Kuka Revolt and the Blood Bath (1871-72)
Prof Malwinder Jit Singh Waraich
Namdhari Sikhs derive their peculiar identity from their strict adherence to continuous Nam recitation since the days of Baba Ram Singh (1816-85) the initiator. Kukas (Criers) was their popular/nick name for their extra loud singing of sacred verse on occasions, in a highly excited emotional state.
They were dreaded by the British rulers for their patriotic zeal, much more so during the later half of the 19th century. Punjab was very dear to white masters, for which they had to contend against the ferocious Sikh army. Soon, after its annexation in 1849, another jolt came in 1857 uprising which shook their faith in their largely native army, their instrument for subduing politically fractured India.
Punjab was in a way their hope since they viewed the martial qualities of Sikhs as potential source for their own deference forces. While Baba Ram Singh had, in 1857, started a strictly religious process of regeneration of Sikh way of life, the farsighted among the British — One like Col. Taylor, Commissioner Ambala Division, prophesied — “…those lads mean war sooner or later.” In his letter addressed to Punjab Government on 11.9.1866 he wrote: “The whole drift of his (Baba Ram Singh’s) reformation being apparently to consolidate the power of Sikhism, with a view to political ends, I think it possible that this was not the original intention. But I fully believe that it was natural result of any religious revival among a warlike race panting to recover their much-loved land and to restore the glories of their sect. Ram Singh may have commenced as a mild religious reformer on the fashion of (Guru) Nanak, but his stirring lieutenants are hurrying his into a more near imitation of the warlike Guru Gobind (Singh).”
An alarmed Punjab Government took ‘due note’ of these forebodings and shot a letter to the Government of India on 29.9.1866: “There can be no doubt that a widespread and constantly increasing fraternity of a more or less secret character, apparently well organised and devotedly attached to their Chief, must contain the elements of political mischief.”
The movement initiated by Baba Ram Singh was aimed at moral regeneration of the people of Punjab in general and of Sikhs in particular. This was admitted by the new rulers. “On initiation the convert has to bind himself to list of virtues which are very appealing to the eye.” But this innocuous ritual of initiation, which involves uttering or whispering of mantra by the initiator into the ears of the devotee too assumed monstrous colour as per the perceptions of those in power: “Having a decidedly bad opinion of Ram Singh and his whole sect, I conceive the watchword may in all probability run ‘all is fair against the firank (firangee, the white)…”
Baba Ram Singh (1816-1885) — The Catalyst
Born in 1816 in village Bhaini near Ludhiana, in the fraternity of Iron Smiths/carpenters, he joined the Sikh Army of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the elite cavalry (horse riders) called ‘Nav Nihal Singh Regiment’ as a Sowar in 1836 when he was barely 20. Even while in the army he kept alive the religious fervour imbibed from his devout parents and felt alarmed at the prevailing moral degeneration which foreboded the impending disaster. Having realised the dangers of the internal weaknesses of the Khalsa, he became regular in his prayers and meditation.
The death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1839 plunged the Sikh State into a turmoil, rot and decay coupled with personal rivalries led to murder after murder. The movements of his Regiment all over the State had enabled him to to interact with the large number of people. In 1845 on the eve of battle of Mudki, he left soldiering to meditate upon God’s name (Nam), and thus became one of the Namdharis. He had come in contact with Guru Balak Singh of Huzroo, the founder of Namdhari movement during his services in the army and had become his follower.
After his release from the army Baba Ram Singh took to his hereditary profession of iron smithy/carpentry in the village and started running a grocery shop too. Put so aptly by legendary Baba Sohan Singh Bhakna of Ghadar Party fame “as the (iron) furnace became hotter and hotter, his soul too vibrated more and more with revulsion against foreign yoke with heat of revolt”. His life truly personified the sublime synthesis of honest labour, with meditation blended with spirit of social uplift and all round regeneration.
It goes to his credit that while his life was an open book for his fellow Sikhs and countrymen but till his end he remained an enigma to his enemies, the British rulers of the day. Besides all else, they could never reconcile his stately entourage with his most orderly conduct: “Ram Singh had with him forty horses for his own use and that of his Soobahs (Deputies). In all his processions he was proceeding with colours flying and drum beating with his most orderly conduct vis a vis the authority and he was ready to do whatever we (they) ordered.”
They were equally confounded with the facts that while he assumed the simple title of ‘Bhai’ or head of the brotherhood but were aware of the myth that he derived his power, success and spiritual authority (for his disciples implicitly obey and trust him) from a sacred copy of (Guru) Gobind Singh’s Granth, which is supposed to contain a prophesy that in these later days a great Sikh reformer, of the carpenter class, named Ram Singh should arise.
In the legal parlance they could not impugn any overt act of his, which went against the Indian Penal Code while being fully convinced that none else but Baba Ram Singh was the head source of all the seditious, rebellious and subversive activities associated directly or indirectly with the Kukas/Namdharis. More than anything else, he was able to throw, by his subtle ways of leadership, the authority off their guard in 1866 when surveillance over him was withdrawn, in the fond hope that he would lose his shine by mixing with people.
The disastrous consequences of their under-estimation were soon to follow in 1871-72.
Core of Namdhari Movement
Social Responsibility and Resistance Against Tyranny and Injustice
The tenets, the perceptions, and the demeanour of the Kukas is well brought out in the official reports of the relevant period.
One such report reveals that the initiation verse was:
ਪਹਿਲਾ ਮਰਣੁ ਕਬੂਲਿ ਜੀਵਣ ਕੀ ਛਡਿ ਆਸ ॥
ਹੋਹੁ ਸਭਨਾ ਕੀ ਰੇਣੁਕਾ ਤਉ ਆਉ ਹਮਾਰੈ ਪਾਸਿ ॥
“First consent to death: Give up the desire to live; Become the dust of the earth; Then come to me.”
On initiation all vices such as lying, stealing, drinking, adultry, etc., are supposed to be foresworn and are strictly forbidden. Kukas so offending are punished by a Panchayat.
A circular purportedly addressed by Baba Ram Singh to his followers runs as under:
“Under favour of one true God, written by Ram Singh and the Khalsa of Bhaini to all the Khalsa. The Khalsa is of pure great God, victory be to the pure great God. Be this accepted, an epistle of percepts for all the brethren.
“Rise in the last ‘watch’ (i.e. three hours before sun rise) of the night, and purify your mouth, then bath, read the scriptures, if they are not known, then acquire them by rote; everyone, old women and maiden Jup, Jap, complete Raihras, Arti, Sohila (the daily recitals of Sikh scriptures), this much be particular to learn.
