[History] Kuka Movement stamp, Thatheras Metalcraft in UNESCO, Namdhari-Nirankari & ofcourse Ghadar

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Unacademy Plus Mrunal Economy for Prelims and Mains UPSC!
  1. Kuka Movement
  2. Namdhari movement
  3. Nirankari Movement
  4. Thatheras craft (Dec 2014)
  5. Ghadar Party
  6. Mock Questions

Kuka Movement

Kuka was a religio-political movement in Punjab.
#1: Religious Angles:

  • Kukas were not part of the main-stream Sikhism of the Sikhs.
  • They wanted caste-abolition, permission of intermarriages, widow-remarriages, abstinence from desi liquor, meat and drugs.
  • Namdhari were also “Kuka” because their recited Gurbani in similar manner.

#2: Political Angles:

  • Kukas wanted to throw away the British and restore Sikh Sovereignty over Punjab.
  • Kuka followers had to wear only hand woven clothes and boycott British education, laws and readymade products.
  • Thus Kuka movement had elements of “Non-Cooperation” and “civil disobedience” as well.
  • Kuka Movement Founder: Bhagat Jawhar Mal aka Sian Sahib.
  • Later his disciples Balak Singh and Ramsingh carried forward the movement.
1857 Satguru Ram Singh sets up Namdhari Sect, appoints Suba (Governors) and Naib Suba (dy.Governors) to mobilize Kukas across Punjab.
1872 The British executed 65 Kukas by cannon, captured Satguru Ram Singh, transported him to Rangoon. (Some site claim Andaman jail).
1885 With death of Ram Singh, Kuka movement slowly faded away.
2014, December Indian post released stamps on Kuka movement, to help examiners frame MCQs from this topic.

Kuka Movement

Namdhari movement

  • This Sikh sect emphasizes on austerity, absence of any religious ritual except repeating God’s name- hence called “Nam-dhari”.
  • Kuka movement was a small but important phase of overall “Namdhari” movement.
  • Namdharis are also called Kukas because of similar method of chanting hymns. They’re also not part of the main-stream Sikhism.
  • Namdhari keep distinct style of turban, maintain their own Gurudwara, practice vegetarianism and marry at fire-altar.

Who founded Namdhari movement?

  • As per Britannica – it was Balak Singh.
  • As per PIB it was Ram Singh.

Nirankari Movement

  • Founder: Dayal Das and his disciples Darbara Singh, Ratta Ji.
  • They accept authority of a living Guru. [Other Sikh sects believe that after 10th Guru Gobind Singh- no more living Gurus, only Adi Granth Sahib ji is the eternal Guru of all Sikhs.]
  • They believe god is formless (Nirankari)
  • They disapprove militant brotherhood of Khalsa.
  • They aim for standardized birth-death-marriage-rituals based on Sikh scripture, but free of cost.
  • They too advocate against meat, liquor and drugs.

Thatheras craft (Dec 2014)

Why in News? This craft was included in UNESCO’s Intangible Culture heritage list in 2014, December.

  • Where? Jandiala Guru, near Amritsar.
  • 1883: Maharaja Ranjit Singh established colony of Kashmiri metal crafters here.
  • These “Thatheras” artisan are skilled at making utensils for daily-usage and religious purpose.
  • Metals used: Copper, Brass, even Kansa. Kansa is an alloy of Tin, Zinc and Copper. According to Ayurveda, the utensils made from these metals even give health benefits.
  • Machinery used: None. From manufacturing to polishing- everything done by hand.

Ghadar Party

Q. [GS Mains Paper 1] Write a note on the historic contributions of Ghadar party in India’s struggle for independence. (10 marks | 200 words)
Answer keypoints

  • During early 1900s, Canadian govt. had started imposing restriction on the immigration and political rights of South Asians.
  • 1913: Lala Hardayal, Bhai Parmananda and Sohan sigh Bhakhna setup Hindi Association of Pacific Coast.
  • They started weekly journal “Ghadar”, in English and vernacular languages to expose British exploitation of Indian economy and promote Nationalism among masses. Thus, became famous as “Ghadar” party.
  • 1914: Gadar leaders called upon all Indians abroad to return to India and wage an armed revolt against the British- akin to 1857’s mutiny.
  • But British authorities became alert, passed orders to detain people. This led to arrest of Ghadarites from Namsang and Toshamaru ships.
  • 1914: Komagata Maru ship was carrying Sikh immigrants to Canada. But Canada did not allow them to enter. Ship returned Kolkata, but Immigrants refused to go back to Punjab. Clashes with police, several deaths.
  • Later Rash Bihari Bose tried to wage an armed revolt but failed.
  • They also setup “Kirti Kisan Party” for workers and peasants in Punjab; Revolutionary Party of India in Bengal and UP.

Despite their repeated failures and oppression under British, Ghadhar party created a feelings of unity, sacrifice, nationalism and internationalism among the masses within India and abroad.
~205 words.

Mock Questions

Q1. What was the main purpose of Kuka Movement?

