A Complete Story
Departure from Anandpur Sahib
The Gurus enthused high spirit in a totally down trodden and dispirited people. This enabled them to resist the repression and oppression of mighty armies of Moghul Emperor and could be seen from the events of Anandpur Sahib and Chamkaur Sahib battles. The army of Moghul Emperor included a million men in joint armies of Delhi Emperor, 22 Hill states, Government of Lahore and Sarhind. This army seized the Anandgarh fort where only a few thousand Sikhs were defending the fort. The siege continued for 7 months with daily skirmishes. The great Generals of Moghul army got weary and saw no end to the battle. They felt ashamed of themselves and felt their sense of pride injured, as they could not succeed to win the battle. So they tried to evolve a solution by proposing to Guru Gobind Singh that they were interested in a semblance of victory and that could be possible, if the guru and his Sikhs agreed to temporarily leave the fort and return later on, as and when they so desired. They assured a safe passage for escape by vowing on Muslim and Sikh holy books. This was an agreement to move out of Anandgarh fort.
Splitup of the Family
AAfter that the Guru with his family and a few hundred Sikhs had gone hardly a few miles towards Kiratpur Sahib, when they were attacked from behind treacherously. Guru planned for defense and assigned Bhai Udhay Singh with fifty Sikhs and Bhai Bachittar Singh with hundred Sikhs to hold Moghul army attack. Bhai Uday Singh killed Rustam Khan, the commander of the Moghul army thus halting the onslaught. On reaching river Sirsa, Guru defied one Sikh to take his mother and two younger sons Baba Zorawar Singh (eight years) and Baba Fateh Singh (six years) to Delhi, where they were to join Guruís wife Mata Sundari jee. The Guru with forty Sikhs, five beloved ones and both elder Sahibzaade Baba Ajit Singh and Baba Jujhar Singh crossed over the Sirsa river and moved towards village Kotla Nihang Khan. The Khan had great respect for the Guru.
After few days they moved towards village Chamkaur and occupied a mud fortress (Garhi). The Moghul forces in lakhs surrounded the fortress. Each time, five Sikhs would come out and gave a very tough fight. The Moghul army lost thousands of lives. The Guru lost both his sons, three beloved ones (Sahib Singh, Himmat Singh and Mohkam Singh), Kirpal Singh Kashmeeree, three sons of Bhai Mani Singh and other Sikhs also attained martyrdom. The Guru obeyed the directive of the Sangat. It was decided that Bhai Daya Singh, Bhai Dharam Singh, Ram Singh and Man Singh would also accompany him. The Guru transferred his Kalghi to the forehead of Bhai Sangat Singh who had strong resemblance to the Guru. At around 2 a.m. the Guru moved out of the fortress. After walking about 200 yards from the fortress (Garhi), the Guru repeatedly clapped declaring loudly that he was going, so as to make the enemy aware and to challenge them.
After crossing Sirsa, Mata Gujri ji and youngest Sahibzaade spent nigh in the hut of Kumma Maashki (boatman). Mata ji had one mule carrying some important articles and ornaments. The Sikh accompanying them got separated from them due to floods and bad weather during darkness of night. The people around also called Kumma Maashki as Keema Mallah. He used to be a Hindu and was known by the name Karma jheevar. He was forcibly converted as muslim. But still he used to worship as per Hindu rituals. Mata Gujri stayed in his hut for two days. A Brahmin lady by the name of Laxhhmi looked after them serving food and shelter. During that time Gangu Brahmin met them. Gangu used to serve the Guru in the kitchen as a cook.
Journey from Sarsa to Sirhind
Guruís mother entrusted herself and the two grandsons, who accompanied her, to a Brahmin. He with sweet words took them to his house and induced them to put faith in him. When the Guruís mother went to sleep, he stole her money, which she carried in a saddlebag and buried it. He then went to her and told her that there were several thieves prowling about the neighbourhood, and she must be careful of her valuables. He said he gave her this information so that she might not afterwards blame him. He almost immediately afterwards informed her that her saddlebag was missing. As no one had entered the house but the ladyís party and the Brahmin, she interrogated them latter on the subject.
He pretended to be furious at suspicion having been directed against him and said that it was the result of doing good and of entertaining homeless wayfarers and out laws. He had saved the Guruís mother and children from death and in the return they made him for his trouble and hospitality, was to charge him with theft as if he were a vulgar malefactor. Then saying that he could not trust her and her children, he ordered them to leave his house. The Brahmin with loud cries proceeded to the Chaudhri or chief civil official of Kheri and informed him that Guruís mother and sons had just come to his house and both he and Chaudhri would obtain a large reward for delivering them to the imperial authorities.
The Brahmin and the Chaudhri went to the next highest official, a Ranghar(type of race among muslims), the governor of Morinda. He proceeded with them to the Brahminís house and hence they took the Guruís mother and her two grandsons to Wazir Khan, viceroy of Sirhind. He ordered them to be confined in a tower. People thronged next day to see them, and cursed and abused the treacherous Brahmnin to their heartsí.
Court Trial and Martydom
Wazir Khan ordered the children to be brought before him. When the Guruís mother heard the order, it stung her like a sharp arrow. The Governor of Morinda told Mata Gujri, in order to pacify her, that he would send the children back after showing them to Wazir Khan. Not believing him, she put one of them at each side of her and tried to conceal them with her dress.
The Guruís sons on hearing the Rangharís voice stood up and said to grandmother, "The Turks have ever been our enemies. How can we escape from them? Therefore let us go to the viceroyís court", the Ranghar, in order to add to their sufferings told them that their father, their oldest brothers and their companions had been killed in Chamkaur. He added, "Your only hope to escape now is to bow before the viceroy and accept Islam and perhaps he will spare your lives". Sahibzaade when confronted with viceroy then addressed him "my father, the holy Guru Gobind Singh is not dead. Who can kill him? The immortal God protects him. If any one says that he can tear down heaven, how is that possible? Were a storm to attempt to drive a mountain before it, could it ever do so? were any one to try to grasp the Sun and the Moon, it would be a feat impossible to accomplish.
Were the Guru to desire it, he could destroy every trace of you, but he deemed it his first duty to obey the laws of heaven. When we have dedicated our heads to our father who is such a Guru, why should we bow them before a false and deceitful sinner?" On hearing this the people all cried out that the children ought to be allowed to go unharmed. The misnamed Suchanand now interposed and repeated that these were the offspring of a cobra and from their heads to their feet filled with venom, "see my friends", he said, "they have not the least fear and are so proud that they even insult and defy the viceroy." Wazir Khan then rejected that if the children became Mohammedans, it would be a gain and glory for his faith. He told them that, if they would accept his faith, he would grant them an estate, marry them to the daughters of chiefs and they would become happy and be honored by the emperor. Elder Sahibzaade then looking at his younger brother said, "My brother, this is the time to sacrifice our lives, as our grandfather parted with his head but not with his religion, and he ordered us to follow his example. Now that we have received the baptism of the spirit and the sword, what care we for death? Wherefore it is best that we should give our lives, thus save the Sikh religion, and bring down Godís vengeance on the Turks?" Elder Saahibzaada again spoke on the same subject "My brother, our grandfather Guru Teg Bahadur spurned the Muhammadan religion. Here is this noble family of ours Ė a man like Guru Gobind Singh our father, a man like Guru Har Gobind our great grandfather. We, who are their descendants, cannot attach a stigma to their memories?" The young boy waxing still angry continued, " Hear, O viceroy, I spur the thy religion and will not part with mine own. It hath become the custom of our family to forfeit life rather than faith. O fool, why seekesd thou to tempt us with worldly ambition? We will never be led astray by the false advantage thou offerest. The indignities inflicted by the turks on our grandfather shall be the fire to consume them, and our deaths, the wind to fan the flame. In this way we shall destroy the Turks without forfeiting our Holy faith." The Muhammadan Viceroy could not endure out spoken-ness of the chronicler, began to burn like sand in a fiery furnace. He said we must put children to death. They had no fear of any one, and their words were liable to cause disaffection and religious apathy in others. Suchanand was ready to support the viceroy and suggested additional reasons for putting the children to death. He said they had spoken insolently before the viceroy and when they grew up they would follow their fatherís examples and destroy armies. What good could be expected from them? They would be always exciting revolts.
They were prisoners with no right of pardon, and if they were released, no one knew what they would do. There were no means for their repression but death. Then out spoke the Nawab of Malerkotla, " O Viceroy, these children are still drinking milk in the nursery, and are too young to commit an offence. They know not well from evil. Wherefore be pleased to allow them to depart." This representation the Viceroy headed not, but cast about for some one to kill the children. His servants who were present said they were willing to sacrifice their lives for him, but they were not executioners. He turned to right and left, but all his staff hung down their heads in token of refusal and pity for the children.
At last looking behind him he espied a Ghilzai(type of race among the muslims) who, with the cruelty of his race, offered to do the sanguinary deed. It is a general belief among the Sikhs that the children were bricked alive into a wall and suffered to die of suffocation in standing position, but the authors of the "Suraj Parkash" and of the "Gur Bilas" both state that the children were put to death in the order of their ages by the sword of Ghilzai execution. They vied with each other as to who should first have the honour of martyrdom. The two children aged eight and six years respectively perished on the 13th of Poh, Samvat 1702 (A.D. 1705). A rich Sikh called Todar Mal, as soon as he heard of the imprisonment of the Guruís children, hastened to the viceroy with the intention of ransoming them, but arrived too late. The children had been already put to death.
He then proceeded to the Guruís mother Mata Gujari, who had not yet heard of the execution of her grandchildren, but was at the same time suffering extreme mental agony. She every now and then would pray to the Gurus to protect her little ones " O Guru Nanak, may no hair of my grandchildrenís head be touched! Oh my son, Guru Gobind Singh, pardons my sins and protects me now! Woe is me! I know not what may happen to my grandchildren today? " Todar Mal sought to break the sad intelligence to her, but his voice was stifled to his throat. On seeing this, Mata Gujari became extremely alarmed, and standing up at once said, " Tell me the truth. Why art thou sorrowful? When will they allow my grandchildren to return and what questions have they put them?" Todar Mal then strengthening his resolve, addressed her, "I have made my heart harder than a stone, and come to tell thee of the death of thy grandchildren. O mother, the light of thine eyes, the support of the world, the life of the Sikhs, the darlings of the Guru have been today massacred by the Turks. On receiving this news Mata Gujari was struck down as if a mountain had fallen on her.
Todar Mal began to fan her in her swoon with the skirt of his dress. On receiving consciousness to some extent she began to call upon her grandsons, " O my beloved ones, after such love for me whither have you gone? Take me with you. Who will call me grandmother or mother? Who will come and sit on my lap? How shall I behold you? O youthful warriors, light of my courtyard, sun of my family, I know not what your sufferings must have been today. O my grandchildren, on whom I have never been, turned my back even when asleep. Today, alas! Alas! The Muhammadan tyrants have killed you, the darlings of mine eyes, my beautiful ones. I concealed my grand sons from the gaze of others and behold what hath happened today! What have I done to you, O children, that you should have abandoned me to misery?" saying this, she fell heavily to the ground and gave up her spirit.
Todar Mal cremated the bodies of the Guruís mother and her grandchildren and buried their ashes. A Sikh temple, now called Fatehgarh was subsequently erected on the spot.
When the Turks heard that the Brahmin who had betrayed the Guruís mother and children possessed much wealth, they arrested him and all his family, and forced him by torture, to tell where he had concealed his treasure. He pointed out the spot where he had buried Mata Gujariís money, but it was not found there. The Turks believing that he was only deceiving them continued to torture him until his soul took flight to the infernal regions. On the way from mud fortress (Garhi) the Guru preceded to Kanuech in the eastern part of what is now Ludhiana district. Then Guru proceeded to Hehar, also in the Ludhiana District and meet Kirpal who distinguished himself in the battle of Bhangani. He advised Guru to move on towards village Lamma Jatpura.
On the way, Guru met a Muhammadan called Kalha, a rich and important person who was chaudhari of Jagraon and Raikot, two considerable towns of Ludhiana district, Kalha entertained him at Jatpura. The Guru requested him to send a messanger to Sirhind to enquire in fate of his mother and two younger sons. The Guru remained at Jatpura until the messanger's return. Jatpura is about fifty miles distance from Sirhind. This distance the messanger is said to have traversed in an incoredibly short space of time. While the Guru was listening to the narrative, he was digging up a shrub with his knife. He said, "As I dig up this shrub by the roots, so shall the Turks be extirpated." He inquired if any one except the Nawab of MalerKotla had spoken on behalf of the children. The messanger replied in the negative. The Guru then said that after the roots of the oppressive Turks were all dugup, the roots of the Nawab should still remain. His Sikhs should one day come and lay Sirhind waste. His torical facts demand that those who helped mate Gujri ji and Sahibzade during those difficult times, they must be remembered with great respect.
One of such persons was moti Ram Mehra who was from gheewar (waterman) caste. He was serving in Hindu Kitchen of Suba Sirhind Wazer Khan. Moti Ram Mehra used to cook and serve to Hindu oficers and prisoners. He was very sincere and honest to his assigned tasks. His ancestors used to pay respects to Baba Kauji ji before they started paying regards to Guruji. Baba Kauji was Pir of gheewars. Their village Dehra is in Panch Nangal, Hoshiarpur (Punjab) where gheewars (Kashyap Rajputs) go and worship. Vaisakhi Mela is also hold there. Moti Ram Mehra used to live in Mohalla Mansuriv Tibba. This Mohalla was famous for Rajput clanís population. His family included his old mother, wife and a small male child. Due his respect for Sikhs, the Sikhs used to visit his place often. Many travellers on their way to Anandpur Sahib used to take rest in his small room. He also used to long for going to Anandpur to meet Guruji.
During extreme cold weather, Mata Gujri and younger Sahibzade were imprisoned in Thanda Burj (Cold Tower). The Daroga (police chief) asked Moti Ram to serve food to three new prisoners. Moti Ram knows very well that Moghal army has returned and boasts about demolishing the enemy. The prisoners of Thanda Burj can not be ordinary prisnors. When he entered the Burj and saw Mata Gujri and Sahibzade his hands were folded as of automatically and his head bowed in obeisance. He requested and explained that he had brought food for them. Mata Gujri refused to eat food from the Kitchen of cruel Nawab. He fell on his feet and cried upon asking by Mata Ji as to who he was he told that he was a cook. Mata Ji, then made him understand with solemn speek, as to why she would not eat the food. Moti Ram informed Daroga in return Daroga went to Nawab where Suchanand was also sitting. Sucha nand told Moti Ram to get food from his house. But Mata Ji still refused that food as well. Nawab got angry and gave orders that no one should co-operate with these prisoners. Any one who would be found helping them would be declared as offender. In case any one was caught doing any such thing would be liable for very strong punishment. Bhai Moti Ram was disturbed and worried as three prisoners were hungry. He was so much worried that he shared his sorrows with his mother and wife asking them how would they rest throughout the night without partaking food? He was not aware since how many days they had not eaten? They even refused the food from Dewan Sucha nand. Moti Ram was very upset. He decided to do something. His mother and wife reminded him of cruelties of the Nawab. Nawab could perish their small world in a jiffy. But the respect in Moti Ramís mind for Guru and his family, who were striving for religion, got stronger manifolds. He explained to his mother and wife that "the whole family of Guru is struggling so hard to save the sacred religion and if I don't do my duty just because I might get frightened from death then our future generations will never excuse us". He finally decided that come what may, he wouldnít care what happens to his life, he will not let the young children remain hungry. His family was poor. They used to cook Kodhra (a cheap cereal). He milked his cow and filled a bowl. He was also aware of security at Thanda Burj that after the Nawab has issued the strict orders he wonít fend his way in so easily. Whatever silver coins were available in his house, he put all money in his pocket. He bribed the security guard with silver coins and presented himself before Mataji and children. He prayed with folded hand, that he had faith in Guru and has brought milk from his own home and from his own income. He offered milk to Mata Ji and Sahibzade to drink. He continued the process for number of days. Mata ji was so delighted, that she blessed him. 'O great Moti, seeing your faith & love May you be the Blessed one!' Dewan Sucha Nand had his own doubt about Moti Ram Mehra. The confiders confided in. During those days one relative of Gangu Brahman named Mauga used to go about in viceroysí offices to help Gangu. He came to know that Moti Ram had helped Mata Gujari and youngest Saahibzaade and used to offer them milk. He confided to high officials. Moti Ramís service to the family of Guru was declared as punishable offence. Dewan Sucha Nand also informed nawab as to how Moti Ram used to enter the Thanda Burj and offer milk to Mataji and her grandchildren. Moti Ram Mehra accepted the truth in the court explaining that since his job was serving the Hindu prisoners by cooking and serving food, he did not commit any offence by doing his assigned duties. Moti Ram Mehraís case was presented to Nawab Wazir Khan, after he returned from battlefield of Khidrana after losing many of his soldiers in the battle. He was bent upon taking revenge against Guru. He got enraged and ordered that Moti Ram Mehra and all his family members be crushed in Kohlu (a wooden mill used to extract oil from seeds).
The Nawab faced problems with his family too. Nawab had a begum (wife) named Zai-bul-nisa. He used to fondly call her Zaina Begum. She was extremely beautiful and young. She was the daughter of a servant to Raja of Bilaspur and was married to a young man of Sirhind. But her bridal carriage was abducted and brought to the palace of Nawab. Although Nawab from his heart of heart did not want to kill youngest Saahibzaadas but when they were killed, the Begums got up set that she picked a fight with Nawab and stabbed herself with poniard and died. After Aurangzeb died, his sons started fighting amongst themselves to capture the throne. The eldest son Bahadur Shah approached Guru for the help. Bahadur Shah came out victorious and became the Emperor. He honored the Guru at Agra. From there both of them traveled to South.
After reaching Nanded, Guruji camped there but Bahadur Shah traveled further down south. Guru met one Kashmiri hermit named Madho Das Lachhaman Das Bairagi. Madho Das impressed from Guru and became his diciple after partaking Amrit, he became famous by the name of Banda Singh Bahadar. Guruji gave some weapons and some letters for the Sangat to fulfill his mission. Guru also sent five Sikhs with him who would help him as and when required. The mission of Banda Singh Bahadar was to uproot the cruel rules of Sirhind. After conquering Panipat, Samana and Sadhaura with great success he moved towards Sirhind. A great battle raged near village called ChapparĖChiri near Sirhind. Khalsa came out victorious and viceroy of Sirhind was killed.
Banda Singh Bahadar minted coins with names of Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh and established Khalsa Raj over Sirhind. The victories and popularity of Banda Singh Bahadar made emperor Bahadar Shah upset. On one side where Banda Singh Bahadar took revenge from Moghuls of their cruelties conflicted, he searched loyal persons who tried to help the Guru. He honored Kamma Jheevar and Brahmin lady Laxhhmi.
(With thanks from: Sikhpoint.com)