Saturday, 29 December 2007

Sri Gur Panth Parkash - Rattan Singh Bhangoo


I have recently purchased a copy of Sri Gur Panth Parkash by Rattan Singh Bhangoo and translated by Kulwant Singh. It is only a volume 1 which has been translated, i assume the rest is still in the process. I was lead to believe by several reviews that this was indeed a master piece, as it had been written by the grandson of the Sikh hero - Mehtab Singh (who along with Sukha Singh killed Massa Rangarh for his act of desecrating Shri Harmandir Sahib).

I've not read the book fully yet, but i have become slightly weary of the information contained in this book, as it does not correlate with any other sources that i have read before on Sikh history (i know this doesn't mean that it is automatically incorrect).

Below i'm going to try and highlight some of the concerns i have with this book:

  • Episode 1 Pages 43 -47

  • This episode details Guru Nanak Dev Ji's visit to Mecca and Medina. Now as far as i'm aware from all the accounts i've read previously, and from what is taught in Gurudwara's, Guru Nanak Dev Ji was laying with feet towards Mecca, and we all know the rest of this Sakhi. This book however has a different take on this account.

"After that Baba Nanak laid down at the back of Kaaba, where the entrance from the backside was locked and closed. It was locked and kept closed deliberatley so that, whenever a great prophet approached, it would open automatically. There happened such a miracle with the grace of Baba Nanak, that the gate opened automatically without a key. When this miracle came to the notice of the Shrine In-charge, he understood that a great prophet had arrived."

The book then goes onto explain how the people in charge went out looking for the person who was responsible for this miracle...

"When they carried out a search, they spotted out Baba Nanak. He was dressed in the manner of a hindu. Since he was lying with his fet outstretched (towards the Kaaba), they
dragged his body to change the direction of his feet. Instantly, the shrine door facing Baba
Nanaks feet opened,when they dragged him out, the remaining gates closed. This
incited and infuriated them further, and they pulled Baba Nanak out of the shrine's
premises. There upon, all the gates of the shrine got shut, despite all the force they applied to open the gates. Incidentally, there were some people from the Punjab among the Haj pilgrims, who, recognising Guru Nanak, revealed his true identity. They declared he was Guru Nanak a Saint, who was a prophet of both the Hindus and the Muslims. Who showered his benevolence equally on both the Muslims and Hindus. Who considered both as equal patners"

The book then explains how the people in charge felt that they lost all their prestige and status as all the gates had been locked. They decided to talk to the prophet and ask him to open the doors so that all the pilgrims may complete their Hajj. They appealed to him with folded hands to open the doors. Guru Nanak Dev Ji called Mardana, and gave him some instructions, after which Mardana opened the doors.

Now reading this chapter really amazed me, as i've never heard this event being told in this fashion before. Why is it that all Gurudwara's teach a completley different version? As i've mentioned before it maybe that this is the authentic one and the rest are watered down.

  • Episode 12 Pages 67 -69
  • This episode deals with the execution of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji. The scene is set when Aurangzeb asks Guru Ji to perform a miracle if he truely was a saint. Guru Ji refused.
"At this refusal, Aurangzeb feeling extremely infuriated, accused Guru Tegh Bahadur of making his escape through polemics. He warned the Guru to either get converted to islam, or he must be prepared to face death through execution. He (Aurangzeb) would have his body sewn in a cover of raw leather, and then he would put up his sealed body in the sun to dry up. As the raw leather containing his body would dry and tighten, he would have to bear the torture of a squeezed leather grip. Accusing him of wearing the mantle of a prophet, and exploiting the masses, how could he now escape to embrace Islam after that? Were the Muslims not as similar human beings as the Hindus, why did the Hindus have such a contempt for the Muslims"

The narration then moves onto the execution.

"Then Guru Ji addressed Aurangzeb in this vein, that he would now have a glimpse of his spiritual powers. He (Guru Ji) would bring about such a miracle, that he (Aurangzeb) would never be able to get hold of his(Guru Ji's) head. Whichever sword he may choose to severe his head with, but will it not be a miracle if it failed to cut through his throat. So he might arrange for the sharpest sword for executing him, because an ordinary sword used for daily executions might not work. After addressing these words, Guru Tegh Bahadur sat on the executioners slab after ablutions. Guru Tegh Bahadur made the executioners sword just touch his head, But it was just a ploy to hoodwink the authorities. Thus Guru Ji made the supreme sacrifice without compromising his dignity, and protected both his religion as well as its practices. Not only he saved his body from being sewn in raw leather, but also laid the blame of execution squarely on the Muslims."

