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All about Nishan Sahib, the saffron flag hoisted by protesting farmers at Red Fort

The Nishan Sahib, a triangular saffron flag, is usually hoisted outside a gurdwara, mounted on a steel pole that is also covered with a saffron-coloured cloth.

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New Delhi: Farmers protesting against the three agriculture laws marched to the Red Fort Tuesday, where they climbed on to poles and waved flags from its ramparts. The farmers could also be seen hoisting the Nishan Sahib, a religious saffron flag, at the historical monument.

As part of their tractor rally planned on Republic Day, farmers entered Delhi from Singhu and Ghazipur borders amid high security. But the protesters soon deviated from the designated route and the protest turned violent, with the police lobbing tear gas shells and resorting to lathi charge.

A section of the farmers gathered outside the Delhi Police headquarters at ITO, while many others reached the Red Fort.

Also read: Modi continues turban tradition this Republic Day with ‘halari pagdi’ gifted by Jamnagar royals

What is Nishan Sahib?

The Nishan Sahib that was hoisted on the Red Fort is a triangular saffron cloth with a blue Sikh insignia, called Khanda, in the middle. The insignia consists of a double-edged sword and a chakram (or chakra).

The Nishan Sahib is usually hoisted outside a gurdwara. The triangular flag is mounted on a steel pole, which is also covered with a saffron-coloured cloth.

It holds great significance for the Sikh community. They believe the Khanda to be a powerful tool that can differentiate truth from falsehood. It has also been said that Guru Gobind Singh used the Khanda to prepare amrit (holy nectar) by stirring it in sweetened water.

The phrase “Waheguru ji ki fateh (victory of God)” is said to have been inscribed on the Nishan Sahib of Guru Gobind Singh, while “Akal sahai (may the Almighty bless you)” was inscribed on Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s Nishan Sahib.

It is believed that a Nishan Sahib bearer named Bhai Alam Singh was once captured by the Mughal enemy forces during a battle. He was asked to throw the Nishan Sahib, else his hands would be chopped off.

Singh replied that he would hold the flag with his feet if his hands were severed. When warned that his feet would be chopped too, he said he would hold it with his mouth. And when told that his head would be cut off as well, he replied: “The Guru whose flag he was carrying will take care of it.”

Also read: Long before farmers’ tractor parade, Babri Masjid movement also waded into Republic Day row


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  1. I think kill every man is bloody fool apart from you and Isha jat saab along with other a guy. So, quit them please because they all lean in modi love like their own family member, on that day modi give fuck them then realized what happened with them Sikhs raised Nhisan sahib for 19 times on red fort.

  2. Earlier, SFJ announced a cash reward of USD 2,50,000 for hoisting the Khalistan flag on January 26 at the India Gate on Republic Day. Now tell me it is khalistani flag or respected nidhan sahib.
    This is fact that you can verify

  3. Reply to Kili Jolsiyar: We dont need your lessons or the Print version of narrative to decipher, what is good or bad. Long before Tractor rally, not only Govt. we all anticipated correctly, wht was all intended and planned.
    The permission asked/given to hold the rally was not for this and all lawful actions need to initiated.
    I fail to understand how MSP and Redfort hooliganism are being synonymous.

    • Mr Ram Chandra: Thanks for the response.

      For sure, smart men like you, educated in the shakas of the RSS and adept at waving lathis or orchestrating orgies of violence upon hapless Muslims know everything about everything. I am pretty sure your daily dose of gomutra has transformed you into a saffron Einstein !

      In fact, one also sees that you are some sort of a practising astrologer, cf. your rant:

      “.. Long before Tractor rally, not only Govt. we all anticipated correctly, wht was all intended and planned ..”

      Well, could you please use your phenomenal skills of peering into the future and your exceptional, saffronised Einsteinian intellect to let less talented individuals like me know the following:

      1. When will Indians get the Rs 15 lacs that Modi promised ?
      2. When will Modistan become the 5 trillion dollar economy?
      3. When will the RSS reject the Bhagwa Dhwaj and start flying the Indian Tricolour and only the Indian Tricolour from its buildings and offices?

      Dhanyawaad Ram Chandra saab !! Men like you are truly the missing links that will help India meet the many challenges that the nation faces. !

