Articles: Essays on Sikh
Sons of Guru Gobind Singh
Sahibzada - a prince.
This is a dignified word to mean a son.
Sahibzadae - Sons of Guru Gobind Singh
the Tenth Sikh Master.
Repetitions - In this article, repetitions
are with the purpose of retaining complete lives of Sahibzadae independent
of each other. This has been done to avoid referring and going through
Marriages of Guru Gobind Singh It
is said, but is controversial that the Tenth Master of the Sikhs Guru Gobind
Singh had three wives -
Mata Jito - Her real name was Ajito
- invincible. After taking Amrit - the Holy Drink, it was changed to Ajit
Kaur. Mata means mother.
Mata Sundri - Many scholars believe
that it was another name of Mata Jito (Ajit Kaur).
Mata Sahib Devan - After taking
Amrit, she became Sahib Kaur. She is the Holy `Mother of the Khalsa' -
Mother of the Sikh World. It was her `spiritual marriage' - a total celibacy.
It was not the physical union. She was wife of the Guru, but only in the
Considering these points, the Guru had only one wife - Mata
Jito ji. It is a different subject for pondering.
The Guru had four sons - Ajit Singh, Jujhar Singh, Zorawar
Singh and Fateh Singh. In this write-up, the life of each Sahibzada has
been dealt with briefly.
Background - Struggle
Guru Gobind Singh fearlessly and courageously struggled
for the equality and total freedom of the man, and for the human rights.
He lived with the dignity of a king. To protect Anandpur Sahib he built
six forts at the strategic points - Lohgarh, Holgarh, Nirmohgarh on the
other side of the river Sutlej, and Fatehgarh, Anandgarh, Kesgarh on this
(Anandpur) side of the river. All this was an irritation for the hill Rajas,
and for the Mogul Empire.
The Guru tried but could not win over the Hindu chieftains
of the hills. In spite of his best efforts, and repeated assurances, they
feared him that he might not take away their estates. Rather, they sought
protection of the Moguls, sided them, and kept fighting against the Guru.
Had they taken side of the Guru, the history would have made a palpable
Siege of Anandpur
The Mogul army aided by the forces of the hill chieftains
besieged Anandpur Sahib with about 30,000 soldiers. Ranghars and Gujjars
of the area, also joined them. These forces built up to about ten hundred
thousands, and camped away from the town out of the range of cannons fired
from inside the forts. The Guru had about 10,000 fighters. The siege continued
for about 8 months.
The siege cut off all supplies to the town, and it came
down to the famine like conditions. The forty fighters deserted the Guru
and left the fort. Hindus and Muslims outside, asked the Guru to vacate
the fort and promised a safe passage out on their oaths. On assurances
of the enemy, the Sikhs inside the fort started pressing the Guru to vacate
it. He advised them to wait for a few days more, but the Sikhs prevailed
upon him. In the end, he had to give in. When they came out of the Anandgarh
fort on the night between 5 and 6 December, 1705, with 500 Sikhs, soon
after midnight in a heavy rain, not withstanding their oaths the enemy
attacked and gave a hot chase to the Sikhs. There was a fierce battle on
the bank of the swollen river Sirsa.
Younger sons martyred
The Guru, his two elder sons, and the Sikhs crossed the
river Sirsa and headed for Chamkaur. The Guru sent Mata Sundri and Mata
Sahib Kaur to Delhi with Bhai Mani Singh. Two younger Sahibzadae in the
charge of their grandmother got separated, and their cook Gangu, took them
to his village Kheri. He betrayed and on his reporting, they were arrested.
Wazir Khan, the Nawab of Sirhind, tried his utmost to convert the two Sahibzadae,
but they did not waver and stayed firm. For this, both the innocent children
met with their martyrdoms. They were bricked up in a wall, removed on their
swooning, revived, and their necks were cut open to kill them.
Battle of Chamkaur
Elder sons martyred
At Chamkaur, Guru ji, two elder Sahibzadae and 40 Sikhs
took positions in a Haveli called `Chowdhri Budhi Chand Dee Haveli' - Haveli
of Chowdhri Budhi Chand. A Haveli is a small stronghold with a walled yard
and looks like a small fort. It was also known as Garhi (fortress), later
called `Chamkaur dee Garhee.' Here, ensued the battle of Chamkaur. The
two elder Sahibzadae, giving a tough fight, laid down their lives here.
