Updated by Jeewen Gill, Windsory
than 50,000 NRIs marched from the CNE grounds to city hall
Gurbax malhi, mp in crowd wishing happy basakhi at Toronto city
First young canadians in formaldress of guru taking part in nagar
Toronto, May 01, 2006
More than 50,000 NRIs marched from the CNE grounds
to city hall and traffic was a nightmare.The westbound lanes of
the Gardiner were closed for repairs, diverting traffic onto Lake
Shore Blvd., while the eastbound lanes of Lake Shore were closed
for the marchers.
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty addressed a sea of
orange, the colour of the Khalsa or the pure one as baptized Sikhs
are known. Mr. McGuinty said the values of the Sikh faith, which
include community service, hard work, a honest life and the quest
for a better life for one's children, were values all Ontario families
embraced. In Ontario nobody is an outsider and one of the great
things about Ontario is you can be who you are and still be part
of the same large community.
The Politicians gathered on the stage for wishing
happy basakhi, including Sikh MPs Navdeep Bains, Gurbax Malhi, federal
Heritage Minister Beverley Oda, Toronto Mayor David Miller, Brampton
Mayor Susan Fennell and NDP Leader Jack Layton. Joining them was
Ontario Conservative Leader John Tory, Ontario NDP Leader Howard
Hampton,Gerard Kennedy and Ken Dryden.
Toronto Baisakhi celebration
parade was started in 1982 from Jarvis Collegiate to Queen's
BAISAKHI OR VAISAKHI
On this memorable Baisakhi day (March,30 of A.D.1699) , Guru Gobind
Singh Sahib called a big meeting at Kesgarh Sahib near the City
of Anandpur Sahib. Between fifty to eighty thousand Sikhs attended
this meeting. When all were expecting to hear words of comfort and
consolation from the lips of their Guru, they were perturbed to
see him with a drawn sword in his hand and cried ' Is there anyone
here who would lay down his life for Dharam?' There was a big silence,
but the Guru went on repeating his demand. At the third call Daya
Ram, a Khatri of Lahore, rose from his seat and offered himself.
The Guru took him into an adjoining enclosure....(and soon after)
came out with the (blood) dripping....(sword in hand) and flourshing
it before the gathering, asked again, 'Is there any other Sikh here
who will offer himself as a sacrifice(for the cause of dharma)?
At this Daram Das, a Jat of Delhi (Haryana side) came forward and
was taken into the enclosure....(The Guru again came out with the
blood-stained sword, and made his previous demand). In the same
way three other men stood up, one after another, and offered themselves
for the sacrifice. One was Mohkam Chand, a washerman of Dwarka (Gujarat
State); another was Himmat, a cook of Jagannath (Orissa State);
and the third was Sahib Chand, a barber of Bidar (Karnataka State).
The Guru, after dressing the five in handsome clothes, brought them
from the assembly.
These five were then administered 'Khande di Pahul' (the double-edged
Sword Amrit). They were then knighted as Singhs, as the Five beloved
ones, the first members of the Order of the Khalsa. The Guru then
asked them to administer the Pahul to him in the same manner in
which he had given the Pahul to them, and it was done so.
With the creation of Khalsa, the Khalsa created history and since
the birth of Khalsa, the history of Punjab has been the history
of Sikhs. Baisakhi played a significant role in this regard. In
1762, Ahmed Shah Abdali, with the sole purpose to destroy the entire
Sikh nation, declared 'Jehad'(holy-war) against the Sikhs and all
the Muslims of the Punjab rallied under this slogan. The Sikhs were
surrounded near the village Kup in Ludhiana District. Chronicles
mention that about twenty thousand Sikhs were martyred in a single
day. This event is known in the history of the Sikhs as "Ghallughara"
(Bloody Carnage). After this, Ahmed Shah Abdali thought that he
had crushed the entire Sikh nation, but was greatly disillusioned
when after a few months heard that the Sikhs in large number are
celebrating Baisakhi at Amritsar. In due course of time Baisakhi
reminds every Sikh of his cultural and religious heritage. On Baisakhi
day all the Sikhs used to assemble at Amritsar and decide their
problems relating to politics and religion. This convention still
The celebrations of Baisakhi are similar to the three-day schedule
of the the celebrations of other Gurpurabs. It is generally celebrated
on 13th April every year.