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Divali – Keeping the flame of freedom alight

Sikhs throughout the globe will celebrate Divali on 28th October. Divas/lamps will be alight, a jovial festival atmosphere will prevail. Sweets and samosas will be enjoyed, fireworks will set alight the moonlit sky. But why do we really celebrate? Apart from the annual calendar significance? What does Divali mean for us as Sikhs?

The sixth Guru, Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Jee was falsely imprisoned for spurious reasons by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. After some months it was declared that Guru Jee could walk free. Like Guru Jee there were other prisoners of conscience in Gwalior Fort (the prison), specifically 52 Hindu Kings who made a heartfelt plea to Guru Jee begging him to negotiate their release also. The ocean of mercy Guru Jee listened attentively to their plea and showered his grace upon them and told them not to worry and that he would negotiate their release.

Guru Jee told the Emperor he would only leave the prison on the condition that the 52 Hindu Kings are freed also. The Emperor being a man entangled in his own ego and pride of intelligence, replied that Guru Jee could walk free with as many Kings who could hold onto his clothing on the day of his release. Guru the fountain of knowledge easily got around the condition by getting a robe tailored with 52 tassels on it. On the day of His release Guru Jee walked out of Gwalior Fort with all 52 Hindu Kings holding onto one tassel each, this auspicious occasion is referred to as “Bandi Shorr Divas – the day of emancipation.” Guru Jee did not only free the 52 Hindu Kings from prison, He also showered His grace upon them and freed them from the transmigration of the soul, freeing them from the cycle of births and deaths. Each and everyone of us also begs for this freedom:

Forsaking all other doors I have come to your door. Preserve my honour by offering the support of your arm, liberate me, I am your humble servant. (Sri Guru Gobind Singh Jee)

I have come to the sanctuary of the formless and emancipating Lord, who destroys all sufferings. (Sri Guru Arjan Dev Jee, Limb 624 – Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee)

May Guru Jee bless us with spiritual and physical liberation also.

Bandhi Shorr Divas was months prior to Divali. Upon release from Gwalior Fort Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Jee made a tour of Delhi and other regions, then arrangements to go to Sri Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple), Amritsar were made. When he reached Amritsar Sahib it was Divali and the Sikhs celebrated the release of Guru Jee with fireworks and festivities.

Relevance today

The world over there are countless prisoners of consciousness, held under false fabricated charges and/or those held for standing up for justice, freedom and righteousness. Please light a candle for these prisoners, non-Sikhs and Sikhs, don’t forget Guru Jee’s example of freeing Hindu Kings. He was benevolent, humane and had a profound love for one and all, may we develop such divine virtues. May we all endeavour to assist and support such prisoners and at the very least we can all make a heartfelt prayer that Guru Jee blesses all prisoners with Chardi Kala/High Spirits.

One cannot begin to imagine losing freedom of movement and action, we can only try to empathise with such prisoners. Regardless of the regime and it’s tyranny, no man-made authority can imprison the Sikh Spirit and Sikhs still happily go to the gallows for standing up for justice, freedom and righteousness. The Sikh Spirit cannot be imprisoned. Prominent Sikhs currently imprisoned include Dr. Davinderpal Singh Bhullar, Bhai Deya Singh Lahoria, Bhai Balwant Singh, Bhai Paramjeet Singh Bheora, Bhai Jagtar Singh Hawara, Bhai Paramjeet Singh Dhadhi and the list goes on and on. Just imagine being the parent of a child who entered militancy or quite simply ‘disappeared’ in the 80’s and 90’s in Punjab. Many of these parents light a candle at Divali, praying and wishing that the light of hope may still bless them with a vision of a fit and well son or daughter. Or they pray in despair that may God nurture their offspring wherever they may be.

So when you light a candle and eat a sweet at Divali, please spare a thought, that you are free and are not bound by the restraints of prison life. Lest we forget, lets light a lamp to ensure the rays of freedom shine through all of humanity.

