Saturday, December 03, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

 

17th April

 

#### Prakash Utsav, Ninth Patshah, Guru Tegh Bahadhur Ji.

==> GURU TEGH BAHADUR (1621-1675): RAG SORATH

That man who in the midst of grief is free from grieving,
And free from fear, and free from the snare of delight,
Nor is covetous of gold that he knows to be dust,
Who is neither a backbiter nor a flatterer,
Nor has greed in his heart, nor vdnity, nor any worldly attachment,
Who remains at his centre unmoved by good and ill fortune,
Who indifferent to the world's praise and blame
And discards every wishful fantasy
Accepting his lot in the disinterested fashion,
Not worked upon by lust or by wrath,
In such a man God dwelleth.
The man on vjhom the Grace of the Guru alights
Understands the way of conduct:
His soul, 0 Nanak, is mingled with the Lord
As water mingles with water!

In the galaxy of immortal martyrs who laid down their precious lives to keep ablaze the flame of faith and freedom, the name of the Ninth Master, Guru Tegh Bahadur stands out radiantly prominent. Doubtless, there have been prophets who sacrificed themselves at the altar of their own religion, but the uniqueness of the Ninth Master's martyrdom lies in the fact that he courted death in defending the religion of the persecuted Hindus who had sought his shelter when they were forced to choose between death and Islam. Guru Tegh Bahadur, the second martyr Guru, who was born at Amritsar in 1621, was the youngest son of Guru Hargobind Sahib, the Sixth Master (1595-1645). Guru Har Rai, the Seventh Master (1630-61), and Guru Hari Krishna, the Eight Master (1656-1964): however, preceded him as Gurus. He adorned the sacred throne of Guru Nanak from 1664 to 1675. His installation as Guru enraged Dhirmal and the masands, who were the most contentious claimants to the Guruship.

Guru Tegh Bahadur toured the Punjab, particularly the Malwa region, and Eastern India, to preach Sikhism. He also went to Assam with Raja Ram Singh and stayed with him for nearly two years. The Guru's family accompanied him on this trip, but, while proceeding to Assam, he left his familly at Patna. It was here that his only son Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708) was born. While leaving Assam for the Punjab, Guru Tegh Bahadur broke his journey at Patna for a short time and then returned to the Punjab. He purchased land from the Raja of Kahloor at Makhowal (Anandpur) and settled down there. From here he set out on extensive missionary tours and attracted amongst others, several Muslims to his faith.

The main theme of Guru Tegh Bahadur's sacred hymns is Nam Simran (concentration on the Divine Name) and Guru Bhakti (adoration of the Guru). One hundred and fifteen hymns of Guru Tegh Bahadur are incorporated in the Adi Granth.

He has clearly set forth his own definition of Giani (or the enlightened one). In these compositions he has laid special stress on vairag or detachment for the realisation of the lofty ideals that distinguish the life of a BrahmGiani.

During Guru Tegh Bahadur's ministry, Emperor Aurangzeb intensified his fanatical plans for forcibly converting the Hindus to Islam. This move had serious repercussions in Kashmir, and, the learned Pandits of Kashmir came to Guru Tegh Bahadur to seek refuge. The Guru advised them to go and tell Aurangzeb that if he could persuade Guru Tegh Bahadur to embrace Islam, they would all willingly become Muslims. This proposal appealed to Aurangzeb, who had already hatched plans to bring to an end Guru Tegh Bahadur's missionary activities, so, he at once issued orders for his arrest.

The Guru, along with some of his companions was finally brought to Delhi and asked to convert to Islam or else face the penalty of death. The Master averred that he would sacrifice his life rather than give up his faith and his freedom of belief. Thus, under Aurangzeb's orders, he was beheaded at the place now called Sis Ganj in Delhi. His martyrdom was yet another challenge to the Sikh conscience. It was realized then that there could be no understanding between an insensate power imbrued with blood and a proud people wedded to a life of peace with honour. The sacrifice roused the devitalized Hindus from their supine somnolence and gave them a hint of the power that comes from self-respect and sacrifice. Guru Tegh Bahadur thus earned the enduring sobriquet title of Hind-di-Chadar or the Shield of India.

