GURU TEGH BAHADUR JI (1621 - 1675)

(1621 - 1675)

Guru Harkrishan Sahib the 8th Guru nominated Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib, as his successor, before he passed away on March 30, 1664. Guru Tegh Bahadur ji was the youngest son of the 6th Guru, Guru Hargobind Sahib. He was born on April 1, 1621 at Amritsar. After the passing away of his father, Guru Hargobind Sahib in 1644, Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib moved to Bakala with his wife, Mata Gujri ji and mother Mata Nanki ji.
He took charge of Guruship in March 1665 at the age of 44. Hymns written by him are included in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Guru Sahib was a great horseback rider and extremely well trained in the use of weapons of war. He was only 13 when he participated in the 4th battle of Kartarpur Sahib along with his father.
Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib’s life may be divided into 3 periods. The first period of 23 years spent at Amritsar along with his father. The second period of 19 years, spent in quiet meditation at Bakala. And the third period of 11 years, when he extensively toured the Northern and Eastern India including what is now called Bangladesh to spread his mission. Guru Sahib founded the town of Anandpur Sahib - the city of Bliss!
During Guru Sahib’s times, Aurangzeb, the fanatic Mughal Emperor of India launched an aggressive campaign of converting Hindus to Islam by force. He ordered demolition of all Temples and started building Mosques in their places.
Guru Sahib cautioned all his followers to be prepared for the worst and be ready to die. At the same time he started imparting them training in the use of arms and told them not to panic but to face the difficulties boldly.
In 1669, Aurangzeb, stepped up his anti-Hindu campaign and issued special orders denying government employment to all non-muslims unless they converted to Islam. He also issued instructions that all Sikh missionaries called Masands be banned from entering any township for spreading Guru’s mission.
By May 1675, more than half of Kashmiri Hindu population had been forcefully converted to Islam. Demoralised and terrorised, a representative group of Kashmiri Pandits led by Pandit Kirpa Ram came to Anandpur Sahib and approached Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib for guidance and advice.
Guru Sahib told them not to worry but to send word to the Emperor that if he could convert him (Guru Sahib) to Islam, all Hindus would follow in his foot steps. Before long, Aurangzeb issued orders for the arrest and imprisonment of the 9th Guru and to bring him to Delhi.

Knowing that he was not going to come back, Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib passed on the responsibilities of Guruship to his 9 year old son (Guru Gobind Singh) and left for Delhi.
Guru Sahib was arrested, chained and kept in an iron cage in the police Kotwali under heavy security at Chandni Chowk in Delhi.
Several seasoned top most royal Muslim missionries were deputed to persuade Guru Sahib to give up his faith and accept Islam or be prepared to die a terrible death. Guru Sahib refused to convert. To shake his resolve, three of his ardent followers who had opted to get arrested along with him, were brutally murdered one after the other right before his eyes. Having failed to persuade Guru Sahib to give up his faith, orders were issued for his execution.
On the evening of November 11, 1675, the 9th beloved Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib was seated under a tree and beheaded in full public view. Following his execution, a big storm broke out, the sky was covered with dark clouds and there was lightening in the sky. Taking advantage of the situation, two brave Sikhs appeared from the surging crowd and soon Guru Sahib’s severed head and body were gone. Bhai Lakhi Shah managed to take Guru Sahib’s body to his house in the village of Rakab Ganj where he and his family placed Guru sahib’s body inside the house and put their house on fire to avoid suspicion. On the other hand Bhai Jaitha ji picked up his beloved Guru’s bleeding head and ran towards Anandpur Sahib - about 200 miles away to hand over the Guru’s head to his son, Guru Gobind Singh ji for being cremated properly.
The place where Guru Sahib was executed in Chandni Chowk in Delhi, a magnificient marble Gurdwara Sis Ganj, stands in his memory. A beautiful white marble Gurdwara stands at the place where Guru Sahib’s body was cremated. It is known as Gurdwara Rakab Ganj (in Delhi). The location where the 9th Guru’s head was cremated by the 10th Guru Sahib in Anandpur Sahib stands a Gurdwara called Gurdwara Sis Ganj.

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