The story behind Maghi Jod Mela at Muktsar

Do you know the story how the famous city of Punjab, Muktsar, got its name? Let me tell you this beautiful story of valour and sacrifice that not only resulted in naming Khidrana as Muktsar but also is the reason why Maghi Jod Mela is commemorated every year at Mukstar.

Do you know the story how the famous city of Punjab, Muktsar, got its name? Let me tell you this beautiful story of valour and sacrifice that not only resulted in naming Khidrana as Muktsar but also is the reason why Maghi Jod Mela is commemorated every year at Mukstar.

Maghi Jod Mela is celebrated in the memory of forty Sikh martyrs who are also called Chalis Mukte. These forty brave men had once deserted Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji under pressure from Mughals at Anandpur Sahib. They had done so by giving a Bedahwa, the letter disclaiming them being a Sikh of the Guru. But then they ended up meeting with Mai Bhago Ji who made them realize their mistake and helped them take the corrective action.

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The forty brave men rejoined Guru Sahib and stood firm in their battle against Mughals which was led by Wazir Khan in 1705 December.

This battle was fought near the dhab or lake of Khidrana, also called Isharsar, on 29 December 1705 against a Mughal force who was desperately chasing Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. These brave 40 men stood like a wall and gave time to Guru Sahib to escape the army.

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History narrates that when Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji was collecting the dead bodies for cremation, He found one of them named Mahan Singh still clinging to life. Guru Sahib took him in his embrace, and sat down with him. Mahan Singh tearful and exhausted, requested Guru Sahib to forgive them and destroy the Bedahwa.

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Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji blessed the martyr and owing to Guru Sahib’s blessings, these martyrs were known as Chali Mukte, the Forty Immortals.

So because of this story, Khidrana came to known as Muktsar which means ‘the Pool of Liberation.’

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Every year, pilgrims visit Muktsar on Maghi and take a dip in the sacred water tanks of Muktsar. Maghi mela is held at Muktsar Sahib every year to pay obeisance to the forty Sikh martyrs.

It’s time to review our history books…

Our history books arefull of details and discussions on Delhi Sultanate, Mughal rulers, Mughal architecture and the role of Mahatma Gandhi in Indian freedom struggle. Doesn’t this incomplete and biased history bother you?

Each one of us, despite our dislike for history, remembers the lessons we read in class 9 and 10 in our NCERT history books. They are full of details and discussions on Delhi Sultanate, Mughal rulers, Mughal architecture and the role of Mahatma Gandhi in Indian freedom struggle. Doesn’t this incomplete and biased history bother you?

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Why do our history books only talk about what Gandhi did? Why don’t we learn about what Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev, Chandrashekhar Azad and Maharana Pratap did for the freedom? Most of the history books don’t even mention what Sikhs did for the freedom of India.

Our history books don’t even narrate the story of Battle of Saragarhi which is considered an iconic event when 21 Sikhs faced over 10,000 Pashtuns at Saragarhi and won.

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It has been rightly said that History is written by the winners and the winners in Indian History have been foreign invaders. First it were foreign invaders and later the Britishers. Though Britishers were the recent invaders but our history is highly biased in favor of Islamic rulers as they left a very strong legacy and culture in India.

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How will our children come to know about the valour and sacrifices of vernacular heroes if our history books don’t even mention that?

Noticing this void, I had requested Hon’ble PM Narendra Modi Ji to direct NCERT to include a chapter on the life of Chaar Sahibzaade (sons of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji were lovingly called Sahibzaade). My request has been accepted and soon our NCERT history books will include a chapter on the story of Chaar Sahibzaade and their unparalleled sacrifice.

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But this is not just about Sikh history or Chaar Sahibzaade. Right now, our youngsters are facing a worse identity crisis and they need to discover their heroes. They should be made aware about countless Bhagat Singhs, Maharana Prataps and Rani Laxmi Bais.

If we do not raise our voice now, our kids will be left to imagine that the only fascinating part of Indian history was centered around Mughals and they will have to read through Google about heroes like Baba Banda Singh Bahadur!

 

Paying tribute to Diwan Todar Mal

Todar Mal did not shun his responsibility and proved his love for Guru Sahib and his family by happily giving away his wealth.

Paying tribute to the supreme sacrifice of Chaar Sahibzaade would be incomplete if I do not remember the selfless deeds of Diwan Todar Mal.

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Diwan Todar Mall was a wealthy Hindu merchant of Sirhind who devoted his life to Sri Guru Gobind Singh Sahib by heart and in spirit. It was he who performed the cremation of the three martyred bodies of the two younger sons Sahibzaada Zorawar Singh and Sahibzada Fateh Singh along with their grandmother, Mata Gujri Ji.

