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The 'Hola Mahalla' 2004: A Report


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The 'Hola Mahalla' 2004: A Report (Part One)

The 'Hola Mahalla' is very famous festival of the 'Khaalsa Panth'. The main festival 'Mahalla' is celebrated at Sri Anandpur Sahib, Punjab. This year, the 'Hola Mahalla' was celebrated on March 7, 2004.

The word 'Mahalla' has different meanings. As an Arabic word, it means 'a place on which a winner reaches'. Thus, 'Mahalla' is a place, which is occupied by an army in a battle. The other meaning, which is compatible to the Khaalsa tradition, is 'artificial attack'. So, according to this meaning, the 'Mahalla' is a military exercise or maneuvers.

The tenth Guru of the Sikh people, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Jee started the marvelous tradition of the 'Hola Mahalla'. He fixed 'first Vadi' (date) of the month of 'Chet' (an Indian month) for the maneuvers. Thus, the 'Mahalla' is more than three hundred years old tradition of the Khaalsa.

In the year of 2004 AD, the Khaalsa celebrated the 'Mahalla' with its traditional zeal. I started my journey to Sri Anandpur Sahib early in the morning. A 'Singh' Paramjit Singh Mintu was accompanying me. We were having cameras, so that we could take some photographs for the cyber 'sangat'.

On our way to Sri Anandpur Sahib, many Singhs, who were organizing the 'Guru Ka Langar', stopped us. They used to stop us and then would pray with folded hands to eat something in the 'Guru Ka Langar' organized by them. It was not possible to take food/tea/milk etc in every 'Langar', so we just thanked them for their services towards the Khaalsa.

On the road, we saw the people going to Sri Anandpur Sahib. We felt that the entire world was going to that holy city. The people were going by buses, trucks, cars, motorcycles, scooters, and bicycles; and even on foot.

Passing through the roads full with the people, we reached Sri Anandpur Sahib. First of all, we visited the holy 'Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib'. Once again, I was stood in front of the Takht Sahib, where I was given my name by the Guru Granth Sahib at Sri Takht Kesgarh Sahib. I made my prayers and visited other historic places in the city.

The Khaalsa heritage project is still under construction. Actually, I did not see any work in progress there. The government has been trying to get loans from the banks to complete the project. The chief minister of Punjab, Captain Amrinder Singh held a meeting with some bank-officers few days ago, but I do not know what was the result of this meeting.

Then, we entered one of the Nihang army camps. Many Nihang Singhs were sitting in groups and talking on different points. Many Nihangs were reciting the Gurbani. Some of them were preparing their horses for the 'Mahalla'. Some of the Nihangs were checking their traditional weapons. Some Nihangs were playing Gatka. And, yes, some of them were preparing the 'Sukh Nidhaan'.

I discussed various points with different Nihang Singhs. I went to some other 'Misals' (groups) of Nihangs too and learned what their views on different points regarding the Sikh history, tradition, 'Maryada' and present situation etc.

Then, they preformed the 'Jhatka' for me, so that I could see what is the real system of 'Jhatka' in Nihang Singhs. They brought a goat there to do its 'Jhatka'.

A Nihang Singh started to recite the 'Vaar Sri Bhagautee Jee Kee' (Sri Chandee Dee Vaar) on the place where 'Jhatka' was to be done.

After reciting the 'Chandee Dee Vaar', A Nihang Singh took his sword and did the 'Jhatka' in a second. In a single blow of the sword, the head of the goat was cut off.

Then, I went to another group of Nihang Singhs and met their Jathedar Baba Bawa Singh Jee. He was a very humble and soft-spoken 'Guru Ka Singh'. I discussed some of 'Panthak' matters with him.

They offered me the 'Sukh-Nidhaan' with respect, but I thanked them and said that I do not drink 'Sukh-Nidhaan'.

Then, I went where a Nihang Singh was preparing 'Sukh-Nidhaan' and witnessed how the 'Sukh-Nidhaan' is prepared.

Then, I decided to see what was happening in markets and other places. I got permission from Nihang Singhs to go to see the festivity of the 'Hola' in the markets. They allowed me to go and ordered me to get back before 2:30 PM, because on 3:00 PM, the 'Mahalla' was to be started.

The markets of the city were full of people. There were shops selling different things, but the traditional weapons, the Gurbani audiocassettes were in demand. Some people were selling the 'Sukha' openly. They were not the Nihangs. Any Nihang was not drinking their 'Sukha' either. The ordinary people were purchasing 'Sukha' from these retailers.

(To be continued)

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Guest Javanmard

Mr SIngh I really don't mean any offense but I am just going to ignore you from now on as you just keep on misquoting me or confusing me with other people. Of course Nihangs do gatka for show for that's waht gatka is all there for : show!!! Shastarvidya is a martial art, gatka is show!!!

Sorry to have to come to such measures! take care!

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I discussed various issues, like 'Keski', 'Sri Raagmala', 'Sri Dasam Granth Sahib' etc.

But, main topic was how the Nihang Singhs can spread their views in this age of internet. The discussions are still going on, so we did not find any solution yet. If you have any idea, please share with us. We will be thankful to you.

Some of the discussions were 'Gupt', so cannot be shared.

Regards.

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Final Blow. Personally, I had to close my eyes while posting this picture.. bachari goat :cry: ... But in spirit of puratan maryada i m posting this picture :D. I hope goat come back as Nihang Singh :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

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