Who are Nihang Sikhs?

timer
1 min read
Who are Nihang Sikhs? Blog Image

Overview:

Amid the recent standoff between the protesting farmers and the government, Nihang Sikh warriors have joined the protest, extending support to farmers facing off with security forces.

About Nihang Sikhs

  • Nihangs, or Nihang Singhs, originally known as Akalis or Akali Nihangs, are a distinct warrior order within the Sikh community, known for their martial traditions, unique attire, and adherence to a specific code of conduct.
  • They have a rich history dating back to the times of Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Sikh Guru.
  • They are easily recognizable by their distinctive blue attire, which includes blue robes, high turbans adorned with steel quoits (chakrams), and they often carry traditional weapons like swords, spears, and daggers.
  • They are highly skilled in Gatka martial arts and have historically served as a dedicated and elite force to protect Sikh shrines and communities.
  • Nihangs had a major role in defending the Sikh Panth after the fall of the first Sikh rule (1710-15), when Mughal governors were killing Sikhs, and during the onslaught of Afghan invader Ahmed Shah Durrani (1748-65).
  • Current Status:
    • Nihangs are today divided into several groups, each with its own “chhaoni” (cantonment), but are loosely organised into two “dals” (forces)—Buddha Dal and Taruna Dal, names initially given to the two sections into which the ‘Khalsa’ army was divided in 1733.
    • The Buddha Dal has its headquarters at Talvandi Sabo, in Bathinda district, while the principal cantonment of the Taruna Dal Nihangs is at Baba Bakala in Amritsar district.
    • Anandpur Sahib, the birthplace of the Khalsa, remains the main centre of Nihang gatherings.
    • They assemble there in the thousands in March every year to celebrate Hola Mahalla, a Sikh festival introduced by Guru Gobind Singh. 
    • On that occasion, they hold tournaments of military skills, including mock battles. 

Q1) Who was Guru Gobind Singh?

He was the 10th and last human Guru of the Sikhs. Born as Gobind Rai on December 22, 1666, in Patna, Bihar, Guru Gobind Singh was the son of the ninth Guru of Sikhism, Guru Teg Bahadur. He became the spiritual and temporal leader of the Sikhs on November 11, 1675, at the age of nine, following the martyrdom of his father, Guru Tegh Bahadur, at the hands of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in 1675. He was renowned as a warrior, a poet, and a prophet. He is fondly remembered by Sikhs as a defender of the faith and a champion of equality and justice.Among his notable contributions to Sikhism are founding the Sikh warrior community called Khalsa in 1699.

Source: Nihang Sikh Warriors Join Farmers Protest, Spotted Practicing With Spears and Shields