“All practise virtue and continence. Worship the true God during the whole eight watches (twenty four hours). Look upon the daughters and sisters of others as your own.
“Of others’ rights, the Guru (Nanak) has already written: “hku prwieAw nwnkw ausu sUAr ausu gwie ]” (‘Other right’, Nanak says, ‘are pig to one and cow to the other’).
“Should any one enquire (acquire) the secret of worship and not practise it, then his face will be blackened in both worlds.
“Let not one speak ill or harshly; be meek; bear ill or harsh sayings from all; even if anyone strikes you, even then be meek; your protector is God.
“Always hide your good deeds. Assemble often. Sing the scriptures daily…
“Do not cover the evil deeds of others. Let no one receive money in lieu of a daughter or a sister or barter them.
“Continually repeat God, God. Do not eat flesh, or drink spirits. Continue always in the fear of God.”
The magnitude and sweep of its appeal can be gauged from the contemporary official reports to the effect that all castes of Hindus and even Muslims may become Kukas. Major Perkins, District Superintendent of Police at Ludhiana reports (1867) that converts are chiefly made from Juts, Tarkhan (carpenter) and Muzhbees (lowest castes); very few are obtained from Khatris, Brahmins and Bunnias; and he only knows of two Muslims who have embraced this faith.
Namdharis had, by their strict devotion both in letter and spirit to the moral-social code enjoined upon them had a favourable impact on the social mileu in which they thrived. The estimation in which they were held is well depicted in an official report based on opinions in this regard gathered from native officers. “They (the people) all seem to have a great respect for the tenets of the sect, and agree that it is an effort to restore the Sikh religion to its original purity, and to do away with the innovations which have crept into it, such as consulting Brahmins as to the proper day for marriage, etc., from what they say... They hold that God is one, not made or born but existing by himself and they appear to hold in utter reprobation the Hindu beliefs of various incarnations of the deity.
“They inculcate a very strict morality, condemning most strongly lying, theft and adultry and appear anxious merely to revive the Sikh religion in its original state of purity and to eradicate the errors which have from time to time defiled it.
“All with whom I have conversed on the subject, laugh at the idea of the movement having any political significance and regard it simply as a religious one.
“There is no doubt that all the Sikhs and Kukas among them would be glad to see their own rule established: but I do not think that any danger is to be apprehended from the spread of this sect, further than the well-known fact that at any disturbance very strict religionist or fanatics of any denomination, are apt to let their passions carry them away and to be more desperate than those who are more careless in their religious views. As a proof of this I may mention the state of ecstasy into which the disciples of this sect fall, and which all the Sikhs, with whom I have conversed on the subject, attribute to their great mental excitement.”13
The government, till mid-sixties was in two minds about the political dimensions of the movement. This is signified by the relaxation in surveillance over Baba Ram Singh in 1866. But from 1867 onwards, the authorities started taking serious note of the political potential of the sect. A communication from London Government (Secretary of State for India) dated May 31, 1867 addressed to Government of India, after having perused the report on the matters submitted by the latter, observed that “the Kukas have ulterior political objects of a dangerous kind and while I do not at present, see reason to urge on your government any active interference with the proceedings of Ram Singh and his associates, I must express the hope the Her Majesty’s Government that these persons be quietly but very narrowly watched.”14
The alarm signals sounded loud and clear which is evident from the report in vernacular papers during 1866-68. An Urdu Weekly Ushruf-Ul-Akhbar published from Delhi (December 18, 1966 issue) carried a report: “In the district of Ludhiana in the Punjab, one Ram Singh — a Sikh, has, it is said, taken upon himself, honour of being a ‘prophet and has converted 60,000 persons to his creed. Thos
e who are with him go from place to place or make converts. The police are wondering about in great thought of them.”
Adding another, very ominous signal for the Government one Urdu periodical published from Meerut Nujum-ooL-Akbar in its issue of January 2, 1867 reported, “the Sikh Sepoys in (Ludhiana) fort, too have gone over to him (Ram Singh) and the government has thought it necessary to send Gorkhas in the fort.”
On top of it all, the Urdu journal Raih-Noo-Mai Punjab published from Sialkot in its issue dated February 2, 1867 read: “It is a matter of wonder and regret that the Punjabis are again thinking of old Saltanat (Kingdom) and crying out against the rule of (British) Government.”15
Be as it may, the denouement of the movement in course of a few years made the British rulers realise that Punjab which was their stronghold in 1857, was to become a hot bed of sedition in 1872.16
It is a moot question whether Baba Ram Singh and his close associates visualised for the Kukas a high profile political role which they (inevitably) assumed in any case by 1871-72. But it was inherent in the logic of the historical process initiated by them at that juncture. It was not thus incidental that quite a few among the establishment put it bluntly to the powers that be that the moral preaching of Baba Ram Singh was only a sort of blind (curtain) to hide his true intentions. The same official warns that “the plant is yet tender (i.e. in 1868) and can be bent at pleasure (sic!) hereafter it will not yield. No one will ever be able to find out the root of all this mischief and scandal unless every Kooka be put to the gun or by other torture, which at this moment is no cruelty, and would be of endless service to the Government.…18 Continuing: “This movement is a type of that which has been done in India, before, during the rule of Mughal princes, for when Muhammadans fought against the Hindus, Guru Gobind Singh raised men and money in precisely the same manner as things are going now, although not a half is yet known of their present proceedings to the Government.” (Emphasis added)
Presumably the first overt act in this direction was taken on the Baisakhi Day (April 13) 1857 at Bhaini. “Before an august assembly a flag was unfurled followed by administration of baptism (amrit) to five Sikhs. The flag was triangular in shape and white in colour and became the symbol of freedom struggle. In order to recreate the spirit of Guru Gobind Singh, the baptism ceremony was christened Khande Da Amrit (nectar of the sword). As the keeping of the sword had been disallowed, the disciples were commanded to keep a heavy lathi. And in order to keep a distinct identity each one of them was ordered to keep a woollen rosary, put on white dress and have a white turban tied in a straight manner.
“His fame had spread rapidly and by 1863 he had been able to recruit as many as 40,000 disciples whose unity, oneness of purpose, love of the Guru and moral tone was so pronounced that the English felt shaken.”
The apportioning of Punjab into twenty-two Subahs, each put under one Subah was possibly circumstanced by restrictions imposed on the movements of Baba Ram Singh from 1863 onwards. But it had the potential of being seen as a sort of “shadow administration” which could be expected to fill in the gap in the wake of a successful insurrection against foreign rule.
