Come April, the streets of Ameerpet will come alive with the sounds of nagar keertans, prabhat pheris in the wee hours of the morning, and a fascinating display of gatka by Sikh youngsters. Thousands of Sikhs will come together for the festival of Vaisakhi at the Gurudwara Sahib in Ameerpet which celebrates it on a large scale.
This year, Vaisakhi falls on April 14 and the office of the Prabhandhak Committee of Ameerpet Gurudwara is abuzz with activity. There is constant ebb and flow of people as its president, Sardar Bhagender Singh tells us about the history of the Sikh community, and how they came to Hyderabad during the Nizam’s time. The story goes that, around 1832 AD, the Nizam of Hyderabad was facing trouble from Jagirdars who were not paying revenue. Upon the advice of his Prime Minister, Chandulal, he wrote to Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, governing the North-West province for help. “Along with the letter, the Nizam also sent a beautiful canopy (chandni) embedded with precious stones, gems and diamonds to the king,” explains Bhagender Singh.
Obliged by the beautiful canopy, King Ranjeet Singh sent a 14,000-strong army led by Risaldars (chieftain) to Hyderabad.
Their ordinance was — “It is the duty of the Sikhs to give protection to anyone, who comes for protection.” The soldier’s wages were to be paid by the Punjab treasury. The forces carrying the 14 Nishans (holy flags) were placed at the Sikh Chawniat, Attapur, and the place came to be called Barambala. “Later, the Sikh forces were absorbed into the City Police. Most members of the community are self-employed now and run small-time businesses, factories or work in the IT industry or part of the defence forces,” adds Bhagender Singh.
20 Feb 2020
21 Feb 2020