H C Singh

Maharaja Ranjit Singh The Great

Ranjit Singh was born on 13 November 1780 and was named Budh Singh but the moment his valiant father Mahan Singh returned after subduing Pir Mohammad and his brother Ahmed Khan, capturing their forts at Sayyid nagar, Kot Pir Mohammad and Rasulnagar, first he did was to change the name of his son to Ranjt, which meant victor of battles. Mohan Singh was chief of Sakerchakia Misl, foremost of the 12 Sikh Misls.

Mahan Singh’s father’s great grand father was Desu, a cultivator who owned 25 acres of land. He belonged to village Suker Chak, near Gujranwala and so the name of Misl came to be known as Sakerchakia Misl. At the age of 50 Desu decided to meet Guru Gobind Singh as, himself being giant of a man and fearless fighter, he had heard about the great Gurus Khalsa and Khalsa’s fight with cruel Mughal rulers who had massacred lakhs of innocent Hindus during their rule. Seeing Desu touching Gurujee’s feet, Guru Gobind Singh was impressed by his strong personality. As soon Desu expressed his desire to become Sikh, Gurujee himself baptized him and named him Budha Singh. He joined the Khalsa at Anandpur Sahib and participated in many battles. Budha Singh became martyr in 1715 at Gurdas Nangal, fighting along with Banda Singh Bahadur. When Budha Singh died, his body had seven ballet wounds and 29 scars of arrows, swords and spear cuts. Similarly Ranjit Singh’s father Mahan Singh died when Ranjit was boy of 10. He was immensely inspired by his grand father Charat Singh, who fought many battles with notorious Muslim invader Ahmed Shah Abdali who had destroyed the sacred Darbar Sahib Amritsar twice. During fierce battles in 1761,1764 and 1766 Afghans tried his level best to subdue Charat Singh but after every fight the Misl’s head emerged stronger than before and annexed more territories.

By the time Ranjit Singh became Chief of the Misl at the age of 15, he had become expert horse rider, knew perfectly how to handle sword and spear as well musket. Thus in another five years by the age of 19 he had conquered Lahore. He was such a valiant person with immense self confidence that he did not care for his illness at he age of 6 when he lost one eye because of severe attack of smallpox. As C H Payne, a historian puts it: “The gifts which nature lavished on Ranjit Singh was of the abstract rather than concrete order. His strength of character and personal magnetism (were to be) the real source of his greatness.”

In December 1795, Ranjit Singh, when he was just 15 years old, wrote to Maratha Chief, Daulat Rao Scindia, who was at the time in Aligarh, to join the Sikhs so as to expel the Afghans from India once for all. But Ranjit Singh received no reply from Maratha chief and was very much disappointed as he had hoped if Marathas, another valiant people of India, would join him to complete the mission of expelling Afghans from India.

Ranjit Singh also tried to get full support from Sahib Singh Chief of Phulkian Misl, which was quite well known. Ranjit Singh invited Sahib to join him for expelling Afghans from the Sikh homeland. It was not a big surprise that Ranjit Singh received no reply from Sahib Singh Earlier, the founder of Phulkian Misl Alla Singh had betrayed the Sikhs as it was Ahmed Shah Abdali, with a view to cause split in Sikh Misls, who made Alla Singh as Raja of Patiala in 1763, though only a year back in 1762, the same Abdali had attacked and destroyed the sacred Harmander Sahib killing thousands of Sikh pilgrims and “filled the sacred sorovar with dead bodies of Sikhs and carcasses of cows. He also made, to scare Sikhs once for all, pyramid of Sikh’s heads on the site of devastated Harmander Sahib.” The two incidents of young Ranjit Singh’s approach to Maratha Chief and also Phulkian Misls Chief are very significant and demonstrate the efforts of Ranjit Singh to have alliances against Afghan invaders and destroyers of Holy Harmander Sahib.

It was 17 years old Ranjit Singh who had crushed furious Zaman Shah who had attacked Amritsar. This humiliating defeat demoralized Afghan descendent, Sikhs blood thirsty, Ahmed Shah Abdali. Thus Zaman Shah was not only defeated at Amritsar but his Army was chased to the gates of Lahore by Sikh Army of Ranjit Singh. While running back to Afghanistan Zaman Shah had lost 12 crucial guns in Jehlum River. He appealed to Ranjit Singh to rescue his guns and in return he would not oppose Ranjit Singh’s taking over Lahore. Ranjit Singh proved to be a diplomat. He readily agreed so as to become ruler of Lahore. Thus young Ranjit Singh laid the foundations of Sikh Empire, through bravery and diplomacy. Such a diplomacy proved useful and helped Ranjit Singh in dealing with British East India Company after a couple of years, as it required give and take and not obstinacy with the opponent who may or may not be more powerful.

Conquest of Lahore by 19 year old Ranjit Singh was very significant because it made him Maharaja or Ruler of not only Lahore but vast territory of Punjab. Lahore had been invaded and conquered by Muslim rulers from 1014 when Mohammad of Ghazni and thereafter it became home of many dynasties including Ghoris, Mongals, Tugh laks, Khiljis, Lodis and Suris. Even Mughal Emperor Akbar had made Lahore as the capital of his vast Empire of India in 1584. He built famous Lahore Fort which after 1799 became Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s principal residence.

Despite rivalry between Misls of Sikhs, Ranjit Singh at the young age of 19 demonstrated his and his Misls superiority by conquering vast area of Punjab and becoming ruler of Lahore as Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It is apt to compare Ranjit Singh with Alexander the Great. Though Alexander conquered vast empire from Greece to Punjab he did not or could not consolidate and rule over it. In contrast Ranjit Singh Lion of Punjab, conquered vast areas as the valiant Sikhs of Guru Gobind Singh never showed back: they, to last man, died fighting. He himself had led the Khalsa Army from the age of 15 to demonstrate that he was though chief of Misl and ruler, he was one amongst them. It is strange and painful that no Indian political leader or historian has developed on the greatness of Ranjit Singh or compared him with Alexander or Napoleon. Napoleon ultimately lost all his conquest. Neither Alexander nor Napoleon lost by treachery or conspiracy against them by their rivals. Alexander could not consolidate and had to retreat to Greece. Napoleon lost the war fighting and was defeated. Maharaja Ranjit Singh never lost in battle in 30 years of his rule. That is why he was and is known as Lion of Punjab.

In 1830, the population of Sikhs Empire was about 25 lakh of which 50% were Muslims, 42% Hindus and 7 to 8% Sikhs. This is rough estimate based on perhaps the first ever census of Punjab in 1881. Based on 1881 census Punjab’s population was placed at 2.2 million ie 22 lakhs. In 1881 Punjab included whole of west Punjab, East Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, Sikhs accounting for only 7% ie about 2 lakhs of the population against 50% Muslims, 42 % Hindus and 1% Christians and others (quoted by Patwant Singh) in ‘Empire of the Sikhs’. It becomes clear that Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s Empire extended from Satluj River to Khyber Pass near Peshawar and in the west from Jammu to Kashmir which included ladakh and Gilgit.

Perhaps it is unknown in the world history that 7% people conquered and ruled over 93% and that, too, without any religious or political turmoil. Napoleon to an extent Ranjit Singh’s contemporary tried to conquer vast Empire extending to East Europe and Russia but got defeated. Similarly during 1st World War Germany tried to repeat what Napoleon failed but faced ultimate defeat and humiliation as Germany itself was conquered and divided. It becomes, to a great extent clear, that Maharaja Ranjit Singh alone in world History of last two centuries or so conquered and ruled for 30 years over a vast Empire which included NWFP ( which was till then part of Afghanistan. Thus whole of modern world must recognize Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s greatness and also of valiant Khalsa Army. 

Maharaja Ranjit Singh despite being a Sikh Ruler was absolutely secular. There were Sikhs, mostly generals like Hari Singh Nalwa nd Akali Phoola Singh, there were Hindus like Dhyan Singh who was PM and his brother Gulab Singh, and Muslims like Faqir Azazudin who was Foreign Minister. After Ranjit Singh’s demise traitors like Teja Singh became prominent ministers. That is how the Sikh Empire was lost.