Now I'm not sure if I'm interpreting this correctly, and i apologise if I'm incorrect, but the account seems to portray Guru Ji wanting a quick death, and tricking the Mughals into giving him that so that he does not have to endure the slow tortures. We must remember that 3 of the Guru's companions (Bhai Dayala, Bhai Mati Das, and Bhai Sati Das) were tortured by being boiled, sawn in half, and wrapped in cotton and then set on fire respectively. So why would the Guru's of these Sikhs, want an easy death. Obviously people like me would be running away or if given the choice we'd take the easier death. However in the case of the Guru, i don't accept he would have done this. He'd have known about the torture endured by his own Grand Father (Guru Arjan Dev Ji). Sikhs believe that the body is only the temporary home (vessel) of the soul, so the truly enlightened ones feel no pain, as they accept everything as the will of the almighty, and on the contrary would find this torture as bliss.

  • Episode 15 Pages 83 -89
  • This episodes deals with the birth of Khalsa.
The book does not mention anything about beheading the 5 Pyaarey. However it does mention that the Guru told them that "they should eat mutton only after slaughtering the animal with one stroke and desist from eating the meat of dead animals"

Again i find this rather bizzare that no mention of the beheading was made. The meat issue is one that many people will distort for their own benefit, and try to justify what they they believe by distorting facts. Personally i don't think the Guru's allowed the consumption of meat, but i'm sure many others will disagree with me on this one.

I'm still reading the book and will add more to this post (If anyones interested)....

Australia vs India - Debacle down under


Unfortunately I've been watching the cricket well after midnight over the last few days. The good news is that i didn't watch it all. I recall watching up to until lunch on the first day and seeing Australia race to over 100 without loss, and thinking 'same old India' always flatter to deceive. India were soundly thrashed, and with the exception of the post lunch and tea periods, they never troubled the Aussies juggernaut.

Not going to make any excuses, as not many teams can withstand the Aussies in their own backyard, and they played really well. However the Indian board does need to think over a few things:
  • Why would you only play one practice match (which was almost completely washed out anyway) ahead of an important series away in Australia. Surely you would want your players to acclimatise to the conditions etc. Maybe the fixture calendar needs to be looked at to ensure players can prepare for such tours.
  • A lot has been mentioned about having Dravid opening. He clearly looked uncomfortable during both innings. And fans world wide do not want to see one of the greats of the game scratch around for over 100 balls to score a paltry 16 runs. However Dravid has opened before with great success, so whats changed? Even when he came in at 3, more often then not in recent history (due to a lack of a good opening pair) Dravid has probably faced the new ball anyway, so i don't see why such a big deal has been made, it's more a psychological thing than a technique issue in my opinion. I think its very evident that the tactic of accommodating Yuvraj by pushing Dravid up to open backfired, and that too very badly. Both Jaffer and Dravid played with no urgency, and were quite content with just defending every ball, rather than looking to push the Aussies back. The two are very similar, in that neither really has an attacking instinct, and therefore its hard to gain any initiative with these two paddling along and scoring barely a run each over. I'm afraid it puts the middle order under immense pressure if your openers spend hours at the crease without the scoreboard ticking over. The selectors are going to have to shuffle the order or dare i say bring in Shewag. Shewag is the type of aggressive batsman who can wrestle the initiative away from the Aussies IF he is in form. Obviously someone will have to sit out if Shewag does return. Do they drop Jaffer who has recently scored a big double hundred? Do they drop Yuvraj, who played brilliantly against Pakistan in the third test, but failed miserably in this test? Or is it Dravid that faces the chop, he's been out of sorts for some time now? The Indian selectors will have to make a tough decision if the do not want to see this team destroyed by the Aussies.
  • I also don't think that the 4 bowlers chosen in this match are good enough to bowl out the Aussies twice. They only managed to get 7 wickets in the second innings because Australia were pushing on to set a huge target and declare.
I was watching star news the other day, and as usual the media back in India gets very excited with the exploits of the national team. The news coverage was full of "how India can win this series" etc.. They really need to get some form of a reality check. On the flip side they will really lay in hard in to the Indian team now that they have lost, and rightly so. But i don't see the point in the media building up the team and then knocking them down. They should applaud them for their victories, but not go over the top, which is what they do.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Shabad included in Halla Bol soundtrack


Rajkumar Santoshi's forthcoming bollywood movie titled "Halla Bol" will include a shabad. The shabad is as follows:

This Shabad is by Guru Nanak Dev Ji in Raag Sorath on Pannaa 597

qU pRB dwqw dwin miq pUrw hm Qwry ByKwrI jIau ]
thoo prabh dhaathaa dhaan math pooraa ham thhaarae bhaekhaaree jeeo ||
You, God, are the Giver of gifts, the Lord of perfect understanding; I am a mere beggar at Your Door.

mY ikAw mwgau ikCu iQru n rhweI hir dIjY nwmu ipAwrI jIau ]1]
mai kiaa maago kishh thhir n rehaaee har dheejai naam piaaree jeeo ||1||
What should I beg for? Nothing remains permanent; O Lord, please, bless me with Your Beloved Name. ||1||

Git Git riv rihAw bnvwrI ]
ghatt ghatt rav rehiaa banavaaree ||
In each and every heart, the Lord, the Lord of the forest, is permeating and pervading.

