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From Agra to Nanded

But the Guru's expectation of an early return to Anandpur, where he could pick up the old threads of his programme and continue with his mission, proved to be a wishful thinking. No doubt, the Emperor's gestures of good-will towards the Guru were impressive, yet he was wary of agreeing to his demands. With the issue of succession to Mughal throne not finally settled, he could ill-afford to antagonise the Muslim fundamentalist's lobby at the court by going against the interest of Wazir Khan who had the solid backing of the Naqshbandies, then led by Khalifa Saifuddin and had contributed handsomely to the war fund of the Emperor. At the same time, he could not afford to offend the Guru who had a considerable following of his devoted disciples, scattered all over the Punjab, possessing the potential to disturb peace in the North- West. Nor could he vex the Hill Chiefs who were also a potent political factor with the capacity of creating trouble. Therefore, he was sagacious enough to realise that Guru's presence near the court was preferable to his dangerous freedom in the Punjab. But simultaneously, he was careful enough not to let his real calculations be known to him, atleast for the time being. His polite and kind demeanour towards him was all the more impressive for its political, albeit negative advantage, to the new Emperor. To the Guru, he gave the impression that when the affairs of succession were finally settled, he would favourably consider his demands. Political conduct of the Emperor, generally speaking, portended status quo so far as the relations of the Mughals with non-Muslims were concerned. On December 7, 1707 he sent orders to Sarfraz Khan the Imperial Kotwal of Delhi to see that no Hindu go about on a palanquin and Arab and Iraqi horses. They should not visit the courts wearing rings in their ears and beards shaved. The realisation of Jazya and pilgrim tax continued as it was prevalent in the period of Aurangzeb.[1] The contemporary poet of Delhi. Mir Jafar Ali Zatalli also condemned, although in different context, that to take up service under Shah-e- Muazzam is to lead the life of a beggar and disgrace.[2] Such conduct of the Emperor was indeed a malediction and not much good could be expected of him.

In view of all this, there was very little hope that Bahadur Shah would do something in favour of the Guru.

The Guru had also smelt the rat, but he did not still break off with him. Perhaps, he was yet under the impression that after dealing with the disturbances, the Emperor would do the needful.

According to Dr. Hari Ram Gupta, "The Guru's residence in the Imperial camp was a fatal mistake committed by him. The entire Mughal court was anti-Hindu and anti-Sikh. The Guru was looked down upon as a rebel punishable with death. Wazir Khan was a hero for them, fit to be rewarded rather than punished. His representative was always in attendance at the court. He must have reported the matter to his master. The Guru's influence with the Emperor was looked down upon by one and all. Every courtier was alert to see that no harm came to Wazir Khan, while intrigues and machinations to harm the Guru were set afoot in right earnest."[3]

Dr. Gupta's portrayal of the scenario is sufficiently correct phenomenologically; but the Guru was possessed with a mission: to bring about a change in the hearts of the fanatasised people and to give them a lesson in humanism as also propel them to follow the course towards reconstruction of a society whose members were bound by the scarlet thread of love for each other, co-existing on the basis of mutual respect, equality and faith in Name permeating all things, living and non-living. He had achieved some success in this direction, the proof of which lay in his admiration by a large number of Muslims including Pir Budhu Shah, Gani Khan and Nabi Khan et al. Even Aurangzeb, the arch-fundamentalist had to grow soft towards the Guru when he received his letter Zafarnama which was, in a way, also, an attempt to awaken divinity in the Emperor. The Guru, therefore, was not discouraged, much less disappointed to work for his mission, even in the midst of hostile atmosphere. And the ray of hope had always been there, because Bahadur Shah respected and listened to him. If at the end, Bahadur Shah did not accede to the warrants of the Guru, that forms a story in itself with a moral of its own. In fact, Bahadur Shah could not extricate himself from the syndrome of Muslim fundamentalism in spite of the divinely inspired forces of humanism as symbolised by the Guru.

Nevertheless, the Guru's apostolic approach forbade him to leave Bahadur Shah in a huff.

Emperor Bahadur Shah lived at Agra in peace till November 12, 1707 when he had to go to Rajasthan as disturbances had broken out there.[4] The Emperor reached Amber (Rajasthan) on January 20, 1708. Raja Jai Singh Kachhwah had taken side of Azam Shah in the battle of Jajau and therefore had earned disfavour of the Emperor. Now Bahadur Shah occupied Amber and confiscated the property and belongings of Raja Jai Singh. Then he handed over the country of Amber to Bijal Singh, Jai Singh's younger brother, who had already served under Prince Muazzam when he was Viceroy of Kabul.[5] After settling the affairs at Amber, Bahadur Shah advanced to Jodhpur via Ajmer. After a short sojourn at Ajmer during which he offered his prayers at the mausoleum of Khwaja Muinuddin Chisti, he proceeded towards his objective Jodhpur, the capital of the state of the same name, which, after the expiry of Aurangzeb, had been occupied by Ajit Singh, the posthumous son of Jaswant Singh who had been actively assisted by his faithful general and patron Durga Das.[6] The whole ethnic stock of Rathor Rajputs had rallied around Ajit Singh. After a lot of diplomatic exertions and show of strength, Ajit Singh was prevailed upon at long last to wait upon the Emperor and accept his suzerainty.[7]

The Jodhpur problem being thus to all appearance satisfactorily disposed of, the Emperor retraced his steps from Malrtha, a town near Jodhpur, and returned to Ajmer.[8]

On the second day of April, 1708 the march towards Chittor and Ujjain was resumed. On the 12th day of April 1708, the camp was not far from Hussainipur.

On the 14th April, 1708, Rana Amar Singh Sisodia sent a letter expressing reverence for the Emperor and an offering of twenty-seven gold coins. This gesture of the Rana assured the Emperor of the peaceful settlement of a large part of Mewar never accepting the legitimacy of the Mughal rule.

When the next day dawned, the Emperor was informed that the Rana had taken flight to the hills doubting the sincerity of the Emperor. Bahadur Shah felt much upset at the Rana's volte face, but thought it politically expedient to first combat with his younger brother, Kam Bakhsh, who had proclaimed his own sovereignty of the Mughal rule instead of acquiescing in that of Bahadur Shah.[9]

In Rajasthan, an uneasy calm had been prevailing. Sisodies, Rathores, and Kachhwahs, the most important ethnic segments of Rajputs who had been smarting under the fundamentalists rule of Aurangzeb, were in a mood to assert themselves, and if possible, to assume independence. This type of mood was manifest when on 30th April, 1708, Bahadur Shah was at the town of Mandeshwar. Maharaja Ajit Singh, Raja Jai Singh Kachhwah and Durga Das Rathor took to flight, throwing open challenge to the Mughal authority in Rajasthan which Bahadur Shah had recently established.[10]

The Guru did not start his march along with Bahadur Shah immediately when he left Agra. He stayed back and joined him at Ajmer between March 24 and April 2nd along with his trusted Sikhs. He saw for himself how the Rajput princes reacted to the advances of Bahadur Shah and with what great difficulty, the Emperor could secure superficial and temporary calm. He must have also noted how Aurangzeb's rabid fundamentalism had engendered innate hatred for the Mughal rule equally among the Rajput commonality and the elites.

Even in the midst of mirk and dross, the Guru's nobility shone forth and its lustre enlightened who-so-ever came to his sublime presence, or to the assemblies of the Sikhs, held twice daily.