I shall just quote from my memory a few lines from Shah Mohammad’s poem on First Sikh War with British East India Company. Shah Mohammad, a Muslim poet of Punjab, who wrote many poems in Punjabi and recited them in Punjab says:

“Teja Singh see Yaar Farangian daa”

 After mentioning in brief Teja Singh’s treachery of being friend of Britishers, Shah Mohammada writes:

Shah Mohammada Singhan Ne Gorian De

Wang Nimbuan Lahu Nichor Ditte

Je Kar Hondi Sarkar Taan Mul Paandee

Jehrian Khalse Ne Teghan Morian Ne

Shah Mohamada Ik Sarkar Bajon

Faujan Jit Ke Annt Nuun Horian Ne

In simple English translation Shah Mohammad says:

Sikh soldiers squeezed British soldiers blood, as one squeezes lemon.

If  Maharaja Ranjit Singh had been alive,

He would have appreciated and honoured the Sikh soldiers for bravery

As some Sikh soldiers fought with just swords in their hands.

Shah Mohammed concludes:

But for Sarkar (Maharaja Ranjit Singh) Sikh having won ultimately lost.

Sikhs lost first Sikh War and Second Sikh War because of treachery of men like Teja Singh and Dogras like Dhyan Singh, who was Prime Miniser during Ranjit Singh’s lifetime, and his brother Gulab Singh and conspiracy of British East India Company.

January 8, 2010 Posted by | Achievers, Biography, India, Indian History, Muslims, Politics, Punjabi, Religion, Sikhism, World History | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NANAK SINGH NOVELIST

Nanak Singh, father of Punjabi novel, was a born genius. So long as the planet is there, Punjab is there; Punjabi speaking people are there, he will be remembered with reverence. Nanak Singh was a rare literary star that appears once in hundreds of years. He was one amongst galaxy of literary giants like Kalidas, Shakespear, Tolstoy, Dickens, Tagore and Bernard Shaw.

Nanak Singh was born Hans Raj in a petty grocer’s family in Peshawar Cantonment (now in Pakistan) but lost both his parents in childhood. He had only primary education that too in Urdu. But he never gave up his devotional and literary pursuits. He joined Blind Devotional Musicians Group who used to recite Gurbani and Keertan daily in Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Peshwar Cantt. Under their solemn influence Hans Raj, who had already became a devotee of Guru Nanak by heart and soul became a Sikh and was baptized as Nanak Singh.

Hereafter the genius in him started unfolding. He self-learnt Punjabi in Gurmukhi Script so as to read Sikh Scriptures direct from the Holy Guru Granth Sahib and started composing short religious hymns in praise of Sikh Gurus, knows as “SATGURU MEHMA”, which made him famous as Nanak Singh Kaveeshar throughout Punjab and NWFP.

Blessed with fame and inspired by Universal brotherhood teachings of Guru Nanak, this young Sikh in early 20’s got the enlightenment, the like of which Siddhartha got and transformed into Buddha. In his zeal to preach what he had learnt and dreamt, he shifted to Amritsar, the Mecca or more appropriately, Vatican of Sikhs. Here Nanak Singh taught himself besides Punjabi and Urdu, Hindi, Bengali and some English. From here his novel writing imbibed divinity and seems to have been blessed by God Almighty Himself. The pace of his work was truly incredible, almost machine like. In the remaining 50years of his active life Nanak Singh gifted to the World and Punjabi language in particular as many as 40 novels and innumerable short stories and poems. His epic novel “PAVITAR PAPI” was made into a successful motion picture by his ardent admirer, Balraj Sahani while another epic “EK MIAN DO TALWARAN” was awarded the prestigious Sahitya Academy Award in 1962. Besides novels, he tried his hand in short stories, essays and poems including a heart rending composition on Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

William Shakespeare wrote 37 comedies, tragedies and histories during his literary career. A dozen of which like Julius Ceaser, Merchant of Venice and as you like it became famous and made him famous during his life time. The abiding and universal themes of love, friendship, sacrifice as in Romeo Juliet and greed for a pound of flesh as in Merchant of Venice found ample expression in Nanak Singh’s novels. While PAVITAR PAPI & “IK MIAM DO TALWARAN” are distinguished by tragic themes of unrequited love and supreme sacrifice, unmitigated greed and poverty was the theme of Paap di Khatti which was also a reflection on rapidly altering values of contemporary society.

