49. Innocent Children Martyred
the catastrophe that befell in crossing the flooded Sarsa river, the
companions of the Guru and his family were scattered in different
directions. Mata Jit Kaur, Mata Sahib Kaur and their two female attendants,
Bhai Mani Singh, Dhana Singh and Jawahar Singh, were all together in one
group. Jawahar Singh who was an inhabitant of Delhi, took this whole group
to his house in Delhi.
old mother and his two younger sons, went with Gangu Brahman to his village
Saheri near Morinda. Gangu worked in Guru's kitchen for twenty-one years.
Guru's mother, Mata Gujri was carrying money in a bag. Seeing Mata's money,
Gangu got tempted forgetting that he ate Guru's salt for twenty-one years.
As Mata Gujri was half-asleep, Gangu stole the money and shouted," Thief,
thief," to create the impression that some thief stole the money.
encountered Gangu and told him that she did not see anybody else entering
the house. Upon this he tried to defend himself by saying that he was being
blamed because he had given shelter to the homeless and the outlawed.
Instead of admitting his guilt, he ordered them to leave his house. Gangu
finally handed them over to the police officer of Morinda who in turn took
them to Wazir Khan, the viceroy of Sirhind. They were imprisoned in a tower.
morning the two children, Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh, were presented in
the court of the viceroy. Wazir Khan reflected that if the children became
Mohammadans, it would be a glory to his faith- Islam. He, therefore, told
them that if they accepted Islam, he would grant them an estate, would marry
them to the princesses and they would be happy and be honored by the
nine years old Zorawar Singh replied," Our grandfather, Guru Tegh Bahadur,
parted with his head but not with his religion and he ordered us to follow
his example. It is best that we should give our lives to save the Sikh
religion and bring down God's vengeance on the Turks," continued Zorawar
Singh,"O viceroy, I spurn your religion and will not part with my own. It
has become the custom of our family to forfeit life rather than faith. Why
do you seek to tempt us with worldly ambitions? We shall not be led astray
by the false advantages of your offer."
Khan could not endure such an outspokenness and got very angry. He decided
that he must put these children to death. Sucha Nand, a Hindu minister
supported Wazir Khan by implying that their arrogant words were uncalled
for. He ignited Wazir Khan's anger by saying that when these children grew
up, they would follow their father's foot steps and would destroy enemies.
this progeny of a cobra must be smothered in time. At that time, outspoke
Nawab Sher Mohammad Khan of Maler Kotla," O viceroy, these children are
still drinking milk in the nursery, and are too young to commit an offence
and know not good from evil. The holy Quran does not allow the slaughter of
innocent and helpless children. Therefore be pleased to release them." In
spite of his appeal, the Qazi confirmed that the holy law would give the
infidels the choice between Islam and death.
is said that in order to bring the children to submission to Islam, they
were made to enter, next day, through a very small door while the Quran was
displayed on the other side. The idea was that as the children would enter
the door with their heads down, they would then be told that they had bowed
to the holy Quran and thereby to Islam. When the children saw that trap, the
seven years old Sahibzada Fateh Singh threw his feet first instead of his
head while entering through the small door. Throwing the feet towards the
Quran meant an insult to Islam.
Khan, therefore, could not conquer the nine and seven years old children of
Guru Gobind Singh. When every effort failed to convert the children to
Islam, it was finally ordered that they should be bricked alive in the wall.
A wall was, therefore, built step by step on their tender limbs until it
came up to the shoulders of Sahibzada Fateh Singh. The executioner advanced
with his sword, and asked whose head he should chop off first? Upon this
Sahibzada Fateh Singh said," Listen O executioner, since the wall has
reached my shoulders first, therefore cut off my head first."
Zorawar Singh exhorted,"No, you cannot cut off his head till you do mine,
because I am the eldest and therefore, I have the right to go first. Cut off
my head first." Hearing such a strange debate, the whole assembly of Wazir
Khan's court was stunned. The small children were ridiculing the angel of
death. The chronicler states that Sahibzada Fateh Singh's head was cut off
that place is called Fatehgarh Sahib to commemorate the memory of the young
children. When this news was delivered to Mata Gujri in the tower, where she
was waiting for them, she breathed her last on the spot. This treacherous
event took place on the 13th Poh, Sambat 1762 ( 27th of December, 1705). A
rich Sikh called Todar Mal cremated the bodies of the Guru's mother and her
grandsons. A Gurdwara stands to symbolize their memory.
Nura Mahi narrated the tale of woes, Rai Kalla and other listeners were torn
with grief and wept bitterly. The Guru was unruffled and remained as
composed as ever. When Mahi finished his distressing story, the Guru thanked
God for the glorious and triumphant end of his sons. He then addressed to
the Almighty," O God, Thou gavest me father, mother, and four sons. They
were all Thy trust to me. Today I have been successful and happy in
restoring that entire trust back to Thee."
the Guru was listening to Mahi's story, he was digging up a shrub. He then
pronounced," As I dig up this shrub by the roots, so shall the Turks be
extirpated." The Guru also remarked," No, my sons are not dead. They have
returned to their Eternal Home. It is Sirhind that shall die."
Guru resumed his march to Hehar where he spent two days with Mahant Kirpal
Das, a hero of the battle of Bhangani. The next stop was Lamma Jatpura. It
was here that Rai Kalla who was accompanying him, took leave. Realizing that
the territory around Rai Kot was not suitable place for meeting the enemy's
challenge, the Guru directed his Sikhs towards the Jungle Desh, the land of
Brars. On the way he passed through the villages of Manuke, Mehdiana Chakkar,
Takhatpur and Madhen and reached Dina, in Ferozepur district.
Dina a devoted Sikh, Rama presented the Guru with an excellent horse which
he accepted for himself and gave his former horse to Bhai Daya Singh. His
arrival soon became known to the people of the area and they began to rally
around him. Some of the influential people who met the Guru at Dina were
Shamira, Lakhmira and Takhat Mal, grandsons of Jodha Rai who had rendered
material assistance to Guru Har Gobind in the battle of Gurusar. Param Singh
and Dharam Singh, grandsons of Bhai Rup Chand, also came to him.
viceroy of Sirhind heard that the Guru was entertained by Shamira and his
brothers. He wrote to Shamira on the subject and ordered him to arrest and
surrender the Guru. Shamira replied that he was only entertaining his
priest, who was merely visiting his Sikhs and harming none. Shamira however,
feared that the viceroy would send his troops and arrest the Guru, so he
sent a spy to obtain information of the viceroy's movements and proceedings.
Guru stayed at Dina for some days. It was here that he wrote his celebrated
'Zafarnama', or Persian epistle to Emperor Aurangzeb. It was in fact an
exquisite reply to the letters of the invitation to the Guru which he had
received from the Emperor. The letter is characteristic of the sublimity of
the Guru and each line is pregnant with stimulating truths and righteous
wrote to the Emperor that he had no faith in his solemn promises in the name
of God and oaths on the Quran. The fact remained that he, the Emperor, on
all occasions violated his sacred promises and proved false, mean and
treacherous. The Guru wrote,"......What though my four sons were killed, I
remain behind like a coiled snake. What bravery is it to quench a few sparks
of life? Thou art merely exciting a raging fire the more...........As thou
didst forget thy word on that day, so will God forget thee. God will grant
thee the fruit of the evil deed thou didst design......Thou art proud of
thine empire, While I am proud of the kingdom of the Immortal
God........When God is a friend, what can an enemy do even though he
multiply himself a hundred times? If an enemy practice enmity a thousand
times, he cannot, as long as God is a friend, injure even a hair of one's
letter was sent through Bhai Daya Singh and Dharam Singh to the Emperor and
they delivered it to him in Daccan. This letter awakened the Emperor's
dormant conscience and evoked in him a sense of true repentance. It cast
such a miracle effect on him that he began to pine and soon confined to bed.
Aurangzeb dictated this letter to his son when death was at hand, in which
he acknowledged his defeat in the life that he led :
"......Whatever good or bad I have done, I am
taking it as a load upon my head to the Great Unseen............I am totally
in the dark about the destiny that awaits me. But what I know is that I have
committed enormous sins. Canst tell what grim punishment is in the store for
staying at Dina, the Guru visited a few places in the neighborhood. In the
meantime he came to know that his whereabouts became known to the viceroy of
Sirhind and he was, therefore, anxious to find a suitable place where he
could best meet the challenge of the enemy. So he left Dina and visited many
places such as Bander, Bargarh, Baihbal and Saravan etc.
Saravan the Guru gave his people a little practice in arrow shooting. Next
he proceeded to Jaito, Kotla Maluk Das, Lambhawali and then reached Kot
Kapura .Realizing that the pursuing enemy had come too near, the Guru asked
Chaudhri Kapura, a Brar Jat, to lend the use of his fort to him for a few
days. Fearing the wrath of the Mughals, he refused to oblige him. From there
the Guru reached Dhilwan Sodhian where one of his relatives received him
with great warmth and cordiality.
was here, as the tradition goes, that one of the Prithi Chand's descendants,
Kaul visited the Guru and presented him clothes. The Guru took off his blue
robe which he had been wearing since he left Machhiwara, and tearing it
piece by piece burned it in fire. The historic words that he is said to have
uttered on his occasion are memorable:
have torn the blue clothes which I wore, and with that the rule of the Turks
and Pathans is at an end."
Kapura being repentant of his disgraceful act, came to see the Guru and
asked for his forgiveness which the Guru did. Then he provided him with a
good guide, Chaudhry Khana with whom the Guru marched westward in the
direction of Dhab Khidrana. On the way he passed through Ramina, Mallan,
Gauri Sanghar and Kaoni.
a large number of followers had rallied around him. The forty Sikhs who had
deserted him at Anandpur and had given a disclaimer to him, were taunted by
their wives who would not let them enter into their own homes. They came
back to reinforce the Guru's small army. One brave lady, Mai Bhago brought
them to the aid of the Guru along with a large contingent of other Majha
Sikhs. He had taken up his position on a sandy hillock at Khidrana in the
district of Ferozepur.
Mughal army advanced towards his camp, but before they could attack him,
they had to encounter a contingent under Mai Bhago and Jathedar Mahan Singh.
A fierce fighting ensued. They were all overpowered but not before they had
shown their mettle as the toughest fighters whom the experienced Mughal
commander had ever known in his life.
Guru from his position of high altitude about two miles from the place of
the battle, discharged arrows with fatal effect against the Mohammadans who
could not see from what quarter destruction was raining on them. As the tank
at Khidrana was dry, Mohammadan army was in great state of distress for want
of drinking water, thus, Wazir Khan decided to return without striking a
blow on the main body of the Khalsa with Guru Gobind Singh. The Guru became
the departure of the Mohammadan army, the Guru decided to see the battle
field and went about wiping he faces of boh dead and wounded, and praising
their unsurpassed valor. He found out that forty Sikhs including their
leader Mahan Singh, who had given him disclaimer at Anandpur, all but Mahan
Singh, died fighting bravely.
Singh was still alive but was on his last breath when the Guru told him to
open his eyes and said," Mahan Singh, ask for any boon you desire from an
empire to salvation." After opening his eyes, Mahan Singh was delighted to
see the Guru and replied," O true king! We are sinners because we disclaimed
you at the time of need at Anandpur. The doors of Heaven are closed for
those of us who had departed ahead of me. O Lord, grant us your Grace and
disregard that disclaimer."
is recorded that the gracious Master took out that disclaiming document,
which he carried on his vest during all these times, tore it up as a sign of
forgiveness and reconciliation. Mahan Singh saw this with his own eyes and
then breathed his last as happy, forgiven and emancipated soul.
souls of forty were also emancipated. Those forty Sikhs are called Forty
Mukte-the Saved Ones or Emancipated Ones and are remembered in our daily
prayers as Forty Muktas. Khidrana has since that time been called Mukatsar
or the tank of salvation. The Guru then found Mai Bhago who inspired these
forty Sikhs. A little aid revived her and she was blessed by the Master.
Mukatsar the Guru moved to Rupana, Bhander, Gurusar, Thehri Bambiha, Rohila,
Jangiana and Bhai Ka Kot. Then he proceeded to Sahib Chand and to Chatiana
where Brars who had fought for him demanded the arrears of their pay under
threat of blocking his onwards march. By the grace of God it so happened
that a Sikh from the neighborhood brought enough money about the same time
which enabled the Guru to pay off all the arrears. However the leader of the
Brars, Chaudhri Dana was extremely sorry for the arrogant behavior of his
people and refused to accept any payment for himself. On the request of
Chaudhri Dana, the Guru then went to his native place Mehma Swai.
there he encamped at a place which is now called Lakhisar. From there he
visited other places in the vicinity. On the request of Chaudhry Dalla, the
Guru then decided to move to Talwandi Sabo. On his way he passed through
Chatiana, Kot Sahib Chand, Kot Bhai, Giddarbaha, Rohila, Jangirana, Bambiha,
Bajak, Kaljhirani, Jassi Bagwali, Pakka Kalan and Chak Hira Singh, and
reached Talwandi Sabo now called Damdama Sahib or Takhat Damdama Sahib. This
place appealed to the Guru so much that he assumed a permanent residence
there and lived at this place for nine months and nine days.