On April 2, 1708 an incident accrued. According to Abdul Rasul[11], author of Tarikh-e-Muazzam Shah, written in 1708, Emperor Bahadur Shah was halting at Chittor. Guru Gobind Singh was with him. There was a child whom the author called 'son of Guru Gobind Singh'. He was anxious to see the fort of Chittorgarh. He took fifty to sixty comrades with him and made a dash to enter the fort. The guards at the gate obstructed their entry into the fort. A scuffle ensued and the guards were killed. At this, strong contingent of troops (fauj-e-digar) sprang from Kamingah, place of ambush. A bloody fight took place. The son of Guru Gobind Singh like a furious tiger struck down men with his sharp sword and fell dead by the side of his companions. Abdul Rasul's mention of the son of the Guru did not imply his real son. His real sons, all four of them, had already obtained martydom; two having been bricked alive in the wall of Sirhind fort and two martyred at Chamkaur. The learned author erred because he mistook some other boy whom the Guru had treated with great love and affection as if he was his foster father. Sainapat[12] calls him Zorawar, son of Mata Sundri while Fauja Singh says he was the son of a carpenter of Bassi Pathana near Sirhind.[13] On April 30, 1708, the Emperor was at Mandeshwar and sojourning at different places. He reached the bank of the River Narbada in the second week of May, 1708. A news-letter of Imperial Court dated May 13, 17 and 10, says, "Ba Wazir Khan Keh, Pisran-e- Khurd Guru Gobind Singh Ra Kushtah Bud Adawat-e-Qalbi Darand." (They cherished genuine enmity towards Wazir Khan who had killed the younger sons (pisran) of Guru Gobind Singh. The news-letter mentions sons (pisran) in plural and not one son in singular.[14]

While the Imperial camp halted on the bank of River Narbada, a Muslim trooper killed Man Singh[15], who was renowned for his sagacity, faithfulness, total dedication to the Guru and his cause. He was one of the three who escaped the battle of Chamkaur and had pitted his lot with the Guru in all his predicament. The Guru was much upset naturally. The Emperor ordered that his murderer be seized and handed over to the Guru for punishment. The Guru forgave him and let him go scot free, understandably to make him and all those of his ilk realise that the Guru's house was incorrigibly merciful because mercy being the quality of God could engender vital forces in a sinner to shun committing sins again. This merciful act of the Guru evoked spontaneous admiration among the Muslims as well as among all the right- thinking people for him. The Guru's popularity enhanced immensely.

The Guru and the Emperor crossed River Narbada on May 17, 1708. During his halts enroute, he and the Emperor had their separate camps. According to Khafi Khan, the historian of the time, the Guru was proceeding towards Southern India with Emperor Bahadur Shah at the head of two or three hundred horsemen and also infantry men armed with spears.[16]

By the end of June, Bahadur Shah reached Burhanpur, situated on the River Tapti.[17] The Guru’s entourage also followed him. The place where the Guru stayed, was known as Khooni Bhandar—the Bloody Spot because six cruel lions had been killed there once.

He was very warmly received here by the people. Sikhism had already made its niche in the psyche of a considerable section of its population.[18] At this place, a number of missionary centres of Suthre Shah and Udasies were doing work of proselytisation for quite a long time.[19] Bhai Gurdas in the 30th Pauri of Eleventh Var, had clearly referred to Bhai Tirath, Hardas and Dhir et al. all engaged in missionary work at Burhanpur with the result that a large number of people had embraced Sikh religion.[20]

The Sikhs of Burhanpur were simply thrilled at the Guru's arrival. They built a beautiful two-storeyed building for his stay and comfort, and also made extensive arrangements for the holy congregations to be held. The Sikhs residing in the neighbouring areas of the city also did not lag behind in offering their obeisance to the Guru as also derive benefit from his sermons and presence. A Maratha writer, Sainapat, who is the author of Sri Guru Sahai says, "Guru came to this area for preaching and liberation. People of all shades and religious groups attended his congregations and listened to his discourses." His holding of assemblies and imparting religious education has also been vouchsafed in Twarikh Bahadur Shahi.[21] All these witnesses prove beyond doubt that, while journeying along with the Emperor, the Guru did not lose sight of his main concern which was the spiritual and ethical elevation of mankind.

The Guru stayed at Burhanpur for twenty days.[22] During this period apart from meeting his Sikhs and non-Sikh devotees, he stole time to visit Raj Ghat, a place on the bank of River Tapti, made sacred by Guru Nanak's visit earlier as also to have interface with other spiritual luminaries. Mahatma Jiwan Das, and an aged holy personage who had chosen to be an Udasi in order to devote his exclusive attention to proselytise Sikh faith and had already experienced the thrill of being close to Guru Hargobind and Guru Tegh Bahadur, (He waited upon Guru Tegh Bahadur in Assam on the bank of River Brahmputra) came to the Guru to seek divine illumination. The Guru in His Grace blessed him and illumined his consciousness. Bhai Santokh Singh says[23],

"God's knowledge dawned on him and he went into ecstasy. He realised One Supreme Soul sustaining the whole universe."

People called him Atam Das, a slave of Supreme Soul. The Guru also met Mahant Jait Ram of Dadoo Dwara who per chance was there. Jogi Jiwan Das and the Mahant told the Guru about one Bairagi Madho Das and his great occult powers.[24]

The Emperor, who had left Burhanpur after a stay of a day or two, now wrote to the Guru to join him. According to Giani Ishar Singh Nara, Bahadur Shah did not want that the Guru's influence among the people should increase. The Guru being embodiment of transparent sincerity, uprightness and truthfulness, did not doubt the Emperor and left Burhanpur. On the way, he sojourned at Jainabad, Balapur and Akola. Thereafter he first stayed at Banera and then at Amravati. From here the Guru first proceeded to Hingoli. At some distance from this place, he caught up with Bahadur Shah and camped at a distance of two three miles from the Emperor's camp. Both Bahadur Shah and the Guru followed the route via Malikpur, crossed Ban Ganga on August 13[25], 1708. In the beginning of September 1708, both halted at Nanded a place of pilgrimage on the River Godavari and about a hundred and fifty miles to the North-East of Hyderabad.

Throughout the journey from Agra to Nanded, the Guru utilised his time for the propagation of his mission.[26] Dr. Ganda Singh writes that at times, the Guru was not seen in either of the two camps for days together even for a whole week and was busy suffusing the people with the philosophy of Sikh religion.[27] On the way, he also acquired first-hand perception of men and material around.

George Forster in his letter XI in A Journey from Bengal to England (published, London, 1798 Vol. I pp. 262-63) vouch­safes, "He (Guru Gobind Singh) even received marks of favour from Bahadur Shah who being apprised of his military abilities gave him a charge in the army which marched into the Deccan to oppose the rebellion of Kam Buchish (Kam Bakhsh)." Many of the later historians including Elphinstone[28] held the same opinion. Elphinstone asserted that Forster's account was confirmed by Khafi Khan. But this is not correct. Khafi Khan says that, "Guru Gobind Singh accompanied Bahadur Shah with 200-300 horse men carrying spears and some infantry."[29]

His exact words were:

Dar ayyam ki bahadar shah padshah mutwajja haidar abad gardldand gobind ndm az sar grohan an kaum badnam ba-hazur rasldah ba do sad seh sad sioar nezadar iva piadah dar rakdb rafdkat namud

There is no ambiguity about the words Rafaqat namud which only means accompanied and nothing more. The events in the life of the Guru do not lend any support to the aforesaid statement. At Agra we find him ordering the dress of honour presented to him by the Emperor to be carried away by a follower instead of carrying it himself in the Royal presence according to the prevailing court etiquette and practices. This was a rare privilege never allowed to officials or the servants of the state. Again, during his southward march, Guru sometime separated himself from Bahadur Shah's camp for a number of days to carry on his missionary work. Twarikh-i- Bahadur Shah tells us that "Guru Gobind, one of the grandsons of Nanak, had come into these districts to travel and accompanied the royal camp. He was in the habit of constantly addressing assemblies of worldly persons, religious fanatics and all sorts of people."[30]

This could certainly not have been permitted to an employee of the state especially when he was proceeding on a military expedition against a threatening rebellion. There is yet another strong evidence against Forster's wrong conclusion. On the 5th Ramzan, 1120H, November 7, 1708, a month after the demise of the Guru, a report was made to the Emperor Bahadur Shah "regarding the disposal of moveable property of the Guru; Gobind Nanak. It was of considerable value and according to rule (applicable to Imperial officials and servants of the state) ought to be confiscated. The Emperor remarked that he was not in want of the goods of a Darvesh and ordered that the whole should be relinquished to the heirs."[31] The Akhbar-i-Darbar-i-Mualla (Rajasthan State Archives) has one entry on November, 1708, wherein the Emperor is reported to have said, "The Imperial Treasury will not flourish with these goods. It is the property of Darveshan (saints). It should not be interfered with." Here also the Emperor did not consider the Guru as a state servant.

