Sardar Sant Singh Tegh
Sardar Sant Singh Tegh was born on April 13, 1907 at Hattian in Muzaffarabad district.
Education and Personal life
He passed Matriculation examination and achieved good command over several languages. He was married twice; to Lakshami Kaur in 1928 and Tirath Kaur in 1945.
At the age of 10 he was an eye-witness to Jallianwala Bagh Massacre. He started his political career at the age of 20. He was elected President of Kisan Sabha in 1933 and President of local gurdwara in 1934, and joined National Conference, becoming member of its General Council from 1938 to 1950. In 1950 he became the first President of the State Akali Dal and continued till 1957.
He joined freedom movement against British Raj during his student days. SardarSant Singh Teg, had rubbed his shoulders during the freedom movement with top political leaders including Mahatma Gandhi, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, Maulana Azad and Jawaharlal Nehru.
On his fiery speech against British imperialism and ruler of the state, his arrest warrants were issued. But he slipped away to Kabul along with Trilok Nath Sharma who used to work there. He came in contact with the great revolutionary Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh. Along with him he visited Soviet Union and central Asian countries.
At Muzaffarabad Tegh formed Kisan Committee, Garhi Kashmir Motor Union and Forest Labour Union to fight for the rights of the exploited people.
Teg came to Pakistan in 1962 on the invitation of then President Field Martial Ayub Khan but returned without visiting Pakistan Administrated Kashmir and ever since he yearned till his last breathe to revisit his birthplace.
It was his last wish to visit his native place in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan administrated Kashmir. After 1947, he moved across the Line of Control but like every human being, his birthplace had always been the most cherished site for him.
In one of his last interviews before his death, Mr.Tegh had urged the Pakistan Government to allow him to visit his birthplace, which he left 60 years ago during the Partition.
In a request letter,Mr.Tegh had said: “Ever since I left my birthplace in 1947,I could not go there. I belong to Muzaffrabad and my family owned a transport company. I have an emotional attachment with that place as I spent the best years of my life there. I appeal to the Pakistan Government to allow me to visit my birthplace on humanitarian grounds. To drive down the Uri-Muzaffrabad road is my last wish.”However destiny had something else in store as he fell from horseback in Bhaderwah area of Doda district ( Indian adminstrated Jammu and Kashmir )where he was on a public tour few days back.Later,Mr.Tegh succumbed to his injuries.
Teg’s family, according to his account, owned a transport company before partition and he had driven countless times on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad-Rawalpindi road in his buses.
Before 1947 he started a crusade against the hereditary mahants (managers) of the gurdwaras. The mahants tried to have him killed but failed. The credit for bringing an end to centuries old hegemony of the mahants goes to Tegh and his associates. He was repeatedly jailed before and after 1947.
Teg’s Ashes Brought to Birthplace
He died in Sept 2007 at Jammu (Indian administrated J&K). In November 2007 some of his family members brought his ashes and last rites were performed near Domel, Muzaffarabad (Pakistan administrated J&K) in fulfilment of his last wish.
Photo Credit: Sikh Welfare Jammu & Kashmir