Chapter 21: GURUDWARA REFORM MOVEMENT
movement in Punjab was a religious issue but ended up
being an important part of the freedom struggle.
were under the control of the corrupt mahants. They
treated temple donations as personal property and lived a
life of luxury. After British annexation of Punjab some
control was exercised by government nominated managers who
collaborated with the mahants.
British government supported these mahants and directed
them to preach the Sikhs to stay away from the national
movement. However Sikh reformers wanted to remove these
mahants. Their actions had shocked the community like
they had banned ghadarites and honored General Dyer.
the reformers met with success as the agitators formed
groups to compel the mahants and managers to hand over
control to the local devotees. The government supported
the reformers as it didn’t want to antagonize the
the real test was the gurudwara at nankana. The mahants
there had organized an armed band of mercenaries and had
been responsible for killing peaceful Akali followers. The
agitation turned violent and the gurudwara was wrested by
force. Many leaders of the congress expressed solidarity
with the Sikhs in this.
government saw that the Akali movement was increasingly
being integrated with the national movement. It passed a
legislation to hand over control of gurudwara to akali's
to appease the moderates but used force to repress the
Impact of the Movement
akali’s to emboldened by the support of the nationalist
joined the non cooperation movement. They even
participated in the protest demonstration when Prince
Charles visited India. The government arrested many of the
top leadership but decided not to confront the Sikhs on
this issue and released them. Thus the final victory was
of the Sikhs.
Akali movement roused political and national consciousness
in Punjab. It awakened the Punjab peasantry.
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