Gurdwara Shaheed Bhai Taru Singh

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Gurdwara Shaheed Bhai Taru Singh (Punjabi and Urdu: گوردوارہ شہید بھائی تارو سنگھ‎) or Gurdwara Shahidi Asthan Bhai Taru Singh ji[1][2] is a Sikh Gurdwara at Naulakha Bazaar in Lahore, Pakistan, which commemorates the spot where Bhai Taru Singh was executed.[3][4][5][6] The shrine was built on the grounds of the Shaheed Ganj Mosque, leading to a legal dispute over ownership that began in 1850.[7] British, and later Pakistani, courts upheld the right of Sikhs to maintain a place of worship at the site.[8] While a settlement was being negotiated by British authorities, a group of Sikhs demolished the mosque on 7–8 July 1935, triggering communal riots.[9]

Gurudwara Shaheed Bhai Taru Singh
General information
Architectural styleSikh architecture
Town or cityNaulakha Bazaar, Lahore
CountryPunjab, Pakistan
Coordinates31°34′44″N 74°19′55″E / 31.578997°N 74.331910°E / 31.578997; 74.331910Coordinates: 31°34′44″N 74°19′55″E / 31.578997°N 74.331910°E / 31.578997; 74.331910
Construction started1747


The gurdwara is located at Naulakha Bazaar of Lahore near Shaheed Gunj Gurdwara.[10][11][12][13]


The gurdwara was built on the grounds of the Shaheed Ganj Mosque,[7][14][15][16] which was dedicated in 1722 by Falak Beg Khan.[17] The mosque was built on the premises of the shrine to the Sufi saint Pir Shah Kaku.[18] After Sikh rule began in Lahore in 1762 under the Bhangi Misl, Muslims were forbidden from entering the site,[19][20] and a small new gurdwara to commemorate the execution site of Bhai Taru Singh was built next to the mosque building and shrine of Pir Shah Kaku.[21] Sikhs did not demolish the mosque immediately, but instead used it as the residence of the granthi priest of the gurdwara.[22] Muslims began to petition British courts for ownership of the site,[7] after the Sikh Empire was defeated in 1849.


A diorama of Bhai Taru Singh being executed at the site

The shrine ("shaheedi asthan") is believed to be situated at the place where Bhai Taru Singh was executed in 1745 by Zakariya Khan when he had his head scalped rather than cutting his hair or converting to Islam.[23] According to Sikh sources, after cutting Bhai Taru Singh's scalp Zakaria Khan was stricken with unbearable pain and the inability to urinate.[24] As a last resort, Khan sent an apology to the Khalsa Panth for his persecution of Sikhs and begged for forgiveness. It was suggested that if Khan hit himself with Bhai Taru Singh's shoes his condition might be lifted. Although hitting himself with Bhai Taru Singh's shoe did cure the Khan's condition, he died 22 days later from having hit himself with the shoes, which is what Bhai Taru Singh had predicted.[citation needed] Upon hearing the death of Khan and that he had outlived the Khan, Taru Singh also died on 1 July 1745.[25]


Shortly after the commencement of British rule in 1849, the first petitions for retrieval of the mosque were made by Nur Ahmad in 1849.[26][9] British authorities cited the existence of the Bhai Taru Singh shrine as reason for maintaining the status quo,[9] and Sikhs were allowed to continue worshipping at the site.[21] The entire site was handed to the Sikh community on 22 December 1927 by British authorities.[27] Another appeal against Sikh ownership by the secretary of Anjuman-e-Islam, Syed Mohsin Shah, was rejected in 1934,[22] and the mosque demolished on 8 July 1935,[9] while negotiations with Muslims were ongoing.[28] The act triggered communal riots in Lahore.[28] In 1938, another appeal against Sikh occupation of the site was rejected.[29] Fazl-i-Hussain, Prime Minister of Punjab under British rule, advised Muslims to give up claims to the site,[9] and believed communal agitation would harm the cause of the pro-British Unionists.[9]

After independence, the Sikh temple was abandoned and came under the control of the Pakistani government. Another appeal in 1950 to reclaim the land for Muslims was rejected, and Muslims were barred from converting the site into a mosque.[30] Another appeal in the 1980s was also rejected.[30] The site was handed back to the Sikh community by General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq.[31] A new and larger gurdwara building was built on the grounds of Gurdwara Bhai Taru Singh in 2004.[30]

