At that time there were only 800 Sikhs in the Guru’s army at Anandpur. Raja Ajmer Chand summoned his allies, Rajas of Handur, Chamba and Fatehpur with the object of chastising the Guru. They all expressed themselves in favor of immediate measures and attacked the Guru’s forces at Anandpur. In the previous battles of Anandpur the Sikhs had mostly remained behind their battlements but they met the enemy this time in the open field outside Anandpur. The Sikhs fought with their usual courage and determination. The hill chiefs could not achieve any success and retired from the battle in despair. This battle was fought in 1703.
Owing to the repeated representations of the hill chiefs, the Emperor sent a large army under the command of General Saiyad Khan to subdue the Guru. Saiyad Khan was a brother-in-law of Pir Budhu Shah ofSadhaura who ought on the side of the Guru at the battle of Bhangani. On his way to Anandpur Saiyad
Khan met Pir Budhu Shah and heard all favorable accounts of the Guru and, thus, had a wish to behold him. It was the end of March, 1704 and was a crop-cutting time of the year, so the majority of the Guru’s Sikhs had dispersed to their homes. There were only five hundred strong troops left at Anandpur at that time. The Guru had to make best defence with the present force. Maimun Khan, a faithful Mohammadan who had attached himself to the Guru, asked his permission to show his bravery. The brave and faithful Saiyad Beg also came forward to render his services. Both Musalmans fought like tigers in the battle, and were followed by the Sikhs.
The Sikhs advanced boldly against the enemy. Saiyad Beg entered into a single combat with Raja Hari Chand. After they had repeatedly missed each other, Saiyad Beg at last struck off the hill chief’s head. Onseeing this Din eg of the imperial army rushed at Saiyad Beg and mortally wounded him. Maimun Khan from horseback charged in every direction and committed great havoc among the imperial troops. The Guru knew what was passing in General Saiyad Khan’s mind, and advanced ostensibly to challenge him. Saiyad Khan on obtaining the wish of his heart to behold the Guru, dismounted and fell at his feet. The Guru conferred on him the true Name. After Saiyad Khan’s defection, Ramzan Khan took command and fought with great bravery against the Sikhs. The Guru shot an arrow which killed Ramzan Khan’s horse. The Sikhs rallied and presented a bold front to the enemy but being too few in number were overpowered by them. When the Guru saw that there was no chance of retrieving his position, he decided to evacuate Anandpur. The Mohammadan army plundered the city. After obtaining this booty they proceeded back to Sirhind. When the imperial army was resting at night, the Sikhs made a sudden attack, which created great confusion in the enemy camp. The Turks who turned to oppose the Sikhs, were killed and only those who fled, escaped the vengeance of the Guru’s pursuing army. The Sikhs also deprived them of all the booty they had captured at Anandpur. After this the Guru returned and took possession of Anandpur.
The Emperor called on his troops to account for their cowardice. They pleaded that the Sikhs had taken an unfair advantage of their position in the battle field. At one point the Emperor asked what sort of person the Guru was and what force he possessed. A Mohammadan soldier gave highly colored accounts of the Guru’s beauty, sanctity and prowess. He described him as a young handsome man, a living saint, the father of his people and in war equal to one hundred twenty-five thousand men. The Emperor was much displeased on hearing this elaborate praise of the Guru and ordered that he should be brought to his presence. In the meantime Raja Ajmer Chand made a strong representation to the Emperor for assistance to bring the Guru to submission. Accordingly the viceroys of Sirhind, Lahore and Kashmir were ordered to proceed against the Guru.
Some faithful Sikhs informed the Guru of war preparations as a result of Raja Ajmer Chand’s representationto the Emperor. The Guru made arrangements accordingly and sent for his followers. The Sikhs of Majha, Malwa and Doaba and other places thronged to Anandpur. They were delighted at the prospect of battle, and congratulated themselves on their good fortune in being allowed to die for their Guru and their faith. The Guru affirmed that the death in the battle-field in the name of religion was equal to the fruits of many years’ devotion, and ensured honor and glory in the next world.
