Happy Baisakhi everyone! This Punjabi harvest festival heralds a change of season and change of mood. It is also the start of the Hindu New Year– a time to celebrate the Spring Harvest and all that is new. For us Sikhs, it has particular significance as the date when our Khalsa panth was founded in 1699.
THE ORIGINS OF THE KHALSA PANTH:
Here’s a little lesson in history, for those unaware of the origins of Sikhism. Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the 10th guru of the Sikhs, organised this hitherto peaceful religious group into a militaristic sect, to fight the gross religious atrocities and injustice meted out by the Mughal rulers. The Guru called on five men whom he christened the ‘Panj Piaras’, to act as symbols of this transition from a peaceful religious order to one that fights injustice at all cost. He also advocated the adoption of five tangible symbols that would help physically identify Sikhs, so one could turn to them for protection if needed. These symbols are known as the 5 K’s-
Kes– long hair as a marker of identity
Kanga– Comb for grooming
Kirpan– a small sword to be used as a weapon
Kaccha– a pair of shorts that would allow free movement during horse-riding
Kara– steel bangle to be worn on the right wrist, which can be used as weapon if needed
Though we have come a long way from the exigencies of those times, the Sikh religion continues to uphold its basic principles of fighting social injustice of all kind. Equality between classes, castes and genders is the bedrock of Sikhism.
JALLIANWALA BAGH MASSACRE:
Unfortunately, this festival is marked by tragedy as well. The horrid Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919 took place on this fateful day, when a large crowd of people collected to celebrate Baisakhi in a public ground, in the city of Amritsar in Punjab.
The British government ruling India at the time, feared that large congregations posed a threat to the peaceful working of their regime. Hence, they outlawed gatherings of this nature. Local people weren’t aware of these draconian laws to public freedom and met a horrific fate, when General Dyer ruthlessly gunned down hundreds of innocents. The only means of escape from the public park were jumping down a well, running through a crowded narrow entry lane, or climbing a wall to the other side. It was one of the largest unprovoked human tragedies of the last century.
The coronavirus national lockdown imposed in India, is supposed to end tomorrow i.e. April 14, and in an ideal world, Baisakhi would have been the best way to celebrate this news. However, it seems likely that lockdown will continue till the end of the month but with slight variations.
Hence, even if we can’t celebrate this festival as a community, I feel we should celebrate its spirit in true form. I believe a positive change in the coronavirus situation is around the corner, and I’m hoping this belief will manifest to reality. So, in the spirit of Baisakhi, will you join virtual hands with me to send this message out to the universe? Let’s bring our collective positive conscience together to fight this pandemic and all the chaos it has caused on various levels.
This is also my tip to beat lockdown blues today- let’s collectively put forth positive intent into the universe, to beat the virus!
I had intended to write a different post today, but I’m enjoying selecting my topics on the basis of what the day presents me. As I was inundated with Baisakhi Whatsapp messages, it seemed the right subject to write on for the day. I hope you found this post interesting and instructional.
As for my regular recommendations, here’s a book that I have loved with the letter L:
“Life of Pi” by Yann Martel is another Booker Prize winning novel, that I absolutely loved reading. This philosophical tale of survival in the most trying situations, can teach us lessons to survive the current ordeal we are all going through. I highly recommend this book and also the movie adaptation of it.
A TV show that I highly recommend:
“Lost” is a science fiction TV show that took the world by storm when it released in the mid-2000s. The show is about a group of people stranded on an island after their plane crashes. They learn to survive while navigating the strange place they are stranded in, devoid of any means of communication with the outside world. Its great production value, fabulous cast and thought-provoking storyline make it a must-watch.
That’s it for today folks!
Do check out my daily update videos on Instagram Stories for #LockdownWithTheLadyLawyer and follow me there to stay better connected. Also tell me your favourite TV Shows/ movies/ books/ bloggers with the letter L?
Laa Gon till tomorrow!
This post has been written for the #AtoZChallenge 2020. My theme this year is #LockdownWithTheLadyLawyer, where I’m journaling my thoughts during the coronavirus lockdown, and sharing numerous recommendations that will help keep your spirits up.
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