Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Guru of the Sikhs, sacrificed His life for the sake of people who did not even belong to his community. Guru Tegh Bahadur is often referred to as Hind Ki Chadar, meaning the Shield of India. He is regarded as the most selfless martyr and his martyrdom is observed on 24th November every year as Guru Tegh Bahadur Martyrdom Day.
In the year 1675, Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb at Chandni Chowk, Delhi. In the words of Noel King of the University of California, “Guru Teg Bahadur’s martyrdom was the first ever martyrdom for human rights in the world.”
Aurangzeb wanted to convert India into an Islamic nation, hence forcing the Hindus to convert to Islam else be ready to be executed. A delegation of 500 Kashmiri Pandits led by Pandit Kripa Ram went to seek help from Guru Tegh Bahadur at Anandpur Sahib.
Having known about the atrocities of Aurangzeb, Gobind Rai, the son of Guru Tegh Bahadur pronounced that there is nobody more capable than his father to solve the problems of the people of India. Guru Tegh Bahadur realized that His son is now ready to undertake the Guruship and hence, without giving a second thought, He asked the pundits to tell Aurangzeb that if he’s able to convert Guruji into Islam, everybody would follow the suit.
Guru Tegh Bahadur was then arrested and presented before the cruel ruler and upon refusal to accept Islam, Guruji and His followers were subjected to physical torture for five days at a stretch. In order to bring Him to submission, Guruji’s followers were burnt alive in front of Him. Finally, when Aurangzeb could not bring Guruji to submission, he beheaded him in broad daylight at the Chandani Chowk square.
One of Guruji’s followers carried His head to His son Gobind Rai(later known as, Guru Gobind Singh), where the rituals were performed and the other one carried His body with him at his own house and post the prayers, burnt his own House so that Aurangzeb could never find the secret of the disappeared body.
Today, Gurudwara Sis Ganj stands at the spot where Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib was executed in Chandni Chowk and Gurudwara Rakab Ganj stands at the site where his follower Lakhi Shah performed Guruji’s last rites by burning down his house.