The noteworthy point in this whole episode is that the Guru having won battle after battle, never captured an inch of territory, never nurtured enmity, and never attacked anybody as an aggressor. By the creation of the Khalsa he established equality and brotherhood of mankind. The down-trodden segments of the society which were ever ridiculed by the so called high caste Brahmans and Khatris, had now become undaunted saint-soldiers after being baptized by the Guru and joining the brotherhood of the Khalsa. The Brahmans and the hill chiefs considered all this a threat to their very existence. They were, therefore, waging a constant war against the Guru and his Sikhs.
The hill chiefs who arrayed themselves against the Guru were Raja Ajmer Chand of Kahlur, Rajas of Kangra, Kullu, Kionthal, Mandi, Jammu, Nurpur, Chamba, Guler, Garhwal, Bijharwal, Darauli and Dadhwal. They were joined by the Gujars and the Ranghars of the area, and all of them formed a formidable force. The imperial army of the viceroys’ of Sirhind, Lahore and Kashmir came in large number. The chronicler judiciously remarks that the Khalsa must be congratulated because, though few in number, having the blessings of their Guru they had confidence in themselves to fight for their religion, and delighted in anticipation of the approaching conflict. It is recorded that there were ten thousand Sikhs at Anandpur while the opposing army came as strong as fifteen to twenty times in number than the Sikhs.
|Battle of Anandpur|
The allied forces fell on Anandpur like locust. On seeing this the Guru ordered his artillery men to discharge their cannon into the hostile army at the thickest spot. The enemy made a charge to seize the artillery, but were quickly restrained by the fatal accuracy with which the Sikhs served their guns. They were supported by the infantry. The city of Anandpur was on a little higher elevation and the allied forces were in the open and had no protection, and consequently fell in heaps. A fierce battle was fought for a few days. The Mohammadan gunners were promised large reward if they killed the Guru but they were unsuccessful in their mission because their gun fire was either high or too low and could not hit the target. The allied army finding their guns useless tried hand to hand fight. On seeing this the Guru began to discharge his arrows with marvelous effect. The fearful carnage continued, horses fell on horses, men on men. The allied forces rallied a strong effort to conquer, but was so vigorously and successfully repulsed that they were obliged to uspend hostilities at the end of each day of warfare. The Mohammadans and the hill chiefs had different opinions as to the cause of the success of the Sikhs. Some thought that the Guru had supreme miraculous power and the supernatural forces fought on his side. Others maintained that the Guru’s success was owing to the fact that his men were protected behind their ramparts. While this discussion was going on, the Mohammadan viceroys decided to storm the fortress where the Guru was stationed. On seeing this the Sikhs put their two guns called Baghan (tigress) and Bijai-ghosh (sound of victory) in position. The aims were taken at the enemy. The tents were blown away and great havoc was caused. On seeing this the Mohammadan viceroys retreated and the hill armies fled. That evening the Guru offered thanksgiving, and beat the drum of victory.
Having failed through dire ct assault, the allied army planned a siege of the city of Anandpur in such a waythat all entrances and exits for both goods and persons were completely closed. They completely besieged the city, and the Guru’s supplies were failing. Food position became extremely serious and the Sikhs were driven to undertake some dangerous expeditions. They went out at night to snatch provisions from the besiegers. After some time the allies collected their stores at one place and guarded them day and night. When the enemy learnt about the distressful situation of the Sikhs, they planned a different strategy to induce the Guru to leave Anandpur. Raja Ajmer Chand sent his envoy to him saying that if he left Anandpur, their armies would withdraw and he could afterwards return whenever he pleased. The Guru did not pay any heed to this proposal. The offer was repeated several times, but the Guru did not accept it. Having suffered extreme hardships, the Sikhs besought the Guru to evacuate the fort, but the Guru counselled them patience for some time more. The Sikhs who heard enemy’s proposal, went to the Guru’s mother to use her influence on him. She pleaded with him but in vain. The Guru told her that the enemy’s proposal was hypocritical since they planned to draw out the Sikhs from within the shelter of the city and attack them. Some of the Masands and the Sikhs who were influenced by the hill chiefs, insisted that the proposal of the enemy be accepted and the city be abandoned. Some Sikhs became impatient and
Dish eartened. The Guru asked them to declare their allegiance. Forty of them signed a disclaimer saying that the was not their Guru and they were not his Sikhs. After they signed the disclaimer, they were allowed by the Guru to go away. He then brought out a scheme to expose the hypocrisy of the enemy.
