Stories & actions of Mughals which get no mention in history books!

The fanaticism, cruelty and dogmatic behaviour of Mughals has been known worldwide; still we continue to call them the great rulers in our History books – a fact I truly dislike!

From calling Akbar ‘the great ruler’ to naming Shah Jahan as a connoisseur of Architecture… History books in India paint a very rosy picture about Mughals. The truth, however, is quite the opposite. Mughals were barbaric and discriminating. Their blood-thirsty approach and behaviour is known to the rest of the world yet children in our own country are told that right from Babur to Humayun, Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jahan were fair and competent rulers.

I am sharing some of the eye-opening truths about Mughals which I gathered from Sikh history and the books written by travellers other than those who were funded by Mughals during that time.

Mughal emperor Jahangir himself wrote in his autobiography Tuzk-e-Jahangiri that too many people were becoming persuaded by Guru Arjan’s teachings and he was scared of Guru Sahib’s presence. He forced Sri Guru Arjan Dev ji to convert into Islam and upon Guru Sahib’s refusal, he tortured and executed Guru Sahib. Sheer cowardice of a Mughal ruler!

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Even Akbar was responsible for the massacre of 30,000 captives during the Siege of Chittorgarh (20 October 1567 – 24 February 1568) followed by Rajput women committing Jauhar.

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Akbar was a womanizer who had more than 300 wives. The actual number of women in the harem was nearer to 5,000. Many of these were older women, but there were also young servant girls, or Amazons of Russia or Abyssinia as armed guards, all with the status only of slaves.

Aurangzeb, the cruelest of all, destroyed temples and Gurdwaras in India. It was he who ordered Brahmin Pandits of Kashmir to convert to Islam. Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur came forward to protect Kashmiri Pandits from the torture of Aurangzeb.

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The sad part is – our History books do not even mention about the supreme sacrifice of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur for the protection of the most fundamental of human rights – the right of a person to freely practice his or her religion without interference or hindrance.

Mughals were known for their inhumane torturing methods. Such was their cruelty that they made Baba Banda Singh Bahadur watch his own son’s heart getting carved out by the executioners which was thrust into Baba Banda Singh’s mouth!

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Mughals were known for destroying temples and Gurdwaras and erecting mosques in their place like Mughal emperor Shah Jahan desecrated the sacred Sri Baoli Sahib in Lahore, Pakistan and erected a mosque in its place. Babri Masjid follows the same pattern.

The fanaticism, cruelty and dogmatic behaviour of Mughals has been known worldwide; still we continue to call them the great rulers in our History books – a fact I truly dislike!

Let us demand CBSE to change the curriculum and at least include real heroes of our history rather than these inhumane rulers.

I bet you didn’t know all this about Gatka

Gatka is a a spiritual as well as a physical exercise. Gatka requires spiritual, mental and physical skills in equal proportions and enables a person to defend himself as well as others.

Recently, I had the privilege to witness State Gatka Championship held at Gurdwara Sri Damdama Sahib. Their fluency, skill and alertness was a treat for the eyes. This made me write the blog enlightening people all across the world about Gatka.

I wish to share some significant aspects of Gatka which make it more than just a martial arts.

Take a look –

Gatka originated from the times of Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib who kept two swords – Miri and Piri. But it was our Dasham Pitah Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji who emphasized on the use of weapons for self defense.

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Gatka is a a spiritual as well as a physical exercise. Gatka requires spiritual, mental and physical skills in equal proportions and enables a person to defend himself as well as others.

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Gatka is a battle-tested technique and Sikh warriors used it extensively during any battles against Mughals and other invaders of north India.

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One can notice a variety of weapons used during Gatka play ranging from swords to bamboo rods called lathi, whips, chains, and throwing weapons called chakram.

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Even though many people believe Gatka to be a martial art exclusive of Sikhs, yet, one can see Gatka transcending religious divides. Young boys and even girls of other religions, Hindus, Christians and Muslims are also learning Gatka.

Many significant festivals in Punjab like Hola Mohalla, Shaheedi Jod Mela and Baisakhi are considered incomplete without Gatka. Especially in Hola Mohalla, one can witness the awe-inspiring performances by Gatka players.

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In 2016, Gatka was recognized as a sport nationwide, thanks to the efforts put in by Gatka Federation of India.

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Millions of Indians wish to see Bhagat Singh’s face on currency notes

I am a firm believer of the fact that ‘Charkha’ alone did not spin the magical freedom for India. The echoing voices of ‘Inquelab Zindabad’ by young martyrs like Bhagat Singh have marked an indelible impact in shaping progressive and free India.

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I am a firm believer of the fact that ‘Charkha’ alone did not spin the magic of freedom for India. The echoing voices of ‘Inquelab Zindabad’ by young martyrs like Bhagat Singh have marked an indelible impact in shaping progressive and free India.

So when I voice my respect for Bhagat Singh, I do not in any way undermine the contribution of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of nation. When I seek to see Bhagat Singh’s face on currency notes, I am not disrespecting the decision given by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) panel which voted against the inclusion of any other national leader’s image on banknotes saying that no other personality could better represent the ethos of the country than Mahatma Gandhi.

