17 January, 2009
Released by Haryana Union of Journalists (Sirsa Chapter) on
National Union of Journalists (India)
National Executive Meet 17th & 18th January 2009 Sirsa
SIRSA is a district in the Haryana State of India. Its history dates back to the time of Mahabharata. At one time, the Sarasvati River (now known as Ghagger) flowed in this area. Baba Sarsainath is said to have been the first person to come here to do tapp.
Its ancient name was Sairishaka, which finds mention in Mahabharata, Panini's Ashatadhayayi and Divyavadan. In Mahabharata, Sairishaka is described as being taken by Nakula in his conquest of the western quarter. It must have been a flourishing city in the 5th century B.C. as it has been mentioned by Panini. According to local tradition, an unknown king named Saras founded the town in 7th century A.D. and built a fort. The material remains of an ancient fort can still be seen in the South-East of the present town. According to another tradition, the name has its origin from the sacred river SARASVATI which one flowed near it. Hence a large chunk of populace call it by the name SARSA. The derivation of name Sirsa, is also attributed to the abundance of siris trees in the neighborhood of Sirsa which seems quite plausible for it finds some corroboration also in Panini and his commentator. In ancient period, Sirsa was also known as Sirsapattan.
In the time of Akbar, Sirsa was one of the dasturs of Hisar Feroza Sarkar and much of its area lying in the present Sirsa district was covered by Mahals of Fatehabad, Bhattu, Bhangiwal (Darba), Sirsa, Bhatner (or Hanumangarh, Rajasthan) and Paniyana (Rajasthan). With the decline of the Mughal Empire, the track comprising Sirsa district came under the control of Marathas. The whole of Delhi Territory of which the tract formed part was ceded by the Marathas to the British in 1810.
In 1819, the Delhi territory was divided into three districts - the Central which included Delhi, The Southern including Rewari, and the North-Western including Panipat, Hansi, Hisar, Sirsa and Rohtak. In 1820, the latter was again sub-divided into Northern and Western and Sirsa alongwith Hansi, Hisar and Bhiwani formed Western district (Haryana district and later known Hisar district). In 1837, Sirsa and Rania parganas were taken out of Haryana district and alongwith Guda and Malaut parganas were formed into a separate district called Bhattiana. The whole of the Delhi territory alongwith district of Bhattiana and Hisar was transferred to Punjab in 1858 and the district of Bhattiana was renamed as Sirsa.
The Sirsa district which comprised three tahsils of Sirsa, Dabwali and Fazilka was abolished in 1884 and Sirsa tahsil (consisting of 199 Villages) and 126 villages of Dabwali tahsil formed one tahsil and the same was merged in the Hisar district and the rest of the portion was transferred to the Firozpur district (Punjab). There was no change till the Independence of the country except that a village was transferred from Sirsa tahsil to the then state of Bikaner in 1906. The entire area of the district was included in the new state of Haryana on November 1, 1966. In 1968, Sirsa tehsil was bifurcated into Sirsa and Dabwali tahsils. In 1974, three villages of Dabwali tahsil were transferred to Sirsa tahsil.
On September 1, 1975, Sirsa was again made a separate District of Haryana.
Sirsa as of today is fast emerging as an education city, it now boasts of several technical colleges, pharmacy, medical and paramedical institutes, PG Colleges, B.Ed. Colleges, and one UGC recognized University. Its longtime status of agriculturally advanced district remains undisputed even today. Sirsa boasts of good production of Wheat, Rice & Cotton mainly along with mustard, barley, pulses, vegetables and citrus fruits.
Sirsa is also known for its various Religious places inside the main city and the surroundings. Its known to be bound by various religious Deras and Kutiyaas from all its sides. The main city has several Hindu temples including Dera Sarsainath, 2 historic Sikh Gurdwaras, one ancient Jama Masjid, Tomb Khwaja Pir, two old Churches. On the outskirts of Sirsa are situated Radha Swami Satsang Ghar, Nirankari Bhawan, Dera Sacha Sauda, Tarkehswarm Dham (Tara Baba Kutia), Dera Bhuman Shah, Namdhari Dera Jeevan Nagar, Dera Jagmal Wali of Sant Baluchistani, Gurdwara Chormaar Sahib etc. etc.
Ex Deputy Prime Minister, Late Chaudhary Devi Lal and Ex CM Haryana Sh OP Chautala belong to Sirsa. It was a vision of Ch Devi Lal to provide good education facilities in Sirsa, his this dream was carved into shape by Ch. OP Chautala by setting up Ch Devi Lal University (CDLU) and Ch Devi Lal Memorial Engineering College at Sirsa, the grandsons of Ch. Devi Lal could not sit idle in enhancing the dreams of Ch Devi Lal, Jan Nayak Ch Devilal Vidyapeeth, (JCDV) a premier education provider which has more than seven institutes running under its aegis and has a beautiful campus on Barnala Road is a brain child of Sh. Ajay Singh MP and Sh. Abhay Singh Chautala MLA, both are grandsons of Ch Devi Lal and sons of Ch OP Chautala. Great Grand Son of Ch Devi Lal, Mr. Digvijay Chautala has set up JCD National Cricket Academy at Sirsa in 2008. Govt. National PG College of Sirsa is Haryana's largest college strength wise.
