Radhasyam Brahmachari

Khalsa Panth

It has been mentioned in the previous part of this essay that on the Indian New Year day in 1699 (30 March), Guru Gobind founded the Khalsa Panth in Anandpur Sahib as military movement against the Mughal oppression. Later on, a Sikh temple named Gurudwara Keshgarh Sahib was erected at the birthplace of Khalsa (Pure). Guru Gobind Singh then recited a verse -- 'Wahe guru ji ka Khalsa, Wahe guru ji Ki Fateh' (Khalsa belongs to Guru; victory belongs to Guru) -- which has been the rallying-cry of the KeshgarhSahib Gurudwara at Anandpur, the birthplace of the Khalsa. The word Khalsa translates into ‘Sovereign’ or ‘Free’. Another interpretation of it is ‘Pure’ or ‘Genuine’. Then on, the temporal leadership of the Sikhs was passed on to the Khalsa with the bestowed title of "Guru Panth" and spiritual leadership was passed on to the Guru Granth Sahib, the sacred Sikh Scripture. Khalsa was responsible for all the executive, military and civil authority in the Sikh society.

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Aurangzeb’s barbaric execution of three closest disciples of Guru Tegh Bahadur

It has been mentioned in the previous part of this article that three closest followers of the Guru Tegh Bahadur—namely Bhai Dayala, Bhai Mati Das and Bhai Sati Das—were also arrested at the time of his arrest. Emperor Aurangzeb also issued order to execute them alongside Guru Tegh Bahadur, and they were put to death with such horrific cruelty that only Muslims could contemplate and implement. Bhai Moti Das was sawed into two pieces, Bhai Sati Das was burnt alive, while Bhai Dyala was boiled alive on Nov 9, 1675. Bhai Sati Das was first was wrapped with cotton, then the cotton was soaked with oil, and set on fire.

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Orthodoxy and Bigotry of Aurangzeb

Aurangzeb, the third son of Shah Jahan, captured and ascended the throne of Delhi on 21 July 1658 after defeating all his rival brothers in the war of succession. He was an orthodox Sunni Muslim. As a pious Muslim, he considered it his sacred duty to carry out jihad against the infidel non-Muslims and convert them to Islam for turning India, a dar-ul-harb, into a dar-ul-Islam or Islamic country. One of his ploys was to hurt the sentiment of the Hindus and demean Hindu heritage. In 1659 he issued a number of ordinances aiming to implement the dictates of Sariah law as contained. He forbade the building of new Hindu temples. In 1664 he went further to forbid them from repairing old temples. He undertook a campaign of mass demolition of Hindu temples and schools. Over 200 Hindu temples were destroyed in the year 1679 alone. The famous Viswanath temple in Benaras, the Kesav Dev temple in Mathura and the Somnath temple at Patan were among the victims of Aurangzeb’s temple demolition campaign.

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Guru Har Rai

Before his death on 3 March 1644, Guru Har Gobind nominated his grandson Har Rai, aged only 14, as his successor and the seventh Nanak. He became the Guru on 8 March 1644 and served in the role until he died at young age of 31. He had two sons: Baba Ram Rai and Guru Harkrishan.

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Impact of Guru Arjan Dev’s Martyrdom

The Hindus, Sikhs and other natives of India had to suffer a great deal of oppression and hatred from the Muslim rulers and the local Muslim population. Though the disciples of the Sikh gurus urged them to stand up against the Muslim tyranny and oppression and take revenge, the gurus rejected such proposals on the ground that it will not be proper for the saints to be vengeful. It is also mentioned that Emperor Akbar, an avowed apostate of Islam, was not hostile to the Sikhs and other non-Muslims, but the situation greatly deteriorated again after his death. Particularly the barbaric torture inflicted upon Guru Arjan Dev by Emperor Jahangir and his eventual martyrdom greatly altered the view of the Sikhs toward the Mughals. "They resolved not to submit meekly to their oppressions but to defend their rights by arms." [RCM BVB vii:307]

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