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Historical connections -- Vesakhi & Sikhs.

Due to the changing lunar positioning of the Sun, the first day after, on Sangrand, is referred to as the 1st day of Vesakh.

On Vesakhi day, the sun enters another tier of lunar system, and gets brighter. The spring begins.

Among the Hindu community, festivities like Das purab, Ashtami, Chau ds, Amawas, Puranmashi, Sangrand, Utraiin, Dakhrain, Chander grehan takes place in the month of Vesakh.

In Sikh religion, there is no special status attached to any day or month, but those that are historically attached to Sikhs, are all considered times for uttering the Gurbani and learning.

"kurbani tina gursikhan, bhae bhagat gurpurab kr'ande"

"I am a sacrifice unto those GurSikhs who celebrate Guru's anniversaries with full devotion." 

Sikh historical connection to Vesakhi -stems from beyond 1699.

It was in the Vesakhi of 1508 Guru Nanak Ji, during the course of his first UDASI, arrived at Haridwar, and shared the message of the TRUTH with the people.

It was in March 1509, Guru Nanak ji arrived at Gaya, and taught the people to stop praying to long departed dead, and instead to do the sewa of the old and aged and meditate upon the NAAM of WAHEGURU.

Guru Nanak Ji celebrated the festivity of Vesakhi among the people in 1511 & 1512. It was in this period Raja Shivram became a follower of Guru Nanak's message.

The 1514 Vesakhi Guru nanak Ji was at Nasik and in 1515 Vesakhi he was at Pushpar, where he gave the message of mediatating upon good deeds in community, and indulging upon the NAAM of WAHEGURU.

Guru Amardas sat up the Goindwal Bauli sahib; A centre of rest and cool water/refreshment for travelers!

On request from Bhai Paro and Bhai Bloo, he directed the sangats to gather at GOINDVAL SAHIB, for the 1567 Vesakhi. This was the first Vesakhi celebrated as a community.

Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji's wedding to Mata Nanaki Ji took place on Vesakhi day in 1613, at Bakala. Mata Nanaki was the daughter of Sri Hari Chand.

"Visakh partham tab charri brata, nagr beech sj Guru Hargobind"

"On the first of Visakh, the wedding party came in the village, awaiting was beautiful Mata ji."

According to the original Gurbilas patshahi shev'n, a Vesakhi mela used to take place in His period.

Mela bhyo Vesakhi bahri, ke darshan fl paye chari,
Har Gobind gurdas kirpal, sabh sangat ko kyo nihaal"

"Large Vesakhi mela takes place, whoever present there was blessed by Hargobind himself blessing, and the sangat was delighted." 

On the Vesakhi of 1664, Guru Tegh Bahadur, on the request of Bhai Makhan Shah Lubana, made his presence known and became the Guru sahib.

At the Vesakhi 1676, Guru Gobind Singh was engaged in Anandpur Sahib, to Bibi Jito, daughter of Bhai Harjas from Lahore.

In 1676, on Vesakhi day, Bhai Ram Koer, gave the tilak blessing for the Gurgaddi-Guruship to Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

In the Vesakhi of 1679, Bhai Dunni Chand came from Kabul, along with the Kabli Sangat to have darshan of Guru Gobind Singh ji.They presented the Guru with a canopy worth over 25,000 rupees. Such a beautiful canopy was not even found among the highest royal courts of India.

In 1682, Bhai Nand Lal ji came for the first time to seek blessings from Guru Ji, and presented Him, his own writings called Bandgi Nama. The Guru Ji accepted it, renaming it Zindagi Nama.

"Bandgi nama kr tiar liyae satuguru bhet, dhra naam zindagi nama, bandgi nama mett"

"Having prepared the 'meditation prayer', he presented to the Guru who renamed it 'Lifes Nectar', eradicating the 'Meditational Prayer" 

On the Vesakhi of 1684, a marriage requested by the parents of Bibi Sundri, daughter of Ram Sarn, with a commitment to the Guru, took place.

In the Vesakhi of 1691, the Hill Rajas invited Guru Ji to visit them at Rawalsar. There the princess of Chamba, Padma, after a gracious meeting with the Guru, became a Sikh.

In 1699, the Vesakhi of the KHALSA took place at Anandpur Sahib. On that Auspicious day, Guru Ji demanded five heads, and created the Khalsa. This is the magnificently, near miraculous Vesakhi of the Khalsa, which led to the downfall and end of the foreign invasions and rulers, and the Khalsa rule came about.