Since 2012, the Market committee of Naulakha Bazaar led by Sohail Butt group has allegedly encroached upon more than 90% land of Gurdwara Shaheed Bhai Taru Singh by constructing a Mazar shrine inside the Gurdwara complex, and separated the Gurdwara by cloth partition leaving 18 to 20 square yard of land out of original 600 square yard land.[32][33][34] On 16 July 2011, Sikhs were not allowed to pray at Gurdwara by Muslims because to holy day Shab e-Barat and the martyrdom anniversary of Bhai Taru Singh fell on the same day.[35][36]

July 2020Edit

In July 2020, a cleric and shopkeep named Sohail Butt claimed in a video the land belonged to the shrine of the Shah Kaku and to the previous mosque.[37] He also alleged that Gopal Chawla, the former chief of Pakistan Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee, had threatened to occupy the shrine of Pir Shah Kaku without proof of ownership of the site.[38] Butt in 2012 had been accused of leading efforts to encroach upon land allocated to the gurdwara.[39]

After Butt's threats, some Indian newspapers reported that Pakistan planned to convert the gurdwara into a mosque.[40][41][42] The Chief Minister of the Indian state of Punjab, Amarinder Singh, condemned what he called an "attempt" to convert the shrine into a mosque.[43] The Government of India's Ministry of External Affairs on 27 July 2020 lodged a protest with the Pakistani High Commission "over reports of attempts being made to convert" the shrine into a mosque.[44] Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee demanded strict action against Suhail Butt.[45]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Gurdwara Sri Shaheed Ganj Bhai Taru: Discover Sikhism". Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  4. ^ "GURDWARA SHAHID GANJ BHAI TARU SINGH (PAKISTAN)". Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  5. ^ Alpjan: A Chronicle of Minorities. Social Advancement and Development Trust. 2006.
  6. ^ The Sikh Review. Sikh Cultural Centre. 2004.
  7. ^ a b c Ahmed, Hilal (2015-06-03). Muslim Political Discourse in Postcolonial India: Monuments, Memory, Contestation. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-317-55955-9.
  8. ^ "Explained: Behind row over Pakistan 'gurdwara conversion', a video and a dispute that began in 1880s". The Indian Express. 2020-07-30. Retrieved 2020-08-03.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Daniyal, Shoaib. "A mosque dispute in colonial Lahore could hold lessons for the Babri Masjid case". Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  10. ^ "274th martyrdom anniversary of Shaheed Bhai Taru Singh observed in Pakistan". Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  11. ^ Singh, Dr Preetam; Q.C (2003). Baisakhi Of The Khalsa Panth. Hemkunt Press. ISBN 978-81-7010-327-1.
  12. ^ ANI (2019-07-17). "I'm treated like a dog, alleges pro-Khalistani leader Gopal Singh Chawla". Business Standard India. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  13. ^ Lari, Yasmeen (2003). Lahore: Illustrated City Guide. Heritage Foundation Pakistan. ISBN 978-969-8655-01-3.
  14. ^ Macpherson, William; Cowell, Herbert; Talbot, Arthur Maynard (1940). The Law Reports : Indian Appeals: Being Cases in the Privy Council on Appeal from the East Indies. Council of Law Reporting.
  15. ^ Limaye, Madhu (1994). Religious Bigotry: A Threat to Ordered State. Ajanta Publications. ISBN 978-81-202-0409-6.
  16. ^ Imy, Kate (2019-12-10). Faithful Fighters: Identity and Power in the British Indian Army. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-1-5036-1075-0.
  17. ^ Narang, Gokul Chand (1956). Transformation of Sikhism. New Book Society of India.
  18. ^ Journal of Sikh Studies. Department of Guru Nanak Studies, Guru Nanak Dev University. 1975.
  19. ^ Noorani, Abdul Gafoor Abdul Majeed (2003). The Babri Masjid Question, 1528-2003: A Matter of National Honour. Tulika Books. ISBN 978-81-85229-78-2.
  20. ^ Fyzee, Asaf Ali Asghar (2008). Outlines of Muhammadan Law. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-569169-6.
  21. ^ a b Ahmed, Hilal (2015-06-03). Muslim Political Discourse in Postcolonial India: Monuments, Memory, Contestation. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-317-55954-2.
  22. ^ a b Ahmad, Syed Nur (2019-08-30). From Martial Law To Martial Law: Politics In The Punjab, 1919-1958. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-429-71656-0.