It so happened that when Sahibzade were bricked alive by the Mughal authorities on the 12 December 1705 for not renouncing their faith, Mata Gujri Ji also left for holy abode owing to the grief and shock of losing her beloved grandsons. Mughal authorities refused to hand over their bodies saying that these could not be cremated on government land.

The greedy Mughals asked for covering the required ground for cremation with gold coins to get the release of the three bodies.

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In those times landowners around the Sirhind Fort were scared of Mughals so they would not permit him to hold the cremation in their fields, until one Chaudhari Atta agreed to sell him a plot. Diwan Todar Mal Ji then produced the gold coins and bought the piece of land he needed for the cremation. Historians estimate that Diwan Sahab gave nearly 7,800 gold coins to buy the required land.

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Sikh community is indebted to Diwan Todal Mal who performed the last rites for the three. Todar Mal did not shun his responsibility and proved his love for Guru Sahib and his family by happily giving away his wealth.

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The satisfaction of doing something worthwhile

Two days back, me, Sh. Manoj Tiwari Ji and Kapil Mishra Ji went for a late night round of Delhi near ISBT. This reality checks at Yamuna Bazaar, ISBT, Geeta Ghat etc on the intervening night of Friday-Saturday made us shiver as we noticed hundreds of people sleeping without even a blanket in the chilling weather!

Two days back, me, Sh. Manoj Tiwari Ji and Kapil Mishra Ji went for a late night round of Delhi near ISBT. This reality checks at Yamuna Bazaar, ISBT, Geeta Ghat etc on the intervening night of Friday-Saturday made us shiver as we noticed hundreds of people sleeping without even a blanket in the chilling weather! We were pained to see that these people were sleeping along with the dogs and other animals on the roadside.

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It was then I committed that Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) will construct temporary shelter homes for the homeless at Kashmiri Gate ISBT to save from the homeless from chilling weather conditions.

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I am so very thankful to DSGMC for deputing its staff and volunteers  to get these shelter homes ready by using tents and other materials and with the grace of god these were ready within 20 hours and by the evening of Saturday. DSGMC even provided these homeless people with the langar and medical facilities apart from arranging blankets and quilts for them.

Take a look –

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Now if the DSGMC can construct such shelter homes swiftly what is stopping the AAP government from doing so. AAP government has miserably failed to provide shelters to these homeless people though it has raised the budget for the same.

I must tell you all that DUSIB has now started constructed and installation of such shelter homes after the DSGMC has started the campaign for the same.  Even though it is job of the Delhi Government to save these homeless people from inclement weather conditions but the DSGMC has started working after the AAP government failed to keep with it constitutional obligations.

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DSGMC President Mr. Manjit Singh GK also said that that the DSGMC will construct as many shelter homes required for the people of the Delhi. He said that now onwards the DSGMC will do everything to save precious human lives in Delhi.

BJP Delhi President Sh. Manoj Tiwari also said it was most unfortunate that more than 100 persons have died because of inclement weather conditions and poor apathy of the AAP government.

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DSGMC will continue to work for the welfare of  humanity and I am thankful to almighty who bestowed us with this sewa.

I thank Kapil Mishra Ji and Manoj Tiwari Ji for taking the decision to go for a late night round. It is this reality check that made us plan a good deed.

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NCERT to include a chapter on Chaar Sahibzaade in its textbooks

What motivated me to take up this mission is the zeal to make the next generation aware of  supreme sacrifice made by Chaar Sahibzaade for the nation and humanity.

Every time I shared some post or video about the story of Chaar Sahibzaade, friends and followers on Twitter and Facebook would express their desire to know more. Many often said that their story should be taught as a part of our history books. Today, I am so glad that from next academic year, NCERT books will include a chapter narrating the story of Chaar Sahibzaade.

The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has agreed to consider inclusion of a chapter on ‘Char Sahibzaade’ of Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji in its syllabus from next year.This was communicated by NCERT.

WhatsApp Image 2017-12-22 at 4.31.00 PM The credit for the same goes to out Hon’ble Prime Minister Mr. Narinder Modi Ji. I had urged him to issue suitable directions for accomplish this task.

In a communiqué written to me on the issue, the Secretary of the NCERT Major Harsh Kumar stated that Director NCERT has appreciated my concern regarding inclusion of story of ‘Chaar Sahibzaade’ for their unparallel valour and supreme sacrifice in India.  He informed that new policy of education is in progress which will give direction for development of National curriculum framework, syllabi and curricular material for schools.  His letter states that this suggestion will be  placed before the expert committee/text book development committee while developing syllabi and curricular material for social science  in general and history in  particular.

