Nihang Sikhs, Blue-Clad Warriors, Escort Tractor Rally on Horses

Nihangs consider it their duty to defend the people and faith in times of conflict or struggle.

Updated
India
3 min read

Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editor: Deepthi Ramdas

The involvement of Nihang Sikhs – the armed warriors clad in blue – has been a major highlight of the farmers’ protest against the Narendra Modi government’s three farm laws.

So, their presence – not on tractors, but on horsebacks – was not a surprise as agitating farmers at Delhi’s borders undertook a tractor rally on Tuesday morning as India celebrated its 72nd Republic Day.

Nihang horsemen near the Singhu border.
Nihang horsemen near the Singhu border.
(Photo: Shadab Moizee/The Quint)

Close to Singhu Border, hundreds of Nihang Sikhs rode towards the national capital alongside farmers on foot and tractors.

Every protest site has a separate section where Nihangs – or Guru Di Ladli Fauj (Guru’s beloved army) – keep their horses and weapons.

Nihang horsemen near the Singhu border.
Nihang horsemen near the Singhu border.
(Photo: Shadab Moizee/The Quint)
Nihang horsemen near the Singhu border.
Nihang horsemen near the Singhu border.
(Photo: Shadab Moizee/The Quint)
Nihang horsemen near the Singhu border.
Nihang horsemen near the Singhu border.
(Photo: Shadab Moizee/The Quint)
Nihang horsemen near the Singhu border.
Nihang horsemen near the Singhu border.
(Photo: Shadab Moizee/The Quint)

Who Are Nihangs and Why Are They Part of Farmers’ Protest?

The roots of the word Nihang is said to be in a phrase in Persian for a ferocious, mythical sea creature. It is believed that Mughal historians compared the ferocity of Sikh warriors with crocodiles.

Nihang horsemen near the Singhu border.
Nihang horsemen near the Singhu border.
(Photo: Shadab Moizee/The Quint)
Nihangs trace their origin to the Khalsa Panth founded by Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Guru of Sikhs, at the end of the 17th Century.

They are said to have emanated from Guru Hargobind’s Akal Sena.

The particular shade of blue that Nihangs wear is said to have been chosen by Guru Gobind Singh. In addition, they wear bracelets of iron around their wrists (jangi kara) and steel discs in their turban. Traditionally, they are also supposed to carry one or two swords.

Nihang horsemen near the Singhu border.
Nihang horsemen near the Singhu border.
(Photo: Shadab Moizee/The Quint)
Nihangs are an integral part of the Sikh society, particularly in villages. They consider it their duty to defend the people and faith in times of conflict or struggle.

As a result, Nihangs often take part in farmers’ agitation.

The presence of Nihangs is a source of immense security for lay protesters, who are aware of the historical role of Guru di Ladli Fauj.

Nihang horsemen near the Singhu border.
Nihang horsemen near the Singhu border.
(Photo: Shadab Moizee/The Quint)

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