Picture depicting Rai Kalha receiving the Ganga Sagar
AMRITSAR: Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Monday installed picture of Muslim chief Rai Kalha, shown receiving Ganga Sagar (pitcher) from 10th Sikh master Guru Gobind Singh at the Central Sikh Museum.
The unveiling ceremony was performed by Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh and Golden Temple head granthi Giani Jagtar Singh.The ninth descendent of Rai Kahla, Rai Azizullah Khan, who is the custodian of Ganga Sagar didn’t attend the ceremony. In a letter written to SGPC president Kirpal Singh Badungar from Vancouver, Azizullah said since he was in Canada it was not possible for him to attend the function.
Board description of the portrait
Aziz talks about his ancestors and legacy they left with respect. He expresses pride at the courage of his elders who risked their lives for Guru Gobind Singh. The feeling is acknowledged by the Sikhs too. “I am indebted to every one for showering such love and affection towards the Rai family,” he said.
When asked about any apprehensions with respect to the security of Ganga Sangar, he replied. “No, it is well protected. Earlier, it was in a London bank and now it is in a bank in Canada.”
While there is no fixed schedule for the display of Ganga Sagar, he makes sure devotees get a chance to see the sacred relic. “I carry it with me when there is some invitation from the gurdwara. Recently, I went to Malaysia, where I displayed the Ganga Sagar for darshan. I have displayed it all over the world,” he said.
The Ganga Sagar
On being asked if he intended to hand over the Ganga Sagar to the SGPC, he said, “It is the Guru’s gift to my ancestors and it is significant because the Guru himself touched it. Even if it was a clay pot, the
significance of the Guru’s gift for the Rai family would have been the same”.About other relics, including the wooden “Rehal” and sword, Aziz said Rehal, being made of wood, couldn’t survive the vagaries of changing weather and the sword was taken by the British before Partition as they wanted to collect the most valuable articles.
Sulakhan Singh said they had to postpone the installation ceremony on an earlier occasion too as Aziz couldn’t make it to Amritsar. “But this time, we will install the photograph of Rai Kalha along with Gobind Sagar as per schedule,” he said.
History of the Ganga Sagar
In 1705, the tenth Sikh master, Guru Gobind Singh went to Machiwara after leaving the fort of Anandpur Sahib. His two minor sons, Baba Zorawar Singh , 9 and Baba Fateh Singh, 7, and his mother, Mata Gujri were separated from him while crossing the Sirsa river on a cold December night. The Guru also lost his two elder sons, Baba Ajit Singh, 19, and Baba Jujhar Singh, 15. They attained martyrdom in the battle of Chamkaur Sahib.In Machiwara, Ghani Khan and Nabi Khan, two Muslim horse dealers, helped the Guru by declaring him “Uchh Da Peer”, a famous Muslim saint from South Punjab, providing him with essentials and carrying him on a palanquin, assisted by a few Sikhs and Muslims.
This was a bold move as Guru Gobind Singh was often refused help due to fear of death as Aurangzeb was after him and his family.
When Guru Gobind Singh reached Raikot, the Muslim Rajput Chief, Rai Kalha welcomed him and expressed honour in offering his services to him as his guest for as long as he wanted to stay. Guru Gobind Singh spent a few days with Rai Kalha.