Mesmerised with the world of Sikh Nihangs

nihangLudhiana, Punjab: Today, some people see Nihangs as a relic, but others recognise them as a colourful and important part of the Punjabi heritage.

Gurbir Singh Brar, a photo artist also feels that there is no colourful subject as compared to Nihangs. Nihangs belong to a martial tradition started by the 10th Guru, Guru Gobind Singh. A photo exhibition by Brar under the theme “The Valiant Ones” was inaugurated today at Dr MS Randhawa Art Gallery, PAU.

Their way of life, style of dress, and weaponry has not changed much over the centuries and this was what capitulated Brar to spend five months with Nihangs around Punjab. During this period, he lived with them, learnt their way of living and captured them in his camera. Brar is all praise to the sense of discipline that prevails among Nihangs.

“They are very hospitable and are strict when it comes to disciple. Watching their practice session was the thing I enjoyed most during my five months stay with them all over Punjab,” adds Brar.

Brar said they are a semi-nomadic people and are organised into armies and live in camps known as cantonments. Men and women both train in horsemanship, swordsmanship, and in the Punjabi martial art known as ‘gatka’. During times of persecution in the past, the Nihangs defended Sikh shrines and the Sikh way of life and become known for their bravery against all odds.

In times of peace, they travel to festivals and fairs throughout India, staging displays of horsemanship and martial skills. The annual Hola Mohalla fair held at Anandpur Sahib on Baisakhi is especially notable for the Nihangs’ colourful displays of pageantry.

Brar has also formed an organisation “Sava Lakh Foundation” with the help of Nihangs. With the active involvement of Akal College Council Gursagar Mastuana Sahib and ace horseman Maghar Singh, a training programme in traditional horsemanship and martial arts has been initiated at Mastuana Sahib.

“In today’s competitive world, Sava Lakh Foundation exhorts the younger generation to live up to the ideals of the Gurus. The endeavour is to instil pride and enthusiasm in the present day youth, a youth morbidly impressed by the wrong influences and drawn towards drugs and wallowing in mediocrity,” he adds.

Source: TNS

3 comments

  1. I am proud of them also and want to be like them. I am growing my hair meditating want to learn gatka, but for now dont tie a dhamalla or a dastar i wear a royal blue ramal tied. And a baseball cap over it. I do not yet know everything but am reading alot and learning. But i have a few questions.
    1. The dhamalla was meant to protect the dusam dwar from swords and staff fighting i think but now we fight with guns. If an enemy sees a huge dhumalla sticking out instead of a ramal with a cap on it which would be less of a target for a gunman or sniper.
    2. Why am i looked down apon for smoking cannabis when nihangs use it in sukhnidhan translated to the treasure of peace. cannabis drink guru gobind ji said tobbacco was not to be used not cannabis.
    3. I dont like alcahol anywase but use cannabis daily i am interested in amrit if i dont drink alcahol eat meat or cut my hair but dont tie a dhamalla and i use cannabis is that paap (sinful)
    4. If i didnt smoke cannabis i wouldnt be interested in my religion culture or even god. I feel it brings me closer to god in every aspect and i even heard bhangra started when jatts would harvest the bhang get high and dance on Bhaisake.
    5. When did our culture turn from peaceful bhang to distructive alcahol and dodae.
    Thanks in advance for any intelligent answers to my questions.

  2. It is interesting to know the history of Nihangs. Is it possible to give some actual stories of such martial Dals or where to find their sakhis.

    Perhaps, their real & captivating stories will be beneficial to Sikh & Punjabi public at large

    Can some one tell more ??

  3. JAGJIT SINGH MUKANDPURI

    NIHANGS ALSO KNOWN AKAL PURKH KE FAUJ.THEY WERE WARRIORS OF SIKH GURUS. THEY ARE A MAJOR PART OF SIKH HERITAGE. KHALSA PANTH IS OF WAHEGURU. THIS RELIGION IS NOT ON THE NAME OF ANY PERSON. THAT IS WHY WHEN TWO GURSIKHS MEET TO EACH OTHER, THEN THEY SAY WAHEGURU JI KA KHALSA , WAHEGURU JI KE FATEH. THEY ARE WELL KNOWN FOR THEIR HOARSRIDESHIP,SWORDFIGHTSHIP AND MARITIAL ART GATKA TO SAVE SIKH DIASPORA. THERE WERE TWO PARTS OF NIHANGS THE OLD ONES CALLED BUDHA DAL AND THE YOUNG ONES AS TARNA DAL. THEY HAVE DONE LOTS OF SACRIFICES FOR SIKHISM.NIHANGS ARE A LIVING HERITAGE OF SIKHISM AND WE ARE PROUD OF THEM.

%d bloggers like this: