Guru Teg Bahadur: A Martyr

Gautam Guha, Agami Kalarab: Yesterday was the martyrdom day of the ninth Sikh guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur Singh, who was executed under on the orders of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, in the year 1675. Known for his artillery skills and being the protector of the weak, Guru Tegh Bahadur Singh travelled across the country preaching Guru Nanak Dev’s teachings.

This day is widely known as the Shaheedi Divas, and the Chief Minister of Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh has urged the Sikh diaspora to commemorate Guru Tegh Bahadur’s sacrifice for the greater good by following the ideals of humanitarianism. Guru Tegh Bahadur composed 116 shabads and 15 ragas, and his teachings have been included in the Adi Granth. India had come to very dark times. The emperor was a cruel man who killed his older brother so he could rule. He was unkind to his own children and starved his father to death. He did everything for have any love for people of other religions. India had come to very dark his older He was a very feared ruler by his subjects and did not have any love for people of other religions. He thought there is only one way to gain the trust of all Muslims that is by converting Hindus to become Muslim: Destroy Hinduism from the root. The center for Hindu priests is in the land of Kashmir, converting them first. Once they are Muslim all others will follow. He introduced a tax for all non-muslims. He also made orders to convert Hindus to Islam. He have the Hindu’s two choices: Either they change their religion or they die. Many Hindus refused to convert and they were killed. Fear spread all over India like a dark cloud. Many of traditional Hindu temple’s, gurdwara’s were demolished, thus many scared Hindu Pundits journeyed to Anandpur to meet Siri Guru Teg Bahadur ji.

Guru Tegh Bahadur prevented conversions of the Hindu Kashmiri Pandits to Islam, and was publicly beheaded in 1675 on the orders of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in Delhi for himself refusing to convert to Islam and saving Hindu Kashmiri Pandits and other non-Muslims or as viewed by Muslims that he was condemned to death for waging war but was offered at last moment that converting to Islam will save him, which he declined as he wanted to be in Sikh rehat till his last breath. The execution hardened the resolve of Sikhs against Muslim rule and the persecution. Thus it has been called that “Guru ne shir diye, sar na diye”(Guru sacrificed his life but not changed his religion).

Pashaura Singh states that,“if the martyrdom of Guru Arjan had helped bring the Sikh Panth together, Guru Tegh Bahadur’s martyrdom helped to make the protection of human rights central to its Sikh identity”. Wilfred Smith stated “the attempt to forcibly convert the ninth Guru to an externalized, impersonal Islam clearly made an indelible impression on the martyr’s nine-year-old son, Gobind, who reacted slowly but deliberately by eventually organizing the Sikh group into a distinct, formal, symbol-patterned community”. It inaugurated the Khalsa identity.

Tegh Bahadur has been remembered for giving up his life for freedom of religion, reminding Sikhs and non-Muslims in India to follow and practice their beliefs without fear of persecution and forced conversions by Muslims. Guru Tegh Bahadur was martyred, along with fellow devotees Bhai Mati Das, Bhai Sati Das and Bhai Dayala. 24 November, the date of his martyrdom, is observed in certain parts of India as a public holiday.

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