1674: Guru Tegh Bahadur

Add comment November 11th, 2014 Headsman

The early religion of Sikhism was led by a succession of 10 Gurus.*

The Mughals executed the ninth of those Gurus on this date in 1674.

Guru Tegh Bahadur (the name means “Hero of the Sword” and was earned in youthful battles against those same Mughals) was acclaimed above 20-odd other aspirants after the previous Guru died saying only that the next guy was in the village of Bakala.

Guru from 1664, he’s noted for founding the holy city of Anandpur Sahib in Punjab. And it was his lot to lead a minority faith during the reign of the Aurangzeb, an emperor notorious to posterity for religious dogmatism.

He’s known best as a persecutor of Hindus: knocking over temples to throw up mosques, forcing conversions, and implementing sharia. But Aurangzeb knew how to get after all kinds.

Considering the going sectarian tension between Hindu and Muslim in the environs, there’s a good deal of touchy historical debate over just how to characterize Aurangzeb’s policies. This site is entirely unqualified to contribute to that conversation but suffice to say it was not an ideal moment to adhere to an alternate faith.

The circumstances of Guru Tegh Bahadur’s capture, and his subsequent execution in Delhi, are similarly obscured by hagiography. Aurangzeb, who spent his reign at virtually continual war, must surely have seen in the Guru’s capital city — which also welcomed Hindu refugees fleeing the Mughals’ abrogation of their rites — a nest of rebellion. Putting its leader to death when he too refused conversion would have been right in character; no less understandable is the Guru’s remembrance as a martyr to religious liberty, and not only the liberty of Sikhs but Hindus, Buddhists, and any other comers.

Tegh Bahadur’s nine-year-old son Gobind Singh succeeded as the tenth and last Guru. It was he who laid down the “Five Ks” — five articles that a faithful Sikh should wear at all times. Thanks to the parlous state of security vis-a-vis the Mughals, one of those items is the Kirpan, a dagger or small sword that continues to vex airline security agents down to the present day.

* Ten human Gurus: the tenth passed succession to the perpetual “Guru Panth” (the entire community of Sikhs) and “Guru Granth Sahib” (a sacred text).

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 17th Century,Beheaded,Capital Punishment,Death Penalty,Disfavored Minorities,Execution,God,History,India,Martyrs,Mughal Empire,Power,Religious Figures

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

2006: Mohamed Amin Mohamed Razali, mystical Malaysian militant

Add comment August 4th, 2008 Headsman

Two years ago today, the strange leader of a mystical Islamic fight club was hanged at Malaysia’s Sungai Buloh prison for waging war on the king.

Caption Contest?: The Headsman could be mistaken, but based on an altogether amateur comparison to the Razali shot on this BBC story, I believe that’s him in the white. Photo from the sect website.

The heretofore obscure Al Ma’unah — just a couple dozen guys — had descended on an army camp in July 2000 and made off with a handsome cache of weapons and a few hostages, apparently the opening gambit in a bid to launch an Islamic fundamentalist revolution in Malaysia.

What actually happened was the army hunted them down and engulfed them a couple of days later.

You’d never know the ambitious designs of this clique from its web site (still online as of this writing), whose English “about us” page rings harmlessly loopy (all grammatical manglings [sic]):

Al-Ma’unah … is a Non-Govermental Organisation (NGO) … involved in the teaching of martial arts particularly the development of one’s inner power and the practice of Islamic traditional medicine.

Literary, the term “Ma’unah” is an Arabic word which means, something extraordinary that happens to an ordinary Muslim individual, for example extra sensory perception or the ability to see “things” in another dimension (paranormal).

“Al-Ma’unah Inner Power” can be defined as “something extraordinary bestowed to a righteous Muslim (in the form of assistance from Allah) in accordance with specific adherence to tradition and proper sequence emphasising on the Islamic principles and Allah’s commandments as stipulated in the holy Quran”.

In teaching the martial art and traditional medicine, the brotherhood placed more emphasis on spiritual development and enlightenment of its members or “ikhwan” as it is known in Al-Maunah, in order to achieve the highest level of proficiency in the art and to attain great healing powers.

… although a section entitled “The Usage of the Inner Power” suggests the training achieves the sorts of useful martial superpowers more commonly found on a Dungeons & Dragons treasure table:

Among the benefit of Al-Ma’unah Inner Power can be listed as follows:

o For health and vitality, both physically and spiritually.
o Making an enemy/attacker to freeze on the spot and to be hurled sprawling backwards without being touch.
o Invincible from sharp objects, weapons, boiling water, fire etc.
o To transfer temporarily the inner energy to another object.
o Able to attain healing powers.
o Able to tie enemies without using rope.
o Able to hypnotise a violent aggressor to sleep or forget his intention.
o Able to pull back a fleeing snatch thief or robber from great distance (without physical body contact).
o Able to make attackers to drop to their knees or fall down with the blink of an eye.
o For marital bliss.
o Able to increase influence over others.

Too bad it didn’t protect against hemp.

Most of the 19 who survived the manhunt and went on trial eagerly cut deals, groveled (“Please don’t send us to the gallows!” one said during the hearing), and pointed the finger at the former army private. Razali didn’t say boo at trial and died stoically at about 6 a.m. this morning.

Although there were 359 executions in Malaysia from 1970 to 2001, the practice has dropped into disuse in this decade; Razali appears to be the last person executed in Malaysia as of this post’s publication. Amnesty International has suggested that Malaysia’s zero figure might conceal some secret (presumably extrajudicial) executions. While the government angrily denied that suggestion, the death penalty has come under growing scrutiny in Malaysia.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 21st Century,Capital Punishment,Death Penalty,Execution,Guerrillas,Hanged,Malaysia,Religious Figures,Revolutionaries,Ripped from the Headlines,Soldiers,Treason

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


Calendar

November 2019
M T W T F S S
« Oct    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930  

Archives

Categories

Execution Playing Cards

Exclusively available on this site: our one-of-a-kind custom playing card deck.

Every card features a historical execution from England, France, Germany, or Russia!