies in the district viz. Anandpur Sahib, Kharar, Nangal, Morinda and Chamkaur Sahib (reserved for Schedules Castes). The total number of electors in these constituencies falling in the district was 4,03,011 out which 2,50,052 voted. From these constituencies, 3 Congress (I), and 2 Shiromani Akali Dal candidates were elected. The number of valid votes polled by each contesting party is given below :-

Name of the Party

Valid votes polled

 

Number

Percentage

Congress (I)

1,02,818

41.66

Shiromani Akali Dal

78,907

35.63

Janata Party (SC)

16,689

6.76

Janata Party (JP)

2,050

0.83

Janata Party (SR)

1,633

0.66

Bhartiya Janata Party

9,920

4.03

Communist Party of India

12,498

5.07

Communits Party of India (Marxist)

4,169

1.68

Independents

8,020

3.25

Congress (U)

163

0.06

RPK

931

0.37

Total

2,46,798

100.00

Report on the General Elections to the Lok Sabha and Punjab Vidhan Sahba, 1980, pp. 102-105

(a)                Political Parties and Organization :

Political parties play an important role in the functioning of democracies inasmuch as they are the means of education public opinion on general issues and also criticizing Government policies. A strong opposition is needed for the smooth working of a democratic Government. The most important function of the political parties is to provide the possibility of an alternative Government to that which is in office.

In India, political parties were in existence  for quite sometime past, but they were not well-organized. The first organized party, viz. Congress Party was established in 1885. In the beginning of the twentieth century, this party was divided into two wings, i.e. the right wing called ‘Moderates’ and the ‘Extremists’. In 1906, another party, viz. the Muslim League was formed, the membership of which was open to the Muslims only. Thereafter, for a period of 30 years, the Congress, the Muslim League and the Hindu Mahasabha constituted the main sections of the political opinion in India. After 1935, a number of parties such as Republican, Socialist, the Forward Bloc, the Peasants, and Workers Party, etc. were formed.

After the achievement of Independence of 1947, many new political parties emerged. The main political parties are : the Congress (I), the Congress (U), the Janata Party, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Swatantra party, Rupublican Party of India and a number of parties at the State level.

A brief description of the political parties which have their branches in the Rupnagar District, is given below :

All-India Parties

            Indian National Congress :-  In order to mobilizing public opinion on the problems of the country, the Indian National Congress was founded in 1885. Gradually, the party became the most powerful instrument of the national struggle for Independence. As a result of continues struggle, India achieved Independence in 1947 and the Congress became the ruling party.

            The Congress has a secular and national outlook. The professed objectives of the party have been to set up a socialistic pattern of society; to raise the standard of living of the downtrodden; to defend secularism; to provide basic requirements to people; and to narrow the gap between rich and poor.

            In all the elections to the Lok Sabha held after the creation of this district, the Congress Party won the seat earmarked for the district except in the Sixth General Elections. In the Fourth General Elections, out of the 5 Assembly seats, the party won 4 seats. In the Mid-Term Elections of 1969, the party could bag only 1 seat. In the Fifth General Elections, the party won 3 seats out of the 5 seats, but did not secure any seat in the Sixth General Elections. In the Seventh Election to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha held on 31 May 1980 the party got 3 seats out of 5 seats in the district.

            The District Congress  Committee was formed at Rupnagar in 1966. There are also City Congress Committees almost in all the towns of the district.

            Communist Party of India :-  The Communist Party of India was founded in 1925, but was soon declared an illegal organization. The ban on the party was lifted in 1943, when it supported the Government in prosecution of the World War II. It enjoys influence among industrial labour and poor sections of the society. In 1961, after Vijaywadd Congress, The Communist Party of India was split up and a new party was formed and names as the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

            The professed object of the Communist Party of India is to establish a people’s State led by the working class for the realisation of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The party could not capture any seat for the Lok Sabha in the district. However, it won one Vidhan Sabha seat in the Fifth General Elections.

