MUSLIM LEAGUE MISCHIEF IN PUNJAB, 1947.
Date: 17 Mar 2008
The making of Muslim League mischeif in the Punjab
The riots of march 1946 started in Calcutta,then spread to Bihar, where a
very large number of muslims were killed.This news reached the Punjab and other
parts of NWFA and Sarhadi Suba.Passions were running high, and the muslim
league was further igniting these by spreading rumours and unfounded stories.
By February 1947, the Muslim league in the Punjab started to challenge the
Unionist government of Sir Khijar Hayat Tiwana by demonstrations and mass
protests and hurling pro pakistan slogans, but anti Congress / indian,anti
Sikh and anti slogans in the streets of Lahore..Lyalpur,Peshawar, Amritsar and
other major towns.
The Western districts of Punjab, west of Amritsar in the north and Abohar -
fazilka in the South were heavily muslim populated, with hindus and Sikhs
in the minorities.The central districts Like Ferzepore, Ludhiana, and central
Punjab were habited by Sikhs largely in substantial numbers, with only
Ludhiana there was a over all Sikh majority.The eastern punjab south to where
today it is Hariana was predominately hindu.
In the whole Punjab, while the muslims formed 56 % the combined Punjab
population,the hindus and Sikhs combined were not a minscule minority but a
substantial 46% of the population.
It was after one such street protest by the ML that Master Tara Singh met
with the Sikh members of the state legislative Assembly, where he declared
Pakistan Muradabad.This inflamed the situation, as well as the unionist
government collapsed, and Sikhs in the west became prime targets of Muslim league
Although there was restlessness already on going, there had been no open
attacks upon the hindus and Sikhs.However, in the on going atmosphere, many
sikhs and hindus in the western districts had moved their home and families to
safety of the Eastern Punjab.But a larger number, decided to wait it out and
see what happens.
One of the first attacks upon the Sikhs started in the district of
Rawalpindi and Rawalpindi rail station where Sikhs queing for tickets were
stabbed.This escalated to the streets, where ever a Sikh came into sight on his own.
Rawalpindi was the smallest of districts of the North west India.The river
Jhelum ran on its eatern side separating it from kashmir.It is largely a hilly
area, and it was also known as Pathohar.Two rivers, Suan and Kanshi flow
through this region.
There were four sub districts or tehsils known as Muree, Kahuta, Rawalpindi
and Gujarkhan.Muree fell within the district of Hazara and is located at one
end near to Kashmir.
Along the Jhelum river was another hilly tract known as Kahuta.
The whole area was about 2022 square miles, and there were 1166 villages
within the Rawalpindi district.According to the 19941 census the total
population was 785,231.Out of these the Muslims wer an overwhelming majority numbering
611,128.The Sikhs numbered 64, 127 and the rest were hindus at 109,976.
As soon as the unionist Government collapsed in march 1947 attacks started
openly upon Sikhs in Rawalpindi, Attock and Multan, By mid march 1947,the
whole area was declared as Disturbed Area by the administration.The police gained
extra powers.Nehru tioured the area as head of the interim government at
Delhi.He condemed the atrocities and said he has seen humans acting like
animals.Moutbatten in his secret report wrote that the hindu Sikh population of
Kahuta is almost completely wiped out.It looks like these atrocities were
committed from the air.
By now dozens more areas in the region were affected, where there was
destruction upon Sikh - Hindu lives and properties.Some of the villages and small
towns were Thoha Khalsa, Sayed,Kahuta, Bhagpur, Beval, Rihaal, Panj Graa'n,
Sihala, Basali, Charnaal, Usman Khatter. Laitgarh bala Ji,Kahangarh,Kori baba
Bhag Singh,Chohaan Bhagta Khalsa,Wahali, Addiyala, Nara, Mandhra and others.
In Toha Khalsa, one sucg story tells of Sikh women jumping into the wells in
their hundereds to save their honour and not fall into enemy hands, as the
Sikh men and able bodies put up a defence around in a circle to fight the
enemy. This village lies in Paothar,a place blessed by the Sikhi of Guru Gobind
Singh ji.This place had the privilege of producing a number of well entities
of sikh parchar.Sant Atter Singh Ji Mastuana meditated in this area for a
long time. Thaker baba Nihal Singh Ji Puran Brahm Giani blessed with his
presence.It was also the place where The utmost respectful and holy Baba Khem Singh
ji planted the ever green seeds of Guru Sikhi, that saw pewople in their
thousands take amritpaan and become Sikh.Other famous sikh personalities and
Sikh sants too originated from here.
Thoha khalsa is known as an historic strong hold of Sikh Sardars in
Pathohar, and holds an inportant place in the history of Sikhs and pathohar.It is
said Sardar Karam Singh sat up this village of thoha Khalsa and people of all
religions came to settle here.The parchar of Sikhi made such an impression
here that it is said whole tribes and villages of brahmins turned to become
Singhs after amritpaan.
Thoha Khalsa was sat in a beautiful ever green valley.It was a beautiful
village populated densely by Sikhs with about 600 hundered homes.To the east and
west of the vilage were muslim homes.The village had been peaceful and never
a sectarian issue arose.
But this all changed in march 1947.There was a change in the air noted by
the people.Muslims were behaving oddly.Many were wearing relic Koran pieces on
their the necks and appearing cold towards the Sikhs.