Like Charles Dickens Nanak Singh had great understanding of human nature especially of young and poor who were helpless and were exploited by selfish and greedy. His novels like CHITTA LAHU are in the same league as Dicken’s A tale of two cities and David Copperfield.

Nanak Singh’s IK Mian Do Talwaran for which he got Sahitya Academy Award in 1962 compares well with Tolstoys monumental work War and Peace. Like Tolstoy, who became fed up with rituals of orthodox church and fundamentalism in practice Nanak Singh too, pointed out with zeal the evils of fundamentalism an selfishness in our society including those prevailing in Gurudwaras and Temples where many priests were dishonest and greedy and some indulged in immoral practice like consuming intoxicants and even keeping mistresses. Like Tolstoy Nanak Singh revolted against these evils in his novels and shorts stories like Bhangian De Mehfil.

In 1962, I vivdly remember when Nanak Singh came to New Delhi to receive Sahitya Academy Award and stayed for a couple of days with us in Government Quarter in Kidwai Nagar, New delhi. Even in those days we felt that it was not Nanak Singh novelist but some one like Guru Nanak himself who had graced our humble abode to share with us food and thoughts. So we sat at his feet and gathered all the blessings showered on us through his lips, his eyes and gestures, as invaluable treasure to last us our life time.

Nanak Singh was a rare personality, not only selfless but self-effacing. Throughout his life he shunned publicity and politicians. Even though he went to jail during Gurudwara movement, he never sought to make political capital out of it or even refer to it in passing as a sacrifice. Nanak Singh was simplicity, honesty and decency personified. May we follow some of the foot-prints which he, like other great men, have left on the sands of time.

Unfortunately, though Punjabi is spoken by 120 million people living in India, Pakistan and abroad, it is not written and read by more than 30 million. Had it been learnt spoken and honoured by all Punjabis all over the world, a literary genius and a prolific writer like Nanak Singh would have got Nobel Price like Rabindranath Tagore and George Bernard Shaw and international recognition.

Eminent and literacy personalities tributes and comments on Nanak Singh novelist

Following comments of eminest Punjabi writers and personalites for Nanak Singh will testify to his pioneering, lasting and monumental contribution to Punjabi literature ( translated from Punjabi by this writer);-

In the field of Punjabi novel, Nanak Singh’s contribution is more than any other Punjabi writer. He has not bought cheap publicity depicting in his novels sexy life. The romance depicted is social and sacred.

Bhai Jodh Singh

It is said that dicken’s novels have alone for social reforms in England which the british parliament could not do hope Nanak singh’s novel chitta lahu would do the same to transform our society.

-Principal Teja Singh

I started going through ( Nanak Singh) novels and went on reading up to 20 novels which opened my eyes. I felt that I was sitting at the feet of a great teacher. Your language is sweet like honey and well polished.

Kartar Singh Duggal,MP

In novel writing in Punjabi there is no match to Nanak Singh. No other Punjabi writer has reached the height in Literature as Nanak Singh.

Sant Singh Sekhon

October 5, 2009 Posted by | Achievers, Biography, Punjabi | , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Great Calcutta Killings (1946)

Speech by Shyma Prasad Mookerjea in Bengal Assembly.

“Direct Action Day itself was not the day for commencing Direct Action, it was at the same time printed out that the war had begun, the days of peace and compromise were over and now the Jehad Muslim leaders want Civil War. Only a pattern of civil war, according Mr Jinnah, was witnessed in the very city of Calcutta. Khwaja Nizamudin said that Muslims did not believe in non-violence at all, Muslims knew what Direct Action meant and there were one hundred and one ways in which this was made clear by responsible League leaders……….. it is astonishing fact that a gun shop within two minutes walk from Government House was looted. Not a single policeman turned up in the streets to control the situation in any part of the city”. Another stailing revelation by Mookarjea in Bengal Assembly was…. “the Muslim League party wanted 500 gallons of petrol from Bengal Government. That was not granted, but petrol coupons were issued in the name of individual Ministers general coupons—100 gallons being issued in the name of Chief Minister. Evidence is available that these coupons were used… it is not in Calcutta alone that atrocities were committed in a large scale but we find that troubles are spreading in the whole of Bengal….. The concerned of Action of the All India Muslim League has ordered that prepositions have to be made for giving effect to the Direct Action Program”.