Harjinder Singh


Please feel free to print & distribute or forward on via email/internet etc

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This has nothing to do with the above article. Just want to clear some stuff.

1. Diwali is the Hindu festival.

2. The Sikh festival is called Bandi Chor Diwas.

3. We have to see if historically, both Diwali and Bandi Chor Diwas were on same days... From what I have read in books, is that, when 6th Patshahi were released, the Sikhs of Guru Maharaj, lit lights all in the city where they were going to come. This mean that day wasn't the same as Hindu festival Diwali. And from the above article, it is said that Bandi Chor Diwas was months before Diwali... So should we still be celebrating Bandi Chor Diwas on same day as Diwali or not? Sangats opinion please.

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I believe we should probably celebrate it on the actual day that guru ji was released but in the article it says that the it was celebrated at amritsar on divali. does that mean that it wasnt celebrated anywhere else before then? if not then divali is probably the right time to celebrate it :)

bhull chuk maaf

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Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Sikh Organisation for Prisoner Welfare

Who are we?

The Sikh Organisation for Prisoner Welfare (SOPW) is a registered charity which was founded in 2008. It is run by volunteers and supported by people from all walks of life who are passionate about prisoner welfare, specifically in South Asia. SOPW is operated by UK based professionals with extensive management and governance experience.


Being Sikhs, we have a moral duty to help those in need, in particular prisoners of conscience. Our historic connection with South Asia, its increasing importance on the world scene and the fact that a quarter of humanity lives there makes it even more important that those suffering hardship in jail for their religious and political views are given hope by relieving some of their hardship.

What is our objective?

The relief of need, hardship, poverty and sickness among prisoners and detainees in any part of the world, whilst acting within the tenets and doctrines of Sikhism.

How we are doing this?

* Meeting basic material, spiritual and psychological needs

* Providing legal support/case management, where certain criteria are met

* Raising awareness amongst the wider public of this issue

How you can help?

Giving a donation of just £20 a month will allow us to provide enough support for one prisoner's basic human needs for one month in South Asia. Please print off and sign the standing order form, Click here for the standing order form.

Web site design

www.prisonerwelfare.com email: info@prisonerwelfare.com Registered Charity No. 1125370

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1. Diwali is the Hindu festival.

2. The Sikh festival is called Bandi Chor Diwas.

if diwali as a name has nothing to do with sikhs then why bhai gurdas ji mentioned it in their vaars

ਦੀਵਾਲੀ ਦੀ ਰਾਤਿ ਦੀਵੇ ਬਾਲੀਅਨਿ ।

ਤਾਰੇ ਜਾਤਿ ਸਨਾਤਿ ਅੰਬਰਿ ਭਾਲੀਅਨਿ ।

ਫੁਲਾਂ ਦੀ ਬਾਗਾਤਿ ਚੁਣਿ ਚੁਣਿ ਚਾਲੀਅਨਿ ।

ਤੀਰਥਿ ਜਾਤੀ ਜਾਤਿ ਲੈਣ ਨਿਹਾਲੀਅਨਿ ।

ਹਰਿ ਚੰਦਉਰੀ ਝਾਤਿ ਵਸਾਇ ਉਚਾਲੀਅਨਿ ।

ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸੁਖ ਫਲ ਦਾਤਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਸਮ੍ਹਾਲੀਅਨਿ ॥੬॥

Any ways saab nu bandishoor divas diyan wadiyan ...

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haha.. guys.. our Guru sahibs were from india... and in those times.. if hindu families celebrate diwali.. do u think Guru sahib will say.. "sikhon dont wish them "diwali di wadhai ho".. thats not sikhi" .. haha

celebrating diwali.. bringing good mood and happiness in atmosphere is always good!!

dont forget bandi chor diwas.. but no harm in celebrating and bursting crackers with ure frends!! (i miss my childhood :p )

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