The historians, during the colonial rule had manipulated the history to serve the cause of their masters. Later, unfortunately, after independence, they were nurtured by those who assumed office to further the latter’s political ambitions. Now when the nation is celebrating the 350th birth centenary year of Shri Guru Gobind Singh, earnest efforts are required to be made to revisit the events of his time and bring the truth in front of the present generation.
Guru Gobind Singh was born as Gobind Rai on 22nd December 1666 in Patna Sahib where his father the 9th Sikh Guru Shri Guru Teg Bahadur had gone to spread the tenets of Sikhism. Shri Guru Teg Bahadur had chosen a place called Chak Nanaki (later known as Anandpur Sahib) in the Shivalik foothills for his disciples to stay; he directed his family to reach there from Patna Sahib which it did in the early part of the year 1672. It is worth mentioning that the then Mughal ruler Aurangzeb had crossed all limits of tyranny on the hapless population of this country and was determined to convert ‘Dar-ul-Harb’ of Hind (according to the Islamist perception) into ‘Dar-ul-Islam’.
All kinds of atrocities were being heaped upon the Hindus to force them to leave their Dharma. Jaziya was being levied from those who couldn’t be forcibly converted to Islam and the Mughal soldiers and chieftains had full freedom of looting, plundering Hindus and raping their women. And the phenomenon was prevalent on Pan-India basis.
In Kashmir, the Mughal governor Iftikhar Khan had been executing Aurangzeb’s orders with vengeance and had been instrumental in forcibly converting the majority Hindu population of the Kashmir Valley to Muslims. Few remaining Hindu families who didn’t want to leave their Dharma, under the leadership of Pandit Kirpa Ram in the year 1675, approached Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur who was residing in Anandpur Sahib, related their travails and pleaded with him to save them from the barbarism of Iftikhar Khan.
It is said that Guru Tegh Bahadur closed his eyes for few moments and said a sacrifice from a noble soul is required to save the Hindus from the butchery of the Jihadists. Guru Gobind Singh, who was just 9-year-old at that time was standing nearby and immediately asked his father that who will be better than him to do the pious work of sacrificing for the values of the Dharma? Guru Tegh Bahadur immediately told Pandit Kirpa Ram to go back and tell Iftikhar Khan that from then onwards, he was their Guru and if Aurangzeb will be able to convert him, he can do the same to his followers also.
Guruji was arrested and taken to Delhi where in November 1675. He was executed along with his three disciples Bhai Sati Das, Bhai Mati Das and Bhai Dayala. That was the watershed year in the history of India. With the sacrifice of Guru Tegh Bahadur, Hindus, throughout the northern belt of India, had resolved to oppose, tooth and nail, the Jihadist agenda of converting the whole of the country to Islam. If the pattern of the conversions is analysed, one will discover that the sinister agenda of Islam of Ghazwa-e-Hind which started in the twelfth century, received a big jolt in the year 1675 and progressively culminated in the uprooting of the tyrannical reign of Aurangzeb and weakened his descendants.
From here onwards Guru Gobind Singh took the cudgels of protecting Dharma on his shoulders and planned the future course of action while studying Sanskrit, Persian and Brij and learning archery, horse riding and other war games in Anandpur Sahib. Sikhism had been a pure Bhakti (Spiritual) movement till the ninth Guru. A new dimension of Shakti (Might) was added by Shri Guru Gobind Singh. Though sixth Guru Shri Guru Hargobind initiated the tradition of Miri and Piri, real impetus was given by Shri Guru Gobind Singh when he galvanised the society into Khalsa (Pure) and gave a clarion call for the protection of Dharma. He called the masses to a large ground on Baisakhi Day in the year 1699 in Anandpur Sahib and established Khalsa Panth by administering Amrit to his Sikhs.
In the contemporary history, no parallel can be found when initiative of that magnitude had been taken to break the shackles of regionalism and caste. Guru Gobind Singh consecrated Panj Pyare (Five pure souls) to lead the Khalsa Panth; all five namely Bhai Daya Singh, Bhai Dharam Singh, Bhai Mohkam Singh, Bhai Sahib Singh and Bhai Himmat Singh belonged to five geographical locations of India and belonged to various castes.
By making them Khalsa, Guruji in one stroke had dealt a heavy blow on the scourge of caste-ism. It is important to know that till then mostly Rajputs used the word Singh as a suffix but Guruji directed all the Sikhs to attach the said word with their names. The message was clear: onus of protecting the honour of the society used to lie on Rajputs only but Guru Gobind Singh wanted the whole of the society to become lionised and uproot tyrannical rule of the bigots.
Guru Gobind Singh was determined to protect Dharma and to do so, it was imperative to defeat the adharmic forces and unite the fragmented society. He initiated reforms within the society and cleansed it by giving a clarion call to remain away from vices like intoxication; his efforts bore fruit when the society started emerging out of amnesia and gathered under the flag of Khalsa to fight the forces of tyranny. He bestowed upon his followers five ‘Ka’ “kars” which symbolised the powers of Dharma; he directed all his Sikhs to wear Kesh (Long hair), Kangha (Comb), Kirpan (Sword), Kachchha (Long undergarment) and Kada (Steel Bracelet).
Guru Gobind Singh was blessed with four sons who were inculcated with virtues of righteousness and nationalism. The deceitful Mughals surrounded Guruji who was accompanied by a handful of Sikhs and his two elder sons, Ajit Singh and Jujhar Singh in a Garhi (small fortress) in a place called Chamkaur. The battle which ensued, stands testimony to the famous saying of Guru Gobind Singh, “Sawa Lakh se ek ladaun, tabhai Gobind Singh naam dharaoon.”
Each of his Sikhs fought like a lion and eliminated the enemy whose number was in thousands. Both Sahibzade (sons of Guruji) Ajit Singh and Jujhar Singh whose age at that time was 18 years and 14 years respectively, displayed quality of unparalleled gallantry and sacrificed their lives in the battle of Chamkaur.
Guruji’s mother, Mata Gujri who was 81 years old at that time, left Anandpur Sahib accompanied by two younger sons of Guruji, Jorawar Singh and Fateh Singh who were 8 years and 6 years old respectively. Mughal soldiers were after the blood of Guruji’s family and due to treachery committed by Gangu the cook accompanying Mata Gujri, Nawab of Sirhind, Wazir Khan arrested her and the two younger sahibzadas. The events that followed should be incorporated in history textbooks because they will inspire the younger generations to stick to Dharma of truth and caution them from the Jihadist mindset which has been tormenting the humanity from the past so many centuries.
Nawab of Sirhind, Wazir Khan, who was implementing Aurangzeb’s agenda of conversion with vengeance, first tried to give allurements to Jorawar Singh and Fateh Singh and tried to convert them to Islam but when he failed in his sinister attempt, he started torturing the adolescents and tried to force Islam on them. Such strong were the values imparted by Guru Gobind Singh that even the severest of the tortures were not able to coerce the adolescent Sahibzadas to leave their Dharma. Eventually, exasperated Wazir Khan ordered the Sahibzadas to be buried alive in a wall of bricks.
It is worth mentioning that till that point of time, the Jihadists had been successful in converting a majority of people in north-west India by either coercion or by levying jaziya from Hindus. After the sacrifice of Guru Teg Bahadur and four sons of Guru Gobind Singh, there was seen a renewed resurgence in the Hindu society and the uninterrupted tirade of five centuries of conversion suddenly got stopped.
The sacrifices made by Guru Govind Singh didn’t go in vain and we, the descendants of the most ancient Vedic culture (Sanatan Dharma), will remain ever indebted to him because he inspired our ancestors to turn the tide on Aurangzeb and his Jihadist brigade. Moreover, the rest of the world should also remain thankful to him because he was instrumental in preventing further conversion of Hindus; had they been converted, they would have added to the population of today’s Pakistan. It is needless to say that the world at large is continuously being tormented by the terrorists nurtured in the Jihadist sanctuaries of Pakistan.
Guru Gobind Singh made an announcement in Nanded Sahib, where he spent the last few years of his life before the assassins dispatched by Wazir Khan took his life. He declared that Guru Granth Sahib (Holy scripture of Sikhs) will be the Guru then onwards and no human Guru will be consecrated to lead the Sikhs. Thus, he bestowed upon the humanity a scripture which is the epitome of praise to the lord and love for fellow human beings.
One unique feature of Guru Gobind Singh’s thought process was that he wanted the human values to be preserved even while facing the most inhuman and barbaric enemy. He propounded the concept of Sant-Sipahi (Saint-warrior) which means that violence may become necessary to end the rule of tyranny but the inherent human values of compassion, love and spirituality must not be compromised.
He summarised his thoughts in a letter in Persian called Zafarnama which he wrote to Aurangzeb; one stanza goes like this,
“Chu kar az hama heelt e dar guzasht, Halal ast burdan ba shamsheer dast”
This means when all the peaceful methods, to end the rule of tyranny, exhaust, then it becomes justified to take the sword in one’s hand.
On his 350th ‘Prakash Parv’ (birth anniversary) it is our pious duty to take his teachings to every nook and corner of this country so that the present and the coming generations should learn to become true Sant-Sipahi and serve this great nation.