A step in the direction of raising a Kuka armed force was taken in late sixties in the attempts to raise two Kuka Regiments, one in Kashmir and the other in Nepal with the aid of their respective rulers both being favourably disposed towards Baba Ram Singh.
In November 1869 reports were received by the Government that the Maharaja of Kashmir was raising Kuka Regiment, that each recruit received a certificate from Ram Singh before setting out for Kashmir.21 Accordingly a Deputy Inspector was sent in the end of 1869 to Jammu to learn particulars concerning the composition and interior economy of this corps. He returned in February 1870 and reported that at the time of his visit 150 men had been secured. The monthly salary of a soldier was nominally higher than the salary received by ordinary troops of Maharaja. The men had been drilled, but were not regularly armed. When they went on parade arms were served out to them: these they gave into store when the maneuvers were over. No uniform had been issued to them.22
Ultimately, the Maharaja was made to dismiss all the Kukas from his army in September/October 1871.23
In connection with Nepal, Baba Ram Singh reportedly sent a pair of mules and a couple of buffaloes as gifts to the Maharaja, and the emissary was believed to have been assigned the mission of exploring the scope of recruitment of Kukas in Nepal army. Here too the Maharaja was prevailed upon to dismiss sixteen Sikhs in his service.24
These attempts of Baba Ram Singh were not unexpectedly, viewed by the British as “to show that he is (was) working outside the sphere of a mere Guru or religious teacher.”25
The Cross Roads — Butchers’ Episode
(Amritsar June 14, 1871; Raikot, Ludhiana July 15, 1871)
The murder of the butchers of the cows by Kukas was interpreted in a wider historical perspective by the authorities much beyond a mere emotional outburst of a few fanatics on the fringe of Kuka fraternity. “There was a design on their (Kukas) part to put a stop to cow killing. Now it is well known that under the British rule, cow killing is allowed, and it would be the one of the first acts of a Sikh Government which got upper hand of our (British) Government to put an end to this practice. When the Delhi massacres were first reported in 1857, Sikhs in Ropar at once wished to pronounce the end of British authority, and proclaimed in the bazars that cow killing was forbidden. The chief Sikh engaged in the business was at once hanged. The very fact then of the Kukas desiring to put a stop to this practice must have been known to one and oll of them as being a symptom of a desire to take active measures for introducing a Sikh Rule. Ram Singh in his statement acknowledges that there was a talk about the Amritsar murders before they were actually committed.26 (emphasis added)
The permission to allow open sale of beef by the British authorities in Punjab which had been prohibited during the Sikh rule, and had continued to be so ever after annexation of Punjab was perceived as a threat to their socio-religious ethos both by Sikhs as well as by Hindus. It was further aggravated by slanderous propaganda of Christian missionaries against Indian religions and the setting up a string of slaughterhouses for the supply of beef, a phenomenon strictly forbidden under the Khalsa regime which made the Hindus and Sikhs realise the heavy loss that they had suffered by losing independence.27 It may not be too farfetched to surmise that the said policy of relaxing ban on cow slaughter was also aimed at isolating Muslim population from their Sikh and Hindu brethren. Population wise, the Muslims formed the majority in the Punjab of those days.
Writing about the Act of Cow Killing, L.H. Griffin officiating Secretary to the Government of Punjab, likened the agitation (against cow slaughter) to that of cartridge issue (suspected presence of cow and pig fats in the cartridges supplied to Indian troops) and recommended deterrent punishment on the Kukas in 1871 and 1872. Even Maharaja of Patiala was also inclined to think that, under the religious pretext, Ram Singh was putting into commotion the entire region, as was done by leaders in 1857.28
As for the actual chain of events pertaining to killing of butchers, during the months of April and May in 1871, considerable excitement prevailed in the city of Amritsar on the subject of the slaughter of kine. The excitement was to an extent hitherto, unusual, and there is reason to believe (it) owed its origin to the exposure of beef for sale in the city, and to the fact of one Deva Singh, a Sikh irritated by this exposure near the temple picking up a bone and placing it in front of Granth, the holy book of the Sikhs.… Some measures were taken by the authorities to defuse the tension. It was thus believed that the bad feelings that existed had completely died out, and from the date of Commissioner’s darbar till the June 14, 1871 the local authorities had not any suspicion or clue as to what was about to occur.
“On the night of the date (June 14) a sudden attack was made on the slaughter houses near the city of Amritsar by an armed gang. Four of the inmates were killed outright and three others were severely wounded. The criminals escaped unrecognised and unpursued in the darkness of night, but they left behind a chakkar (quoit or disc of steel) worn under the turban by Akalis, a class of religious fanatics among the Sikhs and a blue turban, which, as it was afterwards discovered, were left on the spot with the intention of diverting suspicion from the real perpetrators and casting it on the Akalis.
“Again at about 11 p.m. on July 15, 1871, a similar outrage was committed by a gang or armed men on a house occupied by butchers at a village called Raikot in the Ludhiana district. Like the Amritsar assailants, they too escaped unrecognised and unpursued.” (Report of Punjab Government to Government of India).29
The police working on the clues left at Amritsar started arresting Nihangs who were the one sporting the items found at the spot, and started torturing them to elicit evidence to prepare a case against them. According to Baba Sohan Singh Bhakna (of Ghadar Party fame) when Baba Ram Singh learnt of the same, he called the actual culprits and admonished them seriously whereupon they (Kukas) confessed their complicity in the killing; the police refused to accept their version but when they produced the ‘collateral’ evidence, they had to be believe. As a sequel they were tried and publicly hanged by a Banyan tree in ‘Company Gardens’ in Amritsar, which survives till today as a mute witness to these hangings.
The authorities, suspected Baba Ram Singh to be the instigator, for having made some remarks suggestive of the act to Ganda Singh (one implicated for Amritsar killings) which for a person of his (Baba Ram Singh’s) position have the force of command.30
In conclusion, Cowan, Deputy Commission of Ludhiana was not far wrong to state (in February 1872) that “Death to the killers of cows” was the watch-word of Kuka rebels of the day — one which was eminently calculated to enlist on their side the sympathies of Hindus of all classes, and there had been, ever since the Raikot murders a feeling of uneasiness and dread among all classes of the community. There was reason then from the beginning to fear that the outbreak would be a serious one.31
Since he (Cowan) was the author of forty nine kookas’ blowing away with guns at Malerkotla on January 17, 1872, he laments the trial of Amritsar and Raikot culprits by ordinary courts by whom they were executed or transported. Since “Those executions and punishments according to law had no effect in preventing an outbreak of a much more serious character on the first opportunity.”32 (i.e. January 1872). (Emphasis added).
