Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Guru of Sikhism sacrificed his life for the sake of people who did not even belong to his community. On his 345th Martyrdom day, people across the country paid homage to him. Every year on November 24, Sikhs celebrate Shaheedi Divas to remember Guru Tegh Bahadur and the day is observed as his Martyrdom Day.
Unfortunately, such great sons of India are not celebrated loudly in the country because there are still people who consider the Mughals the heroes of India and to push the lie of the greatness of the Mughals, we forget the true heroes. Such a hero was Guru Tegh Bahadur, who was called “the Shield of Hind”.
Guru Tegh Bahadur was the youngest son of Guru Hargobind. He trained in archery and horsemanship. He was als taught the old classics such as the Vedas, the Upanishads, vedantas and the Puranas. In 1675, he was publicly beheaded on the order of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in Delhi for not accepting Islam.
During the reign of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, Islam was imposed on all. Hindu temples were being vandalized and were being turned into mosques. Non-Hindus were being persecuted and were forced to pay higher taxes.
Amidst all this, Guru Tegh Bahadur stood up against the persecution and refused to convert to Islam. He sacrificed his life in order to protect religion, human values, ideals and principles.
In Sikhism, his sacrifice is remembered with great reverence. In the words of Noel King of the University of California, “Guru Teg Bahadur’s martyrdom was the first-ever martyrdom for human rights in the world.”
Following the beheading of Guru Tegh Bahadur at Chandni Chowk in Delhi, his head was carried by one of his followers to his son Gobind Rai (who later became Guru Gobind Singh). Guru Tegh Bahadur’s body was secretly taken to his home and burnt so that Aurangzeb could never find the body.
Guru Tegh Bahadur is remembered for his selfless service to people. He travelled across the country with the teachings of Guru Nanak – the first Sikh Guru.
President Ram Nath Kovind paid tribute to Guru Teg Bahadur on his Martyrdom Day. In a message, the President said, “Guru Tegh Bahadur made supreme sacrifice to protect the faith, belief and rights of the people. Therefore, the fellow citizens call him ‘Hind di Chaadar’ with love and respect.”