Kartar Singh And The Pathaan
In the second world war, the Sikhs fought in the British army and many Sikhs gave their lives fighting for Britain. Many Sikhs fought in Europe too and the Sikhs were recognized for their outstanding performance in the war. After the war was over, the Sikh regiments were brought back to India by road. As thus, they had to pass through Afghanistan and present day Pakistan, to arrive in India.
When the Sikh regiment reached Jamraud, the Sikhs requested the officer in charge to stay at Jamraud as they wanted to visit the Gurudwara that stands there in the sweet memory of the greatest general, Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa. The officers agreed and the Sikhs stayed there for some days.
As the military had stationed in Jamraud, the Sikhs took liberty to visit adjoining places. The residents of Jamraud did not know too much about the Sikhs and showed curiosity to know about them. One such person was the wife of a Pathan general called Abdul Qiyoom Khan. She had not seen the Sikhs before and when she saw singhs with parkaash beards and well-built bodies, she asked her husband who they were.
Abdul Qiyoom Khan praised the Sikhs and their bravery just as a big-hearted warrior would praise another warrior. He told her about the background of the Sikhs and how they were known for their courage and strength.
The pathaans too are known for their bravery and if we read the history we find out that the residents of this area that was known as Gandhaar Desh (mother of Duryodhan, Gandhari was from this area) at the time of Mahabharat. These people ruled India for many years and they were stopped by only one person and that person was Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa. For this reason, the old people of that area had respect and considerable fear for the Sikhs.
Anyway, after hearing the stories of bravery of Sikhs, from her husband, she jokingly told her husband that the reason she married him was because of his bravery. The pathaan, when he heard this, got hurt and with hurt ego, immediately shot back at his wife saying that he did realize that these Sikhs were brave but they were not more brave than him. He said that he would prove this to his wife.
Saying this, the pathaan immediately arrived at the place where the Sikh regiment was stationed. He went to the officer in-charge and challenged the Sikhs for a one-on-one fight. Abdul Qiyoom Khan was a very accomplished warrior of his area and was the sardaar of the tribal army in his area. He was close to 6’5″ tall and had a huge body.
When the Sikhs heard his challenge, they started thinking how to respond, since this happened so fast. When he challenged again, a Singh by the name of Kartar Singh accepted his challenge. Kartar Singh was not very tall in height but he had a well-built body. It was decided that the fight would take place the following day at so and so time.
The next day, the pathaan arrived a little early along with his supporters. When the time of the match came, Kartar Singh did not arrive on time. The pathaans thought that he had ran away, scared of fighting Abdul Qiyoom Khan. This incident was recorded by the the Englishman who acted as a referee in the competition. His name was M. Crafts.
Anyway, a Sikh soldier was dispatched to get Bhai Kartar Singh. When the soldier arrived at this tent, he found him standing in ardaas. Unaware of his surroundings, Kartar Singh urged Guru Gobind Singh Ji for strength and said that he did not have any strength of his own and that he was relying fully on Guru Sahib alone. Doing ardaas along these lines, Bhai Kartar Singh arrived at the place of competition.
Most independent observers had thought that this match would not last more than 10 minutes and will result in the death and defeat of Kartar Singh. Both warriors were allowed to use any weapon they wanted and they both used swords to fight. They both were very skilled in fighting. They both did attacks on each other and very diligently saved the attacks of their opponent. The singh was fighting so well, that the pathaan who had thought of crushing him in minutes was taken aback by the fierce resistance posed by Kartar Singh.
After half an hour, when no one emerged as a clear winner, the competition was briefly stopped for about 10 minutes. The pathaan came to his side of the ring and drank grapes juice. The singh on the other hand only drank water and closed his eyes to thank Guru Kalgidhar Sache Patshah, who let gave him the strength to face a strong opponent as the pathaan.
When they came back after the second round, the pathaan got a little impatient and challenged Kartar Singh to save his attack. When a person loses his cool in a battle or competition, he or she is bound to lose a little bit of focus and concentration. This is what happened to the pathaan. He did a great attack on Kartar Singh who in turn very diligently stopped it and did a counter attack, which resulted in the pathaan getting seriously injured, thus ending the competition in Kartar Singh’s favour.
After the competition Kartar Singh quietly left the place and while the Sikhs were celebrating he went to his tent to perform an ardaas of thanking Guru Sahib for his victory. The words on his lips were:
BHAYEE JEET MERI, KIRPA KAAL TERI||
(O Waheguru, I attained victory because of your grace.)