Famous cinematographer and contemporary Punjabi films producer, Manmohan Singh of DDLJ fame belongs to SIRSA. Sirsa is geographically at a strategic point for Air Warfare so it has a well established airbase of the IAF.
As we go towards west along the course of Ghagger River (erstwhile Sraswati) the rich soil of its surrounding areas famous for bumper rice and wheat crops also is a home to migratory birds from as far as Siberia, The Ottu Wier about 12 KM from Sirsa City is being developed into a big 1200Acres lake, a bird sanctuary, and a tourist attraction by the present Government, though the polluted waters from the industrial affluents discharged upstream the river are keeping many of the migratory birds away still one can notice bird life there. Going past the Ottu Wier, is Rania town which was home to Bhatti Nawab of Rania he resisted the British and was freedom fighter of first war against The British for Independence in 1857.
Next to Rania is Jeevan Nagar the home of Namdhari Kuka Sikhs, the Kuka Sikhs were the army of Baba Ram Singh ji Namdhari and it is said that even before 1857 movement, the KUKA Sikhs were the first to blow bigule against the British by declaring non-cooperation, so chronologically this may be the advent of war against the British. Suba Khushal Singh of Village Thiraj was a freedom fighter of that era from Sirsa. The Namdhari Sikhs apart from their role in the freedom fight of India are also famous for Namdhari Music, as they sing the Sacred Gurbani Shabds in Raagas only, as prescribed in the holy Guru Granth. The Famous Gazal Maestro Jagjeet Singh descends from a Namdhari Family. Namdharis are cow lovers and the protection of Cows from slaughter remains the foremost concern of Namdharis. Namdhari XI hockey had always been on the forefront, after a brief pause, again today Sardar Singh and Deedar Singh, products of Namdhari Hockey Academy, now play for the National Hockey team are from village Sant Nagar Sirsa. Unlike infamous Khap Panchayats of South-East Haryana, a social body LOKPANCHAYAT works for social justice and aims at resolving various disputes at village level, is active since almost last three decades in this very region.
On the South end of Sirsa is Dera Sacha Sauda, the dera apart from its religious activities, runs educational institutes and has put great emphasis upon sports in these institutes, in 2008, more than half a dozen of girls from Shah Satnam Ji Girls Education School played for and made the Indian team win the 12th Asian Women’s Roller Skating Hockey Champion Ship held at Kolkata. The dera also has a well built cricket stadium where veteran teams of India and Pakistan played a day and night series.
Dera Sar Sainath, presence of large number Bodh and Jain monks and other Sufee fakirs brought 1st and 10th Sikh Gurus, Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind to Sirsa, Guru Nanak stayed for forty days in the company of a sufi saint at the place where now historical Gurdwara Chilla Sahib is, Guru Gobind visited Dera Sar Sai Nath and also stayed there, the historic Gurdwara Patshahi Dasam is also in the midst of the main city. One lesser known mandir of the city near Ghanta Ghar Chowk is Khatu Shyam Mandir which has an ancient, 850 years old Idol of Lord Krishna installed in it. There is a pracheen Shiv Mandir inside the Gau Shala. Baba Bihari Samadh on Rania road, which apart from its religious aura is also known for holding Indian music concerts at the samadhi regularly. Shankar Sharma a renowned painter has a Chitrashala in Nohria Bazar. Ramesh Chander Shalihas, Harbahjan Singh Rainu, Sukhchain Singh Bhandari, Puran Moudgil, Rup Devgun, Harbhagwan Chawla....and several more are famous writers/poets from Sirsa.
Village Ludesar has a war memorial of Second World War martyrs. While the jawans of today also have never left themselves behind in the supreme sacrifice for their motherland, more recently there were at-least three martyrs from Sirsa in the Indian Army who laid their lives fighting for India in the Kargil war.
Sirsa shares its borders with Rajasthan & Punjab so a trilateral fusion of cultures of Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana can be seen only in this city. As varied as its culture is its climate from touching as low as 7degree Celsius in winter to as high as 47 degrees in the summer. Yet SIRSA is always appreciated for the extraordinary tolerance of its people and their warm hospitality.
Though every care has been taken into putting the facts in correct light throughout this article, even then some mistakes might have crept in, some facts and matters of importance that should have been mentioned might not be there due to sheer ignorance of these to the writer and not due to any deliberation, inputs from readers are welcome via firstname.lastname@example.org Errors and omissions if any are regretted.