            Communist Party of India( Marxist) :-  The split in the Communist Party of India in 1961 led to the creation of a new party known as the Communist Party of India (Marxist). This party stands for the socialism and communism through the establishment of the State dictatorship of the proletariat. In all its activities, the party is guided by the philosophy and principles of marxism Leninism. This party is represented in the Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha, and the Punjab Vidhan Sabha from other districts. but is has never won any seat in the Rupnagar District either for the Lok Sabha or for the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

Republican Party of India :-  This party was formed by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and is a reorganized form of the Scheduled Castes Federation of India. It aims at safeguarding the interests of the Scheduled Castes and the Backward Classes. The party could not win any seat in the district, though it put up its candidates during the Mid-Term Elections of 1969 to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

Bhartiya Jan Sangh :-  It is an all-India party which was formed on the eve of the First General Elections in 1951-52. The party claims to derive inspiration from the values of the Indian culture and life. It has its urban as well rural units.

The party aims at the establishment of an economic democracy with equal opportunities for development to all and with no chances for any exploitation. It believes in the principle of one country, one nation, one culture and one national idea. It stands for Indian traditions, culture and heritage. The party has been putting up candidates in almost all the elections in this district, but it could win only one Vidhan Sabha seat in the Mid-Term Electoins of 1969. On the eve of the creation of Janata Party in 1977, the Bhartiya Jan Sangh Merged in it and lost its separate identify.

Janata Party :-  This party was formed on 1 May 1977 by five opposition parties, viz. the Organization Congress the Jan Sangh, the Bhartiya Lok Dal, the Socialist and the Congress for Democracy who merged together unconditionally. The party stands for taking concrete steps to put an end to poverty with ten years; to establish fair wages; to narrow the gap between income levels, to ensure respect for the people’s rights; and to wipe out illiteracy.

In the Sixth General Elections to the Lok Sabha, the party gained absolute majority. For the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, the party won 2 seats in the district.

State Parties

Of the  State parties, the most important is the Shiromani Akali Dal,

Shiromani Akali Dal :-  The party came into existence on 14 December 1920, during the Gurdwara Reform Movement, with headquarters at the Golden Temple, Amritsar. The party played a significant role in bringing about major reforms in the management of Sikh Shrines and bringing them under the control of the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee. It actively participated in the national freedom struggle in collaboration with the Indian National Congress and emerged as a vanguard of the Non-Cooperation Movement in the Punjab during 1931-32. It emerged as a full-fledged political party in the State during 1936-37 elections held under the Government of India Act, 1935. The party continues to function as a religious and social organization.

            Since the creation of Rupnagar District in 196, the party has been contesting Lok Sabha and Punjab Vidhan Sabha seats. In the Fourth General Elections, the party won 1 seat out of 5 Vidhan Sabha seats in the District. In the Mid-Term Elections in 1969, the party won 3 out of the 5 Vidhan Sahba seats in the district. It also won one seat out of the 2 Vidhan Sabha Seats in the by election held during 1970. In the Fifth General in 1972, the party won only 1 seat out of the 5 Vidhan Sabha seats in the district. In the Sixth General Elections in 1977, the party won the Lok Sabha seat and 3 out of 5 Vidhan Sabha seats in the district. In the Seventh General Elections held in 1980, the party won 2 out of the 5 Vidhan Sabha seats in the district.

            The position of the different parties in the Lok Sabha and the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, in the district, on the basis of the General Elections, held from time to time, is given in the following statement :-

Party Position in Lok Sabha and Punjab Vidhan Sabha Elections in Rupnagar District


 

Name of party

Lok Sabha

PunjabVidhan Sabha

 

No. of seats won

No. of seats won

 

Fourth General Elections 1967

Fifth General Elections 1972

Sixth General Elections 1977

Seventh General Elections 1980

Fourth General Elections 1967

Mid-term Elections 1969

Two-Bye Elections 1970

Fifth General Elections 1972

Sixth General Elections 1977

Seventh General Elections 1980

All India Parties

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indian National Congress

1

1

-

1

4

1

1

3

-

3

Communist Party of India

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

-

-

Communist Party of India (Marxist)

