|Swords of Guru Gobind Singh|
|The following is a foreword by Sardar Surjit Singh Majithia (Deputy Minister for Defense - Govt. of India, 1952-1963) for a book written by Bhai Nahar Singh and Bhai Kirpal Singh titled "TWO SWORDS OF GURU GOBIND SINGH IN ENGLAND ( 1666-1708 AD.)" . The importance of this article to Khalsa Panth is imminent.|
|Sword of Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj|
by Sardar Surjit Singh Majithia.
The documents in the third edition of the monograph relating to the two sword of Guru Gobind Singh Ji (1666-1708 AD) taken to England during the fifties of the last century, Section 3 and 4 have been added as these were traced by the editor in 1986. In March 1849, or within ten years after the death of the creator (The Khalsa Darbar or Sikh Empire), Maharaja Ranjit Singh, its vast territories were annexed by the British East India Company Sarkar to its possessions in India. Its capital, Lahore, the Throne, the Army, the treasury, the mint, the Toshekhana, and the personal jewelry of the members of the reigning family were all considered and taken as war booty "and so belonged to the new masters or victors."
The Toshekhana or stores department of the treasury contained a set of eight pieces of arms and one 'Kulghi-kuch' ( a crest of glass in a silver casket), belonging to Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
In a dispatch regarding these weapons, Lord Dalhousie, the Governor General wrote :- " It should be impolite to allow any Sikh institution to obtain possession of the set of arms, which Sikh traditions assert to have belonged to Guru Gobind Singh."
On the report of the Governor General regarding these weapons, and the 'Kalgi-kuch' and the 13 gentlemen members of the Council of the Secretary of the State in England in a dispatch dated 16th April 1851, wished : " That the sword as having belonged to the founder of the Sikh Nation , we are desirous of placing in our museum as an historical relic. In compliance with this order the sword was sent to England in February 1853." 11
The other sword is called by the name of a "Raikote sword". It was preserved as a treasured heirloom in the Muslim Rajput family of Rai Kalha, by name, for some generations. The sword was given as a gift by Guru Gobind Singh Ji to Rai Shahbaz Khan and his brother Rai Fateh Khan in the year 1705 AD., as a token of friendship and amity along with other articles of his personal use. In April 1854, Rai Imam Baksh, and Rai Ahmad Khan, the descendants of Rai Shahbaz Khan, expressed their wish to the Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana district that : "It would be gratifying to him (Rai Imam Baksh), if the sword was forwarded to England and deposited in honor with the other historical relics of the Sikh Nation." On further investigation by the Deputy Commissioner, it transpired that Rai family member desired that the sword should be presented to Her Majesty the Queen of England.
Mr. R.C. Temple, Secretary to the Chief Commissioner in his letter dated 18th September 1854, observed as following :- " If Nanak was the first religious teacher, Gobind was the first political teacher of the Sikh sect. He established a 'theocratic policy, and founded the famous Khalsa.....One of the strongest and most vigorous sects that ever arose in India.' The sword of such a man, the Chief Commissioner thinks, doubtless a relic of much historical interest." The Chief Commissioner "considers the gift to be not unworthy of its high destination."
The sword was taken to England in January 1855 and presented to Her Majesty, Queen Victoria, as mentioned in the contents of the pamphlet. My father, Late Sardar Bahadur Sir Sunder Singh Majithia (1871-1941) became a member of the Punjab Ministry under dyarchical system in 1921. A short time before his new appointment he was unanimously elected President of the newly constituted Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee on 16th November 1920. This meeting was attended by 175 Sikhs belonging to Punjab and Sikh states. Some of British policy-makers holding high places in the Central Government were annoyed at his new appointment, as his elder brother Sardar Umrao Singh Majithia was in Germany with William Kaiser during the first World War and his property was confiscated by the Government of India.
Sardar Umrao Singh's letter from Germany to Raja Mahinder Partap in Kabul was intercepted and is at present in the National Archives of India. Surmounting all obstacles put by opposition, he was taken member as an accredited leader and representative of the Sikhs, being the first elected President of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, President of the Chief Khalsa Dewan, and President of the Khalsa College, Amritsar. Soon after taking charge he suggested to the Punjab Government regarding the restoration of the swords of Guru Govind Singh to the Sikhs to be presented at Takhat Sahib, in the Akal Bunga in Sri Harmandir Sahib Complex, commonly known as Darbar Sahib. Detailed correspondence in sections 3 and 4 of the pamphlet shows the keenness of the Punjab Government in the matter.
It is for the first time, that an account of the efforts made by the Punjab Government have been published. I congratulate and thank Bhai Nahar Singh and Bhai Kirpal Singh to bring the facts regarding the sacred swords to the notice of the Sikh people and research scholars, Punjab Government, and the Government of India. Bhai Nahar Singh wishes that his co-editor Bhai Kirpal Singh should go to England and make a thorough search for the swords from various museums, persons and institutions. Personally I wish, that the search being started at Government level in 1921 to 1925 may be successful and the swords be brought to India, as in the case of other relics of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. The first task is to find the exact location of the sacred swords by private individuals. No doubt, the job is a harder one. It requires patient efforts to achieve success.
Retired British officers and descendants of the families connected with the history of the Sikh people from 1803 to 1947 are requested to help in the search. Sikhs particularly and other Indian scholars in England are requested for assistance in this matter of great importance.
Surjit Singh Majithia, Majithia House, Bhupinder Nagar, Patiala.