From the above extracts it is clear that Jinnah had instigated the Calcutta Killings as a prelude to ‘Civil War’ when to implement the Direct Action gallons of Petrol were supplied to Ministers of Muslim League Government in Bengal.

Riots had started in West Punjab in April 1947 and hundreds of innocent unarmed Hindus and Sikhs were killed. Women molested and many jumped into wells to save honour. Half a dozen families of my relatives reached Ferozepore Cantt from our village and Peshawar Cantt, where we were living in a military bunglow. We gave one room of the main bunglow and all the five servant quarters and a garrage to the families of our relatives from our village Mangwal in District Jehlum and Peshawar Cantonment. Our House was a minor Refugee Camp from April 47 to September 47. When Muslims from Ferozepore either got killed in retaliation or migrated to Pakistan. As a result, our relatives, each family occupied, a Muslim migrant house.

All this had great impact on me and in April 47, I visited my college Hostel and addressed all the hostelers telling them of the cruelities heaped on Hindus and Sikhs in West Punjab. I led an open sword procession in April – 47 against likely creation of Pakistan Shouting – ‘Pakistan Murdabad’ Nahi Banega Pakistan ie Hell with Pakistan and Pakistan can not come in existance. We had passed through Muslim areas of Ferozepore Cantt without any mishap becuase Muslims of Ferozepore knew that Ferozepore can not go to Pakistan as it was Sikh-Hindu Majority district of undivided Punjab, so they remained confined to their houses and shops.

But AngloIndian S.P. (Police Kaptan) of Ferozepore rang up my respected father who was Captain and Acting Major in British Indian Army. S.P. Evens told my father in unambiguous words: “Captain saheb, you control your son Harcharan Singh who has led a procession against Pakistan, shouting provocative slogans against creation of Pakistan and that too, through areas of Muslims. Luckily there was no retaliation and no riots but anything could happen.” My respected father who had all the love for me and had never even scolded me, what to speak of beating or even slapping, told my eldest brother. While father dear had gone to office, my eldest brother called ne in his room bolted the room from inside and gave severest possible thrashing, I was crying. But my respected mother was crying, too, because she, too, had never scolded me or beaten me since I was a child of 4-5 years. She was shouting ‘stop it now Nirmal’ ( my eldest brothers name who too was in Army and later retired as Major), she was knocking and crying. Ultimately I got free from my brother’s clutches and stopped crying as I was no more a 4-5 year old child but a young boy of 16-1/2 and a college student and knew what I was doing.

My respected father had BSA double barrel gun and a sophisticated revolver both duly licenced. I knew where these were lying in what room and in which box. So to test my ability to fire in case of attack on our family when all other male members were in office or away, I took out first the double barrel gun put a cartridge in it, put a small circle on the back of a servant quarter, of another officer house and fired. So i could fire in case of emergency fight the terrorist and save the family. Next day I took out revlover a put one bullet, little knowing that bullet of the center does not get fired so continued and the revolver revolved fully, the bullet got fired. Luckily I had fired up in the sky and there was no damage or injury to me or mishap. I did not stop there, realizing that bullet that got fired was before the central hole of revolver so I put another bullet before the central hole and fired and the bullet went as I expected. I was satisfied. I had told my respected mother what and why I had done. She embraced me and blessed me.

But when my father dear and eldest brother reached home they came to know. They, instead of scolding or slapping me advised that I should have first learned how to fire a gun or revolver. But when I fully explained the reason they kept quiet neither scolded me nor blessed me but just ignored the incident which could be an accident.

Luckily in May 47 I got an opportunity to attend Selection and Training Camp in Taradevi, near simla. Headquarter of United Punjab Scouts Association. I went to attend the Camp for a fortnight. I had participated in cross country race, in other activities plus I led the ‘Bhangra’ reciting a Punjabi poem about Basakhi Mela and all the scouts sitting and standing round the ‘Camp fire’ joined in Bhangra Dance and at the end of each stenza Shouted with me Halla Belia, Halla Belia meaning yes dear friend, yes dear friend. This item was instrumental in my selection for World scouts Jamboree in Paris from 5th to 20th August 1947.