jil Qil mhIAil gupqo vrqY gur sbdI dyiK inhwrI jIau ] rhwau ]
jal thhal meheeal gupatho varathai gur sabadhee dhaekh nihaaree jeeo || rehaao ||
In the water, on the land, and in the sky, He is pervading but hidden; through the Word of the Guru's Shabad, He is revealed. ||Pause||

mrq pieAwl Akwsu idKwieE guir siqguir ikrpw DwrI jIau ]
marath paeiaal akaas dhikhaaeiou gur sathigur kirapaa dhhaaree jeeo ||
In this world, in the nether regions of the underworld, and in the Akaashic Ethers, the Guru, the True Guru, has shown me the Lord; He has showered me with His Mercy.

so bRhmu AjonI hY BI honI Gt BIqir dyKu murwrI jIau ]2]
so breham ajonee hai bhee honee ghatt bheethar dhaekh muraaree jeeo ||2||
He is the unborn Lord God; He is, and shall ever be. Deep within your heart, behold Him, the Destroyer of ego. ||2||

jnm mrn kau iehu jgu bpuVo iein dUjY Bgiq ivswrI jIau ]
janam maran ko eihu jag bapurro ein dhoojai bhagath visaaree jeeo ||
This wretched world is caught in birth and death; in the love of duality, it has forgotten devotional worship of the Lord.

siqguru imlY q gurmiq pweIAY swkq bwjI hwrI jIau ]3]
sathigur milai th guramath paaeeai saakath baajee haaree jeeo ||3||
Meeting the True Guru, the Guru's Teachings are obtained; the faithless cynic loses the game of life. ||3||

siqgur bMDn qoiV inrwry bhuiV n grB mJwrI jIau ]
sathigur ba(n)dhhan thorr niraarae bahurr n garabh majhaaree jeeo ||
Breaking my bonds, the True Guru has set me free, and I shall not be cast into the womb of reincarnation again.

nwnk igAwn rqnu prgwisAw hir min visAw inrMkwrI jIau ]4]8]
naanak giaan rathan paragaasiaa har man vasiaa nira(n)kaaree jeeo ||4||8||
O Nanak, the jewel of spiritual wisdom shines forth, and the Lord, the Formless Lord, dwells within my mind. ||4||8||

Sukhwinder Singh is the music director and the vocalist for the soundtrack for the movie. I'm not too sure if the movie will have a "Sikhi" related theme, as the main protagonist played by Ajay Devgan is a Muslim character.

I suppose any exposure of Gurbani to the masses is a good thing..

I've added the audio for this shabad below......

Saturday, 22 December 2007

The Heroes Of Chamkaur - 40 Sikhs vs the Imperial Army


Living in Western Society we are always hearing about heroic acts of western heroes. One such act, regarded by many historians as the greatest of all last stands is the battle of Thermopylae, where 300 Greek Spartans took on the might of Xerses and his Persian army. Truly this was a great heroic battle, and we should remember the sacrifice of those 300 Spartans. However, we as Sikhs should try and also educate the world on the heroic deeds of our ancestors and forefathers. As these deeds were no less amazing and astounding than those displayed by the Spartans. It is our great mis fortune that not many westerners have come across any detailed accounts of Sikh bravery.

With my limited knowledge i'm going to try and re tell, what in my eyes was the greatest last stand of all - CHAMKAUR.....

bwbwxIAw khwxIAw puq spuq kryin ]
baabaaneeaa kehaaneeaa puth saputh karaen ||
The stories of one's ancestors make the children good children.

Setting the scene

On an earlier post i've mentioned about the Guru and his followers evacuating the fort at Anandpur, and how the enemy had forgotten all their oaths and promises, and started to pursue the Sikhs as they tried to cross the Sirsa river. My earlier post followed Mata Gujri and the younger Sahibzaadey to Gangu's village kheri. This Sakhi will follow what happened to the 40 Sikhs including Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

Chamkaur Sahib

On 20 December 1704 Guru Sahib and the 40 Singhs camped in an open space in Ropar. Bhai Budhi Chand who owned a Haveli (open house) in the town of Chamkaur visited Guru Sahib and offered his home and family at the feet of the Guru. Guru Sahib had once visited the mud-house of Bhai Budhi Chand when returning from Kurekshetr. Guru Sahib and the 40 Singhs moved into house of Bhai Budhi Chand situated on a hill, which now became the mud-fort of Guru Sahib.

Declaration Of War

At the commencement of Amritvela (early hours of the day before sunrise) Guru Sahib woke up Bhai Sangat Singh. "Wake up Sangat Singh, its time for Asa di Var. Let's do Kirtan" Guru said. What an amazing warrior Guru was! An army of 10 Lacks are pursuing Guru Sahib and planning to attack the place where they are staying, and Guru Sahib is still blissfully continuing his routine Rehat of Nitnem and Aas di Var Kirtan with all Singhs joining in. Nawab Wazir Khan, announced outside the fort of Chamkaur, "Gobind Singh! If you and your Sikhs come out now, you will be spared!" Guru Sahib replied to this with rain of arrows. There was silence now in the cold morning. Clouds filled the sky followed by thunder and lightening. Guru and the Singhs became ready for the battle.