  23. ^ admin (2015-07-18). "Bhai Taru Singh Ji". Amritsarovar. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  24. ^ Singh, Harjeet (2009). Faith & Philosophy of Sikhism. Gyan Publishing House. p. 159. ISBN 9788178357218.
  25. ^ Iqbal Qaiser. "Gurudwara Shaheed Ganj Bhai Taru Singh". All About Sikhs. Archived from the original on 2006-11-05.
  26. ^ The Herald. July 2007.
  27. ^ Narang, Gokul Chand (1956). Transformation of Sikhism. New Book Society of India.
  28. ^ a b Sueur, James D. Le (2003). The Decolonization Reader. Psychology Press. ISBN 978-0-415-23117-6.
  29. ^ Mirza, Sarfaraz Hussain (1991). The Punjab Muslim Students Federation, 1937-1947: A Study of the Formation, Growth, and Participation in the Pakistan Movement. National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research. ISBN 978-969-415-026-0.
  30. ^ a b c Khalid, Haroon. "Ayodhya parallel: A gurdwara in Lahore was at the core of a bitter battle between Sikhs and Muslims". Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  31. ^ Gadre, G. D. (1990). The Role of Islam in South Asia. Al Fatiha Foundation. p. 77.
  32. ^ Rana, Yudhvir. "Market committee of Lahore encroach upon gurdwara land". The Times of India. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  33. ^ "No Muslim shrine in gurdwara". The Tribune. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  34. ^ "SGPC to send 5-member team to Pakistan". The Tribune. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  35. ^ (2011-07-17). "Sikhs kept out of their own temple for Shab-e-Barat". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  36. ^ "Sikh community in Lahore prevented from celebrating festival". Deccan Herald. 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  37. ^ ANI. "Muslim cleric in Lahore threatens Sikh community, aims to occupy gurudwara land". BW Businessworld. Retrieved 2020-07-28. Sohail claims that the land on which Gurdwara Shaheed Bhai Taru Singh and its adjoining 4-5 kanals of Gurdwara land belong to Mazar of Muslim prophet Hazrat Shah Kaku Chesti and adjoining Masjid Shaheed Ganj.
  38. ^ Paayel. "India protested over Gurudwara in Lahore being converted into a mosque". Inventiva. Retrieved 2020-07-28. Sohail Butt stated, “Gopal Singh Chawla had accused Pakistan while confronting at the premises of this Mazar last year. Why are Sikhs turning out to be evil men? What is the reason behind the evolution of Sikh gurudwaras in the past 10-15 years? Pakistan was created on a two-nation theory and is intolerable as when Chawla warns us that he will come with a group of Sikhs and obtain the land belonging to Mazar”. He added, “Pakistan is a Muslim country and we are faithful to this country and Islam and this holy site. Gopal Singh Chawla is a liar who is threatening us for this site. He was showing his authority on this land, but he must show some proof that this place belongs to the Sikhs”. Share this:
  39. ^ Dec 25, Yudhvir Rana | TNN | Updated; 2012; Ist, 21:14. "Market committee of Lahore encroach upon gurdwara land | Chandigarh News - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2020-07-28.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  40. ^ "India Protests Pak Move To Convert Gurdwara Into Mosque In Lahore". Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  41. ^ "India protests against Pakistan's move to convert Sikh gurdwara into mosque in Lahore". Deccan Chronicle. 2020-07-28. Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  42. ^ "India protests Pak's attempt to convert Lahore gurdwara into mosque". Malaysia Sun. Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  43. ^ "Punjab CM Amarinder Singh condemns attempt to convert Pakistan gurdwara into mosque". Hindustan Times. 2020-07-28. Retrieved 2020-07-28. Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday condemned attempts to convert a historic gurdwara into a mosque in Pakistan’s Lahore and called upon the Centre to communicate the state’s concerns to the neighbouring country.
  44. ^ ANI. "India lodges protest with Pak over reported attempts to convert Lahore gurdwara into mosque". BW Businessworld. Retrieved 2020-07-28. India on Monday lodged a strong protest with Pakistan High Commission over reports of attempts being made to convert Gurdwara 'Shahidi Asthan' in Lahore into a mosque, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.
  45. ^ Singh, Surjit (2020-07-28). "Sikhs in Pakistan want Imran Khan government to tackle Lahore gurdwara row at its own level: PSGPC". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 2020-07-28.

External linksEdit