-Ref. "Guru Granth Ratnavali," (pp. 70) by Dr. D.S. Mani, Sardar Bakhshish Singh, and Dr. Gurdit Singh.

1766 Conquest of PaharGanj, Delhi by Khalsa Forces.

Khalsa forces conquered PaharGanj after invading Delhi.

Delhi Under Sikh Raj
Sardar Baghel Singh Karor Singhia.

In 1727 Nawab Kapur Singh took charge of the political affairs of the Sikhs. At that time the Sikh Nation was in disarray. The Mughal Governor, Zakria Khan's policy to annihilate the Sikhs had forced them to disperse towards the hills and jungles.

But it did not take long and the Sikhs once again started to reappear and consolidate their forces. The credit to reorganize the Sikh Polity, and institutionalize it into specific units, goes to Nawab Kapur Singh. He realized that the support group was equally necessary to keep the supply-line open for the forces in combat. Consequently, he divided the Khalsa society into two groups. The name of Taruna Dal was designated to the armed forces and the combat troops. Mostly the people under the age of forty were taken in it.

The second, service group, was called Budha Dal. People over the age of fifty were accommodated there. Apart from providing facilities to the fighting forces, the Budha Dal's duties included the protection of the Sikh Religious places, provision of comfort to the sick and needy, and to take care of the women, children and old.

With overwhelming acceptance, people flocked to join both the ranks. Nawab Kapoor Singh divided them into five commands and with the passage of time they took the shape of twelve Missals. Initially, Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia was the overall commander of these Missals. Each Missal was assigned various task.

Sardar Karor Singh was the commander of the Missal known as Karor Singhia, after his name. Sardar Baghel Singh, a resident of Gurdaspur District took over the command of this Missal at the death of Sardar Karor Singh.

The people of Saharanpur were maltreated by Najib-u-Daula, the Feudal Lord. Sardar Baghel Singh gave him a crushing defeat in the first encounter of his command of the Missal. One after the other he indulged in seventeen such confrontations with the scrupulous rulers.

The Mohammedan Chief of Jalalabad had forcibly abducted the daughter of a Brahmin and taken her into his Harem. The Singhs under the command of Baghel Singh crossed Jamuna, killed the Chief, Mir Hassan Khan, and got the girl liberated. The girl was duly returned to the parents, but her parents and the Hindu community refused to accept her back on the pretext that she had been defiled by living under Islamic environments. The Singhs, then, assigned her the title of `Daughter of the Khalsa' and admonished the Brahmins: all the property of any class conscience person, who treated the girl with disrespect, would be confiscated and handed over to the girl herself.

Sardar Baghel Singh's army invaded Delhi first time on January 18, 1774 and captured the area up to Shahdra. In the second invasion which took place on July 1775, they captured the area of Pahar Ganj and Jai Singh Pura. This battle was fought at the place where present New Delhi is situated. A mosque built at the place, where Gurdwara Bungla Sahib is situated, was demolished. But the Khalsa Army faced acute shortage of supplies for life subsistence, and voluntarily withdrew. The Singhs continued their intrusions from time to time, which made Mughal King, Bahadur Shah, to concede to give the Singhs one eighth of the revenue collected from the area in between Rivers Ganga and Jamuna.

In 1783 the Maharatas abandoned Delhi. The Mughal Rulers foresaw the danger emanating from the progressing English power. To deter the English and to make them to go back, the Mughal King, Shah Alam, wished the Sinhgs to come back. Taking advantage of the situation, thirty thousand of Sikhs came and encamped at the place of Kashmiri Gate. They planned two pronged attack. One section invaded the Ajmeri Gate and the other one breached the wall of the Red Fort and entered the place, which is now known as the Mori Gate. After a fierce battle the Singhs captured Red Fort, hoisted the Kesri Flag, and put Panj Pyare, including Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, on the throne of the Delhi.

