When Sham Singh gave the gold coins to the Muslim woman, he heard someone muttering, "I knew these Sikhs have no common sense. Look, he has given money to one of our enemies!" Sham Singh turned to the Brahmin who had spoken these words, and said, "Pandit ji, we are not a biased people, nor do we have any enmity with anyone. Our Guruji have taught us All Gods creation is one whether Hindu or Muslim – all are the same in our eyes. Our fight is against the injustice and tyranny being meted out by the rulers. If we can put a check on them, we can ease the suffering of the people."
Thus silencing his critic, Sham Singh turned to the group of people, most of whom were Brahmins and Khatris.
"This young woman is brave and morally strong. The wicked Nawab tried to convert her to Islam by force. I request you to forgive her, even though no wrong has been done by her, and accept her back in your community." Sham Singh appealed forcefully.
But the Brahmins were adamant. "This can never be. The Hindu ‘dharma’ is like a thin thread, easily broken. You do realize that once a fruit has been taken from the tree, it cannot be re-attached."
Hearing these harsh words, Sundri, in turn, appealed to the people, "Don’t turn away this poor woman. She is already very unhappy and needs your forgiveness and acceptance. It is a sin to turn away such a person."
But the Hindus refused to listen. Their belief that a Hindu is Hindu by birth only, and no-one can convert to the religion by any ritual or sacrifice, was firmly entrenched in their minds. For them, once the thread of Hindu religion was broken, willingly or by force, it was an irrevocable act, and pity, sympathy, love or forgiveness had no say in the matter.
Seeing the community’s reaction the Khatri appealed to the Sikhs to allow him and his wife to go with them. They felt that once the Sikhs left the village, their lives would be unbearable due to the non-sympathetic attitude of their own people and they would also face the anger of the Mughals.
After a short discussion, the Sikhs agreed. But before leaving, Sham Singh addressed the villagers again, "This Nawab has been ill-treating the people. He has taken more than was due, as taxes from the farmers. He has looted the wealth of the traders and turned them into paupers. He has caused the death of innocents and ill-treated the helpless ones. Like a cactus plant he has hurt everyone with his thorns. Instead of being a benign ruler, he has used his powers to cause untold sufferings. Do you all agree with me that he must be punished?"
The crowd roared its agreement and within minutes two of them came with a rope and proceeded to hang the Nawab from the nearest tree.