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  • Malkiat Singh Duhra


Vaisakhi is a long established harvest festival in the Punjab. It had been celebrated long before it gained an added dimension for Sikhs. In 1699, the tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, choose Vaisakhi as the occasion to transform the people of all castes from different parts of India into a Sikh family of soldier saints known as the Khalsa to get independence from Mughals and Afghans. This day, April 13, 1919 was selected to revolt against British by the large number of people in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar and this incident gave the impetus for the struggle of freedom. All the Sikh warriors used to hold annual meetings on Vaisakhi day to discuss future plans to get freedom and ultimately they found success in 1762 and established Home Rule, Khalsa Raj in 1799 under the leadership of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

On Vaisakhi day, April 13,1699, in a congregation of 80,000 people from all across India, five men from different castes and from different parts of India stood up to become Khalsa. Following are the names of Panj Piara (beloved five) who have been baptized.

  1. Daya Ram, Lahore, Punjab (Khatri)

  2. Dharm Das, Meerut, Uttar Pradesh (Jat)

  3. Himat Rai, Jagannath Puri, Odisha (water carrier)

  4. Mukham Chand, Dwarka, Gujarat (trailer master)

  5. Sahib Chand, Bidar, Karnataka (barber)

With the choice of disciples from five different caste groups from different regions of India, he visualized an integrated class-less society. All caste names and surnames were dropped and a common surname was proposed for all Indian across India; a surname that denoted a class-less, caste-less creed of men willing to sacrifice themselves for the nation and against injustice. This motley group of people uprooted Afghan and Mughal rule from the North India from the Jamuna to Khyber Pass, such was the power of his vision. Gobind Singh was a visionary par excellence. His vision has been diluted and limited to Sikhism, which is a travesty. Awaken India, awaken to his vision. Leave behind those caste barriers, acquire knowledge, be strong in body and be a Khalsa in spirit. Your religion doesn’t matter. Khalsa is a state of mind, not just a religion. Let us celebrate all festivals as One. When we are One, then we can develop and grow at a fast rate.

The struggle for freedom was carried out from 1699 to 1708 by Guru Gobind Singh, 1708 to 1716 by Banda Bahadur Singh, and after 1716 by the Sardars of 12 Missles and important roles were played by Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, Jassa Singh Ramgharia, Baba Deep Singh, Bagh Singh and Hari Singh Nalwa. Ultimately, Sikhs got freedom in 1762. During this time, Harimandhar Sahib was invaded and destroyed many times but Sikhs built it again every time. This was the place for the annual meeting of revolutionary Sikhs. Since the very creation of the Harmandir Sahib by Guru Arjan Dev in 1574, it has been the centre of Sikh spiritual and temporal affairs. This is perhaps the reason why successive regimes have sought to interfere with its management and influence. It has been invaded and destroyed several times. However each time, it has been freed from the hands of the tyrants, rebuilt more gloriously than before, and has increased its influence and importance over the years. It is the definition of antifragility.

  1. Massa Ranghar : July 3, 1740.

  2. Jakharia Khan : November 13, 1746.

  3. Johan Khan : January 18, 1757.

  4. Abdahli : February 5, 1762.

  5. Addahli : December, 1764.

  6. Congress party : 1955.

  7. Indra Gandhi : June 1, 1984.

  8. Rajiv Gandhi : 1986.

  9. Rajiv Gandhi : 1988.

The British invaded Punjab in 1848 and established their rule. With the concerted efforts of the Gadhar party/Gadhari Babae, Akali Dal, and the Congress party, they got freedom on August 15, 1947.

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