There was a chill in the air and morning had not yet come. A Mughal messenger came to see Guru Sahib to negotiate with the Sikhs. However, Guru Sahib told the messenger to go away or face death. Inside the four walls of the mud-house Guru Sahib declared war.

The Battle Begins

The two Sahibzadas - Baba Ajit Singh and Baba Jujhar Singh - and three other archers took up positions, along with Guru Gobind Singh Ji in the upper portion of the house. Eight persons each were deputed to guard each of the four sides. Two expert swordsmen -Bhai Madan Singh and Bhai Kotha Singh - stood to guard the only entrance to the haveli.
The arrows from upper storey of the haveli kept many a soldier at bay. Those who came forward to storm the garhi, met piercing arrows. They either perished or preferred to pull back, or faced hand-to-hand fights with Singhs guarding the four sides. Faujdar Nahar Khan was one of those who fell to the arrows of Guru Gobind Singh himself. The onslaught continued relentlessly as the enemy continually attacked all sides of the gahri.

The battle lasted all day. When the ammunition and arrows in the garhi almost ran out, the Singhs came out in batches of five, with swords and spears in their hands, to face the enemy that far outnumbered them. Their determination and fighting skill helped them kill many of the enemy, but odds were so heavy against them that they all fell in the field, one by one. They were followed by the next batch of five, charged with emotions of fighting a treacherous enemy. Determined to fight with all their vigor, they too were to lay their lives the same way.

Ajit Singh Ji and Jhujhar Singh Ji attain martyrdom

"Pita ji (dear father), permit me to go and fight on the battleground and grace me with the opportunity to make my life fruitful and worthy in service of the panth."

Guru Gobind Singh hugged his beloved son and gave him a Shastr (weapon). Little beard or moustache had yet not grown on Baba Ajit Singh 's face, showing how young he was. Every father wants to see their child get married, but this was the time of fighting the enemy and defending the path of righteousness. Death was waiting and today Baba Ajit Singh would be marrying death.

The sun was about to rise. Guru saw that Nawab Wazir Khan wanted to take hold of the fort of Chamkaur in one attempt. The Nawab surrounded the fort with his armies. At this time the Singhs did a benti (request) to Guru Sahib that since there was no means of escaping the siege, he should escape with the Sahibzade. However Guru Sahib told them that there is no difference between the Singhs and the Sahibzade. "You are all mine! We will be victorious and we will all be free."

Baba Ajit Singh boldly and valiantly came out of fort, accompanied with 5 other Singhs, which included one of the original Panj Piarey, Bhai Mohkam Singh. Guru watched the battle scene from the top of the fort. There was silence on all four sides. As they came into the battleground they roared Jaikarey, which sounded everywhere like the roar of a lion. Today the 5 Singhs felt proud that under the leadership of Baba Ajit Singh , they had been blessed with an opportunity to fight on the side of the truth and the correct path of Guru Nanak. Baba Ajit Singh with the five Sikhs advanced swiftly on to the battlefield displaying weaponry skills, great courage and bravery. The enemy was immediately repulsed back and many of the treacherous and deceitful soldiers in the Mughal and Hill forces were slaughtered. Such was the fury of the Sikh contingent and the dedicated, continuous and precise support from the mud-fort that this small Sikh party of 6 brave bahadurs of the Khalsa force eliminated hundreds of brave enemy soldiers.

The enemy in one section was completely paralysed and disabled by the enormous strength and sudden impact of the Khalsa unit. With protection fire from the fort, which kept the surrounding army units in check and blocked their involvement in the battle on the ground. After killing many hundreds of the enemy, the group began to take casualties. Slowly the impact of the unit began to diminished and after almost an hour, the enemy began surrounding the Sahibzada from all four sides. Baba Ajit Singh called out, "Come nearer if you have courage." The soldiers ran away frightened. Slowly, they began coming back in a larger group as not a single one of them had the courage to individually fight Baba Ajit Singh ji.

The Singhs' weaponry skill on the battlefield reminded the Mughal soldiers of Allah, and they feared for their lives. While fighting, Baba Ajit Singh's kirpan (sword) broke. He then began to fight with a Neja (spear). However, while killing one Mughal chief, it became stuck in his chest. Even then, Baba Ajit Singh remained in bliss and peace. While fighting, however, one by one the 5 Singhs were overcome and lost their life and became Shaheed (martyrs) of the Guru. One Mughal chief injured Baba 's horse.

As a result, Baba ji fought from the ground with his talwar (sword). With each blow of the sword, he split the enemy into two. When he struck the enemy twice with his sword, they got cut up into four pieces. Now as the army surrounded the sahibzada, Guru watched with keen interest to see how bravely his son would live his last few minutes of life. When Baba attained Shaheedi, Guru Sahib roared a Jaikara of "Sat Siri Akal" full of emotions and courage - a salutation to the Almighty for the blessing of such a brave son.

