The Sodhis of Anandpur Sahib
After the death of Guru Gobind Singh, Suraj Mal a relative of Guru claimed to be the religious head of the Sikh community. A few Sodhi families also came and constructed their buildings. In January 1764, when the Province of Sirhind was redistributed among the cis-Satluj Sikh Chief, Nahar Singh and Surjan Singh Sodhi acquired the ilaka of Anandpurand Makhowal worth three lakhs a year. The Sodhids of this place were called as Sarkars. There were seven such Sarkars, which administered different territories. Each Sarkar had its own forts and palaces. They used to live in very hostile atmosphere. A man belonging to one Sarkar could not enter boundary of the other Sarkar. Each administrator held his own court and gave the judgement. They lived like Princes and had elephants, horses and armies of their own. These Sodhi families of Anandpur Sahib were much respected. On the occasion of Hola Mohalla, many people from different places came to them, worshipped them like the Guru and gave them large sums of money as donation. The Sodhi of Anandpur Sahib were also given authority by the British Government and they had courts of their own and listened to the cases of the people. The Sodhi were feudal lords and they had a large personal property. Moreover, all of the income of the gurudwaras also went into their pockets. In addition, there were jahirs attached to gurudwaras and those were maintained even during the British period.
After the fall of Sirhind in 1763, a considerable portion of present-day Rupnagar District also came under Singhpuria Misl. The founder of the Misl was Nawab Kapur Singh, of Virk Jat of village Faizullapur, district Amritsar. When the Sikh Panth was organised into twelve misls on 29 March 1748, Nawab Kapur Singh was appointed the Commander of Singhpuria Misl. When Harimandar, the Sikh temple at Amritsar was rebuilt, after it had been destroyed by Abdali, its foundation was laid by Nawab Kapur Singh, on 17 Novomber1763.
Nawab Kapur Singh was a great warrior, He fought many battles. The last battle that he fought was the battle of Sirhind, as the other misls occupied their respective areas of the Sirhind Province the Singhpuria Misl took possession of many prominent territories in Punjab, including the following in Rupnagar district.
Manauli, Ghanuli, Bharatgarh, Kandhola, Chooni, Machli, Bhareli, Bunga, Bela, Attalgarh65 Nawab Kapur Singh was very closely associated with the history of Rupnagar District. A considerable portion of present Rupnagar District was under Singhpuria Misl founded by him. Handsome and tall, there was no part of his body,which did not bear a scar or mark of wound, Kapur Singh had organised the Sikhs first into Budha and Taruna Dals and then into the great Dal Khalsa. He brought all the sections to gether. Thousands were brought by him to the Sikh faith. According to G.S. Chhabra, Kapur brought the Sikhs out faith a state of confusion and disorganization, and under the life of utter poverty and want, gave them new language, in which the most humble articles of use, became the most attractive of the articles of diet.66
Nawab Kapur Singh died childless and his nephew, Khushal Singh succeeded him as leader of the misl. When Abdali returned home after his ninth invasion of Indai, the Sikhs had occupied more territories in the Punjab. Sheikh Nizam-ud-din was the ruler of Jalandhar at that time. Sardar Budh Singh, the son of Sardar Khushal Singh Singhpuria, defeated Nizam-id-din on the battle-filed and occupied Jalandhar. He also took possooession of Bulandgarh, Behrampur, Nurpur and Haibatpur-Patti. This victory brought him yearly revenue of three lakhs of rupees.
In 1769, the Singpuria Misl had the following territories in its possession:-
Some parts of the districts of Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur in Doaba, Kharparkheri and Singhpura in Bari-Doab and Abhar, Adampur, Chhat, Banoor, Manauli Ghanauli, Bharatgarh, Kandhaula, Chooni, Machhli Bhareli, Banga, Bela, Attal Garh and some other places in the province of Sirhind.
Sardar Khusal Singh played a significant role in expanding the territories of Singhpuria Misl on both the banks of River Satluj. The most important of the possession of Khushal Singh were Patti, Bhartgarh, Nurpur, Bahrampur and Jalandhar, Khushal Singh also occupied Ludhiana, through. He had to divide the district of Banur with Patiala. He died in 1795 leaving him hos misl stronger than ever it was and with territorial possession far larger than those he had inherited.