  4. is that any kind of religious flag or symbol is larger then my TIRANGA ? ARE YOU DEFENDING THOSE TRAITORS ?
    For me MY NATION IS FIRST My TIRANGA is Larger then my Religion for my COUNTRY I can do anything even i can Burn my religious flag if i need to choose between TIRANGA or my religious flag for ME MY TIRANGA AND MY NATION IS FIRST so don’t dare to justify you fake PATALKARS ( you guyes are not patarkar)

  5. Perhaps the many commenters (Messrs. Leftist, Gururaj, Hiten, Ananta etc.) who are upset at the raising of the Nishan Sahib could begin by taking a closer look at the RSS. Yes, RSS, the Adolf Hitler & Benito Mussolini inspired organisation that Modi, RSS honcho Mohan Bhagwat and the rest of the BJP ilk swear allegiance to. The RSS never, I re-iterate never, regarded the flag of independent India as the legitimate flag of the country. Instead, they swore allegiance to the Bhagwa Dhwaj which they assert is a symbol of Hinduism – after all, according to RSS ideologue Golwalkar, India is a country primarily for Hindus right? In fact it was only in 2002 that the RSS first flew the national flag on a Republic Day. And even today, the organisation seldom flies the Indian flag, opting instead for the divisive Bhagwa Dhwaj.

    Indeed, to cite RSS supremo Mohan Bhagwat:

    “BR Ambedkar was also of the view that bhagwa should be adopted as the national flag and Sanskrit should become the national language. Unfortunately, we couldn’t propagate his views”

    It must surely raise the eyebrows of these eminent commenters that the current PM of the nation himself swore allegiance to the Bhagwa Dhwaj – rather than the Indian Tricolour – before he went on to become a CM and now PM. Surely, the many RSS members who go on to become BJP politicians are indeed guilty of not respecting the Tricolour aren’t they ?

    “Two wrongs don’t make a right” goes the adage. The fascism of the RSS must not be countered by a different kind of fascism from those who oppose the RSS brand of fascism. I do not condone the raising of the Nishan Sahib or the rioting and violence that some farmers have indulged in. Highly condemnable to say the least. But when Muslims protested peacefully in Delhi against the CAA, whilst waving the Indian Tricolour, completely eschewing violence and espousing Gandhian methods, how were they treated Messrs. Gururaj, Hiten, Ananta & Leftist?

    The raising of the Nishan Sahib on the very day that marks the beginning of India as a Republic is ominous to say the least. When you have the BJP running India to the benefit of its corporate backers and the RSS running India for the benefit of upper caste, North Indian Hindus, they are in reality ruining India. India is far to heterogeneous to be run by a fascist outfit with a North Indian Hindu identity as the dominant and defining characteristic of the polity.

    It must not be forgotten that India is an administrative construct of the British empire, a collective name for the nearly 600 odd princely states which had never coalesced into a country prior to the arrival of the coloniser. As early as 1947, that country split into India and Pakistan and then again became 3 countries when E.Pakistan became Bangladesh. The violent breakup of Pakistan showed that a common religion (Islam) and a common language (Urdu) were utterly inadequate for nation-building. In fact, to this very day, Pakistan has been unable to define who is or is not a Muslim ! And Mohan Bhagwat might need to know that the high regard and preference given to Urdu was detested by the Bengali Muslims of erstwhile E.Pakistan. Remember the anti-Hindi agitations Bhagwat saab?

    It must also be borne in mind that the yoking of the 650 odd princely states – many reluctantly – to become the India of today necessitates constant nation building and unification of the many parts of the country that do not wish to be yoked together. A political scientists described India as “many regions held together” as opposed to having “come together willingly and wanting to stay together”. The Khalistan succession movement of the 80s and 90s, the struggles in Kashmir, the Nagaland conflicts and so on are constant reminders of the fissiparous forces at work in the country.

    Indeed, it is a miracle that India has survived for nearly 7 decades as a democracy, albeit a diluted one – despite all odds being against it. But the many simmering conflicts in the country emphasise the fact that elected leaders to devote their energies to non-stop nation building and the strengthening of an Indian identity based on residence rather than religion, race, ethnicity or language. Alas, that is not the ideology that PM Modi, the RSS and the BJP subscribe to. Sadly, large swathes of the urban, Hindu middle-classes want the “elective dictatorship” of PM Modi. And hopefully, the Nishan Sahib event is not a bad omen.

    • I hope this response of yours will help cool down to quite an extent the vengeance and hatred ever-oozing out of the minds of the RSS and BJP leaders (including Messrs Modi, Shah and others) and their blind followers against the Indian Constitution, the country’s democratic setup and, the majority of citizens, whom they consider as lesser beings.

      • Thoughtful comment Mr Murtada !

