Nishan Sahib is a triangular shaped Kesri (Dark Yellow or blue) coloured cloth with or inscribed on it in the middle hoisted on a pole below a steel Khanda.

It is said words "Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh" in Punjabi script (Victory of God) was inscribed on the Nishan Sahib of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. During Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s times words "Akal Sahai" in Punjabi script were unscribed on the Nishan Sahib. During times Sikh Misals, "Nishan Walia" Misal used to provide Sikhs for carrying Nishan Sahib to all the Misals during battles. Nishan Sahib on Pole of suitable height is hoisted on all Gurdwaras. This indicates the location of the Gurdwara.

Once, Nishan Sahib bearer named Bhai Alam Singh fell in the hands of Mughal enemy forces during a battle. He was told to throw the flag or else, his hand would be chopped off. Bhai Alam Singh replied that in that case he would keep holding the flag with his feet. Then he was


told that if his feet would also be cut off. Bhai Alam Singh replied that in such eventuality he would hold it with his mouth. "In case, his head is also cut, then what he will do?" he was asked. Bhai Alam Singh replied with confidence, "The Guru whose flag he was carrying well take care of it." This is the as how the Nishan Sahib was held in great esteem by the Sikhs in those days.

Usually, a question is raised as to why "PANJ" (Figure Five) is so important that it is so much associated with Sikh history and Rehat Maryada (Code of Conduct)? For instance, Panj Pyaras, Panj K’s, Panj Banis for NITNEM (Daily Prayer) etc.

The word "Panj" or "Panch" is derived from Sankrit from sanskrit word " PACH" which means spread hand. When a hand is spread (stretched out ), five fingers are spread. Primitive man used to do counting with the help of these spread fingers. Even to this day, illiterate people in the villages do counting with the help of fingers. That is why the figure punj (five) became very significant. In the ancient times, disputes between the different tribes worb referred to chosen five prominant persons of repute of settlement. So Panch or Panches came to be known as very prominent and good persons of high reputation. They were supposed to be people of high calibre and intelligence and not prejudiced while deciding the disputes referred to them. This system is prevalent to this day, particularly is rural India and now our government has adopted and institutionalised the Panchayat System in our villages.

In Sikh history also, Panj or Panch were associated with respect and esteem. According MAHAN KOSH (Page 791) Bhai Kahan Singh Ji Nabha, five prominent Sikhs or Panj Pyaras were chosen right from the time of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Even names of Panj Pyaras who accompanied Guru Arjun Dev Ji to Lahore and those who accompanied Guru Teg Bahadur Ji to Delhi are also given in Mahan Kosh. More commonly known are Panj Pyaras of Guru Gobind Singh Ji who offered their heads for sacrifice and were the first to get Amrit from Guru Gobind Singh Ji on the Baisakhi Day of 1699. Guru Gobind Singh Ji bestowed full authority to Panj Pyaras collectively. The Panj Pyaras as representative authority of Khalsa Panth, ordered even Guru Gobind Singh Ji to leave the fortress of Chamkaur Sahib on the fateful night of 22nd Dec. 1704 A.D.

Guru Gobind Singh Ji also ordered that Five K’s (Keshas, Kangha, Kara, Kirpan and Kachha) to be always kept on the body of every Sikh. Five Bani’s were also to be recited by every Sikh daily. Then there are Panj Vikars (Five Vices) i.e. Kam (Sexual Indulgence), Karodh (Anger), Lobh (Greediness), Moh (Wordly Attachment) and Ahankar (Ego) are also well known in Sikh Doctrine.

That is how the word Panj (Five) became important for Sikhs particularly.

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