On the side of the Kukas, concerning the events of January 1872, the execution of one Surinder Singh alias Giani Singh at Ludhiana in connection with Raikot murders happened to be a proximate cause of Malod-Malerkotla attack on January 15/16, 1872. He was purportedly hanged on the bald suspicion of being a ‘conspirator’.
The chain of events culminating in attack on Malod and Malerkotla (January 15/16, 1872)
A shrewd British officer, Mr. Macnabb, Commissioner Ambala Division on November 4, 1871 had put the higher authorities on guard, possibly visualising an upheaval. He was categorical in his reading of the contemporary phase of the movement that whatever may have been the intentions of the leaders of the sect at the beginning, its tendency is distinctly political.
“I see in the earlier papers that Ram Singh was looked upon as a successor or actual embodiment of Guru Nanak, the saint. He is now the representative of (Guru) Gobind (Singh) the warrior.
“In a sect which organises itself into Districts (Soobahs), with rulers and sub-agents, in each and sends its emissaries to Lucknow or Hyderabad, or wherever Sikhs are found and arranges its tenets so that it carefully avoids anything really antagonistic to the Sikh religion, the political element cannot fail, after a while, to be the mainspring of action. Everything points to this. Ram Singh has no pretension to be the saintly fakir. He visits you attended by half a dozen horsemen; he is followed by scores of men on foot; he comes to your room surrounded by a court like a prince. He and his people are dressed in exquisitely fine white clothes.”
“Again, when Subah Gyani Singh (executed in Raikot case) wishes to account for his presence at this village or that, he says (he) had gone to one to settle a dispute between some Kukas, in another, to look after the interests of Kukas who were presented before the Patiala police authorities. In fact, he is a Magistrate and a leader, not a spiritual guide.
“The Subahs I have seen are young daring looking men. The Kukas I have seen, are with a few exceptions… remarkable for their physical frames.
“I think the natural deduction from the above is that the movement has become (whatever it was in the beginning) A political and not a purely religious movement.
“It has next to be shown that Ram Singh is not a mere puppet in the hands of designing men. I have shown the state he keeps. No one who has seen and talked with Ram Singh will have failed to observe an intelligence, firmness and decision of character, which couples also with self restraint, do not belong to a mere religious enthusiast still less to a puppet.”33
The ‘Dire’ Secrecy
Such like forebodings were rooted, in part, in the impregnable communication network of Kukas. Needless to say, the success of the peculiar system lay in the highest qualities of self-discipline and selflessness of the persons involved.
It is not so well known that the unprecedented ‘Swadeshi’ spirit among the Kukas encompassed not only a complete boycott of the official courts, but comprehended the total avoidance of rail travel besides the absolute non-use of official postal system. From the angle of intelligence alone, the latter two measures foreclosed the most obvious ‘sources’ of secret police, viz., the railway stations and the postal mail. How often one comes across the incidents of arrest and follow up of those wanted by police from the clues discovered, from these two links.
“The Kukas have a private postal system of their own which appears to be admirably orgainsed. Confidential orders are circulated much like in the Scottish bygone days. A Kuka, on the arrival at his village of another of the same sect with a dispatch, at once leaves off whatever work he may be engaged upon; if in the midst of a repast (meal), not another morsel is eaten; he asks no questions, but, taking the missive (letter), starts off at a run and conveys it to the next relief or to its destination. Important communications are sent verbally and are not committed to writing.
“In carrying messages, they make great detours to avoid the Grand Trunk Road.
“There is no doubt that, though this machinery has been introduced to work for a religious reform, yet in the hands of designing and unscrupulous men, it can easily be made an engine of political danger.” (An official report of 1863).34
Festivals and ‘the Festival’
The mass gatherings of the Kukas always synchronised with traditional Sikh festivals, like Baisakhi and Diwali at Amritsar and Hola Mohalla at Anandpur Sahib. Interestingly, among the earliest intelligence reports, emanating from one such gathering at Diwali at Amritsar where one Capt. Menzies a police officer was present, Roor Singh, the leading Kooka present waited on him and solicited instructions for the guidance of his followers, who then acting upon the advice received, behaved in a most orderly manner…35
When restrictions on the movements of Baba Ram Singh were imposed, he was enjoined upon to seek advance permission to visit such festivals. One such occasion was the Hola festival at Anandpur Sahib in March 1867, the application for permission was submitted on February 6, 1867, i.e., about six weeks before the festival. It was granted subject to a few stringent conditions, all in the name of peace and tranquility but ultimately what possibly weighed most with the authorities was (apprehension or fond hope) that “If a row did take place, it would give us a hold upon Ram Singh, and a ground of proceeding against him, should it be considered advisable to do so.”36 It is a matter of record that as per the knowledge of T.D. Forsyth, the Commissioner of Jullunder Division “he (Baba Ram Singh) or his followers have been guilty of no act that can be construed unfavourably to his prejudice.”37
Such like orderly conduct continued to be the norm in every festival involving the gatherings of Kukas enmass.
The gathering of above 1,000 Kukas on January 11 and 12, the traditional Lohri followed by Maghi festival of the Sikhs was the occasion of Bhog to commemorate the martyrdom of Kukas who were executed in connection with killing of butchers. Maghi, as per Sikh traditions is associated with the supreme sacrifice of forty muktas (the liberated) who laid own their lives at (now called) Muktsar to atone for their prior desertion from Guru Gobind Singh.
In particular there was a simmering feeling of vengeance on account of the execution of Subah Gyani Singh by linking him with Raikot murders.
This is what made this particular gathering different from such like aggregations in the past.
According to the official report about 1,000 Kukas were at Bhainion the January 11 and 12, 1872. During these two days there was, of course, free inter communication among the leaders and their followers. On the 13th, Deputy Inspector (police) heard that a body of hundred men Mastanas that is one who had worked themselves into frenzied excitement and a state of desperation, had separated themselves from the rest and were preparing to start for Malerkotla. (Malerkotla, being a native state under a Muslim prince, was seen to be associated with kine killing).
“Hearing this D.I. went to Ram Singh and asked what it all meant, Ram Singh merely replied that they were Mastanas and had passed beyond his control… The D.I. then called on Ram Singh to bid them to go to their homes quietly, whereupon Ram Singh went to them putting handkerchief around his neck and begging them to go away and not to get into a row.”
