Why Is Guru Tegh Bahadur Also Known as Hind-di-chaadar?
Guru Tegh Bahadur; 1 April 1621 – 11 November 1675, revered as the ninth Nanak, was the ninth of ten Gurus (Prophets) of the Sikh religion. Guru Teg Bahadur carried forward the light of Guru Nanak’s sanctity and divinity, and his spiritual revelations are registered in the form of 115 poetic hymns in the eternal Guru of Sikhs, Guru Granth Sahib.
Guru Teg Bahadur set a remarkable precedent of martyrdom for the cause of freedom of religion (of any human being, irrespective of their faith), when he was publicly executed (beheaded) in 1675 on the orders of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in Delhi for resisting the forced conversions of Hindus in Kashmir to Islam, and after himself refusing to convert to Islam.
For this sacrifice, Guru Teg Bahdaur is also known as Hind-di-Chaadar (shield of India.) Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib and Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib in Delhi mark the places of execution and cremation of the Guru’s body.
In 1675, Guru Tegh Bahadur was Martyred in Delhi on 11 November under the orders of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. No contemporary detailed accounts of the circumstances of his arrest and execution have survived either in Persian or Sikh sources. The only accounts available are those written about a 100 years later, and these accounts are conflicting.
The Sikh historians record that Guru Tegh Bahadur had become a socio-political challenge to the Muslim rule and Aurangzeb. The Sikh movement was rapidly growing in the rural Malwa region of Punjab, and the Guru was openly encouraging Sikhs to, “be fearless in their pursuit of just society: he who holds none in fear, nor is afraid of anyone, is acknowledged as a man of true wisdom”, a statement recorded in Adi Granth 1427.
While Guru Tegh Bahadur influence was rising, Aurangzeb had imposed Islamic laws, demolished infidel schools and temples, and enforced new taxes on non-Muslims. According to records written by his son Guru Gobind Singh, the Guru had resisted persecution, adopted and promised to protect Kashmiri Hindus.
The Guru was summoned to Delhi by Aurangzeb on a pretext, but when he arrived, he was offered, “to abandon his faith, and convert to Islam”. Guru Tegh Bahadur refused, he and his associates were arrested and tortured for many weeks while being asked to abandon his faith and convert to Islam; he stood by his convictions and refused, he was then executed.
The Sikh tradition states that the associates of the Guru were also tortured for refusing to convert, such as Bhai Mati Das was sawed into pieces and Bhai Dayal Das was thrown into a cauldron of boiling water, while Guru Tegh Bahadur was held inside a cage to watch his colleagues suffer. The Guru himself was beheaded in public. He was executed on November 11, 1675 before public in Chandni Chowk, Delhi.