Diwan Todar Mall
Diwan Todar Mall was a wealthy merchant of Sirhind, who on the 13 December 1705 performed the cremation of the three martyred bodies of the two younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh, Zorawar Singh aged about 6, Fateh Singh aged about 9 and their grandmother, Mata Gujari.
This incident occurred after the Sahibzade had been executed by the Mughal authorities on the 12 December 1705 for not renouncing their faith and the death from shock of their grandmother at the news of the sudden and despicable execution of the innocent youngsters. This wealthy merchant had to cover the required ground for cremation with gold coins to get the release of the three bodies.
The compassionate Sikh trader of Sirhind, according to tradition, performed the last rites for the two younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh martyred on the orders of Wazir Khan, faujdar of Sirhind, and of Mata Gujari, the Guru's mother. It is said that landowners around the Sirhind Fort would not permit him to hold the cremation in their fields, until one Chaudhari Atta agreed to sell him a plot.
The administrator's stipulation was that the buyer (Todar Mall) will take only as much of the space as he could cover with gold mohars (gold coins), that he would lay out for the purchase. The diwan produced the coins and bought the piece of land he needed for the cremation. It is estimated that at least 7,800 gold coins were required to buy the required land.
History tells us the Seth ji raised the required number of coins and that he cremated the three bodies and putting the ashes in an urn which he buried in the land he had bought. The site is now marked by Gurdwara Jyoti Saroop at Fatehgarh Sahib, near Sirhind.
Modern historians have tried to identify Seth Todar Mall as a son or later descendant of Raja Todar Mall, of Sirhind, who won renown as an administrator under the Mughal emperors, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb, and who, according to Shah Nawaz Khan, Ma'asir ulUmara, lived up to 1076 AH/AD 1666. To perpetuate the memory of the noble-minded Seth, a road in Sirhind town and a hall in Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib have now been named after him.
The Haveli Todar Mal also known as Jahaz Haveli is situated on the eastern side of Sirhind-Ropar Railway Line just 1 kilometre away from Fatehgarh Sahib. These are the remains of the Haveli of Devan Todar Mal, and a fine building it must have been in its hay day. Todar Mal was a true Sikh of Guru Gobind Singh. In the dark days when Guru Sahib made his way through the jungles of Machhiwara, and his younger sons were put on trial by Zikharia Khan many Sikhs betrayed the Guru.
As the tenth Guru made his way from Machhiwara through to Talwandi Sabo many so called devotees asked Guru to leave their premises as they were in fear that if the authorities were to hear of it then they would be persecuted. But not Todar Mal, he did not shirk his responsibilities, he put the Guru's needs before everything.
With Mata Gujri and the younger sons of the Guru – Baba Zorawar Singh and Baba Fateh Singh – shaheed (martyred) at the tender ages of 6 and 9 the despicable Mughal authorities refused their funeral rites on government land, it was decreed that there funeral rites could only be performed on land bought from Chaudhari Atta. Not only this, but the land could only be bought by laying gold coins (ashrifs) on the required area, possibly vertically.
Todar Mal did not shun his responsibility and laid down the required coins and made arrangements for the cremations.
Let us look at this in a little detail, say that a gold coin has a diameter of around 3cm and would take up an area of (3 x 3 ) 9cm squared. The land required for the martyred children would be approximately 2.0m by 2.0m a total area of 40,000 cm squared if laid next to each other. Add to this the area required for Mata Ji (2.0m by 1.5m) if the coins were laid horizontally then to cover this area would require around 7800 gold coins. Now, if the coins had to be stacked vertically then possibly 10 coins would be needed to cover the 9cm squared area, so vertically 7800 x 10 coins would be required, or 78,000. That is an awful lot of gold coins today, one can only imagine how much they were worth three hundred years ago. It is safe to say it was probably his life’s savings. Maybe he had to beg and borrow to raise the total amount, who knows, but the fact remains this was truly a noble deed. Todar Mal forsake everything for his love of Guru Gobind Singh, which is the reason why Sikhs hold Dewan Todar Mal in such high esteem.
A splended Gurdwara, Gurdwara Jyoti Saroop, now stands at the place where these three martyrs were cremated. This Gurdwara is at a distance of about a mile to the east of the main Gurdwara at Fatehgarh Sahib and the road connecting the two Gurdwaras is known as Diwan Todar Mal Marg and a commemorative gate called the Diwan Todar Mal commemorative gate has also been built on this connecting road. A spacious congregation hall has been constructed by the sikhs at Fatehgarh Sahib to commemorate his noble service which is a symbol of the great respect the sikhs have for the Dewan.
(With thanks from: Sikhiwiki.org)