March 30, 2003, Chandigarh, India
Tara Singh’s portrait for House
New Delhi, March 29
Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi in a letter to National Commission for Minorities Chairman Tarlochan Singh stated that the long-pending demand of having Sikh freedom fighters and stalwarts adorn Parliament’s hall of fame had been acceded to.
Mr Tarlochan Singh said he had been pursuing this matter with the Atal Behari Vajpayee government for more than two years. It is only now that the BJP-led NDA had responded positively with Mr Joshi communicating to Mr Tarlochan Singh that a parliamentary committee had decided to have the portraits of Baba Kharak Singh and Master Tara Singh in the highest legislative complex in the country.
The parliamentary committee will soon meet after the portraits are selected to decide where they will be displayed in Parliament House.
Baba Kharak Singh was the first President of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabbandhak Committee (SGPC) from 1920 to 1927. Acclaimed as the “Betaj Badshah (uncrowned King)” in Punjab, Baba Kharak Singh was instrumental in leading a “Chabiyan da morcha” against the British to retrieve the keys of the Golden Temple complex.
The keys were retrieved in January 1922. Before the formation of the SGPC, the Golden Temple was governed by Mahants. As the Mahants were compelled to leave the Golden Temple in 1920, the keys were handed over to the British colonial rulers.
On Baba Kharak Singh insistence, the British yielded and delivered the keys to the Golden Temple to him. The Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi commended his contribution as the “first decisive battle won.” An Akali leader, Baba Kharak Singh hailed from Sialkot which had an overwhelming Sikh population.
Master Tara Singh remained unswayed by inducements to go to Pakistan at the time of partition.
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