Labana Sikh

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Not to be confused with Lohana.
Sikh Labana
Labana/Lubana/Lobana [1]
Baba Makhan Shah Labana.jpg
Baba Makhan Shah Labana
Renowned Labana Sikh
Location North America, Punjab, and other parts of South Asia
Language Labanki, Punjabi and its dialects
Religion Sikhism and Folk Religion

Labana Sikh is a sub-group of the Sikh ethnoreligious group from the Indian subcontinent. In past, Sikh Labanas engaged in traditional profession of transportation, but mostly became agriculturer and Landlords, with span of time.[2] The large population of Sikh Labanas resides in Punjab Region. Labana is also written as Lobana, Lubana, Lavana.

Influence and Conversions into Sikhism[edit]

Most of Sikh Labanas were converted from Hindu Labanas. Traditionally, Labana is derived from Sanskrit words, where Luv from Lavana(लवण) which means Salt and Vana from Vanij(वणिज) means Trade.[3]

According to Gurmat Parkash, published by SGPC, Lobana means the one who wear Iron Dress, i.e. Military Dress and people belong to this community served in Guru's army.[4] Guru Nanak met many Lobana Traders during his journey and guided the path of truth. Slowly, Many Labanas started impressed with Gurmat philosophy and became Sikhs. They also visit in different cities and preach Sikhism among other people. Slowly, they started served in Guru's armies and many attained martyrdom in different Battles. They continued to serve during Sikh Empire and adopted Sikh way of life in huge numbers during Sikh Rule and Singh Sabha Movement.

Early Sikh History[edit]

In an account of Bhai Bala Janamsakhi, during North Udasi, Nanak met a trader of Salt and guided him to be lowly.[5] Following are some famous Labana people in Sikh History:

  • First Sikh Labana recorded in Sikh History was Bhai Mansukh, who came in contact with Guru Nanak, accepted the Sikh thought and preached it around South India and Sri Lanka region.[6][7] Bhai Mansukh told King Shivnabh about Guru Nanak.[8]
  • During Guru Angad times, Bhai Saunde Shah, with Lobana congregation, came to meet Guru Angad dev and bring many commodities on his oxen.[9]
  • Baba Dasa Lobana, Father of Makhan Shah Lobana, trade with African region who is believed to be Masand appointed by Guru Ram Das.[10]
  • Baba Hasna was a Lobana Sikh who was in charge of transport for carrying items for Langar during time of Guru Arjun Dev.[11]
  • Bhai Balu, Bhai Nathia, Bhai Dosa and Bhai Suhela were noted Lobana Sikh soldiers, who sacrificed there lives in battles of Guru Hargobind.[12] Also Baba Takhat Mal Labana was a Hazuri Sewak of Guru Hargobind whom he met in Bajurgwal.[13]
  • Bhai Kuram was one more devout Sikh who served Guru Har Rai at Ajitgarh.
  • After Guru Harkrishan, the eighth Guru of Sikhism, died in 1664, there was confusion about the identification of his successor. According to Sikh legends, Makhan Shah, a great merchant of the Labana tribe, identified Guru Teg Bahadur as the successor of Guru Harkrishan. Makhan Shah was very helpful to Guru Teg Bahadur during his pontificate. The Labanas participated in battles fought by the tenth Guru.
  • Labana Sikhs, with Lakhi Shah Vanjara, also participated in Cremation of Guru Tegh Bahadur.[14]
  • Nadu Shah Labana was another devout Sikh who is known for his service of Guru Gobind Singh and Khalsa Army.
  • Kushal Singh, Jawahar Singh and Hem Singh were Labana soldiers served in Guru Gobind Singh and sacrificed their lives in Battle of Chamkaur.

Banda Bahadur and Sikh Empire[edit]

  • As per Prachin Panth Parkash, When Banda Singh Bahadur needs money then a Caravan of Labanas helped them, following is text from same source:
    ਨਹੀਂ ਖਰਚ ਅਬ ਹਮਰੇ ਪਾਸ । ਆਵੇ ਖਰਚ ਯੋ ਕਰੀ ਅਰਦਾਸ ।
    ਆਏ ਲੁਬਾਣੇ ਲਗ ਗਈ ਲਾਰ। ਦਯੋ ਦਸਵੰਧ ਉਨ ਕਈ ਹਜ਼ਾਰ ।
    ਸੋਊ ਬੰਦੇ ਆਈ ਅਗੇ ਧਰਯੋ । ਕਰੇ ਅਰਦਾਸ ਬੰਦੇ ਹੇਠ ਫ਼ਰਯੋ ।
  • During the Misl period, the Labanas joined the services of various "Misldars" and served in Bhangi, Ramgarhia and Ahluwalia Misls[15]
  • During time of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Labanas were recruited into army and proved as good soldiers.[16]
  • The Labanas of Lower Indus, Gujranwala and Jhang, settled as cultivators during Sikh rule under Diwan Sawan Mall, and mostly were Sahajdhari Sikhs.[17]

Conversions during British Raj[edit]

The Labanas (along with many other groups) saw the highest conversions into Sikhism during 1881–1891. In 1881, population of Labanas was 48489. 69% were Hindus, 25% were Sikhs and 3% were Muslims. In 1921, the population had grown to 56316 Lubanas. The Sikh Labana population rose to 77%, Hindu Labanas were reduced 15% of the population and Muslim Labanas increased to 7%.[18] In this era, many HIndu Labanas were converted to Sikhs under Singh Sabha Lehar. In Punjab, Labanas started leaving merchant work and shifted to agricultural professions which turned them into a landholding community.

