Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia| Photo: Jesmesh Photography | Asia Samachar | 18 April 2015
The Sikh Sanggat at Selayang, a suburb just outside Kuala Lumpur, gathered in strength to hoist a new Nishaan Sahib, the Khalsa flag, on Vaisakhi day. The scene repeated itself at most gurdwaras around the world.
The gesture marks the day in 1699 when Guru Gobind Singh established the Khalsa. It was the also the day when the Tenth Guru of the Sikhs introduced the amrit ceremony via the khanda and baataa (double-edge sword and the steel bucket). It replaced the earlier charan amrit practice.
What is the the Nishan Sahib? Excerpts below from The Encyclopaedia of Sikhism (Punjabi University, Editor in Chief: Harbans Singh):
Nishan Sahib is the name for the tall Sikh flag which marks all gurdwaras and other religious premises of the Sikhs. Nishan is a Persian word with multiple meanings, one of these being a flag or a standard. Sahib, an Arabic word with the applied meaning of lord or master, is here used as an honorific. Thus Nishan Sahib in the Sikh tradition means the holy flag or exalted ensign.
The Sikh pennant, made out of saffron-coloured, occasionally out of blue-coloured, mainly in the case of the Nihangs, cloth in triangular in shape, normally each of the two equal sides being double of the shorter one. The pennant is stitched to the mast sheath at the top which is also of the same cloth….The flagstaff has a steel khanda fixed on the top of it.
The two flags standing adjacent to each other between the Harimandir and the Akal Takht at Amritsar are approximately 40 meters high.
The origin of the Nishan Sahib is traced to the time of Guru Hargobind who hoisted a flag over the Akal Takht (or Akal Bunga) at Amritsar as it was erected in 1606. The flag, the first of its kind in Sikh tradition was called Akal Dhuja (the immortal flag) or Satguru ka Nishan (standard of the true Guru).
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