Qadian Jalsa comes alive

  • Updated At: Dec 20, 2022 
Qadian jalsa comes alive

Col DS Cheema (Retd)

In 1948, my father was appointed headmaster of Khalsa High School at Qadian. I was then a few months short of my fifth birthday. I passed my matriculation examination from this school in 1958. The palatial houses left behind by Muslims during the Partition were auctioned and we got one such house.

Qadian in Gurdaspur district was established in 1530 by Mirza Hadi Baig as a town of qazis. The small town has produced many prominent politicians of Majha, such as Gurbachan Singh Bajwa and Satnam Singh Bajwa, who were ministers in Partap Singh Kairon’s Cabinet; later, their sons went on to play an important role in Punjab politics.

Above all, Qadian is best known as the religious headquarters of the Ahmadiyyas. The community members lived away from the main town, tucked away in one corner without much interaction with other residents since they had their own markets to meet their daily needs.

However, our family had a close association with them through Manzoor Ahmad Cheema, my father’s friend, and the children called him Manzoor chachaji. I recall an overcoat and cap-wearing, tall and handsome man whose cheeks turned pink while sitting in the sun.

Sometimes, he would be accompanied by a visitor from Pakistan who had come to attend the jalsa. The three days of the jalsa were great fun for us. I used to get ready early in the morning to accompany my father and elder brother to walk to the venue. By the time we reached the huge pandal, which was decorated with buntings and had white sheets spread on the floor all around, it was covered by the bright rays of the sun.

Young volunteers took us around to a beautiful park with marble pathways named swarg and to the dry patch of land with just a boundary wall that was called narak, besides the masjid, the tomb of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and the beautiful minar. We were excited to see it all and would look forward to hot tea and pakoras served in the pandal.

The second day was dedicated to an interfaith session emphasising on love for all and hatred for none.

The latest edition of the Jalsa Salana will be held from December 23 to 25 at the spiritual birthplace of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, founder of the Ahmadiyya movement. Prominent Ahmadiyyas from across the globe will converge on Qadian for the convention. The participants are sure to take back lifelong memories of this unique event.


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