Bandi Chhor Diwas(Festival)! On Diwali Sikhs remember and mark the release of the Sixth Nanak, Guru Hargobind Sahib jee, from the Gwalior Fort along with 52 Rajas (kings) who were innocent political prisoners. Guru Sahib was known as “Bandi Chhor” (The Liberator). Today also marks the martyrdom of Shaheed Bhai Mani Singh jee. Read more about the history of Bandi Chhor Diwas here.What do we learn from Bandi-Chhor Diwas?
Sunday marks Remembrance Day when the world remembers those soldiers who gave up their tomorrow for our today. The Sikhs did not just fight for their own freedom in India, but they also fought for the freedom of others who lived in foreign lands through volunteering to fight against tyrants threatening the world. This is where the colour that Guru Hargobind Sahib jee filled within the Sikhs comes to light. The British had oppressed the Sikhs and Panjab (as well as having some good times), but nevertheless, the Sikhs rose to give sacrifices for freedom, liberty and justice. This is the blessings of Guru Hargobind Sahib jee.
“Finally we that live on can never forget those comrades who, in giving their lives gave so much that is great to the story of the Sikh Regiment. No living glory can transcend that of their supreme sacrifice.May they rest in peace.
In the last two World Wars 83,005 turban wearing Sikh soldiers were killed and 109,045 were wounded. they all died or were wounded for the freedom of Britain and the World, enduring shell fire with no other protection but the turban, the symbol of their faith”
General Sir Frank Messervy, K.C.S.I., K.B.E., C.B., D.S.O.
Photos from World War I
Sikh soldiers using gas masks while defending Ieper in April, 1915. On 22nd April 1915 at 5 p.m. the 2nd Battle of Ypres began with the first successful gas attack in history. (Note: they did not compromise their turban or sacred hair.)
Photos from World War II
War Memorials in Memory of Sikhs
Memorial in Coventry, UK. This 22ft marble monument which incorporates the insignia of all the Sikh Regiments which served in the Army from 1850 until 1945 stands in the middle of a traffic island on the Stoney Stanton Road at the crosspoint of the North South Road in Coventry. It is a unique monument marking 200 years of Sikh involvement in British history and the last two world wars.
Memorial in Brighton, UK. The Chattri, a small domed shaped monument on the Downs near Patcham. During the Great War, many Indian soldiers were treated for their injuries in Brighton. Those Sikh and Hindu soldiers who did not survive were cremated on the Downs above the town. In 1921 a memorial to these soldiers, built on the spot where the funeral pyre had been, was unveiled by the Prince of Wales. An inscription in Urdu, Hindi and English says:
“To the memory of all Indian soldiers who gave their lives for their King-Emperor in the Great War, this monument, erected on the site of the funeral pyre where Hindus and Sikhs who died in hospital at Brighton passed through the fire, is in grateful admiration and brotherly affection dedicated”