Diwali - Bandi Chore
DIWALI or the festival of lights, is an ancient Indian festival. However, among the Sikhs, Diwali came to have special significance from the day the town of Amritsar was illuminated on the return to it of Guru Hargobind, Nanak VI, (1595-1644) who had been held captive in the Fort of Gwalior under the orders of Mughal emperor, Jahinger, for being a threat to Mughal India and Islam. Henceforth, Diwali became a day of pilgrimage to the seat of the Guru. The Guru also negotiated the release of the 52 Stately Hindu Prince's who were innocently held captive.
During the turbulent eighteenth century, it was customary for the roaming Khalsa warriors to converge upon Amritsar braving all hazards to celebrate Diwali. It was for his endeavour to hold such a congregation at Amritsar that Bhai Mani Singh, the head-priest of the Harmander Sahib (Golden Temple) a most widely revered Sikh of his time, was put to death under State orders in such a barbaric fashion (by amputating his every limb), as he realised that the Government was going to use the Diwali celebrations at Amritsar to massacre Sikhs – and he had instructed the Sikhs not to attend Amritsar.
It is for this reason that the Sikhs acknowledge the contribution and sacrifice of Bhai Mani Singh at Diwali, and attend the seat of Shri Guru Hargobind Sahib to pay homage, remembering at all times the sacrifices of the Guru and his Singh's.