INDIA 5 RUPEES
150 YEARS OF KUKA MOVEMENT
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What is kuka movement ?
Satguru Ram Singh ji" & Kuka Movement the First war
It is a matter of great honour and pleasure that the nation
is celebrating 150, year of Kuka Movement the first war of independence with
all pomp & show. Sri Satguru Ram Singh Ji master planned the India s freedom
movement and waged a war of independence against the British Rulers on 12w
April 1857. He was the pioneer to use the Non-Cooperation and Swadeshi as a
weapon to liberate the country from the yokes of foreign rulers. He asked the
Indians to boycott British sponsored educational institutions, courts,
services, postal and even transport system. He ordered his followers not to
wear foreign made cloth and used foreign goods. He asked the people to use
khadi and other Indian made goods in their day to day life. He conceptualized
the doctrine of " Be Indian, Buy Indian & Remain Indian". He
established panchaya6 raj for administration, used religious and common places
for education, set up own postal system, developed diplomatic relations with
the native states as well as with neighboring countries like Russia, Nepal
& Afghanistan. He encouraged cottage industry for the upliftment of poor.
In other words, Sri Satguru Ram Singh Ji set up a parallel Govt in the 2nd half
of 19th century.
Sri Satguru Ram Singh Ji launched a movement for social
reforms also. He asked the people not to kill the girl child infancy. He
advocated equal rights for women in the society, in education and social life.
He introduced the concept of dowry-less inter-caste mass-marriage system in
He had such a magnificent personality that in short span of time lacs of people
flocked to him and all of them became fully aware of their serfdom and bondage.
His followers called Namdhari Sikhs understood the divide & rule policy of
Britishers and revolted against them. Namdhari Sikhs challenged the British
crown and made unparallel sacrifices for the freedom of the country. Ten of
them werehanged to deata, 66 of them were blown off with the cannons, and
hundreds of them were put behind the jails, drowned in the seawatcr, exiled and
treated like criminals. Sri Satguru Ram Singh Ji was arrested and exiled in
1872. All the prominent subas were arrested and put in jails in India and
abroad in 1872. Namdhari Sect was declared a sect of sediators. But none of the
Namdhari Sikhs bowed before the Britishcrown. They continuously fought the war
of independence for 90 vears i.e. from 1857 to 1917.
The contributions and sacrifices of Namdhari Sikhs in the war of independence
have been recorded under the head "Kuka Movement" in the political
annals of Indian History.
The Nation is celebrating 150 year of this historic "Kuka Movement"
and Punjab Govt is celebrating it on state level. Various functions has been
organized on historic days relating to the Kuka Movement. All the leaders from
political, social & religious organizations have participated in these
functions to pay rich tributes to the great heroes of Kuka Movement.
But the ministries at Central Level are divided on the issue whether Kuka
Movement was a war of independence or it was a religious movement. Mrs. Ambika
Soni stated in the Rajya Sabha that Kuka Movement has included in the list of
events of war of independence and birthday of Sri Satguru Ram Singh (Basant Panchmi)
and Generally it is said that: -
The Kuka Movement started by Sri Satguru Ram Singh Ji was a religious movement
or it was just a movement for social reforms onlv. The Namdhari Sikhs were
orthodox in the matter of cow killings. They were punished by the British Govt.
because they attacked butcher houses and murdered the butchers for which they
were executed/ blown off with cannons or put behind the jails.
It is a historic fact that Sri Satguru Ram Singh Ji was the master planner of India s freedom
movement. He was the pioneer to use Non Cooperation and Swadeshi as a tool to
liberate the country. These facts has been acknowledged by the freedom fighters
like Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Jawahar i.al Nehru, Subash Chander Bose and Dr.
Rajinder Prasad etc.
Under British rule the ban on killing of cows and the
sale of beef in the Punjab was lifted.
Slaughter houses opened in most cities and towns including in the pious city of
was a direct challenge by the British regime to the dignity and religious
sentiments of the Hindus and Sikhs. Rifts and quarrels between Hindus and
Muslims took place. Local protests against the opening of slaughter houses in
Amristar feel on deaf ears in the Government.
For the sake of independence of India and to preserve sanctity of Sri
Harmandir Sahib Amritsar, four Namdhari Sikhs : Sant Lehna Singh, Sant Beehla
Singh, Sant Fateh Singh and Sant Hakam Singh were hanged to death openly by the
British Government on 15th September 1871 at Ram Bagh Amritsar to terrorise the
masses and banish the Kuka Movement.
