Arrival of electric train engine in Qadian: A new milestone

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Last Updated on 7th April 2021

Awwab Saad Hayat, Al Hakam

A famous Indian Urdu newspaper, Hind Samachar of Chandigarh published a news report in its 26 March 2021 issue (p. 5), titled “Electric engine arrives in Qadian for the first time”.

Below are the words of this interesting and faith-inspiring news:

“Qadian, 25 March (Zeeshan Dehlavi)

“This is a historic day in Qadian, where the electric engine arrived for the first time ever. Upon the completion of a several-months long project for an electric line between Batala and Qadian, today, a successful trial of an electric engine was held on this railway line. 

“This trial was held under the supervision of the Commissioner of Railway Safety, Shailesh Kumar Pathak CCRS. On this occasion, many railway officers were present. 

“The Qadian Railway Station Master, Parveen Yadav said that the electric system was being installed between Amritsar, Batala and Qadian. Under this [project], today a trial was held by a team of senior railway officers.

“Today, a full train reached Qadian boarding the officers for this trial. At approximately 2:30pm, they started the journey from Batala. Today’s trial was successful. It is hoped that following relaxations from Covid-19, after April, whenever a train will go to Qadian, it will be an electric train instead of a diesel one. Many local residents too had gathered to witness this trial.” 

After reading this news, attention was suddenly drawn to a divine dream of the Promised Messiahas, dated 14 April 1905:

“I saw in a dream that I was riding a vehicle like a railway train through the bazaar in Qadian […]” (Tadhkirah [English], p. 735)

The prophecy of the Promised Messiahas about the arrival of a railway train in Qadian is a famous prophecy. Many companions had directly heard it from the Promised Messiahas. Huzooras had even told them that the railway line would reach Qadian through the areas of Nawan Pind and Basrawan. 

There are such narrations by the companions, for instance in Tadhkirah, some narrations are mentioned from Register Riwayat:

A. Mirza Qudratullah of Mohalla Chabak Sawaran, Lahore narrated: 

“Probably in 1902, the Promised Messiahas went out for his morning walk […] When we arrived near the village known as Nawan Pind […] Khalifah Rajab-ud-Din told me: ‘[…] The Promised Messiahas has made a mark on the ground with his staff where the railway line will pass.’ The words uttered by the beloved Messiahas of God Almighty were fulfilled many years later. [Register Riwayat-e-Sahabah, Vol. 4, p. 177] 

B. The Promised Messiahas said: The Railway line would also be extended up to here [Qadian]. [Register Riwayat-e-Sahabah, Vol. 5, p. 81, Riwayat Shah Muhammad of Qadian; Register Riwayat-e-Sahabah, Vol. 6, p. 7, Riwayat Nath-thu Khan of Qadian]

C. (The poor condition of the road from Batala to Qadian having been mentioned), the Promised Messiahas said: ‘Be patient, the time will come when this place [Qadian] will be connected with the railway.’ [Register Riwayat-e-Sahabah, Vol. 10, p. 212, Riwayat Sardar Begum wife of Chaudhry Muhammad Husain Talwandi Inayat Khan]” (Tadhkirah [English], pp. 1075-1076)

Pondering upon the magnificence of these prophecies and their fulfilment in unprecedented circumstances, we find that when the Promised Messiahas, after being permitted by Allah, presented his claimed of ma‘muriyyat (divine appointment), Qadian was a small and unknown town. 

At that time, it is estimated that Qadian’s population was no more than 2,000 people. Most of its houses would look barren and one had to go outside [of Qadian] for buying the smallest of the things. Similarly, the town of Qadian was deprived of telegrams and the railway; it was completely disconnected from the world. 

Qadian’s [nearest] railway station was Batala, which is at a distance of 12 miles to the south of Qadian. There was a dirt road between Qadian and Batala, on which not only the pedestrians would get tired, but the travelers using a yakka too had to face many problems. 

In His revelation, by using the words فَجٍّ‭ ‬عَمِيقٍ, Allah the Almighty had Himself explained in detail the situation of these routes during rainy days and floods, the lack of means of transportation, poor conditions of roads and other related problems.

The road from Batala to Qadian was in a bad condition and there was no arrangement to repair it.

The date of arrival of the first train to Qadian is very interesting and faith-inspiring. Under a special decree, all the stages were completed and thus, on 19 December 1928, the first train reached the railway station of Qadian. 

On that day, many Ahmadis of Qadian gathered at the Amritsar railway station to witness the fulfilment of this prophecy, where Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra was also present with his companions, so that on the occasion of the inauguration of the first rail train to Qadian, they could raise their hands in supplication before God, Who sent this invention (which had been termed as the “donkey of the Anti-Christ” in previous scriptures) to Qadian for the service of the Promised Messiahas and his servants.  

