Gurdwara Bhai Phero

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Gurdwara Bhai Phero stands majestically at the end of the local Anarkali Market in the town which has also taken the name of Bhai Phero. Both are situated sixty kilometers from Lahore on the Lahore-Multan road presently in in Pakistan.

Who was Bhai Phero

see: Bhai Phero

A Gurdwara Constructed

The present Gurdwara was built by the then Mahant in collaboration with the local Sangat in 1910.

Though the word Mahant seems similar to Masand, (at least to my 'western' ear) the Mahants were men, often Hindus - at first very sympathetic to the Sikhs, who had been entrusted with managing Gurdwaras, since the days when having a turban and untrimmed beard was the same as having a death warrant on one's head. Under the British , who did not see a strong Sikh revival in their best interests, many Mahants, especially after the turn of the century had taken to seeing themselves as the hereditary owners of the Gurdwaras, the Gurdwaras' lands and funds; with many even going so far as to include murtis, Nauch girls and debauchery in the Guru's (the SGGS) and Waheguru's Earthly Doorways. Practices considered very beadabi to Sikhs. That they fought this practice in India's first peaceful morcha, only on their part (as thousands were brutally killed or wounded during the protests, is a great credit to the teachings of Guru Nanak and the other Sikh Padshahs.

See Origin of non violence for more reading on the movement for the Sikhs to regain control of their own houses of worship. Only in todays 'Tibet' can I even think of a similar situation where foreigners have taken control of another Religions' places of worship.

According to the agreement reached on 21st Dec 1922, the responsibility of maintenance of the Gurdwara was handed over to the Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee by the Mahant on 28th December 1922. The Gurdwara's caretaker was not one of the many who had not disgraced their Gurdwara and Sangat, as the Committee sanctioned a monthly allowance of Rs.400 for the Mahant.

But, less than a year later

On 7 December 1923, manager Jagat Singh and 10 other Sikhs were arrested due to a dispute over the occupation of the Gurdwara's land, 34 Akalis were arrested on the 2nd of January. Regular arrests occured from 5th January onwards. The agitation was called off due to a murder which took place on 20th December 1925.

Since the Partition

Today 2200 acres of land is attached to the Gurdwara's holdings. The building is in good condition thanks to the Evacuee Trust Board's having its roof rebuilt in 1995 after its collapse. Ten shops, adjacent to the Gurdwara, have been rented out bringing in additional funds to the Gurdwara.

The Samadh of Bhai Phero is located just beside the entrance of the Gurdwara. As at the Golden Temple one enters the Samadh by decending, here 5 steps.

The Diwan (assembly) Hall is in front of the Samadh, where the Nishan Sahib remains proudly hoisted.