Context: It was on 24th November 1675, Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Guru of Sikhs, sacrificed his life to protect religion, human values, ideals and principles.
- The martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur is remembered as Shaheedi Divas every year.
Guru Tegh Bahadur
- Born in Amritsar, Guru Tegh Bahadur was the ninth of the ten Gurus who founded Sikhism.
- He’s honoured and remembered as the man who championed the rights for all religious freedom.
- He founded the city of Anandpur which later became a centre of Sikhism.
- He married Bibi Gujjari and they had one son: the tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.
- He taught liberation from attachment, fear and dependence. Strength should be gained through truth, worship, sacrifice and knowledge.
- He’s also remembered for his poetry, much of which is included in the Guru Granth Sahib.
- During the reign of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, Islam was imposed on the people (forced conversions).
- Hindu temples were being demolished and turned into mosques, additional taxes were charged on non-Muslims (jizya tax) and the Emperor persecuted those who would not conform to Islamic law.
- According to Sikh tradition, some Kashmiri Pandits fled these forced conversions and sought refuge with Guru Tegh Bahadur.
- On the insistence of his son who would eventually be known as Guru Gobind Singh, the ninth guru travelled to Delhi to dissuade Aurangzeb from this religious imposition.
- Aurangzeb asked the Hindus to bring forth someone willing to sacrifice himself for their religion and Guru Tegh volunteered himself.
- Guru Tegh Bahadur spoke out amid this persecution. He refused to convert to Islam and in 1675, he was beheaded in Delhi. The site of his execution was later turned into an important Gurdwara (Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib).