Friday December 15, 2017

Hola Mohalla festival: A frenzy of liberated living and being a Nihang Sikh



By Ishaa Srivastva

Elsewhere while the country is celebrating Holi, the holy duels of Hola Mohalla are taking place at Anandpur Sahib, Punjab. One of the most spectacular festivals celebrated in India, Hola Hohalla is a three day event celebrated at the shrine of Keshgarh Sahib every year, beginning on the first day of the lunar month of Chet in the Nanakshashi calendar. The word ‘Hola’ refers to Halla (attack) of an organised cavalcade in the place of attack (Mahalla). Although it’s comes across to many as a Sikh version of Holi, (since it coincides with the festival) it isn’t anything like it.

This Khalsayee festival dates back to 1699 when the tenth guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, founded the Khalsa Panth, the formal present day Sikh religion. The festival in its present form has originated from the time when Guru Gobind Singh Ji first held such a mock fight event in February 1701 at the grounds of Anandpur Sahib, which is a sacrosanct historical site for the Sikhs.

The principal importance of the event lies in showcasing the fighting prowess and daring of the distinctive Nihang group, who wear embellished blue robes and indulge in the performance of Gatka(form of martial art where they use traditional weapons to demonstrate simulated battles), tent pegging, and intimidating bareback horse riding. This is then followed by Kirtan, poetry and a round the clock free langar service. Thousands of devotees flock to Anandpur Sahib to pray, meditate and rejoice in the pious festivities.

What makes Hola Mahalla crucial is that it exemplifies the amalgamation of selfless devotion, phenomenal love and tremendous valour. It reinstates centuries of belief of the Sikh religion, and the reverence that the devotees hold for their Sikh Guru. Witnessing these events is a very overwhelming experience.

More recently Sikh prisoners also celebrated this festival at Tihar Jail, New Delhi where a special Kirtan Darbar (Sikh congregation) was organised for them.

Even though it remains to be a crucial but lesser known festival, today it has grown to attract thousands of people not only from within the country, but abroad as well. At the time of its initiation, it was done as a part of revolting against imperial powers.

The festival should be witnessed by Indians at least once in their life, to feel the frenzy of a liberated living that is exhibited by the Nihangs riding their horses like a storm.

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Watch 1 min video of Hola Mohalla festival in Punjab

Image source:

March 24,2016 (Reuters): In Punjab, thousands of Sikhs celebrated the annual spring festival of Hola Mohalla on Thursday with displays of horsemanship, bravery and sword fights. Hola Mohalla, which coincides with the Hindu Holi festival of colors, marks the transformation of the Sikh community into a martial fraternity by Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th leader of the Sikhs.

“This is the first time I am here in Anandpur Sahib and it is a very spectacular experience for us – once in a lifetime experience,” said Avinash Kaur, a Canadian national who attended the festival.
Watch this spectacular video: (with arrangement from Reuters)

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Delhi HC told: 51 women undertrial prisoners released on bail


New Delhi: The Delhi High Court was on Monday informed by the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DLSA) that 51 women out of 152 women under trial prisoners, who have been languishing in Tihar jail for more than six months or completed half of their sentences in lesser offences, have been released on bail.


Filing an affidavit before a division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath, the DLSA said that in Jail No.6 at Tihar, there were 105 women under trial prisoners who were facing charges other than murder, rape, culpable homicide not amounting to murder and under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). There were 47 women undertrial prisoners who have completed half of the period of their sentences in lesser offences in case of multiple offences, the affidavit said.

Undertrial Review Committees have already been constituted in all districts of Delhi in compliance with the Supreme Court’s directions in April 2015, the affidavit said. Out of 47 women undertrial prisoners, 11 have been granted bail by trial courts. “Out of 105 undertrial prisoners lodged in Jail No.6, a total of 40 undertrial prisoners have been granted bail,” said the affidavit filed by member secretary Dharmesh Sharma of DLSA. The DLSA response came on a bunch of PILs over the plight of 152 women undertrial prisoners not involved in heinous crimes but languishing in Tihar for over six months due to tardy disposal of cases.


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Delhi serial rapist-killer sent to judicial custody


Tihar-Jail (1)


New Delhi: A court here on Thursday sent serial killer and rapist Ravinder Kumar to Tihar Jail till August 5, declining the police plea for four days custody.

Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav remanded Kumar in 14 days judicial custody after he was presented before him, observing the accused was in police custody from last seven days and investigation in the particular case has been completed.

“Investigating officer is directed to inform the concerned police station about the cases, in which, the accused has made disclosure statements and thereafter it would be the job of the investigating officer of the concerned police station to seek custody of the accused, if required,” the court said while denying police plea for custody.

The accused told the court that he feared for his life in jail, upon which the judge told him to inform the jail superintendent.

Meanwhile, one man tried to assault Kumar as he was being taken to the lock up from the court room, but police stopped him midway.

Kumar, who hails from Kasganj in Uttar Pradesh but lives in Delhi, has admitted to raping and murdering more than 30 children in and around the city. He said he used to lure children with candies.

Police has sought four days custody on the grounds that on Wednesday the accused has made disclosure statement about 16 more similar crimes, in respect of the area adjoining police station Begamapura. Police added the accused had disclosed his involvement in another similar crime in Bahadurgarh which had to be identified.