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Akali Nihang Guru Gobind Sahib Ji Maharaj (1675 -1708)
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The ten year-old son of Akali Guru Tegh Bahadur, Gobind Rai (later known as Akali Nihang Guru Gobind Singh) succeeded him as the tenth Sikh Guru. From the beginning the ministry of Akali Nihang Guru Gobind Singh was fiercely imbued with 'Bir Ras' (warrior essence). The religious persecutions of minorities by Aurangzeb was at its height and the whole of India was being driven to revolt by the mad cap state policies of Aurangzeb.

'Kalgidhar' Akali Nihang Guru Gobind Singh
A painting done in the Persian style depicting the Guru
with his beloved 'Baj' (hawk) and adorned with a 'Kalgi' (plume)

The Shia Muslims in southern India were revolting. The Hindu Marhattas in central India were revolting. The Hindu Ahoms in Assam were revolting. In the Punjab, the torch of revolt would be lit by Akali Nihang Guru Gobind Singh. The Guru was no mere warrior alone, he was a great poet, musician and spiritual leader.

His aim was to prepare the Sikhs physically for overcoming religious bigotry, fanaticism, fundamentalism and evil forces. He also sought to spiritually, intellectually and psychologically prepare the Sikhs for these battles.

Anandpur Sahib
The great warrior Guru initiated warriors into the
Akali Nihang Khalsa Panth at Anandpur Sahib, Punjab in 1699(?)

For this aforementioned end, he employed numerous scholars to translate all manner of ancient Indian religious, philosophical, political, martial, strategic, medical, classical musical texts, etc., into the common man’s language and in turn spread their wisdom. The Guru understood that it was ignorance that bred religious intolerance, bigotry, fanaticism and superstitions that snared mankind.

In time he altered the structure of the original Sikh army of the Akal Bunga of the Akalis, the Akal Sena, by diving its soldiers into Akali Nihangs and Nihangs.

Akali Nihang Singh Khalsa
A painting of 3 Akali Nihangs in their traditional 'baana' (uniform)
adorned with 'chakars' (quoits), 'toradars' (matchlock rifles) and 'teghas' (swords)

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