Sikhism in Pakistan
Sikhism in Pakistan has an extensive heritage and history, although Sikhs form a small community in Pakistan today. Most Sikhs live in the province of Punjab, a part of the larger Punjab region where the religion originated in the Middle Ages, with some also residing in Peshawar in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak Sahib Ji, the founder of Sikhism, is located in Pakistan's Punjab province.
- About 66.7% of the cultivated land (in Lahore District) is in the hands of the Jats, the great majority of whom are Sikhs. They are commonly of very fine physique and often blessed with brains as well. They represent a magnificent supply of human material. They could be and upto a point are, a very great asset to the District and the Punjab. The communal majority in the District belongs to the Muslims…… and the typical zamindar of the district is Sikh Jat.
- Settlement report of the Lahore District by Mr. G. H. B. Abell, I.C.S. in Gurbachan Singh Talib in Muslim League Attack on Sikhs and Hindus in the Punjab 1947, 1950, Amritsar: Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee p. 221
- We now enter the heart of the Punjab, the tract from the Jhelum in the north to a little beyond the Sutlej in the south. It contains all that is most characteristic of the Province. It is the cradle of the Sikhs and hundred years ago was the mainstay of Ranjit Singh and his power.”... “The peasant proprietor is the backbone of the colonies as he is of the Punjab. In the Lyallpur colony he holds about 80% of the land and in Shahpur nearly as much. In the latter he was mainly recruited from Northern Districts but in the former almost entirely from the central Punjab. A colony could hardly have had better material, for Ludhiana, Jullundur and Amritsar represent the flower of the Indian Agriculture. They are the home of the Jat Sikh who has been described as ‘the most desirable of colonists.’
- The Punjab Peasant by Sir Malcolm Darling, formerly Financial Commissioner of the Punjab. page 41, 122 in Gurbachan Singh Talib in Muslim League Attack on Sikhs and Hindus in the Punjab 1947, 1950, Amritsar: Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee
- (In the matter of developing Colony Lands) the Jat Sikh has reached a point of development probably beyond anything else of the kind in India. In less than a generation he has made the wilderness blossom like the rose. It is as if the energy of the virgin soil of the Bar had passed into his veins and made him almost a part of the forces of nature which he has conquered. It is clear that the Jat Sikh from the central districts of the Punjab has been very largely responsible for the building up of the colony areas of Lyallpur and Montgomery in the Punjab, which form the granary of a large part of India. It may further be mentioned that the Sikhs in the central Divisions of the Punjab have largest Agricultural interests of all other communities put together.
- The Punjab Peasant by Sir Malcolm Darling, formerly Financial Commissioner of the Punjab. page 41, 122 in in Gurbachan Singh Talib in Muslim League Attack on Sikhs and Hindus in the Punjab 1947, 1950, Amritsar: Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee
- The Sikhs played a major part in the development of the rural area of this part and the urban area was built up mainly by the enterprise of Hindus. It would be correct to say that almost the entire trade, commerce and industry of the Lyallpur district and the portion of the Sheikhupura sub-district is in the hands of non-Muslims.
- From Sikh Memorandum to the Punjab Boundary Commission. compiled by Sardar hamam Singh, M.A., LL.B. in in Gurbachan Singh Talib in Muslim League Attack on Sikhs and Hindus in the Punjab 1947, 1950, Amritsar: Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee
- The tract mentioned above, comprising parts of Sheikhupura, Gujranwala and Lyallpur district is one contiguous tract and is Popularly known as the Shahidi Bar. In the preceding paragraphs an account has been given of the Sikh share in the development of this tract and there is no gainsaying that but for the Sikh enterprise the rural areas in this tract would not have been developed and but for the Hindu-Sikh enterprise the markets in this tract would not have flourished.
