Khatkar Kalan : A Historical Village (Shaheed-E-Azam S. Bhagat Singh)
KHATKAR KALAN is a historical village which has got the honour of being the village of the famous patriots and freedom fighters like Sardar Kishan Singh, Sardar Ajit Singh, Sardar Swaran Singh, Shaheed-e-Azam Sardar Bhagat Singh. In this article the memories of Sardar Ajit Singh, when he came home after imprisonment of 40 years, are reproduced here as he expressed them in his writing.
“My Village Khatkar Kalan comes under station Banga. This village is well known because of its special features.
“This place was known as a fortress. It was related with a feudal chief. There were other fortresses attached to it but they were small as compared to it. That’s why they were known as Garh Khurd. My birth place was known as Garh Kalan.”
“One of my forefathers started from his village “Narli” in Lahore District during Mughal period to go to “Haridwar”. His purpose to go there because he was to throw the ashes of someone from his family member in river “Ganga”. The journey was long. In his way he took shelter in a fortress. The owner of the fortress was a kind hearted person. He welcomed that stranger. He was a young person. He also invited him to have meals with him and his family. The owner had a wife and a beautiful daughter. When they were eating food the young man and the daughter of the owner of the fortress got attracted towards each other. The girl expressed her desire to marry the man. Her parent had also selected the person as their would be Son-In-Law. Next morning when the young man was about to go the owner asked him if he was married. The young man said to him “Not yet.”. At this the owner of the fortress invited him to be his guest for the second time. He bade Good Bye to them and started his journey again.
After throwing the ashes in Ganga the young man came back to that fortress so that he could marry the girl. The fortress was already decorated by the owner of it and they were waiting for the young man to come. They wanted to give the fortress as a marriage gift to their Son-In-Law. The young man and the daughter of the owner of the fortress got married and the fortress was given to them. After their marriage this place was called Khatkar Kalan. The owner and his wife started living in that fortress as the guest of their Son-In-law.
Thus from their couple started one family. Time changed and the walls for the fortress fell down. During rainy season the deep dug places around the fortress changed into pools. Today people have great benefits of these pools and they use these pools for bathing and other places.”
The elders of the family used to sit in “DARBAR” a place to do the justice to the people of the village. Even today this place is called “Deewan Khana”. Even before the rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh one family used to live like that and were known as “Jagirdaars” and they also used to send a fixed number of soldiers to the emperor.
“Our forefather used to unfurl the National Flag of Sikhs, four time in a year. The place where this flag was unfurled was known as “Jhanda Ji”. It was due to the love of this place that our forefathers refused to go back to their native village, when some people who had come from there asked to go with them.”
“After the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh british officials started suppressing the people. As a result people took arms in their hands to protect them. Our family members also joined hands with them. Due to this our “Jagir” was redused by the british Govt. When Govt. asked for help from my grand father, against the rebellious people, he refused to do so.”
“I was a small child then. When one day I went with my grandfather towards our fields, When we were coming back I asked my grandfather about the 1857 insurrection. I had heard a lot about it. I asked my grandfather about the cause of failure of this insurrection. He answered that british were successful only because they got assistance from the “Jagirdars” of Punjab. After listening this story I was quite curious to see the british people, who ruled our country because I had never saw them. Once I requested my uncle Surjon Singh take me with him as he was going to meet a british officer. I saw my uncle saluting a british officer who was quite younger than my uncle and even was not able to speak our language in a proper way. I laughed at his gesture. My uncle stopped me. He introduced me as his nephew. The officer for annoyed as I had not saluted him and then he sat on his horse saying “Ham Nawan Shahr jane ko mangta hai; tumko lot sakta hai” and he left. I and my uncle came back Home. My uncle was angry with me as I didn’t saluted the “Sahib”. I asked my uncle that I did not like that man who was not able to speak well and was looking like an idiot. MY uncle decided that in future he would never take me with him when he would go to meet any british officer. From this incident I came to a conclusion that all the british officer are idiots and I would never call them Sahibs or salute them.”
“I was a small child then when along with my elder brother I visited Anandpur Sahib to be a sikh. I remember that were given sweet water (Amrit) and told about the principles of sikh religion. This ceremony teaches a person that one who becomes a sikh is never afraid of death and fight against those who do a injustice. He protects and helps the poor, weak and also womens, old etc.. From that day when a person becomes a sikh his mind and soul becomes pure. That’s why Sikhs are called Khalsa, Which means pure.”