I’m listening to every so called Patriotic leader talk about the Martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur today. The high light is him taking a stand for Kashmir Pandits. It is believed that the Guru told Aurangazeb that if he could get him the Guru to convert to Islam then everyone would.
Often I wonder about being “Indian” “patriotic” and eventually I realize the stories are the mirror images of the stories that the British told us. Be it the WOG –congress government.
Particularly today the 24th is about two amazing heroes. Heroes, if are honest are made not by the powers they are graced with, but by the path that they choose. Be it Lachit Borphukan of Assam whose memory is honoured today as ‘Lachit Divas’ or Guru Tegh Bahadur who martyred for the Sikh cause.
I have shared about Lachit Borphukan in a previous post. For those of you who were not educated in the amarchitra katha tradition, early hours of April, 1st 1621 at Amritsar, a son was born to Guru Hargobind the sixth Guru of the Sikhs and his wife. He was the 5th son. He was named Tyaga Mal. Amritsar then was the epicentre of the Sikh faith and was connected to Sikhs in distant areas through a chain of Masands (missionaries.).
In tune with the Sikh tradition he was trained in archery and horsemanship and also old classical like Vedas and Upanishads. Young Tyag Mal was known to retreat in spells of seclusion and contemplation. February 3rd 1633 Tyag Mal married Gujri. Eventually the world came to know of them as Guru Tegh Bahadur and mataGurji
There is a very interesting story connected to Tegh Bahadur’s ascension to Guruship. In March 1664 Guru Har Krishan contracted small pox. He had to name the leader who was lead after him. The Guru just said Baba Bakala indicating that his successor would be found in Bakala. This inspired lot of people to usurp the Guruship.
The myth goes that there was a wealthy trader named Baba Makhan Shah Labana who once prayed for his life and had promised to gift 500 gold coins to the Sikh Guru if he survived. He arrived in search of the ninth Guru. From claimant to claimant he went making his obeisance and offering two gold coins each, he believed that the right guru would know the promised amount of 500 gold coins. Every Guru he met accepted the 2 gold coins and blessed him. He then discovered that Tegh Bahadur also lived at Bakala, he gifted him the token 2 gold coins. Tegh Bahadur blessed him and remarked that his offering was considerably short of the promised 500. Makhan Shah Labana gave the balance, he then began shouting from the rooftop “Guru Ladho re, Guru Ladho” that is I have found the Guru.
A Sikh Sangat arrived in Bakala and anointed Tegh Bahadur as the ninth guru of Sikhs in the month of August 1664/ the Sangat was led by Diwan Durga Mal and Baba Gurditta, the older brother of Tegh Bahadur performed the formal ‘Tilak Ceremony’ that conferred the Guruship on Sri Tegh Bahadurji.
Guru Tegh Bahadurji lived a very austere life. In 1675 Guru Tegh Bahadur was executed in Delhi on the orders of the Mogul emperor Aurangzeb. It is believed that it was so because he confronted the Mughals on the persecution of Kashmiri Brahmins by the Mughal officials. He was arrested at Ropar where he had arrived from Makhowal. Before leaving the base at Makhowal he appointed his son as the successor guru.
Guru Tegh Bahadur was imprisoned for 4months at Sarhind and then in 1675 transferred to Delhi. At Delhi he was asked to prove his proximity to God by performing a miracle. And the Guru refused saying that occult was not proof of divine proximity.
He was then asked to convert to Islam on refusal three of his colleagues who were arrested along with him were executed in front of him. He still refused to convert. He was publicly beheaded in Chandini Chowk.
Guru Tegh Bahadur built the city of Anandpur Sahib. Gurudwara Sis Ganj was built over the place where he was beheaded. After the guru was beheaded, his followers quickly picked his body and took it the house of disciple; the disciple burnt his house to cremate the Guru’s body.
The head of the Martyred guru was carried by Bhai Jaita to Anandpur Sahib, the mughal soldiers caught up with him at sonipet where Bhai Jaita requested the villagers to help him. Then a villager named Kushal Singh Dahiya offered his head to be sent to Delhi in the place of Guru’s head.
The execution Guru Arjan united the Sikh Panth and gave them an identity. The martyring of Guru Tegh Bahadur made protection of human rights the centre of the Sikh identity.
Think about this, when a tyrant dies his rule ends… but when a martyr dies his rule begins.