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The Sikligar Sikhs: Remembering the Forgotten People of India

Sikligar is a community from the northern states of India who lucubrate in the art of weapon-making

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Sikligar - Weapon Makers Of The Sikhs. Image source: www.sikharchives.com

So, what makes the natives look at the Sikligars with defiance and why is it not plausible for the community to head out and socialise? Here is why!

HISTORY OF ORIGIN- 

The word SIKLIGAR is derived from the Arabic word saiqal/sakli which implies polishing or furbishing, thus depicting the meaning “polisher of swords”. They are a community from the northern states of India who lucubrate in the art of weapon-making. Their craftsmanship in the sphere of making weapons like swords, spears and shields made the community an insistent and peremptory request in the post-classical era of ancient India, and was predominantly used by the Medieval Knight.

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The community is splattered in regions of Haryana consisting of partly Hindu and partly Sikh natives, in Gujarat as Hindus and Sikhs in Punjab with Gujarati as their common mode of communication. The community is said to be parted into a number of clans of equal status, the main ones of which are Junni, Dangi, Bhond, Bhori, Khichi, Tilvithya and so on.

(Image used for representational purpose) A Sikh man in front of Golden Temple. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
(Image used for representational purpose) A Sikh man in front of Golden Temple. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The community claims to have originated from Rajput with Kannauj being their ancestral home. Considered to be hailing from a lower caste, the community first came to the confluence of Sikh territories during the time of Guru Gobind Singh, who laid the cornerstone for the “practice of ordnance” and supported the fact of being recognised as an independent nation. They took over “MIRI AND PIRI” as the symbol of their community which betokens the two swords of secular and worldly power. Consequently, the community was propelled to master in their martial arts to sustain their livelihood.

THE PRESENT SCENARIO

However, the present scenario of the community remains hidden in the hilly regions and the bushy jungles of the Satpura range. When the Sikhs sing high about their community in the international conferences; this community of Sikhs still remain backward and lead a nomadic lifestyle in the interiors of unnamed jungles as they are being looked at with contempt and suspicion by the other communities of the region. What makes the natives look at the Sikligars with defiance and why is it not plausible for the community to head out and socialise?

The intelligence committee in the states of the community’s settlement claim that the Sikligar fraternity was involved in the manufacturing of country-made pistols and rifles recovered from the STUDENT’S ISLAMIC MOVEMENT OF INDIA extremists who were arrested in the year 2011. The Sikligars are interrogated even today for the unmindful manufacture of weapons and arms, which is certain from the community’s economic status that it is just their means of livelihood.

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In ‘SHIKLIGAR’ – a short documentary released in 2012, a Sikligar Sikh claimed the words of Guru Hargobind Singh that said “This is the work you must do. You’re doing a selfless service of weapon-making which depicts the essence of SACHHI PREET (meaning true love) and your traditions are unlimited. Remove the dirt and clean the rust; your discernment has surpassed your ancestors.” It is these guiding words of Guru Hargobind that made them propel the art of iron-making even today. The birth of British’s colonial rule compelled them to terminate their work of weapon-making and they continued to trade as blacksmiths who excelled in manufacturing products like bowls, locks and keys.

It is, therefore, mandatory for the natives of India to discern the fiscal stature of the Sikligars and pave them a path or way to earn their living, for manufacturing of arms is the only skill they possess. Being the backward and illiterate class- they must either be taught to earn their living by some other means or we should help them endure their ancestral artistry tranquilly without any intervention.

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Three Projects Help India to Stop its Share of Water to Pakistan after Pulwama

The waters of the western rivers - the Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab - averaging around 135 MAF, were allocated to Pakistan.

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Picture Courtesy:-www.economylead.com

The government has envisaged three projects to give intent to its decision to stop its share of water from three eastern rivers of the Indus system – the Beas, Ravi and Sutlej – from going to Pakistan.

The decision was affirmed by Water Resource Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday in the wake of Pulwama terror attack though the Union cabinet had approved implementation of one of the key projects – Shahpurkandi dam – in December last year.