In the same breath, however, the report indicates Baba Ram Singh having made a feeble request to his followers not to get into trouble; little realizing that the mode of entreatment adopted by Baba Ram Singh (putting of handkerchief around the neck) is the ultimate form or request or prayer ordinarily reserved for the spiritual authority or Sangat, i.e., the holy congregation among the Sikhs.
Continuing further the report goes on to say that: “It was generally known at Bhaini what the plan of operation was to be. The D.I. reported to the D.C. (Ludhiana) that they had come to know from a number of people that Malerkotla was the first object of attack and from one of the prisoners (tried in the case) we know that it was arranged at Bhaini and made known to all the Kukas that Malerkotla being weak and torn with dissensions was to the rendezvous where arms and money could be found. Thence, attacks were to be made on Nabha, Jind, Patiala…”38
These (Cis-Sutlej) native states were considered traitors to the Sikh cause since they had preferred to accept British protection to coming in the fold of Sikh kingdom of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Besides, they had solidly supported the British Government during the 1857 uprising. Inevitably, they sent their troops to subdue Kuka rebels.
Baba Sohan Singh Bhakna, however, had put forward his own version regarding the genesis of this venture. According to him, a deputation of ‘hot heads’ prayed to Baba Ram Singh that the time had come for expelling the British from the country. You are the supreme power. Kindly give us the permission. Baba Ram Singh replied, “The time has not yet come. When it comes, I shall myself tell you.” Hearing this the ‘hot heads’ came out and inferred that Maharaj (Baba Ram Singh) was the supreme power and the time too had come, but he would not say so.
As per official intelligence reports a rising in fact was to be in Chet (April) 1872. But apparently matters were precipitated…and the plan was formed at Bhaini, during the Maghee fair, 11th, 12th and 13th January — by a party of Mastanas, to at once avenge Gyani Singh’s death by murdering butchers at Malerkotla, and seizing arms there.39
The Episode itself
As per the report sent by Cowan, the Ludhiana D.C. on 17.1.1872: “About 2 p.m. on the afternoon of 13th instant, this gang left Bhaini in a body, they proceeded via Rampur and Payal in Patiala (state) territory, without however resting at these places, and at about 10 p.m. reached Rubboo a village in this (Ludhiana) District about 3½ miles from Malodh, on the border of the Patiala State. They remained at a well, at a distance about 400 or 500 paces from the village of Rubboo.
“The Kuka gang remained in the neighbourhood of Rubboo during the night of the 13th and day of the 14th, their number not exceeding 150. The delay at Rubboo was probably caused by a hope that they would be joined by others, or by doubts about success of an attempt at Malerkotla. It probably occurred to the leaders, as they (were) about to start for Malerkotla, that it would be easy to obtain arms and horses at Malodh. It was certainly not their intension to attack Malodh when they left Bhaini.”40
As per an earlier letter of 15.1.1872, “The gang left Rubboo in the evening and reached Malodh as it became dark. They attacked the residence of Sardar Badan Singh at Malodh, wounded the Sardar, and killed two men, and carried off 2 or 3 horses. Of the attacking party, ten are said to have been mounted. In this affair one member of the attacking party was killed and two have been captured; Sardar Badan Singh is related to Maharaja of Patiala, and it is probably in revenge for the assistance rendered by the Maharaja in the butcher murder case that this attack has been made on his relative. If it be true that some of Sardar Badan Singh’s horses have been carried off, this is not a pleasant feature for it denotes that some other atrocity is in contemplation.”41
“According to his report dated 17.1.1872 the Kookas then proceeded to Malerkotla about 9 miles distance from Malodh and reached there on the morning of 15th. Intimation of the threatened attack reached the Ahalkars (officials) of this small State on the evening of 14th, and some patrols were placed round the town during the night, and the security at the gates strengthened.
“On the morning of the 15th these precautions were relaxed and the Kookas gang made a sudden attack at 7 a.m. They made for the palace and treasury, but were encountered by Kotwal Ahmed Khan and a few men. Ahmed Khan who appears to have behaved with great gallantry was killed, and in the confusion which followed seven other persons were killed and fifteen wounded. The Kookas failed to get at the treasury, and after taking two horses and a few swords retreated, followed by the Malerkotla people who had now assembled armed. A sort of running battle was kept up and long shots fired and many more Kookas were wounded, till both parties reached the village of Rurr in Patiala State, the Kookas carrying most of their wounded with them. At this place the Malerkotla officials were told by a wounded Kooka that the gang intended to return and repeat the attack on Malerkotla, and (I) thought it prudent to return after sending information to officials of Sherpur in Patiala (State).
“On the receipt of the first intimation of the attack on Malerkotla and the arrival of Kookas at Rurr the Nazib Nazim of Sherpur (Patiala State) rode to Rur accompanied by three Sowars. He found the village abandoned, Jat villagers having gone off in alarm with their families and the Kookas seated in the jungle a little away from the village. The Kookas at first showed fight, advancing towards the Naib Nazim with drawn swords and shouting out abusive language, but these were mere bravado; the ruffians were completely cowed.
“They were hungry and tired and had a number of wounded with them, and after a short parley, gave up their arms, many of their swords covered with blood, 68 Kookas (including two women) were here captured who had been present at the attack of Malodh and Malerkotla. Of these 29 wounded, 7 of them were injured severely. The prisoners were conveyed to the fort of Sherpur. I have sent for them.
“The Raja of Nabha and Jind responded with alacrity to my requisition for troops. In less than an hour after receipt of the message, they despatched artillery, cavalry and infantry to Malerkotla.…”42
A Telegram from Maharaja of Patiala to Government of India
“Yesterday 16th at 11 a.m. Niaz Ali, my Naib Nazim of Amargarh arrested with only a few men with him, with great courage the 68 Kukas who made disturbances at Kotla and Malodh. Among them are 29 wounded men. Heera Singh and Lehna Singh, their leaders have also been apprehended. More by dak.”
Summary of Casualties
a. Malodh: Among the Kookas 2 killed and 4 captured. On the other side 1 (Sardar Badan Singh) was wounded and two others killed.
b. Malerkotla: The Kookas lost 8 (Killed) and 31 injured. On the other side, 7 were killed and 15 wounded.
The Bloodbath: a cold blooded carnage
16th January 1872 (7.30 p.m.) — “I propose blowing away from guns or hanging, the prisoners tomorrow morning at day break.”44
(From Cowan — D.C. of Ludhiana, to Forsyth — Commissioner).
17th January 1872 (Letter No. 15) — “I am in hourly expectation of the arrival of the prisoners from Rurr. I propose to execute at once all who were engaged in the attacks on Molodh and Kotla.”45
(From Cowan — D.C. of Ludhiana, to Forsyth — Commissioner).
