GARGAJJ AKALI JATHA (gargajj = rever beratingly thunderous) was the name given a dynamic group (jathd) of Akali reformers, especially active in Majha region of the Punjab. The Jatha came into being on 19 April 1921, splintering from the parent body Central Majha Khalsa Diwan. Teja Singh Bhuchchar, Jathedar of Sri Akal Takht, then under detention, was elected in absentia its life president. Others associated with the Jatha were Bhai Saran Singh, vice-president; Bhai Niranjan Singh, of Chakk No.

46, secretary; Bhai Kahn Singh, also of Chakk No. 46, assistant secretary ; and Bhai Teja Singh, of Padhana, treasurer.In the constitution of the Jatha approved on 6 June 1921, however, it was redesigned Gargajj Akali Diwan, although the name Jatha also continued to be used. In the Memorandum on the Akali Dal and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, 1921-22, prepared by the Criminal Investigation Department (Political) of the Punjab Government, it is referred to as “The Gargajj Akali Jatha.” According to the Memorandum, it was “the oldest of all the Akali Jathas” which is evidently in reference to the parent body, the Central Majha Khalsa Diwan originally formed in 1904 as Khalsa Diwan, Majha.

Of Gargajj Akali Jatha, the C. I. D. Memorandum dated 22 February 1922 records: Its headquarters are at Tarn Taran but it exercises control over no specified area. Its Jathedar is Teja Singh Bhuchar, one of the conditionally released gurdwara prisoners. The jatha has considerable influence in the Majha tract, though Teja Singh who is endeavoring to maintain a distinction between politics and religion, has lost most of his authority. Its membership is approximately 1,500. Activities of the Gargajj Akali Jatha were confined mainly to opposing the policies of the Shiromani Akali Dal.

Its leader and spokesman, Teja Singh Bhuchchar, under arrest since 15 March 1921, was released in September 1921 on assurance of good behavior and on the intercession of Daya Kishan Kaul, prime minister of the princely state of Patiala. Kaul secured Bhuchchai`s consent to preside over a factional Akali conference proposed to be held at Patiala on 1213 December 1921 at. which the Maharaja of Patiala was to be proclaimed the leader of the Sikh Panth. The plan, however, aborted owing to the Akali agitation launched in Amritsar in November 1921 for the retrieval of the keys of the to shakhana of the Golden Temple seized by government. Bhuchchar launched his own paper Gargajj Akali printed in a press financed by Patiala state.

Gargajj Akali Jatha supported Guru ka Bagh agitation but later renewed its opposition to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. It tried to obstruct kdrseva of the Sarovar, the holy tank (17 June 1923), objecting to the use of gold basins and silver spades to be used by Panj Piare chosen to lead the seva. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Commit tee declared Bhuchchar a tankhahia, i.e. laid him under penace for what were described as his rebellious activities.

The Gargajj Akali Jatha had also been opposed to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee decision about boycotting the 1929 Congress session at Lahore and advocated cooperation with the Congress. In 1936, it helped the Buddha Dal to take forcible possession of Burj Baba Phula Singh. The Jatha which had already become insignificant politically and religiously died with the murder of its leader, Teja Singh Bhuchchar, in 1939.

References :

1. Ashok, Shamsher Singh, Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee da Panjah Said Itihas. Amritsar, 1982
2. Mohinder Singh, The Akali Movement. Delhi, 1978
3. Pratap Singh, Giani, Gurdwara Sudhar arthat Akali Lahir. Amritsar, 1975