The Sikhs around the world commemorate the martyrdom of their first martyr, the fifth Guru, Guru Arjan Dev every year on June 16 since his death which took place in 1606 CE during the Mughal Era. Guru Arjan reorganized the Masands system which was initiated by Guru Ram Das. He suggested that the Sikhs start to donate.
According to Sikh Historians, prior to the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev, Sikh had enjoyed peace and non-violence as their Gurus educated them in the worship of one God, showing compassion, love for humanity, dedication, hard work and a staunchness toward amity and harmony between every individual around the globe.
Guru Arjan existed during the time of the great Mughal Emperor Jahangir. He was fifth of the total ten Sikh Gurus. He was the first of two Gurus martyred in Sikh faith. During his guru-ship, he attracted and converted thousands of Hindus to Sikhism. Poor and illiterate Muslims were among those that became the followers of this Guru.
They started to crowd in Govindwal, the hub of Sikhism during the late 16th Century. Sikhism flourished during the time of Emperor Akbar who was liberal regarding religious issues. He was the one who introduced ‘Deen-e-Islam’ a blend of Hinduism and Islam intended to earn sympathies of Hindus and expand his Kingdom.
In contrast, Emperor Jahangir was a hardcore Muslim who was not happy with the gatherings of Muslims at Govindwal. He felt there was a threat to Islam in the Sub Continent. Hence, Guru Arjan was tortured on the orders of the angst-ridden Jahangir and died on June 16. It is unclear if he was executed by drowning or was killed during the torture. He was tortured for five days and was asked to convert to Islam.