Thursday, January 27, 2011

Samana - An unsung city in Punjab

Article by Abhishek Singla (January 2011)

I am really feeling nostalgic while writing about Samana. I am sure most of the people (other than whose hometown is Samana) don’t even know about this unsung city. You must be wondering why I am using the word unsung along with Samana. The word unsung is generally used with the names of heroes and I am appropriately using this word with my hometown. Samana is standing like a hero for more than 2000 years on the banks of river Ghaggar. Politically it is a small town under the district Patiala, located in the State of Punjab.  But physically it is a much historical, much wealthy and much heroic city than most of the well known cities of present India.

Samana is known as the land of saints, fakirs and scholars. Samana has got its name from the mother of Imam Sayyid Mash-had Ali. Sayyid Mash-had Ali, a son of Imam Ali Raza, the eighth descendant of Prophet Muhammad, buried here about 1200 years ago. There is a sacred tomb at that place now. Samana was originally a large kingdom having 22 forts and various tombs. Various saints and fakirs used to glitter this place with their holy teachings and lessons. Kings all around the north-west India used to send their children to Samana for standard education.

Merchandise was the chief occupation in Samana and still this occupation has the same status and grace in Samana. Samana owns one of the largest Anaj Mandis (Grain Market) of India, therefore Samana is commonly known as Samana Mandi. There are more than 100 villages around Samana, all having farming as their major occupation. Samana also owns more than 100 mills, thus plays a major role in the economy of India. People of Samana are fully accomplished and enjoying their life to their fullest in spite of discrimination done by modern governments. Samana owns a well accomplished educational structure, medical facilities and well maintained roads.

Majority of population of Samana constitutes Jats, Baniyas, Jains, Brahmans and Bahawalpurias. Initially, Muslims also constitutes a big part of population, but most of them were destroyed during the invasion of Sikh warrior Banda Bahadur. Therefore, Samana was an accursed place of betraying Muslims in the eyes of the accepting and trusting Sikhs. Jallads (Executioners) who beheaded Guru Teg Bahadur, and immured two younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh, all belonged to Samana.

Punjabi and Urdu were the major languages being spoken in Samana. Now Punjabi and Hindi are the most commonly spoken languages. The best thing about the people of Samana is that they are really religious, benevolent and strongly bounded to Punjabi culture. There are lots of temples and gurdwaras in Samana like Panjmukhi Mandir, Thada Saahab, Sati Mandir etc. along with famous Panj Peer mazar of Sayyid Mash-had. There is a hidden philanthropist in every person of Samana. You all will be really surprised when you investigate about the aid sent from Samana during various natural and unnatural calamities.

Punjabi culture is really preserved in Samana. People are really bounded to their roots in Samana. Here all big and small festivals are celebrated with traditional manners with lots of enthusiasm and joy. People are really friendly and always love to help each other. Here people still believe in joint families and neighborhood.  I am really proud of my city and believe that it is going to shine like a gem very soon on the map of the world.