When India got independence on 15th August 1947, everyone thanked the great leaders of that time, who fought throughout their lives for this day. On the one hand, people were rejoicing with extreme happiness, and on the other, they were remembering those whom they lost in this 100 year-long battle for independence. The first major protest, which spread nationwide was recorded in 1857, which is now known as the First War of Indian Independence. After the British suppressed this mutiny, they got busy in reorganizing their power and ensuring that such incidents were contained in the future. But the spark of freedom had kindled a fire in every nook and cranny of India. So some of the revolutions grew bigger and became famous, while most of the revolutionaries died well within the small paragraphs of myriad history books.

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s royal mansion near the Rashtrapati Bhawan has now been converted into a museum. Several rooms in there are filled with stuff related to Nehru and by corollary the Indian Independence. In a corner of one such room, the curator has taken care to put a few pictures of those social reformers, who rose after 1857 but were silenced by the British. This article is about one such social reformer, whose contribution to Indian society has been relagated to passive memory with time. He started his protest in 1857, just a month before the famous mutiny broke out, and was able to fight till 1872. But his followers have continued to obey the commandments even to the present day.

The battle of Mudki in Punjab was a major turning point for the British and their advance towards North India. A soldier from the 12th Battalion of Kanwar Nau Nihal Singh’s regiment (Grandson of Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab), decided to leave his job as a warrior and take the path of peace. But he was also very much disturbed by the way in which the British had played dirty tricks, and bribed the Sikh generals to take over Punjab in unethical fashion. He came back to his village near Ludhiana and started meditating. A decade later, he decided to restore the status of Sikhs in Punjab. He found out that there was hardly any person left who is following the true path of Guru Nanak & Guru Gobind. Hence, in April 1857, he baptised his followers who later came to be known as the Namdharis, or more popularly, the “Kukas”. A month later, the 1857 uprising started but the Kukas continued to meditate and live peacefully. They were now obeying the commandments of this reformer, this saint-soldier, Satguru Ram Singh (as he is till today commonly referred by his followers).

After the war of 1857, the British went back to their thinking desks and started working on a better plan to rule India. They found that this outbreak was due to religious sentiments. The only way to ensure that no such thing happens again is to break the religious backbone of the people of India. The infamous “Divide and Rule” policy of British was tested to its extreme. One major decision taken during this course was to remove the copper plates from Amritsar, which read “Cows are not to be killed in Amritsar. The penalty of killing a cow is death”. After removing these plates, a cow-slaughter house was approved in Amritsar, right next to the holy shrine of Sikhs, the Golden Temple. Similar slaughter houses came up in other areas of Punjab as well. During this period, the Kukas had formed a strong sect. Baba Ram Singh gave them few instructions, from where the “Kuka Movement” started. It also became one of the first boycott movements of India. The commandments clearly stated:

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