Another village of Sikhs nearby called Kohmari had been sat on fire by the
muslim league goondas.According to Sant Gulab Singh, who escaped, the Sikhs
only realised when the muslims had surrounded the tehsil of Kahuta, that the
situation was not safe any longer for Sikhs and Hindus.All roads leading out of
Thoha Khalsa were blaocked by the fanatical enemy.They were cut off the rest
of the world.They could only see flames from distances as villages were
burnet and sat on fire.They found out that a company of british police had been
turned back by the muslim tehsil daar who claimed there was peace and no
issues in the area.When a Sikh Sr Bhagat Singh tried to point out the hils and
mountains were full of muslim raiders, the tehsildaar tried to get Bhagat Singh
The Sikhs decided to gather in the Village Gurduara.It was decide only Guru
ji could now help them.It was also decided that instead of living in their
own homes , they would collect at Sant Gulab Singh's home and fortify the
surrounding area into an enclosure for safety.Almost 1300 Sikhs and Hindus
collected including children and the old.Water and other essentials was collected
.All 36 Birs of Guru Granth sahib in the village were collected and stored in
a safe place.Sentries were posted around the fortified enclosure.The langger
On the 8th of march, 1947, as the Rehraas sahib was being conducted , it was
noted thousands upon thousands of muslims strated arriving from the
direction of Kahuta, shouting Muslim league Jindabad, Allah hoo Akbar,and kill the
kafirs.There must have been easily over 10,000 people in the muslim crowds,
carrying axes, spears,and talwaars.There were some horsemen, leading them.Some
were also swearing foul against Master Tara Singh Ji.The msulsim of pathohar
too had served in the army and many had their own firearms too.
We the Sikhs among whom there were also youngmen did ardas and let off Sat
Sri Akal jaikaras in return.
Inside the enclosure there was chanting of Waheguru ..Waheguru from aomong
the children and women and old.
The muslims gathered at the school and started setting some buildings on
fire near by.They also used home made bombs.AS a group of them advanced from one
side towards the Sikhs, they got one Sr Darshan Singh, to take attackers
on with his firearm.He kept them at bay single handedly killing many of
them.By now it was 10pm.But some of them were on high ground, kept their fire upon
The next day the muslims started again to attack.satting fire to homes and
factories near by.Some young Sikhs felt that instead of keeping within the
enclosure, an attack be made upon them and chased away.
Ar Partap Singh took out a jatha of ten Sikh youth, armed with kirpans and
some rifles and fell upon the enemy.Even though the goondas had sten guns and
other home made rifles, they did not stand up to the Sikh jatha , they
started running back. but as they ran some one managed to shoot Sr Partap Singh
in the leg.he was taken back into safety of the enclosure.Like wise a second
The third day too passed with skirmishes as they advanced nearer and started
looting some homes.The Sikhs stood their ground.By now they had the news
that the Sikhs in the village of Nara has been burnt down and large massacre had
taken place with Sikhs fighting to the last man and woemn jumping into wells
to save themselves.
By the fourth day thousands more arrived to surround the Sikhs.It also
became apparent that many of these were Pathans as well, who had been sent by the
muslim league to wipe out the Sikhs.
The Sikhs consulted and did an ardaas.They decided to move out and collected
at the sarowar of tyhe Gurduara.the men formed a circle, with children nd
women inside, path was starte das thousadns of muslim now numbering over twenty
thousand attacked....young gilrs were put to end by the kirpans held by
mothers, young children jumped into wells nearby.As the wells filled up, more
were put to end with utterance of waheguru wahguru with kirpans.Whole families
refused to accept conversions, but chose to die with their faith intact.The
scene was very grostque as childen and yioung ladies qued willingly.The whole
ground swelled wet with red blood..a stream ran down into the sarowe..by now
looking a stream ...and slowly chnaging the water into red through the large
pool.In some places the muslims broke through and reached the women, who by now
wiith thgeir swords turned upon the goondas killing them and fighting back
through to the spirit of mata Bhago and as daughters of Gur Gobind Singh ji.In
between ensuring any one comming forward from among their sisters to end
their life was ....helped on.As these scenes raged, Sikh men raced to their
rescue and fell upon now streaming hordes of the enemy.The Sikhs repating this
time what the Sikh women had done.putting their sisters wives and mothers to
the sword of the khalsa rather then the enemy triumphing in getting hold of
them.The stream running the Sikh blood was now mixed by the flow of muslim
murderous goondas.For a whole day the tired and worn out Sikhs fought with
valour and by the evening, the murderous goondas with drew warning the Sikhs
that they would be put to death should they not accept Islam by morning.
However by morning a militrary truck arrived to rescue the Sikhs.Sant GUlab
Singh went along with the officers and identified Sikh bodies and cremated
them.Tears rolled down his eyes and emotions were so overwhenlming,, that only
way he could console himself and the few surviving Sikhs was to loudly sing
Shin me rau rank kau karyii rau rank kar darre
Reete bhare Bhare Sakhnave yeh ta ko bevhare ...
After the cremations...first the surviving females and children wetre
evacuated, then the men.About 400 survived, some of them stayed back with army
escort and went back to the village to cremate the Sikhs that were killed
there.Collected any surviving Guru Granth sahibs and evacuated all to the safety
of the refugee camp at Rawalpindi.
From there they collected more Sikhs and returned with police escort and
sealed the wells where hundereds had jumped, rather than fall into the hands of
This was the start and end of one such story of the begining of killings of
Sikhs in the west punjab.