On this occasion, the carriage was decorated with large red-coloured banners, which included the following text:

اَلَا‭ ‬اِنَّ‭ ‬رَوْحَ‭ ‬اللّٰهِ‭ ‬قَرِيْبٌ۔‭ ‬اَلَا‭ ‬اِنَّ‭ ‬نَصْرَ‭ ‬اللّٰهِ‭ ‬قَرِيْبٌ۔‭ ‬يَاْتِيْكَ‭ ‬مِنْ‭ ‬كُلِّ‭ ‬فَجٍّ‭ ‬عَمِيْقٍ۔‭  ‬يَاْتُوْنَ‭ ‬مِنْ‭ ‬كُلِّ‭ ‬فَجٍّ‭ ‬عَمِيْقٍ

‭ ‬وَاِذَاالْعِشَارُ‭ ‬عُطِّلَتْ۔‭ ‬وَاِذَا‭ ‬النُّفُوْسُ‭ ‬زُوِّجَتْ

يہ ‬ميرے‭ ‬رب‭  ‬سے‭ ‬ميرے‭ ‬لئے‭ ‬اِک ‬گواه‭ ‬ہے

یہ ميرے صدقِ دعویٰ پہ مُہرِ اِلٰه ہے

“Hearken, the mercy of Allah is near. Hearken, the help of Allah is near. His help will come to you from every distant track. People will come to help you from every distant track. And when the she-camels, ten-month pregnant, are abandoned. And when people are brought together. This is a testimony from my Lord; this is divine authentication on the truth of my claim.”

This special caravan left from Amritsar on time and along the way, more people boarded the train. People from Batala and Wadala Garnathian also somehow boarded, where many Ahmadi men and women were gathered in the surroundings. 

At long last, the carriage reached the Qadian railway station on time at 6 pm, where a huge crowd of men, women and children waited anxiously on and around the big platform. The station was decorated with small flags and flowers and there was a huge rush, similar to what is found at major stations. The atmosphere continued to echo with slogans of “Allahu Akbar” and “Ghulam Ahmad ki jay”. 

A strange glory was being witnessed. During the same days in the previous year, no one would have thought that there would ever be such an atmosphere. But God Almighty created such means in such a short period that literally painted a new picture. All praise belongs to Allah!

The travelers of this railway journey included Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra and his family, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra and his family, Hazrat Mirza Sharif Ahmadra and some children of the family of the Promised Messiahas. Moreover, Hazrat Nawab Muhammad Abdullah Khanra, Hazrat Maulvi Sher Alira, Hazrat Maulvi Syed Sarwar Shahra, Hazrat Sheikh Yaqub Ali Irfanira (Editor Al Hakam), Hazrat Mir Qasim Alira (Editor Faruq), Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Mughnira (Nazir Bait-ul-Mal), Hazrat Maulvi Abdur Rahim Dardra MA and some other prominent local elders were also on board that train. 

At the Amritsar station, many people presented fruit baskets to Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra, which he distributed in the train during the journey.

The name of the train’s guard was Babu Wali Muhammad Sahib and the driver was Babu Umar Din Sahib. The train travelled at a speed of 25 miles per hour from Amritsar to Batala, and then 15 miles per hour from Batala to Qadian. 

The train included five carriages: three single cars and two breakdown carriages. The engine was ST Class and of 709 number. From the farthest distance, the first ticket was bought for Nowshera Chauni [cantonment] to Qadian by Sheikh Ahmadullah Sahib, Head Clerk Cantonment Board Nowshera, and his niece, Zubaida Khatun Sahiba. 

This train returned at 6:30 pm, in which Ahmadis from Batala, Amritsar and Lahore travelled back to their homes.

At that time, an opponent of Ahmadiyyat, Maulvi Sanaullah Amritsari published an announcement and distributed it at the Amritsar railway station. Moreover, at the same occasion, Hazrat Dr Hashmatullahra prepared a four-page tract and distributed it at the Amritsar railway station too. Meanwhile, another Ahmadi distributed a poetic tract in Punjabi. 

It should be remembered that seemingly, there was no such means for the fulfilment of this divine news; instead, despite the struggle for many years of requesting the repair of the broken road between Qadian and Batala, the government did not pay heed and refused to repair it. Other roads, however, were being repaired often, but the Qadian-Batala road never had this facility. 

There was no hope that a railway line to Qadian would be achieved so soon. But God acted in such a way that without any effort on the Jamaat’s part, it suddenly came to light that the railway board had a proposed railway line between Batala and Beas [river]. It initially turned out that according to the relevant officials of the railway department, this railway project could not be completed until 1930. 