The Guru chose to stay at Nanded, and gave up the idea of accompanying Bahadur Shah any further. He selected a congenial spot for his residence over-looking the river. Soon a colony sprang up around his abode which began to be called 'Abchal Nagar' the city Eternal. The last days of his earthly life were spent here in all the wondrous glow of Sikh ways as it had begun at Anandpur and had been kept aglow all through. Anandpur was reproduced in the Deccan again.

Why did the Guru give up the idea of proceeding further with the Emperor? Why did the Guru select this place in particular? Contemporary evidence does not throw much light on these questions. But circumstantial evidence does help us to reach some conclusions. The Guru was associated with Bahadur Shah from Agra to Nanded for over a period of about fifteen months (July 1707 to October 1708). Understandably he was continuing old negotiations hoping that a satisfactory conclusion would soon be reached but in the process, he realised that it was far from reality. Bahadur Shah had shown marked amenability to come under the influence of Muslim orthodoxy, still spearheaded by Naqshbandis and Sayyed of Burhans who were averse to the award of any punishment to Wazir Khan, one of their coteries, or to any settlement between the Khalsa and the Mughal state. The Guru, therefore, thought it advisable to detach himself from Bahadur Shah since no fruitful results were accruing.

Even then the Guru could have chosen some other place to reside but he did not. The reason hitherto advanced is that he wanted to see Banda in order to use him as his instrument to wage a war against the tyrannous Mughal ruler of the Punjab, as also against the Hill Chiefs. This view is not plausible. Firstly, Banda was not personally known to the Guru. The Guru had only heard of him through the Mahant of Dadoo Dwara.[32] Guru could not be sure that he would give up his ascetic life and follow his mission. Secondly, the Guru's activities at Nanded do not subscribe to this view as these were aimed at establishing Sikh headquarter at that place to spread Sikh gospel in the whole of Deccan peninsula. The city of Nanded, about 240 kms from Hyderabad, was originally called Nau Nand Dehra because it[33] is said that nine Rishis dwelt there in pre-historic times. It had assumed the status of an important pilgrimage centre, as apart from its associations with the Rishis, it was the abode of different Ashrams (camps) of Vaishnavites, Saivites, Lingayats and Bairagis et al. In the fitness of things, the Guru seemed to have considered it to enter into dialogue with the leaders of these holy camps to know their reactions and ultimately to convert them to his ideology, if possible.

Without much loss of time, the Guru started addressing congregations besides offering usual daily prayers.[34] He soon became the focus of attention of the people who thronged to him to have a glimpse of his divine personality and also to be suffused with his soulful ideology.

He stayed at Nanded for about a month during which period he was relentless in his pursuit to promote the cause of Sikhism. Through his life-style and his vigorous preachings, he tried to awaken the people to enable them discriminate between dross and vital. He organised hunting expeditions in the environs of River Godavari to articulate the people to lead active and courageous life instead of drowsing in passivity and sloth. Shikar Ghat Gurdwara at Nanded enshrines the memory of this aspect of Guru's activities.

He regularly attended and addressed the holy assemblies both in the morning and late afternoon. These assemblies were largely attended. Thousands of people flocked to him. The Guru inculcated among them a new spirit through the recitations from Sri Adi Granth and through sermons. Small pothies (booklets containing hymns from Sri Adi Granth) were prepared under the overall supervision of Bhai Mani Singh and distributed among the disciples. Some copies of Sri Adi Granth were also prepared and given to the most deserving disciples to be read out to the people even in the absence of the Guru. Bhai Mani Singh who had acquired in-depth knowledge of Sikh scripture from Guru Gobind Singh held discourses explicative of Gurbani, and of the Sikh way.

Of the many disciples who came to the Guru, Sayyad Khan was one of the most important one. He came all the way from Kangra hills to see the Master. One day in the full assembly of the disciples, a messenger arrived from the Punjab and gave a letter to Sayyad Khan. He opened the letter and passed it on to the Guru. It was from his sister Nasiran and it was a song, an epic telling how the Emperor's minions had ransacked Sadhaura treating Pir Budhu Shah as a rebel. Today Shah Sahib is no more amongst us. Nasiran Said, "And it is now my turn." These eyes had not seen the Beloved yet, but they have drunk of beauty in Dhayanam. There is no sorrow. It is the inner joy blossoming up in the fullness of a willing death."

As the letter was read, the Guru closed his eyes and blessed Nasiran. The Guru never forgot his devotees, always inspired them with ideals which never allow a man to die even after the extinction of physical frame. Bhai Nand Lai, one of the counsellors of Bahadur Shah also attended upon the Guru. He enjoyed the blessings of the Guru's sacred presence. He told him the Emperor's point of view but never went beyond his official duties.

The Guru in his resolve to propagate his mission utilised the service of Dhadies fully. Nath Mal was one such Dhadi out of the many in the Guru's court. He sang Vars to the accompaniment of Dhad a musical instrument to highlight the achievements of the Sikh Gurus and their Sikhs. Generally, he sang in Punjabi but at Nanded all those who attended the congregations were not Punjabi-knowing people. Quite a large number of them, particularly the Muslims, understood and spoke Persian. To make them understand the Guru's mission, Nath Mal sang ballads (Vars) in Persian language also. One such ballad known as Amarnama composed under the name of the Guru himself in the first person, has come down to us through the son of Bhai Fatta, the seventh descendant of Nath Mal.[35]

A perusal of this ballad gives us, although only an outline what constituted the essence of the Guru's teachings. Nath Mal says that the Guru pitched his camp in a grave-yard which caused great tumult among the Muslims of the locality. The Guru's discreet silence and luminous personality over-whelmed and quietened them. This event under-lined the point that the Guru attached no importance to the graves and did not regard them as sacrosanct. Nath Mal further adds that the Guru, on the day of solar eclipse, gave alms and rewards to the people irrespective of caste and profession et al, issued injunctions to the Sikhs not to seek guidance from Brahmins, threw the costly pearls into the River Godavari given to him as offering by Bahadur Shah, exhorted the Sikhs to have Khande-Ki-Pahul irrespective of the age gender or social status. The Sikhs came out victorious in the clash between Banda's followers themselves. The Guru succeeded in bending Banda to his Will.

From all this, it can safely be surmised that the Guru did not like superstitions attached with the solar eclipse, abhorred the society recognising differences on the basis of caste and wealth. Fie strongly upheld rational approach and commitment to build egalitarian society whose members were suffused with the faith in the one-ness of God and Brotherhood of mankind. Furthermore, he wished for the Sikhs to have Amrit (Nectar) of double-edged sword to enter into the Khalsa Brotherhood, which according to him was at once a pattern and instrument, to present and promote the cause of Gurus.

The Guru deliberated upon different problems of various aspects of society with different persons including those holding important positions in various religious orders flourishing then at Nanded and other places in the South. In the course of these deliberations, the Guru seemed to have made deep impact on all and sundry. Possibly many people around Nanded who are now a days better known as Banajaras embraced Sikh religion after having been impressed by the effulgent personality of the Guru and the ideology he sponsored.

Urged by his success and the sense of mission, the Guru established apostalic seat of Sikhism in the South at Nanded to organise the proselytising work in a better way. The ideal of setting up this appostalic seat first flashed across the Guru’s mind when he was travelling in the Malwa region of the Punjab. According to the Sakhi Pothi, once when the Guru expressed his desire to go to the South to establish the aforesaid seat, a Sikh sarcastically said why go to that hellish place which is Deccan. The Guru quipped, "Don't speak in such a way about Deccan. It is dear to me and I have work to do there." Anyway the idea then was only in a nascent form. It sprouted and matured when the Guru's proselytising activities met with success and that too in a remarkably short time.