Khaushal Singh was succeeded by his son Budh Singh, but the later could not equal his talents. The Singhpuria Misl began to decline and ultimately all its possessions on the west of Satluj were annexed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. On his possessions on the east of Satluj, however, the British protection was extended68
Budh Singh died in 1816, leaving seven soven behind him. His eldest son, Amar Singh, retained possession of Bhartgarh and divided the rest of the territories among his six brother as under:-
Bhopal Singh was given the estate of Ghanauli; Gopal Singh, Manauli; Lal Singh, Bunga, Gurdyal Singh, Attalgarh; Hardyal Singh, Bela and Dyal Singh, Kandaula.The descendants of these Sardars still live on their repective estates.69
The fort of Bharatgarh was the most important stronghold of the Singhpuria Misl. It enjoyed a very strategic position because of its location on the bank of Satluj River. Originally, seven garhies were built and ultimately the present fort was contructed in 1783. The area of the fort is about 7 acres and it has 400 acres of forest land.
Jai Singh a Gurm Jat of village Karanke Khirke near Atari, was a, member of the nishanwala Misl. After the fall off Sirhind, he was able to seize even villages in Kharar, besides some territories elsewhere. Dhanna Singh Nishanwala was an other important Sikh Chief of Kharar who succeeded Jai Singh.
After the fall of Sirhid in 1763, Garib Dass a Hindu chief seized a group of 84 villages in the Parganas of manomajra and Mullanpur which were held by his father Ganga Ram, a revenue officer. He built two forts, one at Mullanpur and the other at Manimajra. The temple of Jayanti Devi near Mullan other at Manimajra. The Temple of Jayanti Devi Near Mullanpur was also built by Garib Dass. It may be noted that it is after the name of Garib Dass that Mullanpur is sometimes called Mullanpur Garib Dass wala. He made Manimajra his capital and extended his territory by capture of the fort of Pinjor situated in a lovely garden at the foot of the Shiwalik Hills. Kalka was also included in his territory70.
However, the territory of Garib Dass was later conquered and annexed by Maharaja of Patiala. In 1785, a Sikh Chief named Bhagat Singh was in possession of this territory under the sovereign power of Maharaja of Patiala.
Almost the whole of territory of present Rupnagar District came under the Sikh Chiefds after the fall Sirhind in 1763. Only the Afghan Colony of Kotla Ni hang near Rupnagar maintained its independence.
The Ropar Meeting October 1881
A historic meeting between Maharaja Ranjit Singh and Lord William Bentinck, the Governor General of India took place at Ropar on the bank of Sutluj on 26 October 1831. Great decorations were made in honour of the Governor-General. Ostensibly, the Governor-General met the Maharaja to show to the world that he and the Maharaja were friendly. Ranjit Singh’s purpose of meeting the Governor-General was that he wanted to show to his Sikh Cheifs that he was the acknowledgement head of the Khalsa. But the real mtives of both the Governor-General and Ranjit Singh were much deeper. Booth had designs over Sind province. When even as the meeting was on, Col. Pottinger a British Agent, was on his way to Sind to negotiate a commercial treaty with the then Amirs of Sindu, or as Abdual Qudar says,” William Bentinct was then lulling Ranjit Singh to sleep at Ropar, so that he may steal a march upon Sindu and bring it under the British sphare of influence. Ranjit Singh had come to Rupar to know the mind of the Government-General about the Sind question. The result of that meeting, however, was that Bentinck, eventually, succeeded in his real motive and forestalled Ranjit Singh by establishing British supremacy in Sindh. It was another bitter pill for Ranjit Singh to swallow; but weak as he was, he swallowed it, as he had already swallowed the first bitter pill in 1809. The British treaty with Sind is said to have given a few sleepless nights to the Maharja. The British, however, tried to allay his fears by assuring him that the treaty was of a purely commercial nature?
The meeting had been a fiasco and a great disappointment for Ranjit Singh.
(c) The British Period
After the treaty of 1809, Ranjit Singh was not allowed by the British to extend his conquests in the Cis-Satluj area, still certain areas here were already under him. There were many petty chiefs of Maharaja Ranjit Singh who were in possession of certain territories in the cis-Satluj area. Kharar was also under a Chief of the Maharaja. Under article 2 of the treaty of 1809, the British imposed a condition upon Ranjit Singh that he would never maintain in the territory, which he occupied on the left bank of the River Satluj, more troops than were necessary for the internal duties of that territory, nor commit or suffer any encroachments on the possesions or rights of the chiefs in its vivinity.72
Further, Maharaja Ranjit Singh claimed supremacy over Chamkaur, and Anandpur and other places belonging to the Sodhis or collateral representatives of Guru Gobind Singh 73. These claims of the Maharaja were admitted by the British in 182774.
However, after the death of Ranjit Singh, the British began to grab the cis-satluj areas of the Lahore Durbar. Major Broadfoot who was appointed as British Agent for the affairs of Sikhs in November 1844 was very enthusiastic in this respect. One of Major Broadfoot's first acts was to declare the cis-satluj possessions of Lahore to be under British protection equally with Patiala and other chief ships, and also to be liable to escheat on the death or deposition of Maharaja Dalip Singh. This view was not formally announced to the Sikh government, but Major Broadfoot acted on it when he proceeded to interfere authoritatively, and by a display of force, in the affairs of the priest-like Sodhis of Anandpur-Makhowal.
The Struggle for Freedom
It took the British over a hundred years to consolidate their power in India. During this period, there were repeated attempts by individuals and groups to challenge their domination. The revolt of 1857 was a great effort to overthrow British power, but it failed because of internal dissension's and weak leadership.
In December 1845, the British declared war with the Sikh State of Lahore through a proclamation, the Governor General of India also declared that the possessions of Maharaja Dalip Singh on the left of British bank of the Satluj wer confiscated and annexed to the British territories. It was also declared that the Governor General would respect the existing rights of all jagirdars, zamindars and tenants in the said possessions, who would evince their fidelity to the British Government. It was further declared that the inhabitants of all the territories on the left bank of the Satluj were directed to abide peaceably in their respective villages, where they would receive efficient protection by the British Government. All parties of men found in armed bands who could give no satisfactory account of their proceedings would be treated as disturbers of the public peace. 15
Raja Bhup Singh of Rupar did not support the Birtish in the Anglo Sikh War of 1845. Instead he supported Maharaja Dalip Singh, the minor successor of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The help given by Raja Bhup Singh to the Lahore Durbar was intolerable for the British. As already discussed under the head 'Establishment of the Sikh State of Rupar', the Sikh State of Rupar was annexed by the British in 1847. Thus unlike the Phulkian Chiefs of Jind, Nabha and Patiala, Raja Bhup Singh of Rupar did not show allegiance to the British.
Consequently much of the area of modern Rupnagar District came under British Control in 1847. The Anandpur area became part of the Una Tahsil of Hoshiarpur District and much of the area now falling in Kharar and Rupnagar tahsils became part of the Ambala District. However, some areas of the District remained under the princely states of Nalagarh and Patiala under British Protection.
The Great uprising of 1857- The situation in the Punjab was different from that which prevailed in the rest of India. The Sikhs, who might well have gambled with the chance of recovering power, were leaderless. Maharaja Dalip Singh and renounced Sikhism and was assiduously trying to convert himself from a Punjabi prince into an English country gentleman. Sher Singh Attariwala was living under surveillance at Calcutta on pension granted by the British. Bhai Mharaja Singh and Raja Singh Dina Nath were dead. Bedi Bikram Singh to whom the Sikhs looked for guidance as a descendant of Guru Nanak was interned in his native place, Una.
The Board of Administration and thereafter Chief Commissioner, John Lawrence, had done a good job. They had brought peace to a land which had lived through ten years of chaos and bloodshed, they had regularised the legal system and both civil and criminal courts were functioning smoothly, they had ruled with an iron hand but without offending the racial or religious susceptibilities of the people, they had introduced social reforms, they had laid roads, built schools, hospitals and rest houses in a land whose only experience of foreigners – Turks, Mongols, Pathans, Afghans and Marathas had been of systematic plundering.
As soon as news of the rising in Meerut and Delhi spread, “a season of open violent crime” set in the cis-Satluj states and in some towns of the Punjab, with a fex exceptions, the Sikhs of both the cis-Satluj aand the trans-Satluj, princes and peasants, expressed unreserved support to the British. The Rajas of Jind, Patiala, Nabha, Kalsia and Kapurthala, the chiefs of Malaudh, Kheri, Bhadaur and Lodran, the Singh purias and the Sodhis of Kartarpur volunteered for service.
There was an abortive rising at Rupnagar, which was promptly suppressed. One Mohar Singh, a factor of the chief of Rupnagar whose attempt to forbid the slaughter of kine had led to some disturbance was executed".
The loyalty of the Punjab Princes and rich zamindars was decisive in saving the Punjab and the rest of India for the British. They helped to maintain order in the Punjab, kept the roads leading to Delhi open for movement of troops, armour, and treasuries and supplied money, men and munitions. Of the Punjabis, the role of the Sikhs in suppressing the uprising was the most significant. Sikh soldiers defended English establishments, and families in Allahabad, Benares, Lucknow, Kanpur, Arrah, and other centres of revolt. Since the merut and Delhi mutineers had proclaimed the restoration of Mughal rule, Sikhs who had been brought up on tales of Mughal atrocities against their forefathers reacted sharply to Bahadur Shah's proclamation. The British exploited the anti Mughal sentiment of the Sikhs. A new version of the sawsakhi prophesying a joint Anglo Sikh conquest of Delhi was circulated. Thus the prospect of loot was given the sanction of prophecy, the Sikhs eagerly joined the company forces marching towards Delhi.
The Sikhs were handsomely rewarded for their services, the princes with grants of territory and palatial residences, commoner's with loot and employment opportunities. An important outcome of the mutiny, as far as the Sikhs were concerned, was that service in the armed forces was thrown open to them and they became the most sought after recruits for the British army.79
After the mutiny, the Court of Directors of the East India Company was abolished and its powers transferred to the British Parliament. The Parliament appointed a Secretary of State and entrusted him and the Governor General with the administration of India. The most important administrative change as far as the Punjab was concerned was the adhesion of areas now in Haryana and Delhi to province80.
The Kuka Movement- Even after the revolt of 1857, pockets of resistance remained throughout the country and found expression in local movements. One of the most interesting of such efforts to expel the British was the Kuka Movement initiated by Bhai Ram Singh. Ram Singh was a simple peasant, but had great personal qualities which attracted the loyalty and allegiance of large sections of people in the Punjab. A man of the people, Bhai Ram Singh knew of the hardships and suffering of the ordinary peasants and based his movement on redress of their grievances. He had served as a soldier in the Sikh Army and had been influenced by the idea of Sikh dominion over the Punjab. He realised that neither political liberation nor social and economic up liftment would be possible without an improvement in the quality of the individual. He therefore, placed great stress on moral qualities and sought to inculcate in his followers a spirit of religious devotion and service. With in few years, Bhai Ram Singh developed into Guru Ram Singh with a considerable following in Ludhiana and adjoining areas.81
It was natural that the rapid advancement of the Kuka Movement should cause consternation to those whose interest lay in keeping the people benighted and struck up in the web of complicated rites, ceremonies, customs and practices. Prominent among these people were the Sodhis, Bedis and the priestly classes, Brahmins and Mahants. They were the reputed leaders of the society. Their leadership was now put in jeopardy by deep impact made by the movement of Ram Singh on the minds of the people.
However, the worst was reserved for his visit to Anandpur Sahib on the occasion of Hola in March 1867. In the beginning, Mahant Hari Singh of Gurudwara Keshgarh was adamant that the Kukas must not be admitted into the holy precincts of Anandpur Sahib. Later on, even when he gave up this obduracy under official pressure, he insisted that he would only allow them to enter the gurdware proper on certain conditions. Even when ultimately a settlement was arrived at and a party of Kukas headed by Ram Singh was granted admission, he accepted the offered money from the Kuka Guru, but refused to pray for him. At the same time, an attack was attempted upon the visiting Kukas, at the instigation of the Mahant, by a party of armed Nihangs. But for the timely intervention of the police on the spot this would have certainly caused a great deal of bloodshed. Baba Ram Singh revolted against this nasty business, and he, immediately wrote a letter of protest to the Pujari.
