Guru Tegh Bahadur Singh’s sacrifice for relegious equality

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Guru Tegh Bahadur’s son, Guru Gobind Singh, wrote the below parapgraph in his composition “Bachittar Natak”. This composition is recited in every Sikh place of worship on the occasion of the Guru’s martyrdom. According to records written by his son Guru Gobind Singh, the Guru had resisted persecution, and had adopted and promised to protect Kashmiri Hindus who came to him to save them from Aurangazeb’s tortures.The Guru was summoned to Delhi by Aurangzeb on a pretext, but when he arrived, he was asked “to abandon his faith, and convert to Islam”.

In the darbar hall, Guru Tegh bahadur was asked to perform a miracle to prove his nearness to his God. The Guru questioned the idea that “occult powers were not a proof of one’s nearness to God”. After his refusal to perform a miracle, he was asked to convert to Islam. Guru Tehg Bahadur said no refused. Guru Tegh Bahadur challenged aurangazeb, If emperor can convert Gurudev into Islam, then all Hindus of India would also accept Islam along with him, but if he fails, the emperor should stop his conversion campaign.

William Irvine states that Guru Tegh Bahadur was tortured for many weeks while being asked to abandon his faith and convert to Islam; Guru Tegh Bhadur stood by his convictions and refused. The associates of the Guru were tortured for refusing to convert, Bhai Mati Das was sawn into pieces and Bhai Dayal Das was thrown into a cauldron of boiling water, and Bhai Sati Das was burned alive, while Guru Tegh Bahadur was held inside a cage to watch his associates to suffer.

The place where Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded, now Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib

Aurangazeb said “if he converted to islam he would be left free!!”. Guru Tegh bahadur said he would not convert to islam , Aurngazeb was furous with rage. He ordered his soldiers to kill Guru Tegh Bahadur and he was executed on 24 November 1675 in public in Chandni Chowk, Delhi.Aurangzeb was Monstrous, he gave orders that Guru’s body and head should be kept on street so that dogs and vultures can eat them and all people could see what happened to people who opposed his conversion orders.

At that time, there was a Sikh family traveling to Delhi from Punjab. Upon hearing about the news of Gurudev’s death, they immediately rushed to the spot where his body was kept on the street. The grandfather of the family then told everyone that Gurudev’s body cannot beleft on the road like that. It has to be properly cremated. So he told his sons that he would kill himself and die and his body should be kept on the same spot where Gurudev’s body was lying. They can use the darkness to fool Mughal soldiers, that Gurudev’s body is still there and they can take Guru Tegh Bahadur’s body away from there.

interior of Gurudwara in Anandpur where Guru Tegh Bhadur’s Head is kept

So, the grandfather killed himself and his sons kept his body in the same place and took Gurudev’s body into their caravan. They later on went to a famous Sikh businessman’s house in Delhi and told him everything. The businessman knew that it was impossible to cremate the body openly as the Mughal troops can easily discover it. So he decided to keep Gurudev’s body inside his house and burn the entire house. So,  his entire house was burnt to cremate Gurudev’s mortal body. Before the cremation, Gurudev’s head was taken by another Sikh “Bhai Jaita” to Punjab’s Anandpur Sahib. “Gurdwara Sisganj Sahib” in Punjab is the site where in November 1675, the head of the martyred Guru Teg Bahadar which was brought by Bhai Jaita  in defiance of the Mughal authority of Aurangzeb was cremated here.

Guru Tegh Bahadur singh is 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 or anybody. Guru Tegh Bahadur was martyred, along with 3 fellow associates. the Brave Bhai Jaita, the sikh old man who gave his own body to take place of the Guru’s, the noble businessman who helped to burn the body of the Guru all of them are the heroes and other who fought in similar ways with everything they had are the ones we need to remember for our free existence. 24 November, is the date of his martyrdom, remembered as the “Shaheedi Divas of Guru Tegh Bahadur”. It is observed in certain parts of India as a public holiday.

by Jagjot Singh

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