Saturday, December 03, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

The Battle of Nadaun was fought on 20 March 1691 between an imperial expeditionary force aided by Raja Kirpal Chand of Kangra and Raja Dyal of Bijharval in the Sivalik hills on the one hand and several other neighbouring chieftains who enjoyed the support of Guru Gobind Singh on the other. The battle is also mentioned in the autobiography of Guru Gobind Singh called the Bachittar Natak. This was the second battle of Guru Gobind Singh after the Battle of Bhangani.
Reason for the Conflict

Demand of Revenue
The hill Rajas, taking advantage of Emperor Aurangzeb's preoccupation with the endless Maratha insurgency in the South, had neglected to pay their annual tributes into the imperial treasury for three years. Early in 1691 orders were issued to Hifzullah Khan alias Mian Khan, Governor of Jammu, to collect the revenue. Mian Khan despatched a punitive force under Alif Khan. Two of the chieftains, Raja Kirpal Chand and Raja Dyal, submitted without opposition and in fact became Alif Khan's allies.

Raja Bhim Chand of Kahlur (Bilaspur), the most powerful of the Chieftains rallied the rest of the rulers to resist the Mughal demands. Guru Gobind Singh, who did not cotton to the idea of anyone paying tribute to Aurangzeb and his religious wars, was asked for help and joined in the combined effort to route Alif Khan and his punitive force.

Demand for Assistance

ਜੁੱਧ ਕਾਜ ਨ੍ਰਿਪ ਹਮੈ ਬੁਲਾਯੋ ॥ ਆਪਿ ਤਵਨ ਕੀ ਓਰ ਸਿਧਾਯੋ ॥

Bhim Chand asked me for assistance and himself went to face (the enemy)

Bachittar Natak

The Guru came to his assistance with a force of his best Sikhs. The opposing armies met at Nadaun on the left bank of the River Beas, 32 km southeast of Kangra and 12 km from the town of Javalamukhi with its Durga temple with the eternal flame. The very Mandir to which Guru Angad had once guided his band of devotees yearly.
A list of those present

Bhim Chand, Raj Singh, Ram Singh, Sukhdev Gaji of Jasrot, Prithi Chand of Dadhwar, where as in opposition there were Kirpal Chand of Kanra, Dyal Chand of Bijharwal, Rajputs of Nangal and panglua, soldiers of Jaswar and Guler and Alif Khan. Guru Sahi bfought with Katochs.

Guru Gobind Singh described in his autobiographical poem, Bachitra Natak the action that took place. As the enemy, he says, advanced with Dyal and Kirpal in the vanguard, a fierce battle commenced. It however did not take long to decide the issue. From Guru Gobind Singh's poem.

"The Almighty God hastened the end of the fight and the opposing host was pushed back into the river… Alif Khan fled in utter disarray leaving his camp to take care of itself…"

Alif Khan fled his camp, leaving his belongings, along with all his warriors. Bhim Chand won the battle.

Guru Gobind Singh Ji stayed in Himanchal, remaining on the bank of the river for eight more days while he visited the palaces of all the chiefs. Guru Ji took leave and came home, the local rulers met at his camp to settle the terms of peace. Both sides made and agreement, therefore the story ends. Guru ji then returned to Anandpur.

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The etymology of the term 'gurdwara' is from the words 'Gur (ਗੁਰ)' (a reference to the Sikh Gurus) and 'Dwara (ਦੁਆਰਾ)' (gateway in Gurmukhi), together meaning 'the gateway through which the Guru could be reached'. Thereafter, all Sikh places of worship came to be known as gurdwaras.
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