BY – RAM SARUP BATISH (email – rambatish ((at)) gmail (.) com )
It is a historic village also known as “Singhan Di Saunti”. Singhs had erected a fort like structure (Burj) on the east side of the village. When Singhs fell out with the Raja, he attacked with a canon (Top) in the south of the village and demolished the Burj. The land where Morcha was set up is still called Morche Wali. Some shells were lately recovered from this place. The gate of the Burj that was an opening to the village was damaged during the heavy downpour of 2011. The damaged structure still exists.
According to Pandit Gurdial Singh Ji (an SGPC member), Guru Nanak Dev Ji visited Saunti and stayed for 15 days under a Flahi tree in a cremation ground. There is also a Flahi tree in the cremation ground reserved for Schedule Castes in the south of the village.
There is a historical Gurdwara called Gurdwara Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib in the east of the village. It marks the site were during a hunting excursion a dog belonging to Guru Hargobind Sahib killed a wild boar and then died of wounds.
During 1950s it was an enclosed village with three gates. Western gate (also known as Pucca Darwaja) is constructed of Sirhandi bricks, it had a big wooden door. This was majestically built as the revenue officials or wazirs would enter the village from this gate. Recently, one devotee Sardar Sardara Singh sold his land and constructed a Gurdwara on the first floor.
The eastern gate was known as “Kaccha Darwaja”. Only one arch of this was left that also disappeared slowly. North gate is the smallest one and thus called “Darwajdi”. The first floor of this gate is used for Islamic studies for the Muslim children of the village.
The adjoining city of Amloh was constructed by the Raja of Nabha as a planned city in 1963 The fort was constructed at a high ground and a road led to a beautiful, spacious garden. On one side of the road was Kotwali (Police Station) and on the other side was located a Serai. This road was crossed by Main Bazaar and a Darwaja was constructed at the south end of the bazaar. On the north side was located a Gurdawara, Ram Lila ground and two water tanks (Talab), one for men and other for women. Unfortunately, this city has busted on the seams and all planning has been done away with. The main gate is demolished, garden has given way to expansion of the Govt. School. Serai is used as Municipal Office.
G.T. Road (Sher Shah Suri Marg) is just 5km away. It connected Delhi with Lahore, Texila, Khyber Pass and Kashmir. Armies, Royals, traversed on this road. Sirhind, 10 km away, was only second in importance to Lahore during the Mughal era. There is an Aam-Khas Bag. Khas Bag was for Royals and Aam Bag was for ordinary visitors.
There were many wars fought for Sirhind that spilled over to the surrounding areas. Saunti has a fair share of Samadhis of Shahids. Once a war was fought at Gobindgarh and it spilled over to Saunti. Lala Khan, the Mughal General, was killed at Saunti. The Sikh martyrs were cremated at the old Gurdwara and Muslim warriors were buried in a sand dune at the site of present day Sangam Petrol pump. When the sand from this dune was used for construction in Gobindgarh, many skeletons were found underneath.
Basic needs of the people were met locally. Main profession was agriculture. Women’s occupation were ginning, spinning and weaving carpets. They used tools like Belana, Charkha, Dhunki and weaving adda. Kohlu (Bullock driven expeller) was used for extracting oil. Besides hand-driven Chakki, Khras (Ox driven grinding mill) was used for grinding wheat and producing flour (atta).
For transportation, Gadda (Ox-driven wooden cart) was used. The design was similar to the cart used by Alexander the Great, that cut the knot at Gordian. Now tractor trollies have replaced it. Sathh, a small ground outside the village, was quite an important place. It was used for playing, Feind-khundi (modern-day hockey), Kabaddi, Teej celebrations and gathering animals before taking them out for grazing.
Most of the houses were made of mud bricks. The outer walls were protected by gara, a mixture of mud and toori. Inner walls were white washed with Pandoo and floors were protected with Pilli Mitti (Yellow Soil).
Ram Lila was a major source of entertainment. Dhadies used to have Akharas for singing kissa of love and valour. Nachaar dancing and singing was quite common. Nachhar is a man dressed in woman’s cloths. During dancing, another man will hold a bottle-wick-lamp near his face. Also, at night, Gaun used to take place. It was singing of episodes of Valour and Love using harmonium and tabla. Lajja Ram from Haryana was quite famous. Women used to perform Gidha at the drop of a hat. Jago was performed at marriages.
The landmarks include a Dera, now Durga Mandir. A mosque is built at the site of Ghujha Peer. Also, there are two Dharamshalas. Three main water bodies – Shahidan Wala Toba, Dhaab and a Talab – all are extinct now.
Now the village has entered a modern era with mechanical farming, poultry, cold storages, steel rolling mills and Desh Bhagat University and many colleges dotting the village.
MAGIC WATER: Recently, thousands of people have started visiting a hand pump to drink the magic water that they believe can cure all ailments, however researchers have failed to find out any special mineral in it that can do so. It is located near the tri-junction of canals.
MAP OF SAUNTI
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