17th January 1872 (Letter No. 16) (Evening) —
1. “In continuation of my letter of this mornings date, I have the honour to report to you that 68 rebel Kookas were brought in today from Rurr. Of these two were women, leaving 66 men: 22 of the men were wounded; most of them slightly.
2. “The conduct of these prisoners was most defiant and unruly: they poured forth the most abusive language towards the Government and the Chiefs of the native State. All of them admitted that they were present at the attacks on Malodh for the purpose of procuring arms and Kotla because their religion required them to slay the killers of cows.
3. “The two women were the residents of the Patiala State and I made them over to the Officer Commanding of the Patiala troops for conveyance to Patiala. Forty nine of the rebels were blown away this afternoon in the parade ground of the Kotla chief in the presence of the troops of Patiala, Nabha, Jind and Kotla states. It was my intention to have had sent remaining 16 rebels to Malodh to be executed there tomorrow but one man escaped from the guards and made a furious attack on me seizing me by the beard and endeavouring to strangle me and as he was a very powerful man, I had considerable difficulty in releasing myself. He then made a most savage attack on some officers of native States who were standing near me. These officers drew their swords and cut him down. (Note: This was a boy Bishan Singh at Sr. No. 42 of the list, who was already injured.
4. “This was the most painful duty and it was most inexpressibly painful to me to receive your letter of today’s date received as the last batch (of 7) was being lashed to the guns, desiring me to make an enquiry and forward the proceedings to you for punishment. In carrying out execution of my own sentence I acted on the honest and sincere conviction that I was acting in the best interests of the Government. The rebellion which might have attained large dimension was nipped in the bud, a terrible and prompt punishment was in my opinion absolutely necessary to prevent the recurrence of similar rising.
5. “I most sincerely trust that you will, after this explanation, APPROVE of what I have done. I am placed in a most difficult position here, with reference to the 16 rebels who have remained unpunished… I believe these executions have led and will have a most happy effect on the people of these parts. The demeanour of the people, their shouts and remarks wherever I go, all show this.”46
(From Cowan — D.C. of Ludhiana, to Forsyth — Commissioner), (Emphasis added). Note: This letter was shot just after the execution.
18th January 1872
Fosyths’ Report to Punjab Government
“The remaining 16 prisoners were regularly tried by Mr Cowan, acting on behalf of and sitting on the bench with the Nazim, and the Tehsildar of Malerkotla State. The proceedings were formally recorded: and the sentence of death passed by them, having received my action was carried into execution in the presence of the European officers and the officials of Malerkotla and the adjoining State.”47
Proud Sikhs prefer cannon’s mouth — Forsyth
Regarding the execution of 16 Kukas prisoners on 18.1.1872 by blowing away from the guns, Forsyth, in his letter to Punjab Government dated 17.6.1872 sought to justify this particular mode of execution of death sentence passed on the Kuka rebels in this manner: “Those who are acquainted with Punjab know that in case of State offences, or in any case it is much more in accordance with the feelings of the proud Sikhs that they should meet death at the cannon’s mouth, than receive it from the hangman’s hands, and earnest requests to this effect are frequently made to our officers at the time of passing sentence.”48
Comments of Punjab Government
“…blowing from a gun is an impressive and merciful manner of execution, well calculated to strike terror into the bystanders.”49
Expectedly there was chorus of ‘well done’, ‘excellent’, ‘bravo’, not only from the Whites but even more vocally from the Brown Sahibs!
Among those the rulers of Native States, particularly Maharaja of Patiala was in the forefront. Intoxicated by the valour of his nazim in effecting the arrest of the rebels at Rurr, it was literally a case of being ‘more loyal than the king’. He was held as “the most important Chief in the Punjab proper, and the acknowledged head of the Sikhs.”50 (Punjab Government’s note sent to Government of India on 16.2.1872).
A letter by Maharaja of Patiala (Mahindra Singh) dated 12.2.1872 had communicated that “it is certain that Ram Singh’s real motive and ambition was bent upon religious pretext to regain and acquire dominations and he deceitfully implanted his capricious notion in the minds of his ignorant followers that their creed was to predominate, and that everywhere the Government of the country will be soon in their own hands…
“Had not this appalling punishment been inflicted so promptly upon the insurgents as had been the case, had Ram Singh not been instantly deported with his subahs from his home, there was no hope of the disturbance being quelled so soon.…”51
If the blowing away of 66 rebels with the guns on 17th and 18th January 1872 had the ‘most happy effect’ according to the prime executioner Cowan, how come that the “Country was not (yet) safe whilst leaders (were) at large” as per his own report to the Punjab Government in this regard.
As the chain of events regarding the deportation of Baba Ram Singh along with his Chief Subahs unfold, the nightmare of the White rulers was far from over.
Having failed to identity any tangible evidence against them, in utter desperation the Government ordered that Baba Ram Singh and his Subahs be kept as far away from Punjab as possible. In the first instance they were lodged in Allahabad fort, but that being considered nearer to Punjab. Baba Ram Singh was sent to Rangoon as State prisoner in quick despatch in March 1872.
As state prisoner he was not allowed to communicate with his friends in Punjab. When a sealed letter from him to one Gopal Singh in Punjab, and Budh Singh at Bhaini was detected the Government became nervous. They got them translated but found that the same appeared to be apparently harmless. It read:
“Greetings to all members of my brotherhood, and ‘Ramsat’ (form of greeting to women) to Bibi Nandan.
“Physically I am well. The Government supplied us with food and raiment (clothing). But the fire of separation burns me. We are four and a half days’ journey from Calcutta.
The town is called Rangoon. It is a seaport. Write to me how the ‘Bara Guru’ is getting on. Is he dead? Our reliance is on the Guru alone, who has ordained our present predicament. Tell us everything at yourself. Also say whether the Government has released the whole of the property which it has seized or has retained any part of it.
Have the Raipur and Sadhaura people, and any of Kahn Singh’s party been released and where are they?
You should both (Gopal Singh and Budh Singh) live together amicably. It is the lot of the mortal beings to meet and separate.
Any buffaloes, bulls or cows, which you may get offerings, dispose of in the name of Guru. Do not keep them.
Make Nandan comfortable.
Direct your letters to me thus: Ram Singh, Rangoon Jail Office, C/o Superintendent. Write the address both in Gurmukhi and English.
Write also regarding Nanun Singhs’ (his companion) family...
Have the Granth Sahib read for my welfare. Also distribute alms for my benefit. Pray to God.
