Guru Tegh Bahadur is known for confronting the power of the Mughals to protect religious freedom.
Guru Tegh Bahadur was the youngest son of Guru Hargobind, the sixth Guru of the Sikhs. He was born in Amritsar in 1621. He was not only a skilled warrior but also a learned scholar. Several hymns composed by him are part of the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs. His childhood name was Tyag Mall. He was also very fond of meditation.
He was called Tegh Bahadur after showing courage and bravery in a battle at Kiratpur Sahib. He was married to Mata Gujri.
Amritsar at that time was the center of sikh faith even when Mughal power was at its height. There had been times of conflict between the communities and Guru Arjan Dev was executed by Emperor Jahangir.
After the death of the eighth guru, Guru Harkishan, Guru Tegh Bahadur became the ninth guru of the Sikhs.
It is believed that some impostors posed as Sikh Gurus, but followers of the faith managed to discover their true leader in Guru Tegh Bahadur.
Guru Tegh Bahadur has traveled extensively. He also established several “manjis” or preaching centers of the Sikh faith.
Conflict with the Mughals:
According to some versions, the Mughals under Aurangzeb would persecute the people of the kingdom. Some members of the Mughal court disliked the notoriety and preaching activities of the Sikh gurus.
Some accounts claim that the persecution of Hindus in Kashmir was particularly severe and they asked the Sikh guru for help.
Guru Tegh Bahadur reportedly heard the stories of atrocities and then decided to sacrifice himself for justice and freedom of religion.
The Mughals, however, were a mighty power and Guru Tegh Bahadur was arrested. According to some accounts, he was given three choices – perform miracles, accept Islam, or choose death. Guru Tegh Bahadur went with the third choice.
Gurdwara Sis Ganj marks the place where Guru Tegh Bahadur was executed.