Why BAAL DIWAS is celebrated on December 26

  • By Dr (Major) Nalini Janardhanan
  • March 4, 2024
  • Briefly know about the four sons of Guru Govind Singhji who were killed during Aurangzeb reign. In their honour is celebrated Veer Baal Diwas.

Guru Govind Singh (1666– 1708 C.E.) became the 10th Sikh Guru after his father, Guru Tegh Bahadur, sacrificed his life to protect the freedom of worship of Hindus, who were being threatened with conversion or death by Muslim rulers. Guru Govind Singh was a saint with intense devotion to God, a soldier, and a leader of firm spiritual principles. He was inspired to write many powerful spiritual compositions that infused a martial spirit in the people. 

Plaque at Siachen War Memorial. Guru Govind Singhji prayer to Shivji. 2016.

In 1699, he initiated five men (Bhai Sahib Singh, Bhai Dharam Singh, Bhai Himmat Singh, Bhai Mohkam Singh, Bhai Daya Singh) from lower castes, as His Five Beloveds (Panch Pyare), blessing them with great courage as well as nearness to God. They became models for the Khalsa, the Order of the Pure. It was an elite warrior band of initiated devout orthodox Sikhs whose duty was to protect the innocent from religious persecution.


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Under the inspiration of the Tenth Master, the Sikhs grew in strength and conviction, taking their place as the light of the world. Guru Govind Singh instructed the Sikhs to regard the Guru Granth Sahib as their teacher. Guru Govind Singh Jayanti is celebrated by Sikhs as the birthday of their tenth and last guru, Guru Govind Singh. On this day, large processions and special prayer gatherings are held at all gurudwaras. This year, January 17 was celebrated as Guru Govind Singh Jayanti.


This article was first published in the Bhavan’s Journal.


Baba Ajit Singh, Baba Jujhar Singh, Baba Zorawar Singh and Baba Fateh Singh, the four Sahibzade (Khalsa Warrior Princes), were the sons of Guru Govind Singh. All four of them lived with their parents in the city of Anandpur.


Album   Keshgarh Sahib Gurdwara, Anandpur


They learned the skills of a soldier, a saint, a scholar and a statesman at the feet of their glorious father. Every evening they would gather their friends and practise the arts of sword-fighting and archery. They were initiated into the Khalsa, and all were executed by Mughal forces before the age of 19.


Baba Ajit Singh, born on January 26, 1687, was the eldest of the four sons of Guru Govind Singh. His name ‘Ajit’ means ‘Invincible’. It was in the battle of Chamkaur that he was martyred at the age of 18. He had fought like a valiant soldier.


Read   About Battle of Chamkaur


Baba Jujhar Singh, the second son, was born on March 14, 1691. The name ‘Jujhar’ means ‘Warrior’. Like his elder brother, Baba Jujhar Singh also fought valiantly and achieved martyrdom at the age of 14. 


Baba Zorawar Singh, the third son, was born on November 17, 1696. The name ‘Zorawar’ means ‘Brave’. He was martyred at the age of nine. 


Baba Fateh Singh, the fourth son, was born on February 25, 1699. The name ‘Fateh’ means ‘Victory’. He achieved martyrdom, at the age of seven, at Sirhind Fatehghar along with his older brother Zorawar. 


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The Nawab was forcing them to change their faith and adopt Islam. However, the young but fearless sons of Guru kept refusing the threats and offers. The brave boys survived being bricked up alive, but then the order was given for them to be beheaded. The mother of Guru Govind Singh Ji, Mata Gujri, also achieved martyrdom in the cold tower of Sirhind on hearing the sacrifice of her grandsons.


Hearing about this heart-breaking news, Guru Govind Singh said that thousands were still alive as he considered every devotee as his son. He consoled his wives by saying, “Ajit Singh, Jujhar Singh, Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh have given their lives for truth and righteousness and have obtained liberation. So why should the mothers of such heroes weep? Your sons have gone with honour to that eternal state of bliss. Having performed the work of the Akal Purakh, they have now returned home to Him. Therefore, accept God’s Will as the best of all things. Instead of your children, I present you with all my Sikhs as brave and worthy sons.”


It is believed that there was one Nawab who opposed the decision of Aurangzeb. He was the Nawab of Malerkotla. He said, “Govind Singh is our enemy and we must fight him, but killing his innocent children is not right. I will not be a part of this.” Despite being his enemy, Guru Govind Singh admired his courage for standing up against the Nawab of Sirhind. He blessed Malerkotla that it may enjoy religious harmony.

Sikhism honours the illustrious martyred sons of Guru Govind Singh in the prayer of Ardas for their valour and sacrifice as ‘Char Sahibzade’, the four princes of the Khalsa warrior order. Such were the sons of the Guru who stood bravely in the wake of torture and tyranny and also stood firm on the path of righteousness. The four Sahibzade have inscribed their names in Indian history in golden letters! 


December 26 was declared as ‘Baal Diwas’ in tribute to the four brave sons of Guru Govind Singh. Their bravery strengthens us, their sacrifice inspires us, and their love of the Guru guides us


Baba Deep Singh, head cut off in fight with Jamal Khan. Holding head in hand he reached Hari Mandir.


This article was first published in the Bhavan’s Journal, 16 February 2024 issue. This article is courtesy and copyright Bhavan’s Journal, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai-400007. eSamskriti has obtained permission from Bhavan’s Journal to share. Do subscribe to the Bhavan’s Journal – it is very good.


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