Ramgarhia Sports Club

HOW IT ALL BEGAN
The Ramgarhia Sports Club (RSC) came into being around 1974 when certain members of the community with interests in sports and games agreed to offer their free time and experience to train and develop the younger members of the community in sports like hockey and karate.
Considerable interest was shown by the young generation and within a short time the coaching sessions and classes in sports ran to full capacity, and the need to deploy additional staff became necessary. Scheduling of the coaching sessions on a weekly basis was the only way available to contain the enthusiasm of the young participants, some of whom came from places as far away as Harrow, Greenford, Wembley, Hayes, Uxbridge, Hanwell, Ealing, Brentford and even Watford in Hertfordshire.

In the absence of adequate facilities, newer facilities to accommodate for the rising membership became e a paramount objective. As a consequence, various locations had to be found where indoor training and sports could be undertaken.

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Baba Deep Singh Martydom

Baba Deep Singh is one of the most revered martyrs of Sikh history. Paintings show him fighting with his head on his left palm, still wielding his sword with the right. He laid down his life to protect the sanctity of. the Golden Temple.

Not much is known about the early life of Baba Deep Singh. But during the hey-day of Dal Khalsa he was the leader of Nishan Walia Misi which was entrusted with the care of Gurdwaras, including the Golden Temple.

Ahmad Shah Abdali had come to Punjab again in 1762 AD. On the eve of Baisakhi he came to Amritsar with a large force and blew up the Golden Temple and the adjoining bungas. With the rubble he got the sacred tank filled. He wanted to crush the Sikhs and to annihilate their holiest place which had become their rallying point.

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Jassa Singh Ramgarhia

SINGH BAHADUR SARDAR JASSA SINGH RAMGARHIA (1723 -1803)
By Mrs. Charanjit Ajit Singh, M.A.

    The eighteenth century in the history of Punjab is synonymous with political and social unrest, confusion and complete chaos, following the decline of the Mughal Empire. There were quick changes of authority in the region, and Punjab became the battleground of a triangular struggle for power among the Mughal rulers of Punjab, the Afghan invaders and the emerging power of the Sikhs. To this struggle was also added the Maratha threat from the south. It is truly a dark period in Punjab history, in which the Sikhs fought formidable battles initially for survival and later on in the century for gaining territory and political power.

    Yet in this long struggle some fundamental principles were at stake – the principles enunciated by the Sikh Gurus and nourished by martyrdom and sacrifice to become salient features of a way of life that is respected all over the world as representing high moral values, unbound courage, equality, justice, democracy and freedom – the rights we take for granted today, the right to practise one’s own faith, fight against depression and repression and treat all on equal grounds as members of the same human race.

    The rulers of the times considered the teachings of the Sikhs as threatening their privileged position, as teaching people to oppose the administration which in Guru Nanak’s own words had become corrupt and oppressive. The fence eating up crops it was supposed to protect. There was no choice left to the Sikhs but to fight for survival or die.

    This period of unrest produced great leaders among the Sikhs, one of the most important being Singh Bahadur Sardar Jassa Singh Ramgarhia whose own life spanned the last three quarters of the eighteenth century and led the Sikhs through the most difficult phase of their history, when there was a price on their heads, when becoming a Sikh was taken as courting death, in so many ways Punjab presented a picture of an eighteenth century Vietnam. The Sikhs survived two holocausts and emerged as leaders of the Punjab, thanks to the brilliant leadership provided by Sardar Jassa Singh Ramgarhia and other Misaldars (chieftains).