- From Sikh Memorandum to the Punjab Boundary Commission. compiled by Sardar hamam Singh, M.A., LL.B. in in Gurbachan Singh Talib in Muslim League Attack on Sikhs and Hindus in the Punjab 1947, 1950, Amritsar: Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee 221 ff
- Probably about 40% of this small but doughty people are in one manner or the other describable as refugees. The transference, in the main, has been from irrigated regions splendidly fertile to lands less productive. Prosperous colonies developed by an industrious and capable peasantry have been abandoned, as has much other property in rural and urban areas; some revered shrines are left on the far side of the boundary.”... “Until members of this numerically small but virile obstinate and deeply religious community, can (like British Catholics visiting Rome or Lourdes) buy a ticket for Nanakana Sahib or Panja Sahib confident of the ordinary decencies of international travel, there will be no stable peace in the two Punjabs, nor basis for Pakistan to rank herself as the full equal of other countries in standards of civilized modern tolerance…… “Inquiry confirmed the doubt. It elicited, too, the appalling nature of the Sikhs’ own losses. About 40% of them had been made refugees. No such figure was approached by the other communities. They had no strong Press to put their case.
- Mr. Ian Stephens, Editor of The Statesman in the editorial of January 3-4, 1948 quoted in Talib, S. G. S. (1950). Muslim League Attack on Sikhs and Hindus inthe Punjab, 1947. Amritsar: Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.     p 240-57
Gurbachan Singh Talib
- Sikhs have some of their most sacred Gurdwaras in the West Punjab. The freedom of these Gurdwaras and access to them for purposes of worship forms the sorest point of grievance which the Sikhs have at present against the Pakistan Government, and what is regarded as the easy attitude which the Indian Government is adopting with regard to this matter so deeply vital to Sikh religious sentiment.
- p. 231
- The holiest of the holy of the Sikhs, Nanakana Sahib, birthplace of Guru Nanak-analogous to the Mecca of the Muslims and Jerusalem of the Christians. This Gurdwara also had a vast estate, developed along model lines as a farming colony, and it yielded an annual revenue to the Sikh community of about 20 lakhs of rupees.
- p. 231
- There is then the famous Gurdwara Dehra Sahib in Lahore, site of martyrdom of Sri Guru Arjan Dev. There is the famous Shahidgunj, sacred in Sikh history as the place where the pioneer upholders of the Sikh Creed suffered torture and death at Muslim hands. In Rawalpindi district there is the Panja Sahib Gurdwara, sanctified by Guru Nanak, and so is the famous Babe di Ber in Sialkot. In Gujranwala District is Eminabad. In Lahore District is Kartarpur, a place where Guru Nanak resided for a considerable time. Besides these more famous Gurdwaras, there are hundreds of other shrines, associated with the Sikh Gurus, with holy men and with events in Sikh history. There are then places associated with Sikh history, such as the Mausoleum of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Lahore and his birthplace in Gujranwala. Sikh history and the dearest association of the Sikhs are enshrined in these places. To think that Sikhs and Hindus would leave en masse all that has been mentioned above, if it had been possible for them to retain these, is fantastic nonsense, worthy only of the mendacions propagandists of Pakistan.
- p. 231-2
- The Sikhs had a further deep interest in Nankana Sahib, which is the birthplace of Sri Guru Nanak Dev, founder of Sikhism and is situated in the heart of Sheikhupura district. The Hindus of the Punjab had quite as heavy an economic stake in these districts as the Sikhs, and more so even in Lahore, which town owed almost its entire wealth, industry, educational enterprise, and importance to the vast effort the Hindus had been expending for generations in building it up. Sikh enterprise in developing Lahore was second only to the Hindu-the Muslims there being backward and unenterprising, consisting mostly of migratory seasonal labourers or petty hawkers. (99)
- Gurdwara Janam Asthan was subjected to continuous attacks since June. Muslim police pickets posted ostensibly for the purpose of protection of this place abetted arson and attacks on the Gurdwara. On August 11, Baulch Military entered the Gurdwara on pretext of finding out supposed bombs concealed inside the Gurdwara, and there bayoneted or shot dead 13 Sikhs... (108-9) The famous historic Sikh Gurdwara of Chhevin Padshahi, situated at a distance of fifteen yards from the Police Station on Temple Road in Mozang, was set on fire on the morning of the 15th August. The few Sikhs who were inside the Gurdwara were burnt alive in the flames. This was one of the numerous places of non-Muslim worship which had been burned in Lahore. Baoli Sahib, Gurdwara Chaumala Sahib and others had been burned before. Even the famous Dehra Sahib, held in highest sanctity by the Sikhs as being the place of martydom of Sri Guru Arjan Dev, fifth Guru of the Sikhs, was attacked. The Sikh guards and priests of this Gurdwara were mostly killed. (127)