Kids Corner

Kids' Corner

The First Vaisakhi: A Children's Play




      Vaisakhi celebrations at the Garden State Sikh Association Center (GSSA) in Bridgewater, New Jersey (U.S.A.) on 18 April, 2010 vibrated with a new energy. The children of the Khalsa school presented the sangat with a magnificent Vaisakhi programme.

      Their voices resonated as they were enacting what happened on the day of Vaisakhi in 1699. The look on their faces was a joy to behold, their commitment to their faith was food for the soul. The play they performed is presented below, so you too can share the joy of their Vaisakhi celebration.



      THE PLAY

      Voice : Vaisakhi is here and Sikhs around the world gather to celebrate. Today, we would like to share with the sangat what we have learnt about Vaisakhi.

      Voice: The year was 1699. Our Guru, Gobind Rai, sent out a call: "Come, my fellow-Sikhs and celebrate Vaisakhi with me at Anandpur Sahib."

      Voice:  Punjab was on the move . . . Guruji had called. Every able Sikh, from lands and kingdoms far and wide, answered the call.

      Voice: Vaisakhi morning at Anandpur Sahib was a majestic scene. The sangat waited with baited breath to hear Guruji speak.

      Voice: With kirpan in hand, Guruji emerged from his tent and declared: "I need a Sikh's head. Is there anyone here who will give me his head?"

      Voice:  The sangat went silent. Everyone looked at each other in confusion. The joy on their faces, their excitement had suddenly disappeared.

      Voice: Guruji thundered again: "Is there no Sikh who will give me his head?"

      Voice: From the sangat rose Daya Ram, a 'khatri' from Lahore. "My head is yours, my Guru," he said with humility.

      Voice: Guruji took Daya Ram inside the tent and returned with his bloodstained kirpan. The sangat was horrified.  But before they could recover from the shock, Guruji turned to them and roared once again: "Is there another Sikh who will give me his head? I need another head."

      Voice: By this time, the sangat began to leave. Some ran away scared and some ran to Guruji's mother to complain.

      Voice: But Guruji's call was answered and Dharam Das, a 'jutt' from Delhi, came forward to present Guruji his head. Three more times, Guruji's voice thundered in the air, and three more times the bravest of the braves answered his call:

      - Mohkam Chand, a washerman from Dwarka

      - Himmat Chand, a cook from Jagan Nath Puri, and

      - Sahib Chand, a barber from Bidar

      Voice: The sangat was shaken. Strange were the events that were taking place. No one could have imagined that such an incredible thing would happen on this day. And not a soul could predict what would happen next.

      Voice:  A short while later, Guruji emerged from the tent ... a bewildered hush came over the sangat. Behind Guruji were The Beloved Five - Daya Ram, Dharam Das, Mohkam Chand, Himmat Chand and Sahib Chand - all dressed in splendid new chogaas, glowing with pride. They were not dead; rather they had been immortalized by Guruji, after giving themselves to him, and killing their egos with Guruji's Divine Kirpan.

      Voice: Guruji then started to prepare Amrit. He poured water into an iron bowl and began stirring it with the Khanda - while reciting the five banis of nitnem - Japji Sahib, Jaap Sahib, Swayyi-ey Sahib, Chopai-ee Sahib and Anand Sahib. The Amrit was now ready.

      Voice: Guruji then gave each of the Panj Pyare five palmfuls of Amrit to drink and sprinkled Amrit five times onto their eyes and hair. Each time, Guruji proclaimed. "Waheguru ji ka Khalsa! Waheguru ji ke Fateh!"

      Voice: Guruji said, "From this day on, my Sikhs will be known as Singhs (lions), and Kaurs - (princesses), and will fear no one."  He bestowed on them the title of The Khalsa - a highly explosive personality whose ‘Light of Life' radiates glory, justice and love. Thus, the nation of The Khalsa was born.

      Voice: Along with this title came the Five Royal "K's."

      Voice: Kesh, Kanga, Kara, Kirpan, Kacchera.

      Voice: More than two centuries later, Professor Puran Singh writes thus about Kesh:


      Kesh, O flowing Kesh

      My Guru has touched my Kesh

      My Guru has blessed my Kesh

      In my Kesh is the fragrance of His touch

      How can I bear to part with you.

      There are people who say Kesh is troublesome

      But more troublesome is a life of no inspiration.

      My Guru is my life

      My Guru is my inspiration.

      I wear my Kesh with pride

      For I am my Guru's Sikh. 


      Voice: Kanga


      A gift from my Guru

      To keep my Kesh clean.

      But I think it is more than that -

      It is a constant reminder, that I must also keep my thoughts clean.

      Kanga - a small comb

      Yet it has the power

      To keep me on track.

      I cannot run to the mountain-top

      And meditate with matted hair.

      I am my Guru's Sikh

      I commit to following "The Way". 


      Voice: Kara

      When this hand rises to strike the weak

      It is the Kara that reminds me - I'm here to protect the weak.

      When this hand rises to pick up a drink

      It is the Kara that reminds me - to give up that drink.