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Republican Party of India

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Bhartiya Jan Sangh

-

-

-

-

-

1

-

-

-

-

Janata Party

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

2

-

State Parties

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Akali Dal

-

-

1

-

1

3

1

1

2

2

Total no. of seats in the district

1

1

1

1

5

5

2

5

5

5

(Source  : Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab, Chandigarh and his publications entitled Reports on General Elections, Punjab, 1969, 1972 and 1980)

(c) Newspapers and Periodicals

Public life in Rupnagar District has been enriched by newspapers and periodicals which voice popular grievances. In fact, the press could be regarded as an agency mainly responsible for creating political consciousness among the different strata of the society. It is the press which discusses freely and sympathetically the grievances of common man an also of the neglected sections of the society.

At present there are seven periodicals published in the district. Besides, a number of Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu and English dailies, and periodicals, published outside, are in fairly large circulation in the district. The particulars of the periodicals published in the district as in 1982 are given below :-

S.No.

Name of periodical

Place of publication

Year when started

Language

Circulation

WEEKLIES

1

Anandpur Khalsa Sandesh

Anandpur

1975

Punjabi

-

2.

Sachitar Punjabi Patrika

Rupnagar

-

Punjabi

10,357

QUARTERLIES

3.

Shiwalik

Rupnagar

1951

Punjabi

Hindi

Sanskrit

English

-

MONTHLIES

4.

Pankhrian

Rupnagar

-

Punjabi

2,070

5.

Primary Shiksha

Rupnagar

-

Punjabi

2,750

YEARLIES

6.

F.C.I. Higher Secondary School Magazine

Naya Nangal

1973

Punjabi

-

7.

Govind Sagar

Runpnagar

-

Multilingual

-

 

(b)               VOLUNTARY SOCIAL SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS

            The voluntary social service organizations are of recent growth and have a place of importance in the public life in general and in the socio-economic scheme of society in the particular. These organizations allow free play to human emotions and volitions and supply the individual with a moral force and supplement the efforts made by the State towards the development of human personality. As a matter of fact, these organizations represent the various aspects of the public life in a social organization and exercise a formative influence on the public opinion which is a conglomeration of distinct social, political and economic views held by the majority of persons in the community.

A number of voluntary social service organizations functions in the district which meet the socio-economic needs of the people. These organizations are engaged in the welfare activities of the children, women, aged and infirms, handicapped and other deserving sections of the society.

A brief account of the important organizations functioning in the district is given below :

 

Bharat Sewak Samaj, Rupnagar :-  A non political social wing of the Indian National Congress, it has its headquarters at Rupnagar. It has two branches one each at Nanagal and Ghanuali in the district. The Samaj subscribes to the functions, activities and ideals of the parent body located at Chandigarh. It also helps in the implementation of Government programmes and policies.

The Samaj especially works for the benefits of  the poor section of the society. It organizes social service camps in rural area and works for securing co-operation in various fields of rural development, family planning, setting up of balwadis, etc. It also renders assistance to the people during natural calamities like food, famine, etc.

Other Organizations

 

Shir Mahabir Dal, Rupnagar :-  With its headquarters at Chandigarh, Shri Mahabir Dal, Rupnagar was formed in 1968. The Dal is registerd with Bharatiya Sanatan Dharam Mahabit Dal, Punjab. It renders voluntary service in social, cultural and religious fields. It sends its volunteers for making arrangements at various fairs and festivals held in and outside the State. It also helps the people in emergency such as storms, fire, accidents, etc.

 

Bhartiya Grameen Mahila, Samiti, Rupnagar :-  The Bhartiya Grameem Mahila Smiti, Rupnagar, was established in 1975. Its aim is the upliftment of women in social, economic, education and cultural spheres. For this purpose, it organizes various social activities such as tailoring centres in order to provide opportunity for women belonging to all classes of the society to come on a common platform. The Samiti runs tailoring centres and balwadies in the district. The State Social Welfare Advisory Board meets 75 per cent of total expenditure incurred by the Samiti on these centres, whereas the remaining 25 per cent is collected through fees.

