Deep in the woods of Punjab, the Sikhs had cleared a part of the land and made a camp, where they could take shelter when the oppression of the Mughal rulers became too much. There were a number of such camps. Only the Sikhs knew their location, and how to reach them.
In one such place, the evening prayers were being recited in the presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. After the completion of the recitation one of the Sikhs whose name was Sham Singh stood up. He was extremely tall and well - built and his face was alight with fervor. Addressing the group, he said, "Khalsa Ji, do any of you know the where-abouts of Balwant Singh
Everyone shook his head. Then one of them said, "We have not seen him since the day he left for his village. Maybe he found it difficult to leave the comforts of his home and family."
But Sham Singh disagreed. "No, he is not the one to be so tempted. I am sure he is in trouble."
Rathorh Singh spoke up, "I think the best way to find out is to send someone to his village."
Hari Singh promptly offered to go. Sham Singh warned him, "Yes, go, but be careful and disguise yourself as a Mughal. Also try and find out what is the condition of the Sikhs in other places, and come back as quickly as possible."
Han Singh immediately bowed before Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Then putting on the dress of a Mughal, he took his horse and left the clearing.
Darkness was falling, but Hari Singh did not let that worry soon the open, he got on to his horse and a, village, there was a broken-down hovel in which a Muslim shopkeeper lived. When Hari Singh in the Mughal disguise came near, they greeted him respectfully, gave him a cot to sit on, and brought some hay and water for the horse.
They offered Hari Singh some food. But he refused, and tying his horse to the cot, he went to sleep.
Hari Singh had been asleep only for a couple of hours, when he was woken up by a loud commotion.
A Mughal prince had arrived with a large number of servants and horses. It took them quite some time to settle down, but finally everything was peaceful again.
Near Hari Singh’s cot, a couple of the Amir’s guards made their beds, and lying on them, they began to talk.
First Guard: "Who is this ‘Balvant’ ?"
Second Guard: "He is that unbeliever, who became well - known among the Sikhs, as a brave warrior, who carried out daring raids during Nadir Shah’s reign. Also in the previous battle, this same man had killed Rustam Khan."
First Guard: "Well, it is our good fortune that such a fighter has been captured."
Second Guard: "And if you see his sister, you will lose your senses completely. I don’t know why the Hindu women are so beautiful"
First Guard: "Will she also be converted to Islam ?"
Second Guard: "Of course, because Nawab Sahib wants to marry her.
The ‘Nikah’ will be done with a lot of pomp and show. We too will get gifts."
First Guard: "But have the brother and sister agreed to accept Islam ?"
Second Guard: "Do these Sikhs ever give up their religion happily ? They have to be forcibly fed on the sweet. meats, as they have come to love the sour taste of the sword.!"
First Guard: "You are right. They are extremely stubborn, like solid rocks. God knows where they came from? Tell me, how much further do we have to travel?"
Second Guard: "Not very far. Today is Monday; by Friday, we must be there. Your master, the Mullaji has been invited to attend. Along with him you too will get a big amount of cash. But more than that it is a holy act to see these Sikhs being brought into our religion."
First Guard: "I wonder why they have taken so long to carry this out. After all, Balwant Singh and his sister were captured over a month ago.
Second Guard: "Oh, that was because both were injured during the fighting and have just recovered from their wounds."
After some more talk, both the guards fell asleep. Hari Singh got up, and after softly undoing the reins of his horse, quietly slipped away like a shadow.
In spite of dark clouds and the pitch black night, when it was difficult to see the hands in front of one's face, Hari Singh rode on and reached his camp just as the sun was rising.
Continued to Part IV