Having seen the valour displayed by his older brother, Baba Jhujhar Singh Ji (15 years old) also had a desire to follow in his brothers footsteps. He Approached Guru Ji "Permit me, dear father, to go where my brother has gone. Don't say that I am too young. I am your son. I am a Singh, a Lion, of yours. I shall prove worthy of you. I shall die fighting, with my face towards the enemy, with the Naam on my lips and the Guru in my heart."

Guru Gobind Singh embraced him and said, "Go my son and wed the life-giving bride, Death. May the Almighty be with you always"

Guru Sahib gave blessings to Baba Jujhar Singh just like a father gives blessings to the bride on the day of her marriage. Guru added, "I asked my father to give his life for "dharam" (righteousness and justice). Today, what I told my father, I now tell you son." Bhai Himmat Singh and Bhai Sahib Singh (two of the original Panj Piarey) along with 3 other Singhs accompanied Sahibzada Baba Jujhar Singh . The Mughals were shocked at what they saw. It looked as if Ajit Singh had come back.

kbIrw mrqw mrqw jgu muAw mir iB n jwnY koie ]
kabeeraa marathaa marathaa jag muaa mar bh n jaanai koe ||
Kabeer, the world is dying - dying to death, but no one knows how to
truly die.

AYsI mrnI jo mrY bhuir n mrnw hoie ]1]
aisee maranee jo marai bahur n maranaa hoe ||1||
Whoever dies, let him die such a death, that he does not have to die
again. ||1||

Dead bodies lay everywhere. Baba Jujhar Singh chose to attack another section of the enemy. He had observed the enemy and chose to attack the section who were showing more aggression against the Sikhs in the mud-fort then the rest of the enemy. Initially, the enemy did not have any courage to formulate an attack against this second unit after the fury of the force displayed by Ajit Singh's unit.

To them this appeared like a repeat of the same disaster that had befallen them an hour or so ago. They had not even had time to recover from the previous shock and now they had a second wave of the same enormously vibrant energy. This time the enemy was driven even further back; many just took flight as they thought that the Sikh numbers must have increased and so many of the enemy disserted the battlefield. This new force of six Khalsas soldiers killed many hundreds of the enemy; many simply ran away.

The enemy were stunned by the heavy force and thrust of this second attack and had little choice but to retreat back. The Khalsa unit created a huge void in the enemy territory and a small circle of about 35 metres within the enemy ground was under the control of the Sikhs. No one had the courage to enter into this circle of control. Anyone who entered this area of command was immediately challenged and quickly extinguished. The Khalsa unit, with their backs to the centre of this circular area attacked the enemy courageously and with vigour at the perimeter of the controlled region.

The Guru watched this development with pride and gratefulness to the Almighty and he knew that the Sikhs had learned the lessons of warfare well and would soon join the many hundreds of Sikh martyrs who had attained the highest honour of Dharam. The Almighty had indeed blessed the Sahibzade and the Sikhs with true bravery and deepest understanding of the Guru's message.

Slowly, due to the huge number of the enemy, they eventually assembled around Baba Jujhar Singh. He was now surrounded and had a Neja (spear) in his hand. Wherever the Neja hit, the enemy was destroyed. He also used a Khanda (double-sword), with which he killed the enemy as a farmer mows down his crop. Guru saw that Jujhar Singh was being surrounded and the opportunity to kill the Mughal soldiers was decreasing.

So Guru Sahib fired volleys of arrows in the area around the Sahibzada giving 'protection fire' to the Sikh soldiers. Baba Jujhar Singh eventually was able to break the ring of the Mughal army soldiers surrounding him. However, due to the huge number of enemy soldiers, Baba eventually attained Shaheedi but died a hero's death in the fight against tyranny and falsehood.

sUrw so pihcwnIAY ju lrY dIn ky hyq ]
sooraa so pehichaaneeai jo larai dheen kae haeth ||
He alone is known as a spiritual hero, who fights in defense of religion.

purjw purjw kit mrY kbhU n CwfY Kyqu ]2]2]
purajaa purajaa katt marai kabehoo n shhaaddai khaeth ||2||2||
He may be cut apart, piece by piece, but he never leaves the field of battle. ||2||2||

The Guru thanked the Almighty, that his children attained martyrdom before his own eyes. They gave their lives so that other children could live in peace and freedom from oppression by the state.

Each Sikh went into battle with such ferocity, like a hungry lion scattering its prey that it unnerved the enemy, but the hordes overwhelmed them and they fought to the last breath. Such heroics have seldom been seen before or since. This situation brought true the prophecy of one of Guru Sahib Ji’s compositions :

svw lwK sy eyk lVwaUN ]

qbY goibMd isMG nwm khwaUN ]

"Call me Gobind Singh, only, when each of my Sikh will fight with more than one and a quarter lakh of enemy."

