While we revel in festivities today, let us spare a moment for to remember a young teenage boy, Hakeekat Rai who chose to embrace death instead of leaving his faith and converting to Islam.
Hakeekat Rai was the only son of a rich man, Bhagmal Khatri of Sialkot. He became a Sikh under the influence of his mother. During Mughal rule, kids went to study Persian from Maulvis. Hakeekat Rai also did so.
He was the only Sikh in a class full of Muslim students.
One day when the Maulvi had gone out, he got into an altercation with them after they insulted the Hindu Mother Goddess. He retaliated, calling names to Fatima.
After thrashing him, his classmates complained to the Maulvi that Hakeekat had committed blasphemy.
Hakeekat Rai got arrested and the administrator of Sialkot declared that he either convert to Islam or face death. Yes, that was the ‘choice’ offered to a young teenaged lad by the bigots that ruled these sacred lands at that point of time.
The case was then transferred to the court of Governor of Lahore. The Governor, Zakaria Khan, upheld the sentence and beseeched him to convert for sake of his life.
The young Hakeekat Rai asked, “Shall I never die, if I become a Muslim?”
When Zakaria Khan replied in negative, he said, “If this be the case, then why should I sacrifice my great religion for the sake of Islam?”
That night his parents came to meet him and his mother, Goran said to her son, “No doubt I shall lose a son by your death but if you give up your faith, I shall be called the mother of a deserter and a faithless son. I pray to God to bestow upon you the will to keep your faith even if you have to sacrifice your life.”
Next day he was again brought to court and asked to convert. The young lad stood firm in his decision. He was finally ordered to be handed over to the Mullahs to be punished as per Sharia.
The boy was buried upto his waist in the earth. He still retained a smile on his face. The fanatical crowd then started throwing stones at him. Death finally came when a soldier decapitated him.
It was the day of
Subsequently, a samadhi was built at the spot of his martyrdom. Till the time the nation was partitioned, Hindus / Sikhs from all over Punjab would gather there to pay their respects to the teenaged ‘Dharamveer’ on his martyrdom day.
And then some people say the
ISIS is a recent phenomenon .. History might beg to differ a bit, though.
Incidentally, part of the reason why many in
Pakistan seek to curtail #BasantPanchami celebrations is that according to them, it glorifies victory of a young child over their faith, Islam.
God bless the soul of Hakeekat Rai & countless like him that have fallen in this long running war on the very soul of Indian civilization.