Another notable feature of Nanded activities was the Guru's unabated concern regarding the people who were suffering fresh wave of oppression and cruelty in the Punjab perpetrated by Wazir Khan and his orthodox henchmen, especially in the context of the indifference shown by Bahadur Shah towards the Guru's demand of persecuting him. Should he compromise with the oppression and the Sikh dispensation, according to which evil must be fought at any cost and the wicked must be punished without remorse, if all other means fail? The Guru decided never ever to relent and could not help thinking of means to bring the oppressors to task. He had some infantry and two or three hundred horsemen equipped with lances. He had a great following in the Punjab and very influential and faithful batches of Sikhs around him who had kept support between the Sikhs and Guru. At this juncture some events took place which proved very significant in the history of the Sikhs. Sometime after his arrival at Nanded the Guru repaired to the Baimgis monastery on the bank of River Godavari on September 3, 1708. It was a solar eclipse[36] day held sacred by the Hindus who generally spend it in ablutions, propitiations and charities. Bairagi Madho Das as per custom had gone to the river to have a holy bath and to offer prayers.[37]

The Guru laid himself on his couch to wait for him. There was an unpleasant exchange of hot words and blows and the Birs were beaten back by the followers of the Guru. The Banda’s disciples then worked upon the credulous Hindus to go to the Emperor to lodge a complaint against the Guru. The Emperor's response was of total indifference, since the complaint was frivolous. Madho Das then came to the Ashram angrily but seeing the Guru all his anger disappeared. He felt a strange sense of exhilaration at Guru's sight. With very slow and measured steps showing utmost reverence, he approached the Guru and fell at his feet apologetically.[38]

The following dialogue is also recorded in Ahmed Shah Batalia's Zikr-i-Guruan Wa-Ibatida-i-Singaan Wa Mazb-i- Eshan:

Madho Das: Who are you?

Guru Gobind Singh: He whom you know.

Madho Das: What do I know?

Guru Gobind Singh: Think it over in your mind.

Madho Das (after a pause): So, you are Guru Gobind Singh.

Guru Gobind Singh: Yes.

Madho Das: What have you come here for?

Guru Gobind Singh: I have come here so that I may convert you into a disciple of the Guru.

Madho Das: I accept it.

The Guru perceived what was yet vital in the youthful ascetic and relumed it with promethean fire. He availed himself of this psychological moment, dressed him like a Sikh and administered to him the immortalising draughts, the Khande-ki-Pahul of the Khalsa. The Ex-Bairagi was now given the new name of Banda Singh. Throughout his life and afterwards, he was popularly known and recorded by the historians by his self-conferred title of Banda or Banda Bahadur.[39] In an instant, he was a changed man. He was now no longer a Bairagi. He had now become a full-fledged Sikh, a disciple of Guru Gobind Singh, a member of the Khalsa brotherhood. He had now found a true preceptor and saviour in Guru Gobind Singh who became the focus of all his religious devotion. His monastic establishment was at once dissolved and he followed the Guru to his camp to prepare for a new mission—a new life. Within days, he acquainted himself with the early history of Sikhism, the lofty ideals of the Gurus and their efforts to raise a nation of 'Saint Warriors'. He also heard how Guru Arjan Dev and Guru Tegh Bahadur fell prey to the injustice of the ruling classes. The doleful tale of the cold­blooded murder of the Guru's younger sons—Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh—who were bricked alive in a wall at Sirhind and were then mercilessly butchered to death for their refusal to abjure their faith, drew tears from his eyes and drove him into a sort of frenzy.

Finding Banda in a frame of mind to act to resist oppression and tyranny, the Guru gave him five arrows from his own quiver as a token of victory. A council of five Pyaras (beloved ones), consisting of Bhai Binod Singh, a descendant of Guru Amar Das’s family, his brother Ram Singh, Binod Singh who descended from Guru Angad, his son Kahan Singh and Fateh Singh[40] were appointed to assist him as also to provide corporate leadership to the Khalsa. Twenty more Singhs were nominated to accompany him to the theatre of their future activities. A Nishan Sahib (flag), a Nagara and a dress were bestowed on him as emblems of temporal authority. The secret of his success lay, he was told, in personal purity and chastity and in the propitiation of the Khalsa who were to be regarded as the Guru's very self. Thus raised to the position of fathedar or leader of the Khalsa and strengthened by the Guru's Hukamnamas or letters to the Sikhs all over the country to join in his expedition, Banda Singh left for the Punjab to initiate and carry on the campaign against the cruelty and injustice of the Mughal government.

The commissioning of Banda by the Guru to lead the Sikhs against the unjust rule of the Mughals in the Punjab was not taken kindly by Bahadur Shah, who despite being in a hurry to go to Hyderabad to suppress the revolt of his brother, Kam Bakhsh, did not find it advisable to leave the Guru alone. He had the mistaken belief that the Guru's death would be a fatal blow to his scheme of brewing revolution in the Punjab. He, therefore, entered into a conspiracy with the two Pathans, Gul Khan alias Jamshed Khan and his brother Ata Ullah, already hired[41] and deputed by Wazir Khan to put an end to the fabulously rich life of the Guru.[42] Sainapat states that they paid several visits to the Guru and attended his prayer meetings, evidently to avoid suspicion and to look for a favourable opportunity to attack him. At last one evening when the Guru was enjoying siesta and his attendant was drowsing, one of the Pathans surreptitiously crept in to his tent and stabbed him with a dagger on his left side a little below the heart. But before he could deal another blow, the Guru despatched him to hell with his sword and his fleeing companion (Ata Ullah) was put to death by the Sikhs who heard the commotion and came running to the Guru's tent.[43]

In order to keep up his friendly stance the Emperor immediately sent expert surgeons to attend him. One of them, it is said, was an English man called Cole. The wound got healed in a few days, although outwardly. Guru Gobind Singh resumed his task of addressing the congregations. There were rejoicings among the Khalsa at Nanded that God had saved their beloved Guru. In a Swayya composed by the Guru, his gratitude to God for protecting his life is aptly expressed. Not even the innumerable weapons of all the enemies can inflict a fatal on those who seek refuge in God. But sometime later, the Guru was testing a bow. When he stretched it powerfully, it caused the raw wounds to open up again and bleed profusely.[44]

A couple of days later, Mata Sahib Kaur was sent back to Delhi to join Mata Sundri. Bhai Mani Singh was detailed to accompany her. On the 7th October, 1708, the Guru uttered a spirited 'Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa, Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh' to bid his farewell to the Sikhs, whom he liked so much and who loved him above everything. As the Sikhs fervently responded with 'Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa, Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh', he immersed himself in the divine light. Thus passed from the earthly scene a great teacher, a great regenerator of mankind, the anointed messenger who revealed God's ways and will to the people and showed by personal example, the ultimate possibilities of the human soul for compassionate as well as heroic actions and for suffering in vindication of the highest truth and values known to man. The Sikhs made preparations for the obsequies. The sacred body was placed on the pyre raised inside an enclosure formed of tent walls and the fire was lit amidst the chanting of the holy hymns. The Sohila was then recited and Karah Prasad distributed. Bereft of the physical appearance of the Guru, the Sikhs felt an agonising emptiness, they had not known in the history beginning from Guru Nanak.[45] But they remembered the words of the Guru who had blended himself into the Khalsa. The sense of indwelling of the Guru in Granth and Panth meant the presence of Guru in the collective body of the Khalsa. It gradually reassured them and filled in the vacuum.

A day before the end came, he asked for the sacred volume of the Sri Adi Granth to be brought before him. To quote Bhatt Vahi Bhason Pargana Thanesar:

Guru Gobind Singh Ji Mahal dasam, beta Teg Bahadur Ji ka, pota Guru Hargobind Ji ka, Parpota Guru Arjan Ji ka, bans Guru Ram Das Ji ki, Surajbansi gosal gotra Sodhi khatri Basi Anandpur, pargana Kahlur, Muqam Nanded, Godavari des Dahan samvat satran sai painsath, Katik mas ki chauth, Shukla pakkhe, Budhwar ke dihun Bhai Daya Singh se bachan hoya Sri Granth lai aye. Guruji ne panj paise, narial agey bheta rakh matha teka. Sarbat sangat se kaha, mera hukam hai, merijagah Sri Granth Ji ko jano. Jo Sikh janega tis ki ghal thaen paegi, Guru tis ki bahuri karega Sat Kar man-na.

"Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Master son of Guru Tegh Bahadur, grandson of Guru Hargobind, great grandson of Guru Arjan, of the family of Guru Ram Das Surajbansi Gosal clan, Sodhi Khatri, resident of Anandpur Parganah Kahlur, now at Nanded in the Godavari country in the Deccan asked Bhai Daya Singh on Wednesday, Katik Chauth, Sukla Pakh. Samvat 1765 BK/October 6, 1708 to fetch Sri Granth Sahib (Damdama Sahib Wali Bir). In obedience to his orders, Daya Singh brought Sri Granth Sahib. The Guru placed five paisa and coconut before it and bowed his head before it. He said to the sangat, "It is my commandment, own Sri Granth Ji in my place. He who so acknowledges it will obtain his reward. The Guru will rescue him. Know this as the truth."

These utterances were unique and had a far reaching implications. The Guru put an end to the institution of personal Guruship by asking the Sikhs to regard Sri Adi Granth as their spiritual Guru after him. The Khalsa had already been invested with the status of Guru, now both Khalsa and Sri Adi Granth were raised to the Status of Guru.

Other documents authenticating this fact are a letter issued by Mata Sundri Ji and Devraja Sharma’s Nanakacandrodya Mahakavyam, an old Sanskrit manuscript which has been recently published by Sanskrit University Varanasi. Even a cursory glance at the letter of Mata Sundri makes it clear how the Sikhs after Guru Gobind Singh believed that the Guruship had passed to the Shabad (word) as contained in Granth Sahib. "None in human form after the ten Gurus was to be acknowledged by the Sikhs as Guru. Those, who like Banda Singh's or Ajit Singh's followers called their leaders as Gurus were committing a mortal sin. All other sins, says the letter, could be forgiven by repeating the Guru's Name, but not the sin of believing in yet another living Guru after the Ten Masters of the Sikh faith.[46]

The Second document referred to above also records Guru's proclamation that 'The Scripture' would be the Guru henceforth him. While the Master lay on his death bed, Bhai Nand Lai came forward and asked the following question, "Who shall be our teacher now? Whom shall we salute and see and what shall be the source of our discourses?" The Master replied, "Sri Granth which itself is the doctrine of the Guru shall be your teacher. This is what you should see; this is what should be the source and object of your discourses." The original in Sanskrit reads as follows:

NanadLalas Tada Prcchat Ko Asmkam adhuna Guruh Kam Namena Ca Pasyema Kasmai Varta, Vadema Ca Uce Gurustu Yusmakam Grantha Eva Gururmatah Tam Nameta Ca Pasyeta Tasmai Varta Vedeta Ca (Nanakacandrodaya, Mahakavyam XXI, 227-29)

The personal guruship was thus ended by Guru Gobind Singh himself. Succession now passed on to the Granth and the Khalsa in perpetuity. This was most significant development in the history of the community. According to Dr. Harbans Singh:

"The finality of the Holy Book was a fact rich in religious and social implications. Guru Granth Sahib was acknowledged as the medium of the Divine revelation descended through the Gurus. It was for Sikhs the perpetual authority, spiritual as well as historical. They lived their religion in response to it. Through it they were able to observe their faith more fully, more vividly. It was central to all that subsequently happened in Sikh life. From it the community's ideals, institutions and rituals derived their meaning. It constituted the regulative principle for its aspiration and action, the integral focus of its psyche.”[47]

Sainapat, writing within three years of the Guru's death gives us a simple account in the climax of the evolution of the Panth.

"A day before his death, the Sikhs asked him as to the form he was adopting (or the person whom he was nominating to succeed him). In reply, he said that the Khalsa is his physical self and that to them he has granted his role and that the Eternal and limitless Word uttered with the Lord's light is the Supreme Master—Sat Guru Hamara."[48]

Bhai Nand Lai in his Rehatnama elaborates this point. He quotes Guru Gobind Singh saying that the Guru had three Rupa (Forms): (1) Nirguna (attributeless) i.e. the formless spirit of which the human soul was but a small part; (2) Guru Shabad i.e. the word of the Guru incorporated in Sri Adi Granth; and (3) Sarguna, the visible Khalsa, absorbed in Gurbani.

Another close associate of the Guru, Bhai Chaupa Singh records in his Rehatnama. The Guru's commandments are as follows:

"All the Sikhs are hereby commanded to obey the Granth as the Guru. The essence of the new system was that no individual would henceforth be recognised as the Guru. Henceforth the Khalsa, inspired and guided by the Word (Gurbani incorporated in the Granth) would be the physical and spiritual controller of the Panth." According to Giani Gian Singh, "The Guru opened the holy book, placed five paisa and a coconut before it, bowed before it, then went round the sacred scripture five times, bowed every time and declared it as the Guru for all times to come."[49]

The abolition of personal Guruship was anticipated but not accomplished at the Kesgarh assembly in 1699. There the Guru accepted for himself not only formal institution into the Khalsa but also the discipline of the new fraternity. In this way, he merged his own personality in the Khalsa, surrendering his high office. While hard pressed in the mud fort of Chamkaur, the five Sikhs representing mystically the whole Khalsa asked the Guru to escape in order to save his life for more important tasks of the Panth. The Guru had to honour the verdict of the Khalsa (Guru), thereby affirming that the supremacy of the Khalsa Panth was unchallengeable. This already established fact was openly canonised by the Guru on 6th October, 1708, while he passed the succession to the holy book, the Guru Granth. He declared to the Sikhs at the time of his death that the Word as embodied in the Granth would be the Guru after him. The soul of the Guru would henceforth be in the Granth and the body in the Panth (Khalsa). Where there are five Sikhs as representing the Khalsa, there the Guru will be in body, and with the Granth present, the Guru will also be present in spirit.

Motives behind Guru's Travel to the South

The Guru's motive in going to the Deccan along with Bahadur Shah inferred by different writers are as under:

  1. Bute Shah and Malcolm say that he went to Deccan because he despaired at terrible reverses and bereavement of his personal family and the Sikhs which had been his lot and wanted a change.
  2. Some writers say that the Guru joined the Mughal service. Cunningham says that the Guru received a military command in the valley of Godavari. According to Forster, Bahadur Shah being apprised of his military qualities gave him a charge in the army which marched into the Deccan to oppose the rebellion of Kam Bakhsh.[50] William Irvine also thinks that the Guru joined the Mughal army.[51]
  3. Quite a few writers state that the Guru having found that it would be difficult to gather afresh an army strong enough to challenge and rout the Imperial forces decided to arouse the Rajputs and the Marhattas to fight against the Mughal tyranny.

Before arriving at definite conclusion, we will have to examine all the theories stated above. The view of Bute Shah and Malcolm that dejection and despair overwhelmed the Guru and in order to have a change he left for the South, is evidently unfounded, as it does not fit in with the Guru's personality much less the teachings of Guru Nanak that he was ordained to propagate regardless of consequences—personal or corporate. Indeed, his whole life is a lesson in fortitude, courage and high spirits. As a child of nine years, he lost his father and stood face to face with formidable Mughal Empire which was at its zenith; but even that failed to have any depressing effect on his tender yet mighty heart. He saw his dearest Sikhs killed before his eyes, sent his two eldest sons into the valley of death at Chamkaur; but even those things could not plunge him into gloom. When his wife asked him where his four sons were, his reply was characteristic of his fundamental attitude to these things. He stated:

"What then if the four are gone?

They yet live, and shall ever live;

Millions of our dear brave sons."

Certainly no trace of grief or despair in all this. Besides this, the tenor and tone of his letter Zafarnama testifies to the attitude of the Guru towards suffering. In fact, he openly threatened the Emperor while he wrote "what though my four sons have been killed, my younger son, the Khalsa remains behind like a coiled snake. What bravery is it to quench a few sparks of life? Thou art merely exciting a raging fire still more." Nowhere and at no time was the Guru despondent. He was always active in the pursuit of his ideals.