According to the census report of 1891, there were 18 thousand Labana Sikhs out of a total population of 56 thousand, and many of them were Sahajdharis or Nanakpanthis.[19]

According to British records, 33% of the Labana were baptised Sikhs and were found primarily in the Lahore, Gujranwala, and Sialkot areas.[20]

Occupation[edit]

Originally, Labanas were traders and Carriers and were nomadic, like Banjaras, Lambadis. Since they came in touch with Sikhism, They continued in Animal-Powered transportation and move with entire families, cattle and dogs, around the country. They also engaged in Water Transportation. The famous Sikh is Makhan Shah, who had ships for transportation. Lakhi Shah Vanjara, famous Labana Sikh use Bullocks for Land Transportation during Mughal Rule.

They were employed by various empires for transportation of War material. They served under empires of Mughals, British, Sikhs etc. Due to political disorders, it became difficult for Labanas to continue traditional occupation and began to settled around rivers. During Maharaja Ranjit Singh tenure, they entered into agriculture.[21]

The major setback to their traditional profession is introduction of Motor and railways by British, so there dependence on agriculture increased. For additional Income, they adopted military profession and served in both world wars and got lands and appreciation for their performances.

According to George Armand Furse, "The Jut and Lobana castes of Sikhs possess in a high degree the useful knowledge of the lading and care of beasts of burden".[22]

Notable Sikh Labana personalities[edit]

Main article: List of Labanas

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Volume 3, Page 2, A Glossary of the tribes and castes of the Punjab and North-West frontier. H.A. Rose
  2. ^ Page 171, THE LUBANAS OF PUNJAB, Kamaljit Singh, Guru Nanak Dev University
  3. ^ Page 2, Volume 3, A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province. HA Rose
  4. ^ SGPC Parkash. Gurmat Parkash. SGPC. p. 80. 
  5. ^ Sakhi 72, Bhai Bala Janamsakhi
  6. ^ Sikh Heritage
  7. ^ Bhai Bala Janamsakhi
  8. ^ Mahankosh, Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha, Page 949
  9. ^ Bhai Veer Singh, Asht Gur Chamatkar, Bhag 1, Page 18
  10. ^ Historian Harpal Singh Kasoor Research on Sikh History of west
  11. ^ Page 152, Baba Makhan Shah Lubana, Mercantile Press, Harnam Singh
  12. ^ Forgotten Sikh Tribes, P1, Dalwinder Singh Garewal
  13. ^ Page 833, Bhai Khan Singh, Mahankosh
  14. ^ Mahankosh, Kahn Singh Nabha, ਰਕਾਬਗੰਜ - rakābaganja - रकाबगंज ਸ਼ਹਨਸ਼ਾਹ ਸ਼ਾਹਜਹਾਂ ਦੇ ਹਮਰਕਾਬ ਰਹਿਣ ਵਾਲਾ ਅਸਤਬਲ ਦਾ ਇੱਕ ਅਹੁਦੇਦਾਰ, ਜਿਸ ਨੇ ਸ਼ਾਹਜਹਾਂਨਾਬਾਦ ਪਾਸ ਇਸ ਨਾਉਂ ਦਾ ਪਿੰਡ ਵਸਾਇਆ। ੨. ਰਕਾਬਗੰਜ ਗ੍ਰਾਮ ਪਾਸ ਸ਼੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਤੇਗਬਹਾਦੁਰ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਦਾ ਪਵਿਤ੍ਰ ਗੁਰਦ੍ਵਾਰਾ, ਜਿੱਥੇ ਲਬਾਣੇ ਸਿੱਖਾਂ ਨੇ ਗੁਰੂ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਦੇ ਧੜ ਦਾ ਸਸਕਾਰ ਕੀਤਾ. ਸੰਮਤ ੧੭੬੪ (ਸਨ ੧੭੦੭) ਵਿੱਚ ਜਦ ਦਸ਼ਮੇਸ਼ ਦਿੱਲੀ ਪਧਾਰੇ, ਤਦ ਇਸ ਥਾਂ ਮੰਜੀਸਾਹਿਬ ਬਣਵਾਇਆ. ਫੇਰ ਬਘੇਲਸਿੰਘ ਜੀ ਨੇ ਸੰਮਤ ੧੮੪੭ (ਸਨ ੧੭੯੦) ਵਿੱਚ ਗੁੰਬਜਦਾਰ ਮੰਦਿਰ ਬਣਵਾਇਆ. ਹੁਣ ਇਹ ਅਸਥਾਨ ਨਵੀਂ ਦਿੱਲੀ ਵਿੱਚ ਗੁਰਦ੍ਵਾਰਾ ਰੋਡ ਤੇ, ਵਡੇ ਸਰਕਾਰੀ ਦਫਤਰ ਪਾਸ ਹੈ. ਦੇਖੋ, ਦਿੱਲੀ ਦਾ ਅੰਗ ੨.
  15. ^ pp.133-136, Harnam Singh, Lubana Itihas
  16. ^ Retrieved from Page 7, The Lubanas of Punjab, Kamaljit Singh, Guru Nanak Dev University
  17. ^ Page 380, Encyclopaedia of Untouchables Ancient, Medieval and Modern, Raj Kumar, Gyan Publishing House
  18. ^ Punjab di Lobana Biradar, Dr. Jaswant Singh
  19. ^ Page 55, Sikhs, Atlantic Publishers & Distri
  20. ^ Transformation of the Sikh Society (Ethene K. Marenco) p. 120
  21. ^ W. Hunter, The Imperial Gazetter of India, Vol. I, Truber & Co., London 1885, pp.181-82.
  22. ^ Studies on military transport By George Armand Furse P. 215
  23. ^ Photographs:Balwinder Singh
  24. ^ Photographs: Balwinder Singh - Kabaddi.org

External links[edit]