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History of Ramgarhia

The word Ramgarhia is composed of the terms Ram (God) and Garh (fort). Hence the adjective Ramgarhia means Custodians of the Castle of God, the fort which was the headquarters of the family, the history of which is given hereafter, was named Ramgarh. This name is also given to a Bunga (mansion) and a Katra (a large portion of the city) both of which are situated on the eastern side of the city of Amritsar, the history of the each of them is given in the sequel. As a rule of Sikhs who belong to the same clan as the Ramgarhia frankly call themselves Ramgarhia's and generally they are the most orthodox disciples of the Guru. In respect of martial qualities also they are second to none in the Punjab. In their veins runs the blood of their mighty forefathers and martyrs, Their frames possess the indomitable spirit of Sardar Jassa Singh Ramgarhia, one of the greatest generals that the soil of the Punjab has ever produced. 'The Great Lion of the Punjab, who had more occasions than one to experience the strength of the Ramgarhia blows, acknowledged their superiority and had so much love for this name that he proudly gave the name Ramgarhia Brigade to a brigade of some of his bravest horsemen. The martial spirit of the Ramgarhias was maintained even by the British Government. In the military atmosphere the Ramgarhias have the honour to share up to this day, with their Sikh brothers, the topmost position among the Brotherhood of Lions.

Up till now the Sikhs were without any fort of their own. The Dal Khalsa assembled at Amritsar and mooted out the question of building a fort. Sardar Sukha Singh Kalsi, a great Sikh leader of Mari Kamboki, proposed that the fort should be built at Amritsar near Hari Mandir Sahib. Sardar Sukha Singh also belonged to Ramgarhia clan. His proposal was accepted and this task was entrusted to Sardar Jassa Singh Ramgarhia who built Ram Rauni (Fortress of God) on the eastern side of Amritsar in the vicinity of Harmandir Sahib.

In the mean time, Mir Manu the Governor of Punjab, felt a great danger to his authority and rule, from the rising power of the Sikhs. So he wanted to crush them. He sent his forces to attack Ram Rauni Fortress of the Sikhs at Amritsar in October 1748 AD. Under his instruction, Adina Beg, the Governor of Jallandhar Doab also sent his forces and besieged the Sikh fortress – Ram Rauni along with the imperial forces of Mir Manu. This siege continued for four months up to January 1749 AD. The Sikhs faced great hardship and provisions ran short and the force of Khalsa was also reduced in number. They sent a message to Sardar Jassa Singh Ramgarhia appealing him to come to their help as a true Sikh. There upon Sardar Jassa Singh Ramgarhia entered the fortress during the night along with his army and took the command of the besieged Sikhs and defended the fortress along with the besieged Sikhs against the repeated attacks of Mughal Army. Dewan Kaura Mal, the Finance Minister of the Governor of Lahore secretly helped the Sikhs and advised the Governor of Lahore to lift the siege. Accordingly, the siege was lifted in January 1749 AD and the Sikhs came out victorious. This proved the statesmanship and valour of Sardar Jassa Singh Ramgarhia. As the Ram Rauni Fortress was completely demolished, the fortress was rebuilt as Pucca Fort by Sardar Jassa Singh Ramgarhia and he named it as 'Ramgarhia Fort-Fort of God'. Sardar Jassa Singh Ramgarhia was made the commander of this fort and he remained as such for a long time.

The Funeral Service

FUNERAL SERVICE

When a person is about to die, his or her attention should be drawn towards God and no worldly matters or demonstrations of sorrow should be allowed to intrude upon a peaceful going. As soon as the soul has winged its flight, the body should be bathed and clothed in clean cloths. Then, the body should be removed in any convenient manner that is available, to any convenient place where a funeral pile can be arranged. The practice of weeping wailing, crying and all other ways of boisterous expression of grief are strictly forbidden.

Sohi Ravidas

The dawn a new day
Is the herald of a sunset
Earth is not thy permanent home.
Life is like a shadow on the wall
All thy friends have departed
Thou too must go.
Thou believeth as if life
Were everlasting and endless
The journey may be long
Death is ever hovering over us.
Why art thou asleep?
Wake up, 0 simpleton.