Shah Alam, through the aegis of his Ministers, Court Official Munshi Ram Dyal and Begham (Queen) Samoor offered reconciliation with the Singhs and accepted their four conditions:

  1. No Mughal Official would indulge in atrocities on the populace.
  2. The Mughal King would pay three hundred thousand rupees as a gift.
  3. The Kotwali Area would remain the property of the Khalsa Army.
  4. . Sardar Baghel Singh would trace historically significant Sikh places in Delhi, and would establish Sikh Temples there. Till this work was completed he would stay in Delhi with a constabulary of 4,000 horses. The Delhi Ruler would bear all their expenses.

Consequently, rest of the Khalsa Army returned.

Sardar Baghel Singh set up an octroi-post near Sabzi Mandi to collect the tax on the goods imported into the city to finance the search and the construction of the Sikh Temples. He did not want to use the cash received from the Government Treasury for this purpose, and most of that was handed out to the needy and poor. He often distributed sweetmeats, bought out of this Government gift, to the congregationalists at the place which, now, is know as the Pul Mithai.

With help of Hindu, Muslim and Sikh old residents of Delhi, Sardar Baghel Singh found and established seven historical places as the Sikh Temples:

  1. Gurdwara Mata Sundri Ji at the place which was know as the Haveli Sardar Jawahar Singh.
  2. Gurdwara Bangla Sahib. A Mansion belonging to Raja Jai Singh existed there once. Guru Harkrishan Dev, the Eighth Guru had stayed there.
  3. Gurdwara Bala Sahib. Last rights of Guru Harkrishan, Mata Sundri and Mata Sahib Kaur were performed at this place.
  4. Gurdwara Rakab Ganj. The torso of Guru Tegh Bahadur was cremated here.
  5. Gurdwara Sees Ganj. Guru Tegh Bahadur was martyred at this place.
  6. Gurdwara Moti Bagh. Guru Gobind Singh sent a message to the Mughal King, Bahadur Shah, by throwing an arrow from this place.
  7. Gurdwara Majnu Tilla. It was established in the memory of a Sikh of Guru Nanak, named Majnu. Guru Hargobind stayed at this place on his way to Gwaliar.

On the completion of all the Gurdwaras, Baghel Singh appointed the Bhais (attendant priests) to look after the places and decided to return to Punjab, as well. He was persuaded by Munshi Ram Dyal not to abandoned Delhi once the Mughals had coneded to his authority and supermacy. But Baghel Singh replied, "We have been endowed with Kingdom and Destiny by our Guru. Whenever we wished, we could capture Delhi. It won't be difficult for the Khalsa."

Sardar Baghel Singh once again decided to invaded Delhi in 1785. Shah Alam, scared of Singh, signed a treaty with the Maharatas. The Maharatas initialed an agreement with the Singhs and consented to pay one million rupees as Gift.

The last days of the life of Baghel Singh are not very conspicuous. Some accounts mark 1800 and 1802 as the years of his demise. But, according to Lepel Griffith, Baghel Singh, along with Bhag Singh of Jind and their contigents, joined the British Army and died either at the end of 1805 or early 1806.

==> BAGHAEL SINGH was a resident of Chubhal, Amritsar. This Sant Sepahi belonged to the Karohdhi Misl. In sunmat 1847, working with the Khalsa forces, he attacked and captured Delhi. He received three lakh rupees from the Shah Aalam which he used to build the Delhi Gurudwaras and acquire their surrounding lands. He returned to Punjab after successful completion of all the historical Gurudwara constructions. Baghael Singh led an exemplary life devoted extensively to amrit prachar. Many well known Sikh personalities including Patiala's Raja Sahib Singh Ji, received amrit under Baghael Singh's guidance. He passed away on sunmat 1859 in Amritsar.
-Ref. Mahan Kosh

1841 Mehan Singh, Governor of Kashmir, murdered by mutineous troops asking for the arrears of their salaries. Gulab Singh was sent to crush mutineous troops who used very repressive measures. Shaikh Ghulam Muhiud-din made Governor of Kashmir.
1923 Subedar Ganda Singh of Ghurial is murdered.

 

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