It is true that the Kuka Movement did not succeed, but nevertheles it is left a permanet impression on a large section of the Sikhs. The insistence if Guru Ram Singh on self-help helped in developing among them their system of justice and communication. This was a considerable achievement in view of the prevailing circumstances. Even more remarkable was the Kuka insistence on growth of indigenous agriculture and trade. In some respects, Guru Ram Singh had anticipated the non-Cooperation movement of 1921in his idea of boycott of British institutions in the country. It is also claimed that the Kuka movements in the Punjab in the early twentieth century.
The Ghadar Movement, 1913-15 –The Ghadar Movement was a purely secular movementwhich aimed to liberate India by force of arms. The rebellion was planned in the United States and Canada. Funds were raised from Indians living in foreign countries. The headquarters of the movement were at San Fransisco (U.S.A.) Baba Sohan Singh Bhakna was the first President and Lala Hardyal was the General Secretary of the Party. Pandit Kanshi Ram of Rupnagar District was the Treasurer of the Ghadar Party. A weeklypaper called Chief Editor. The movement gained wide publicty through this journal and in course of time came to be know as the Ghadar Party.
A number of revolutionaries belonging to Kharar Tahsil of present day Rupnagar District participated in the Ghadar Movement. However, the most important role was played by Pandit Kanshi Ram whose brife history is produced below.
Kanshi Ram was born on 13 October 1882, in a Brahmin family of Marauli Kalan, about 2 km from Morinda. His father Pandit Ganga Ram was a purohit and a modest farmer.
After passing the Matriculation Examination from Mahendra High School (now Mahendra Collage ) Patiala, Kanshi Ram migrated to the U.S.A. in 1896 where he estanlished a saw mill in the State of Oregon. He was one of the Principle propagators of the Ghadar idea and was make the treasurer of the Ghadar Party. Kanshi Ram donated what was then considered a prinabandoned his flourishing business and returned to this country.84
After returning to his country, Pandit Kanshi Ram visited his home village Marauli Kalan. Receiving the news of his arrival, a large number of people gathered at his village. He made an impressive speech to incite them for a revolution. It was his last visit to his home village as thereafter he left the village for organising aremed revolt in Punjabi.85
The Ghadar Party chose a day in November to raise the banner of revolt. The weapons were to come from the looting of Government armouries. The revolutionaries' bid to loot the armoury at Firozpur Cantonment misfired. The attackers, who included Kanshi Ram had to hide in a jungle which was set on fire by the police. Kanshi Ram was arrested and was put on trial. The first Lahore consipracy case is an unforgettable episode in the history of the country.
The property of Kanshi Ram's family was confiscated forcing the family to live in utter poverty. His father had no money even to engage a defence lawyer. Kanshi Ram was hanged in the Lahore Central Jail on 27 March 1915.
In the memory of martyr Kanshi Ram, Shaheed Kanshi Ram Educational Trust was formed which set up a degree college and a College of Physical Education at Bhago Majra, besides a Model School at Kharar.
Anti-Rowlatt Act Agitation, 1918-19- In spite of ruthless suppression of all political activity by by Sir Michael O'Dwyer the then Lt. Governor of the province, the people of Punjab co-operated with the British Government during the World War I (1914-18). The consternation and indignation of the people became quite, when, after the War, instead of withdrawing the hard extraordinary measures. O'dwyer throught of imposing still more stiringent measures to curb every type of political activity in the province. Behind the façade of Montform Reforms, the government entrenched itself by a series of repressive legislation embodied in the Rowlatt Act, passed in March 1919. It empowered the executive to deport individuals, to set up special tribunals, to control the press in the Punjab was surcharged with feelings of resentment and anger at the attitude and intentions of the Government and a mood of defiance began to spread in the masses. Gandhiji, who by this time was spearheading opposition to foreign rule, appealed to the Viceroy to withhold his consent to these obnoxious measures. When his appeal was ignored, he started the passive resistance movement as a challenge to the Government. The people were called upon to disobey the new law by non-voilent methods. As a mark of protest, Gandhiji announced a general hartal on March 30, which date was subsequently advanced to April6. Gandhiji's call to Satyagraha met with a tremendous response. As all over the Punjab, protest mettings were held at Rupnagar and other places in the district where resolutions were passed against the oppressive Act.
