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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):

The Heroes of Chamkaur

The Heroes of Chamkaur

"May my earthly days be blessed with Thy praises O Lord;
And when the last hour arrives, may I die fighting in the battlefield."
(Guru Gobind Singh)
Guru Gobind Singh Guru Gobind Singh Ji shooting his deadly arrows at the battle of ChamkaurThe Guru and his Sikhs strengthened the volatilisation at Chamkaur. Early next morning thousands of enemy troops were besieging the small village. The Mughal generals wanted to capture the Guru alive and present him before Aurangzeb. However, they did not dare to attack the fortress right away. When the attack came, the Sikhs repulsed it. It was hard to carry on with so small a body of men. The Guru decided to send out a single Sikh warrior every now and then, to fight and die for the Khalsa. This was to display the unconquerable spirit of the Khalsa and the fearlessness of the Sikhs in facing the heaviest odds. At intervals a Sikh would charge out from the main gate of the fortress. He would challenge the might of the Mughal army and die fighting on the battlefield. The Guru's two teenage sons, Ajit Singh and Jujhar Singh, were with him. Ajit Singh fights bravelyAs the Sikhs made their way out, the Guru's sons watched them fighting. Ajit Singh came up to him and said, "Dear father, allow me to go out and fight the enemy. I no longer want to stay behind." The Guru gave his permission and Ajit Singh got ready. He took his spear and a sword. He mounted his horse and said goodbye to his father. The Guru blessed him. The fourteen-year-old youth raised the rousing cry of "Sat Siri Akal," and out he went. The enemies were surprised to see so young a warrior on horseback. Ajit Singh pushed his way forward and displayed great bravery. The Guru sat watching this drama until his son fell fighting in the thick of the battle, living up to the trust placed on him as a member of the Khalsa.

Jijhar Singh fighting bravelySimilarly, the second son, Jujhar Singh, aged twelve, did not want to be left behind. He canoe up to the Guru and said, "Father dear, let me go where my brother Ajit Singh has gone, I don't want to stay here any more. He calls me from the battlefield." The Guru once again smiled and said, "Yes, my son, you are a brother to Ajit Singh. Your spirit must be invincible like him." Saying this the Guru closed his eyes and uttered a prayer. "So it be O Lord, if that is Your Will."

Jujhar Singh knew that his elder brother had made his mark in history. He, therefore, wore the dress of a warrior. The Guru himself buckled his small sword round him and gave him a bow and some arrows. He blessed his son saying, "We are not, O sweet son, beings of this world. The Almighty Lord summons us all. Go then and fight like a true hero. There is nothing to fear. May the Lord be with you." The young son bade him goodbye and the cry of "Sat Siri Akal," was raised by all present. Jujhar Singh had gone but a few steps. He then stopped and said, "I am thirsty sir, can I have a drink of water before I go?"

"No, my son, you have bade us your final goodbye. There is no water for you to drink. The Lord keeps fountains of sweet water ready for you in heaven," said the Guru.

"I and sorry, I forgot that. That is all right for me," said Jujhar Singh.

He immediately rode out and never looked back. He too died on the battlefield just as his brother had done a short while before. This was one of the most critical times in the whole Sikh history. The example set by the two young sons of Guru Gobind Singh became known all over the country. They were called the Heroes of Chamkaur by everyone.

Out of the forty Sikhs thirty-five had died fighting by the evening. Now the Guru asked all his remaining Sikhs to get ready for the final battle. He wanted them to sally out together and die fighting. He wanted to close the book of his life fulfilling his mission of active resistance to evil. However, the remaining Sikhs decided to ask the Guru to give up his plan. The Guru said, "Well, you all know there is no escape from here. Thousands of Mughal soldiers are around you. All you can do is to put up a brave fight and die heroically for the cause dear to your heart. There is no alternative for any of us."

"There is no alternative for us five. But O Master, there is alternative for you. At Anandpur you said 'The Khalsa is the Guru and the Guru is the Khalsa.' We five-here in this fortress are the Khalsa and so we are the Guru. We, therefore, order you to go away to safety. If you die here our mission will remain unfulfilled. But if you stay alive you can make the Khalsa to rise again, like a field of mushrooms and to uproot evil. We shall fight the enemy and die here, but you must go out to safety."

The Guru had to accept the order given by his five Sikhs. The sun had set and it was getting dark. Guru Gobind Singh dressing a Sikh with his own clothingThe Guru gave his Kalghi (headgear) to one of the five Sikhs who looked like him. There in the darkness of the night, he went out, fully armed but alone. He marched through the lines of the Mughal guards who treed to stop him.

After he had covered half a mile, he raised his voice saying, "Here goes the Guru of the Sikhs. Catch him if you dare." He clapped his hands and then disappeared into the darkness. The Mughal guards raised an alarm and the Mughal armies were thrown in a state of confusion and fright. They dashed about attempting to catch the Guru and ended up in a battle among themselves, killing many of their own men. The Guru, however, marched on further and was able to take to the woods of Machhiwara. He rested during the daytime and proceeded onwards during the night.

The inevitable happened at Chamkaur. The Mughal army still thought that the Guru was alive and was in the fortress, and that his escape, during the night, was only a hoax. They, therefore, decided to attack the fortress all at once. There were only five Sikhs and after a short and fierce battle all of them were killed. As the Mughal commanders entered the fortress they found the Kalghi of the Guru and thought that they had killed him. So they took the head with the Kalghi to the Governor of Sirhind. But it was not the Guru's head. It was Bhai Sant Singh who wore the Kalghi and he resembled the Guru.

Nabi Khan and Gani Khan escort Guru Gobind Singh as Uch Da PirBy now the Guru had passed safely through the enemy's territory and reached the forest of Machhiwara. The Mughal armies were searching for him all over the forest. It was at this difficult consent that two Muslim friends, Ghani Khan and Nabi Khan disguised the Guru as "Uchh Da Pir" (a reputed Muslim saint of Uchh village) and carried him reverently in a curtained plantain to safety. After four week's journey the Guru finally reached Raikot in Ludhiana District. Rai Kalha, the Chief of Jagraon and Raikot received the Guru warmly. The Guru stayed there for some time. For Rai Kalha's services the Guru gave him a Jug and a sword which his family have kept all through these centuries. (In 1947 Rai Kalha's family went away to Pakistan and took the souvenirs with them).

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