An event that led to the Turban

An event that led to the Turban

It was today, 339 years ago, that Guru Tegh Bahadur, the 9th Guru of the Sikhs displayed an act that no other prophet had ever done. He sacrificed his life to protect the right of any individual to practice a faith of his choice and to not be pressurized into conversion. His was a sacrifice to protect the right of Hindu Pandits of Kashmir to be allowed to wear Janeau (sacred thread) and Tilak (marking on forehead), even though the tenets of Tegh Bahadur’s own belief laid no importance on these articles of faith.


Background to Guru Tegh Bahadur’s sacrifice : The Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb was on a mad rush to convert entire India to the faith that he followed, and if this meant the people had to be deprived of religious freedom, then so be it. The only choice in front of the people was to convert or loose one’s life! Under Aurangzeb’s order, the viceroy of Kashmir, Iftikhar Khan (1671–1675) carried out the policy vigorously.


A group of Kashmiri Hindu Pandits, approached Guru Tegh Bahadur in Punjab for help. On his advice, they were told to tell Aurangzeb that they would willingly convert if Tegh Bahadur could be convinced of adopt Islam. Under Aurangzeb’s orders, he was arrested in July 1675 and kept in an iron cage in Delhi for over three months, till November 1675. To break his spirit, he was tortured immensely.


To instill the highest element of fear, in front of his eyes, his three disciples were tortured to death in a most inhuman manner. Bhai Sati Das was wrapped in cotton and set to fire. Bhai Mati Das was tied to two poles and sawn alive in two parts, from his head to loin. Bhai Dayala was boiled alive in a cauldron full of water.

Guru Tegh Bahadur’s spirit to stand firm for the cause of freedom could not be weakened and when Aurangzeb failed to persuade him to abandon his faith, he was finally beheaded in public at Chandni Chowk on 24 November 1675.


This event changed the history of Sikhs, as thereafter the community adopted the Turban as a visible sign of defiance against tyranny of the rule. To Sikhs, the turban became a visual display of their internal steadfastness.


At the festive season of Holla Mohalla at Anandpur Sahib, I turned my camera to capture the variety of turbans worn by the Sikhs.

An event that led to the Turban

An event that led to the Turban

An event that led to the Turban

An event that led to the Turban

An event that led to the Turban

An event that led to the Turban

An event that led to the Turban


An event that led to the Turban


An event that led to the Turban

An event that led to the Turban


  1. Vikas Attri

    This is outstanding ..Long live the Khalsa

  2. A truly inspirational story and a wonderful set of portraits!

  3. Manpreet Singh

    Excellently worded. Thanks

  4. Jasbir Chawla

    सारी दुनिया का बोझ हम उठाते हैं

  5. Surupa Chatterjee

    Truly informative read and allowed us to visit history and owe a deep salutation to the lion that Tegh Bahadur was….

  6. dipikasen

    Thanks…never knew the true story hidden behind Guru Teg Bahadur’s Martyrdom Day…with your permission sharing the story at my wall at fb.
    This fact has connected Sikhism with Hinduism forever in the sense that whatever religion we follow does not deter us to help our fellow countrymen at their time of distress, whatever cost we have to bear for that.

  7. Surinder Gujral

    Dhan Dhan Shri Teg Bahadur Ji

    Reached Kabul yesterday from Delhi. I was informed of Shaheedi Diwas function at Karte Parwan Gurudwara in the evening. But could not attend due to security reasons………….but will surely share these photographs with the Gathering on Thursday..

  8. Gaganpreet Singh Kapula

    Awesome post!!!

  9. Rick Panesar

    This is a great post…the imagery is amazing too!

  10. Bhupinder SIngh

    What a great sacrifice it was! Just wanted to add three other great sacrifices made by Guruji’s followers around the same time and place. Bhai Mati Das ji, Bhai Sati Das ji, and Bhai Dyala ji. All three of them were cruelly tortured and killed.

  11. Geetali

    The great Guru’s sacrifices were not in vain. They laid the foundation for our syncretic beliefs and our secular society where religious tolerance is still a way of life.
    Really loved this post. Thank you for adding to my knowledge. And of course, your photos are as brilliant as ever.

  12. Ashmeet Sidhu

    Amardeep’s passion is truly commendable.

  13. Deepika Shergill

    spirit of steadfastness .. and freedom of choice.

    thanks for sharing, Amardeep Singh. brilliant portraits.

  14. Binit Tanna

    Wow ! Respect !!!

  15. Anu Lalli

    Love all the pictures clicked by him. He adds life to them. Tremendous skills.

  16. Geetali Tare

    I think Amardeep Singh is a brilliant gentleman, not just at photography, but also at thinking and empathizing with the subjects he photographs. My favourite set is the one he’s done of Harmandir saahib.

  17. Mohindra Chadha

    Super stuff, pictures as well as the narrative.
    Amardeep, you are so very gifted!!

  18. Raj Mehta

    Cannot decide which is better…The words or the pics…Compliments Amardeep. Gifted, all round person for sure.

  19. Ruchika Singh

    Good one like always.

  20. Sujinder Singh

    Long live the Khalsa ,Panth ki Jeet,Raj karcha Khalsa.

  21. rajdeep singh sabharwal

    Osm post

  22. kishore kumar Biswas

    For ages they the tyrants put out the candles of our home , of our hope. The candles became stars , immortal in our sky. The stars show us the way on which we should walk. It happened in the history of mankind in many countries , in many ages . The Truth remain the same. The tyrants went to ashes.But the light they put off with venom still burning for us .Truth is immortal.
    Amardeep presents here with brilliant photographs and notes an image of Truth that is still radiating glory for us.

  23. Mustafa

    The pics are amazing!
    long live the faith!

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