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Sikh community livid over incorrect naming of Dwarka Park

Members of the Sikh community accuse the administration of trying to erase community history by misnaming Sikh leader Banda Singh Bahadur

Sabrangindia 13 Jul 2022

Dwarka Park

Two Sikh advocates demanded the renaming of the Banda Singh Bairagi park in Dwarka, Sector 18 on July 11, 2022 in a bid to prevent the “erasure of Sikh history”. Advocates Vasu Kukreja and Harpeet Singh Hora wrote to the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) against the wrongly named park and statue in Sector 18.

Earlier, the local corporation unveiled a statue of Sikh leader Baba Banda Singh Bahadur in the park also named after him to mark the warrior’s death anniversary. However, Sikhs knowledgeable about their history were shocked to see that the name used was ‘Banda Singh Bairagi’ instead of ‘Bahadur’.

While the person did hold the name ‘Madho Das Bairagi’ during his life as an ascetic, he embraced the name ‘Gurbaksh Singh’ on becoming a disciple of Guru Gobind Singh. Later, he became popularly known as ‘Banda Singh Bahadur’.

“Bairagi is a Hindu name. By renaming the park and statue in such a manner they are destroying Sikh history,” Kukreja told SabrangIndia.

Starting a hashtag for Sikh history on social media, he appealed to all Sikhs to raise the issue.

“They are trying to remove our history but we are silent. We should never forget that we are ‘Guru Singh’ who never bowed down. I humbly request you start raising issues, start raising your voices, start asking for rights, else they will be successful. When a non-Sikh can raise this issue why can’t we, they are changing name to Baba Banda Singh Vairagi, when we know it’s Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, now stand up for the sacrifices our gurus made,” said Kukreja.

The park area is not the only region with such a misnaming. An unsuccessful Change.org petition started by a Sarabjot Singh Grover also demanded the renaming of the Veer Banda Bairagi Marg between Partap Nagar metro station and Inderlok metro station in North Delhi.

“Whereas the Great Sikh General after [whom] this road has been named is “Baba Banda Singh Bahadur”. This Name was bestowed upon him by none other than Guru Gobind Singh Sahib. The tenth Guru of Sikhs. Hence, calling the great general and martyr “Veer Banda Bairagi” is not only a dishonor of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, but also a dishonour to Guru Gobindh Singh Sahib,” said Grover in the petition.

Who is Baba Banda Singh Bahadur?

Banda Singh Bahadur was a Sikh warrior and a commander of the Khalsa army. He was born in a Hindu family as Lachman Dev but at 15 years he left home to become an ascetic. It was around this time that he briefly adopted the name Madho Das Bairagi and established a monastery. However, upon meeting Guru Gobind Singh, he became his disciple and took up the name Gurbaksh Singh. He is popularly known as Banda Singh Bahadur.

Accepting five arrows from the Guru for the battles ahead, he led the struggle against the Mughal empire in Sonipat. His first major action was the sacking of the Mughal provincial capital, Samana. Banda Singh Bahadur is also known for abolishing the zamindari system, and granting property rights to land tillers.

According to The Tribune, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also honoured the Sikh leader in 2016. However, even then Modi called the leader ‘a Bairagi who turned into a brave warrior’. Bairagi is the name of a Brahmin caste in Hinduism. The term is firmly opposed by Sikhs who traditionally do not acknowledge the caste system.

Related:

A Hinduism that is the mirror opposite of Hindutva
The long march of Hindutva in Karnataka
When and How Ram Vilas Paswan made a strong pitch for the Places of Worship Act, 1991
Patiala violence: Expelled Shiv Sena leader arrested

Sikh community livid over incorrect naming of Dwarka Park

Members of the Sikh community accuse the administration of trying to erase community history by misnaming Sikh leader Banda Singh Bahadur

Dwarka Park

Two Sikh advocates demanded the renaming of the Banda Singh Bairagi park in Dwarka, Sector 18 on July 11, 2022 in a bid to prevent the “erasure of Sikh history”. Advocates Vasu Kukreja and Harpeet Singh Hora wrote to the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) against the wrongly named park and statue in Sector 18.

Earlier, the local corporation unveiled a statue of Sikh leader Baba Banda Singh Bahadur in the park also named after him to mark the warrior’s death anniversary. However, Sikhs knowledgeable about their history were shocked to see that the name used was ‘Banda Singh Bairagi’ instead of ‘Bahadur’.

While the person did hold the name ‘Madho Das Bairagi’ during his life as an ascetic, he embraced the name ‘Gurbaksh Singh’ on becoming a disciple of Guru Gobind Singh. Later, he became popularly known as ‘Banda Singh Bahadur’.

“Bairagi is a Hindu name. By renaming the park and statue in such a manner they are destroying Sikh history,” Kukreja told SabrangIndia.

Starting a hashtag for Sikh history on social media, he appealed to all Sikhs to raise the issue.

“They are trying to remove our history but we are silent. We should never forget that we are ‘Guru Singh’ who never bowed down. I humbly request you start raising issues, start raising your voices, start asking for rights, else they will be successful. When a non-Sikh can raise this issue why can’t we, they are changing name to Baba Banda Singh Vairagi, when we know it’s Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, now stand up for the sacrifices our gurus made,” said Kukreja.

The park area is not the only region with such a misnaming. An unsuccessful Change.org petition started by a Sarabjot Singh Grover also demanded the renaming of the Veer Banda Bairagi Marg between Partap Nagar metro station and Inderlok metro station in North Delhi.

“Whereas the Great Sikh General after [whom] this road has been named is “Baba Banda Singh Bahadur”. This Name was bestowed upon him by none other than Guru Gobind Singh Sahib. The tenth Guru of Sikhs. Hence, calling the great general and martyr “Veer Banda Bairagi” is not only a dishonor of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, but also a dishonour to Guru Gobindh Singh Sahib,” said Grover in the petition.

Who is Baba Banda Singh Bahadur?

Banda Singh Bahadur was a Sikh warrior and a commander of the Khalsa army. He was born in a Hindu family as Lachman Dev but at 15 years he left home to become an ascetic. It was around this time that he briefly adopted the name Madho Das Bairagi and established a monastery. However, upon meeting Guru Gobind Singh, he became his disciple and took up the name Gurbaksh Singh. He is popularly known as Banda Singh Bahadur.

Accepting five arrows from the Guru for the battles ahead, he led the struggle against the Mughal empire in Sonipat. His first major action was the sacking of the Mughal provincial capital, Samana. Banda Singh Bahadur is also known for abolishing the zamindari system, and granting property rights to land tillers.

According to The Tribune, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also honoured the Sikh leader in 2016. However, even then Modi called the leader ‘a Bairagi who turned into a brave warrior’. Bairagi is the name of a Brahmin caste in Hinduism. The term is firmly opposed by Sikhs who traditionally do not acknowledge the caste system.

Related:

A Hinduism that is the mirror opposite of Hindutva
The long march of Hindutva in Karnataka
When and How Ram Vilas Paswan made a strong pitch for the Places of Worship Act, 1991
Patiala violence: Expelled Shiv Sena leader arrested

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