Tuesday, December 31, 2002, Chandigarh, India





THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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Monuments linked with Bhai Kanhaiya in neglect
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, December 30
Mohiwal, a sleepy village situated in the lap of picturesque Shivalik hills, near here, was declared ‘first heritage village’ at the time of tercentenary celebrations of the birth of Khalsa by the then state government, may face threat of extinction due to ‘criminal negligence’ of all concerned.

The small village, associated with Bhai Kanhaiya, a follower of 10th Sikh Master, Guru Gobind Singh, who treated friends and foes alike in the battlefield, may fall into oblivion if immediate attention is not paid to preserve the heritage.

Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar, Kesgarh Sahib claimed that his efforts brought the village into limelight during the tercentenary celebrations. Without naming anybody, the Jathedar lamented that some Sikh organisations which had collected huge funds in the name of Bhai Kanhaiya did not bother to preserve the village associated with him (Bhai Kanhaiya).

He said, he had sought the services of noted Israeli architect Moshe Safdie, who described the ancient village as ‘amazing’ because of 300-year-old “baoli” and “tapp asthan” connected with Bhai Kanhaiya.

Direct descendants of Bhai Kanhaiya have been living in penury and nobody bothered to help them financially. Some of the historic havelis and forts have almost disappeared. The historical “baoli” from where Bhai Kanhaiya used to draw water for injured Sikh soldiers and Mughal armymen is in a state of neglect.

The ‘Tapp Asthan’ of Bhai Kanhaiya also is in a state of disrepair. Ignorant of the historical significance of the structure, some of the residents have been using the sacred surroundings for keeping cattle.

The village and sites associated with Bhai Kanhaiya have been forgotten by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and other Sikh institutions. Bhai Kanhaiya’s eighth direct descendants have been making efforts to “preserve” the site with their limited means.

Bhai Ajit Singh, who belongs to the institution of “kar seva”, headed by Baba Nageena Singh said that a gurdwara was being constructed in memory of Bhai Kanhaiya in the village. However, it is feared that a marble structure may replace the ancient monument if immediate attention is not paid by the SGPC while carrying out the “kar seva”. Mr Bachan Singh, one of the descendants of Bhai Kanhaiya, and his three brothers have already donated their land for building a gurdwara.
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