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Essays on Sikh Values
Essays on Sikh Values

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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 the text.

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 spiritual sense.
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 difference.

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.

Sarsa Crossed

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).
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Elder sons

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.
Ajit Singh goes into battle
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.

Sahibzada Jujhar Singh

Born 1691AD, died 1705 AD.
Jujhar Singh goes into battle
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.
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Younger sons
Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh being bricked alive
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 Rule

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.

Sahibzada Zorawar Singh

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 year.
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