23. The Fourth Battle: Battle of Kartarpur
Battle of Kartarpur
The Battle of Kartarpur was caused by the Pathan Painde Khan who had been a loyal friend and supporter of the Guru. Turning against the Guru he first went to the Subedar of Jullundhur, Qutab Khan, who accompanied him to the Court of the Emperor who despatched a strong force against the Guru. Kale Khan, the brother of Mukhlis Khan, was given the command of fifty thousand men. Qutab Khan, Painde Khan, Anwar Khan and Asman Khan were commissioned to fight under Kale Khan. Learning of the impending attack Bhai Bidhi Chand, Bhai Jati Mal, Bhai Lakhu, and Bhai Rai Jodh had arranged their troops on the four sides of the city before the imperial army chiefs advanced against them. The force, mostly of Pathans, was overpowered by the brave Sikhs who were fighting for their religion and their Guru. Bidhi Chand engaged Kale Khan, and Baba Gurditta, the Guru's eldest son took on Asman Khan. Even Tegh Mal (later on the ninth Guru) who was only fourteen years old, showed feats of valor in the field earning the honorary addition to his name of Tegh Bahadur. Painde Khan with drawn sword confronted the Guru directing some profane words towards the Master. In the words of Mohsan Fani, a Muslim historian of that time, the Guru addressed him with. "Painde Khan, why use such words when the sword is in your hand. Brave as you are my boy, come I give you full leave to strike first. I have no grudge against you. But you are full of wrath. You can wreak your rage by striking the first blow." Painde Khan then aimed a heavy blow at the Guru who parried it off. The Guru allowed him again to strike - also in vain. Infuriated with his double failure, he gave a third blow which also missed the Guru. The Master then urged him: "Come, my boy, I will teach you how to strike. Not your way but this." Saying this he gave him such strong blow that Painde Khan fell to the ground mortally wounded. From this blow he seemed to have regained his old sense of discipleship. The Guru told him: "Thou art a Musalman. Now is the time to repeat your kalma (creed)." Painde Khan replied, "O master, your sword is my kalma and my source of salvation." The Guru on seeing him dying was filled with pity, and by putting his shield over his face so as to shade it from the sun, he said, "Painde Khan, I cherished you, I reared you, and I made you a hero. Though men spoke ill of you, I forgot all your failings, and nothing entered my mind against you; but destiny misled you so much that you brought an army against me. It is your own acts of ingratitude and insolence that have led to your death at my hands. Though you have been ungrateful and untrue to your salt, I pray the Almighty to grant you a dwelling in heaven." After all his chiefs were slain, Kale Khan confronted the Guru. He discharged an arrow which whizzed past him. A second arrow grazed the Guru's forehead, and drops of blood bespattered his face. He remarked, "Kale Khan, I have seen your science. Now see mine." At this he discharged an arrow which killed Kale Khan's horse. The Guru thought it a point of honor also to dismount and offer his adversary a choice of arms. Sparks of fire issued from clash of sword on sword. He parried all his strokes and commented, "Not thus, this is the way to fence." He then dealt Kale Khan a blow with his two-edged scimitar which severed his head from his body. On this the imperial soldiers fled for their lives as Bidhi Chand and Jati Mal shouted slogans of victory.
It is said that several thousand Muslims were killed while only seven hundred brave Sikhs lost their lives in this battle. It ended on the 24th day of (Har, Sambat 1691)) 1634.