Chuharsing, Bakshusing and the sixty Guru Granth Sahibs

Chuharsing, a Keshdhari Sikh, earned BA from DJ Sind and LLB from Government Law College, Bombay, in 1902. As a civil servant, he rose to be Deputy Collector in the Revenue Department of Sindh. He retired from service in 1931, and continued his seva at Gurudwara Akal Bunga in Hyderabad, of which his younger brother Bakshusing managed the affairs.

Chuharsing was a champion of the downtrodden and rehabilitated many untouchables by making them Labana Sikhs. Many of these Labana Sikhs excelled in their studies and rose to occupy respectable positions, mainly in the Armed Forces. After Partition, he lived in Sion. His wife Devibai was Jairamdas Daulatram’s younger sister and when she died, he was cared for by his niece Bhagi. Chuharsing was also one of the members of the Governing Council of the Modern Civil Engineering College, Pune. He died in Sion in 1966.

Celebration of Chuharsing’s seventy-fifth birthday.
All images courtesy Himmatsing Bakshusing Advani

Bakshusing, a businessman, owned a wholesale wine shop and also the Aldwyn Hotel (later Imperial Hotel). He had extensive properties around Phuleli and lived in a palatial house in the Chawri area of Hyderabad. After Partition, his home was raided by the police, ostensibly seeking weapons. None were found. Bakshusing was helped by his friend Muhammad Baksh, District Collector, who is said to have kept the mob in control by firing his pistol in the air. Bakshusing and his wife Parvati (nee Vishni Sippy) travelled from Hyderabad to Khokhrapar accompanied by an armed guard on what they believe was the last train from Hyderabad, after which the railways terminated the service.

Bakhshusing and Vishni with their eight children on the lawns of Aldwyn Hotel, Hyderabad, in 1945.

Another reason why this was a historic journey was that Bakshusing carried with him sixty copies of the Guru Granth Sahib which he had collected over the troubled months after Partition. As the Muhajirs forcibly took over residential properties in Hyderabad, Hindus and Sikhs fled Sindh. Before they left, many came for their final goodbye to the Gurudwara Akal Bunga and deposited their copies of the Granth with Bakshusing for safekeeping. And Bakshusing did indeed guard them with his life, carrying all sixty with him as he left Sindh to protect them from desecration.

Bakhshusing on the Manji Sahab at a Mahayagya of 101 Akhand Path Sahibs in Gurudwara Akal Bunga in Hyderabad in 1943.

Bakshusing, Parvati and their eight children lived for a while in Jodhpur and later moved to Bombay. It took many years to restore their former financial standing but even in those difficult years Bakshusing gave his time freely to help fellow Sindhis draft their petitions to the government claiming settlement for the lands and properties left behind. Bakshusing died young, in 1962.

Excerpted from The Amils of Sindh by Saaz Aggarwal

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