        My salient point here is that demagogues like Modi who neglect the never ending task of nation-building in India risk tearing the country apart. And the notion that the RSS notion that the North Indian, upper-caste version of Hinduism that they tend to foist upon the rest of the nation will never unify the country. Pakistan is still trying to define who a Muslim is and that debate has been going on since 1947 !

        The Khalistan struggles of the 1980s and 90s and the farmers’ revolts now should serve as a shot across teh bow for Modi and his RSS backers.

  6. Glorifying the rioters, have some shame !!!
    The person who hoisted Nishan Sahib threw away the tricolour, how can you possibly try to justify that..!! It is totally inacceptable. There are many communities in India, each has their flag, but the Red Fort is a place for the national flag. Period.

  7. We get two days to hoist our National tricolour. It is unfortunate that Of all the days the farmers chose this precious day. Worst is, we are shamelessly playing politics over this incident. God save this Nation….

    • Wrong Mr Ravi. Utterly wrong.

      The flag hoisted is the Nishan Sahib, a flag that is flown in almost all gurudwaras across the world. It is NOT – I repeat NOT – the flag of Khalistan.

      However, Hindutva groups have been spreading the canard that it is the Khalistani flag, driving once again a wedge between these 2 communities. Get your facts right opening your mouth.

  8. On the Capitol Hill, the rioters removed the US flag and raised Trump campaign flags. On the Red Fort, rioters raised their religious flag. The loyalty of rioters is first to their group not to the nation. Beware.

    • Leftist: What about the loyalty of your beloved RSS members who swear allegiance to the Bhagwa Dhwaj and not the Indian flag ? Indeed, the RSS refused to hoist the national flag on Republic Day before 2002.

      So tell me Sir: Where do the loyalties of the RSS lie?

  9. And look at how benignly that Nishan sahib flag has been described by the biased editor and how the whole fact about it being hoisted over our tricolor by a group of marauders garbed under the veil of ‘peaceful farmers’ has been thrown into utter oblivion. No fucking sect, faith, religion holds more importance than our mother India’s flag you prejudiced print media. No wonder when you mention that ‘But the news media is in a crisis of its own’, you justify your own hysterical and prejudiced reports towards events of national shame, giving them a shockingly neutral color when the events don’t suit your purpose.

  10. Glorifying the vandals, aren’t you? Long back, they had planned to violate the conditions imposed by the police. Otherwise, they could not have come prepared with swords, lathis, rods etc. The central government has kept the farmers on high pedestal. It is time to dump this obstinate farmer leaders.

  11. The red fort incident and footages from the scene of violence confirms that the whole farmer protest was orchestrated by Khalistani terrorists. No doubt left that tractor march was staged to let terrorists infiltrate in Delhi. Now we shall brace for more attacks in capital. Shaaaheen bagh, JNU, Farmers protest are all initiatives of foreign forces and our political parties have collaborated with them.

    • Nonsense Mr Hiten !

      If Muslims protest against the CAA, they are Pakistanis; if Sikhs protest, they are Khalistanis; if Kashmiris protest they are ISIS and so on. It is bloody easy to call a protester seditious and dismiss him. But that sweeps under the carpet the fact that Modistan is increasingly run as an “elected dictatorship” with the upper caste, North Indian Hindu identity as the criterion for citizenship in Modistan. So don’t be surprised if the country starts unravelling when you start to discriminate on the basis of identities.

      Not that I expect Modi worshippers like you to understand one seminal fact: India is not a country which is homegeneous and consisting of regions, religions and ethnicities that have willingly come together to form a nation state. On the contrary, India consists of many regions and religions that are held together by force and perhaps even do not wish to remain together. Given these circumstances, it is imperative that the person who leads the nation stresses on national unity at all times and strives to cement and strengthen national unity. Modi, given his RSS baggage is incapable of doing that. And Modi bhakths like you aid and abet the process of national dis-integration.


      • Shame on you, Kili Jolsiyar! People like you constantly support anti-national activities. You don’t want progress in this country but constant disruption. What reason did any muslim from India have to protest against the CAA even before it was enacted, especially since it did not even concern them? All it was doing was giving asylum to persecuted non-muslims from muslim-majority countries of the region who were affected by the partition.
        What do you call protestors who would climb on top of the Red Fort on Republic Day and hoist the flag of Khalistan? What about those who destroyed public and private property all over Delhi? Should we ask them for a repeat? They would be called Khalistanis.
        What would you call Kashmiri muslims who enacted Direct Action Day against Hindus and ethnically cleansed Kashmir to allow it to secede and join Pakistan? They would be called as traitors.
        People like you only want to destroy India with your tukde-tukde gang. The good part is that it will never happen. Not in your lifetime.