 

Organizations of National or International Repute

There are a number of other organizations of national or international repute which are established elsewhere but have their branches in the district, are mentioned as under :-

 

The Indian Red Cross Society (District Branch), Rupnagar :-  The Indian Red Cross Society was established in 1920 under ACT XV of the Government of India. The Rupnagar District Red Cross Branch was started in 1967 with Deputy Commissioner as its President, and General Assistant to Deputy Commissioner as its honorary Secretary.

The important activities of the society are : relief of the sick, suffering and wounded persons; prevention of diseases; relief of soldiers, sailors, airmen and other military personnels, blood transfusion service; help to sister charitable institutions opening of eye and polio camps; establishment of first aid posts; training in first aid and home nursing; maternity and child welfare including family planning, etc      .

            The society maintains 5 maternity and child welfare centres at Morinda, Mahtot, Kurali, Bhago Majra and Anandpur Sahib with 9 sub centres attached to these centres. Each centre is manned by a Lady Health Visitor and a trained Dai.

During 1983, the Society spend Rs. 2,59,915 as grant-in-aid to the needy persons, and Rs. 34,639 on the rehabilitation of the handicapped. The membership of society was 1,11,037 and it was running 189 first aid posts in the district in 1983.

The main sources of income of the society are :  collection from Luck Bag Funds, District Relief Fund, subscription donations and contributions, etc. For this purpose, Red Cross collection boxes are provided at all the Maternity and Child Health Centres in the District. The income and expenditure of the Society durign 1983 were Rs. 7,96,820 and Rs. 6,86,495 respectively.

Rotary Club, Kurali :-  The Rotary Club is an international social service organizations whose motto is “Service Above Self”. If aims at the encouragement and fostering of international brotherhood for the welfare of the community at large. Besides, it plays important role in the advancement of inter-nation undertaking and goodwill.

Rotary Club Kurali was formed in 1978. Besides, the Club has two branches one at Rupnagar and the other at Nangal, both established in 1979. Besides, promoting the idea of international brotherhood, these clubs actively participate in functions like traffic safety by displaying traffic safety boards, giving scholarships to the deserving students and financial assistance to the poor and needy students. They also provide free medical service for poor patients through their medico members and arrange polio and eye camps.

Lions Club, Morinda :-  The Lions Club, is a world-wide organization whose motto is ‘We Serve’. In fact, it is an international brotherhood for the service of humanity at large.

The Lions Club was started in Morinda in 1978. It provides free books and scholarships to the needy students. Besides, it helps the flood affected people, arranges polio-cum-immunization camps and eye camps. The club also makes available drinking water facilities in the town especially during scarcity periods.

The expenditure of the Club is met through subscription of its members.


CHAPTER XIX

PLACES OF INTEREST

            As explained in Chapter II, ‘History’, a number of places falling in the Rupnagar District were the scene of  important events, mainly in Sikh history. Such of these places as are now religious and historical significance are detailed below. Most of the shrines were build many years after the events that they commemorate, and some of the gurudwaras have been built quite recently. Some forts and gurudwaras, however, have remained extant from their origin in the 17th Century. Most to the these places of pilgrimage have arrangements for stay of pilgrims, and also for langer (community meals). The shrines are maintained from the offering received from devotes.

Anandpur Sahib

On the left of bank of the Satluj River, 40 kilometres from Rupnagar Town lies Anandpur Sahib, the “adobe of bliss”. In the background is the Naina Devi range. The town of Anandpur Sahib was founded by Guru Teg Bahadur, the ninth Sikh Guru. The Guru had left Baba Bakala in the Amritsar District and purchases the land from Raja of Bilaspur. It is said that there was previously a village here called Makhowal, (later names as GuruKa Chak) where Guru Teg Bahadur settled. The town Anandpur sprang up round the round of Anndpur, there lived a cruel demon called Makho, who ahd occupied the place for 1,700 years before Guru Teg Bahadur came. The Guru determined to expel the demon but the latter promised to depart of his own accord, only asking first a favour that his name might be associated with the name of the place where he had lived so long. The Guru replied that his followers (the Sodhis) would call the place Anandpur but that the people of the hills and some others would continue to call it Makhowal.

