In short

Every year on November 24, Sikhs celebrate Shaheedi Diwas to remember Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth guru of Sikhism who sacrificed his life for people who were not from his community.

Shaheedi Diwas

Shaheedi Diwas, the ultimate sacrifice

The untimely demise of the eighth guru, Guru Harkrishan Singh, had left Sikhs in a dilemma as to who would be the next guru. According to legend, a wealthy trader Baba Makhan Shah Labana had prayed for his life, promising to offer 500 gold coins to the next guru if he survived. Once he was well, he went to meet some gurus and offering them two gold coins and expecting that the real guru had heard his silent promise. It was only Guru Tegh Bahadur who reminded him of his promise and thus the ninth Guru was found.

Amritsar-born Guru Tegh Bahadur is remembered as the man who championed the rights to religious freedom. Under the reign of the Mughal emperor Aurangazeb, Islam was imposed on everyone. Temples hindu were demolished and converted into mosques and non-Hindus had to pay higher taxes. The emperor persecuted those who did not conform to Islamic law.

Amidst all this, Guru Tegh Bahadur stood up against the persecution and refused to convert to Islam. Subsequently, he was beheaded in Delhi in 1675. The site of his execution was later converted into a Gurdwara.

During his lifetime, he married Bibi Gujjari and had a son, the tenth guru of Sikhism, Guru Gobind Singh.

After the beheading of Guru Tegh Bahadur at Chandni Chowk in Delhi, his head was carried by one of his disciples to his son Gobind Rai (who later became Guru Gobind Singh). Guru Tegh Bahadur's body was secretly taken home and burned so that Aurangzeb could never find the body.

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Shaheedi Diwas