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I was recently researching the history of Nanded (there is not much on it except in the 'Master's Presence') and decided to make a post about it. Here is the result:

Hazoor Sahib and the Khalsa.

'Many people became martyrs there; and many houses for fakírs were erected in that place. Amidst them all, they erected a shrine over the Gurú[’s ashes], and, near his burying place, they made many other mausoleums and dharamsálas, and deposited Granth sáhibs in them. The name of that city, which was called Nader, was changed to Abchalnagar. In the present day, many Sikhs go there, and offer their oblations with much devotion. In that tomb, thousands of swords, shields, spears, and quoits, are to be found at all times; moreover the Sikhs, who go there, all worship those arms. The Sikhs believe this, that all those arms were formerly the property of Guru Govind Singh himself.' (1)
One might enquire, where does the Khalsa reside in it's pristine form? The answer would inevitably be Hazoor Sahib, Nanded. One of the five sacrosanct religio-political medians, of the Khalsa, Hazoor Sahib possess a magnetic pull for the Khalsa. Devoid of the anglophonic reformism, which plagued it's North Indian counterparts, the shrine still boosts an extensive populace of Nihungs, Udasis and Nirmalas who otherwise have been effaced from their Punjabi strongholds. Despite it's prominence in the contemporary Khalsa's psyche, many adherents are still ignorant of it's multifarious historicity and often mistakenly categorise it as being the melting point between the Khalsa and other anachronistic traditions. The Akali-Nihungs believe it to be the prototypical locus of Akali-Nihung Guru Gobind Singh Ji. The esteemed Nihung pedagogue, Mahant Trliochan Singh Ji holds Nanded to be the original birthplace of the Guru before he manifested the Khalsa. Going by him, one understands that the Guru originally meditated on the divine Akal-Purakh, here, before migrating to the lofty peaks of Hemkunt. Subsequently he merged himself into the supreme consciousness before being dispatched to creation in the form of Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
After exhausting Aurangzeb's nefarious crusade against him, the Guru was approached by the latter's son, Bahadur Shah, for assistance. Realizing that the latter was weaker than his incendiary predecessor, the Guru agreed to aid him knowing that Shah's victory would grant the Khalsa a temporary relieve. Thus he set about mediating between the Shah and his foes and/or engaging them in the spirit of an ubiquitous peace. Penultimately he journeyed with his newfound ally to Nanded, where the latter decided to subdue his rebellious sibling Kam Baksh. 'After seeking the Guru’s advice on what to do next in the face of the challenge from his brother, Kam Baksh, Bahadur Shah arranged to take his army towards Hyderabad. The route took them through Nanded on the banks of the River Godavari where they halted for several days. While the emperor moved off to continue his campaign, the Guru remained at Nanded to consider his plans.' (2) Subsequently the Guru decided to reside in Nanded, diverting from Shah who by now claimed the title of undisputed emperor of India. 'Guru Gobind Singh arrived at Nanded with all the majesty of a regional Rajput court. In his entourage were 300 heavily armed Akali-Nihang warriors and a stately retinue bustling with mendicants, poets, scholars, musicians, cooks and scribes. He camped, as he always did while travelling from place to place, about a mile outside the town.' (3) Here, he set about finalising the Sri Sarbloh Granth and preparing Akali-Nihung Binod Singh, and Banda Singh Bahadur, for a political and socially oriented conflict in the Punjab.
In 1708 A.D. the Guru consecrated the Adi Guru Granth Sahib Ji as his perpetual successor and journeyed to his final abode. Subsequently a mass portion of his companions left to join Banda, in the Punjab, or seek residence in other sub-continental regions. A handful however elected to stay behind, under the aegis of Akali-Nihung Santokh Singh Ji who, 'raised an unadorned stone platform (‘chabootra’) over the mound' (4) where the Guru had been cremated. In time his fledgling band was swelled by erudite scholars (the Nirmalas), passionate advocates (the Udasis) and other Nihungs. Acknowledging the need of a Pater familias, Santokh Singh in due time commenced with electing a singular heir, to succeed him, a tradition which continues even contemporarily. The deleterious inclinations of the regional Muslim populace was soon answered via a new strategy, construed by the Nihungs. Their counterparts in the Punjab would often elect a battalion, which would then for a specified period camp in the grounds of Hazoor Sahib and safeguard both the shrine and the local Khalsa populace. (5)
By 1770 A.D. a weakening Afghani influence, and military under the command of Ahmad Shah Abdali, boosted several new powers onto the sub-continent's political scene. The Sikhs were plausibly the most deviant amongst them, owing to the fact that their political system boosted several varied nation states knit in a loose confederacy. Amandeep Madra, digresses from the popular doxa that this was an advantageous system, instead citing, 'in spite of the Khalsa’s initially successful revolution to overthrow the Mughal government in Punjab, their mission faced a major setback following a split in their ranks.' (6) The Khalsa, in Nanded, had managed to escape the worst of the Islamic offensive against their Punjabi brethren but faced a dire osmosis themselves. It was during the latter period that a new champion emerged. In an era where Sikhs such as Kaura Mal (a Nanakpanthi) rose to great prominence, another unsung hero Chandu Lal himself was beginning to enjoy ascending stardom. The latter was an accountant for the Nizams of Hyderabad, whose territory incorporated Nanded, and became the elect representative of his people. Lal's political strategy was based on a model of evolution, emulation and adoption; thus ensuring his perpetual prominence in state affairs. This was to serve him well in the coming era. Penultimately Sikander Jhah ascended the Hyderabadi throne amongst much strife in 1803 A.D.. With both the British and Marathas vying for dominance in the greater part of India, he faced internal factionalism and rebellion.