The Guru sent for Raja Ajmer Chand’s envoy and told him that he would evacuate Anandpur if the allied armies would first allow the removal of his treasure and property. The Hindus swore on the Salgram (their idol) and the Mohammadans on the holy Quran, that they would not deceive or molest his servants departing with his property. The Guru then immediately ordered a number of cartloads of useless articles. To the bullocks’ horns were attached torches and at the dead of night, the caravan of bullocks with their loads, started along with some Sikhs accompanying them. When the caravan reached the enemy lines they forgot all their pledges and fell upon the small company of the Sikhs to loot the treasure. Their disappointment was great when they found out that the treasure was made up of rubbish articles. In this way the Guru exposed the treachery of the enemy and told his Sikhs that everything they had endured had been by the Will of God, and he quoted Guru Nanak- “Happiness is a disease, the remedy for which is unhappiness”.
At last came an autographed letter from the Emperor to the Guru- “I have sworn on the Quran not to harm. You. If I do, may I not find a place in God’s court hereafter! Cease warfare and come to me. If you do notdesire to come hither, then go whithersoever you please.” The Emperor’s envoy added that the Emperor promised that he would not harm the Guru. The hill Rajas also swore by the cow and called their idols to witness, that they would allow safe passage to the Guru. The Guru told the enemy,” You are all liars, and therefore all your empire and your glory shall depart. You all took oaths before and then perjured yourselves.”
The Sikhs went again to the Guru’s mother to complain of his refusal to listen to reason. He, however, felt that their pleading was not reasonable but it was not appropriate to accept the terms of the enemy and leave the fort. The Sikhs stricken with hunger, supported the envoy’s representation. The Guru comforted them,” My brethren, waver not, I only desire your welfare. You know not that these people are deceivers and design to do us evil. If you hold a little longer, you shall have food to your heart’s content.” When the Sikhs refused to wait any longer, he asked them to wait only a few days more when the great God would send them relief. The Sikhs, however, refused to wait even for a day. The Guru repeated his request saying that the enemy would then retire and they would all be happy. He also warned the Sikhs,” O dear Khalsa, you are rushing to your destruction, while I am endeavoring to save you.”
The Sikhs were so much hunger stricken that they refused to stay even for a day. The Guru’s mother was also in favor of evacuating the fort. The allied armies sent a Saiyid (a Mohammadan priest) and a Brahman, both of whom were to swear, on behalf of the allied armies, solemn oaths of safe conduct for the Guru should he evacuate Anandpur. On seeing this the Sikhs began to waver in their allegiance to the Guru, and in the end only forty Sikhs decided to remain with him and share his fortunes. He told them that they too might desert him. They refused and said that they would either remain within the fort or force their way out as the Guru directed. He knew that the seed of his religion would flourish. He then finally decided to leave Anandpur and gave orders to his men that they all were to march at night. Anandpur was finally evacuated on 6-7 Poh, Sambat 1762 (20-21 December, 1705).