Guru Gobind Singh came to this town in 1674 when he was only eight years old and he spent about 25 yeats, the greater part of his life in Anandpur. The town became the rallying point of his struggle against Mughal oppression and the surrounding areas, were the scene of many a battle. It was here that the Guru introduced a new form of a baptism and called the baptised Sikhs as ‘Khala’ or the pure one, giving them the common surname of Singh (lion). The town contains a  number of gurudwaras associated with the ninth and tenth Gurus of the Sikhs.

Gurudwara Keshgarh Sahib :-  The most important of the complex of shrines at Anandpur Sahib is Gurudwara Keshgarh Sahib, which stands on the place where the ‘Khalsa’ was born. It is regarded as one of the five sacres ‘Takhts’ or seats of Sikh religion. It is on the main Rupnangar-Nangal road and one had to walk up a cobbled path to reach the shrine, built on a hillock. Climbing up some steps, darshani deorhi had to be crossed first. Then comes a large open marbled quadrangle at the end of which steps lead up to the central shrine. In the centre of the a hall is a room displaying twelve weapons used by Guru Gobind Singh in battle. There is an imposing dome on the hall with a golden kalas on the top. A big serai of about 200 rooms is also attached.

It was here in 1699 on the Baisakhi Day (13 April), when Guru Gobind Singh created the ‘Khalsa’. At the behest of the Guru, thousands of people had assembled on the hill where now Gurudwara Keshgarh Sahib stands. The Guru appeared before the congregation with a naked sword in his hand and told that his thirsty sword demanded the life of a volunteer. A deep hush fell over the crowd. Ultimately Daya Ram, a Khatri of Lahore came forward. The Guru took him to a tent and returned with his sword with blood. He asked for another head and Dharam Dass, a Jat of Delhi offered himself. Three more similar calls brought out Mohkam Chand, a washerman of Dwarka, Sahib Chand, a barber from Bidar and Himat Rai, a water carried of Jagannath Puri. From the tent in which these five followers had been taken, Guru Gobind Singh brought out the five Sikhs, dressed in new clothes, blue-turbaned, with loose, long yellow shirts, a waist band round their waists, with sorts of Knicker-bockers worn as under wears and with swords dangling by their sides. It was an inspiring sight. The Guru told the congregation that these were his Five Beloved Sikhs (Panj Payaras), and he baptised them by offering them Amrit (the nectar of immortality) he had prepared by dissolving sugar bubbles (patasa) in water sanctifying the sweetened water by stirring it with a double edged sword (khanda) and reciting the holy verses. The Guru himself took the Amrit from the Panj Payaras, thus removing the distinction between himself and his followers. The composition by caste of the Five chosen symbolised the principle of equality of all men, irrespective of birth. On that day, Guru Gobind Rai became Guru Gobind Singh. The Panj Payaraa were enjoined to embrace the five symbols of the new Sikh faith, Kes (unshorn hair), Kangha (comb), Kara (steel bracelet), Kachha (short drawer) and Kirpan (sword). The ceremony gave the followers of the Guru a new identity which was to prepare the Sikhs for their struggle against the Mughal State and influence the future of the country.

Gurudwara Manji Sahib :-  It is situated quite close to Gurudwara Kesgarh Sahib. At this place, Guru Gobind Singh used to watch his soldiers’ training in warfare. It is a place of great significance for the Nihang Community. The Nihanga wear a very long truban in the memory of Fateh Singh the youngest son of Guru Gobind Singh. The story goes that once, as a small child, Fateh Singh was not allowed to join in some game as he was very small. The boy put on a huge turban to make himself appear as tall his brother. Since then the Nihangs have a tradition of wearing a long turban.

Gurudwara Sis Ganj :-  This is built on the spot where the head of Guru Teg Bahadur brought by Bhai Jaita from Delhi in November 1675 after the martyrdom of the Guru, was cremated by his son, Guru Gobind Singh. On the actual site of cremation is a raised platform, called Akalbunga. It is dome shaped building with the Sikh Banner hoisted atop.