Let Budh Singh and Nandan live in my room, which should not be left unoccupied. Well, Heaven’s will is done!
Be sure to write and do not forget to give an account of Nanun Singh’s family.
Dated Har-Badi 4th 1929 (24.6.1872 A.D.)52
Dread Radiates even from Burma
A report from District Superintendent of police Sahnewal (Ludhiana) dated 20th March 1881 read:
“It escaped me to add that there is a report that a Kuka messenger with a letter purporting to be from Ram Singh has been going from village to village inviting the Kukas to go to Bhaini and telling them that it was Ram Singh’s orders and the time predicated by the Guru had arrived. On the 17th instant Budh Singh of Bhaini confirmed this report before me but said that the alleged messenger was an imposter who was endeavouring to swindle money from the Kuka sect.”53
Inspite of the instructions regarding strict surveillance over Kuka prisoners, the Punjab Government learnt to its dismay that some correspondence was going on between the Guru and his disciples.54
Of Measures Stringent
Despite the deprivation of Kukas of their vibrant leadership by way of executions, deportations, the potential danger of a repeat performance of Malod-Malerkotla continued to haunt the Government as well as their ‘well-wishers’ in India.
In a letter addressed to the Government on 19.1.1872, Maharaja of Patiala exhorts the authorities that “all those subjects of the State, who went to Bhaini on the occasion of Lohri festival previously to the recent outbreak must be arrested and confined till such time as they prove to the satisfaction of the Court that they did not participate in the disturbances. Arrangements must also be made that the members of this sect may not be allowed to assemble in an unlawful manner any where…”55
Such Arrangement then were made
A memo prohibited the assemblage of 5 or more Kukas. (The said memo was later supplemented by another one on the subject to the effect that the order to disperse all Kuka assembly composed of 5 or more persons shall extend to assemblies of five or more Kukas in the ordinary secular meeting places commonly called dharamsalas).”56
The Lieutenant Governor does not consider that the time has come for a cancelment (cancellation) of this order, but he is of opinion that it may with safety be relaxed and the I.G. of Police is requested to issue orders that the Police take no notice of the breach of the rule: but that at the same time, they observe the utmost vigilance with regard to movement of the sect. (24.1.1873)57
Yet all was ‘not well’
Inspite of the precautions taken by Punjab Government and the Government of India, Kuka movement continued to gain momentum and when there was a scare of Afghan War in 1877-78, their activities increased manifold. In 1879 Kuka Gurcharan Singh was reported to be active in Russian Turkistan as an emissary of Baba Ram Singh. On May 1st he was found in possession of a Hindi letter purporting to be from him and signed by several others. In this he was represented as the spiritual leader of 3,15,000 Kukas, all brave soldiers. Due to the activities of the secret agent Gulab Khan for and against the Russians during the Second Afghan War and afterwards, Gurcharan Singh was arrested.
In short, Kukas had succeeded in making important contacts with the Russians in Central Asia. One Bishan Singh Arora, a Kuka of great wealth was reported to having agencies in Peshawar, Kabu, Bokhara and Russian territory and acted as the medium of communication between the Russians and Budh Singh.58
The Punjab Government reported that in August 1879, Ram Singh was able to obtain writing material and sent letters to his friends and adherents in Punjab.59
Ultimately he was removed to Mergui in 1880 where he arrived on 21.10.1880. But the urge in his disciples was so great that two Kukas named Mihan Singh and Samund Singh succeeded in reaching Mergui too by S.S. Tavoy from Maulmin. It is on record that between 1879-81 several of his disciples made attempts to reach Rangoon and Mergui to see him or convey letters to him.
Baba Ram Singh felt very unhappy at the treatment meted out by the British Government to his disciples who only wanted to correspond with him. He not only felt anxious to meet his people, but also was worried about their safety. He always discouraged their visits to him. But his entreaties proved futile. He continued to decline in health, pining for Sangat (reunion) with his disciples, colleagues and relatives.
(According to the report dt. 29.11.1885 of the Civil Surgeon; Ram Singh, State prisoner died at 4 p.m.)60
The Headquarters of Namdharis at Bhaini, popularly known as Bhaini Sahib, continued be under the strict watch of the British police. A police post remained posted at the entrance of their residential house right till 1922.
1. A letter from Colonel R.G. Taylor, C.B. Commissioner and Superintendent Ambala to the Secretary to Government of Punjab No. ___ dated the 11th September, 1866, p. 17.
2. Ibid., pp. 19-20.
3. Letter from Foreign Deptt. Political, from Simla dated 8 Oct, 1966 to The Secretary of State for India, citing the report from Punjab Government dated 11.6.1866, p. 24.
4. Letter of Col. R.G. Taylor, dated 11.6.1866, cited above, p. 17.
5. Translation of Report of Fazl Hoossain, Inspector of Police, Hooshiyarpore District dated 20th March 1867, appointed to keep order at the Anandpur Sahib fair, District Hooshiyarpore, p. 61.
6. Letter from T.H. Thornton Esq. Secretary to Government, Punjab to T.D. Forsyth, Esq., C.B. Commissioner and Superintendent Julludur Division No. 279 Dated the 27 March, 1867, p. 55.
7. A brief narrative of the Kuka sect, with some account of Ram Singh of Bhaini (No. XII: Selected paper : Memorandum), p. 31.
8. Ibid., p. 38.
9. Letter from Lt. Col. G. Hutchinson, Inspector General of Police, Punjab to To, T-H Thornton, Esq. Secretary to Government Punjab, Civil Department dated 19.1.1869 1 – Report on the Kuka sect for 1868, p. 99.
10. Same as in No. 7 above (XII Selective Papers), p. 26.
11. Ibid., pp. 27 and 28.
12. Ibid., pp. 31-32.
13. Letter No. 11-118 Dated 20th Jan, 1868: From Inspector General of Police, Punjab, To Secretary to Government Punjab, pp. 68-69.
14. Letter No. 97 dated 31st May, 1867: From Secretary of State, To Government of India, p. 64.
15. Ibid., pp. 64 and 65.
16 (From the Press) ‘Friends of India’, March 28, 1872, p. 424.
17. Letter No. 197 Dated 30th Sept. 1868: From Mr. J. Dovoan, Delhi Railway, Doraha, via Ludhiana, p. 93.
18. Ibid., p. 94.
19. Ibid., p. 95.
20. Home Deptt.: Jud: Pro: August 1872. Nos. 273-284, p. 837.
21. Report by Inspector General of Police Punjab on the conduct of the Kooka sect during the year 1869 (Selected Papers No. 22) Sr 19: Kooka Regiment for Kashmir, p. 115.
