Chapter

The Martyrdom Of Guru Arjan

Pashaura Singh

in Life and Work of Guru Arjan

Published in print September 2006 | ISBN: 9780195679212
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080687 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195679212.003.0008
The Martyrdom Of Guru Arjan

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Guru Arjan's execution by Mughal authorities is the most controversial issue in Sikh history. Most historians of Mughal India look at this event from a political angle, while most Sikh scholars view it as only the first of a long series of religious persecutions suffered by the Sikhs at the hands of Mughal authorities. This chapter examines the contemporary and near-contemporary sources on Guru Arjan's execution and shows that it was Emperor Jahangir who sentenced him to death. Although the main reason for Guru Arjan's execution was his alleged blessing of the rebel Prince Khusrau, other urgent religious, socio-cultural, and economic factors also played a role. In particular, it was Bhai Gurdas who placed a reconstruction on the death of Guru Arjan in the ideal of martyrdom. Guru Arjan's martyrdom is significant to Sikh history because it contributed to the growth of the Sikh community's self-consciousness, separatism, and militancy.

Keywords: Guru Arjan; martyrdom; execution; Mughal India; Sikh history; Jahangir; Khusrau; Bhai Gurdas

Chapter.  17312 words. 

Subjects: Sikhism

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