Today in Sikh History : 29th May
|1606||Martyrdom, Fifth Patshah, Guru Arjan Dev Ji.|
==> GURU ARJAN DEV (1563-1606) Guru Arjan, the ‘Prince of Martyrs’ and the ‘Prophet of Peace’, proffered his precious life to nurture the glory that was to be the Sikh Panth. The Fifth Master’s life was marked by divine bliss and sublime sacrifices, born of a sweet acceptance of God’s Will. Gifted with a quintessential poetic afflatus, and immeasurable imaginative sympathies, the Guru gave the movement of Sikhism a definite direction, perspective and program. He made the new faith coeval or coextensive with the whole gamut of existence and raised its exquisite edifice on values for which there is neither death nor change.
Guru Arjan Dev adorned the sacred throne of Guru Nanak from Sept. 1, 1581 to May 30, 1606. Born at Goindwal on April 15, 1563, he was the youngest and noblest son of Guru Ram Das and Mata Bibi Bhani. On 23 Hadh sunmat 1636, he married Ganga Devi, daughter of Krishan Chand of Mau village. He had an innate poetic sensibility which was exquisitely displayed in the epistles that he sent to his father from Lahore. They are deeply expressive of the pangs of separation and the exuberance of Love. The Fourth Master’s decision to make Guru Arjan his spiritual heir was bitterly opposed by Prithvi Chand who contended that being the eldest son, he alone was entitled to the Guruship. Thus, he could never reconcile himself to his younger brother’s installation as Guru.
Under Guru Arjan Dev the Sikh movement registered great progress. In sunmat 1645, he cemented the Santokhsar sarovar. Further, the Guru not only completed the construction of the Sarovars started at ‘Guru Ka Chak’ by his predecessor but also constructed two more Sarovars. He had the Harmandar built in the middle of Amritsar Sarovar and invited a celebrated Muslim divine, Mian Mir, to lay its foundation stone in sunmat 1645. Remarkable for its architectural and aesthetic beauty and unique in its conception, the temple with its four doors symbolizes the inborn equality of all mankind.
Indeed, it is open to all the four castes without any discrimination. Thus, the Guru sought a dissolution of all castes and creed distinctions. Unlike the Hindu shrines that are built on a high plinth, the Harmandar (the Temple of God) was built on a level lower than that of the surrounding areas, thereby making it imperative for the devotees to go down the steps in a spirit of true humility. In addition, the towns of Tarn Taran and Kartarpur flourished under the Guru’s tutelage. He had a magnificent tank built at Tarn Taran (pool of salvation) in sunmat 1647 and a Bavalli constructed at Lahore. in sunmat 1651, he established the town of Kartarpur Nagar (Dist. Jullander) and Ramsar in sunmat 1659-60.
Guru Arjan undertook a tour of the Punjab to preach Sikhism. He rationalized the institution of the masands and ordained that every Sikh should voluntarily donate a tenth of his income raised by the sweat of his brow for religious purposes. The masands collected the offerings thus made and deposited them in the Guru’s treasury. Again, when the Punjab was in the grip of drought and famine, Guru Arjan persuaded the Emperor Akbar to remit the land revenue for that year.
The most epochal achievement, however, of Guru Arjan was the compilation of the Adi Granth. The Guru devoted three years from 1601 to 1604 to the completion of the sublime project. He studied thoroughly the entire treasure of Gurbani, collected the hymns and psalms of the previous Gurus, and screened the utterances of the bhakts collected by the previous Gurus. He not only put the entire Bani together but also compiled it systematically under different ragas. Guru Arjan’s genius for compilation is eminently projected by the vars included in the Adi Granth. He has added shlokas to the Bani of all the earlier Gurus in order to elucidate the deeper meanings. To compile the outpourings of his predecessors and the, Bhakts under various ragas (musical measures) obviously demanded an unflattering grasp of the musical measures. Besides being a notable compiler, Guru Arjan was also a gifted poet. More than half of the holy Granth consists of his own utterances. They comprise 2218 verses. Thus his work exceeds that of the other 35 inspired poets whose compositions are enshrined in the Guru Granth.
