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.
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.
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
- 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
So next time, make sure to visit Sri Anandpur Sahib to cherish Hola Mohalla!
Not many people know about the valour of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur; a fact I truly feel sorry about. Our History books should be narrating the stories of great warriors born in India who made Mughals and Britishers dread the sons of soil.
Not many people know about the valour of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur; a fact I truly feel sorry about. Our History books should be narrating the stories of great warriors born in India who made Mughals and Britishers dread the sons of soil. Instead, our children end up reading about the lavish ways of Akbar the great and Delhi Sultanate.
I am sharing this piece just to make Indian aware about Baba Banda Singh Bahadur. Hon’ble Prime Minister Sh Narendra Modi Ji has also spoken in length on Baba Banda Singh Bahadur when the country celebrated the great warrior’s 300th martyrdom at New Delhi in 2016. PM Narendra Modi Ji also took part in the commemoration releasing a book and souvenir on his life.
Take a look at five most amazing aspects of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur’s life –
- Baba Banda Singh Bahadur had become a bairagi as he renounced his comfortable life and left his home at the age of 15. It was Dasham Pitah Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji who created an awareness in him that he is a Sikh and a warrior and he should fight for the people and justice. Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji gifted Banda Singh five arrows, one Nagara, five Khalsa Singhs and a handwritten message for Sangat. Their meeting happened at Nanded.
2. Baba Banda Singh Bahadur created a Sikh army of warriors and succeeded in capturing back large part of Punjab by defeating Mughals in the Battle of Samana. He established Sikh rule and minted coins in the name of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
3. The biggest conquest for Baba Banda Singh Bahadur was the victory in Sirhind where he defeated Wazir Khan, the cruel Governor of Sirhind who ordered the execution of Sahibzada Fateh Singh Ji and Sahibzada Zorawar Singh Ji in 1705. Historians account that Wazir Khan was beheaded by the Sikh army in the battle of Chappar Chiri in May 1710. Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP led Punjab Govt built a monument, Fateh Burj, at Chappar Chiri to pay tribute to the great warrior Baba Banda Singh Bahadur.
4. He not only defeated the Mughals with his strength but also with his wit. When Mughal army laid a siege at Lohgarh to capture Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, he fooled the Mughals by making his General Gulab Singh dress like him. The plan worked and Baba Banda Singh Bahadur escaped the siege successfully.
5. It is said that emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar was very scared of Baba Banda Singh’s valour. His army succeeded in capturing Baba Banda Singh in 1715 along with his son and many Sikh warriors. The Mughal army bound all the captives head and foot in chains and paraded them all the way to Lahore. Mughals inflicted goriest torture on Sikh soldiers and asked them to accept Islam. Upon refusal, Mughal army pulled out the Sikh warriors’ eyes and chopped off their hands and feet. Mughals humiliated Baba Banda Singh by carving out the heart of his son and forcing it into Baba Banda Singh’s mouth. Despite such torture, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur didn’t betray the spirit of Sikhsim.
Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) has installed his huge statue near the Mandi House metro station in New Delhi. Delhi govt led by Arvind Kejriwal had refused to extend any help for the same so the land was provided by Punjab Government led by S. Parkash Singh Badal Ji and the statue was also gifted by him.
No words can suffice his gallantry and committed administration. If we truly wish to pay a tribute to this great Sikh warrior, we should narrate his story to our children.