"Khalsa mero Roop Hai Khaas, Khaalse meh hau karau nivaas. "
Guru Teg Bahadur was the first martyr for human rights: As the martyrdom day of ninth Sikh master, Guru Teg Bahadur, is being observed on Wednesday, only a few may know that he was the first martyr for human rights, who attained martyrdom for defending the rights of followers of a different faith to practice their faith.
It was around a century before the popular quotation, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”, attributed to French writer, deist and philosopher Voltaire, that the ninth master demonstrated it literally.
Ironically, this statement became more popular in the world than its real demonstration, which preceded it a century ago in the Indian subcontinent.
“Guru Teg Bahadur was undisputedly the first martyr for human rights. His martyrdom was unparalleled in world history as never before somebody had laid down life to defend the right of followers of another faith to practice their faith,”
“It was his martyrdom in 1675 that forcible conversion of Hindus to Islam under the rule of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb could be checked,”
After guru Teg Bahadur laid down his life, Pandit Kirpa Ram Dutt, heading a delegation of Kashmiri Pandits, had approached the Guru to protect them from forcible conversion and later became a Khalsa. He then became Kirpa Singh and attained martyrdom in the battle of Chamkaur in presence of Guru Teg Bahadur’s son and tenth Sikh master, Guru Gobind Singh. Later Guru Gobind Singh sacrificed his four sons for the righteous cause and to end tyranny.