GALLERY 11: New Directions In Sikhism

Manifesting the dual philosophy, Guru Hargobind constructed the Akal Takht (the seat of the Guru) facing the Darbar Sahib (the religious sanctum). He is also known to initiate the process of militarization of the Sikhs, to enable them to fight against injustice and tyranny. Threatened by this rising Sikh militancy, Emperor Jehangir imprisoned Guru Hargobind in Gwalior Fort, but was later compelled to release not just him, but on the Guru's relentlessness, all other imprisoned chieftains also. This act of political justice earned Guru Hargobind the epithet of Bandi Chhodd Padshah, the liberator of the imprisoned kings.

Under Guru Hargobind, Sikhism spread as far as Lucknow, Ujjain, Gwalior, Patna and Dhaka.

To protect the Sikh community from atrocities of the Mughals, the Guru also constructed the Lohgarh Fort. Under his leadership, Sikh warriors forced the Mughal armies to retreat in three successive battles. The Guru finally settled at Keeratpur, where he nominated his grand-son, Har Rai as the next Guru.

Guru Har Rai became aware of the corruption that was creeping into the practices of the Manjis, seats of propagation of Sikhism. He thereafter set out to establish personal contacts with the devotees.

When asked to appear before Aurangruzeb to clarify a certain verse of the Gurbani which criticized the Quran, Guru Har Rai sent his son Ram Rai as his representative. In order not to offend the Emperor, Ram Rai changed the aforesaid verse.

When Guru Har Rai learned about his son's moral cowardice, he disinherited him and bestowed the Guruship to his younger son Har Krishan.

Ram Rai conspired with the Mughals that Guru Har Krishan be summoned to Delhi and be pressurized to relinquish the Guruship. The Guru arrived in Delhi where an epidemic of small pox was ravaging. While serving the diseased along with a band of self-sacrificing Sikhs, Guru Har Krishan succumbed to the disease himself. Before he departed this mortal world, he spoke the two words, Baba Bakale. This nomination chose his grand uncle Tegh Bahadur, who was accepted as the ninth Guru.

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