For Sikhs, the celebration of Diwali has a different meaning than for Hindus. It is on this day that we celebrate the release of Guru Hargobind (Sikhism’s sixth Guru) and 52 Indian princes from prison in India in 1619. We refer to this day as Bandi Chhorh Divas, or Day of Release of Prisoners.
Valarie Kaur, on her blog, relates its commemoration of liberation to the events to current times:
But there is no Guru’s cloak big enough for the the remaining 174 detainees (of nearly 800 held at Guantanamo), at least not anytime soon. On this Bandi Chhorh Divas, I light a candle for the criminal, the outcast, the forgotten — the detainees whose plights we may never know, because the prison doors remain closed.
While it is important to celebrate our history, Valarie Kaur reminds us that there are lessons from our history that are relevant for us today.