Jatha

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A Jatha is an armed body of Sikhs.[1] They have existed in Sikh tradition since the beginning of the Khalsa (Sikh community) in 1699 CE.[2]

The Damdami Taksal Jatha[edit]

After the creation of the Khalsa, Guru Gobind Singh is said to have created the Damdami Taksal in 1706. Its first Jathedar (leader) was Baba Deep Singh who died at the age of 83 by having his head severed in a battle against Mughal forces.

Sikh Jatha during British Rule[edit]

During the British rule in the Punjab, northern India. Which took the longest and most difficult land to gain during the British Conquest. The Sikhs were still a minority, only 2% population of India but contributed to over 85% sacrifices for Hinduism and Islam in struggle for Independence. During this time, the British imprisoned many Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims which led to many villages and towns being raided by the British police.[3] The majority of India were Muslims and Hindus, even during these difficult times the Sikhs began forming more jathas and new armed squads in British India, villages and towns relied on the protection of the Sikh jathas. Sikhs carried out many attacks and assassinations on the British while in India, which succeeded and Sikhs were brought under arrest and executed.[citation needed] The Sikhs played the most influential role in the Indian independence movement. These include Bhagat Singh and Udham Singh who traveled to London and gunned down people who got away with the killings in India. Most Sikh prison inmates were executed after the assassination of a high ranking British officer John Simon, 1st Viscount Simon, head of the Simon Commission from the British Parliament.[3] Then soon after a bomb blast in the British courts. Bhagat Singh was said to have been behind most of the actions carried out against the British and was later hanged.

Some Sikh jathas such as the Babbar Akali Movement, formed in 1921, rejected non-violence and gave stiff resistance to the British, which led to bloody brawls. The British rule soon left India, but before leaving the crucial decision of where the border of the new country of Pakistan will lay.[3] Many historians say the biggest mistake the British made before they left India was splitting the Sikh main land of Punjab in two, giving half to Pakistan and the other half to be run by a Hindu Government.[3] This led to non-stop bloodshed between many Sikhs and Muslims. Thousands of Muslims fled the Punjab to go Pakistan and thousands of Sikhs left Pakistan to go to 'New' Punjab, but this journey would result in thousands of lives killed.[4]

Sikh Jatha in the 20th century[edit]

Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale was the most well-known Jathedar (leader) of Damdami Taksal of the 20th century. He had a huge following, and supported implementation of the Anandpur Sahib Resolution.[5][6][7][8] Bhindranwale was noted for his opposition to the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. He is most notable for his involvement in the Operation Blue Star, in which he and his revolutionaries occupied the Akal Takht complex, including the Golden Temple, in Amritsar.[9][10] He was killed by the Indian Army led by Kuldip Singh Brar. Since his death, Bhindranwale has remained a controversial figure in Indian history, being described both as a great martyr of the Sikh faith as well as a misguided militant[citation needed].

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=nrN077AEgzMC&pg=PA406&dq=jatha+sikhs+armed&hl=en&sa=X&ei=fNlmUa-GFefC4AOglIHgAg&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=jatha%20sikhs%20armed&f=false
  2. ^ "Who are Sikhs? What is Sikhism?". Sikhnet.com. 
  3. ^ a b c d Abel, Ernest. "Sikh history in British India". 
  4. ^ J. Devi (2005), "The River Churning", Literary polyrhythms: new voices in new writings in English, ISBN 9788176255950 
  5. ^ "Bhindranwale firm on Anandpur move". The Hindustan Times. 1983-09-05. 
  6. ^ "Bhindranwale, not for Khalistan". The Hindustan Times. 1982-11-13. 
  7. ^ "Sikhs not for secession: Bhindranwale". The Tribune. 1984-02-28. 
  8. ^ Joshi, Chand (1985). Bhindranwale: Myth and Reality. New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House. p. 129. ISBN 0-7069-2694-3. 
  9. ^ Kaur, Naunidhi (2004-06-03). "Flashbacks: Golden Temple attack". BBC News. Retrieved 2007-03-28. 
  10. ^ "India". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-03.