Baisakhi Gurupurab Holla Mohalla g
Holla Mohalla Gurupurab Baisakhi


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baisakhiBaisakhi is a derivative of Vaishakha. After harvesting the winter crop, the farmers of the northern states of Punjab and Haryana celebrate the beginning of another year. The day coincides with the solar equinox on the13th of April. There is boisterous dancing and loud joyous singing as the traditional folk dances of Punjab, called the Gidda and Bhangra, are performed. It is also the anniversary of the creation of the Khalsa Pantha. People collect in the evening around a bonfire to celebrate the harvest.

History has recorded the execution of Guru Teg Bahadur, the ninth guru of the Sikhs, by the Mughals, on November 11, 1675. In revolt against this injustice, his son Guru Govind Singh, who was also the tenth guru, was compelled to take up arms. He selected the auspicious day of Baisakhi to initiate this important task, by forming the order of the Khalsa. On the13th of April in 1699, at a meeting in a town named Anandpur in Punjab, the guru called upon his people to come forward to sacrifice themselves for the good of the clan. Pin-drop silence met his appeal. He repeated the call, with the same response. The third time, a thirty-year-old man named Daya Ram Khatri stood up and volunteered. The guru took Daya Ram to a tent nearby and returned alone after some time, his sword dripping blood. He repeated his call for volunteers four more times. The others who offered themselves were Dharm Das, a Jat from Delhi, Mokhan Chand, a washer man from Dwarka, Sahib Chand a barber from Bidar, and Himmat Rai, a water carrier from Jagannatha. Each of them went with him to the tent and every time he returned alone with his bloodied sword.

The guru went to the tent yet again, this time for a long time. He re-appeared followed by the five men, clad in saffron-colored garments. The crowd was astonished for it had assumed them to be dead. They sat on the dais made for the occasion, while the guru prepared water to bless them. In an iron vessel, he stirred the batasha that his wife, Mata Jitoji had put into water, with a sword called Khanda Sahib, while the congregation recited verses from their scriptures. baisakhiThe water was now considered the sacred nectar of immortality called amrita. It was first given to the five volunteers, then drunk by the guru and later distributed to the crowd. All those present, irrespective of caste or creed, became members of the Khalsa Pantha. This was also a great step in national integration because society at that time was divided on the basis of religion, caste and social status. The concept of forming a group where the origin of the individual became irrelevant was considered a very radical step. Those who had offered their lives were christened the Panch Pyare. They were directed by the guru to wear five K's: Kesh or long hair, Kangha or comb, Kripan or dagger, Kachha or shorts and a Kara or bracelet. He discontinued the tradition of gurus and asked all Sikhs to accept the Grantha Sahib as their eternal guide. He urged them to come to him with their hair and beards unshorn to get baptized by the sword. The suffix Singh derived from the Sanskrit word singha meaning 'lion', was added to the name of all male Sikhs, while the women were to call themselves Kaur, assistants to the Singh.

To pay tribute to this event, prayer meetings are organized in gurdwaras across the country. The main celebration however, takes place in the gurdwara at Anandpur Sahib, where the order was formed. At about 4 o'clock in the morning, the Guru Grantha Sahib is ceremonially taken out from its resting chambers. After a symbolic bath with milk and water, it is placed on its throne. Priests called the Panch Pyare then chant the verses that were recited by the original Panch Pyare when the order was created. Called the Panch Bani, these prayers include the Jabji Sahib, Jap Sahib, Sudha Savahiye, Chow Payee Sahib and Anandpur Sahib. While the Panch Bani is being chanted, amrita is prepared in an iron vessel, as was done by Guru Govind Singh. Devotees sip the amrita five times and vow to work for the Khalsa Panth. At noon, after the ardas, the Karah Prasad is offered to the guru for his blessings. It is then distributed to the congregation. They eat the prasad, before proceeding to participate in the guru ka langar. Believers perform kar seva. Shabads and kirtans are sung all daylong to honor Guru Govind Singh and the beloved five, the founders of the Khalsa Panth.