India is a multilingual country with lots of cultural variation and diversity. Starting from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, people follow different practices. “Unity in diversity “ is the main theme of Indian culture. Followed by this let’s move into the concept of Nihang Sikhs. It is quite interesting to know from the name that these people are originated in Punjab. Let us go deeply into the history, their role and characteristics, downfall and their current status.
History of Nihang Sikhs
Nihang Sikh is the warrior order from Punjab with blue robes and arms with swords and spears also having decorated turbans at their heads. They are also known as Akali. The word nihang is derived from Persian word meaning alligator. But it is more related to Sanskrit word nishank which means without fear, carefree and strong person. It is clear from their looks and behavior. They look so majestic that’s why they are called as the warriors of Sikh.
Characteristics of Nihang Sikhs
Nihangs differ from other Sikhs by hoisting a blue Nishan Sahib flag and wearing majestic and courageous dresses. They used to follow Guru Gobind Singh, who insisted people to be faithul, to defend the needy and poor and also enhanced the freedom of expression. They also love to drink Sharbati degh consisting of almonds, melon seeds, cardamom seeds, pepper etc., Sukhnidan and Shaheedi deg are the popular drinks with higher dosage of cannabis.
Nihangs wake up at 1 am for daily ablutions and chant prayers during morning and evening. Most of them remain single, even marriage is allowed. They carry blue color flag which signifies bravery and courage. They wear turbans which symbolize five weapons like arrow, wheel, sword, dagger and a small sword.
Role of Nihangs
Nihangs played major role after the downfall of first Sikh rule. They also took part in defending Mughal emperors and Afghan invaders. There was a cordial relationship between the Sikhs and Akbar. But After him, Jahangir came to throne and the revolt begins leading to the downfall of nihangs.
Khalsa army which is a Sikh community, has been divided into five battalions. Nihang is one among them. They took religious control of Akal Takht in Amritsar. They have their own independent community and will not be under any separate chief. These brave warriors hand hold their religious strength before the arrival of British.
After the entry of British Government, the influence of nihangs came to an end. In 1859 the British Government allotted manager for the maintenance of Golden Temple. Some of them merged with Punjab police.
The current status of Nihangs is not organized. They became a small community but still handholding their traditional behavior and culture. They always follow some practices like they never attack unarmed persons. But due to some disputes between their communities they used to follow unethical means. They take part in religious events in order to maintain and develop their equestrian skills and cultural heritage.
Recently a group of Nihangs attacked and chopped off the hand of sub inspector due to this event now this community is being spoken by many of us.
Nihangs play a major role in the Indian history. They are the symbol of brave and courage according to Sikh. They confessed themselves to serve for their community and develop their religion. These people have to be reinforced in Indian army as they perform great in battlefields.