The Battle of Amritsar took place between Guru Hargobind and the forces of the Mughal army and was fought on the 5 June 1628 (22 of Jeth, in Bikrami 1685). Jahangir had died in 1627 and his son Shah Jahan had become his successor. Adding to Shah Jahan's worries over the increasing influence and power of the Sikhs, those who harboured ill-will against the Sikhs renewed their conspiracies and incited him to turn against Guru Ji.
Battle of Amritsar
The Southall Story
The Southall Story at the South Bank
The Southall Story created by Shakila Maan, Kuljit Bhamra and Ammy Phull with Cathy Woolley and Michael McMillan is finally coming together. Southall is re-created with a sense of a ‘Time Tunnel’ where we go back to the 1950’s and explore an extraordinary history, both cultural and political. Southall is a town that has welcomed new communities throughout the last century, enabling them to excel and influence both the social and political structures of Britain.
Click here to read more on The Southall Story at the South Bank
1984 – A Sikh Story
In 1984 Indira Gandhi sent troops into the holiest and most revered of Sikh shrines, The Golden Temple. The aim was to expel the Sikh militant preacher, Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, and his followers. The bloodiest of consequences ensued, ultimately leading to Indira Gandhi's assassination by her own Sikh bodyguards and a backlash against the Sikhs that India had not witnessed since the days of partition.
1984 – A Sikh Story tells the tale of this tumultuous year through the eyes of British-born Sikh, Sonia Deol, who was only 11 when the Indian army stormed The Golden Temple.
Sonia has only begun to understand her faith in recent years – an awakening that began during her own visit to The Golden Temple; and there are many questions she needs answered. How could Indian troops, led by a Sikh, storm such a sacred shrine? How did the cult of Bhindranwale attract so many Sikh followers and why is he still revered by some today?
This one-off documentary takes Sonia on an emotional journey back to India in a bid to discover how such an attack could ever have taken place.
Throughout her journey, Sonia meets and interviews eye-witnesses including Giani Puran Singh, a Golden Temple priest, who dodged bullets from both the Indian army and Bhindranwale's men; as well as General Brar, who was in charge of "Operation Blue Star" and whose army stormed the temple.
Sonia meets those caught up in the aftermath of Mrs Gandhi's assassination and the resulting terrifying riots in Delhi. She also interviews the women who were widowed during the riots and former BBC correspondent Mark Tully, who became known for giving the world an insight into these events as they were happening, on the ground.
Starting in the UK and following Sonia on her journey to India, 1984 – A Sikh Story tells the story of her personal voyage to understand the history of her faith and explore what it means to be Sikh in Britain today.
Executive Producer Tommy Nagra says: "The events of 1984 have become an iconic and integral part of modern Sikh history. This is very much a personal film unravelling a chain of bloody events that India had not witnessed since the days of Partition."
1984 – A Sikh Story is a BBC Vision Production for BBC One.
Birth of Khalsa
GURU Gobind Singh, the Tenth Guru of the Sikhs founded the Khalsa (Servants of God) at the Vaisakhi gathering in 1699, at Keshgarh Sahib near Anandpur, where he had arranged for followers to meet him at the Vasakhi Fair in Anandpur. On that day Guru Gobind singh asked for a man to step forward from the congregation, who was willing to die for his cause. One man Daya Singh stepped forward, and followed Guru into his tent. When Guru came out of the tent, his sword was stained with blood; and asked for another volunteer. One by one Dharam Singh, Himmat Singh, and Sahib Singh came forward. One after another they entered Guru's tent, and the Guru emerged alone with his blood stained sword. The crowd was nervous, until five men then emerged from the tent, and were nominated as Panj Piares; or the five beloved ones.
The Guru put water in a bowl for sprinkling over the five in a simple initiation ceremony. He said prayers as he stirred the water with a short steel sword; symbolising the need for strength. The Guru's wife, Mata Sundri, then came forward and placed some sugar crystals into the holy water or amrit as a reminder that strength must always be balanced by sweetness of temperament. After completing his prayers, the Guru then sprinkled the amrit over the five.
He declared them to be the first members of an old community of equals, to be called the Khalsa, meaning "pure". These "saint soldiers" were to dedicate their lives to the service of others and the pursuit of justice for people of all faiths. The Panj Pyare were asked to wear five distinctive symbols of their new identity, The Five Ks.
In a move to end social divisions the Panj Pyare's surnames were removed by the Guru, mainly because surnames were associated with one's caste - the Guru then gave them (and all Sikh men) the name Singh, meaning "lion", a reminder of the need for courage. At the same time, the Guru gave all Sikh women the name or title Kaur, meaning "princess", to emphasize dignity and complete equality. The Guru then knelt before the five and asked them to initiate him. Hence, the Khalsa became a community in which master and disciple were equal.
The Victory Of Good Over Evil
To read the reading of the Sikh story of Diwali and to think about how we can apply the principles in the story to our lives. The Sikh New Year occurs in April, but they too observe this popular festival of Diwali in ways very similar to Hindus. In Sikh homes, divas are lit, presents are exchanged and children enjoy fireworks and bonfires.
These festivities are used by Sikhs, however, not to remember the victory of Rama and Sita over evil, as is the case with Hindus: Sikhs use the festival to celebrate an important event in Sikh history, which actually happened at the time when Hindus were celebrating Diwali.
The Festival Story - GURU HARGOBINDIn the days of the fifth Guru Arjan, times were hard for Sikhs living in northern India. The Muslim emperor who ruled over India was called Jehangir; he arrested Arjan, who died while still the emperor's prisoner. Arjan's son, Hargobind, took over the leadership of the Sikhs in 1606. He established friendly relations with the emperor for a time since they both happened to be found hunting. It was not long, however before Hargobind was suspected of treachery because he had gathered an army together and constructed a fort in the city of Amritsar which later was to become the famous centre of Sikhism. Hargobind's enemies told the emperor that the Guru was calling himself a king and was planning revenge for his father's death. As a result, Guru Hargobind was imprisoned in a fortress at Gwalior.
At this time there were fifty-two Hindu princes being held in the same prison. They were badly treated and given little food, because they had conspired against the emperor. Hargobind gladly shared with them whatever food he was given. Sikhs used to come to the prison every day. They were not allowed to see their leader so they simply stood outside the prison walls and prayed. This protest went on day after day and, each day, there seemed to be more and more Sikhs standing silently outside the fortress. Eventually the emperor was told of this protest at the prison and he decided to investigate personally the charges against Hargobind. Finally he pronounced that the Guru was innocent and ordered his release: officers were sent to tell Hargobind that he could leave as a free man.
When the fifty-two princes heard the news, they were pleased for the Guru, but felt rather sorry for themselves for there was no suggestion that they would be released and they would now be denied the extra food, to supplement their poor diet, which Hargobind had passed on to them.