Vacating the Fort

By the nightfall, only six persons - Guru Gobind Singh Ji, two of the " Beloved Five" (Bhai Daya Singh and Bhai Dharam Singh), Bhai Sant Singh, Bhai Man Singh and Sangat Singh remained alive in the garhi. The Singhs decided that Guru Gobind Singh must leave the haveli, so that he could rally his followers again. If he perished, loss to the community would be irreparable. Guru Ji wanted to face the enemy but the five Sikhs in the form of Panj Piyaray said that Guru Ji must do as they say, to which Guru Sahib Ji relented. It was proposed that Guru Sahib Ji should change his attire with Sangat Singh, who somewhat resembled him in stature. By his being visible, the others might get enough time to reach a somewhat safe distance. Reluctantly, the Guru agreed, to the propsal, which the Singhs presented as the matta of five, which was binding. . Bhai Sant Singh decided to stay back to guard the entrance, and thus gain some additional time, when the enemy barges in.

In the middle of the night Guru Gobind Singh and three remaining Sikhs - Bhai Daya Singh, Bhai Mohkam Singh and Bhai Man Singh - left the haveli, with a plan to go in different directions but meet in a garden outside Machhivara. Even at this critical moment Guru Ji was fearless and full of valor, clapping loudly three times and shouting “here goes the Guru of the Sikhs, face me now if you have the courage” and set off into the enemy hordes. Fighting their way through the enemy ranks Guru Ji made it out and headed towards Machiwara.

DMn auh DrqI DMn auh bwpU, DMn vfBwgI mweI [

dhan oh dharti, dhan oh bapu, dhan vadhbhaghi maaei.

"Blessed is that land, blessed is that father, blessed is the great mother.

FMg ijaux dw ijsdw pu`qr, d`s igAw sdIAw sweIN [

dhangh jeeon da jisda puttar, das giya sadiya saee(n).

Whose son has shown the way to live, for centuries to come."

This whole incident is referred to in the historical document called Zafarnama, penned by Guru Gobind Singh himself. Below are some excerpts from this document reffering to the battle of Chamkaur:

How could forty famished persons fight in the battlefield, on whom ten lakh soldiers made a sudden attack.19.
Your army breaking the oath and in great haste plunged in the battlefield with arrows and guns.20.
For this reason, I had to intervene and had to come fully armed.21.
When all other methods fail, it is proper to hold the sword in hand.22.
I have no faith in your oaths on the Quran, otherwise I had nothing to do with this battle.23.
I do not know that your officers are deceitful, otherwise I would not have followed this path.24.
It is not appropriated to imprison and kill those, who put faith on the oaths of Quran.25.

The soldiers of your army, clad in black uniforms, rushed like flies on my men.26.
Whosoever from them came near the wall of the fort, with one arrow he was drenched in his own blood.27.
None dared to come there near the wall; none faced then the arrows and destruction.28.
When I saw Nahar Khan in the battlefield, he was greeted with one of my arrows.29.
All those boasters who came near the wall, they were dispatched in no time.30.
Another Afghan, with a bow and arrow came in the battlefield like a flood.31.
He shot arrows heroically, sometimes in senses and sometimes in madness.32.
He made several attacks and was drenched with last.33.
Khwaja Mardud hid himself behind the wall; he did not enter the field like a brave warrior.34.
If I had seen his face once, one of my arrows would have dispatched him to the abode of death.35.
Many warriors wounded with arrows and bullets died in the battle on both the sides.36.
The darts were showered so violently, that the field became red like popyflowers.37.
The heads and limbs of the dead were scattered in the field like the balls and sticks in the game of Polo.38.
When the arrows hissed and bows tinkled, there was a great hue and cry in the world.39.
There the spears and lances provided a dreadful sound and the warriors lost heir senses.40.
How could bravery ultimately withstand in the field, when only forty were surrounded by innumerable warriors?41.
When the lamp of the world veiled itself, the moon shone in brightness during the night.42.
He, who puts faith on the oaths of the Quran, the Ture Lord gives him the guidance.43.
There was neither any harm nor injury; my Lord, the vanquisher of the enemies, brought me to safety.44

12 Days of Christmas


Check out this hilarious desi version of the 12 days of Christmas.

Friday, 21 December 2007

Maere Saahib - O My Lord and Master


Been listening to the soundtrack of the Punjabi Movie "Nanak Naam Jahaz", and came across this gem (Gurbani is full of Gems) - Maere Saahib, sung by Asha Bhonsle. Take a listen... and then read the shabad (courtesy: Sikhi To The Max).

sUhI mhlw 5 ]
soohee mehalaa 5 ||
Soohee, Fifth Mehla:

quDu iciq Awey mhw Anµdw ijsu ivsrih so mir jwey ]
thudhh chith aaeae mehaa ana(n)dhaa jis visarehi so mar jaaeae ||
When You come to mind, I am totally in bliss. One who forgets You might just as well be dead.

dieAwlu hovih ijsu aUpir krqy so quDu sdw iDAwey ]1]
dhaeiaal hovehi jis oopar karathae so thudhh sadhaa dhhiaaeae ||1||
That being, whom You bless with Your Mercy, O Creator Lord, constantly meditates on You. ||1||

myry swihb qUM mY mwxu inmwxI ]
maerae saahib thoo(n) mai maan nimaanee ||
O my Lord and Master, You are the honor of the dishonored such as me.

