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My City : Barnala

My Country : India

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At one time a base of Patiala province was set up by Baba Ala Singh approximately around year 1719 who also laid the foundation of Patiala two hundred fifty two years ago. Baba Ala Singh conquered Sirhind fighting his battles from this place. When he overpowered remote areas then from administrative angle he shifted his capital from Barnala to Patiala.


In Punjab, at present, there are half a dozen villages having their names resembling Barnala town. District Mansa has a village named Khara Barnala. Near Nawan Shehar, there are places Barnala Kalan and Barnala Khurd. Amritsar district too has a village named Barnala.


The common prevalent details reveal that this place was a village named Anahadgarh. In neighbouring village Bhadalwadh Rungarh Muslims used to live who indulged in cattle-stealing and plundering acts in surrounding villages grazing cattle in their crops. Following tormentation by Rungarh Muslims, people of Anahadgarh went to Bhadaur for help. Baba Gama was known for his might. When people went to Bhadaur at that time, Baba Gama was not there in his house but his brother Baba Ala Singh came along with them and he forced all Rungarh Muslims to run and started living there planting a tree (it being a Dera at that time marking foundation of a village).


Eminent Sikh historian Giani has recorded the details of setting up of Barnala in the annals of Khalsa in this manner that in the year 1775 Baba Ala Singh after offering Bhadaur (set up by King Padhar Sain) to his brother Duna Singh came to Barnala region which was lying aloof at that time. Setting it up, he made it his capital and took under his control surrounding villages. It too appears that Anahadgarh may be existing before and must have been deserted following attacks of Dharvis.


There are different opinions about the nomenclature of Barnala. Some are of the view, Vaaran being a region because of frequent storms was at that time also called Varna. So Barnala was called a land of too many storms which later on became Barnala because of precision of example. Another view reveals that a fort here is said to be built by Baba Ala Singh in which there was a ‘Baahuli’ (a well which had stairs going down). That too due to precision and Malwai accent was known as ‘Baain’. Thus Baain Wala ultimately became Barnala. Thus these are different views only but no historical detail is available that how name Barnala came into existence.


The part pertaining to markets of present Barnala city is about eighty years old. The initial Barnala belongs to fort, its surrounding population, Sandhu and Bajwa Pattis. It was in fact a village. All rulers lived in the fort. The officers and other respectables lived outside the four-walls of the fort. The agriculturists inhabited Sandhu and Bajwa Pattis.


Barnala which at one time was the capital of province was District Headquarter when Patiala province came into existence and Bathinda and Mansa used to be its Tehsils (sub-divisions). At the time of independence of India, Bathinda became separate district. After India got freedom, in the year 1954 following abolition of provinces new state of Pepsu was made. Then too Barnala was a district headquarter and Rampura Phool and Malerkotla were its Tehsils (sub-divisions). When Pepsu State with Patiala as its capital was disbanded and merged in Punjab then status of Barnala district got degraded. Now it is only a sub-division. Earlier on, Barnala being a district headquarter had District and Sessions Judge Court but when Barnala became sub-division, it was offered Additional Distrcit and Sessions Judge Court vested with all the District and Session Judge Court powers.


The Dera Baba Gandha Singh of Barnala too appears to be linked with the history of Barnala. Once Bibi Pradhan kaur (famous with the name of ‘Pradhan’), daughter of Maharaja Ala Singh, reached Mukatsar journey then. She met Baba Langar Singh. Listening to sermon and seeing serving of meals without any break left deep impact over her mind. She requested Baba Langar Singh that a saint of high conduct like him be sent to Barnala who may start congregation and meal service like this there. Accepting her request, Baba Langar Singh deemed his learned disciple Pandit Nikka Singh worthy for Barnala. Maharaja Ala Singh had heard a lot very well about Baba Langar Singh and Pandit Nikka Singh and whenever he talked of appointing a talented teacher for Bibi, then name of Pandit Nikka Singh used to be mentioned in high esteem. Complying with orders of Baba Langar Singh, Pandit Nikka Singh reached Barnala then Maharaja Ala Singh provided him with a beautiful house for residence. Pandit ji started congregation here. In this way, Dera Baba Gandha Singh came into existence and in fort regular meal-services were arranged where hundreds of people took meals and even today hearths of Baba Ala Singh present and Gurudwara is famous with the name of Baba Chulle (Hearths).


Apart from this, Barnala remained a nerve-centre of special activities during Praja Mandal movement and S. Seva Singh Thikriwala was also a prominent Praja Mandal activist who was born in village Thikriwala just four kilometres away from Barnala. Every year on January 19, in his memory a three day fair-cum-festival is organised where political conferences are also hosted by various political parties.



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