Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Guru of the Sikhs, sacrificed his life for the welfare of people on November 24, 1675. It is on this day when he was beheaded by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. Often referred to as Hind Ki Chadar, which means Shield of India, Guru Tegh Bahadur is considered as the most selfless martyr.
The ninth guru was beheaded in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk by Aurangzeb. The Mughal ruler wanted to convert all Indians into Muslims. He wanted everyone to either take up Islam or else be prepared for execution. After this announcement by Aurangzeb, a group of 500 Kashmiri Pandits led by Pandit Kripa Ram went to seek help from Guru Tegh Bahadur at Anandpur Sahib.
On hearing the atrocities of Aurangzeb, Gobind Rai, the son of Guru Tegh Bahadur, declared that it is only his father who can solve this problem. The ninth guru of Sikhs readily agreed to help the pandits. He asked them to inform the Mughal ruler that if he is able to convert Guru Tegh Bahadur, then all people would follow the suit.
After Aurangzeb came to know about this, Guru Tegh Bahadur was arrested and presented before the Mughal ruler. Guru Tegh Bahadur clearly refused to take up Islam. As a result, he, along with his followers, were physically tortured for five days. In order to make him submit and convert to Islam, his followers were burnt alive in front of his eyes. Despite seeing that, Guru Tegh Bahadur refused to convert. As a result, Aurangzeb beheaded him at the Chandni Chowk square in broad daylight.
After he was beheaded, one of his followers carried the head to Guru Tegh Bahadur’s son Gobind Rai. Another follower took the remaining part of the body to his house. After the prayers were performed, he burnt Guru Tegh Bahadur’s entire body along with his house.
Noel King of the University of California has called Guru Teg Bahadur’s sacrifice as the first-ever martyrdom for human rights in the world. To honour the guru, Chandni Chowk still has the site of sacrifice, just in front of Sheesh Ganj Gurudwara, named after the ninth guru.