Last year (in 2022), the Government designated December 26 as the ‘Veer Bal Diwas’ to mark the martyrdom of Sri Guru Gobind Singh’s sons Sahibzadas Baba Zorawar Singh Ji and Baba Fateh Singh Ji incarcerated live into the wall on this day in 1705 by Mughal chieftain Wazir Khan in Sirhind (Fatehgarh Sahib, Punjab).
The mainstreaming of what had remained only a Sikh commemoration for years, was a significant resurrection of these national heroes lost in a set pattern of camouflaging historical truths by undermining their wider societal and cultural relevance. In fact, the brutal killing of Sahibzadas isn’t a mere battle story of warring parties but basis of a new epoch in geo-political history of the sub-continent and also a catalyst of civilizational continuity. And such a change making event needs recognition and celebration. The valor and values of this martyrdom offer great lessons for children and Veer Bal Diwas creates its own value addition for mindset development of children.
In this backdrop, the second edition of ‘Veer Bal Diwas’ on Dec 26, saw engagement of more than 52 lakh students, teachers and others as per the official statement of the Ministry of Education over various activities ranging from special assemblies, essay, poetry and painting competitions, screening of short films and stories recounting besides digital campaigns.
In New Delhi Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a special assembly held at Bharat Mandapam. In his speech PM Modi spoke about how the tales of valor of the Veer Sahibzade left the entire nation electrified as Veer Bal Diwas’ was introduced last year. “Veer Bal Diwas is a symbol of the never-say-die attitude for the protection of Bhartiyata”, PM Modi emphasized, “This day reminds us that age does not matter when it comes to heights of bravery.” Calling it a celebration of the heritage of the Sikh Gurus, the Prime Minister said that the courage and ideals of Guru Gobind Singh Ji and his four Veer Sahibzades embolden every Indian even today.
The Prime Minister expressed happiness that Veer Bal Diwas is now being celebrated internationally as the USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, UAE and Greece witnessed programmes related to Veer Bal Diwas. Recalling the incomparable history of the battles of Chamkaur and Sirhind, the Prime Minister said that this history cannot be forgotten. He remembered how Indians faced cruelty and despotism with dignity.
PM Modi pointed out that the world too only took notice of our heritage the time we started giving our heritage its due respect. “Today when we are taking pride in our heritage, the world’s viewpoint has also changed”, he said. Shri Modi expressed satisfaction that today’s India is shedding the mentality of slavery and having full confidence in the capabilities, inspirations and people of the country. “For today’s India, the sacrifice of Sahibzadas is a matter of inspiration.” Similarly, the sacrifice of Bhagwan Birsa Munda and Gobind Guru inspires the entire country.
He mentioned Nachiketa who broke all barriers in search of knowledge, Abhimanyu who at a young age took on the ‘Chakravyuh’, Dhruv and his penance, Mauryan King Chandragupta who led an empire at a very young age, Eklavya and his dedication towards his Guru Dronacharya, Khudiram Bose, Batukeshwar Datt, Kanaklata Barua, Rani Gaidinliu, Baji Raut and various others national heroes who sacrificed their lives for the country.
The widespread engagement of educational institutions and schools on Veer Baal Diwas created a collective sense of pride and unity & reinforced the importance of remembering and honoring such acts for future generations.