Martyrdom of Guru Arjan dev ji | June 17, 2018 11:00 AM
Martyrdom of Guru Arjan dev ji


On 16 June 1606, the Mughal Emperor Jahangir ordered that Guru Arjan Dev Ji, the fifth Sikh Guru be tortured and sentenced to death after the Guru had refused to stop preaching his message of God as started by Guru Nanak Dev Ji. The Guru was made to sit on a burning hot sheet while boiling hot sand was poured over his body. After enduring five days of unrelenting torture, Guru Arjan Dev Ji was taken for a bath in the river. As thousands watched he entered the river, never to be seen again.

Accordingly, on the 16 of June of every year since 1606, the Sikhs commemorate the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Ji, the fifth Guru and the first Sikh Martyr. Before the arrest, torture, and martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev, the Sikhs had nothing to do with weapons or violence, as all the Sikh Gurus had taught the message of compassion, love, dedication, hard work, worship of one God, and the commitment to peace and harmony for all the peoples of the world.

During the Guruship of Guru Arjan, many thousands of the native people began to follow the teachings of Sikhism. In addition, many Hindus and Muslims, including Muslim converts, were crowding into Goindwal (the center of the Sikh faith during the late 1500s), where they too soon became Sikhs.

The Mughal clergy, who had persistently chafed Akbar for his tolerance, grew increasingly irate at the popularity of the Sikh Gurus and the growth of their following. After the death of Akbar in 1605, they saw their best chance at destroying the Sikh institution in Akbar's eldest son. Named Jahangir, meaning "world-conqueror", Akbar's son was a Muslim fundamentalist who was very taken with the idea of turning the entirety of Hindustan (the name of the Mughal kingdom in Northwestern India) into an Islamic State. The powerful Hindus associated with the Mughal Court, having seen their own power base disappear rapidly under the influence of Guru Arjun, joined the Muslim Ulema in their attempt to influence Jahangir to arrest Guru Arjan - they hoped to plunge a dagger into the heart of Sikhism.

Jahangir, with his own jealousies, promptly obliged the enemies of the Guru and many baseless allegations were brought against both Sikhism and the Guru. They accused the Sikh Granth of defaming the Hindu and Muslim religions and produced the claim that Jahangir's son and rival, the rebellious Khusrau, was aided by Guru Arjan. Khusrau was seen as a very fitting emperor of India by Akbar and many other nobles of the court, more so than the wine- and opium-loving Jahangir,

However, in the war of succession, Jahangir had won all of Hindustan and Khusrau retained only Punjab. Diwan Chandu Shah, who had finally warmed to the marriage of his daughter with Guru Arjan's son HarGobind, became inflamed at the rejection of his proposal by Guru Arjan Dev Ji. He went to Jahangir and "filled his ear with poison against the Guru."

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