Sakhi: Pir Budhu Shah
Pir Budhu Shah was a Muslim saint who lived at Sadhaura, about ten or fifteen miles from Paunta Sahib. He was well known for his piety and had a large number of followers. He had heard of Guru Nanak and his mission. He had also learned that Guru Nanak’s throne was then occupied by Guru Gobind Singh who was staying in the neighborhood (Paunta Sahib). Ultimately he decided to visit him. The Guru seated the Pir near him who beseeched,” Pray! tell us how one meets God Almighty.” During the discussion the Pir humbly submitted to the Master. There was a glow in the eyes of the Guru which radiated Divine Light and the Pir exclaimed with sudden joy,” Allah-hu- Akbar!” – Great is God Almighty. After a while the Pir confessed,” Master, I was spiritually blind and you have shown me the Light.” Blessed are the souls on whom the Guru bestows the divine grace.
Latter, on the recommendation of Pir Budhu Shah, 500 Pathans were enlisted in the Guru’s army under the command of five chieftains- Kale Khan, Bhikan Khan, Nijabat Khan, Hyat Khan, and Umar Khan. But in October 1686 when the hill chieftains collected a force of 30,000 men, under the leadership of Raja Bhim Chand and Fateh Shah and rode towards Paonta Sahib (to attack the Guru), the Pathans became apprehensive of the scanty resources at the disposal of the Guru and they all except Kale Khan with one hundred men, deserted the Guru at the eleventh hour, and joined the hill Rajas. The Udasi Sadhus except their chief Mahant Kirpal (Kirpa Das), also took to their heels. The Guru informed Budhu Shah of the misconduct of the Pathan soldiers. Pir Budhu Shah looked upon their behavior as a personal disgrace. In order to compensate this loss, Budhu Shah accordingly placed himself, his brother, his four sons and seven hundred disciples at the Guru’s disposal.
The Guru stationed his troops at an eminent place near Bhangani village about six miles from Paunta Sahib. The five sons of Bibi Viro- Sango Shah, Jit Mal, Gopal Chand, Ganga Ram and Mohri Chand organized the attack for the Guru’s forces. They were ably backed by other Sikhs including Mahant Kirpa Das. While repeating his orders the Guru buckled on his sword, slung his quiver over his shoulders, took his bow in his hand, mounted his steed, and shouting ‘Sat Sri Akal’ in his loudest voice, proceeded to confront his enemies. As mentioned Guru’s forces were also joined by Pir Budhu Shah’s troops and one hundred Pathans under the command of Kale Khan.
The enemy forces were led by Raja Fateh Shah who was joined by Raja Hari Chand of Hadur, Raja Gopal of Guler, Raja of Chandel, Rajas of Dadhwal and Jaswal, and four hundred Pathans who had deserted the Guru’s side. A severe and bloody battle was raged. Many brave soldiers were killed on both sides. Although the opposite army far outnumbered the Guru’s men, but they did not have the same spirit of sacrifice, nor did they have the same devotion to their leaders, as the Sikhs had.
“Khasam dushmani gar hazarawrad, Na yak mu-e o bazar awrad.”
“The enemy may practise enmity in a thousand ways, but he will not succeed in hurting even the hair of the head of him whom God protector.”
– Zafarnama (the Epistle of Victory).
Pir Buddhu Shah fought bravely as did his sons and followers in this bloody of battles at Bhangânî. Besides several hundred Sikhs, the two sons of Pir Buddhu Shah and a large number of his followers also died in the fighting.
After the battle Gurû Gobind Singh offered rich presents to the Pîr which the latter politely declined to accept. However he, as the tradition goes, the Guru was combing his hair. Budhu Shah begged of him to give him the comb with his loose hair as a sacred souvenir. The Guru gave him the turban, the comb with hair and a small sword. The greatest gift of all, the Guru blessed him with Nam.
The Râjpût chiefs defeated at Bhangânî remained hostile towards Guru Gobind Singh, and wished to evict him from Anandpur to where Guruji had returned. To solicit help from the imperial government, they sent to the emperor reports describing the Gurû as a dangerous rebel. Complaints also reached the authority against Pîr Buddhû Shâh who had rendered assistance to the Gurû. The faujdâr of Sirhind, under whose jurisdiction the parganah of Sadhaurâ then fell, directed a local official, ‘Usmân Khân, to reprimand the Pîr. The latter marched on Sadhaurâ, arrested Buddhû Shâh and had him executed.
Bandâ Singh Bahâdur avenged the Pîr’s execution in 1709 by storming Sadhaurâ and punishing ‘Usmân Khân. The ancestral house of Pir Budhu Shah in Sâdhaurâ has since been converted into a Gurdwârâ named after Pîr Buddhû Shâh.