Thus in the presence of such unimpeachable evidence, it is absurd to repose faith in the Dejection Theory.

The second view that the Guru went to the Deccan as an employee of Bahadur Shah is also far from truth. Cunningham who has given currency to this theory states that the Guru received military command in the valley of Godavari. He bases his conclusion on the evidence of some writers of Sikh history, namely Forster and Khafi Khan. On examination of the references cited by Cunningham we ascertain that he had little or no acquaintance with the original works of any Sikh writers. He alludes to Bachittra Natak and at another place Gurbilas of Bhai Sukha Singh. But all these accounts do not subscribe to the theory that the Guru took up service under Bahadur Shah.

So far as the authorities such as Forster and Khafi Khan are concerned, a close scrutiny of these also leads to the conclusion contrary to the service theory. Forster writes that "Guru Gobind Singh received marks of favour from Bahadur Shah who, being apprised of military qualities, gave him a charge in the army which marched into the Deccan to oppose the rebellion of Kam Bakhsh."[52] For this account, he relies on some historical tracts whose authors he names not. We have tried our best to discover those writers of the Sikh history but have failed. We think that Forster might have made use of some distorted versions of the accounts of Khafi Khan or those of some detractors of the Guru. Anyway, in the absence of any authentic information, it is difficult to maintain that the Guru took up the employment of Bahadur Shah.

Khafi Khan too does not corroborate the view of Cunnigham, although he, being a religious bigot, was in the habit of seeing everything through the myopic eyes. He describes the Guru not as a servant but a companion of Bahadur Shah. He uses the word Rafaqat1 for the Guru an abstract noun of Rafiq which means companionship or company. Obviously, it does not connote any difference of status between the persons concerned. Thus the service theory finds no support from the statement of Khafi Khan. It appears that service theory originated from an intentional or accidental mistranslation of Khafi Khan's passage.

A modern writer, Muhammad Latif while upholding the service theory, quotes Malcolm. But on perusal of Malcolm's book Sketches of the Sikhs, it has been found that he too held a diametrically opposite opinion. Nowhere in his book he lends credence to this theory. Hence Latif's view is without any foundation or at best an attempt to stain the unalloyed courage of the Guru.

Service theory can also be rejected in the light of the ideology and ideals of the Guru. The memory of the wrongs that had been inflicted on him and on his people were too fresh in his mind to have reconciled him joining the army of oppression. Nor, as Dr. Gokal Chand Narang writes, 'can the service theory be reconciled with the Guru's commission of Banda Bahadur to the leadership of the Punjab Khalsa'.[53]

Similarly the view that the Guru accompanied Bahadur Shah to Deccan for he wanted to arouse the Rajputs and the Marhattas to contribute their might to end the Mughal tyranny is at once far-fetched and a mere figment of imagination. Had the Guru gone to this errand, he would have tried to see some groups of the Marhattas or of the Rajputs to assess their strength and their will to offer a common combat front against the Mughal might. Since the Guru did not do anything of the sort, it is clear that he had no such intention or a mission. No doubt in Khafi Khan's accounts one gathers that the Guru addressed the congregation of the people who gathered around him daily; but it does not seem probable that the Guru preached sedition or revolt against the Mughal Government. If that be so, it would not have been possible for the Guru to spend so much time in the company of the Emperor.

Having negated the oft-held views, the issue of the real motive of the Guru of accompanying Bahadur Shah to the Deccan still remains unresolved. We think that after his meeting with the new Emperor who had given him an honourable reception, the Guru wrote to his followers in the Punjab and conveyed his appreciation of what had passed between him and the Emperor. In his letter, Guru Gobind Singh made a very significant allusion to the purpose of his meeting with Bahadur Shah. After remembering the jewelled scarf and the Khillat presented to him by the Emperor, the Guru expressed his satisfaction with other matters too. He then informed the Khalsa that he would return to them in a few days, enjoined the Sikhs to remain devoted to one another and come fully armed to his presence on his return to Kahlur.[54] The Guru seems to have believed that he would soon get justice or succeed in prevailing upon the Emperor to follow the liberal policies, enable him return to Anandpur and to punish the Subedar of Sirhind for his excesses. The Hukamndma to this effect certainly epitomises a fresh approach to the problems. As a matter of fact, throughout this period Aurangzeb lived far away in the South at Ahmednagar, and it is possible that he might not have been kept fully and truly informed regarding the affairs in the Punjab. Although the later Sikh records speak of frequent appeals to the Emperor by Hill Chiefs and thus give the impression that the whole campaign was being conducted with the full knowledge of the Emperor yet considering the distance of Emperor's stay from the Punjab and poor means of communications and transportation, their view may be accepted with reservation.

In view of this, it is plausible that the cause of the trouble was primarily the local officials particularly Wazir Khan, the Subedar of Sirhind, who did not brook the popularity of the Guru on account of religious as well as Imperial reasons. The Guru in his reckoning was not only a great hurdle in the process of the consummation of the objectives of Naqshbandis as also of Aurangzeb but also heralded a new socio-political structure which clashed with the structure based on Shariat of which the Mughal state under Aurangzeb was a great champion. The crime of Wazir Khan in particular was so heinous and of so brutal a character that the Guru would have been false to himself and his ideals if he had not made efforts to bring the accused to appropriate task. Therefore the only way left to him was to resort to diplomacy. Thus, it is quite understandable that this was the purpose for which the Guru sought to see the Emperor. The death of Aurangzeb foiled him in his efforts for a while, but he was consistent and persistent in the present course drafted out by him. It was this very purpose for which he extended his moral support to Bahadur Shah and kept himself in the Emperor's train.

The Sikh records, more or less, are definite that this was the object for the consummation of which he joined Bahadur Shah. This thing is also quite clear from the Guru's Hukamnama (fiat) of October 2, 1707 wherein it is written 'the old negotiations that had brought him so far, were then in progress and he soon expected to return to the Punjab.[55] But it appears that the Emperor started for Rajputana (12th November, 1707). The Guru had to accompany him to keep up the tempo of ongoing talks. The Emperor, however avoided the Guru under one pretext or the other. Shortly after, the Guru discovered that his efforts for honourable reconciliation had failed and the Emperor was not sincere in his overtures. He then commissioned Banda Singh to achieve by force what he had failed to accomplish on appeal to justice.

The Guru's Earthly Close

The Guru breathed his last on 7th October, 1708 as a result of the stab wound by a certain Pathan. Many views have been expressed regarding the circumstances of his assassination. Bhai Sukha Singh in his Gur Bilas[56] states that two Pathan youths who were the sons of Painde Khan whom Guru Hargobind had killed in the Battle of Kartarpur, came to the Guru. One day, the Guru gave one of them the sword which had been presented to him and said that a man who had sword in his hand and saw the enemy of his father or grandfather before his eyes and yet failed to avenge the wrong had been born in vain. The youngman hesitated; but after a few days when he went to see the Guru, his sense of responsibility and valour was again aroused. He struck the Guru; his third blow penetrated into the Guru's body. Upon hearing the commotion a Sikh rushed in and seeing the misdeed of the Pathan severed his head. The wound was stitched up; but it could not heal causing loss of blood, which resulted in the death of the Guru ultimately.

The story, when put to critical analysis, fails to stand on its ground. A son of Painde Khan who died in 1634 was by no means a youngman in 1708. Moreover, to arouse the young Pathan first to kill the Guru and then to see him being killed by the Sikhs is such an incongruity inexplicable by any norm of logic.