The essential message of Guru Arjan’s hymns is meditation on Nam. The Guru has lucidly expatiated on the concept of brahmgiani (the enlightened soul). According to him, this enlightenment can be attained only through meditation on the Lord and the Guru’s grace. In depicting the attributes of the brahmgiani, he has compared him to a lotus flower which immersed in mud and water is yet pure and beautiful. Without ill-will or enmity he is forever courageous and calm.
Guru Arjan set a fine personal example by living up to his own concept of a brahmgiani. All his holy compositions are characterized by humility and tenderness. He seeks the grace of God for the fulfillment of all kinds of human needs. With the compilation of the first volume of the Adi Granth, the Sikh religion registered greater unity and identity. The Sikhs now owned a unique Book or Granth of their own, and thus acquired a distinct and separate entity. Guru Arjan installed the holy Granth at the Harmandar and appointed Baba Budha Ji as the first Granthi of Harmandar Sahib. Thus, Amritsar became the most significant centre of the Sikh faith and the Sikhs emerged as a new and powerful community.
During the period between Guru Nanak and Guru Arjan, there was no conflict between the Sikhs and the Mughal Kings. Emperor Akbar was in particular a man of liberal views and he respected the ideals of the Sikh movement. But, with his death and the following enthronement of Jehangir, there was a total reversal of policy and change of attitude.
Jehangir’s own writings reveal that he considered the spread of Sikhism as a positive threat to Islam. In a moment of fanatic frenzy, he characterized Sikhism as a ‘shop of falsehood’ and declared that he would extirpate it at the earliest opportunity. Thus he set about with a fanatical zeal to carry out his threat: and he trumped up the charge of treason against the Guru. With the complicity of the officials, Jehangir had the Guru soon imprisoned and tortured to death at Lahore in 1606. The martyrdom of Guru Arjan engendered a wave of shock and indignation among the Sikhs. No single event till then had so profoundly brought home to them the necessity of the sword. It is therefore not surprising that under the Sixth Master, Guru Hargobind they were militarized and prepared to face the Mugal might squarely. Thus emerged a new epoch in the history of Sikhism which led to a synthesis between Bhakti and Shakti (wordly power). Guru Arjan was the first Sikh Guru, who by his martyrdom lent to Sikhism a strength and solidarity that it had never known before. As desired by the Fifth Master, Guru Hargobind was ordained Guru in 1606, and, he guided and shaped the destiny of the Sikh community until 1645.
-Ref. Mahan Kosh (pp. 80)
Dr. D.S. Mani, Sardar Bakhshish Singh, and Dr. Gurdit Singh Guru Granth Ratnavali, page 90
|1606||Shashter Dharan, Sixth Patshah, Guru Hargobind Ji.|
|1712||Badshah Jahandar Shah seeks reinforcements to deal with Sikhs.|
|1923||SGPC again declares the Babbar Akalis as anti-Panthic.|
|1960||The first batch courted arrest for Punjabi Suba agitation.|
|1981||The Hindus took out anti-Sikh procession at Amritsar.|
The Hindus took out anti-Sikh procession at Amritsar where filthy and provocative slogans were raised by them. This procession was in response to the planned procession by Sikhs on May 31, 1981. During this procession, 10,000 armed unruly Hindus raised abusive slogans against the Sikhs and Sikh symbols. One of the Hindu slogans asked the Sikhs to get out of India: as India belonged to the Hindus. Besides provoking, insulting and vulgar slogan raising, the Hindu processionists attacked some of the Sikh buildings and wounded a large number of Sikh passersby.
-Ref. THE SIKHS’ STRUGGLE FOR SOVEREIGNTY, An Historical Perspective By Dr. Harjinder Singh Dilgeer and Dr. Awatar Singh Sekhon Edited By: A.T. Kerr Page 110-119.