WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 24: Freedom of religion may be a right most Americans take for granted, but for Sikhs, that right is especially sacred; and through today’s remembrance of the martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadar, Sikhs define the preciousness of that right. In 1669, the Mughal ruler Aurangzeb began persecuting any non-Muslim in his territory, and Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadar stepped up to the plate to defend other religious communities. When Hindus were being threatened and harassed for their religious practices, the ninth Sikh guru gave his life for the right of these Hindus. Perhaps most importantly, Guru Tegh Bahadar’s sacrifice defined not only a Sikh’s devotion to his own religion—and an example of how all Sikhs should regard their religion—but also an example of how Sikhs should behave when faced with religious injustice. (Learn more at Sikhs.org.)
Today, Sikhs hold processions and sing Kirtans for the ninth guru. According to a source from SikhNet, Tegh Bahadar’s name means “master of the sword”—but he was “master of the spiritual sword.” A Sikh gurdwara, or place of worship, now stands where the ninth guru was martyred.