"Gobind Singh kri Khushi sangat kri nihaal,
kiyo pargat khalsa chukiyo sarb janzaal"

[Guru Sobha, Senapti]

"Gobind Singh blessed happiness, the sangat was delighted as the Khalsa was revealed, the chains of slavery lifted." 

The Vesakhi of 1706, was the last Vesakhi at Talwandi Sabo, Damdama sahib in the region of Malwa by Guru Gobind Singh. It is said that 120,000 people were initiated into the Khalsa brotherhood on this day.

According to Trump, Banda Singh Bahadur called for Sikh gathering at Anandpur Sahib on the Vesakhi of 1714, where an in depth dialogue among the Sikhs took place discussing the future and the challenges facing the Panth/community.

On the Vesakhi of 1721, Mata Sundari sent Bhai Mani Singh to AMRITSAR, to take charge of the Harmander Sahib and Akal Takhat.

Divisions appeared between Bandaii Khalsa and the Tat Khalsa. Bhai Mani Singh resolved these disagreements at Har Ki Pauri by dropping pieces of paper into water and picking one up. Present along with Bhai Mani Singh were Bhai Hazara Singh, Bhai Darbara Singh and Bhai Tara Singh.

After Bhai Tara Singh of Village Vaahn's demise, at the Vesakhi of 1726, the Panth rallied and met at the Akal Takhat. There an historic gurmatta was passed to confront the tyrant Mughal empire, ransack their ammunition dumps, grab the horses, and put an end to anti-Panthic elements. It was also on this occasion of Vesakhi, Bhai Kapur Singh Nawab, took the vows of the Khalsa, and initiated into a Khalsa, from Bhai Mani Singh ji.

On the Vesakhi of 1733, with permission from the Mughal regime at Delhi, the evil tyrant Zakaria Khan, offered in writing, through Sardar Subheg Singh, the title of 'Nawab' and sent a jagir-gift of land, to the Khalsa panth.

The Khalsa panth met and through a Gurmatta passed, handed the nawabi to Sardar Kapur Singh, for his sewa to the Panth. The Jathedar of the Panth at that time was Sr Darbara Singh. In 1734, after the demise of Sr Darbara Singh, Sr Kapur Singh Ji Nawab was appointed the Jathedar of the Sikh nation/Panth. The Nawabi ended in 1735, when the tyrant Mughals escalated their killings and tyranny against the Sikhs.

In 1746, on Vesakhi, the Sikhs had gathered at Rauri Sahib, Eminabad. Pro Mughal Diwan Lakhpat Rai's brother, Jaspat tried to stop Lakhpat from attacking, but he went ahead and attacked. A battle ensued where a Sikh, Nethahu Singh climbed up the elephant after holding on to the tail, and killed Zakaria Khan. The Sikhs bands, then withdrew to the jungles of Kahnuwaan. LakhPat Rai, leading the Mughal Army attacked the Sikhs in the Kahnuwaan jungles, by setting fires to large tracts of land, and encircling them with huge numbers of mughal army. 10,000s of Sikhs with children and women were martyred at Kahnuwaan. This incident is known as the chota ghallughara- The Minor Massacre.

In the Vesakhi of 1747, the Khalsa boldly gathered at the Akal Takhat, and passed a Gurmatta to build a fort, near Amritsar Ramsar, at a place Ram Raouni.

Sardar Jassa Singh was given the duty to build the fort. Later this fort was given the name RAMGARH, and he became popularly known as Jassa Singh Ramgarhia.

At the Vesakhi of 1748, the Khalsa again gathered at the Akal Takhat openly, and passed a Gurmatta, to end the 65 groups the Sikhs were divided into, and form only 11 groups, that later became known by the name of "Misals"-or confederacies.

A National Sikh army of the misals collectively known as DAL KHALSA was set up.

At the Vesakhi of 1753, the Sikhs collectively gathered at Anandpur Sahib. The ruler of Jalandher, Adina Beg, along with the Nawab of Sirhind, Sadiq Beg, attacked the Sikhs. They were unsuccessful and the Sikhs managed to escape without serious harm.

At the Vesakhi of 1754, after the death of Sr Nawab Kapur Singh, Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia was appointed the Jathedar of the Panth.

At the Vesakhi of 1760, the Sikhs again came together at Amritsar and made a Gurmatta, that they would attack Lahore and liberate the Punjab from the occupational Mughal Army.

For the Vesakhi of 1762, the Sikhs gathered at Amritsar in larger numbers than usual. Ahmad Shah Abdali launched a sudden attack, upon the Harmander Sahib. A fierce battle took place between a large number of Abdali's forces and the smaller bands of Sikhs, but again the Sikhs managed to escape. Abdali became angry and he destroyed the Harmander Sahib.