Gurudwara Bhora Sahib :-  This is actually a part of Guru Ka Mahal which was the residential house of Guru Teg Bahadur. There is an underground cell called Bhora Sahib where the Guru used to meditate. There is also a small platform, known as Thara Sahib in this gurudwara, which has great historical importance. At this platform, Guru Teg Bahadur used to hold court and preach. It was at this spot that a few Pandits from Kashmir met the Guru, in June 1675 and told him about the atrocities suffered by them at the hands of the Governor of Kashmir.

In this very gurudwara, there is a place, known as Gurudwara Damdama Sahib, where Guru Gobind Singh was coronated after the martyrdom of his father on 11 November 1675. It is said that Guru Gobind Singh used to sit here to administer sermons and receive officering at the time of Hola fair.

Gurudwara Anandgarh Sahib :-  This is supposed to have been a stronghold of Guru Gobind Singh to meet the requirements of the war against the Mughals and their allies. Located on a hillock, this was the first and the main fort built by Guru Gobind Singh in A.D. 1686. A number of battles were fought at this spot. It is also a dome shaped building having a baoli or deep well with 132 marble steps leading down to it.

Guruswara Mai Jito :-  This shrine is  situated in the village of Agampur, adjoining Anandpur Sahib. It was built in the memory of Mai Jito, wife of Guru Gobind Singh.

Mention may also be made of the forts of Lohgarh and Holgarh which stand on opposite banks of Charan Ganga Khar at some distance from one and other. Lohgarh in the past was the stronghold of Guru Gobind Singh for his battles with the hill tribes. It is called Lohgarh because Guru Gobind Singh set up an iron factory in this fort, where cannon, rifles and other armaments were manufactured. The fort Holgarh is situated in the village of Agampur. It was so named because Guru Gobind Singh used  to celebrate the Holi festival at this place in a unique way. Instead of the usual practice of throwing colours, he held military exercises and sports on this occasion. The Sikhs used to visit Anandpur in large number and the Guru imparted them training in warfare. For this purpose, the sandy bed of Charan Ganga and the area thereabout provided an ideal location. The tradition still continues every year on the eve of Hola Mohalla.

Holla Mohalla :-  The Hola fair, popularly known as Hola Mohalla, is a unique event every year at Anandpur Sahib celebrated on the day following the Holi festival. Thousands of devotees from various parts of the country throng to Anandpur Sahib to participate in the fair which lasts for three days. The town wears a festive appearance and hums with activity. The gurudwaras are specially decorated on the occasion. Community conference and religious functions are also organized. Besides circus shows, magic shows merry-go-rounds and various other items of amusement entertain the people on this festive occasion. A large number of temporary shops are also set up on both sides of the road leading from Gurudwara Kesgarh Sahib to Gurudwara Anandgarh Sahib. On this occasion Nihangs from all over the country gather for the celebration of Hola Mohalla. The highlight of Hola Mohalla is a huge procession by Nihangs, clad in their traditional dress and weapons, on the last day of the fair. The procession starts from Sahib, and passing through the bazar goes to village Agampur and reaches the fort of Holgarh, the place where Guru Gobind Singh used to celebrate this festival. Thereafter, the procession proceeds to the sandy bed of Charan Ganga, where demonstration of martial games including riding, tent pegging, sword wielding, etc. are witnessed by a large number of people.

Chamkaur Sahib

Situated on the bank of the Sirhind Canal, Chamkaur Sahib is at a distance of 15 km from Morinda and 16 km from is at a distance of 15 km from Morinda and 16 km from Rupnagar. Guru Gobind Singh along with his two elder sons and 40 followers had come to this place from Kotla Nihang with his pursuers close on his heels. They came in the garden said to be of Raja Bidhi Chand, where now Gurudwara Damdama Sahib stands. There are serveral gurudwaras at this place making the visits and halts of Guru Gobind Singh, which are describes below :-

Gurudwara Katalgarh Sahib :-  Also known as Gurudwara Shahidganj, it occupies a unique place among all the gurudwaras, located at  Chamkaur Sahib. It is built at the site where Baba Ajit Singh and Baba Jhujjar Singh, elder sons of the Guru along with his 37 followers fell fighting against the Mughal army. Originally, it was an important structure with dome and minarets in the Muslim style of architecture. The tradition is that it was an imitation of the Guru’s own samadhi at Hazoor Sahib in Nanded (Maharashtra). It is said that one Gurdial Singh of Bela, who had gone to Hazoor Sahib was told in a dream to render his devotions at Chamkaur Sahib instead of coming toHazoor Sahib. The Gurudwara was built in 1815 according to the design, he brought from there. The old gurudwara however was constructed about 25 years back.

