The Colors Worn by Sikhs
(Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit’)
Bhai Dya Singh Ji
History indicates that Guru Gobind Singh Ji sent Bhai Dya Singh Ji to deliver the ‘Zafarnama’ to the Emperor Aurangzeb. ‘Gur Bilaas Paatshaahee 10’ written by Bhai Sukha Singh gives a description of Bhai Dya Singh Ji appearing in the court of Emperor Aurangzeb. According to the ‘Gur Bilaas Paatshaahee 10’, Bhai Dya Singh Ji wore a blue dress. Here are the original lines: –
Sabhai Neel Cheerang Sajai Ang Aachhai.
To prove that the blue was the compulsory dress of Sikhs, a few people have made use of this quotation, however the truth is otherwise. At the time of this event, India was under Mogul rule. Guru Gobind Singh Ji ordered Bhai Dya Singh Ji to disguise himself as an ‘Ahdee’ (royal messenger). Therefore, Bhai Dya Singh Ji was in an Ahdee’s dress, which was naturally blue, given the customs of the Islamic rulers.
Other Sikh warriors
‘Gur Bilas Paatshaahee 10’ written by Bhai Sukha Singh makes it clear that Sikh warriors wore wear robes of different colours, when they joined Guru Ji at Sri Anandpur Sahib. Bhai Sukha Singh states:-
Ketak Aan Hazoor Majhaara.
Kare Kisareeya Cheer Su Dhaara.
Kisoo Tilona Aran Banaaye.
Saamuh Judh Joojhane Chaahe.
(Many wore saffron robes after coming to the holy presence. Many sesame-coloured and many wore red dress. They have desire to fight on forefront).
Thus, we can say easily that Guru Gobind Singh Ji, his sons and other Sikhs wore clothes of various colours.
As mentioned elsewhere in this section, when the historic Budhha Dal and Taruna Dal were fighting against the rulers and Muslim invaders, most of their members would only wear a Kachhehra and a turban. They would cover their bodies with blankets. Giani Gian Singh writes in his ‘Panth Prakash’: –
Khat Ras Ka Wah Swaad Na Jaanai.
Kaprha Aur Na Tan Par Thhaanai.
Kamar Jaangheeya, Ik Sir Patka.
Bhoore Giltee Baana Jatka.
(They [Singhs] do not know taste of six flavors. They do not wear any other clothes. There is underwear around their waists and a turban on their heads. They wear blankets, a Jatt dress).
Bhai Gurbaksh Singh Ji was a Sikh warrior. He, along with other Sikhs, fought against invaders, who attacked Sri Darbar Sahib, Sri Amritsar Sahib Ji and become a martyr (‘shaheed’) in the battle. It happened in Samvat 1822 Bikrami (1765 AD).
Giani Gian Singh writes in ‘Panth Prakash’ that Bhai Gurbaksh Singh wore saffron clothing, when he went to fight: –
Tan Dhare Bastar Kesree, Dastaar Ooch Sajaaye.
(He wore saffron robes and tied a high turban).
In ‘Pracheen Panth Parkash’, Ratan Singh Bhangu speaks of the colours worn by other Sikh companions of Bhai Gurbaksh Singh Ji:
Kisai Pushaak Thee Neelee Sajaayee.
Kinai Set, Kisai Kesaree Rangvaayee.
(A few of them wore blue dress. A few [wore] white and a few dyed [their dress] saffron).
It is important to note that Bhai Gurbaksh Singh Ji is called a ‘Nihang’ in ‘Pracheen Panth Prakash’, the same text also indicates that the Sikhs who joined Bhai Gurbaksh Singh Ji in this battle, wore blue, as well as white and saffron clothing.