Ardwis krI pRB Apny AwgY suix suix jIvw qyrI bwxI ]1] rhwau ]
aradhaas karee prabh apanae aagai sun sun jeevaa thaeree baanee ||1|| rehaao ||
I offer my prayer to You, God; listening, listening to the Word of Your Bani, I live. ||1||Pause||

crx DUiV qyry jn kI hovw qyry drsn kau bil jweI ]
charan dhhoorr thaerae jan kee hovaa thaerae dharasan ko bal jaaee ||
May I become the dust of the feet of Your humble servants. I am a sacrifice to the Blessed Vision of Your Darshan.

AMimRq bcn irdY auir DwrI qau ikrpw qy sMgu pweI ]2]
a(n)mrith bachan ridhai our dhhaaree tho kirapaa thae sa(n)g paaee ||2||
I enshrine Your Ambrosial Word within my heart. By Your Grace, I have found the Company of the Holy. ||2||

AMqr kI giq quDu pih swrI quDu jyvfu Avru n koeI ]
a(n)thar kee gath thudhh pehi saaree thudhh jaevadd avar n koee ||
I place the state of my inner being before You; there is no other as great as You.

ijs no lwie lYih so lwgY Bgqu quhwrw soeI ]3]
jis no laae laihi so laagai bhagath thuhaaraa soee ||3||
He alone is attached, whom You attach; he alone is Your devotee. ||3||

duie kr joiV mwgau ieku dwnw swihib quTY pwvw ]
dhue kar jorr maago eik dhaanaa saahib thut(h)ai paavaa ||
With my palms pressed together, I beg for this one gift; O my Lord and Master, if it pleases You, I shall obtain it.

swis swis nwnku AwrwDy AwT phr gux gwvw ]4]9]56]
saas saas naanak aaraadhhae aat(h) pehar gun gaavaa ||4||9||56||
With each and every breath, Nanak adores You; twenty-four hours a day, I sing Your Glorious Praises. ||4||9||56||

Wednesday, 19 December 2007



Sahibzadey - The young Martyrs

As the festive period approaches, the Sikh people will be commemorating the martyrdom of Baba Fateh Singh Ji and Baba Zorawar Singh Ji on the 26th Dec. Many historians have given them the title of the world’s youngest martyrs. December 26th 1705 is seen as one the darkest days in Sikh history, when two young innocent children were mercilessly bricked alive by the mughal regime of Sirhind. Their supreme sacrifice should never be forgotten, and all Sikhs should draw inspiration from the valour and courage displayed by the young souls....

Vichora - The Separation

The Mughals and the hill chiefs had promised to let Guru Gobind Singh Ji and his followers leave the fort of Anandpur unharmed. However they were very quick to revoke their promises. They began to mount an attack on the evacuating party. The Sikhs heavily outnumbered and tired after being held up in the fort for months, scattered in any direction they could find in the dark. In front of them lie the river Sirsa which was in spate, behind them was the blood thirsty enemy. Untold sacrifices were made on that fateful night of Dec 5th, as many Sikhs lost their lives either holding up the enemy to ensure a safe passage for the rest of the Sikhs, or by drowning in the Sirsa. Countless valuables, literature, and priceless pieces of handwritten work were lost forever.

Gangu's Treachery

The family of the Guru were also separated at this point, and were destined never to meet again. Whilst Guru Ji and the older Sahibzadey made their way to Chamkaur, Mata Gujri and the younger Sahibzadey were escorted by the family cook Gangu to his village kheri. Historians differ on what made Gangu commit perhaps the biggest act of treachery in Sikh History. I feel the most plausible would perhaps be his greed for wealth, he had noticed that Mata Gujri had some valuables in her bag. Gangu stole the valuables, and then also informed the local mughal officers about the fugitives in hope for a reward.

Arrested and sent to Sirhind

The local officials arrested Mata Gujri and her Grandsons, and they spent a night in the jail at Morinda. The Following morning the three were escorted to Sirhind, and placed in the thanda Burj (Cold Tower) to spend the harsh cold winters night. Mata Gujri spent the night telling her grandsons the great tradition of martyrdom within their family, and for them to remain steadfast no matter what obstacles they face.

