Today when the metropolitan cities of the state and the state capital Chandigarh are on the brink of introducing monorail transport system, can you believe that one of the first monorail in the world ran from Sirhind in district Fatehgarh Sahib to Morinda, a distance of 15 miles. In 1907, the first section of an unusual train connecting Bassi with Sirhind was started. Colonel Bowles, who designed this monorail ,became the State Engineer of Patiala. The track was a single rail along one side of the road. The rail carried approximately 95% of the weight and the wheel on road carried 5% of the weight and kept the train upright.
On account of tough competition from other modes of transport and difficulties faced in its maintenance, this was gradually abandoned and closed in 1927. One of the Engines of the monorail is now displayed the National Railway Museum ,New Delhi.
Home Grown Surgeon -Lady who takes out thorns
Have your ever heard of a proficient surgeon, who has never undergone any formal training ? Well, there in one such surgeon Bibi Gurdev Kaur of village Kharora, District Fatehgarh Sahib. While traveling on the Sirhind- Patiala Road , about seven Kms. from Sirhind she sits confidently on her seat in her house along the road.
Now known as ‘Mataji’ and about 80 years of age, she was married to a land owner in the village, and started her forays into surgery in 1947. Her speciality is to extract any foreign matter like, needles, pins, pieces of glass or even bullets that might be accidentally lodged in human body. The locals believe that sometimes she has succeeded, where the trained surgeons have failed. She claims that she was gifted with this skill by way of a boon from an unknown young mendicant whom she happened to serve a wholesome meal. To do her job she uses a few instruments like a blade, a caliper and a small scissor. People come to her not only from the Punjab but from all over the country. For many years she was performing free but now she charges a nominal fee. Her greatest satisfaction lies in relieving the pain of others and to do her work to the best of her ability.
So next time when you have a thorn in your flesh, would you be willing to risk the services this experienced, self-taught gifted surgeon of Kharora?
Member Constituent Assembly – Sardar Bhupinder Singh Mann
Sardar Bhupinder Singh Mann was one of Sikh representatives in the Indian Constituent Assembly. After partition, his family settled in District Fatehgarh Sahib ( then part of PEPSUand later of Patiala District). Sardar Bhupinder Singh Mann was allotted land in village Barra, G.T. Road Sirhind. Sardar Mann graduated from Government College Lyllalpur( Now in Pakistan) and graduated in law from Law college, Punjab University, Lahore. While in college at Lahore, in collaboration with Prof. I.C. Nanda, a well- known punjabi play wright and the then cultural czar,he was one of the first exponent of ‘Bhangra’, the Punjabi folk dance in its present form.
He was arrested by the British in 1942 during the Quit India movement and kept interned upto 1945. Late, he was elected a member of the Assembly of the United Punjab at Lahore. The high point of his political career was being a member of the National Constituent Assembly. Being a gifted speaker, he actively participated in the assembly debates. Later, he was the Finance Minister in the Sardar Gian Singh Rarewala ministry of PEPSU.
He was a keen horticulturist and bequeathed one of the best multifruit farm at village Barra. The multifaceted personality passed away in 1993.
A Sikh Historian -Sardar Rattan Singh Bhangu
Sardar Rattan Singh Bhangu was one of the first Sikh historians. His family is presently living in village Bharhi, District Fatehgarh Sahib. Sardar Rattan Singh Bhangu was the grandson of Sardar Mehtab Singh Meerankotia who had beheaded the dreaded Muslim chieftain Massa Rangar who had desecrated Hari Mandir Sahib at Amritsar.
Rattan Singh Bhangu from his childhood was fired with a mission to render a true account of the Sikh history. Hence he wrote the Sri Guru Panth Parkash.
It is believed that he researched for his book from 1808 to 1841. It was on the basis of his manuscripts that the first edition of Sri Guru Panth Parkash was published in 1914. The book is an authentic account of the Sikhs from the times of Guru Nanak to the rise of Sikh misls. Dedicated scholars like Sardar Rattan Singh Bhangu are very rare to find. He passed away in 1846.
Guru Gobind Singh took the martyrdom of his innocent younger sons Baba Zorawar Singh and Baba Fateh Singh as well as his revered mother Mata Gujri ji at Sirhind in 1704 at the behest of the then Mughal Governor Wazir khan with utmost seriousness and concern. This was the ultimate of Mughal tyranny. After finishing his task at Talwandi Sabo(now in District Bathinda), he headed towards south India in pursuit of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb to whom he wanted to explain his life’s mission. However, Aurangzeb passed away in 1707, while fighting in the South. Meanwhile Guru Gobind Singh camped at Nanded, which is these days is popularly known as Hazoor Sahib and is situated in Maharashtra.
From there in 1708, he dispatched Madho Dass Bairagi, now popularly known as Banda Singh Bahadur, to Punjab. He was assigned the mission of putting an end to the Mughal tyranny in Punjab. He was handed a ‘ Hukamnama’ by Guru Gobind Singh, desiring his devotees to follow him.
After Baba Banda Singh Bahadur crossed Delhi, Guru Sahib’s ‘ Malwai and ‘ Mujhail’ devotees joined his force in thousands. The force which was so gathered over ran Sonepat, Kaithal, Samana, Shahbad, Kapuri and Chhat Banur. It finallly camped at ChapparChiri, 12 miles from Sirhind. On 12 th of May 1710, Wazir Khan marched to ChapparChiri and was decisively defeated by the Sikhs.
On 14 May 1710, the victorious Sikh force under the leadership of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur took over the control of Sirhind. Hence, this day is known as ‘Fateh Diwas’.