The Sikhs again gathered at the Akal Takhat Sahib for the Vesakhi of 1763. It was at this point a brahman from Kasur arrived to complain to the Khalsa that his newly wed wife was kidnapped by the Nawab of Kasur. The Sikhs decided, through a Gurmatta, that they will rescue the lady, and will attack Kasur. They attacked Kasur, and rescued the lady, and handed her back to her husband, despite loosing some men.

In the Vesakhi of 1764, the Khalsa Panth decided, through a Gurmatta, that an attack upon Sirhind was necessary. It was at this same Vesakhi that Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia relaid the foundation stone of the Harmander Sahib.

At the Vesakhi of 1765, the Sarbat Khalsa gathered and passed a Gurmatta, that Lahore should be captured and brought under the control of the Panth. It was also decided at this Vesakhi that the sarowar -[pool of water ] be cleaned and the Harmander Sahib rebuilt.

In 1775, the entire Panth collected at Amritsar. The Sikhs had established the Misal rule in the Punjab by now. A large blanket was laid in front of the Akal Takhat, and 700,00 rupees was collected. Bhai Des Raj of Sur Singh Wala was appointed to carry out the rebuilding of the Harmander Sahib - he was a descendant from Bhai Bidhi Chand's family .

1781 Vesakhi -The Sikhs attacked Delhi, capturing Barapet, Shahdhra and Partapganj etc areas.

By the Vesakhi of 1801, the jathedar of Shukerchakia Misal Ranjit Singh, captured Lahore and was blessed, through royal assent, with the title of 'Maharajah Sahib' by Baba Sahib Singh Bedi at the Lahore Fort.

At the Vesakhi of 1816, Mahrajah Ranjit Singh Sher-E-Punjab appointed Prince Kanvar Kharak Singh, as his successor.

At the Vesakhi of 1857, one month before the Mutiny, Baba Ram Singh reignited the Khalsa tradition of Khalsa initiation at Bheni Sahib. On this occasion he also raised a pure white Flag, declaring independence from the British.

On the Vesakhi of 1862, Baba Ram Singh arrived at Amritsar, with thousands of followers to conduct an ardas. But acting on British instructions, the Pujaris of Harmander Sahib did not allow his ardas to be conducted.

The rulers of the Sikh Royal States gathered at Amritsar on the Vesakhi of 1904. Maharajah Hira Singh of Nabha, personally made an impassioned plea to the Panth for collection of monies to set up the Khalsa College in Amritsar.

In 1919 Vesakhi, the most inhumane and murderous act by the British took place where over 1,350 innocent women, men and children, [about 70% Sikh], were murdered on orders of Gen. Dyer at Jallianwala Bhag.

On 1924, Vesakhi day, a do or die jatha of 500 Sikhs, left for Gangsar, for the Morcha [stuggle for control of Sikh Gurduaras] at Jaito.

A historical Sarbat Khalsa took place on the Vesakhi of 1947, where Master Tara Singh and leaders of 280 Akali Jathas took an oath written in blood to protect the Gurduaras amid rising violence from Muslims on non-Muslims throughout the Punjab, via Shahidi jathas.

On 13th of April 1973, a Sikh procession numbering well over 500,000 completed it's journey along the newly declared Guru Gobind Singh Marag ending at Damdama Sahib, after starting from Anandpur Sahib on the 10th of April 1973.

On 13th of April 1976 Vesakhi, a jatha led by Jathedar Mohan Singh Tur, marched against the emergency declared by Indira Gandhi, and offered it's arrest. Sant Harchand Singh Longowal became the Morcha dictator after the arrest of Mohan Singh Tur.

The Vesakhi of 1978 was the second most bloody event in the last century, after Jallianwalla Bagh, when 13 unarmed Sikhs protesting against the anti-Sikh activities by apostate Nirankaris, were shot dead in Amritsar. Over 100 Sikhs were injured. It should be remembered this tragic event took place when the Punjab government was run by the Akali party.

In 1981, the Talwandi Akali Dal launched a Morcha for the Anandpur Resolution to be implemented, from the Gurduara Sahib Rakab Ganj. This morcha/agitation continued till the Dharam Yudh Morcha was launched.

In the Vesakhi of 1983, a large gathering took place, at the Harmander Sahib, to launch the Dharam Yudh Morcha, and volunteers were sought and registered for the forth coming agitation.

Since then a number of events have taken place at Vesakhi, including the declaration of Khalistan and many other intentions, but these are for another chapter.

Editor's note: This article was originally published on April 21st 2015

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