        • Mr/Ms RM: Thanks for your “reply”. Best described as an incoherent rant rather than a reply to my post per se.

          Your puerile tirade does not counter any of the substantive issues I raise in my post. What you indulge in is nothing but a knee-jerk outburst of your pent up Hindutva inspired prejudices, your deep ignorance of Sikhism and vulgar jingoism. Which you try pass off patriotism. And oddly, your “patriotism” only seems to be manifested when it comes to Sikhs, Muslims and Kashmiris. Indeed, your pathetic understanding of patriotism is nothing more than a display of your prejudices towards the minorities that you were taught to hate in your pathetic shaka.

          Not a single sentence in my longish post can be construed as anti-national. My post though is heavy on anti-fascism, the subverting of democracy and the distortion of democracy into a sort of saffron majoritariaism. But then, for Adityanath and Tejaswi Surya clones like you, any criticism of the BJP and the RSS fascists who lead it is anti-national. Indeed, your Modi worship reminds of another bootlicking clown from the Congress, a joker called D.K.Barooah who coined the famous phrase “Indira is India and India is Indira”. Barooah and his ilk too never countenanced any criticism of then PM Ms Indira Gandhi or the Congress.

          Getting back to some facts that your itchy testicled, lathi wielding shakha professor did not tell you. The Nishan Sahib is NOT the flag of Khalistan but a sacred Sikh flag that is flown in every gurudwara in the world. And if you had read my article carefully, I condemn the raising of the Nishan Sahib in an inappropriate place.

          Regarding the CAA protests. There are no laws in the country against peaceful protests and my post clearly points that out. The many Muslims who protested against the CAA did so peacefully, knowing fully well that the real intention of the laws was to marginalise Muslims and dis-enfranchise them, regardless of their Indian citizenship. And dis-enfranchisement, rather than expulsion of Muslims is something the BJP itself is forced to admit is the goal, given that both Bangladesh and Pakistan have categorically said that India cannot forcibly expel its Muslims into these countries. Here again, facts and fiction are things you cannot separate – after all they don’t teach you how to do that in the shaka do they?

          Moving on to Direct Action Day, sometimes called the Calcutta Killings. It was not called in Kashmir but in Calcutta and the date was 16th Aug 1946. It was started by Jinnah and then spread to other parts of the country, particularly the Punjab. What you write here about Direct Action Day is bullshit – not surprising given, presumably, your gomutra addiction!

          India will not be destroyed by democracy, people who question the government like I do, a free press or by people like me who oppose this descent into ethno-fascism. Democracy will be killed in India by people like you who vote in the ethnofascists and swallow their poison.

      • Mr Kili,

        Speak of the task at hand. Your mere obsession with the term Hindu is not an attempt to whitewash what happened today I hope. There are just tens of counts on which the “farmers” violated the NOC terms. No trailers were allowed . Almost all tractors had one. no weapons lathis ,swords,machetes were allowed. So many of them carried one. What are you even trying to imply? Not one person has lost life due to police bullet ! Your obsession with BJP, Hindu, RSS is just shooting off at such an awkward tangent that now all that RSS says which looked like fear mongering sounds the truth now. Get over your hatred for a particular religion and learn to atleast respect the national flag.

        • Mr Ananta: Thanks for your reply.

          The behaviour of the police in India depends on who they deal with. If they have to deal with Dalits, Muslims or other low castes, they often display an extraordinary degree of violence. In almost all riots in India, the police fail to protect minorities and usually side with the ruling political party. The Godhra pogroms of 2002, the Bombay riots of the 1990s, the Nellie massacre of 1983, the Sikh pogroms of 1984 and many more violent orgies of bloodletting in India have either seen police dereliction of duty to protect citizens or actual police participation in the violence.

          In any case, you are missing the thrust of my argument: For India to remain a cohesive country given the enormous regional, religious, class, caste and other divides, a majoritarian notion of democracy with an elected demagogue at the helm is the worst possible solution one could arrive at. India is an administrative construct that the British coined for ruling some 650 odd princely states. India is not a country like France, Germany or the Netherlands where a very homogeneous populace wants to stay together and force need not be applied to keep the country intact. Indeed, even countries like Spain, Canada and Britain have cracks appearing. Catalan speaking Catalonia wants a referendum to perhaps leave Spain; French speaking Québec has held a referendum on whether to leave Canada and Scotland is contemplating a referendum to leave Britain. It is precisely this scenario of splintering and fracturing of the country that I warn against – we have had Sikhs fighting violently for an independent Khalistan; Kashmir is steeped in violence and there are simmering struggles and movements in other parts of the country. In fact, large swathes of the country are actually controlled by Naxalites, not the GOI.