I am just saying that Bhagat Singh is one of those martyrs who stand out as an ideal model for India’s youth. He has been named ‘Shaheed-e-Azam’ for the maturity, fearlessness and courage he showed when he was sentenced to death.

It is not just about Bhagat Singh, I believe Reserve Bank of India can do a special series featuring greatest Indians like Shubhash Chandra Bose, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Maharana Pratap and all those who laid down their lives to make India free. Their countless sacrifices need to be reminded to the youth of India which is currently facing a nationalism crisis. We need to share the stories of valour and sacrifices of bygone era.

Bhagat Singh deserves a little space, if not whole, on the currency notes if RBI really wants to commemorate the sacrifices made by people who actually played a great role in shaping the nation and fought for freedom for our Nation.

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Earlier, Reserve Bank of India had brought out Rs 5 coins bearing the picture of great freedom fighter,Saheed Bhagat Singh to mark his birth centenary year.

On the birth anniversary of Bhagat Singh, I seek the support of Indians to share this article with the Government of India and RBI requesting to print a special series with Bhagat Singh’s picture on currency notes.

#Justice4Gurpreet – Calling the youth of Delhi for this candle march

I seek support of every person who has suffered in the hands of rich brats and influential people who do not value a person’s life. It is now time to stand united for #Justice4Gurpreet. It is time to raise voice in favour of a common man.

Some days, I feel ashamed to be a part of Delhi… because the city and its people behave so insensitively and so very irresponsibly. Look at the high and mighty like Rohit Krishna Mahanta who mowed down two young photography students! Mr Mahanta dashed his car into the motorcycle of Gurpreet Singh and his friend Maninder Singh. The reason – they had objected to Mahanta blowing cigarette smoke onto their faces!

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Such cruelty followed by corruption!

Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee would not let such injustice to happen!

We are demanding that the government should pay Rs1 crore as ex gratia to Gurpreet’s family. The officers who tried to hush up the case should be dismissed and the probe should be handed over to the CBI.

We are organizing a Candle March on September 23, today, starting from Gurdwara Mata Sundri Ji at 5:30 pm in the evening starting from Gurdwara Mata Sundri Ji. We also plan to gherao the Delhi police headquarters for their bias and corrupt attitude in favour of accused and his family.

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We have also asked the Delhi Government to name its campaign for de-addiction in the name of Gurpreet.

I exhort the young boys and girls, the parents of teenagers and everyone who felt that Gurpreet was right in telling that drunk man not to blow cigarette smoke on to his face, to join in for the Candle march.

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I seek support of every person who has suffered in the hands of rich brats and influential people who do not value a person’s life. It is now time to stand united for #Justice4Gurpreet. It is time to raise voice in favour of a common man.

 

Why this exhibition on ‘Ban on Hookah Bars in Delhi’

I have dedicated this exhibition to the young man Gurpreet Singh who lost his life after a murderous attack on him when he had resisted smoking on public places.

It was a rainy day in Delhi; even the weather failed to dampen the spirit of hundred of people who came to Connaught Place today morning to see the exhibition and support ban on Hookah Bars in national capital.

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I have dedicated this exhibition to the young man Gurpreet Singh who lost his life after a murderous attack on him when he had resisted smoking on public places. I thank S. Manjit Singh GK for gracing the exhibition with his presence.

My motivation behind organizing this exhibition and raising my voice against Hookah bars is simple – these bars are a curse on  our society and are making the youth crime-prone leading them further towards drug addiction!

While interacting with the people, I was amazed that most of us do not even know that 1 session of Hookah smoking is equally dangerous as 100 cigarettes! No wonder, Hookah Bars are destroying the youth of national capital. I was forced to come out so loudly and emphatically against Hookah bars culture in Delhi because the Delhi government is in deep slumber and least bothered about the youth. This exhibition will spread the message of ill effects of smoking hookah and its main motive is to get enforced a complete ban on Hookah Bars in Delhi. Most worrisome aspect is that youngsters in the age group of 13-15 are worst hit by Hookah addiction and everyday more than a thousand people are falling in death trap because of tobacco or similar addiction.

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An initiative has been taken now and I plan to continue it. I am thankful to hundreds of people who gathered on the occasion to support the action of seeking ban on these bars in national capital.  Many states including Haryana, Punjab, Gujarat and Maharashtra have already imposed ban on Hookah bars in their states.

I am also thankful to opinion leaders like General JJ Singh, former chief of Indian Army, Sh. Manoj Tiwari, MP and President BJP Delhi, S. KTS Tulsi, Advocate and MP, Sh. Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma, MP, Sh. Mahesh Giri MP, Sh. Vikramjit Singh Sahney Padma Shri and Ms. Anjana Om Kashyap national icon journalist who have come forward to support the campaign against Hookah bars in Delhi.

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On the occasion, Arjuna awardee and Common Wealth Silver medalist Mr. Mandeep Jhangra also announced to support the cause.

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Anand Marriage Act – how it will help Sikhs?

Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Meghalaya are the five states of India where the Act has been implemented while Delhi, Bihar, Assam, UP, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Uttarakhand are completing the process to implement it soon. I am making all efforts and extending maximum support to get it implemented in the remaining states. 

Most of the Sikhs have asked me how will Sikh community benefit with this Act. Let me tell you all in detail –

First of all, the demand for Anand Marriage Act was made way back in 1909. The demand for Anand Marriage Act was first made when it was realized that the certificate of Marriage to Sikhs is issued under Hindu Marriage Act which created conflict in legal procedures for Sikhs citing Sikhism as their religion.

Sikh marriage ceremonies are known as ‘Anand Karaj’ and so it was felt that the Marriage certificate should specify Anand Karaj.

The demand for the Act was raised by Akali Dal only. Veteran Akali leader Sundar Singh Majithia Ji was the one who stressed upon the need of a law to regulate Sikh marriages.

 

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Not many people are aware that a long battle had to be fought for enacting the Act and its implementation.

Sikhs going abroad were facing difficulties showing their marriage certificate under Hindu Marriage Act while quoting their religion as Sikh. So, once again, this forgotten Act was brought on table. This Act has been cleared since 2012 by the then President, Smt. Pratibha Devi Singh Patil Ji. All the states of India were asked to implement it individually whereby Anand Marriage Act certificate was to be issued to Sikh couples getting married. No such problem will arise once they get their marriage registered under Anand Marriage Act.

However, not all states took the initiative of implementing the act. In Punjab, Shiromani Akali Dal & BJP government implemented it. Shiromani Akali Dal President S. Sukhbir Singh Badal entrusted the responsibility of getting Anand Marriage Act implemented to Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee all across India.

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In sync with Badal Sahab’s vision, I have been following up with the Chief Ministers and Chief Secretaries of different states for implementation of the act. I even met Chief Ministers, Lieutenant Governors and Chief Secretaries of different states in this regard.

Anand Marriage Act has been a long standing demand of the Sikh community. Punjab, Haryana, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh and Meghalaya are the five states of India where the Act has been implemented while Delhi, Bihar, Assam, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, UP and Uttarakhand are completing the process to implement it soon. I am making all efforts and extending maximum support to get it implemented in the remaining states. We are providing document and procedural support to the states whenever they ask us, in context of understanding Anand Karaj and Anand Marriage Act.

With the implementation of Anand Marriage Act in many states, more than a century-old demand of the Sikhs has been fulfilled.

I now request every Sikh young men and women to ask for their Anand Marriage Certificate from the Marriage Registrar of their state or concerned SDM who are duty-bound to issue Anand Marriage Certificate under registration of Anand Marriage Act, 2012. Any refusal to issue the certificate, knowingly or unknowingly, amounts to violation of law.

Let’s make the world aware about Kirpan

The world needs to understand that an Amritdhari Sikh follows Guru’s orders and wear a Kirpan to protect him/her self and others. Sikhism does not cultivate the culture of attack and so Kirpan is not a weapon of offence!

The recent order by Government of Karnataka banning acquisition, possession and carrying of arms without license, specified in category V of the schedule I of the Arms Rules of 2016, in public places under the jurisdiction of Bengaluru city of has resulted in  banning wearing of Kirpans by Sikhs. The order not only hurt the Sikhs but has left many of us shocked – how can a government in our own country be so insensitive or ignorant about the religious symbol of Sikhs!

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Kirpan is a religious symbol of the Sikhism and it is an inseparable article of faith for the Amritdhari Sikhs. Our Dasham Pitah Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji had given 5 Kakaars to the Khalsa and Kirpan is one of the 5 articles which Amritdhari Sikhs must carry when they take khande di pahul.

Humbly quoting Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji  who introduced the metaphor of the Kirpan with reference to God and his qualities –

“O Sword, O Conqueror of continents, O Vanquisher of the hosts of evil, O Embellisher of the brave in the field of battle. Thy Arms are unbreakable, Thy Light refulgent, Thy Glory and Splendor dazzle like the sun. O Happiness of the holy, O Crusher of evil intent, O Subduer of sin, I seek Thy refuge.” (Guru Gobind Singh, Vachitra Natak, Chapter I).

The world needs to understand that an Amritdhari Sikh follows Guru’s orders and wear a Kirpan to protect him/her self and others. Sikhism does not cultivate the culture of attack and so Kirpan is not a weapon of offence!

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I also quote the Constitution of India which under the Article 25 specifies that Sikhs have been granted exemption to carry Kirpan (article of Sikh faith) under freedom of practice of religion.

Why I am so concerned about making the world aware about Kirpan, beginning from India, because in past also, such incidents have happened and embarrassed the Sikhs. Like at the Bengaluru airport, a Sikh passengers was forcefully deboarded from the flight when he refused to board the flight without his Kirpan!

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I wish to tell my Sikh brethren that Sikhs traveling in domestic flight in India are allowed to carry the Kirpan with size 6 inch blade and 3 inch handle on board under Civil Aviation Rules, Govt. of India.