With shining swords, long spears, conical turbans and twirled-up moustaches, Nihangs gallop past on frothing horses, raising clouds of dust, as they celebrate Hola Mohalla every March in Punjab.
Coinciding with Holi, the festival of colour, it reminds the people of the tradition of meaningful festivity, and displays the valor inculcated in the Sikh community by Guru Gobind Singh, who took to armed struggle against tyranny. The Nihangs attempt to preserve their heritage and tradition by strict observance of rehatmaryada (the religious code of social conduct). They still live in camps called chhaawni (cantonment), and move in formations. Hola Mohalla is much more than a festival for the Sikh. It is a reaffirmation of their binding faith,meant to invoke the Almighty s blessing. And above all it is a recreation of history-mindful of the Guru's desire to adhere to realistic norms which benefit society in general. Not the least,it is an occasion to voice opinions on the community,what it stands for, and a time for self appraisal.