Before the formation of the SGPC, the Darbar Sahib – Harmandar Sahib, Amritsar was governed by Mahants. As the Mahants were compelled to leave the Harmandar Sahib, the keys were handed over to the British colonial rulers. The keys to Darbar Sahib’s “Tosha Khana” (Panthic treasury) were seized by the Deputy Commissioner on Nov. 7, 1921. The agitation to recover the keys is known as “Chabiyaan Da Morcha”. This agitation resulted in the eventual return of the keys on Jan. 19, 1922. The keys were returned to Baba Kharak Singh, President of SGPC, during active Diwan in front of the Akal Takht, by District Authorities, Amritsar.
The brave Sikh crusader compelled the administration to hand over the 53 keys of Toshakhana (Treasury) of Darbar Sahib. These were still in the hands of officially appointed Manager though the whole complex had come in control of the Sikhs in October 1920. These keys were obtained by Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar. Baba Kharak Singh as President of SGPC gave a call for agitation which came to be known as the keys Morcha. Along with some other leaders he was arrested on November 29, 1921 at Ajnala for violating prohibitory orders.
During the prosecution in that case in the court of Mr. Conor, he made bold statement against the British authorities. To quote an extract, “As the Government is a party to this prosecution and the Judge is one of its servants, I, therefore, do not wish to make any statement. My position as President of the Sikh Panth is like that of the President of the United States, France and Germany” (Quoted by Mohinder Singh, “The Akali Struggle”, pp. 50-51). He was jailed for six months but had to be released earlier due to public protest.
Finally, the keys of Toshakhana were handed over to him by the District Judge on January 19, 1922. It was a great achievement and a big victory over the administration.
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