Non-Co-operation Movement- 1920-22 Gandhi ji had faith in the professed good will of the British Government when he joined the Indian politics. But the Rowlatt Act and the jallianwala Bagh firing of 1919 shattered that faith. Therefore, in 1920, in alliance with te Khilafat leaders, he started the non-co-operation movement in order to bring the British administration to a standstill. Its programe, among other items, included the renunciation of Government titled and boycott of legislatures, law courts, government schools and colleges and foreign goods. The constructive programme of the movement was the establishment of national schools and colleges for education of children, the use of private arbitration in place of government courts, adoption ofSwadeshi and the revival of hand-spinning and hand weaving. The movement also aimed at rem0oving untouchability.
The people of Rupnagar District participated in the movement on a mass sclae. Lawyers suspended their practice, the students in large numbers left schools and colleges and bonfires were made of foreign cloth. From time to time, there were hartals, public meetins and processions. There was a bonfire of foreign cloth in Gandhi Chowk at Rupnagar on a large-scale. Among the villages of the District, special interest was shown by the residents of Sialba Majri (Kharar tahsil). A special conference was held here by the freedom fighters. Foreign goods were burnt in a large-scale and many people were jailed for taking active part in this movement.
Gurdwara Reform Movement- 1920-25- The Sikh League inaugurated in1919 with the avowed object of safe guarding the political and religious interests of the Sikhs, turned its attention to the mismanagement of the golden Temple at Amritsar. Under the influence of the prevailing spirit of non-co-operation, resolutions were passed at a Sikh Conference in 1929, demanding control by the Sikhs themselves of their religious and educational institutions without interference of any kind from the Government. As a result of their efforts, the Sikhs secured full control over the Golden Temple and the Khalsa College, Amritsar. Encouraged by this success, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee was formed in November 1920, to undertake the management of all gurdwaras and other Sikh religious institutions. The Sikh shrines, many of, which enjoyed considerable revenues, where hitherto under the Mahants who were often of doubtful integrity. As a result of the agitation, some shrines voluntarily surrendered their control to the Shirmoani Gurdwara Prabhandhak Committee, and a few were occupied by force. It was now planned to take possession of Gurdwara Nankana Sahib (now in Pakistan), the richest of the Sikh shrines. The holocaust at Nankana Sahib where, on 20 February 1921, 130 peaceful Akalis had been mercilessly attacked, killed and burnt, stirred the whole country, and all the communities expressed their sympathy with those who had suffered.
Soon after occurred a clash between the Sikhs and the Government on the question of holding the keys of the treasury of the Golden Temple, Amritsar. The Government refused to accept the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandhak Committee as a representative body of the Sikhs and took the keys in its won control. The Sikhs were agitated and protest meetings were held. Ultimately, the Government yielded and handed over the keys to the Shiromani Committee.
Ultimately, in the face of mounting agitation among the Sikhs, the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925, placed all the important Gurdwaras in the Punjab under the control of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee.
The people of Rupnagar District participated actively in the movement. The name of Giani Uday Singh of Bari Haveli of Rupnagar Tahsil is significant. Udey Singh palyed an important role in the Jaito Morcha movement.
Lahore Conspiracy Case 1928-31- In 1927, the British Government appointed the Simon Commission comprising 7 British member of Parliament including Sir John Simon, the Chairman, to inquire into the working of the reforms introduced by the Government of India Act, 1919. The exclusion of Indians from a body which was to prepare the future Constitution of India was naturally resented by all political parties in the country and it was decided to boycott the Commission. On 3 February 1928, the day of arrival of the Commission in Bombay, completed hartal was observed all over the country and demonstrators marched in procession waving black flags and carrying banners with the words, "Go back Simon,' inscribed on them. Public meetings of protest were also held on that day.