          Given this backdrop, the fascist Hindutva ideology of the RSS and its misbegotten child the BJP are not a recipe for unity but for division. And if the police have treated the largely Sikh demonstrators with kid gloves, well, the BJP understands perhaps that they cannot restart Khalistan 2.0. Despite your anger at the raising of the Nishan Sahib at the Red Fort.

      • Who is a bhakt and who is not is pretty clear from your views above ,the fact is your hate for modi is because of his hindu identity and anybody speaking against the present anarchist would be termed as bhakts by likes of you ,you will conviniently try to ignore and defend those who use their religious identites during these protest but wear the mask of seculairsm…the fact that you have even defended these hoignas and relgious extremists nd somehow found blame on modi is a testimony in itself …exposing your bigtory and regious hatered for Hindus

  12. It was unnecessary, stupid and insensitive to describe Nishan sahib in this article. We understand the editor in chief has love for Punjab but as citizens of India, we see this act of Hoisting Nishan sahib as Insult to national flag at national monument. We also understand the message khalistani were trying to send. The response to this act won’t be very pleasant. Ones who dared to challenge this nation at Red fort, will be taken care of.

    • Means hosting Flag of Nishan Sahib will trun you in to an Khalistani.

      Don’t you even know that it is the most sacred things in Sikhism.

      Stop this fuxkin nonsense kind of things and the valore and pride of our Nation Flag was not altered at any point.

      • Well said Issa Jatt Saab.

        But don’t expect people schooled in an RSS shaka to grasp that. They know very little about Hinduism, leave alone Sikhism.

  13. The farmers have quite clearly sent a message that this is a sectarian protest. It really doesn’t have anything to do with the issues facing the vast majority of farmers in the rest of the country.

  14. Its the most shameful thing seen in a long long time. The person not just hoisted this flag. When given the tri color, he threw it away and asked for this flag.

    • Mr/Ms Ananta: The RSS, the parent organisation of your beloved BJP, did not fly the Indian flag until quite recently. The RSS flew the Bhagwa Dhwaj and refused to recognise the flag of India. So what is truly shameful is that men who owe allegiance to the racist, parochial and divisive ideology of the Sangh come to power. And get their useful idiots to criticise Sikhs.

      HYPOCRISY write large Mr/Ms Ananta !

      • RSS have been hoisting the flag for last 20 years. Before that they didn’t adopt because the flag was designed by the same people who wanted them banned. Irrespective they have never hoisted their own flag on any national monument on independence or republic day esp over Indian National flag. And more importantly if RSS was ever wrong what does it matter. The current issue at hand is not just the flag of wahe guruji but also of Khalistan flag being flown. This is an act of secession. What RSS did and didn’t do doesn’t matter.

      • Kili Jolsiyar – You are clearly an agent of the anti-India brigade. Shame on you for supporting such activities as happened today.

        • Mr/Ms RM: When you run out of arguments, you indulge in cheap abuse. Criticism of the government, the ruling party or an elected official is not being part of the “anti-india brigade” – whatever the hell that is.

          The unfurling of the Nishal sahib was utterly inappropriate and is highly condemnable. And inasmuch as I condemn that, I also condemn the RSS for not having respected the national flag until it was forced to. But clearly, for bhakths like you, saffron disrespect for national symbols is OK. So you and your ilk are the actual anti-India brigade.

          PS: Check with your shaka pals on whether your beloved RSS participated in the Quit India movement.

      • Mr/ms Kili,

        Do you rever the RSS? Why are you obsessed with the RSS? Are your eyes blind to the moment this hooligan chose to throw away the national flag? Recognition of a flag you say? Just look at the audacity with which you are trying to whitewash something which just happened. You ignorance is hilarious and the heart burn you are getting due to this ilk being exposed is laughable. Grab a chill pill. You are not going to take RSS to the grave I hope. And yes, respect the national flag like you mean it.By your actions. Not by literature reviews of when and who failed to recognise the flag.

        • Mr Ananta: The RSS to which you belong and from which the present ruling party the BJP regards as it sideological fount does NOT respect the national flag, In fact, it is only since 2002 that it flew the Tricolour. The RSS never regarded the Tricolour as the legitimate flag of India and in most RSS buildings, the Bhagwa Dhwaj flies, not the Indian flag. You don’t find anything wrong with that ?

      • Only Sikhhs are farmers in india all other are bhakts. And chewtiye RSS didn’t fly their flag on redfort.

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