Battle of Mukatsar
The Guru was forced to get out of Garhi by the verdict
of the five out of the remaining Sikhs, and he reached Mukatsar. Here,
Mai Bhago and the forty who had deserted the Guru at Anandpur Sahib, rejoined
him. The Guru fought a decisive battle with the pursuing Moguls. He blessed
with emancipation his forty dead and mortally wounded fighters. After this,
he went to Talwandi Sabo (Damdama Sahib) near Bathinda. Here, he compiled
the second version of Granth Sahib, and added Hymns of 9th Guru
to it. Later, a day before his death in 1708, this volume called Damdami
Beerr, was declared by him the Guru of the Sikhs - Guru Granth Sahib (Now,
the word `Guru' added it).
Two elder sons of Guru Gobind Singh - Sahibzada Ajit Singh
and Sahibzada Jujhar Singh. Their names go together, because their age
difference was about two years, and they were elder brothers to the youngsters.
There was a gap of about 6 years in their ages and the ages of their two
younger brothers. The two elder ones died together (one after the other)
in the battle at Chamkaur.
Sahibzada Ajit Singh
Born 1687 AD, death 1705 AD.
The eldest son of Guru Gobind Singh was born to Mata Sundar
Kaur at Paunta Sahib, on 26 January 1687 AD. The next year Guru Gobind
Singh returned to Anandpur Sahib. Ajit Singh was given proper education,
was made deft in the Scriptures, and was fully trained in the battlefield-art
- fencing, archery, use of spear and horse riding etc.
On the Baisakhi day, 30 March 1699, Guru Gobind Singh
created the Khalsa - the pure ones, by giving Amrit - Holy-Drink, to the
people. Shortly after it, a Sikh group coming from Pothohar - Northwestern
Punjab, was looted by Ranghars at the village Nuh, close to Anandpur Sahib.
Ajit Singh was about 12 years old. Guru ji sent him with 100 Sikhs on 23
May 1699. He punished Ranghars and recovered the looted property.
Next year, 29 August 1700, the hill-rajas with the support
of imperial troops attacked the town of Anandpur Sahib. Sahibzada Ajit
Singh was given the defense of Taragarh fort. He, assisted by Bhai (Brother)
Oude Singh, repulsed the attack.
In October 1700, he fought the battle of Nirmohgarh. On
15 March 1701, the Sikh devotees coming from Darap area (later, District
Sialkot), were waylaid by Gujjars and Ranghars. Ajit Singh set them right.
On 7 March 1703, with 100 horsemen, he rescued a Brahmin
bride from the Pathan chief of Bassi.
In 1705, when the imperial forces and hill-Rajas jointly
besieged Anandpur Sahib, Ajit Singh was to manage supplies to the forts,
besides leading attacks on the surrounding forces.At the night between
5 and 6 December in 1705, when Anandpur was vacated by the Guru, Ajit Singh
was about 17. He guarded the rear of the column, and with the help of Bhai
Oude Singh, successfully engaged the enemy at a hill named Shahi Tibbi.
The Guru, Sahibzada Ajit Singh, Sahibzada Jujhar Singh, and about 50 Sikhs
crossed the Sarsa rivulet in flood. Sahibzada Fateh Singh, Sahibzada Zorawar
Singh and their grandmother Mata Ganga, separated from the group. The enemy
troop from Ropar in hot pursuit, they reached Chamkaur on the evening of
the 6 December 1705 AD, and took positions in the Garhi - a high walled
fortified building. Garhi was taken into siege by the force from Ropar
with reinforcements from Malerkotla and Sirhind. The local Gujjars and
Ranghars also joined them. With the sunrise on 7 December 1705 AD, an unequal
battle ensued - only 40 facing a million (Zafarnamah by Guru Gobind Singh).
When the ammunition and arrows exhausted, the Sikhs started coming out
in the batches of five to fight with swords and spears. Sahibzada Ajit
Singh led one batch and laid down his life fighting bravely. Sahibzada
Jujhar Singh followed his elder brother leading the next batch.
Born 1691AD, died 1705 AD.
He was second son of Guru Gobind Singh, born to revered Mata
Ajit Kaur on 14 March 1691 AD, at Anandpur Sahib. He was taught Scriptures
and was trained in the warfare. In 1699 AD, when he was 8 years old, he
took Amrit - initiation as a Sikh bound by the code of its discipline.
