Bhai Bidhi Chand
Bhai Bidhi Chand
Bhai Bidhi Chand was born to Bhai Wasan, who lived at village Sur Singh. His mother belonged to Sarhali, a famous village in Amritsar District. During his early days, Bhai Bidhi Chand got into the wrong company and became a dacoit. Bhai Adli, a Sikh since the days of Guru Ram Das, met him. Influenced by his good behavior, Bhai Bidhi Chand accompanied him to visit Amritsar. When he went before Guru Arjan Dev, he confessed openly that he was a dacoit by profession. The Guru advised him to earn his living honestly. His mind was changed then and there.
After the murder of Guru Arjan Dev, his son Guru Har Gobind put on two swords, representing miri and piri. This was a signal to the government that Sikhs would protect their human rights of worship if need be with the sword. Guru Har Gobind invited young men to come to Amritsar and learn the arts of self-defense and the use of arms. Bhai Bidhi Chand decided to volunteer his services to the Guru to teach the arts of war to the disciples.
Guru Har Gobind was arrested by the emperor of Delhi and imprisoned in the fort of Gwalior. Bhai Bidhi Chand went from village to village, informing people of the sacrifices made by the Gurus for the human rights of the weak. He, along with his dhadi jatha, would sing vars which brought chardi kala to the minds of the people. Later, when the Guru was released from the fort, Bhai Bidhi Chand became his bodyguard. He was appointed as the leader of one of the five divisions of the volunteer forces of the Guru.
Bhai Bidhi Chand went to Lahore and met Meharban, the son of Prithi Chand, the elder brother of Guru Arjan Dev. He had started undesirable activities to undermine the image of the Guru and spread anti-Sikh rumors. When Bhai Sahib told him to give up his evil activities, Meharban was impressed by his advice. Afterwards, he did not dare to do anything against the Guru openly.
The rising image and strength of the Sikhs under the leadership of Guru Har Gobind was not to the liking of the governor of Lahore. He found an excuse to attack the Guru in May of 1629 with an army of 7,000 soldiers. Bhai Bidhi Chand played a significant role in fighting the army and defeating the government forces. He hit one of the commanders with his arrow and killed him. Mukhlis Khan, the other commander, was killed by the Guru himself.
A second battle was forced on the Guru when he was visiting Sri Hargobindpur. Bhai Sahib attacked one of the commanders with such force that he was routed and chased back to Lahore. This battle also ended in a victory for the Guru.
There is another famous incident related to the life of Bhai Bidhi Chand. Two highly valued thoroughbred horses of great quality were bought by the sangat of Kabul for the Guru. However, on the way to Amritsar, they were forcibly taken by the men of the governor when they were passing through Lahore. Bhai Bidhi Chand brought them back by a unique technique.
He dressed himself as a grass keeper and took a bundle of grass to the gate of the fort where the horses were kept under guard. He sold the grass to the caretaker at a very low price to make him his customer. In a couple of days they became friends and Bhai Bidhi Chand was given the job of bringing grass and feeding the horses. Bhai Bidhi Chand did this duty very devotedly and impressed all of the employees and the guards in the fort. Bhai Bidhi Chand made a plan to jump with a horse into the Ravi River which ran alongside the fort. At night, once in a while, he would throw a large boulder over the wall of the fort into the river. When the guards wanted to know the cause of the sound, he would say that there was a big animal in the river.
One day when he received his pay, he offered a big feast to the guards in the fort. When the guards were sound asleep at night, Bhai Bidhi Chand untied a horse, got on his back and jumped with it into the river. The guards came to know about it only when they got up in the morning. By that time, Bhai Bidhi Chand had already taken the horse to the Guru.
For bringing the second horse, Bhai Bidhi Chand went to Lahore again. He stayed with Bhai Bohru who told him that Sondhay Khan, the custodian of the horses was very worried about the loss of the horses. He was consulting astrologers to help him find the missing horse. Bhai Bidhi Chand dressed himself as an astrologer and got hold of other necessary gadgets used by astrologers. He went to the fort and sat in front of the gate.
He hinted to the caretaker of the horses to come to him because he could tell him who had taken the horses. Bhai Bidhi Chand immediately told the caretaker that the man who brought grass for the horses was the thief. This convinced the caretaker of the powers of the astrologer and he took him to Mr. Khan.
When he met Khan, Bhai Bidhi Chand explained to him the way in which the horse was stolen. Khan knew that everything Bhai Sahib was saying was correct. When he wanted to know the location of the stolen horse, Bhai Sahib said that he could tell that only at midnight by putting himself in the position from where the thief stole the horse. Khan came at midnight with his guards to find out about the horse. Bhai Sahib said that all of the guards should be inside doors and be sleeping on their beds as they were during the time of the theft. He told Mr. Khan that the thief had locked all of the guards and that he would do the same.
Addressing Mr. Khan, Bhai Sahib spoke, “Now I will tell you how and where the thief took the horse.” He untied the horse, got on his back and said, “The thief got on the horse like this, jumped into the river and took the horse to Guru Har Gobind. I will also take this horse to the Guru to whom they belong.” Before Khan could inform the guards, Bhai Sahib along with the horse had crossed the river. He then rode straight to the Guru.
Bhai Bidhi Chand was given another assignment to preach Gurmat to the people in Ayodhya. Sunder Shah, a Sikh and resident of that town, had requested Guru Har Gobind to send a preacher to that city. Guru Ji deputed Bhai Sahib for this important assignment.
Bidhi Chand was not only a brave and tactful soldier, but also a great devoted Sikh. While moving about and working, he always recited Gurbani. He prayed before undertaking any assignment. When he reached Ayodhya, he found that there were no Gurbani books for the people to read. When he was free from discussions, he started making copies of Gurbani hymns for the devotee Sikhs. Bhai Sahib did a lot of sewa there. He died in 1695.