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The Multifarious Faces of Sikhism throughout Sikh History
Page 2 of 15

Bhai Randhir Singh da Jatha/Akhand Kirtani Jatha cont'd

In 1914, the Rakabganj Gurdwara issue saw Randhir Singh and the 'Panch Khalsa Diwan' joining forces with the venerable Akali Nihang Baba Jawand Singh from the village of Patti to oppose the demolition of the Rakabganj Gurdwara wall organized by the British (for more information on the Panch Khalsa Diwan, click here).


Rakabganj Gurdwara
The inner sanctum of the Gurdwara in Delhi, built on the site
where Akali Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib's headless body was cremated

Randhir Singh wanted Teja Singh Bhasauria to hold a meeting at the village of Bhasaur, and pass a resolution against the demolition of the Rakabganj wall. Teja Singh Bhasauria, who Akali Nihangs insist was in British pay, refused to utter a word against his British masters (see translation of Bhai Randhir Singh's autobiography translated by Trilochan Singh for details).After this incident they went their separate ways.

On 12th April 1914, on the day of Vaisakhi, Randhir Singh, with the help of Akali Nihang Baba Jawand Singh and his Akali Nihangs, organized a large 'Panthic' conference in Patti to oppose the British demolition of the wall. Later, in 1915, the 'Ghadarite' revolutionaries arrived in Punjab and would ferment a violent revolution against the British.


The Ghadarites
Photograph of Ghadarite revolutionaries in Punjab

Following in the footsteps of Akali Nihang Baba Jawand Singh and his Akali Nihangs, Randhir Singh and his followers joined the Ghadarites. On 30th March 1916, in what became known as the ‘Second Lahore Conspiracy’, Randhir Singh was jailed for life.

Whilst in jail, Randhir Singh, along with his companions such as Nihang Ganda Singh, endured much hardship in jail in attempting to maintain his pure ‘Khalsa Rehit’ (code of conduct) as he understood it. Randhir Singh was released 14 years later on 15th September 1930 whereupon his aging mentor, Babu Teja Singh Bhasauria attempted to contact him. Randhir Singh refused to meet Babu Teja Singh as Giani Gurdev Singh of Samparda Bhindra comments:

‘When he [Randhir Singh] was released from jail, he went to the Akal Takht. At Akal Takht he was received with great respect and was given a robe of honour with a sword. Then he came home. Now Teja Singh Bhasauria thought he would certainly come to see him. After many days had passed, he himself came to meet Bhai Randhir Singh. When Bhai Sahib realized he is coming seeing him from afar, he shut his door. He [Babu Teja Singh] said:
“Open the door!”
He, Bhai Sahib replied:
“No you have been excommunicated from Sikhism”.’
Giani Gurdev Singh, transcript of interview on October 2001

Many Akali Nihang Singhs, including Akali Nihang Baba Santa Singh often speak of Randhir Singh and Teja Singh Bhasauria as being 'collaborators' with the British rulers. However, one may consider this to be highly questionable accusation due to lack of evidence to support this claim, but Randhir Singh’s stance with regards to the legitimacy of the ‘Raagmala’ cannot be defended.

Raagmala
The last 'Ang' (page) from the same copy of Adi Guru Durbar dated
' Samat 1832' (AD 1775). Please use the 'Zoom' option on the right page to verify this

One has to appreciate that Randhir Singh, although seen by many as being a sincere Sikh in many ways, may have been duped very easily such as in the case of the ‘Raagmala’. For example, whilst in prison, he was convinced by one Hira Singh into accepting the dark arts of alchemy. Randhir Singh himself writes:

‘He [Hira Singh] gave me the secret of making gold out of copper---.’
‘Autobiography of Bhai Randhir Singh’, translated by Trilochan Singh Pa.149
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
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