A Forgotten Holy Land

No matter how bold and aggressive Sikhs are in India, no matter how anxious Sikhs are to be perceived – nothing can justify the silence of Sikhs on the desecrated Gurudwaras in Pakistan, mostly in Pakistan-occupied Punjab. It is the real Sikh homeland because it’s where Sikhism originated. There is no pondering, nor even any mention in their discourses of what Pakistan and Muslims did to gurudwaras. Indiscriminate desecration or razing of gurudwaras, misusing them as stores and using them as offices or schools. Is this not terrorism, what is?
The rationale of this article is not to question the bravery of Sikhs. But, it is the silence of Sikhs on their real homeland. Nankana Sahib is also in Pakistan-occupied Punjab. Support of Hindus for Sikhs is undeniable and they have the right to claim the Pakistan-occupied Punjab. Sikhs suffered a lot in Pakistan in 1947 and it is their right to get back the Pakistan-occupied Punjab.
One such gurudwara is ‘Sri Rori Sahib’ in Lahore which is in a very bad condition. It illustrates the construction of the Golden Temple of Amritsar on its ceiling. Some of the famous gurudwaras like Nankana Sahib, Panja Sahib, and Kartarpur Sahib are properly cared for and visited by many devotees around the world now, thanks to the Modi government in India. The majority of the gurudwaras in the small towns and villages need care and reconstruction. Most of these gurudwaras are related to the first six Gurus of Khalsa Panth.
At present, there are around 350 gurudwaras in Pakistan, of which nearly 140 are honestly associated with the first six Gurus of Khalasa Panth. But shockingly, at present only 20 are properly serviceable where proper ‘puja’ is performed. However, this is another story that no Sikh organization or any Sikh dares to raise this issue at any platform who are otherwise very aggressive and vocal on very insignificant issues. Situation of gurudwaras is much more miserable in Afganistan.
Sikhs are very lucky. They have powerful and loyal friends, India and the Hindus. This is because Hindus are secular, peaceful and loyal people. Sikhs should be intelligent enough to understand that this support is not unconditional. It should be mutual trust and loyalty. Nobody cares beyond a limit. Sikhs should reciprocate honestly.
Some part of Sri Rori Sahib gurudwara was crumbled in the monsoons and some part was damaged by the toxic elements. Gurudwara Daftu Sahib, situated in the village Daftu of Kasur district, collapsed due to neglect and no visitors. It is said that the honored Sufi poet of 17 th century, Baba Bulleh Shah took shelter here to save himself from violent Muslims. Sikhs should show some courage to save and get back control of these gurudwaras. There is a gurudwara in Handiara village which was visited by the sixth Sikh guru – Guru Hargobind in 17 th century. This shrine famously known as Gurudwara Chhevin Patshahi portrays the scenes from the battle of Kartarpur between Sikh and Mughal forces in 1935. Now, it is occupied by Muslims.
Sikhs should be made conscious of the brave and aggressive narrative of Sikh belief on which these gurudwaras were built. A strong sense of pride and belonging should be created for these monuments. Sikh diaspora has almost surrendered to the Islamic fundamentalists of Pakistan and Afghanistan. They have no courage to do anything. It is very difficult work due to the violent local opposition and encroachment. Very bold and aggressive efforts are needed by the Sikh community. In these historic gurudwaras, Sikhism originated were destroyed one after the other due to fear and weakness of the Sikh community.
The majority of the Sikhs fled away from Pakistan and Pakistan occupied Punjab after the Partition in 1947 and afterwards, almost all the gurudwaras caved in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Although, the government of Pakistan has a department to look after the assets and gurudwaras it is simply an eyewash. It does nothing rather it is a happy partner in the destruction of those assets and heritages.
Lahore is the nursery and cradle of Sikhs and their history. But, now anything related to Sikhism is preserved properly. The biggest problem is that Sikhs are not ready to live in Pakistan due to fear. Minorities in Pakistan are brutally repressed and persecuted. As a result of this hardly two dozen gurudwaras are functional. In other gurudwaras are left unattended by the Sikh community. Sikhs from India and abroad should migrate and settle in Pakistan and Afghanistan and take care of their gurudwaras. These holy gurudwaras symbolize the origin of the Khalsa faith spread by Guru Nanak and other gurus.
Not only this, some of the gurudwaras are converted into schools, housing complexes, libraries and mosques. A municipal library was opened in Gurudwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha on Kashmir road in Mansera city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa state. Likewise, in Sargodha town, the Government Ambala Muslim High School was opened. There are many such instances where gurudwaras are used and occupied by Muslims. The fallout is that the sacredness and the history linked to these places will be forgotten forever.
It is very surprising to see the timid attitude of Sikhs and Shromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee toward these sacred gurudwaras who are otherwise very vocal and aggressive even on minor issues in India. The Sikhs left behind these holy shrines while fleeing. It is high time that Sikhs demand to restore all the gurudwaras and their properties. After that, they must demand the Pakistan-occupied Punjab as their homeland.

Tags: gurudwars, Sikhs, Pakistan, homeland, holy.

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