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The Saint - Soldier (Guru Gobind Singh)
The Saint - Soldier (Guru Gobind Singh)

Sikh Missionary Society: Publications: The Saint - Soldier (Guru Gobind Singh):

Heroes of Sirhind

Heroes of Sirhind

On the first night after they left Anandpur, the Guru and the Sikhs were suddenly attacked on the balks of river Sirsa. In the confusion of the fight and darkness, they crossed the river but the whole party could not keep together. At this dark hour, the two younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh, Fateh Singh, aged nine and Zorawar Singh, aged seven, with their grandmother, Mata Gujri, strayed away from the main body. They were escorted by the Guru's old servant Gangu, to his village Kheri. He promised them protection and to lead them to the Guru as soon as the confusion was over.

Fateh Singh and Zorawar Singh with their grandmother(Mata Gujri) being escorted by GanguThe party reached village Kheri before sunrise and secretly lodged in Gangu's house. Early in the morning, when the rest were fast asleep, Gangu got up and searched their belongings. In a box he found a lot of money and other valuables. He was tempted to cheat them. He thought for a while and then stealthily removed the box and hid it. In the morning Mata Gujri got up, took bath and said her daily prayers. Then she checked all the belongings and discovered the loss of the money. She asked Gangu if he had any servants who slept at his house. Gangu replied that only he and his wife were at home and that no one else came to the house during the night. When Mata Gujri told Gangu about the theft, Gangu flew into a rage and said, "You ungrateful woman. Do you think I am a thief? Is this the way the Guru's family shows their gratitude? I am sorry I did not leave you at the mercy of the fierce army who could have licked up the last drop of your blood."

Mata Gujri knew how serious the situation was and tried to reassure Gangu that she did not mean to call him a cheat. But Gangu was thinking that he would be able to conceal his greed and ingratitude if he could get rid of Mata Gujri and the two boys. So he secretly sent a message to the village chief that he had captured the Guru's sons and mother and that he would like to hand them over to the authorities and share the reward.

On receiving the message from the village chief an officer of Morinda immediately despatched a party who arrested the Guru's sons and the mother. They were taken to Sirhind and imprisoned in a tower. Food and proper clothing were not provided for them. It was December. So they spent a miserable cold night. Next morning the two boys were taken to the court and presented before Wazir Khan, the Governor of Sirhind. The policeman told them to bow to the Governor. But instead they raised a loud cry of "Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa. Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh." The Governor was extremely angry and thundered, "How dare you insult the court, you little brats? Don't you know how to behave?"

"The Sikhs never mean insult to anybody. It's our usual way of greeting anyone. It means no ill will or misbehaviour," replied nine-year-old Fateh Singh.

"Do you know where you are now?" asked the Governor furiously.

"Yes, but not exactly. Perhaps we are in the enemy's hands," replied Fateh Singh.

"No, not enemy, I'm your friend. You might have learnt by now that your father, Gobind Singh, has been killed in the battle of Chamkaur. You are now fatherless. So I advise you to renounce the Sikh religion and embrace Islam. By doing so you will receive great wealth and other advantages and you will be able to marry beautiful princesses of the royal family," said the Governor, trying to sound persuasive.

"O fool, why do you try to tempt us with worldly ambitions. We will never be led astray by the false promises you so cunningly offer us. The indignities inflicted by the Mughals on our grandfather, Guru Tegh Bahadur, are fire enough to consume you. Our deaths will just be wind to fan this fire," said Fateh Singh.

The Governor consulted the Qazi and after some time he ordered that these insolent children be bricked up alive in a wall, The Nawab of Malerkotla objected to this cruel punishment but nobody cared. The punishment was ordered to be carried out the next day. They were offered freedom if, after consulting their grandmother. they changed their minds and agreed to accept Islam.

The boys were then led to their grandmother and left with her for the night. When the grandmother heard the boys' tale she spoke to them thus - "I am glad my children, that you have proved worthy sons of a worthy father. Your grandfather has left an everlasting instruction for the Sikhs: 'Accept death, and fall dead to the earth but do not renounce your religion.' So my dear sons, remember that you must uphold your grandfather's words and must not fall an easy prey to worldly temptations." At this the two boys promised their grandmother that they would not bring discredit to the names of their father and grandfather.

Fateh Singh and Zorawar Singh at the Mughal CourtNext morning the boys were brought to the court in chains. On entering the court they did not bow to the Governor but greeted him with a loud cheer, "Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh." The Qazi and the Governor felt highly insulted and annoyed. They ordered the boys to pay their compliment in the Muslim fashion.

"We are not slaves to take orders from you." said the younger brother.

"Have you considered the punishment?" asked the Governor.

"Yes, we have considered it and our decision is final."

"Are you ready to meet your death?" demanded the Qazi.

"Death for a noble cause," says Guru Nanak, "is a privilege." "You are simply wasting your time in asking the same silly questions again and again. We are ready for any torture that your brain can invent. We refuse to renounce Sikhism and accept Islam."

Younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh being bricked aliveThey were taken to a site where a wall was being constructed, The two boys were made to stand on the half-built wall. They showed no signs of fear. On being asked again to accept Islam. they scornfully spurned the offer and started reciting the Sikh Morning Prayer. The young ones of the Master were then made to stand a yard apart from each other. The wall was built brick by brick on their tender limbs. It came to their shoulders. The same question was repeated. The brave boys preferred death and disdainfully rejected the offer of conversion. Upon this the mason brought big, heavy stones and putting these on their heads he closed the wall above them. They were left to die a slow death. This happened on 27th December, 1704.

A wealthy follower of Guru Gobind Singh, named Todar Mall, hastened to Sirhind as he heard of the imprisonment of the Guru's children. His intention was to get their release by paying a ransom. He arrived too late. The children had already been put to death. In great distress, he proceeded to the Guru's mother and broke the sad news. The mother consoled him and asked him to accept the Will of God and join with her in a thanksgiving prayer. Having said her prayer, she bowed to the Almighty and never raised her head again. Todar Mall sought permission to remove the body of the Guru's mother. He cremated it at some distance from the tower. A Temple was later erected by the Sikhs at this spot. It is called Fatehgarh.

Guru Gobind Singh was at Raikot in the neighbourhood of Jagraon Sub-Division when a messenger named Mahi, sent by his former host Rai Kalha, brought the sad news of the execration of the young children. Rai Kalha and other listeners were torn with grief and wept bitterly. The Guru was unruffled and listened to the whole tale patiently, and calmly. When the messenger ended the distressing story. the Guru closed his eyes and thanked God for the glorious end of his sons. He kept silent for a few seconds and then addressed his followers - "Dear friends and comrades. do not think that my sons are dead. They have only returned to their Eternal Home with honour." So saying, he spontaneously knocked out a small bush with his arrow, and added, "The enemy shall be uprooted like this plant." The Master foresaw the destruction of Sirhind which was later brought about by his faithful follower, Banda Singh, who razed the whole of Sirhind to the ground and destroyed the enemy as the Guru had destroyed the plant.

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