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Update on Banda Singh Bahadur Memorial

An 11 member delegation comprising historians, journalists and intellectuals met the Chief Minister of Punjab – Parkash Singh Badal on 25th October 2009 to urge him to build a memorial in the memory of Banda Singh Bahadur in the historic village of Chappar Chirri, situated around 15 kilometres from Chandigarh. The delegation submitted the following memorandum giving details of the place and its historic importance:


To

Hourable S Parkash Singh Badal
Chief Minister,
Punjab
Chandigarh

We, the undersigned, who constitute a coordination committee, highly appreciate your recent statement wherein you have announced to raise a memorial to commemorate the victory of Baba Banda Bahadur and his brave soldiers for their victory against Mughal forces at Chhapar Chiri. It is needless to talk about the immense significance of this battle in the history of India, It suffices to say that this great historical battle was a result of personal directions given by the tenth Sikh Master, Guru Gobind Singh, which galvanized thousands of ordinary Sikhs from Punjab to pick up ordinary weapons to take on the might of the Mughal forces and register a historic victory.

Sadly, 300 years on, we have not been able to take care of these important places of our great historic past. In the recent past, our committee has made attempts to create awareness among the younger generations about our great heritage. Here, we want to make it very clear that we have no connection with any political group or party. We have come together with the single objective of facilitating the setting up of a memorial at Chhapar Chiri and once that aim is met, our committee would dissolve itself.

Presently, we would like to offer some suggestions to the state government under your able guidance, for setting up the memorial. The first and foremost challenge before us was to have an accurate demarcation of the exact land where the battle was fought. Based on the available material in the historical references, and after consulting the local villagers, our experts, also studied the local geographical area and used military expertise after visiting the area several times before finally identifying the exact battlefield. WE have marked the boundary with a red line on the map enclosed.

According to the revenue records of Chhapar chiri, about five acres of land covered under (khasra numbers?) 409, 410, 411 and 412 used to be under sand dunes till a few years ago. These 30-35 ft high dunes were used by Baba Banda Bahadur as a high point to observe the battlefield and to direct the course of battle for the Sikh army.

Almost half of the area under Khasra number 453 used to be `Jhiri'- which is more or less preserved in its old form- and which was meant for guerilla warfare.

Another 5 acre area under khasra numbers 408 and 453 was also part of the battlefield.

About 25 acres of land, marked on the map, was the actual theatre of war where hand to hand fight between the Sikhs and the Mughal forces was fought, and where digging in the past few decades, has brought out several iron weapons which were used during the battle.

In all, about 35 acres of land, related to the battle of Chhapar Chiri has been identified, which needs to be acquired for raising the memorial, We can not stress the importance of incorporate the spots of sand dunes and the `Jhiri' in the proposed memorial, any more. It is imperative to say that most of the battlefield should be also included in the memorial. We also want to clarify that the proposed land for memorial does not include any part to the existing Gurdwara's building or land. We are also not against the proposed golf club which GMADA plans to raise on the land. Rather, the golf grounds would help the adjacent land of the memorial and the village atmosphere clean and green. Our only concern is to spare the demarcated land out of land mass which is to be
acquired for the golf club.

For the noble cause of raising a memorial for the battle of Chhapar Chiri, we want to bring up the following points for your kind consideration-

1. The government should make an announcement for demarcation of the land, based
on the map enclosed in order to formally identify the battlefield of the great war which was fought on the personal directions of the Dashmesh Guru.
2. Orders should be issued for acquiring the demarcated land which is not under government ownership.
3. An immediate ban on construction on the demarcated land. If a road or passage or any public building is proposed to be built in the area, then it should be held back till the time a final plan for the memorial is prepared.

This matter assumes greater significance since the tercentenary anniversary of the battle falls next year, on May 12. We would be submitting another proposal relating to the financial resources and organizational setup regarding the memorial, subsequently.

Yours' truly,

Baljit Kaur, Convenor,
Coordination Committee for the Memorial of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur

Pritam Singh (IAS retd)
President, Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh

Lt Gen Kartar Singh
CEO, International Sikh Confederation, Chandigarh

After a patient hearing to the delegation led by Bibi Baljit Kaur, Sardar Badal announced the allocation of 20 acres of land for the memorial and assured the delegation that directions would be immediately given for notification of the acquisition of the land.

Bibi Baljit Kaur was accompainied by the chairperson of the International Sikh Federation General Kartar Singh, President of the Institute of Sikh Studies –Pritam Singh Kohli, President of the Sikh Education Society –Gurdev Singh, Ex-Principal Khalsa School, Kharar –Tarlochan Singh Sidhu, former Sarpanch of ChapparChirri –Zora Singh, Sarpanch of ChappariChirri –Surjit Singh, leading historian Kirpal Singh, former vice chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University –Dr. J. S. Grewal, leading journalist Sukhdev Singh, Karamjit Singh and principal of
Y P S Dr. Harish Dhillon.

Bibi Baljit Kaur said that the Institute is grateful for this historic decision of the chief minister.

 

 

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