Lala Lajpat Rai was severely struck by the police on 30 October 1928, while leading an anti Simon demobnstration at Lahore, and his death , shortly afterwards on November 17,was generally believed to be due to the blows he received. In this context, it is worthwhile to mention here that Lala Lajpat Rai spent his childhood at Ropar(Rupnagar ) where his father Shri Radha Krishan was working as a teacher in the Government Primary School.
First Civil Disobedience Movement, 1930-31.- After the declaration of completer of complete independence as its goal by the Indian National Congress during its Lahore Session in December 1929. events moved rapidly. Since the British Government paid no heed to the demand for complete imdependence and the offer of Gandhi Ji , the Congress launched in 1930 a mass movement called the civil disobedience movement. Gandhi Ji's historic march to Dandi on 12 March 1930 to break the Salt Laws was a signal for a nation-wide mass movement. The repercussion of the movement thus started took various shapes such as strikes, boycott of British goods and the like. The Government took repressive measures to put down the movement. The Congress was declared an illegal organization and Gandhi Ji and thousands of other persons were imprisoned.
A large number of perspms frpm Rupnagar District were also thrown into jails for participating in the movement. With the release pf Gandhiji and the conclusion of the Gandhi-Irwin Pact on 5 March 1931, the movement was called off. According to the terms of the pact, all political prisoners were released.
Second Civil Dispnedience Movement, 1932-34-The Civil Disobediene Movement was restarted on the re-arrest of Gandhiji on 4 January 1932, on his return from the second Round Table conference in London and it continued until the middle of 1934. This time the Government was prepared with all the necessary punitive measures. The movement was sought to be nipped in the bud by the sholesale arrest of Congressmen and other repressive measures of unexampled severity.
The people of Rupnagar District joined this movement too. Many persons were arrested in this connection. Among the prominent persons arrested from Rupnagar District were Mathura Das Gandhi, Dr Ved Parkesh, Lela GurdasRam, Lela JaiKrishan Das and Dr Ram Nath Pandit.
. It may also be mentioned here that from time to time most of the leaders of the freedom struggle had visited the District. Among these were Pt Gobind Vallabh, Pant, Pt Madan Mohan Malvia, Lala Lajpat Rai, Pt Jawahar Lala Nehru and Subash Chander Bose.
Individual Satyagrah 1940 :- With the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the Congress refused co-operation, and the Congress ministeries in the different provinces resigned. This was followed by Individual Satyagrarh. Great enthusiasm prevailed among the people of the District and a good number of them courted imprisonment.
A great number of freedom fighters form Sialba Majri, Kharar and Sohana participated in this movement. The number of participants from Siabha Majri was the greatest as compared to other places in the District. That is why Sialba Majri was called Bardulali ( Bihar) of Punjab. It was said to be one of the centers of operation of the freedom fighters.
Quit India Movement 1942:- The failure of the Cripps Mission (1942) to resolve the deadlock led to reslove the deadlock led to the wide-spread disappointment and anger in the country. The situation could not be allowed to drift. Therefore, on 14 July 1942, the Congress Working Committee passed a resolution demanding complete and unconditional withdrawal by the British from India. On 9 August 1942, Gandhiji and all the members of the Congress Working Committee were arrested. This set off a nationwide political explosion people rose spontaneously for action.
There was much enthusiasm among the people of the District. They took an active part in the movement. They wrote ‘Quit India’ on the milestones from Kharar to Ropar.
Indipendance and partition of the country – 1947 – the British Government was compelled to grant freedom to the country in 1947. The achievement of independence was celebrated as in the rest of the country, with great enthusiasm in the district. However it was married by the communal riots and exodus of minority communities from both sides of the border consequent upon the partition of the contry. The local people collaborated with the Government to render all possible help to ht people till they were finally rehabilitated
Role of S. Baldev Singh, Ex-Defence Minister of India- S. Baldav Singh (1902-1961) of village Dumana near Kurali played a vital role in the development of the area of present day Rupnagar District. He was the first Defence Minister of India after the Independence of the country. It was mainly due to his strenuous efforts that Chandigarh was made the capital of Punjab. The formation of the Capital has promoted overall development in the district, and has generated employment opportunities for the local people.