The Shaheedi Bohr (tree) in Ram Bhag, Amritsar
Desecration of the
The slaughter house in Amritsar
opened near the clock tower, adjacent to the boundary wall of the Golden Temple.
Desecration of the holy sarowar (tank) around the Golden temple took place when
pieces of bone and flesh picked up by vultures and kites from the slaughter
house and thrown into the waters.
While visiting the Golden Temple
, a batch of namdhari sikhs witnessed this desecration and immediately decided
to attack the slaughter houses and free the cows. The operation was headed by
Lehna Singh of Amritsar.
PRAYERS WERE OFFERED
A 'Hom' ceremony with recitations from 'Chandi Path' was
most solemnly gone through in the house of Lehna Singh, at which prayers were
offered for the success of the enterprise. On the night of the 15th June, an
attack was made on the butchers in the slaughter house. Four men were killed
outright and three others were badly wounded. The Sikhs freed all the cows. The
local authorities were taken completely unawares. The weather conditions being
unfavorable tracking the namdhari Sikhs was not possible. In Bhaini Sahaib
Satguru Ram Singh Ji learned the happenings in Amritsar from the real attackers. Satguru Ji
immediately directed the Sikhs to surrender so the innocent may not be hanged.
The authorities learnt about the attack and the murder
of the butchers and deputed Mr Christie to apprehend those who were responsible
for it. He used all his third degree methods to rope in many of the innocent
citizens of Amritsar.
Heera Singh, Ahya and Jai Ram were tortured and mode to confess that they had actually
committed the crime. All of them were made approvers, and 12 other citizens,
namely Sant Rom, Rom Kishon, Manno Singh, Jawato Singh, Pannaji, Mula, Nihal
Singh, Mayya, Sunder Singh, Bhup Singh/ Teka Singh and Shoba were sent to the
Sessions. Actually none of these was responsible for the murders, but still all
of them were committed to the Sessions on 25th July, 1871 by Mr. Christie.
When the real culprits came forward to confess their
crime, Mr. Christie reported to the authorities that he had been put on the
wrong track by an informer Hira Singh, who had come forward to confess the
guilt. He also intimated to the Government that Jai Ram, a respectable broker
of the city had admitted that he had instigated these men to commit this crime.
But the real fact was that this Police Officer had got these men and other
citizens of Amritsar
to confess the crime which they had never committed.
One factor greatly helped the disclosure of this case.
When Guru Ram Singh came to know that the lives of Innocent people were
endangered for the murders committed by the Kukas, he directed those Kukas to
go and surrender themselves to the authorities so that innocent people may not
be hanged. Thus the trial of the namdhari Sikhs started. Five Sikhs were
sentenced to death and the remaining two for exile.
KUKAS EMBRACED DEATH
The news of death sentence on the four Kukas spread in
the streets of Amritsar
in the most electrical manner. There was praise and appreciation for their
bravery on everybody's lips. The public was deeply impressed by the way these
Kukas had confessed - their guilt and saved others from the gallows. From the
day of judgment to the day of hanging, these Kukas were allowed to visit the
Mar Mandir, as well as prepare their own food. 15th September, 1871 was the day
and Ram Bagh in Amritsar
the place of dating with death.
On that fine morning, the four Kukas bathed in The Holy
Tank; the 'prashad' was prepared and distributed. What a beautiful scene it
was! The patriots, intoxicated with love, were starting off to kiss the
gallows. Chanting holy songs and performing 'Kirtan' the party moved towards
the hanging ground. The large assembly of onlookers was amazed. Were These
Sikhs for hanging ? The crowd thickened. Before death, they demanded two
things: Firstly, they should not be hanged with leather strings and Secondly
they would themselves put the hanging ropes in their own necks. Both the wishes
were granted. After saying their final prayers, the four Kukas embraced death
amidst slogans of Sat-Sri-Akal!
It was in such circumstances that Beehla Singh, Fateh
Singh, Hakim Singh and Lehna Singh were hanged. They went to the gallows
singing sacred verses, without any trace of fear and repentance on their faces.
They seemed to feel they had performed a duty towards their faith. Constable
Lal Singh Sepahi, Lehna Singh (s/o Bullacka Singh) were exiled to Andaman and
Nicobar islands. Sant Jhanda Singh was hanged after one year. Ahya Singh, Hira
Singh and Jai Ram were also sentenced to terms of imprisonment for giving wrong
information to the Government.
Akhand varni at Ram bagh - Amritsar
Close up of Shahedi bhor - Ram bhag Amritsar