ਰਹਿਣੀਰਹੈਸੋਈਸਿਖਮੇਰਾ॥ ਓੁਹਸਾਹਿਬਮੈਉਸਕਾਚੇਰਾ॥

Akal Purakh Kee Rachha Hamnai, SarbLoh Dee Racchia Hamanai


    View Post Listing    |    Search    



'sikhs' raze history to the ground, building concrete 'cash-cows' in it's place
Posted by: Atma Singh (IP Logged)
Date: March 17, 2008 04:19AM

[www.punjabheritage.org]

Razed to the Ground : Hazur Sahib's Sacred Spaces Demolished

Written by Amandeep Madra
Thursday, 13 March 2008

The historic town of Nanded, in Maharashtra is an important place of pilgrimage for the Sikh community due to its association with Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji, who is known to have meditated on the banks of river Godavari and spent the last few days of his life in the region.

Just yards from these sacred spaces, the authorities have bulldozed a corridor that has finally destroyed the last few historical reminders of the Guru's association with the region. Unique Sikh architecture that was built with devotion and served generations has been destroyed rather than the sensitive conservation that they deserve.

(Left) The old Deorhi of Hazur Sahib, which shows the new Deorhi being built behind it to widen the area of the complex.

When the plans became clear in January 2007 Punab Heritage News working with conservation architects in India commenced a campaign to save these important Sikh buildings. Despite the assertions and promises from the Sikh guardians of Hazur Sahib, they destroyed these buildings in the middle of the night.

Author and Historian, Peter Bance, took a visit to Hazur sahib and presents his personal observations of the brutal destruction, vulgarisation and demolition that has been carried out in the name of progress.

"On a recent trip to Nanded last month, what was meant to be an inspirational pilgrimage to the holy shrine of Sach Khand fast turned into an eyesore. On entering the ornate Deorhi of Takhat Hazur Sahib I stood, shocked, looking at what had become a historical building site and fast becoming a commercial complex, for the forthcoming 300th year anniversary of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

(Left) The remnants of Maharajah Ranjit Singh's Baradari adjoining the NRI Niwas

To accommodate this feast of an event, which would boost the coffers of the Sach Khand committee to heights never seen, our proud Sikh heritage was being sacrificed with destruction at scale which made the damage of the Babri Masjid in 1992 look meagre. I looked helplessly as bulldozers flattened the Sikh-period houses around the forecourt of the main Gurdwara of Takhat Hazur Sahib, soon to be laid with fresh marble flooring and artificial grass gardens. All that was left standing was a single mid-nineteenth century wall about 20 feet high which was supporting a lavish white washed modern structure appropriately named the 'NRI Niwas' and housing local wealthy residents of Jallandar and Delhi. Hanging over this 20 feet high wall of Nanakshahi bricks was a canvas hoarding promoting the tremendous redevelopment of the area by the committee. On enquiring I found out that only 3 months earlier this was a part of the very Baradari of Maharajah Ranjit Singh, the place where (according to local lore) Ranjit Singh had camped in Nanded. The Takhat's ancient treasury (Toshkhanna) that had successfully defended the riches of the Takht for centuries had finally succumbed to the disease of modernisation and has been torn down just months earlier. This, sadly, was just the beginning of my 'Darshani Hazur Sahib'!

(left) The remains and Nishan Sahib of the Ramgarhia Bunga at Takhat Hazur Sahib

My next stop was to see the 200 year-old Ramgarhia Bunga which stood proudly over the Takhat for over a hundred and fifty years, but to my disappointment I could not locate it, until a local pointed out that the Nishan Sahib at the rear of Takaht Hazur Sahib belonged to that very Bunga which was now a distant memory soon to be built over with new white washed Niwas rooms. A two foot high wall still remained of that Bunga, (at least during that week it did). "How could these people be so ignorant" I asked myself, and asked the same to the distributor of the langar receipts, who laughed and retorted "this langar building is soon going as well and also that very fabulous Deorhi which you have just walked through". This was like a pierce through my heart, and it was not getting any better. This was just what was happening within the Gurdwara's new boundary wall, which would include 140 rooms for the estimated 200,000 pilgrims expected at the coming commercialised event. Outside, only six months ago were hoards of old Nanakshahi houses, home of Sikhs whose descendants had come to this holy place with the Tenth Guru himself, or as the remaining Sikh army of Maharajah Ranjit Singh about the years 1830-35, but now roads had been widened to accommodate the expected increase in traffic, whilst new routes were also being laid out with any building in its way knocked flat. I quickly photographed a standing lone house of the Sikh period which was soon on the bulldozers route. It seemed that my 'Darshan' had come at a fraction of time too late, well at least I saw the odd remnant of our history at Nanded, the coming generations wont even get to witness this!"

Editor's Note : Please also see [www.flickr.com]
for photographs of the demolition of the baradari

ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂਜੀਕਾਖ਼ਾਲਸਾਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂਜੀਕੀਫ਼ਤਹਿ

ਦਾਸ,
ਆਤਮਾ ਸਿੰਘ

 





© 2007-2022 Gurdwara Tapoban Sahib