Ankhile Sardar di Gaurav Gatha (In Punjabi)
A Review by Dr Kirpal Singh
Author: S Karamjit Singh Aujla
Publisher: Sewa Lehar, 9516, Joshi Nagar, Haibowal, Ludhiana
Pages: 183; Price: Rs 250/- (Edition 2011)
During the later half of 18th Century, when the Mughal Empire declined, the areas south west of Punjab bordering the modern Haryana was dominated by the Bhatties. The Bhatti Muslims were not only fanatical, but used to tyrannise the non-Muslims. It was the time when the Sikh Chiefs, popularly known as Misaldars were conquering and occupying different areas after the death of the Afghan Emperor, Ahmed Shah Abadli in 1771 AD. In those days the ancestors of the Jaijee Family, who were Shergills jats by caste, belonging to Majitha area of modern district, Amritsar, came to this side and conquered vast pieces of land, north of Bangar extending towards Kaithal, Narwana, Sodhal and Jind. It was natural that Bhatti Muslims demanded tax, known as Jazia which was to be levied on the non-Muslims. These Shergills refused to pay Jazia and chose to fight rather. So from that account they were known as Jaijees according to popular tradition Jaijee Family was in alliance with Baba Ala Singh, the founder of Patiala state. Two names have been mentioned in this regard, one is Ladha Singh and the second is Ramditta Singh who helped to get release of Baba Ala Singh from Sunam fort when he was arrested by Ali Mohd Khan, Faujdar of Sirhind. This however, does not get confirmation from the Patiala state records.
One of the outstanding personality of 20th century in the Jaijee family was S Harchand Singh Jaijee. Sardar Harchand Singh’s family had been enjoying the patronage of Patiala State. One Bakshi Bir Singh had been commander-in-Chief of Patiala force. Bir Singh's grandson Gulab Singh was the father of S Harchand Singh who was Excise Commissioner. He died when Harchand Singh was just in his childhood. He was looked after by his father's elder brother Gian Singh. S Harchand Singh was having six sons and three daughters. The eldest daughter Smt Mohinder Kaur became the wife of Maharaja Yadvindra Singh. She is mother of Captain Amrinder Singh the former Chief Minister of Punjab.
Harchand Singh Jaijee was a staunch Sikh and followed the tenets of Sikhism in true Spirit. Whosoever came to meet him was not allowed to go without taking meals. His kitchen was open at all times. His Kothi at village Chuhar, Modern District Sangrur became a popular place. One of his sons was married with the daughter of Sewa Singh Thikriwala, who was one of the well-known freedom fighter. Harchand Singh Jaijee was a man of reforming views. He wanted to bring change by personal example. He was in favour of Akali Movement, which was popularly known as Gurdwara Reforms Movement. That was one of the main causes besides other reasons for details also recorded of proceedings of Fitzpatrick, Patiala Enquiry for the confiscation of his property worth twenty lacs and banishment from the state because Maharaja was a blind follower of the British Govt. During his exile, he lived at Amritsar in close contact with Master Tara Singh the Akali leader. Sardar Harchand Singh was a man of very high character. He was able to maintain his self respect in the adverse circumstances. He had to lose his property and go to exile but ultimately he was successful. After record of the proceedings of the Fitzpatrick, Patiala Enquiry Act, his property was restored in June 1930.
During partition of the Punjab, when more than 80 lacs people forcibly crossed the border S Harchand Singh Jaijee gave shelter to many refugees from District Jhang of West Punjab which was allotted to Jaijee Family area. He spent a lot of money for feeding them. Some of the refugees from Jhang had great appreciation for his hospitality as it had been stated in the book. After independence S Harchand Singh Jaijee was a Chairman of Reception Committee of All India Akali Conference held in Patiala in 1959. S Harchand Singh breathed his last after creation of Panjabi Suba. He died in 1984. S Karamjit Singh Aujla has done a great service to the cause of Sikh history by writing this biography. I congratulate the author for his laudable work. The book is fully illustrated with pictures. It is useful for reader, students in particular and public in general.
ęCopyright Institute of Sikh Studies, 2012, All