Bhai Daya Singh and Ude Singh walked in front of the Guru, Mohkam Singh and Sahib Singh on his right, the second batch of baptized Sikhs on his left. His sons Ajit Singh and Jujhar Singh followed with bows and arrows. Then came Bhai Himmat Singh carrying ammunition and matchlocks. Gulab Rai, Sham Singh and other Sikhs and relations accompanied him. The rest of the followers brought up the rear, about five hundred in all. The moment the enemy got the news of Guru’s departure, they again forgot all about their pledges and set out in hot pursuit immediately. Skirmishes started from Kiratpur onwards. Realizing the impending danger the Guru charged Ude Singh with the responsibility to check the advance of the enemy. Bhai Ude Singh fought a bloody battle at Shahi Tibbi. The enemy surrounded and killed the dauntless and the bravest of the Guru’s brave warriors, Ude Singh. When the battle of Shahi Tibbi was in progress, the Guru had reached the bank of Sarsa river. At that time a news came that a contingent of enemy troops was fast approaching. Bhai Jiwan Singh, a Rangretta Sikh, was given a band of one hundred warriors to encounter the pursuers. With the rest of his people the Guru plunged into the flooded waters of the Sarsa river. The flood was so strong that many were drowned and many were scattered in different directions including the Guru’s mother with two younger sons, Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh. Besides, there was a heavy loss of valuable literature and property. The Guru accompanying his two eldest sons and some veteran Sikhs reached the village Ghanaula on the other side of Sarsa river. Apprehending that the route ahead might be beset with danger, the Guru gave Bhai Bachitar Singh a band of one hundred Sikhs and instructed him to march by the direct route to Rupar, whereas he with some veteran Sikhs preferred to take a longer route and reached Kotla Nihang near Rupar to stay with Pathan Nihang Khan who was an old and sincere devotee of the Sikh Gurus. Bhai Bachitar Singh and his men had to fight their way through a cordon of the Ranghars of Malikpur, a village near Rupar, and the Pathans of Rupar. During the fierce fighting that took place on this occasion, majority of the Sikhs fell dead and Bachitar Singh was mortally wounded.
The Guru did not stay long at Kotla Nihang. It seems that he was to proceed to Machhiwara and Rai Kot. Accompanied by his two eldest sons and forty Sikhs, the Guru halted at Bur Majra after Kotla Nihang. A news was received that a large body of Sirhind troops was chasing them. Immediately the Guru decided to face the enemy from within the Garhi of Chamkaur and he hurried towards it. He was well aware of the importance of this Garhi (mud fortress) as he had, on a previous occasion, fought a battle at this place.
|Guru Gobind Singh Ji shooting his deadly arrows at the battle of Chamkaur – where 40 Sikhs faced the mighty army of 100000 Mughal warriors. At the insistance of the Sikhs Guru Ji escaped from this impossible fortification – which in history is compared to a miracle.|
The imperial army which was in hot pursuit, besieged the fortress. They were joined by the hill chiefs and the Ranghars and the Gujars. The Guru appointed eight men to guard each of the four walls. Two Sikhs held the door and other two were appointed sentinels. The Guru himself, his two sons; and Daya Singh and Sant Singh went on the top storey. The Sikhs held the fortress for a long time against the heavy odds. Nahar Khan and Ghairat Khan, the two imperial officers, attempted to scale the little fort, but were shot down by the Guru. After that none of the Mohammadan officers dared to attempt the fatal ascent. Five Sikhs went forth to contend with the enemy. After fighting with great bravery, they were killed. They continued in batches of five. Guru’s eldest son, Ajit Singh (about 18 years old) asked permission to go forth and fight the enemy. The Guru approved the proposal and Ajit Singh went with five Sikh heroes. He performed prodigies of valor and ultimately fell, fighting bravely along with his companions. On seeing his brother’s fate, Jujhar Singh (14 years old) could not restrain himself and asked his father’s permission. Like his elder brother, Jujhar Singh went in the battle field, but after a little while he turned back and asked for water. The Guru shouted,” Go back, there is no more water left for you on this earth. See yonder, Ajit Singh is holding the cup of nectar for you.” Jujhar Singh went back and created havoc upon the enemy and fell fighting valiantly. Upon this the Guru’s face was jubilant. His expression of mental composure showed glow of divinity upon the glorious end of his sons. After the sons had achieved their splendid mission, the Guru then got ready to go out and fight. The remaining few Sikhs fell on their knees before him and entreated him not togo. At that moment their victory lay in saving the Guru. If he lived, they argued, he would create millions like them. They therefore, persuaded the Guru to leave the place but he would not listen to them. At that point Bhai Daya Singh who was the first of the Five Beloved Ones, recalled that at the time of creation of the Khalsa, the Guru had promised that the mandate of the Five Beloved Sikhs would be binding even upon the Guru. Upon this Bhai Daya Singh took four other Sikhs and formed an assembly which passed a ‘Gurmata’ (resolution) and said,” O true king, the Khalsa now orders you to leave this place.” As promised at the time of administering Amrit to the Five Beloved Ones, the wonderful supreme lord Guru Gobind Singh submitted before the Khalsa and accepted their verdict to leave the Garhi (fortress).