      When this hand rises to puff up smoke

      It is the Kara that reminds me - to rise above the smoke.

      When this hand rises to pick up a razor

      It is the Kara that reminds me - shed the fashion of the razor.

      Did my Guru intend

      The Kara to have such power

      Or is it just a fluke

      Perhaps a figment of my imagination.

      There are no flukes; there are no coincidences

      I believe in a Divine plan.

      I submit before my Guru

      And wear the Kara with pride. 


      Voice: Kirpan

      It is the sword of love

      Given by my Guru.

      A Guru who in his love

      Saw no difference between human beings

      And fused all of us in one creed of devotion, service and sacrifice.

      Kirpan is a gift

      A gift from my Guru.

      It is a sword of "kirpa"

      It is a sword of mercy.

      When all other means have failed

      A Khalsa picks up the sword

      Not out of anger or to seek revenge

      But to uphold honor.

      But before a Sikh can think of using

      "The Kirpan of the Khalsa"

      The qualities of a saint

      Must be there within.

      He must remain true

      To the vision of the Guru.

      The Khalsa is a sant-sipahi

      Not a mercenary. 


      Voice: Kacchera

      The elegant Kacchera that

      we wear every day is the same

      as worn by Guruji and his disciples.

      Clad in it, we are one with him.

      It reminds me

      That living in this world

      I must be chaste.

      This is a gift of love

      This is a gift of caring.

      My Guru cares

      And wants me to lead a life with honor. 


      Voice: Guruji spoke: "Wherever there is tyranny, my Khalsa will rise to protect the weak and to honor humanity."

      Voice: The sangat was in awe at what they were witnessing. There were exclamations of wonder, and sighs of regret on all sides. They were sorry they did not offer Guruji their heads.

      Voice: But that was not all.

      Voice: Guruji then turned towards His Beloved Five - his Panj Pyare and asked them to bestow on him the sacred Amrit. The Master became a disciple - an event unparalleled in history.  From that day forth, Guru Gobind Rai became Guru Gobind Singh.

      Voice: Guruji promised "The Khalsa" that whenever they called upon him, he would be by their side. This was the establishment of a democratic Khalsa.

      Voice: Guruji gives the definition of his beloved Khalsa:

      "One who constantly keeps in mind,

      Intent upon Ever Awake Living Light of Consciousness

      And never swerves from the thought of One God;

      And one who is adorned with full faith in Him

      And is wholly steeped in the Love of the Lord,

      And even by mistake never puts faith in fasting;

      Or in worship of tombs, or crematoriums,

      Caring not for pilgrimages, alms, charities, penances or austerities;

      Or anything else but devotion to the One God;

      And in whose heart and soul the Divine Light

      Shines forth as the full moon

      That one is known as Khalsa, purest of the pure."


      Voice: History says that within the next few days, 80,000 men and women took Amrit.

      Voice:  Gulam-ul-din, the Persian historian, sent a letter to Aurangzeb, describing what happened on that day in 1699.  He writes of the Guru's address to his people:

      "Let all embrace one creed and obliterate differences of religion. The four Hindu castes, which have different rules for their guidance for each clasas - abandon them all, adopt the one form of adoration, and become one humanity. Let no one deem themselves superior to another. Let none pay heed to the Ganges and other places of pilgrimage, but follow the teachings of Guru Nanak and the other Sikh Gurus. Let the four castes receive my Amrit, eat out of one dish, and feel no disgust or contempt for one another."

      Voice: Vaisakhi is a celebration -

      Of the birth of the Khalsa.

      And a remembrance -

      Of the "spiritual bond"

      That exists between

      A Sikh and his Guru.

      Vaisakhi is also a commitment

      To follow the "true path"

      Gifted to us by our Guru. 

      Wahe Guru ji ka Khalsa

      Wahe Gur ji ki Fateh!! 



      May 2, 2010

Conversation about this article

1: Gurmeet Kaur (Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.), May 04, 2010, 10:58 AM.

As I read this, I could imagine the whole play being enacted. Especially, the love the verses on the kakaars. As a gurmat teacher for several years, I have also created some enactments on songs, poems, plays, etc. These experiences inspire the kids for life. Indeed, these need to be archived and shared. Thanks for thinking of this.

2: Amardeep (U.S.A.), May 05, 2010, 11:36 AM.

Just want a clarification. Did Prof. Puran Singh write the above-cited lines only for Kesh, or are all the lines written above for the kakaars are by him? Great piece.

3: Inni Kaur (Fairfield, CT, U.S.A.), May 05, 2010, 5:51 PM.

The lines on Kesh are by Prof. Puran Singh. The lines on the rest of the kakaars are by me. Glad you liked the piece.

4: Rubin Paul Singh (Washington, D.C., U.S.A.), May 06, 2010, 12:03 AM.

Thank you, Inni Kaur ji, for sharing this play in it's entirety. I have found theatre/ plays to be an extremely effective tool in teaching Sikh history. It gives the audience a "glimpse" of what the experience might have been like. Also, the children who participated will never forget what they learned about the first Vaisakhi. Keep up the great work!

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