19. Hari Singh Nalwa & Begum Bano

During the times of Sher-e-Panjab, Raja Ranjit Singh, the Sikh Raaj (kingdom) stretched from Delhi to Kabul (in Afghanistan). Raja Ranjit Singh's key general was Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa, who was a Rehatvan (strict observant) Sikh of the Guru. Once Hari Singh Nalwa had set up camp with his army in Jamraud in Afghanistan. A local Muslim woman called 'Bano' watched the Sikhs set up camp. She found Hari Singh Nalwa very handsome and attractive, and wished to have an illicit relationship with him. One day Bano came to see Hari Singh Nalwa. He was sitting in his tent, when the Sikh guards told him that he had a local woman who wished to see him. Not knowing who this lady was or what she wanted, Hari Singh gave permission to come and see him. Bano said, "I had heard of the Sikhs. You are remarkable people. I have been watching you from a distance. I am not married and have no children, but desire to have a son who is like you." Hari Singh did not understand the motivation or intention of Bano and said, "May Waheguru bless you that you may have a son with the qualities of a Sikh." Bano irritably said, "I want to have a son with you Sardar Ji." Hari Singh Nalwa said, "O sister! I am already married. I am sorry I cannot marry you or give you what you want." Bano's eyes welled up with tears of disappointment. About to leave, she said, "I had heard your Guru Nanak was great and that no one leaves empty handed from Guru Nanak's House, but today I am being turned away without the wish of a son being fulfilled." Hari Singh Nalwa, a true example of a Sikh of the Guru, replied, "It is true that no one goes empty handed from Guru Nanak's House. I cannot give you a son, but if you desire a son to be like me, then instead if you accept, from now on I will be your son, and I will consider you my mother." Bano was shocked and overwhelmed by Hari Singh Nalwa's sincerity, high moral character and faith in the Guru. She said, "I had heard that Sikhs of the Guru are great honorable people, but today I have seen it with my own eyes. From that day on Hari Singh Nalwa addressed Begum Bano as "Maa" (Mother) and she addressed Hari Singh as "Putar" (Son).

O Nanak, what is the character of the happy soul-bride ? Within her, is Truth; her face is bright and radiant, and she is absorbed in her Lord and Master. ||1||

Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang. 785