Jassa Singh Ahluwalia: Remembering the forgotten hero

Birth anniversary of Sikh ruler of Misl period celebrated in city | Efforts on to revive Sultan-ul-Quam’s heritage

Jassa Singh Ahluwalia: Remembering the forgotten hero

Pardeep Singh Walia (yellow turban), president, Sultan-ul-Quam Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia Memorial Society, releases a book on Jassa Singh Ahluwalia translated by Dr Sarbjit Singh Cheena (red turban) in Amritsar. Tribune photo

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 18

Sultan-ul-Quam Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, Sikh ruler of Misl era, has contributed immensely for the development of the city.

Jassa Singh Ahluwalia was born in 1718 at a village called Ahluwal near Lahore, established by his ancestor, Sadda Singh, a devotee of Guru Hargobind. Hence, the name Ahluwalia stuck to him. He was the fourth Jathedar of Budha Dal and fifth Jathedar of Akal Takht. Jassa Singh Ahluwalia was honoured with the title of Sultan-ul-Qaum (King of the Nation). Legend has it that the historic Qila Ahluwalia was built as a military fortress to protect Golden Temple. Katra, a planned and secured residential locality, was also developed alongside the fort by Ahluwalia.

He put up a brave fight against Afghans

  • Legend has it that it was under the leadership of Jassa Singh Ahluwalia that the Dal Khalsa took over Lahore, the capital of Punjab, for the first time in 1761. Abdali thought that having demolished their fort and desecrated their holy sarovar, he had weakened the Sikhs to face the Afghans. However, within months, the Sikhs, guided by Ahluwalia, were strong enough to make Afghans their prisoners and also made them clean-up the Amrit Sarovar.
Wooden balconies of a traditional house were restored at Quilla Ahluwalia in Amritsar recently.

Under the leadership of Jassa Singh, the Dal Khalsa took over Lahore, the capital of Punjab, for the first time in 1761. Abdali thought that having demolished their fort and desecrated their holy sarovar, he had weakened the Sikhs to face the Afghans. However, within months, the Sikhs, guided by Ahluwalia, were strong enough to make Afghans their prisoners and also make them clean up the Amrit Sarovar.

With the resources available to him, he got the buildings repaired, improved the management of gurdwaras and provided better civic facilities to residents of Amritsar.

In 1762, when Abdali attacked the Golden Temple and demolished the main building, the Misl Sardars recaptured the city soon and secured the shrines and residential areas. They constructed gates and military posts to secure the localities. Ironically, the fort and other heritage buildings were demolished or encroached over the time.

Now, the state government and the local administration woke up from deep slumber and are planning to revive the heritage of Ahluwalia gate. The Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board and Asian Development Bank initiated the preservation of Qila Ahluwalia in Katra Ahluwalia at a cost of Rs 2.22 crore.

Meanwhile, with the efforts of Mayor Karmajit Singh Rintu, Municipal Corporation (MC) will execute a plan to construct the gate there. Mayor Karamjit Singh Rintu stated that project was in the pipeline and it would be executed soon. The inauguration of project is being delayed due to the outbreak of second wave of Covid-19.

The Sultan-ul-Quam Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia Memorial Society celebrated the 303th birth anniversary at his Samadh backside Gurdwara Baba Atal. A book on Jassa Singh Ahluwalia originally written by Dr Harbans Kaur Sandhu and translated in English by Dr Sarbjit Singh Cheena was also released.

Pardeep Singh Walia, president Sultan-ul-Quam Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia Memorial Society, said, “We have fought a long struggle to revive heritage of the great Sikh ruler Jassa Singh Ahluwalia. A major portion of the fort is still under encroachment and we have been making efforts to set it free.”