Sant Singh and Sangat Singh offered to remain in the fort while Daya Singh, Dharam Singh, and Man Singh were determined to accompany the Guru. It is said that Sant Singh very much resembled the Guru. Therefore he gave his plume to Sant Singh, clothed him in his armor and seated him in the upper room where Guru was stationed. He and three of his companions escaped during the night. He told them that if per chance they were separated from him, they were to go in the direction of a particular star which he showed to them. It was a cold night of December and the allied armies were resting in their tents. The Guru decided to awaken the enemy, lest they should think that he absconded. He discharged two arrows on the Turkish sentries. The arrows first struck torches which they held in their hands and then they passed through their bodies. In the darkness which followed the extinction of the torches, the Guru and his three companions escaped. A little far outside, he clapped his hands and shouted aloud that he was leaving if any one wanted to capture him, should try.
When he was escaping, he bade his men to stand firm. The Sikhs who were left behind, inflicted great loss on the enemy. The Mohammadans at last were able to scale the building and they believed that they were going to capture the Guru. They were greatly disappointed to subsequently learn that the person who was wearing plume and armor, was not the Guru but he was Sant Singh, and that the Guru had escaped. The allied armies retreated to their respectable places. Wazir Khan sent orders in all directions of his areas that any one who offered aid to the Guru, would be severely punished, and the one who captured him or gave his whereabouts would be greatly rewarded.
|Some scenes from the life of Guru Gobind Singh. A tilak being applied – hunting a lion and with his falcon and horses|
After leaving the Garhi, he proceeded barefooted on his journey alone and after passing through Jandsar and Behlolpur, he reached the thorny wilds of Machhiwara, a place between Rupar and Ludhiana. Thirst, hunger and fatigue overtook him. His feet were blistered. When he reached a garden he rested his head on a heap of earth and slept. While he was resting in the garden, his three companions, Daya Singh, Dharam Singh and Man Singh reached and rejoined him. The situation was very grave because the enemy was in hot pursuit of the Guru. Gulaba, an old Masand of Machhiwara, took him and his three companions to his home, but soon he got frightened and feared for his own safety if the Guru stayed with him. At this juncture two Pathan horse merchants, Nabi Khan and Ghani Khan, who were old acquaintances of the Guru, came and chose to risk their lives for the service of the Guru. There lived a Sikh woman in the village who had spun and weaved a cloth for the Guru and had vowed to keep it until his arrival in the village. The Guru had the cloth dyed blue and a robe was made from it in imitation of the attire of Mohammadan pilgrims. He wore the blue robe and then departed from Gulaba’s village. He was carried in a litter by Nabi Khan and Ghani Khan in front, and Dharam Singh and Man Singh in rear, while Daya Singh waved a chauri over him. They told all inquirers that they were escorting Uch da Pir or a high priest. Since Nabi Khan and Ghani Khan were very famous horse merchants in the area, people believed them.
From there they reached Ghangharali village and then Lal. At the village Lal which is about five miles from Doraha in Ludhiana district, a military officer had some doubts and he made searching inquiries. Pir Mohammad of Nurpur who was known to the Guru, was asked to identify the occupant of the litter. He confirmed that he was really Uch da Pir, upon which the officer let the Guru go. From Lal he visited Katana and then Kanoch where masand Fateh put him off with excuses and did not let him stay. From there he reached Alam Gir. Here Nand Lal, a Zamindar presented a horse to the Guru, thereby enabling him to change from litter to horse. The situation became easier and the Guru asked Nabi Khan and Ghani Khan to return home, after giving them a letter of appreciation (Hukam Nama) recommending them for the consideration of the faithful. Pir Mohammad was also honored with such a letter of appreciation. From Alam Gir he advanced on horse back in the direction of Rai Kot. At Silaoni the chief of Rai Kot, Rai Kalla who was Guru’s devotee and a close relative of Nihang Khan of Kotla Nihang, waited upon him and took him to Rai Kot. Here Nura Mahi brought the news from Sirhind about Guru’s younger sons.