Realizing that Hyderabad's respite, from Maratha dominance, would swiftly end in the face of his inaction Jhah summoned Lal. Acknowledging his own parochialism, Jhah requested Lal to summon aid from Ranjit Singh. The Sikh emperor of the Punjab. Prior to 1803, two Sikh diplomats had already established an alliance of goodwill with Hyderabad and Jhah wanted to expand upon it. Thus, with his agreement, Chandu Lal deputed an emissary to the Punjab and ask Singh for assistance. The latter however proved more obfuscating than initially thought. He demanded that Jhah grant him expressive permission to build a Sikh centre in Nanded, incorporating Hazoor Sahib, and the monarchy ensure the paramount safety of all Sikh pilgrims. Jhah readily acquiesced fearing the looming rebel threat and Ranjit Singh dispatched a 12,000 strong brigade to assist his forces. Amongst the latter, the Akali-Nihungs rapidly became famed as an effective policing force. Their stern mindedness, and radical loyalty ensured a swift quelling of any mutineers. The consequence of these Nihungs can be garnered from the fact that they were paid 10 Rupees in wage, whereas their Arab and Rulhia counterparts were paid only five and six Rupees respectively. (7) Meanwhile another decisive episode was playing out in Hyderabad. The British eradication of the Marathas, in 1817 A.D., allowed them the opportunity to form coalitions with many newly independent fiefdoms. Dispatching envoys to the Nizam they were delighted to learn that Lal would readily acquiesce to their presence. But the Governor-General's agent, Metcalfe, was not so readily brought to the notion. 'Governor-General Lord Hastings pointed out his pivotal role to Metcalfe: "I feared that, in your dissatisfaction at not finding in ChundooLal so perfect an instrument as you wished, you had overlooked the deep engagement of the Government to uphold him." Metcalfe was not impressed with his government’s compromising position.' (8)
Metcalfe's disdain, it seems, stemmed from several facts amongst them being Ranjit Singh's blockading of British expansion in the Punjab. Simultaneously Chandu Lal's employment of the Akali-Nihungs, in the state militia, did not curry him favour in the agent's eyes. Reports from Punjab perpetually reiterated the inflammatory nature of these men and cautioned Europeans from approaching them. Lal employed 2,000 of them in his cavalry, and a further 2,310 as infantry. (9) Metcalfe was plausibly one of the initial individuals to acknowledge Hazoor Sahib as a threat, especially if the British were to engage Ranjit Singh to the north. The Nihungs, despite being alien from Singh, nonetheless possessed a patriotic undercurrent and could effortlessly engage British forces in a costly war which could potentially alienate Hyderabad from the ubiquitous colonial spectrum. The regional British resident, Colonel James Fraser, also identified the Nihungs and the mainstream Sikh populace as a threat although his brief was diluted by his close relations with local Sikh leaders. Whilst Nanded continued to flourish as an ambivalent British bastion, events to the North-West of the sub-continent manifested new and grim realities. On 27th June, 1839 A.D., an ailing Ranjit Singh finally died ending a four decade inhibition on British expansionism. His chosen successor, Kharak Singh proved to be acutely maladroit and several different Princes and factions laid claim to the throne. Overnight, Punjab had become an unrestrained space. An element which the British could not tolerate.
Conquered territories, under Sikh rule, commenced expressing malcontent but the British elected to play a waiting game. A strong-willed successor could easily restore the Sikh empire's prominence and prowess but would the latter be cordial to the British? Would he/she allow British penetration towards the North-Western frontier? Whilst these dubieties plagued the British, Fraser concluded his brief and submitted it to the Nizam the following year. Initially landing on Chandu Lal's desk, the latter processed it through the bureaucratic framework. The result? 'Fraser's Sikh report was kept pending for several years.' (10) Lal was fast becoming a British antagonist, but would this new course serve him well in the coming era? Only time would tell.
(Continued in the 'Nihungs of Nanded, Hazoor Sahib and the Khalsa Part II').
Sources:

(1) Accessed from: https://www.facebook.com/photo.phpfbid=466081230104924&set=a.196886630357720.48096.196229850423398&type=1&theater

(2) ibid.

(3) Accessed from:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.phpfbid=466481280064919&set=a.196886630357720.48096.196229850423398&type=1&theater

(4) ibid.

(5) Accessed from:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.phpfbid=466903703356010&set=a.196886630357720.48096.196229850423398&type=1&theater

(6) Accessed from:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.phpfbid=467316379981409&set=a.196886630357720.48096.196229850423398&type=1&theater

(7) Accessed from:
http://www.<banned site filter activated>/htmls/article_samparda_hazoori2.html

(8) Accessed from:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.phpfbid=468144949898552&set=a.196886630357720.48096.196229850423398&type=1&theater

(9) Accessed from:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.phpfbid=468538873192493&set=a.196886630357720.48096.196229850423398&type=1&theater

(10) Accessed from:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.phpfbid=469409606438753&set=a.196886630357720.48096.196229850423398&type=1&theater

Original article:

http://tisarpanth.blogspot.co.nz/2014/07/in-nanded-we-reside.html?view=magazine

Please like Tisarpanth on facebook for more content.

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