Friday, December 19, 2014

Sikh History in December - Part 2: Kotla Nihang Khan...


Bhai Bachitar Singh jee's Jatha attacked
Bhai Bachitar Singh jee was the commander of a group of 100 Singhs when leaving Anandpur Sahib. Bhai Sahib's Jatha (group) was at the front. Whilst watching pursuers from the front at the direction of Ropar, Bhai Bachitar Singh jee and his Singhs were attacked by Mughals near Malikpur Ranghran. All the Singhs became Shaheed and Bhai Sahib was seriously injured and near to death. He was carried to Bhai Nihang Khan jee's house in village Kotla (now known as Kotla Nihang Khan) by Sahibzada Baba Ajeet Singh jee and Bhai Madan Singh jee. Bhai Nihang Khan was a Muslim whose grandfather had served Guru Hargobind Sahib jee and had great love for the Guru's House. Every month he would take his family and children to Anandpur Sahib to have Darshan of Guru jee and receive Guru jee's blessings. Guru Gobind Singh jee asked Bhai Nihang Khan jee to look after Bhai Bachittar Singh jee, after which they proceeded with the remaining forty Sikhs and the elder Sahibzaade towards Chamkaur Sahib. Before leaving Guru jee blessed Bhai Nihang Khan's family by giving them the gift of a shield, Khanjar (dagger) and Talwar (sword).

Mughals surround Bhai Nihang Khan's house
The Mughals received news that Bhai Nihang Khan was housing some Sikhs. Bhai Nihang Khan jee said to the Mughal soldiers, "I am a Muslim. I have no enemies in my house and nor would I give the enemies any help. Search the house if you must." Bhai Nihang Khan jee spoke to the truth. For him the Sikhs were not the enemies or Kafirs (Infidels) but sent by God to share goodness in this world. To satisfy themselves the Mughals searched the house. Bhai Bachitar Singh jee was in a room being nursed by Bhai Nihang Khan jee's daughter, Bibi Mumtaaz jee. When the Mughals asked to go inside the room, Bhai Nihang Khan jee replied, "My daughter is in there with her husband." Bhai Bachitar Singh had his face and body covered with a blanket and Bibi Mumtaaz jee was massaging and pressing his feet and legs. Seeing this the Mughals apologised and left Bhai Nihang Khan jee's house. That night Bhai Bachitar Singh jee died of his fatal wounds. 

Cremation of Bhai Bachitar Singh jee
To try and avoid the Mughals discovering Bhai Bachitar Singh jee, the funeral was delayed to the next day. It was not possible to take Bhai Sahib's body out of the house so Bhai Nihang Khan jee cremated Bhai Bachitar Singh jee's body inside his house in his courtyard. Bhai Nihang Khan jee conducted the last rites in accordance to Gurmat. Bibi Mumtaaz jee was engaged prior to this, however after that day she told her father, "Father, I am now married and have a husband. I cannot marry anyone else." Bibi Mumtaaz jee took her father's words that Bhai Bachitar Singh jee was her husband to heart. Her father was proud of her Sikhi Sidak and accepted this. All her life Bibi Mumtaaz jee never married and considered Bhai Bachitar Singh jee as her husband. She was a great reciter of Gurbani and remained immersed in the Bhagti (devotion) of Gurbani till her last breath.

To be continued....

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