  1. Kukas wanted the Sikh society to be free of caste-menace and expensive religious rituals.
  2. Kukas wanted to cripple British by stopping the usage of British products, laws and education.
  3. Kukas were agitated over Jaliawallan massacre and Komagata Maru ship incident.

Answer choices

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. All of them

Q2.What are the similarities between Kuka movement and Pagal Panthi movement?

  1. Both were organized by Sikh leaders.
  2. Both wanted abolition of Zamindari.
  3. Both movements were limited to peasants of North West India.

Answer choices

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. None of them

Q3. What are the similarities in Kuka and Namdhari movement?

  1. Both asked followers to stay away from meat, drugs and alcohol.
  2. Both wanted reforms in Sikh religion.
  3. Both wanted their followers to wear hand woven clothes only.

Answer choices

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. None of them

Q4. Which of the following leaders were associated with Ghadar party?

  1. Bhagat Jawahar Mal
  2. Satguru Ram Singh
  3. Jandiala Guru

Answer choices

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. None of them

Q5. Find Correct pairs

  1. Bidriware Metalcraft: Ahmad Shah Wali
  2. Thatheras metalware: Ranjit Singh
  3. Both A and B
  4. Neither A nor B

Q6. Kansa is an alloy of ____.

  1. Tin, Iron and Aluminum
  2. Tin, Zinc and Aluminum
  3. Tin, Zinc and Copper.
  4. Tin, Copper and lead
(Descriptive Question): Discuss in brief, the contribution of Kuka and Gadhar movement in India’s struggle for Independence. (200 words).
Visit Mrunal.org/HISTORY for entire Archive of History-Culture related articles published so far.

Indian History Freedom Struggle Pratik Nayak

23 Comments on “[History] Kuka Movement stamp, Thatheras Metalcraft in UNESCO, Namdhari-Nirankari & ofcourse Ghadar”


  2. I think you have the wrong date on thatheras Maharaja Ranjit Singh was not alive in 1883. In fact punjab was conquered only after his death in 1839. Before that they had a treaty called the sutlej treaty with the Sikh Kingdom in which the British would not go above the Sutlej and the maharaja not below it. It was the only treaty where the British had signed on equal terms in India.

    1. @Ishroop Singh you are right but even PIB published the wrong year, check PIB on 2 dec 2014. same mistake cpoied here.

  3. 1 A
    2 D Pagal Panthis=mixture of the Hinduism, Sufism and Animism= prominent in Bengal (Now in Bangladesh)= founded by karam shah and his son tipu shah, wanted to abolish zamindari
    3 A
    4 D
    5 C
    6 C

      1. ahhh sanket is right answer for 5th is B.. its ahmed shah bahamani not wali… my bad

  4. 1. A
    2. D
    3. A
    4. D
    5. B (Bidriware = Ahmad Shah Bahmani not Ahmad Shah Wali)
    6. C

  5. Thanks


  7. Mrunal, please make 2 important corrections on this page. If not corrected, It might hurt religious sentiments of Sikhs reading this page (I am a devout Sikh too). You have stated “Kukas accepted Guru Gobind Singh as the only true Guru of the Sikhs”. But it is not true. The Kukas accepted all the gurus but refused to accept Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the present/eternal guru of the sikhs. They believe that guruship was passed on to Balak Singh by Guru Gobind Singh Ji. This is point of divergence b/w Sikhs and Kukas as it is not accepted by the mainstream sikhs. Even the Sikh Rehat Maryada (approved by the SGPC), Kahan Singh Nabha, Sahib Singh, Karam Singh Historian and other prominent sikh historians have concluded it in their research (Refer to Mahan Kosh by Kahan Singh Nabha if you need any clarification). Just to put in fact, Kukas and Nirankaris are not part of mainstream sikhism. Namdharis don’t consider themselves a part of Khalsa. You may refer to hukamnamas (orders) of Akal Takhat (the sikh parliament and highest temporal seat) if you have any doubts.

    Please edit the place where you mention “Adi Granth Sahib”. The correct way is Guru Granth Sahib Ji as it is the present guru of the sikhs, so addressed as such.

  8. Dear Mrunal Sir, Kindly provide your official answers key for mcqs…thanking you…

  9. thank you sir

  10. your indian history articles are not segregated in the history category which is not there in the articles column. it Would be better if you mak a compendium of all the articles under the category inian history which should be visible in the articles columns

  11. Sir plz correct the information.. Maharaja Ranjit Singh died in 1839…The biggest reason by which British annexed Punjab (1849) was that he had died and there was no-one to give a proper resistance to British

  12. dear all,
    i would appreciate if you could please provide some link (authentic) related to all governor generals of british time including their work.
    thnax in anticipation.

  13. This is so usefull site for IAS aspirants…

  14. Please provide answers for MCQ’s

  15. sir plz gather all you articles in pdf form so that we can collectively download it.plzzzz sir now we to download one by one per article publised.its very time taking. so plz gather it as a book form…..it will be very helpful to download and study

  16. Sir, before 2014, the RBI issued a 5 rupee coin in 2007 commemorating 150 years of the Kuka movement. I have this coin in my collection! :)

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