He who gave Thee life
Gives sustenance also
He is the soul of creation

He is the all feeder

Relinquish me and mine and worship Him
Within thy heart in the morning
Repeat His Name
The night is on thee
With its garments of gloom
Life is coming to an end.
Thy feet have not found the path
Says Ravi Das, Thou, senseless fool,
Why does thou not see,

This world is but the abode of mortal beings?
know this O! Dear friend,
Clearly in Thy mind
The world is absorbed
In pursuit of pleasure
No one cares for another.
Many wait in attendance.
Surrounding thee from all sides,
When fortune smiles,
When misfortune darkens the door,
They suddenly disappear and leave thee alone,
Even a wife who is loved and is loving,
As soon as the soul wings its flight
Cries out, thou art dead.
Such is the way of them all,
Says Nanak, at the end,
God alone can befriend Thee.
Mother father, brother and son,
And the mistress of the house,
They cling to the living,
Soon as the breath leaves the body,
They leave it as dead.
Beware of the glamour of mirage,
Take heed and repent.

This world is but the abode of mortal beings?
know this O! Dear friend,
Clearly in Thy mind
The world is absorbed
In pursuit of pleasure
No one cares for another.
Many wait in attendance.
Surrounding thee from all sides,
When fortune smiles,
When misfortune darkens the door,
They suddenly disappear and leave thee alone,
Even a wife who is loved and is loving,
As soon as the soul wings its flight
Cries out, thou art dead.
Such is the way of them all,
Says Nanak, at the end,
God alone can befriend Thee.
Mother father, brother and son,
And the mistress of the house,
They cling to the living,
Soon as the breath leaves the body,
They leave it as dead.
Beware of the glamour of mirage,
Take heed and repent.

Says Nanak, repeat the name of God,
Salvation is His gift.
Wake up, my mind, wake up,
From the dead sleep,
The body that came with thee,
Will part company with thee soon.
The world is but a dream.
Soon as life leaves the body,
Mother, father, and other relatives,
Will offer it to the fire,
They are only concerned with the self.
Says Nanak, sing the praise of God.
I found all worldly attachment false,
Every one is attached for the sake of his own pleasure,
Whether it is wife or a friend
Mine, mine, they all say, and cheat the heart
With expressions of love;
At the last moment not one comes near,
This is the strange way of the world!
The foolish mind does not listen,
To wise advice and understand;
Says Nanak, he alone can cross the sea of being
Who sings the songs of God.

Arriving at the cremation ground the body is placed on the top of a platform of firewood and more fuel piled up all over and on all sides. Then the general prayer is recited and blessings of God and the Guru are invoked for the soul of the Departed.

The Party of mourners then return and wash their hands and faces and after that Karah Parshad is distributed.

The idea is that there should be no grief shown at the passing away of the soul from the earth, as it is a natural process just like birth; summons to attend should be received with sweet resignation.

As soon as it can be conveniently arranged, the reading of Holy Book is started by the heirs of the deceased and the reading is completed on the 10th day, when, with final prayers for the soul of the departed, the funeral ceremony closes.

Sikh Ceremonies by Sir Jogendra Singh. Ludhiana

Ramgarhia Hall

In 1973 the Salvation Army Hall at 159 The Broadway in Southall was purchased by Ramgarhia Sabha, Southall and renamed Ramgarhia Hall. The hall provided Facilities for young people in the local community such as training in the martial arts and table tennis, and there were also Facilities for social and cultural get-togethers.

Ramgarhia Hall

The hall found itself being used for a variety of purposes over the years, including providing overnight stay for a large contingent of marchers in the late 1970s who had marched from Scotland to bring the government’s attention to rising unemployment there. The hall was also privileged to hold the first-ever International Panjabi Conference in 1980 including a display of fine arts and books. The conference, later on, helped to introduce the teaching of Punjabi in schools in Britain.

