The killing of Lakbir Singh, a Dalit worker, near a farmers’ protest site on the Haryana-Delhi Singh border Friday by a group of Sikh Nihang, has sparked outrage. According to the police, members of the Sikh community killed Singh “on suspicion of disrespecting the Sikh holy book”. In a video clip that went viral on social media platforms, some Nihang were seen standing while the man lay on the ground in a pool of blood with his severed left hand lying next to him.

The sources said Nihang Sarabjit Singh surrendered to Haryana police and took full responsibility for the murder.

Who are the Sikh Nihang?

Featuring blue rubles, ancient swords and spears, and ornate turbans, the Nihang is said to be of the rank of Sikh “warrior”. However, Sikh historian Dr. Balwant Singh Dhillon said Indian Express This arrangement seems to have its roots from the Sanskrit word ‘nihshank’, which loosely means brave, flawless, pure, and carefree. According to Dhillon, the origin of the matter can be traced back to Khalsa Guru Gobind Singh in 1699 or his son Fateh Singh, who lived from 1699 to 1705. Dhillon says that once he saw Fatih’s majestic appearance – blue colas and blue turbans – the Guru noticed that it would be the Nihangs’ garment.

On a slightly contradictory note, Paramjit Singh Judge, Department of Sociology at Guru Nanak Dev University said, printing, “There are many theories about the origin of the Nihangs, including those that revolve around them being part of the Akaal Sena and later Khalsa Fauj. But unlike the Udasi sect and Nirmalayas who can be clearly traced back to Sikh gurus, there is no concrete historical evidence for the origin of the Nihangs” .

How are Nihangs different from other Sikh and Sikh warriors?

While there are two purely Sikh sects – one wearing blue and one with no particular dress code – Dillons says Nihangs strictly follow Khalsa law. They profess no loyalty to an earthly lord. Instead of saffron, they hoisted the blue Nishan Sahib flag over their shrines, he explains.

Nihangs are said to use the mantras ‘chhardi kala’ (forever in high spirits) and ‘tiar bar tiar’ (state of perpetual readiness) for unexpected events.

Nihangs are usually armed with firearms, including traditional ones, wear iron bracelets around their wrists and leather shoes called jangi moze, with a sharp metal toe fitting that can be used as a weapon, and wear pagdis much larger than their heads, according to a report by printing.

What other incidents have occurred recently regarding the Nihang Sikh?

On April 12, 2020, a group of Sikhs Nihang from Dera in Patiala passed through several barriers around Sabzi Mandi in Sanur, violating curfew rules and brutally attacking the assistant sub-inspector and some others. ASI’s hand was chopped off with a sword. Seven people, including five attackers, were arrested hours later after a shootout in Gurdwara as the group fled after the 6.15am incident in Sanur town.

In July this year, two Sikhs from Nihang set fire to a statue of slain Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in Ludhiana and uploaded a video on social media claiming responsibility for the act. Both were arrested.

Read also | Patiala Cop Attack: Who are the Nihangs and ‘Laadli Fauj’ of the Sikh Guru and Original Akalis?

What is their current status?

Although the Nihangs form a small community and are loosely organized, the order went to Singhu to express solidarity with the protesting farmers. About a dozen subgroups, which include the factions of Buddha Dal, and Taruna Dal, are reported to continue the traditional system.

Dr. Gurmeet Singh Siddhu, Responsible Professor Guru Gobind Singh Chair at Punjab University, Patiala, said to Indian Express That the matter has now been implicated in immoral acts, which it was not previously because Nihangs are not known to attack defenseless people.

The judge, regarding the Patiala Sabzi Mandi incident, said it was surprising that Nihangs attacked the police. “Traditionally, Nihangs have been pro-establishment.”

Can anyone become Nihang?

According to the Nihang leader, anyone with uncut hair who follows Sikh traditions, remembers the Five Pani, performs daily rituals at 1 am, and morning and evening prayers, can be included in the warrior group. A person who wishes to become a Nihang will get robes and weapons similar to Guru Gobind Singh when he founded Khalsa.

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