So along with other scouts from all over India numbering about 80. We boarded the Ship S.S Alcantra from Bombay on 4th July 1947 reaching Southampton port on 23rd July after 19 days. The most interesting part of my first journey abroad was that all the butlers of the Ship were British and they served us saying. Sir what would you like to have for breakfast. Omellet, Fried eggs or boiled eggs. This gave us the feeling that though we were yet to gain independence on 15th August, we had virtually become free and equal to British. It was interesting to visit Aden for a few hours then passing Suez Canal, crossing Mediteranean Sea touching Malta and Gibraltar and ultimately reaching Southamption Port and Rail journey to London.

The stay in London was brief while on way to our destination Paris, where world scouts Jamboree Camp was about 30 miles out of Paris. After crossing the English Channel. From London the entire Common wealth contingent travelled by same train and there British photographer took our snaps standing in window – myself, a British scout a ceylonese scout. This photo by Reuter appeared in London Times, copy of which I have with me even today as a memory and the same was valued by my parents and sisters and brothers and now by my Children and grand-children. They often say “Papaji you get it beautifully framed” as a parmanent record as prior to independence very few Indians used to visit England and France and hardly anyone had photograph by Reuter. But I have left it to my Children and grand children as I am already 78 years old and busy writing my diary, poems in Punjabi and English and this Book.

In the World Jambaree Camp we daily visited some country’s camp or other particularly visiting American, Canadian, some African Countries’ camp including that of South Africa which was then a British Colony, some Latin American Country’s Camps and of course British and French Scouts Camps. This broadened our outlook and we took autographs and addresses of many scouts from many countries.

The most interesting and memorable part of our visit to world scout jamboree at Paris was on 15th August 1947 when in Indian Camp both Indian and Pakistani flags were hoisted replacing the British Union Jack.

A van from Radio Paris had come to our camp to record the hoisting of flags of free India and newly created independent state of Pakistan. On behalf Indian scouts I was honoured by being asked by the Indian scout contigent leader Rao Bhadur Thadeus, to speak on behalf of Indian scouts. I immediately agreed as I felt it to be great honor and recognition. So I spoke for a couple of minutes concluding with ‘Jai Hind’ thrice and all the Indian scouts enthusiatically and loudly said Jai Hind. This speech by scout Harcharan Singh was hooked up and broadcast on All India Radio after to 9:30 PM. Prime Time News in English by Melvelle De Mello. This was heard by any parents and all the family members though I had not mentioned my name but my parents and all relatives recognised my voice as some sentences I spoke in Punjabi, too, Similarly a Muslim boy from Punjab contingent spoke for Pakistan concluding ‘Pakistan Zindabad’. My photograph where I am speaking before mike and other Indian scouts standing behind me appeared in French News Paper La Monde and some French scouts recognised and showed me. I have a copy of that photo, too, as a great honour and I value it very much.

The INA and its fight for India’s independence and Navy rebellion convinced Labour Party that India should get independence as early as possible thus Labour Government of Attlee proposed for India’s Independence in contrast of Churchill who was adament and not in favour of Indian independence saying “I have not become First Minister to preside over lequidation of British Empire.”

Krishna Menon who was before Independence of India, a member British labour Party, in his interview with Michael Breher, describes the way India’s Independence was expedited. This is how Attlee the socialist and the Cabinet Mission under the chairmanship of Pathic Lawrence functioned half heartedly encouraging Muslim League and indirectly working for partition of India and so could be held responsible for partition massacre of millions initiated by Muslim League first in Bengal in 1946 and then in west Punjab. Menon Says: “Negotiations and missions they did not envisage that the thing (end of British rule) was really to come so soon. They probably thought it was going to be just a newer session of a Simon commission and would mean more protracted negotiations, and that gradually our difficulties would lead to a partnership with England or something of the kind. This was how it appeared to them in 1943-5. That situation soon changed. I would like to think that a man like Mr Pathick – Lawrence made a big contribution towards abdication, saying, ‘We have to go.’

But my own feeling is that if Attlee had the imagination to realize in 1945 that it would happen in 1947 he would have worked it another way. The British had sufficient power at that time to see that it happened. The same thing could have been said to the princes. It must be remembered that as a socialist, Attlee had certain limitations. He had not understood the character and the passions that went into nationalism, posed a contradiction. Having fed the Muslim league for half a century with seperatism, the British created a Frankenstein monster; they should have laid it low, at least when leaving. Instead they used it as a spectre and to create pressure against Indian nationalism. Yet after all it was a great achievement for Mr. Attlee. I think that Pathick – Lawrence was a much greater man that most people thought at the time. He was the chairman of the cabinet mission. He was really the functioning member. He had a good grasp of things.

I had attended the world scouts jamborer in paris from 5th to 25th August 1947. After Independence of India on 15th August when India and Pakistan flags were unfurled at Indian Camp, On behalf of Indian scouts I had addressed on Radio Paris concluding with “Jai Hind” thrice. I had virtually become scout leader of Indian Scouts particularly those from Punjab.

When we returned to London, we stayed in the scout and girl guide headquarter where British girl guides accompanied us for first couple of days to show us London, places famous for sight seeing – Parliament, Big Ben, national Museum, Hyde Park and Trafalgar Square. The girl guide accompanying me was so beautiful and affectionate that when I was to leave London for India she came to me and said “Singh, you take me to India”. Of course I could not though a while parting she kissed my bearded face and I returned the mild kiss but she got my address and wrote a couple of letters to me at Ferozepore and I did reply.

After girl guides help for a couple of days I used to go alone by ‘Tube’ i.e. underground railway, and visit all the places shown by her independently. I always carried my snacks. In the Museum library a junior librarian showed me all the reading rooms and book shelfs and even told me that this was the table where Karl Marx used to sit and write for 30 years or more till his death. We had heard the name of Karl Marx but not yet known his political philosophy and contribution to political philosophy.

In London we read about partition riots in London Times and other papers. There were news about retaliation by Sikhs and Hindus in Punjab which excited Muslim scouts and Punjab’s contingent leaders Mr. Qureshi. They even indirectly threatened us particularly teh Sikh scouts who were just 8 and Muslim scouts were 30 and Hindu scouts of Punjab contingent only 10 or 12. From their looks many Hindu scouts of the age of 12 to 15 came to me and expressed their fear. I took up the courage and told Indian contingent leader a Keralite Christian about all that. He simply said he will look into it. But not to rest. I wrote a letter to Chief scout of Punjab Sardar Hardyal Singh at Taradevi, simla hills. I think he rang up both Mr. Qureshi and Mr. Thadeus because after 10 days the muslim scouts from Punjab and NWFP became quiet and looked on the other side instead of staring at us. The result was that after independence Muslim and Hindu-Sikh scouts of punjab contigent got seperated. There was no talk or exchange of greetings between us. We were virtually too independent sub contingents.

As we boarded the ship for return journey to India and Pakistan we had no contact between us for 15 days of journey. And at Bombay port we got completely separated, the Muslim scouts left for Karachi, the temporary capital of pakistan and we remained in Bombay for 3-4 days till we got a safe train for Delhi. From New Delhi there was no train going to Punjab so we went by goods trucks to our various places and Sikhs and Hindu scouts who had come from West Punjab, now part of Pakistan in turmoil, remained in Bombay to be sent to their parents or relatives who had migrated or were turned out of Pakistan occupied Punjab. It was not immediately known about the parents and the whereabouts of Hindu and Sikh scouts from Lahore and beyond. So they were taken to Scout headquarter in Taradevi or continued to stay in Bombay.

On 14th October I reached by truck to Ferozepore Cantt bus stop(Adda) there was no tonga available so I walked with my baggage on my shoulders about 4 miles and reached my home unaccompanied by anyone ar about 11 pm. My parents and relatives were happy, rather ecstatic, and also surprised and excited to how I had reached safe and sound. I immediately opened my bag and showed two wrist watches for my elder sister one gents and one ladies as she was likely to be married in couple of years. I also brought small gifts for younger sisters like bangles and clips and for my dear mother a shawl and for my father a Parker pen and for home an electric iron which was nowhere in Ferozepore or even in India in those days. All were very happy and blessed me.

August 25, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment