Sakhi of this great
Sikh woman starts from the very day of her
marriage. She was born in a
Hindu family in the Pathan country on the
west of the
Punjab. The area was under the Sikh Raj and
ruled by General
Hari Singh Nalwa. After a happy marriage,
she was going along with her groom and the marriage party to the village of
her in-laws. On their way, the dacoits ambushed them. Waving their arms, the
dacoits ordered all the people to surrender their cash and valuables. The
helpless party gave everything to the robbers to save their lives. The
decoits, however, also demanded the newly married bride and took her with
poor groom went straight to General Nalwa, who was then the governor of the
Pathan province. While the General sitting in his court was listening to the
complaint of the groom he observed two persons behaving suspiciously near
the door. He suspected them to be the friends of the dacoits.
the man had completed the story of the party being way-laid by the dacoits
and the loss of his wife, the General ordered aloud to be heard by those
suspects, "Put this man in the prison. He did not care to protect a helpless
woman, who was his own wife.". The two suspects who were actually the
associates of the dacoits and were there to know the reactions of the
General, were pleased to hear the order.
were relieved of the fear of any policemen going out in search of the
dacoits to catch them. The vigilant eyes of the General observed a smile on
the faces of the suspects when they heard his decision. This assured the
General of their complicity in looting the marriage party and carrying away
the bride. The General secretly ordered ten Sikh horsemen to take the
husband of the stolen woman with them and follow the suspects.
been satisfied that the General was angry with the cowardly behavior of the
groom, the associates of the dacoits assumed that the whole episode was over
and forgotten. Therefore, they decided to go to the dacoits immediately and
tell them the good news of the decision of the General. When they reached
the house where the dacoits were holding the bride, they started telling
their friends about the reactions of the General. They were talking joyfully
when the horsemen surrounded the dacoits and ordered them to put their hands
up. The dacoits wondered about the smart move of the General.
the bride was brought before Sardar Nalwa he asked her, What is your name?
She replied, I am nobody. I would have been dead had you not saved my life.
Now I am under your ‘sharan’ (protection). The word ‘sharan’ voluntarily
coming out of the mouth of a helpless, scared woman gave her the popular
name Sharanagat Kaur.
everything was restored to them, the General asked the bride and groom to go
home. Both begged the Sardar to admit them to the
Khalsa Panth. They wanted to enjoy the
honour of living as Sikhs and dying as Sikhs. On their very firm resolve to
become the members of the Khalsa Panth, they were given
Amrit and allowed to stay there with the
Hari Singh Naiwa was visiting Jamrod Fort. He fell seriously ill there. The
area was surrounded with the Pathan population unfriendly towards him.
Knowing that the General was sick and not physically in a condition to do
battle, they all rebelled against his rule. To send the message that he was
hale and hearty, the General went up to the upper storey of the fort to
inspect a repaired wall, from where he could be seen by all the people
outside the fort. Seeing him moving about on the fort, the rebels retreated
quickly. However, one of them aimed his gun at him and shot him before he
went back. Unfortunately, the General was hit and died of the bullet wound.
situation in the fort became very tense and everyone was depressed finding
their General dead, and with no one there to replace him. Bibi Sharanagat
Kaur kept her composure, thought for some time and said, This is not the
time to feel worried or to get scared. Let us face this critical moment with
courage and confidence. I have a plan to save the situation. You drop me
behind the fort by a long rope. I, disguised as a Pathan woman, will reach
Peshawar as soon as possible and inform the army there.
had to travel through a hilly route that covered twenty miles, swarming with
Pathan rebels. There were wild animals in the forest through which she had
to walk at night, and she could easily become their prey. It was a very
risky journey. It looked impossible for her to reach Peshawar alive and give
the sad news to the army and to request their help.
brave, daring young woman did reach there by walking or running the whole
night, through dense forest. Without losing any time, she asked the best
horsemen to get ready quickly and ride their horses. Sikh soldiers under the
guidance of Bibi Sharanagat Kaur travelled as fast as they could to reach
covered their long arduous journey quickly and reported the episode to
Maharaja Ranjit Singh. After hearing of the
death of a great General who raised the honour of the
Khalsa army to the skies, he felt very sad.
Assessing the situation to be critical, he himself left for Peshawar.
Knowing that the Maharaja had personally come to punish the rebels, the
Pathans immediately surrendered without fighting and promised to remain
Khalsa Raj of
Punjab, founded with the statesmanship of a
Sada Kaur, was thus saved from being
dismembered, by the bravery of another woman, Bibi Sharanagat Kaur. She was
honoured by the Khalsa Panth with the title of "Brave daughter of Punjab".
Sikh women can face successfully all kinds of critical and risky situations,
like any good General and Statesman.