Martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur

Guru Tegh Bahadur, Martyrdom of

November-December; during the Sikh month of Magar
Tegh Bahadur (1621-1675) was the ninth of the ten Sikh gurus, or spiritual teachers. His son, Guru Gobind Singh, was the last human guru. When Tegh Bahadur was 43 years old, he was installed as guru. The tyrant Aurangzeb was the Muslim emperor of India at the time, and his goal was to make everyone in his domain Muslim. Then, as now, most people living in India were Hindu, though there were also small populations of Sikhs, Jains, and other religious groups. Under Aurangzeb's rule, everyone was forced to convert to Islam under threat of death.
At the behest of a group of Hindu priests, Tegh Bahadur went to Delhi in November 1675 to meet with Aurangzeb, who put him in prison. Legend has it that before Tegh Bahadur was beheaded (since he would not convert to Islam), he wrote a message which read, "I gave my head but not my faith." Guru Tegh Bahadur is remembered for giving his life to preserve the integrity of the Sikh religion.
Sikhs everywhere observe his martyrdom with religious processions and pilgrimages at gurdwaras, or houses of worship, with a special devotion to him, and especially at the site of his martyrdom in Delhi where the Gurdwara Sisganj temple was built.
SOURCES:
RelHolCal-2004, p. 204
SikhFest-1989, p. 18
References in periodicals archive ?
The historical sacrifices made by Sikhs are legendary and include the martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Sikh Guru, to protect the religious freedoms of a faith other than his own.
The first and the most obvious may be that for the earliest gur-bilas authors the martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur was of recent memory, while that of Guru Arjan was not.
A certain degree of sanctity would have been thus associated with the text and its contents, which probably accounts for the fact that the martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur is sometimes lifted word-for-word from the Bachitar Natak in later gur-bilas and rahit-nama texts.