Short Extract from Treasures of Sikh Faith

The Sikh National Anthem

 

DEH SHIVA BAR MOHE IHA
Grant me this boon, 0, God, from thy greatness
SHUBH KARMAN TEY KABHU NA TAROON
May I never refrain from righteous acts,
NA DAROO AR SIYOO JAB JAH LAROO
May I fight without fear all foes in life's battle,
NISCHAI KAR APNE JEET KAROO
With confident courage claiming the victory'
AR SIKH HAO APNE HE MUN KO
May Thy glory be gained in my mind,
EH LALACH HAU GUN TAU UCHROO
And my highest ambition be singing thy praises
JAB AAV KI AUDH NIDHAAN BANAY
When this mortal reaches its limits,
AUT HE RAN ME TAB JOOJH MAROO
May I die fighting with limitless courage'

GURU GOBIND SINGH

The Sikh Symbols

It has been found that the maintenance of forms and symbols is essential not only for the Sake of uniformity but also for sustaining sufficient amount of enthusiasm for an organisation. Such symbols should be a living index of the idea, arousing deep intimations of the personality that created them. The symbols make the ideal more real and meaningful to the followers.

The Sikh symbols were not intended to create a spirit of exclusiveness or chosen people. They were meant to serve as aids to the corporate life of the community. Perhaps it may be possible for a man to devote himself to God without adopting outer forms and symbols, but if one wants to work in an organisation, one must keep up the disciplinary forms of the group Just as we may have a good fighter without military drill and uniform, but that does not minimise the need of the regular army, in the same way, the Sikhs of Guru Gobind Singh stick to the uniform and (he symbols ordained by him and find them a great aid in the Panthic organisation.

It has been recorded it’s history that whenever Guru Gobind Singh was pleased with anyone, he welcomed him to the fold of the
Khalsa. Lachman Bairagi became Banda Singh. It is said that more than eighty thousand Sikhs received the initiation by the sword within a few months of the creation of the Khalsa.

The symbols have kept the Sikhs united. They have also maintained their ideals unsullied in great crises. Many Sikhs faced
death but refused to shave off their hair Kesh which is the most important symbol of the five. The maintenance of unshorn hair is in keeping with the idea of living according to the will of God. The Kesh are the spiritual link with the Guru-power.

Along with the maintenance of the five symbols, an exemplary life – Rahat – is quite essential. Abstinence from tobacco, Halal meat, wines, narotics and adultary are the part of discipline of the Khalsa, Undoubtedly, the code of conduct is a difficult one. Guru Gobind Singh valued the form of the Khalsa, and so long as the Khalsa maintains the symbols, it will march to glory, when it shows indifference to them, its lustre will tarnish and fade away.

Anand Karaj

THE SIKH MARRIAGE CEREMONY

– ANAND KARJ

The couple and their parents stand up and take blessings from God, thereafter, the father of the bride places the fringe of the bridegrooms’ scarf in the hands of the bride, a gesture of responsibility to one another and the willingness to accept each other in the new phase of their lives.

The four shabads are recited from the Guru Granth Sahib composed by Guru Ram Das Ji, the fourth Guru, recorded on pages 773-774.

 

 

The bride and bridegroom both listen to the shabads and as the shabads are sung in turn they bow their heads to the Guru Granth Sahib accepting and promising to take their vows and to fulfil them. As the shabads are sung by the Ragis (musicians), the couple stand up and walks around the Guru Granth Sahib calling to God and the Congregation to witness their acceptance.

Marriage is the union of two souls and companionship for spiritual advancement. A transistion and new phase of life being entered by the bride and bridegroom.

THE FIRST SHABAD

THE PROMISE TO LOVE EACH OTHER – Look to the Guru Granth Sahib for your guidance and remember to mediate the name of God and follow the path of truthful living and love from within your heart and keep faith in Waheguru and you will be blessed with happiness – Dedication.

THE SECOND SHABAD

THE PROMISE TO MERGE COMPLETELY AND DEVELOP AS ONE SOUL – Respect each other and dispel all fears and shares your happiness equal to your sorrows, Commitment.

THE THIRD SHABAD

THE PROMISE TO BE FAITHFULL –Speak to each other with sweetness and love and do not forget Waheguru and the Holy Congregation, and in your excitement keep control, Communication.

THE FOURTH SHABAD

THE PROMISE TO BE TOGETHER THROUGHOUT THE UPTURNS AND DOWNTURNS THAT LIFE WILL BRING – The wish of your hearts is solemnised in the presence of God and graces your existence throughout eternity.

Barjinderpal Kaur Lall