22. Letter No. 12-376, Lahore Dated 30th Jan., 1870. From Lieut. Col. G. Hutchinson C.S.I. Inspector General of Police, Punjab. To: The General Secretary to Government Punjab. Police Report on the Kooka Sect for 1870, p. 117.
23. No. 229/S dated Simla, the 13th October, 1871. From: Lt. Col. Griffin. Esq. Off. Secretary to the Government of Punjab: To, E.C. Bayley, Esq. C.S.I., Secretary to the Government of India, p. 133.
24. No. 15 P Dated: Nepal Residency, 22nd Nov., 1871, 1871. From: Col. R.C. Lawrence C.B. Resident at Nepal. To CU Aitchson, Esq. CSI Secretary to the Government of India, Foreign Deptt., p. 143.
25. No. 242 S. Dated Simla, the 17th October, 1871. From: L.H. Griffin, Esq. Offg. Secy. to the Govt. of Punjab to E.C. Bayley, Esq. G.S.I. Secretary to the Government of India, p. 138.
26. No. 389 Dated the 1st Feb., 1872. From: J.W. Macnabb Esq. Late Offg. Commr., Ambala Division. To: L.H. Griffin, Esq. Offg. Secy. to the Govt. of Punjab, p. 302.
27. Dr Fauja Singh. A Brief Account of the Freedom Movement in Punjab, pp. 7-8, p. 834.
28. Ibid., p. 844.
29. Alleged connections of Ram Singh the Kooka Guru with the murder cases at Amritsar and Raikot. Movement of certain Kookas. (Confidential) Dated Simla, the 9th Sept., 1871. From: L.H. Griffin Esq. Offg. Secretary to the Govt. of Punjab. To: E.C. Bayley, Esq. G.S.I., Secretary to the Govt. of India, pp. 126 and 127.
30. XXXVIII — Memo on Ram Singh and Re Kukas by J.W. Macnabb, Late Officiating Commissioner, Ambala Division, Dated 4th Nov., 1871, p. 152.
31 Dated Ludhiana 17th Feb., 1872. From: L. Cowan Esq., Offig. Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana. To T.D. Forsyth, Esq. C.B. Commissioner and Supdt. Ambala Division, p. 333.
32. Ibid., p. 335.
33. Same as in (30) above, pp. 146-148.
34. As in No. (7) above, pp. 29-30.
35. Ibid., p. 34.
36. Ibid., (Memorandum by D.C., C.P. Elliott (4th), p. 50.
37. Ibid., p. 53.
38. Letter dated 20 January 1872. From: T.D. Forsyth, Esq. C.B. To: The Secretary to the Govt. of Punjab, pp. 259-60.
39. Same as in No. (26) above, pp. 303-04.
40. No. 15, Dated the 17th Jan., 1872. From: The Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, To: The Commissioner, Ambala Division, p. 186.
41. No. 14, Dated the 15th Jan., 1872. From: L. Cowan Esq. Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana. To: The Commissioner, Ambala Division, p. 171.
42. No. 15, Dated : 17th Jan., 1872. From: The Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana. To: The Commissioner of Ambala Division, pp. 187088.
43. Ibid., p. 175.
44. Letter dated 16th Jan., 1872 (7.30 p.m.). From: L. Cowan, Esq. Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana; To: T.D. Forsyth, Seq., C.B. Commissioner and Supdt. of Ambala Division, p. 179.
45. Ibid., p. 189.
46. No. 16 Dated the 17th Jan., 1872. From: The Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana. To: Commissioner of Ambala Division, pp. 199-200.
47. Dated Camp Kotla, Letter from T.D. Forsyth. Esq. C.B. Commissioner of Ambala to The Secretary, to the Govt. of Punjab, dated 19.1.1872, p. 216.
48. Simla 17th June 1872, From: T.D. Forsyth, Esq. C.B. to The offg. Secretary to Government of Punjab, p. 503.
49. No. 2275-54S. Dated 29th June 1872, From: Lepel Griffin Esq. Offg. Secretary to Govt. of Punjab to The Secretary to Govt. of India, Home Deptt., p. 504.
50. 78C Dated Camp. Mughal Sarai, 16th Feb. 1872, From: L.H. Griffin Esq. Offg. Secretary to Govt. of Punjab to E.C. Bailey Esq. CSI. Secretary to Govt. of India, p. 322.
51. (Letter from) His Highness the Maharaja of Patiala. Dated Patiala 12th Feb., 1872. To L.H. Griffin Esq. Offg. Secretary to the Government of Punjab, p. 320.
52. Letter from Ram Singh, and Nana Singh to Bhai Gopal Singh and Budh Singh from Rangoon — delivered to the addressees at Bhaini, Thana Sanhewal, Ludhiana (Dated 24.6.1872), pp. 550-551.
53. Memo (by) J.P. Waterburn, Distt. Supdt. of Police, Sanhewal (Ludhiana), Dated 20th March 1881, p. 819.
54. Home Deptt. Judl. Nov., 1877; Nos. 7-8, Letter No. 428; Conf. Alx. A. Prof. Aug. 81 Nos. 146-9. Correspondence between Ram Singh Kuka prisoner and some of his followers, p. 849.
55. Translation of Memorandum by His Highness the Maharaja of Patiala Dated 19th January 1872, p. 243.
56. Circular Memo of 47, Dated Lahore 26th Feb., 1872. From: Under Secretary to Govt. Punjab Police Department. To: All Commissioners and Deputy Inspectors General of Police, p. 355.
57 Home Department (Confidential) Cir. No. 9.285 Dated 24th January 1873. From: Offg. Secretary to the Govt. of Punjab. To: All Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners and Inspector General of Police, p. 671.
58. For. Dept. Pol. Sec. Pro: Aug. 1889. F. Progs. Nos. 114-115, pp. 850-51.
59. Home Deptt. Judl. Prof. March 1880. Nos. 36-37. Letter No. 742. (Confidential) Dt. Feb. 20, p. 851.
60 Home Deptt. Judl. A Progs: Dec, 1885: Nos. 252-253. Report of Civil Surgeon, Mergui No. 99, pp. 852-53.
Source: Book titled REBELS AGAINST THE BRITISH RULE (Guru Ram Singh and the Kuka Sikhs) Ed. Bhai Nahar Singh, Bhai Kirpal Singh (Atlantic Publishers & Distributors 4215/I Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi 110002, 1989 First Edition) (Most of the documents have been accessed from National Archives of India, New Delhi).
ęCopyright Institute of Sikh Studies, 2017, All