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NRI NEWS- Why is Diwali Important to Sikhs


Sikh Festival Diwali
The sixth Guru Hargobind Ji and the 52 Hindu kings were freed at this Day

The Muslim Emperor Jahengir approached Guru Hargobind Ji upon his entering Gwalior and told the Guru to denounce his Sikh religion and to join the Muslim faith. With the intention of utilizing the Guru’s great strength and fearlessness needed in battles. Being outraged by this request, the Guru rejected his proposition.

Jahengir imprisoned the Guru and 52 Kings.The Emperor ruled India at this time. The Asian Indians begged the Emperor to release the Guru and the Emperor agreed but the Gurus said also release the kings. Guru ji had a gown made with 52 string pieces for the Hindus to hold. The Guru and the Hindu kings were also freed at Diwali. Sikhs were very happy when their leader was released. Guru Hargobind Sahib went to the Golden Temple Amritsar in the Punjab. Sikh Diwali is recalled throughout India and in many countries; each year to remember Guru ji's release

To commemorate his undying love for Sikhism, the townspeople lit the way to, Harmandhir Sahib (referred to as the Golden Temple), in his honour.

Martyrdom of Bhai Mani Singh Ji- The martyrdom in 1734 of the elderly Sikh scholar and strategist Bhai Mani Singh, the Granthi (priest) of Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple). He had refused to pay a special tax on a religious meeting of the Khalsa on the Divali day. This and other Sikh martyrdoms gave further momentum to the Khalsa struggle for freedom and eventually success in establishing the Khalsa rule north of Delhi

Bhai Mani Singh was a great scholar and he transcribed the final version of Guru Granth Sahib upon dictation from Guru Gobind Singh Ji in 1704. He took charge of Harmandir Sahib's management on 1708. In 1737, he received permission from Mughal governor of Punjab, Zakarya Khan for celebrating Divali at Golden Temple for a massive tax of Rs. 5,000 (some authors say it was Rs 10,000). Invitations were sent to the Sikhs all over India to join Bandi Chhorh Diwas celebrations at Harmandir Sahib. Bhai Mani Singh thought he would collect the tax-money from the Sikhs as subscriptions who would assemble for the purpose of Divali Celebrations. But Bhai Mani Singh Ji later discovered the secret plan of Zakarya Khan to kill the Sikhs during the gathering. Bhai Mani Singh Ji immediately sent message to all the Sikhs not to turn up for celebrations. Bhai Mani Singh could not manage to arrange the money to be paid for tax. Zakariya Khan was not happy about the situation and he ordered Bhai Mani Singh's assassination at Lahore by ruthlessly cutting him limb-by-limb to death. Ever since, the great sacrifice & devotion of martyr Bhai Mani Singh Ji is remembered on the Bandi Chhorh Diwas (Diwali) celebration.

Uprising against the Mughal Empire- "Sarbat Khalsa": The Sikh struggle for freedom from the oppressive Mughal regime, the festival of Divali did become the second most important day after the Baisakhi, when Khalsa was formally established by the Tenth Guru Gobind Singh in 1699. After the execution of Banda Bahadur in 1716, who had led the agrarian uprising in Punjab, the Sikhs started the tradition of deciding matters concerning the community at the biennial meetings which took place at Amritsar on the first of Baisakh and at Divali. These assemblies were known as the "Sarbat Khalsa" and a resolution passed by it became a "gurmata"



NOV. 09, 2007