He was a handsome, courageous and fearless, war-worthy boy of 15 at the
time Anandpur Sahib was besieged. He also was with his elder brother to
manage the supplies to the forts. As well, he took active part in the attacks
on the surrounding Moguls. He accompanied the Guru at the time of evacuation
at the night between 5 and 6 December in 1705 AD, crossed the flooded Sarsa
on horseback, and with the others of the retinue reached Garhi at Chamkaur
by the nightfall on the 6 December, 1705 AD. Next day, he bravely repulsed
the enemy attacks on Garhi where the Guru, 40 Sikhs, Sahibzada Ajit Singh,
and he himself had taken shelter. Towards the end of the day - the 7 December
1705, he led the last batch of the day (five Sikhs) after his elder brother,
and laid down his life fighting valiantly. As a usual routine, the battle
stopped at the sunset.At the place where Ajit Singh and Jujhar Singh fell,
there is Gurdwara Qatalgarh - the site of murder. Here, to honor the martyrs,
an annual religious fair is held every year in December-January.
The two younger sons of the Guru, Zorawar Singh and Fateh
Singh are grouped together, because the age difference between the two
was about 3 years, and the both were about 6 years younger to their two
elder brothers. The both of them were murdered together at Sirhind.A long
time ago, there was an article, probably by the late historian Satnam Singh,
that indicated that their throats were slit and they were bled to death.
Dr. Bhai Harbans Lal, a Sikh scholar, told the author that his mother narrated
the same thing. Professor Kartar Singh writes that when the wall went up
to their chests, they were beheaded (Sikh Itihas, Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee,
Amritsar, 1977, page 428). It is commonly known that the both of them were
walled up alive, together.
End of the Mogul
Five Sikhs unanimously pressed the Guru to leave the Garhi.
He offered his Kalgi: a turban ornament with plumes, to Bhai Sangat Singh,
and left the place with three Sikhs, and only seven were left behind. Later,
when the Guru was with a Muslim devotee Rai Kallah at Jattpura, Mahi Noora
(Noora the cowherd) gave the Guru the news of murder of his two younger
sons. The Guru uprooted the grass with his arrow, and said that it was
the end of the Mogul Empire.
Born 1696 AD, death 1705 AD. He was the 3rd
son, born to Mata Ajit Kaur, at Anandpur Sahib, on 17 November 1696 AD.
He was about nine years old at the time of the evacuation of Anandpur fort,
on the night between 5 and 6 December, 1705 AD.
Mata Ajit Kaur died on the night of 5 December 1700 AD,
and his grand mother Mata Gujri brought him up. Sahibzada Zorawar Singh
and Sahibzada Fateh Singh were with Mata Gujri when the column moved out
of the fort. While crossing the river Sirsa in spate on horsebacks, three
of them got separated from Guru Gobind Singh.
Their cook Gangu escorted the three of them to his house
in the village Kherri, later contemptuously renamed Saherri, near Morinda
in District Ropar, Punjab. He betrayed, and at night stole their bag with
cash and jewelry. In the greed of prize, next morning December 7, 1705
the day of the battle at Chamkaur, he reported about them to the authorities.
The officials of Morinda, Jaani Khan and Maani Khan, took the three - both
the Sahibzada and their grandmother, into their custody. The next day,
they were dispatched to Sirhind, and were confined to the Thanda-Burj -
cold tower, of the fort. On 9 December 1705, Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh
were produced before the faujdar - commander, Nawab Wazir Khan, who had
returned to Sirhind from the battle at Chamkaur. Wazir Khan tried to allure
them to embrace Islam, but the Sahibzadae resolutely rejected it, stayed
firm in their faith, and were awarded death sentence.
They both together were sealed into a wall and when it
reached their chests, they swooned and the wall crumbled. They were revived
and sent back to Thanda Burj. Nawab Sher Mohd Khan of Malerkotla interceded
to save the lives of the innocents, but Sucha Nand in the service of Nawab,
pleaded for their death. Wazir Khan tried again for their conversion, but
they stayed undaunted and refused. On 11 December 1705 AD, they were executed.
On getting the news, Mata Gujri breathed her last in Thanda-Burj.
Sahibzada Fateh Singh
Born 1699 AD, death 1705 AD The fourth i.e. the youngest
son, was born to Mata Ajit Kaur, at Anandpur Sahib, District Ropar, Punjab,
on 25 February 1699 AD. After the death of his mother on 5 December 1700
AD, he was brought up by his grandmother Mata Gujree, and remained with
her till his martyrdom. On 11 December 1705 AD, he was martyred at Sirhind
along with his elder brother Zorawar Singh.
Dewan Todar Mall, a rich merchant of Sirhind, purchased
land measured in the gold coins, and at this place cremated the three -
two younger Sahibzadae and their grandmother. Later, the place was renamed
Fatehgarh Sahib - the Fort of Victory. Thanda Burj - the Cold Tower, still
stands there. At the site of the wall stands a splendid Gurdwara. To remember
the martyrs, a religious fair is held there on December 25 to 28, every