Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa || Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh ||
“Tegh Bahadur Simri-ay Ghar Nau Nidh Aavay Dhaae Sabh Thaaeen Hoe Sahae”
“Meditate on Guru Tegh Bahadur and the nine treasures shall come to us. May he grant us every assistance.”
On this auspicious day in 1675 the ninth Nanak (9th Guru of the Sikh faith), Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji, gave the ultimate sacrifice in what would have a profound impact on the future direction of mankind.
Dhan (the Great) Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji undertook the supreme sacrifice for the protection of the most fundamental of human rights, as defined by Article 18 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights where without let or hindrance:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion… to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”
This right was established with a further 29 Articles in 1948. Today, we tend to take this and many other freedoms and protections for granted—however, in 1675, a full 273 years before the UN, and in some parts of the world even today, millions of people were denied this basic-of-basic rights.
The Mughal Emperor of the time, Aurangzeb held an ambition to convert India into a land of Islam. The Emperor’s first port of call was in the northerly state of Kashmir where this ambition was carried out with full vigour to convert non-Muslims by force. In desperation, a group of Kashmiri Hindu High Priests (Brahmins), approached Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji and pleaded for help. The Guru conveyed the message to the Mughal authorities that all Hindus would willingly embrace Islam if he himself did the same.
Emperor Aurangzeb issued orders of the arrest as soon as he had been told of the challenge. The Guru was arrested, along with some of his followers: Bhai Dyala Ji, Bhai Mati Das Ji and Bhai Sati Das Ji. The arrest was made in July 1675 and the Guru was kept in custody for over three months during which time he was held in a very tight iron cage (in brutal conditions).
The Guru was put in chains and ordered to be tortured until he would accept Islam. When he could not be persuaded to abandon his faith to save himself from persecution, he was asked to perform some miracles to prove his divinity. Like many that have followed since, the Sikhs who were with the Guru Ji were also executed – to put this in a modern context:
• Bhai Anokh Singh Ji – was cut limb by limb in August 1987 in the same fashion as Bhai Mati Das Ji
• November 1984 genocide victims – many Sikhs and Hindus (who also provided shelter and protection for Sikhs), regardless of whether they were men, woman, elderly or children, were burnt alive with flaming tyres circled around their necks, in the same way Bhai Sati Das Ji was martyred in the very same city
• Bhai Gurdev Singh Debu – was first beaten, bones broken and twisted. Next, his legs were cut open and hot chillies were thrust in. Red-hot iron rods then pierced Bhai Gurdev Singh’s body. The police did not stop there; they continued to gouge out one of his eyes at this stage. In the end they put him in a tub of boiling water where he was boiled to death, much like Bhai Dyala Ji.
On His continued refusal, Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib Ji was beheaded in public at Chandni Chowk on 24 November 1675. As a result, Guru Ji is also widely known as “Hind Di Chadar” i.e. “The Shield of India” – suggesting that to save Hinduism and promote the very same ethics behind Article 18 of the UN’s Declaration, Guru Ji gave his life.
SOPW as a charity also comes across many cases where the treatment of prisoners of conscience are treated in very much the same manner like Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji and in some cases we are told of the very same results.
SOPW supports prisoners who have been detained for their philosophical, political and religious beliefs. It is sad to note that human rights abuses, especially whilst a person is held in police custody, have not stopped since the 1980’s; this unfortunately happens today as well.
Below are some extracts from prisoners that we are supporting:
“In the torture they would, pull the legs apart (ripping the groins), electrocute the private parts, roll logs over the body, drowning in water (water torture), hanging with ropes, breaking the persons shoulders and knees, beatings with cane sticks, the police don’t bother with our human rights nor do they follow any constitution”.
-Bhai Balbir Singh Ji
“My hands were tied with my own turban and I was then tortured with the use of electric shocks… they split my legs as far apart as they could injuring my groin, they beat me with a cane, swore at me and used several other methods to torture me.”
-Bhai Gurtej Singh
“They tortured me for a whole month and a half. They ripped my groin, electrocuted my private parts, rolled logs on my body and refused to let me sleep (sleep deprivation). They then put a case on my family, to torture me mentally. They made my condition so bad, that blood would come out when I would urinate. The police did not provide any medical help, yet this torture would continue.”
With the Grace of Waheguru (the Lord), SOPW has also worked tirelessly to assist in the release of our Hindu brothers earlier this year in September 2011 who also, like Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji gave up their freedoms for justice, honour and the universal rights of all. We honour them and their families; Their names are:
1. Joginder Kumar
2. Ajit Raj
3. Bishan Lal
The above introductory lines (in Gurmukhi / Punjabi and English) of this press release are the very same lines that are read aloud at least twice a day in every Gurdwara (Sikh Temple) day and night when we humbly bow our heads in our prayer Ardaas / Supplication.
We pray from the depths of our hearts that may all those who have given their heads – but not their honour – be blessed with strength and Waheguru’s (The Lord’s) Grace to fight any injustices they may be suffering and grant the whole of humanity – whether in Egypt, Syria or those in Chile who are fighting for justice since the time under General Augusto Pinochet – true freedom.
We end with the words of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji:
Patit Udhāran Bhay Haran Har Anāth Ke Nāth.
He is the Saving Grace of sinners, the Destroyer of fear, the Master of the master-less.
Kaho Nānak Tih Jānīai Sadā Basatu Tum Sāth. ((6))
Says Nanak, realize and know Him, who is always with you. ((6))
Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa || Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh ||