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Kuka Memorial Center - Shaheedi-bohr - namdhari shaheedi samargh ludhiana Punjab - India
GPS location > Latitude: 30°54'26.73"N Longitude: 75°51'34.66"E

The tree on which two Namdharis attained martyrdom: The sight of an over 150-year-old banyan tree, better known as the ‘Shaheedi-bohr (banyan) ‘in Kuka Memorial Center near the Field Gunj area of the old city sends a chill down one’s spine. For, this tree was a mute witness to the hanging of two Namdhari freedom fighters, from one of its branches way back in 1871. The two had dared speak against the British Raj.

On 26 November 1871, Giani Rattan Singh and Sant Rattan Singh, two Namdhari sikhs (Kookas), were hanged from one of the branches of this banyan tree in full public view for having forcibly closed down a number of slaughterhouses opened by the British in the state. While the branch is no more, the tree still stands as a living remnant of the cruelty of the British to curb the then fast-spreading Kuka Movement of the country’s freedom struggle. A befitting memorial plaque referring to the martyrdom of the two namdhari Sikh freedom fighters and the glorification of their sacrifice has been erected under the tree. Another board at back of the tree shows a painting of the hanging scenes along with the brief commentary of the hanging scene.

site map

1 - Office
2 - Toilets
3 - Open air gardens
4 - The old jail house
5 - Gardens and function hall
6 - Open air gardens
7 - The Shaheedi Bohr & Memorial Stone
8 - Entrance

The British opened slaughterhouses in various parts of state where meat of cow and pig (holy to Hindus and Muslims) was made available. The British rulers of the time did this with an aim of terrorizing the Indians and telling them in no compromising terms that they are slaves of the English who can enact any law and undergo any activity even if it hurts the psyche or sentiments of the Hindustanis. This sparked off a series of protests in various parts of the country and the namdhari sikhs became the torch-bearers of the campaign. Giani Rattan Singh and Sant Rattan Singh were among the enthusiastic activists of the movement who together organized an attack on one of the slaughterhouses in the Raikot.

The infuriated British responded to this oppression by hanging the revolutionaries in full public view without even covering their faces so that the pain one suffers because of asphyxia is seen and the other anti-British moves by the Indians are discouraged.

On 5th August 1871 the following were hanged at Village Bassian, Riakot: Sant Mastan Singh, Sant Mangal Singh and Sant Gurmukh Singh.

Suba Giani Rattan Singh and Sant Rattan Singh were hanged in Ludhiana on 26 November 1871. Suba ji before putting the noose in his neck addressed the British officer in loud and bold words
" O officer look at me, we will take another birth and fight for the country's freedom. Rest assured we will not rest till you are driven out of India."

The Namdhari Sabha, after the country’s freedom, continued their fight with Indian governments for possession of the tree and the adjoining land to erect a memorial of the martyrs. It was only during the government of the late Beant Singh that the Namdharis were given this land.

Though India has just celebrated over 50 years of its independence, the Namdharis had a fight on their hands — The Indian Government had not enlisted them as freedom fighters and these revered martyrs were not been given due recognition by the historians, until of late.

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