In the centre of the gurudwara, there is angitha of the martyrs, also known as Manji Sahib where the bodies of the two elder sons of the Guru and his followers were cremated.

A big fair known as Shahidi Jor Mela lasting for three days is held in the month of December to commemorate the martyrdom of the elder sons of Guru Gobind Singh. Besides a fair is held here on the occasion of Dussehra.

Gurudwara Damdama Sahib :-  It is built at the place where Guru Gobind Singh halted in the garden of Raja Bidhi Chand. The Raja used to visit the Guru at Anandpur Sahib and frequently entreated that his services be accepted by the Guru. Remembering the Raja’s words, the Guru reaching Chamkaur Sahib sent for him. The raja met the Guru’s request for protection very coldly. He said he had only one house in his possession which was occupied by his zenana (womenfolk). Then the Guru with his 40 followers and two sons went and occupied the fortress (garhi) in the evening in 21 December 1704.

Gurudwara Garhi Sahib:-  Located on a mound, it is built on the spot where Guru Gobind Singh along with his two sons and followers is known to have established himself in the mud fortress which was in possession of two Rajput brothers, viz. Jagat Rai and Rup Chand. The Guru fought battle with the Mughal army in this fortress. After the Guru’s departure from this place in the early hours of 23 December 1704, the pursuing Mughal forces attacked the fortress. The Sikhs went out in batches and died fighting against heavy odds. The Guru’s two elder sons and his 37 followers laid down their lives in the battle.

Gurudwara Shahid Burj Sahib :- This is situated very close to Gurudwara Garhi Sahib and is built in the memory of a Mazhabi Sikh, Jiwan Singh who was left in command after the Guru was forced to leave Chamkaur Sahib with only three followers. Jiwan Singh died while fighting with Mughal forces and the gurudwara is dedicated to him.

Gurudwara Tarri Sahib :-  It lies at a distance of 500 yards towards the west of the town, It is built at the spot where the Guru with his three followers after leaving the fortress reached and clapped his hands three times saying “The Pir of India is going’. That is why, this is known as Gurudwara Tarri Sahib.

Gurudwara Ranjitgarh Sahib :-  It lies towards the east of town. It was at this place that the Guru fought battle with the Mughal Army Chiefs. A gurudwara was built here and named Ranjitgarh in honour of the Guru having won the battle.

At a distance of 7 km from Chamkaru Sahib across the Sirhing Canal, there is another historical gurudwara names Gurudwara Jand Sahib in the Village of Birguru built in the memory of Guru Gobind Singh. After the battle of Chamkaur Sahib (22 December 1704), Guru Gobind Singh walked into this area then known as Bir and rested there under a jand tree for one night. According to one tradition, a Khan of village Kerri Bassi had lost his buffaloes and his servants, while searching for the lost buffaloes happened to recognize the Guru at this very place. Expecting that they would get huge reward from the Mughal rulers, they tried to get hold of the Guru by making a noise. Realizing their intention, the Guru offered them a sword wrapped with gems. Even then they did not hold their tongues and the Guru beheaded one of them and other was so soundly beaten that he became dumb. According to another tradition, the buffaloes belonged to one Chaudhari of Chamkaur Sahib. He, along with his servant, reached the place where the Guru was resting and the latter mistook them as his enemy. The Guru tried to kill the servant but on the request of the latter he pardoned him and gave his sword to him. The Chaudhari took the sword from the servant and tried to make a noise. At this, the Guru killed the Chaudhari and gave the sword back to the servant. The Guru then proceeded towards Machhiwara. The jand tree under which the Guru rested still exists in the gurudwara. A diwan (congregation) is held here in the month of December every year.

 

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