Friday, December 19, 2014

Sikh History in December - Part 3: Chamkaur Sahib...


Arriving at Chamkaur Sahib
Guru Gobind Singh jee, the elder Sahibzaade and 40 Sikhs arrived at Chamkaur Sahib and rested in an open garden. On a hill there belonged a Haveli (private mansion) made of mud that belonged to two brothers, Bhai Budhi Chand jee and Bhai Gareeboo jee. Bhai Budhi Chand jee came to see Guru jee and offered his Haveli for Guru jee and the Sikhs to say. "My Haveli is on top of a hill and will allow you to see far and wide and spot the enemy forces coming." Guru jee accepted Bhai Buddhi Chand's offer. Guru Sahib and the 40 Singhs moved into house of Bhai Budhi Chand jee situated on the hill, which now became the mud-fort (Kachee Garhee) for the Sikhs. When Guru jee entered the Garhee (fort) he got out his Khanjar (dagger) and scraped the wall. Gathering the dust of the wall, Guru jee closed his fist and then opened it and blew the dust. Bhai Dya Singh jee asked, "Guru jee, please explain to us the meaning of what you have done?" Guru jee replied, "I have been waiting for this place. There is why I will sacrifice my children for the Panth and send them to God. Till the end of time people will come to this place and pay respects to the dust of the Garhee."

First Night at Chamkaur Sahib
That evening Guru jee and all the Sikhs recited the evening prayer of Rehraas Sahib. Bhai Budhi Chand did his best to arrange some raw food for the Sikhs, however it was not enough to . Two brothers of the names Bhai Madan Singh and Bhai Kaattha Singh volunteered for guarding the gate of the Garhee. Guru jee positioned 8 Singhs at each of the 4 corners of the Garhee, with 3 Singhs and the elder Sahibzaade with Guru jee. The Singhs were cold, sleepy, wet and had no blanket or pillow. They used the blanket kept underneath the horse saddle as a pillow. During the night Guru jee approached Bhai Madan Singh and Bhai Kaattha Singh and asked them for permission to do the guard duty and for them to rest for tomorrow. As it was Guru jee asking, they could not say no and therefore accepted Guru jee's wish. That night, Guru jee went up to each Singh sleeping and ensured that their dastaar was properly tied on, that their Kes were secure and that their body was properly covered. The wounds of the Singhs were kissed by Guru jee and each Singh was blessed by Guru jee.

Enemy forces gather around Chamkaur Sahib
At Amrit-vela, Guru jee woke up the Singhs and did Nitnem. The Mughal spies had sent a report back asking for the army to be sent quickly. The army report stated that there was nothing to concerned about because the Guru had with him mostly so-called low castes and untrained soldiers - 4 Aroras, 5 Bhatias, 2 Rangretas (Bhai Sangat Singh & Bhai Sant Singh), 2 Kulals, 2 Jatts, and 2 Brahims (Bhai Lal Singh and Bhai Kirpa Singh). For three days the the Singhs were hungry, thirsty and cold. The armies of Wazir Khan, Zabardast Khan, Ajmer Chand, Lal Chand, Naahar Khan, Mahmood Ali Khan, Anwar Khan and Khwaja Mardood arrived outside Chamkaur Sahib. 40 Sikhs were being surrounded by an army of 10 Lakh (1 million).

The Battle Begins
The Nawab Wazir Khan announced in the early morning that if Guru Jee and the rest of the Khalsa gave them selves up then their lives will be spared. The reply to this was with arrows from Guru Jee, the Mugals too started firing arrows at the Haveli but no one had the courage to come to the entrance of the Khalsa’s fort. One of the Mugal Generals Naahar Khan tried to quietly place a ladder on the Haveli and tried to climb it in hope to behead Guru jee and present his head to Aurangzeb. However, when he raised his head over the roof Guru jee hit him with an arrow. Then the Mughal officer, Ghani Khan, tried to climb up and Guru jee threw down a Gurj (mace) at him, which killed him. Then Mughal officer of the name of Khawaja Mahmood came forward after taking an oath to behead the Guru but instead hid behind the wall. An attack on the Haveli was ordered by the Nawaab of Sirhind. To combat the assault Guru jee divided the Singhs into 8 groups of 5 under the command of Pyaare Bhai Dya Singh jee. Bhai Himmat Singh, volunteered to be part of the first batch to fight the oncoming army. Whilst the five Singhs fought, the enemy realized that Bhai Himmat Singh was one of the original Panj Pyaare. The enemy army increased and all of the five became Shaheed. Bhai Madan Singh and Bhai Kaattha Singh opened the gates to send the second batch of Singhs, and all attained Shaheedi. Then the third batch was then sent and all of them became Shaheed.  

Shaheedi of Baba Ajeet Singh
After the third batch of Singhs became Shaheed, Bhai Dya Singh jee approached Guru jee and pleaded, "Guru jee please save yourself and the Sahibzaade and leave the Garhee." Hearing this Guru Jee said “which Sahibzaade are you talking about , you are all my Sahibzaade. I keep no difference between my Sikhs and my Sahibzaade”. Then 18 years old Baba Ajeet Singh jee asked Guru jee for permission to go and fight. Guru embraced Baba Ajeet Singh jee and told him, "I wish to remind you that in your veins you have the blood of the one who sacrificed his life being burnt on the hot plate flowing through. Your veins have the blood of the one sacrificed his head in Chandi Chowk flowing through you. You are the son of Guru Gobind Singh. The day you were born I won the first battle. Go and fight, but don't turn your face away and come back to me. I wish to see you become Shaheed." Guru Gobind Singh jee opened the gate of Chamkaur with his own hands and sent his son to the batttlefield. Bhai Mohkam Singh, Bhai Deva Singh, Bhai Keertee Singh, Bhai Ishar Singh and Bhai Nand Singh accompanied Baba Ajeet Singh to the battlefield. The Mughal forces echoed, "This is eldest son of Gobind Singh. Kill him!" Allah Yaar Khan Yogi describes that Baba Ajeet Singh jee entered the battlefield like Death was coming to hug someone and then goes away. Baba Jee hit one of the Mugal Generals his spear, the spear got stuck in the body of the General and could not be taken out. He then took out his sword  and kept fighting with this on horseback. Baba jee's horse became wounded and therefore fought on the ground. The enemy attacked in one go and Baba jee attained Shaheedi. Seeing Baba Ajeet Singh's body lay down on the ground, Guru jee said:

ਜਿਸ ਕੀ ਬਸਤੁ ਤਿਸੁ ਆਗੈ ਰਾਖੈ || ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕੀ ਆਗਿਆ ਮਾਨੈ ਮਾਥੈ ||
ਉਸ ਤੇ ਚਉਗੁਨ ਕਰੈ ਨਿਹਾਲੁ || ਨਾਨਕ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਸਦਾ ਦਇਆਲੁ ||੨||
"When one offers to the Lord, that which belongs to the Lord, and willingly abides by the Will of God's Order, the Lord will make him happy four times over. O Nanak, our Lord and Master is merciful forever.")."
(Ang 268)
Baba Ajeet Singh jee's body had 400 wounds because the Mughal soldiers believed that whichever soldier's sword would help to kill Baba Ajeet Singh would get rewarded in Heaven.

To be continued...

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