A Bold Response in Court

The following morning the Fateh Singh and Zorawar Singh were presented to the Governor of Sirhind – Wazir Khan. The court room was astounded as the two sahibzadey roared “Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh”, this in itself was seen as contempt of the court. Wazir Khan tried to persuade the sahibzadey to accept Islam, by initially telling them that their Father and brothers had already been murdered by the imperial forces. The Sahibzadey would not believe any word of Wazir Khan, he then tried to bribe them by offering them worldly goods. Yet again the Sahibzadey remained steadfast in their faith, and rejected all offers. They smiled at the Governor and replied “Sikhism is dearer to us than our lives. Nothing in this illusionary world can induce us to shed our religion. We are kids of lion Guru Gobind Singh who is determined to infuse courage into the people of all religions to rise against the cruel and tyrant rulers to gain freedom. Our grandfather, Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur laid down his life to defend the right of religious freedom for the sake of oppressed community being decimated by tyrant Aurangzeb. Our great great grHinduandfather, Sri Guru Arjun Dev Ji submitted gladly to the will of God while facing a tortured death under the orders of Emperor Jahangir, to infuse courage and endurance in his disciples rather than convert as Muslim. We will never bring bad name to the predecessor martyrs of our faith even if we have to face death.” Everyone in the courtroom was left shell shocked by the bravery shown by the young souls. A prominent courtier Sucha Nand called for strict and firm punishment, as he felt that if they were left free they would eventually revolt against the Governor. Initially Wazir Khan still preferred to convert the two, so that he would go down in history as the individual who converted the two children of the Sikh Guru, and the fact that this would show that they preferred Islam to Sikhi. The Court was adjourned for the day rather hastily, and the Sahibzadey were given more time to think over the decision.

A Grandmothers words of encouragement

They returned to the tower to their Grandmother, and retold the events of the court room. Mata Gujri was proud of the conduct of her Grandsons, and they had indeed kept the family tradition alive. She warned that the inducements and threats would increase, but they must not lose faith, and they should take inspiration from the likes of Bhai Mati Das, Bhai Sati Das, and Bhai Dayala.

As Mata Gujri had anticipated over the course of the next two days the inducements and threats intensified. She prayed to God that the Sahibzadey remained firm in their beliefs, and would not flinch at any cost.

The Punishment

Wazir Khan, unable to make any impression upon the Sahibzadey, finally asked the Qazi to suggest a punishment. The Qazi suggested them to bricked alive. At the this point Sher Mohammed Khan (Who’s brother had been killed by Guru Ji on the battle field) spoke up against the Nawab, and disagreed with the punishment. He felt the punishment went against the principles of Islam, and walked out of the court, whilst cursing the Governor for this grave mistake.

And so it was decided, that the Sahibzadey would be bricked alive. Whilst the brick wall was being constructed the Qazi and Wazir Khan were still trying to persuade the two to accept Islam, however the Sahibzadey were busy reciting Gurbani. Once the wall reached a specific height it is said that the Sahibzadey were beheaded. Mata Gujri upon hearing the fate of her grandchildren passed away in the tower (although some historians have stated that she was thrown from the tower by soldiers).

And on that fateful day the young Sahibzadey gave their lives, so that the forthcoming generations were able to flourish. And how do we as the benefiters of their valour repay our debt to them? Are we even worthy of calling ourselves the brothers and sisters of the Sahibzadey? Would we be able to display anywhere near the same courage? Can we at least try to tread on the path of Sikhi, for which these young souls sacrificed themselves? These are questions that we must delve deep inside to find the answers to...

It would not be appropriate to forget the compassion shown by Sher Mohammed Khan (who was an adversary of the Guru, as his brother was slain by the Guru in the battle of Chamkaur). He spoke out against the death sentence imposed upon the Sahibzadey. If the Sikhs never forgot the evil deeds of Wazir Khan or the courtier Sucha Nand, they also never forgot the compassion shown by the Nawab of Malerkotla. During the period when Banda Bahadur and his troops razed Sirhind to the ground, they completley left Malerkotla untouched due to this act of the Nawab. It has also been mentioned that during partition, the muslims of Malerkotla especially were protected by Sikhs.

Another Character that deserves a special mention is Deewan Todar Mal. Todar Mal, a rich Sikh, heard of the imprisonment of the Guru's Sahibzadey and Mata Gujri, he hastened to the Sultan with the intention of paying a ransom for their release. But, by the time he arrived at Sirhind, the Sahibzadey's has already been martyred and Mata Gujri had also left the earthly abode. Todar Mal went to Wazir Khan's court to obtain permission for cremating the dead bodies of the martyrs and their grandmother. The Sultan told Todar Mal that he would agree to his request if he paid for the land with spreading as many gold mohurs (coins) as would cover the piece of land required for cremation. Todar Mal accepted Wazir Khan's terms and made the payment.

Another character was Bhai Moti Mehra, who was another follower of Guru Ji. When he found out that Mata Gujri and the Sahibzadey were left in the cold tower, he went to visit them. He took some warm milk for the Family, he sneaked past the guards and climbed up the tower by ladder. Bhai Moti Mehra was later caught, and he along with his family were sentenced to death by crushing.

I apologize for any mistakes that may have been made whilst compiling the above Sakhi. Bhul Chuk Maf.

Finally i'd like to share this dharmik song, which tries to capture the emotions of this particular episode. Balwinder Singh Safri sings "Pothey Mata Gujri De":