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Sanatan Sikhi Nihungs-Nihangs - Their Amazing Role In Sikh-History

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by Neutral Singh, Jul 16, 2005.

  1. Neutral Singh

    Neutral Singh
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    Jun 1, 2004
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    Nihang is a Persian word meaning - Crocodile. Nihangs were suicide squads of the Mughal army and wore blue uniforms. The Sikhs took the name and the uniform from the Mughals. Nihangs constitute an order of Sikhs who, abandoning the fear of death, are ever ready for martyrdom and remain unsullied by worldly possessions. A Nihang is one who has nothing and is free from anxiety. The order is said to have been founded by Guru Gobind Singh himself as a fighting body of the Khalsa. The Nihangs were also called Akalis (servitors of the Timeless God) which term has now become synonymous with the members of a political party in Punjab. (Most of them wear blue turbans).

    Nihangs can be recognized from a distance as they wear dark blue robes with their legs bare below the knees and high blue and yellow turbans laced with steel discs. They usually carry spears, swords, daggers and shields. They use a charming vocabulary of Braggadocio, which has found its way into the Punjabi language.

    The sect of the Akalis differs essentially from all other Sikh orders in being a militant organisation, corresponding to the Nagas or Gosains among the Hindus. Their foundation is ascribed to Guru Govind Singh himself, and they steadfastly opposed Banda's attempted innovations. The term 'Akali' is sometimes said to be derived from 'Akal-purusha' - 'worshipper of the Eternal.' But Akal means 'deathless', i.e. 'God', and Akali is simply 'God worshipper.' The Akali wear blue chequered dresses, and bangles or bracelets of steel round their wrists, and quoits of steel in their lofty conical blue turbans, together with miniature daggers, knives, and an iron chain.

    In their military capacity the Akalis were called Nihangs or reckless, and played a considerable part in the Sikh history, forming the Shahids or first of the four dehras. At the siege of Multan in 1818 a few Akali fanatics (They were headed by one Jassa Singh, called Mala (rosary) Singh, from his piety. He denied himself the use of bhang, the only intoxicating drug in use among the Akalis.) carried the faussebraye by surprise and precipitated the fall of that fortress.

    The career of Phula Singh illustrates both their defects and their qualities. This great Akali first came into notice as the leader of the attack on Metcalfe's escort at Amritsar in 1809. He was then employed by Ranjit Singh, who stood in considerable awe of him, as a leader in the Indus valley, where he was guilty of atrocious cruelty towards the Mohammedan population, and in Kashmir. Finally, Phula Singh and his Akalis contributed to, or rather virtually won for Ranjit Singh, the great Sikh victory over the Yusafzais at Teri in 1823. In this battle Phula Singh met with a heroic death, and his tomb at Naushehra is now an object of pilgrimage to Hindus and Mohammedans alike. Under Phula Singh's earlier leadership, and perhaps befor his rise, the Akalis had become a terror to friends and foes alike, and the Sikh chiefs, from whom they often levied contribution, dreaded them by force. Ranjit Singh, after 1823, did much to reduce their power, and the order lost its importance. The Akali headquarters were the Akal Bunga at Amritsar, where they assumed the direction of religious ceremonies and the duty of convoking the 'Gurmatta'; indeed, they laid claim to exercise a general leadership of the Khalsa. Since Ranjit Singh's time Anandpur has been their real headquarters, but their influence has to a large extent passed away, and some of them have degenerated into mere buffoons. As an order the Akalsi are celibate. They have , says Trumpp, no regular chief or disciple, yet one hears of their Guru, whose leavings are eaten by their disciples (sewak or chela). They do not eat meat or drink spirits, as other Sikhs do, but consume inordinate quantities of bhang.

    Courtesy : http://www.sikh-heritage.co.uk

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    #1 Neutral Singh, Jul 16, 2005
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 12, 2011
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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Jun 17, 2004
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    There are a couple of things in this article that I find suspect, though I like the article overall. Trumpp ("some of them have degenerated into mere buffoons") was a buffoon in his own right. This comment makes me suspicious.

    They have , says Trumpp, no regular chief or disciple, yet one hears of their Guru, whose leavings are eaten by their disciples (sewak or chela). They do not eat meat or drink spirits, as other Sikhs do, but consume inordinate quantities of bhang.

    The above one sentence contains about 4 misstatements or misleading statements. Though perhaps in part true in the 19th Century when Trumpp was misleading the world about Sikhism, it is not altogether true today.
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  4. ranghi29

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    Nov 9, 2008
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    Only some Nihangs live proper life these days.. many eat meat drink bhaung and other bad stuff goes on in Nihangs Dals against Sikhism..... And please fix the wording of this article some of the sentences mislead.
  5. Aman Singh

    Aman Singh
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    Jun 1, 2004
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    Please elaborate so that we can improve upon the article...
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