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What motivated me to take up this mission is the zeal to make the next generation aware of  supreme sacrifice made by these four Sahibzaadas for the nation and humanity. There is no parallel in the world of the sacrifice they made at such a tender age. That’s why it is imperative for the children of the nation to know how and when  incidents of historical importance took place which shaped the destiny of the country.

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I now urge all the education boards of different states to include chapters on history  of supreme sacrifice in their syllabi so that children studying in these states can get equipped with these incidents of historical importance.

I also seek support of all in requesting our PM Modi Ji to consider dedicating Children’s Day to the life of Chaar Sahibzaade. That would be true tribute to their supreme sacrifice.

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It’s time to tell the youth about Mai Bhago

Everyone who believes that women are not warriors… should read this piece. It is about a courageous woman Mai Bhago who lived in the times of Aurangzeb, the cruel ruler who had waged a military war against Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Read about the bravery and amazing strength of Mai Bhago which no history books tell you –

Everyone who believes that women are not warriors… should read this piece. It is about a courageous woman Mai Bhago who lived in the times of Aurangzeb, the cruel ruler who had waged a military war against Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Read about the bravery and amazing strength of Mai Bhago which no history books tell you –

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Mai Bhago was given learned military training by her father, Malo Shah. So when she came to know that 40 soldiers from her own village had deserted deserted Guru Sahib while Mughal army was chasing them, she became very angry. She scolded them and told all the village women to not extend any welcome to the deserters.

She took her horse and got ready to fight for Guru Sahib. Her behaviour ashamed men and all 40 of them rallied with her to go back into battle with her and protect Guru Sahib.

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She showed her wits in camping around the only well of an area where Mughal army was chasing Guru Sahib. It was a dry well; she deliberately held the position to lure Mughal army for water. Mughal troops were in large number but the 40 Sikh warriors gave them a tough fight.

Those 40 Sikh soldiers died in this fight but Mai Bhago survived. On the other hand, the Mughal soldiers who were dying of thirst discovered that the well was dry and felt helpless. They abandoned chasing Guru Sahib and went in other direction to search water.

The brave woman not only stalled the Mughal army’s chase but also gave Guru Sahib time to take lead. She went on become bodyguard to Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

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Mai Bhago Ji was one of the bodyguards of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji

Isn’t she an inspiration for the modern woman of India?

Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji’s supreme sacrifice – foundation of a great India

Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji’s supreme sacrifice for the nation and to protect the faith of Kashmiri Pandits earned the coveted title of “Hind-di-Chadar” or the Shield of India.

In the entire world, there will be no other example than the supreme sacrifice of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur who sacrificed himself to protect the integrity and culture of our nation. I pay obeisance to his sacrifice and wish to narrate the story to the younger lot how inspirational the lives of our Guru Sahibs have been!

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Kashmiri Pandits approached Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur for help against Aurangzeb’s forced conversion drive.

History accounts for the cruelty of Aurangzeb and how he stated converting Hindus to Muslim religion in all parts of India forcefully. He however could not get desired results while pursuing vigorous conversion of high caste Brahmins of Kashmir. because Kashmiri Brahmins had approached Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur in 1674 AD to save them from Aurangzeb’s ruthlessness.

Guru Sahib chose his son, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, as the next guru of the Sikhs and decided to stand up for the right of freedom of worship. He told the delegation of Kashmiri Pandits to tell Aurangzeb that if he could convert Guru Tegh Bahadur… they would gladly convert too.

Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib accompanied by five Sikhs Bhai Mati Das, Bhai Dyal Das, Bhai Sati Das, Bhai Gurditta and Bhai Uda were arrested in Agra and brought back to Delhi. Aurangzeb first tried to lure them with riches and upon his failure, forced them to convert to Muslim religion.
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To this, Guru Sahib replied, “All men are created by God and therefore must be free to worship in any manner they like.I don’t fear death and am prepared to die.”

Guru Sahib’s fearlessness angered Aurangzeb and he ordered his men to torture Guru Sahib’s followers. His first follower was cut longitudinally into two pieces with a saw by fixing him in wooden planks, another was boiled in water and the third was burnt in cotton wool.

In the end, Aurangzeb ordered execution of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur. Before He was beheaded, Guru Sahib had tied a small note on a string around his neck. When Guru Sahib’s head was severed, the note was read. It said,

ਸੀਸ ਦੀਆ ਪਰ ਸਿਰਰੁ ਨ ਦੀਆ ॥ sees dheea par sirar n dheea || सीस दीआ पर सिररु न दीआ ॥

“I gave my head, but not my Faith.”

The exact location of the beheading is marked by Gurdwara Sis Ganj in Delhi.

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Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji’s supreme sacrifice for the nation and to protect the faith of Kashmiri Pandits earned the coveted title of “Hind-di-Chadar” or the Shield of India.