When is a clock tower not really a clock tower? For the answer to this one, time travel to Amritsar of the mid-19th century, to the end of the Sikh Empire and its annexation by the British. Although the colonial administration built impressive structures and monuments across India as a mark of cultural imperialism, the clock tower in Amritsar served a much more sinister purpose. Or so it was believed.
Now turn the hands of this ghanta ghar back by another century, and that’s where this story really begins. By the second half of the 18th century, the Sikhs had defeated both the Afghans and the Mughals, and the territories they won were divided among the sovereign Sikh principalities or misls. The misls were created to keep the peace and to protect the Harmandir Sahib, their holiest of holy shrines.
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