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.

27655068_2029546060394637_4913888903888296285_n

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.

00_1489060226e

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
  • 1
  • 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

sikh

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.

3

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!

1

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.

Why I am demanding separate religious identity for Sikhs

Even when we all are one; for all legal purposes and to do away with confusion as well as discrimination; there is a need to amend Article 25 to give Sikhs a separate religious identity.

Even when we all are one; for all legal purposes and to do away with confusion as well as discrimination; there is a need to amend Article 25 to give Sikhs a separate religious identity.

WhatsApp Image 2018-01-18 at 1.35.56 PM

I have urged members  in Delhi Assembly to pass a resolution  to support demand of separate Sikh identity in the nation for which a minor constitutional amendment is required.
During my address in Vidhan Sabha, I reiterated that it needs to be recommended to Govt. of India to amend the article 25 clause (2) sub clause (b) read with explanation II of the Constitution of India in order to equate the Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs with Hindus as these are separate religions. The obvious object of Article 25 is to remove a patent cause of inequality. Article 25 is an article of faith in constitution, incorporated in recognition of the principle that the real test of true democracy is the ability of even an insignificant minority to find its identity under the country’s constitution. Under Article 25 clause 2 sub clause (b) read with explanation II, “the reference to HINDUS shall be construed as including a reference to persons professing the Sikh, Jains or Buddhist religion, and the reference to HINDU RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS shall be construed accordingly.

mss2

I feel that the inclusionary definition relating to Sikh, Jains and Buddhist religions as included in the Hindu religion, though recognizing the distinctiveness of these religions on the face of it, has led to unavoidable confusion about the independent identity of these religions, thus defeating the object of Article 25.

I have appealed to  all the Members of the House that it is must to pass this resolution  so that the discrimination done to Buddhist, Jain and Sikhs should be removed and the Parliament of India should duly amend the Article 25 of the constitution of India because welfare of the people is the ultimate goal of all laws and state action and above all the constitution.

mss1
This discrimination is on since decades and Sikhs and other minority communities were struggling to get justice on this issue. It is an appropriate time that when Delhi Assembly and other state assemblies pass such resolution to support the demand of these minorities.
I have appealed to the Speaker to adopt his resolution for passing in the assembly and gave notice for the same.

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.

m2

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.

maghi3

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.

maghi2

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.’

maghi4

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.

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.

D-55 a

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.

D-55 b

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.

D-55 c

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.

D-55 d

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 –

m1

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.

m2

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.

4
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!

teg2
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.
teg3

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.

teg4

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.