Another variant of the story has been given currency by Cunningham.[57] In their variant, the name of Painda Khan has been dropped and we are introduced to a Pathan merchant who had sold horses to the Guru at Anandpur. One day, when the Guru was out of funds, the Pathan came and asked for immediate payment. The Guru asked him to come on some other day. He (the Pathan) used an angry gesture, and his utterings of violence provoked the Guru to strike him dead. The body of the slain Pathan was removed and buried, and his family reconciled to the fate of his head. But his sons nursed their revenge, and availed and opportunity of fulfilling it. They succeeded in stealing upon the Guru's retirement, and stabbed him mortally when asleep and unguarded. Other writers such as McGregor[58] state that the Guru realised his mistake shortly after and as a recompense for the fate of the victim, the Guru showed special considerations to the widow and brought up her son as a father would do. When the boy grew up to manhood, he is said to have been incited by the Guru himself to strike him. The boy did it, with fatal results for the Guru. Trumpp also believes in this version and to give a rationale to it, states that the Guru had been disgusted with life and wanted to end it.

The version also cannot stand the test of historical methodology. The authors of this version unanimously state, the Pathan, the father of the assailant, was killed by the Guru after escaping from Chamkaur. The Guru's escape from Chamkaur took place in December, 1705. He reached Nanded in September, 1708. Obviously during this period of three years (approximately) the son of the Pathan who was a child as it is asserted could not have grown into manhood, fully trained in the use of arms, capable of attacking the Guru who was known for his physical strength and skill in the handling of arms. The assertion that the Guru who was in the grip of abject dejection invited the attack on himself is altogether absurd, because in that case, he could not have stitched up his wounds properly and carefully attended to. Moreover, if he had lost all hopes and was completely disappointed, he could not have commissioned Banda Singh to do his job.

Furthermore, in recent years fresh light is thrown by a Hukamnama according to which no demand for immediate payment was put before the Guru. In fact a Pathan, who had certain claim on the Guru met him, but that he made no demand for any money, but actually refused to do so when reminded of it by the Guru.[59]

Another version of the story is given by Macauliffe: 'More probable is the account given in Twarikh-i-Bahadur Shahi. The Guru was in the habit of addressing assemblies of worldly persons constantly, religious fanatics, and indeed all varieties of people. One day, an Afghan who frequently attended these meetings was sitting listening to him, when certain expression which were disagreeable to his ears of the faithful tell him the Guru's tongue. The Afghan was enraged and regardless of the Guru's dignity and importance, stabbed him twice or thrice with a poniard.'[60]

This version also suffers from serious aberrations. There is implicit in the version that the Guru spoke against Islam. This fact cannot be true because there is nothing in the life and writings of the Guru to show that he had any kinds of hatred for Islam. According to Kartar Singh, "The story is a concoction of a zealous and a loyal Muhammadan. By inventing this story he has detracted from the Guru's glory by depicting him as rash and indiscreet in his speech and inimical to Islam. He has glorified the murderer by representing him as acting in religious wrath aroused by the Guru's words; and he has completely absolved the Emperor and Wazir Khan of having any hand in the affair."

From the perusal of Sri Gursobha by Sainapat, one of the fifty-two poets of the Guru's court and Chatur Jugi, the correct version has come to light. Sainapat states that one day a Pathan came to the assembly that met daily around the Guru. The Pathan carried murderous intentions latently. He could not have his chance because of overwhelming strength of Sikhs present there. He came again after two or three days and thereafter frequented the place more often. One evening he got his opportunity and struck the Guru with his dagger. He tried to repeat his attack the second time but before he could do it he was despatched to the world beyond. The Guru then called for his Sikhs who hurried to him. Two confederates of the assailant who were waiting for him outside the tent became victims of the swords of the Sikhs. The Guru's wound was immediately stitched and dressed up. After a few days it appeared to have healed up. But when the Guru tried to raise himself, the stitches gave way. The wound was sewn up again but after three or four days, i.e. to say on October 7, 1708, the Guru breathed his last.

No doubt Sainapat's account seems more realistic, sober and free from any inconsistency, yet he does not disclose the identity of the person and the motive which prompted the Pathan to do the nefarious act. Here Chatur Jugi, Khushwaqt Rai and Bakht Mal come to our rescue. The man was a hireling of Wazir Khan of Sirhind who was the real abettor of the crime. As the Guru moved with Bahadur Shah, Wazir Khan got apprehensive of the intentions of the Guru. He knew what would happen to him if peace was made between the Mughals and the Sikhs. The Emperor had already shown an inclination to help the Guru at the expense of the Nawab. He had granted a farman in favour of the Guru upon Wazir Khan for the payment of Rs. 300 a day. Wazir Khan was now in fear of his life and could not rest until he had got rid of Guru Gobind Singh for good. Accordingly, he deputed a young Pathan named Jamshed Khan, to assassinate the Guru, who having gathered necessary information from the Guru's wife at Delhi, proceeded to Nanded and accomplished the assigned job.

Bhai Vir Singh auther of Kalghidar Chamatkar says that Bahadur Shah was personally involved in the killing of the Guru. Our probe into the historical circumstances also leads to this very conclusion. The Emperor was enraged with the Guru who, he feared, might raise the struggle against the Mughals while camping in Hyderabad. It was for this reason that though in a hurry to reach Hyderabad to suppress the revolt of his brother Kam Bakhsh, he continued staying at Nanded and was not leaving the Guru alone. Bahadur Shah had the mistaken belief that the Guru's death would be a fatal blow to his scheme of engineering the revolution in Punjab. He therefore entered into a conspiracy with the two Pathans, Gul Khan alias Jamshed Khan and his brother Ata-Ullah already deputed by Wazir Khan to put an end to the life of the Guru. The following historical facts testify to the involvement of Bahadur Shah in the conspiracy to kill Guru Gobind Singh.

On October 28, 1708 the Emperor ordered that a dress of mourning be presented to the son of Jamshed Khan Afghan who had been killed by Guru Gobind Singh. The imperial news-letter of Bahadur Shah's court records:

Keh Guru Gobind Singh Rai Jamshed Khan Afghan ra bajan Kushtah bud Khillat-e-Matami bapisar-i-Khan Mazkur Mrahmat shud.[61]

Jamshed Khan was not a mansabdar or a high dignitary entitled to high honours by the Emperor. He was a spy of Wazir Khan in the disguise of a soldier in attendance upon the Sayyed who was also deputed by the Governor of Sirhind.

Two days later, on October 30, 1708, the Emperor ordered for the grant of a robe of mourning to Guru Gobind Singh's family.

The news-letter of the court states 26 Shaban year 2, Oct. 30, 1708.

Guru Gobind Rai Nanak-panthi Khillat-e-Matami- Pi-Dar Badehand[62]

It means that the Emperor treated Jamshed Khan and Guru Gobind Singh on equal status, thereby confirming that Jamshed Khan enjoyed the patronage of the Emperor.

"On November 17, 1708 it was represented that the deceased Guru had left huge property." How should it be disposed?[63]

It was ordered that such chatties would not replenish the Imperial treasury. "This was the property of a Darvesh (saint). There should be no interference with it."[64]

The Emperor's refusal to attach the property of the Guru against the will of his courtiers shows his cunning diplomacy. It was purely an eye-wash and cover up of his complicity in the impious fraud.[65]

Notes and References

[1] V.S. Bhatnagar, Life and Times of Sawai Jai Singh.

[2] Mir Jafar Ali Zatalli, Kuliyat (ed.) Gar Shewa-e-Gadai Nakhawa i.e. Talib Kuni Naukrie-Shah-Muazzam Khan.

[3] Hari Ram Gupta, A History of Sikh Gurus, p. 317.

[4] According to Hadiqat-ul-Aqulim of Murtaza Husain Bilgrami (pp. 127-28), some of the Imperial officers had for some time been clamouring for Jagirs and salaries and Bahadur Shah had very little money in the treasury at the time of his succession. At this juncture Khan-i-Khanan Munim Khan suggested to the Emperor to annex the territories of Kachhwa Rajputs.

[5] William Irvine, Later Mughals, p. 46.

[6] William Irvine, Later Mughals, p. 47.

[7] Ibid., pp. 47-48.

[8] Ibid., p. 49.

[9] Ibid., p. 1708.

[10] William Irvine, Later Mughals, Vol. I, p. 48.