The waters of the western rivers – the Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab – averaging around 135 MAF, were allocated to Pakistan except for “specified domestic, non-consumptive and agricultural use permitted to India”, according to a treaty.

India has also been given the right to generate hydroelectricity through run-of-the-river (RoR) projects on the western rivers which, subject to specific criteria for design and operation, is unrestricted.

pakistan, india, water ban
However, about 2 MAF of water annually from Ravi is reported to be still flowing unutilised to Pakistan. VOA

To utilise the waters of the Eastern rivers, India has constructed the Bhakra Dam on Satluj, Pong and Pandoh Dam on Beas and Thein (Ranjitsagar) on Ravi. These storage works, together with other works like Beas-Sutlej Link, Madhopur-Beas Link and Indira Gandhi Nahar Project have helped India utilise nearly the entire share (95 per cent) of the eastern river waters.

However, about 2 MAF of water annually from Ravi is reported to be still flowing unutilised to Pakistan. The other two projects are Ujh multipurpose project and the second Ravi Beas link below Ujh.

Here’s the reality check of the three projects:

Shahpurkandi Project: It aims to utilise the waters coming from powerhouse of Thein dam in order to irrigate 37,000 hectares of land in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab by generating 206 MW of power.

The project was scheduled to be completed by September 2016. However, following a dispute between the two states, work was suspended in August 2014 but they reached an agreement last September and the construction work has now resumed with the Centre monitoring its progress. The central government had in December last year announced assistance of Rs 485 crore for the project and it would be completed by June 2022.

 

India, pakistan, pulwama, water ban
The decision was affirmed by Water Resource Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday in the wake of Pulwama terror attack. VOA

The project will create irrigation potential of 5,000 hectare in Punjab and 32,173 hectare in Jammu and Kashmir.

Officials said that some water of the Ravi is going waste through the Madhopur Headworks downstream to Pakistan and it is required in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.

The total balance cost of pending work in ShahpurKandi Dam project is estimated Rs 1,973.53 crore (irrigation component: Rs 564.63 crore, power component Rs1408.90 crore).

The Shahpurkandi Project was initially approved by the Planning Commission in November, 2001. Revised costs were approved, but there was delay in its execution both because of lack of funds with Punjab and inter-state issues with Jammu and Kashmir.

An agreement was finally reached between the two states under the aegis of Water Resources Ministry in September last year.

Ujh multipurpose project: Construction of the Ujh multipurpose project will create a storage of about 781 million cubic metres of water on Ujh, a tributary of Ravi, for irrigation and power generation and provide a total irrigation benefits of 31,380 hectares in Kathua, Hiranagar and Samba districts of Jammu and Kashmir.

The total estimated cost of the project is Rs 5,850 crore and the Central assistance of Rs 4,892.47 crore on works portion of irrigation component as well as the special grant is under consideration. The project is yet to be implemented and it will take about six years for completion.

Second Ravi Beas link below Ujh: The project has been planned to tap excess water flowing down to Pakistan through Ravi by constructing a barrage across it for diverting water through a tunnel link to the Beas basin.

The project is expected to utilise about 0.58 MAF of surplus waters below Ujh dam by diverting the same to the Beas basin.

 

india, pakistan, water share, pulwama
Officials said that some water of the Ravi is going waste through the Madhopur Headworks downstream to Pakistan and it is required in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. Wikimedia

The water distribution treaty between India and Pakistan was brokered by the World Bank in 1960 to use the water available in the Indus system of rivers originating in India.

 

ALSO READ: IOC Cancels Places for 2020 Tokyo Games from India after it Refused Visas to Pakistan

The Indus system comprises Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej rivers. The basin is mainly shared by India and Pakistan with a small share for China and Afghanistan.

Under the treaty signed between India and Pakistan in 1960, all the waters of the three eastern rivers, averaging around 33 million acre feet (MAF), were allocated to India for exclusive use.  (IANS)