Hola Mohalla – Shining Swords reflect the brilliance of Sikhism

Let me tell you about Hola Mohalla – a festival of Courage, Hope, And Faith played amid Colours in Punjab.

Hola Mohalla is Punjab’s biggest annual fair which is celebrated every year at Anandpur Sahib immediately after Holi. A festival which epitomizes the spirit and valour of Punjab, Hola Mohalla has earned the stature of a National Festival as well in the year 1996. The festival gives pilgrims and visitors a chance to bask in the glory of Punjabi spirit, Sikh religion and Punjabi courage. It is one of those unforgettable Punjabi festivals which reflect the dedication & heroism of Punjabi community and Punjabi way of life.

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History – Hola Mohalla gets celebrated in Anandpur Sahib on the day following the festival of Holi. The practice of Hola Mohalla was started by Sh Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth Sikh guru. The festival is celebrated for three consecutive days; each day the participants can witness rare display of physical strength by Sikh warriors. It has been beleievd that Guru Gobind Singh rechristened the Holi festival as Hola Mohalla and used the festive occasion to indulge his forces in martial arts and the art of warfare. In those days, Guru Sahib made his Sikh warriors, Nihangs, to form two groups and engage in mock battle which was like a practice of war for them.

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What all make Hola Mohalla so very special –

Three days of energy & enthusiasm; there is so much excitement you would want to be a part of.

  • Shining swords and long spears in the hands of warrior Sikhs.
  • Conical turbans and twirled-up moustaches of Nihangs
  • Daredevil acts by Guru di laadli Fauj; acts like bareback horse-riding, standing erect on two speeding horses, Gatka (mock encounters), tent pegging etc
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  • Music and Poetry competitions
  • Kirtans and Langars
  • The last day procession which is led by Panj Pyaras. This processions starts from Takht Keshgarh Sahib, one of the five Sikh religious seats, and passes through various important gurdwaras like Qila Anandgarh, Lohgarh Sahib, Mata Jitoji and terminates at the Takht

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So next time, make sure to visit Sri Anandpur Sahib to cherish Hola Mohalla!

 

Rabindranath Tagore paid tribute to Sikh heroism through his poems

Not many people know that Nobel laureate and revered poet Rabindranath Tagore Ji was inspired by Sikhism and the valour of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji so much that he wrote three beautiful poems titled ”Gobind Guru”, ”Veer Guru” and ”The Last Lesson” on Guru Sahib.
He has also written a composition titled ”Bandi Veer” about Baba Banda Singh Bahadur and an essay on Guru Nanak”s Sacha Sauda at the age of 21 years for a Bengali children”s magazine called ”Balak”. Isn’t it amazing – Banda Bahadur never set foot in Bengal, but Tagore’s work enshrined his name in Bengali literature.

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I read in a book that Rabindranath Tagore had studied the Sikh Religion deeply and was very impressed by the splendid philosophy of Sikhism and the Sikh way of life. The fact that he returned his Knighthood back to Britishers hen the ‘Jallianwala Bagh Massacre’ took place shows how much respect he had for Sikhs and how deeply he was pained at the way Sikhs were treated.

I feel that Tagore must have bonded with Sikhism from his childhood days when he visited Amritsar with his father. Marinating in the peaceful ambiance of Sri Harmandir Sahib must have cemented his bond with the Sikh legacy. One can even see the impact of Gurbani in Tagore’s own poetry like –

“Jodi e amaro hridaya –

duaro bandha rahe go

Kabhu dwar bhenge

Tumi asho, more prané,

Phiria jao na, Prabhu!”

I want to tell people that the  inspirational poem on Banda Singh Bahadur written by Rabindranath Tagore is taught in Bengali schools. Ironically, it has never been translated into Hindi or English or even Punjabi and is not a part of school curriculum in North India!

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As I get ready to visit West Bengal, I pay tribute to the great poet and social reformer of India. His legendary work and beautiful compositions are timeless treasures of our nation.

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?

Children’s Day should be celebrated to pay tribute to Chaar Sahibzaade

Whenever I talk about the ‘Shahadat’ of Dasham Pitah Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s sons; I feel overwhelming emotions because there exists no other example in history of any other country where children laid down their lives so fearlessly… for the sake of humanity and commitment.

Whenever I talk about the ‘Shahadat’ of Dasham Pitah Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s sons; I feel overwhelming emotions because there exists no other example in history of any other country where children laid down their lives so fearlessly… for the sake of humanity and commitment.

Let me first tell you the story of Chaar Sahibzaade and their exceptional Sacrifice.

There is a beautiful line we all often quote ‘Nikian Jinda Wada Saka’. which translates into “Supreme Sacrifice of Little Ones”. The quote denotes the way  four sons of Dashmesh Pita Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, Sahibzada Ajit Singh Ji, Sahibzada Jujhar Singh Ji, Sahibzada Zorawar Singh Ji and Sahibzada Fateh Singh Ji, achieved martyrdom.

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Sahibzada Ajit Singh Ji and Sahibzada Jujhar Singh Ji were 18 and 14 years old respectively when they along with 40 Sikh warriors gave a strong fight to the Mughal Army in the battle of Chamkaur Sahib. They achieved martyrdom as warriors in this battle.

The younger ones, Chote Sahibzaade, Sahibzada Zorawar Singh Ji and Sahibzada Fateh Singh Ji, were just 6 and 9 years old. Mughal army arrested Mata Gujri Ji (the mother of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji) and Chote Sahibzadas near Morinda. From there, they were handed over to Suba Sirhind, where they were imprisoned, in the Thanda Burj (Cold Tower). Nawab Wazir Khan of Sirhind was a cruel man. He asked them to convert to Islam if they wanted to live a happy and comfortable life.

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Historians account that the brave kids had replied raising Jaikara, “Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh”. Chote Sahibzaade told Wazir Khan that Sikhism was dearer to them and they were kids of lion Guru Gobind Singh and grandsons of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur who laid down his life to defend the right of religious freedom.

Upon their continuous rejection of the idea of adopting Islam, Nawab Wazir Khan decided to punish them and in a heinous and cold-blooded manner.

Sahibzada Fateh Singh and Sahibzada Zorawar Singh were bricked alive and later killed in the presence of entire Assembly.

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Words fail to describe the infinite courage shown by them who were bravery and focussed to stand for the ideals set by their grandfather and father. They were not even lured by the promise of lavish gifts and cosy comforts.

They chose a painful and tragic death entombed within a wall of bricks and mortar but made no compromise on the values and ideals of Sikhism.

I ask you dear readers – have you ever heard or seen any such incident of bravery shown by kids of such young age? If no, let us all acknowledge this as the supreme sacrifice.

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It is my earnest wish that India should pay homage to their sacrifice by celebrating Children’s Day in their name. This will give children of our country the finest idols who stood bravely in the wake of torture and tyranny.

I request PM Narendra Modi Ji to pay tribute to the Shahadat of Chaar Sahibzaade by dedicating Children’s Day in their name.

 

 

A good lesson for everyone spreading hatred on social media

Digital India is not meant for Sakshi Bhardwajs to humiliate a community and make us fight with each other. Social media is meant for better use – like sharing each other’s happiness on all festive occasions.

In last few weeks, many people brought to my notice hate videos and Facebook posts posted by a girl named Sakshi Bhardwaj on internet.

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She was seen abusing Sikhs in all her videos and FB posts. She has used foul language against Sikh Guru Sahibs and baseless allegations against Sikh communities. Needless to say, such videos are highly provocative. I took offense to one such video in which she calls Sikhs “hypocrites” and “anti-national”. She has stooped down so low that she uses derogatory language for Sikhs describing the men as ‘women with long hair and wearing bangles’.

I thought the woman is a psychopath but then may be she was posting such content to evoke hatred feelings between Sikhs and Hindus.

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Taking a note of her ulterior motive, I filed a complaint against her and met DCP in this regard who assured me full support and quick action against her.

Many of us Reported ABUSE against her digital media ID on all platforms, Facebook and Twitter. She went on to such extent to target me personally in her posts!

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I especially want to thank Mr GS Walia, a chief commercial inspector in the Northern Railways, who moved a petition against Sakshi Bhardwaj in Delhi Court. He had even written to Google India asking it to take such videos down. Sadly, Google India did not accept his request.

But kudos to Indian Judiciary!

Last week, a Delhi court instructed Google India to take down videos and articles by Sakshi Bhardwaj, that too within a week.

The court said Sikhs were likely to “feel grave insult to their religious sentiments” if the videos continued to circulate.

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I wish to share with my readers that the lesson in this incident is clear – no one is allowed to affect the social harmony and law and order in our nation. Those who are deliberately spreading hatred among different communities are bound to lose every time we all stand united in favour of peace and universal brotherhood.

Digital India is not meant for Sakshi Bhardwajs to humiliate a community and make us fight with each other. Social media is meant for better use – like sharing each other’s happiness on all festive occasions.

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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.