[11] Tarikh-i-Muazzam Shah, Persian MSS, Rampur Library, extracts reproduced by Ganda Singh in Makhiz-i-Twarikh-i-Sikhan, pp. 76-81.

[12] Sainapat, Sri Gursobha, XVII, p. 123.

[13] Fauja Singh, Atlas-Travels of Guru Gobind Singh, p. 19.

[14] Ganda Singh, Makhiz-i-Twarikh-i-Sikhan, p. 84. Also refer to Naurang-i-

Zamana by Abdul Rasul.

[15] Koer Singh, Gurbilas, pp. 49-51.

[16] Ishar Singh Nara, Safarnama and Zafarnama, pp. 404-06.

Khafi Khan Muntakhab-ul-Lubab, Asiatic Society II, p. 652. The History of

India as Told by Its Own Historians by Elliot and Dowson, Vol. VII, p. 413.

[17] Muntkhat-Twarikh (ii), p. 618. Sainapat, Sri Gursobha, Vol. XVI. pp. 122-23.

[18] Ibid., pp. 404-06.

[19] Lashkar bhai Tlratha Gualier suinl Haridas(u)

Bhava Dhir(u) Ujjain vich(i) sadh sahgat(i) gur(u) sabad(i) niwas.

[20] Mela vada Burhan pur(i) sanmukh sikh sahaj pargas.

[21] Refer to History of India as Told by Its Own Historians, Elliot and Dowson Vol. VII, p. 566 and also refer to Muntakhab-ul-Lubab.

[22] Giani Gian Singh, Panth Parkash, p. 319.

[23] Santokh Singh, Sri Gur Partap Suraj Granth, Ain 2, Ansu 69.

[24] Fauja Singh, Atlas Travels of Guru Gobind Singh, p. 20.

[25] William Irvine, Later Mughals, p. 59.

[26] He was in the habit of constantly addressing assemblies of worldly persons, religious fanatics and all sorts of people. (Elliot and Dowson, History of India as Told by Its Own Historians, Vol. VII, p. 566.

[27] Tarikh-i-Bahadur Shah, "Guru Gobind Singh, one of the descendants of Nanak had come into the districts and accompanied the royal camp. Elliot and Dowson, op.cit.

[28] Elphinstone, History of India (fifth edition) p. 679.

[29] Khafi Khan, Muntakhab-ul-Lubab, Asiatic Society, II, 652; Also see the translation of Muntakhab-ul-Lubab by Khafi Khan in The History of India as told by Its Own Historians, p. 413.

[30] Elliot and Dowson, The History of India as told by Its Own Historians, Vol. VII, p. 566.

[31] Bahadur Shah Nama; William Irvine, Later Mughals, Vol. I, p. 90. Akhbar-i- Durbar-i-Mualla, 9th of Ramzan, November 11,1708, wherein the Emperor is recorded to have ordered: "The Imperial treasury will not flourish with these goods. It is the property of Darveshan, religious people, saints, it should not be interfered with.

[32] Mahant met the Guru at Dadoo Dwara at Narayana, 14 miles to the west of Jaipur city.

[33] M.A. Macauliffe, The Sikh Religion, Vol. V, p. 236. The author of the Periplus of the Erythrean Sea identifies it with ancient city of Tagara. In the middle of the 4th century, it was a capital of a small kingdom. Ruins of ancient edifice and dilapidated pillars of temples speak volume of its spiritual importance.

[34] Sainapat, Sri Gursobha, p. 128.

[35] Ganda Singh translated this ballad into Punjabi. This has been published by S.G.P.C., Amritsar.

(Piara Singh Padam's book titled Zafarnama contains this ballad. This ballad according to the author has two sections. He titles one as Safarnama and the other as Amarnama. It is believed that Amarnama was put to black and white round about the death of the Guru.)

[36] Dhade Nath Mal, Amarnama, (ed.) Ganda Singh.

[37] Ibid.

[38] Dhade Nath Mal, Amarnama, (ed.) Ganda Singh.

Ahmed Shah Batalia, Tarikh-i-Punjab, p. 11; Ganesh Das, Risalah-i-Sahib Numa, pp. 186, 187., Muhammad Latif, History of the Punjab, p. 299.

[39] Dhade Nath Mal, Amarnama.

[40] Giani Gian Singh, Panth Parkash 4th edition, pp. 327-28, (Gurmukhi); Twarikh Guru Khalsa, Vol. I, p. 352, as quoted by Dr. Hari Ram Gupta, History of the Sikhs, Vol. II, p. 6. According to Ratan Singh Bhangu, the council of five Sikhs comprised Binod Singh, Kahan Singh, Daya Singh, Sunam Singh and Baj Singh.

[41] The view is supported by the Chatur Jugi an old manuscript written by Bhagwan Singh and discovered by Dr. Bhai Vir Singh.

[42] Ganda Singh, A Short History of the Sikhs, p. 74.

[43] Sainapat, Sri Gursobha, Chapter XVIII, pp. 8-18, 128-129, 777-783.

[44] Sainapat, Sri Gursobha, pp. 131, 776-83.

[45] Ibid., p. 131, verses 34, 35.

[46] The letter is reproduced in the book The Heritage of the Sikhs by Harbans Singh, pp. 97-98. English translation of the Hukamnama is as under. The original letter is now in possession of Bhai Chet Singh of the village of Rupa, to whose ancestors it was addressed,

Dasah Patshahiah Tak Jamai Paidhe Yarvlh Barvih Chau Banda Ajita Vagaira Te Aitkad Lai Auna Hatiya Hai.

Hor Hatiya Guru Japan Nal Dur Hosan, Par Ih Hatiya Gunah Bakshiaiga Nahi Jo Manukh Ke Jame Upper Aitkad Karehge.

(Extract from the original letter).

[47] Harbans Singh, The Heritage of the Sikhs, pp. 110-11.

[48] Sainapat, Sri Gursobha, Chapter XVIII, p. 132, Verses 41 to 44.

[49] Giani Gian Singh, Twarikh Guru Khalsa, pp. 355-56.

[50] Forster William, A Journey from Bengal to England, pp. 262-63.

[51] William Irvine, Later Mughals, p. 90, (ed.) J.N. Sarkar.

[52] Forster himself is conscious of his shortcoming. On page 253 of his Travels he admits that he has no substantial authority from whom he could deduce the history of the Sikhs.

[53] Gokal Chand Narang, Transformation of Sikhism, p. 97.

[54] Hukamnama to the Sangat of Dhaul, dated Oct. 2,1707; Sri Gursobha, Xlth, p. 35.

[55] Hukamnama to the Sangat of Dhaul. We have met the Emperor with all success and received a robe of honour and a jewelled necklace worth Rs. 60,000 as a gift. We are returning shortly. Be at peace with one another. When we come to Kahlur let all the Khalsa come armed.

[56] Sukha Singh, Gurbilas Patshahi 10, Bhasha Vibhag, 1989, pp. 432-34.

[57] J.D. Cunningham, A History of the Sikhs, pp. 9, 73.

[58]  McGregor, Hisotry of Sikhs, Vol. 1, pp. 99-100.

[59]   The Hukamnama which the Guru granted to the Pathan for his good behaviour is still preserved by the descendants of Pathan. Refer to Life of Guru Gobind Singh, p. 263 by Kartar Singh.

[60] Twarikh-i-Bahadur Shahi as contained in The History of India as Told by Its Own Historians by Elliot and Dowson, pp. 566-67.

[61] Akhbarat-i-Darbar-i-Mualla, dated 24 Shaba, second year of Bahadur Shah (Oct. 28, 1708) quoted by Dr. Ganda Singh in Malchiz-i-Twarikh-i-Sikhan, p. 83.

[62] Akhbarat-i-Darbar-i-Mualla, quoted in Makhiz-i-Tivarikh-i-Sikhan, p. 83.

[63] William Irvine, Later Mughals, p. 90.

[64] Hukam shad aztn amwal Khazana-e-badshahah mehmur Nami-shwad Mal-e-darveshah ast-mazaham na shwad.

[65] Hari Ram Gupta, History of the Sikhs, p. 330.