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Preface To 'The City Of Amritsar - An Introduction' By Fauja Singh
Growth and decay are as much a characteristics of cities as of human beings. Only the life-span of cities is much, much longer.
One reads of cities which at one time played a crucial role in history. They come to prominence for reasons which are historical, dynastic, commercial and several other unclassifiable reasons. In terms of our own country one can immediately think of Taxila and Patliputra.
Whenever a city gets associated with a particular religion, it transcends, so to speak, the perils of mortality. In terms of our history Varanasi and Amritsar belong to this category. Thinking of the rest of the world, one thinks of Jerusalem and Vatican. The explanation is simple. Religions are not exposed to the same hazards as cities are. To be associated with a religion, therefore, is to ensure almost that the city will survive and, indeed, with the passage of time become more amd more important.
The city of Amritsar belongs to this category. The recent celebration of the 400th anniversary of its establishment was a most memorable occasion. What this brief volume does is to seek to present the historical profile of this city.
Introduction To 'The City Of Amritsar - An Introduction' By Fauja Singh
This year we were celebrating with eclat the 400th anniversary of the foundation of Amritsar. We may very well Judge the great importance of the occasion from the enthusiastic public response aroused by the event, the magnitude of crowds participating in it and crores of rupees spent or planned to be spent for the purpose by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee as well as the state government. No doubt, there are many cities in our country which can justifiably boast of a much longer span of existence. But very few among them can legitimately claim the credit of having risen to the eminence of Amritsar in a similar span of 400 years. Amritsar is not now only the largest city of Punjab in population but is also a great entrepot of trade and commerce, a magnificent seat of learning and literature, the holiest of the holy sikh places, the biggest centre of Sikh politics and the strongest defencepost on the country's north-western frontier. In the evolution of the Sikh community it has from the beginning of its existence played a key role, and consequently enshrines numerous hallowed memories of the Sikhs. Latif, the author of History of Punjab is perfectly right when he says : " In founding the town of Amritsar at a central sport, the Guru laid the foundation of the future greatness of the Sikhs as a nation, for they were enabled now to rally at a common place of worship, convenienty situated, both as regards distance and fertility of the soil."
The history of the city of Amritsar has passed through several distinct phases. The foundation and initial growth took place under the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth Gurus. The idea came originally from Guru Amar Das. Under his instruction the survey of the spot was conducted by Guru Ram Das (then Bhai Jetha), Which subsequently led to its selection for the new Sikhs centre. The work on the project was begun by Guru Ramdas and the holy tank ( Amrit Sarowar ) was completed in his time. His son and immediate successor, Guru Arjan Dev made this tank pacca, constructed the Harimandir in the centre of the tank connecting it with the bank by means of a bridge and having compiled the holy Granth (now regarded as Guru Granth Sahib) installed it in the Harimandir with Bhai Budha to act as the Granthi. Guru Arjan Dev also settled in the new basti artisans and craftsmen of diverse callings and inculcated in his followers keen interest in horse trade. Guru Hargobind key founded the Akal Takht , exactly facing the Harimandir. This further raised the importance of the place and made it the temporal centre of the Sikhs as well. The addition of the Lohgarh fort and the surrounding city wall gave a further new dimension to the place.The town thus emerging was first called Guru or Chak Guru Ram Das or simply Ramdaspura. Later, it came to be Known as Amritsar after the name of the sacred tank of the same name.
Table Of Contents For 'The City Of Amritsar - An Introduction' By Fauja Singh
|PREFACE||Dr Amrik Singh|
|INTRODUCTION||Dr Fauja Singh||(vii)|
|1||THE FOUNDER||Dr Fauja Singh||1|
|2||THE HARMANDIR||Dr Manjit Kaur||25|
|3||INSTALLATTION OF HOLY GRANTH SAHIB IN THE HARMANDIR||Prof. Harbans Singh||42|
|4||THE AKAL TAKHT||Dr Bhagat Singh||49|
|5||HEROIC TRADITION||S.Rajinder Singh||69|
|6||CITY WITH A HALLOWED|
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