But as the time had come in the sight of God for the centre of Ahmadiyyat – Qadian – to be joined with the whole country through a railway line, the railway board approved the Qadian-Butari railway in 1927, and in the beginning of 1927 the information department of the Punjab government announced officially that the railway board had approved the construction of a 42-mile long railway line of five feet, six inches [wide], between Batala and Butari, under the administration of the North Western Railway. 

Outline of an earlier proposed railway track, including Qadian | Tarikh-e-Ahmadiyyat Vol.5, p. 119

This project would be called the Batala-Butari project. Moreover, the Government Gazette published an announcement that the survey had been finished and the work for putting the line would soon start. 

Practically, this project was initiated all of a sudden and after hard work of many days and many nights, at last, on 14 November 1928, the railway line reached Qadian’s territory. 

That day, a public holiday was announced in schools and offices in Qadian and people would go in many numbers to see the railway line. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra stated that upon the opening of new avenues, there were many potential threats too, so the Jamaat members should pray that the railway be beneficial and a source of blessings for the Jamaat and the markaz of the Jamaat and all should give sadaqaat (alms).  

Accordingly, prayers were said in mosques of Qadian and sadaqaat were distributed among the impoverished. On 16 November 1928, the railway line reached Qadian railway station as the Jumuah prayer was being offered. After the Jumuah prayer, men, women and children started gathering at the railway station and a throng of nearly 2,000-2,500 people gathered. Sweets were distributed among the labourers and employees of the railway after the work was finished, which was arranged from the local chanda.

Now, the construction of a station and the completion of the railway line remained, which was completed by working day and night. The first ever station master of Qadian was Master Babu Faqir Ali Sahib and the name of the station was suggested to be “Qadian Mughlan”. 

Earlier, it was decided to continue the line to Butari, but when the line had not yet reached Qadian’s territory, the railway officials postponed the decision of constructing the line further from Qadian to Butari. Not only was that part (from Qadian to Butari) postponed, but the already constructed parts of the line between this route, were removed. 

It is evident from these circumstances that this line was especially constructed for Qadian by Allah Himself. Munshi Muhammad Din Sahib (father of Sheikh Mubarak Ahmad Sahib, Missionary East Africa, the UK and USA), former attorney, states that when the railway line was constructed, the relevant European railway officer was given a special dinner at the house of Hazrat Nawab Muhammad Ali Khanra, who also invited the survey staff and many prominent members of the Jamaat as well. At that occasion, that European officer expressed that a force overtook him, which was not enabling him to sit calmly. He said that he felt compelled to complete the line as soon as possible.

In the fifth volume of Tarikh-e-Ahmadiyyat, under the incidents of the 15th year of the Second Khilafat, many faith-inspiring incidents and Allah’s special favours during the construction of the railway line to Qadian have been mentioned.

It should be remembered that the Promised Messiahas, in his book, Tohfa-e-Golarhviyyah has mentioned the means for helping the mission of the victory of Islam and its spread. Huzooras said that for the completion of the spread of Islam, such means of transport were now available that were incomparable. He said:

“So, at this time, according to the verse:

وَاٰخَرِيْنَ‭ ‬مِنْهُمْ‭ ‬لَمَّا‭ ‬يَلْحَقُوْابِهِمْ

“and in accordance with the verse:

قُلْ يٰٓاَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اِنِّيْ رَسُوْلُ اللّٰهِ اِلَيْكُمْ جَمِيْعًا

“the second coming of the Holy Prophetsa is needed, and all these servants – the railway, the telegram, steamboats, the press, a decent postal system and the knowledge of the common languages, especially the Urdu language in India, which has become a common language between the Muslims and Hindus – unanimously beseech the Holy Prophetsa that: 

“‘We are all ready to serve and are wholeheartedly and fervently active for fulfilling the duty of publications. You [the Holy Prophetsa] may come now and fulfil your duty, as it is your claim that you have come for the whole mankind. 

“‘Now is the time when you can preach the Quran to all nations who are living in this world, and can make the publication reach its peak, and for completing the final argument, you can spread the arguments of the truthfulness of the Quran to all peoples.’ 

“Then, the spirituality of the Holy Prophetsa responded, ‘See, I am coming as a reflection (burooz), but I will come in India because the passion of religions, the presence of many religions, competition of all groups and types of people and peace and freedom is in this place.’” (Tohfa-e-Golarhviyyah, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 17, pp. 260-263)

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Mashallah, Alhumdulillah!
    One of the plans of Khalifatul Masih Rabae (RA) was to make Qadian a center of knowledge & information. By grace & mercy of Allahtaala, this is idea is coming to a reality!.

  2. Interestingly the road between Qadian and Batala is still pretty bad (2018) – try it at night in a rickshaw more fun than a rollercoaster!

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