News & Updates

October 23, 2017


Jats and Sikh Militarization - Refutes the assertion that Sikh militarization was due to influx of Jats in the Sikh fold. 


August 24, 2017


Kurukshetra Sakhi and Meat – Debunks the theory that Guru Sahib advocated meat eating at Kurukshetra through revealed Shabads of ‘Maas Maas Kar’.


Check Past Updates

Find Us On...

Find Sikhism: Sikh Religion, Beliefs, Philosophy and Principles on FacebookFind Sikhism: Sikh Religion, Beliefs, Philosophy and Principles on Twitter

Return to Anandpur

Fighting In the Himalayan Foot-Hills

The Guru did not stay at Paonta for long. His stay at Paonta after the Battle of Bhangani was very short—one month and ten days, according to Swarup Singh Kaushish.[1] He left Paonta on Katak Sudi Trodsi, BK 1745 for Kapal Mochan; an ancient pilgrimage centre of the Hindus, 20 kilometres away from Jagadhari. The Guru delivered his instructions to a large number of people who had gathered there to celebrate the fair held-annually in honour of Kapal Mochan. Since that was the full moon day in Katak (28th October, 1688), the day which was believed to be the birthday of Guru Nanak, the Guru held a special congregation and honoured his Sikhs with Siropas consisting of a saffron coloured piece of coarse cloth.[2] During his stay at Kapal Mochan, he found time to visit Chhachhrauli and Balachour, the two villages close by to Kapal Mochan.

From Kapal Mochan, he went to Sadhaura to console, Nasiran wife of Pir Budhu Shah on the death of her two sons in the Battle of Bhangani. The Pir was simply overwhelmed and in a spirit of profound humility and thankfulness said, "How beneficent is God to me who enabled my sons to lay down their lives in His service."

After Sadhaura, he pitched his camp at Laharpur,[3] fifteen kms from Sadhaura. He spent over two weeks there. During this period, Pir Budhu Shah met him a number of times. From here, the Guru despatched his soldiers to Anandpur and he himself proceeded to Toka. This place is located about 12 kms from Nahan city. It had a very picturesque location. It was skirted by dense forests which abounded in game. He decided to stay here for five days and indulged himself in chase and hunt.[4]

The Guru's next halt was at Tabra[5] in the state of Ramgarh. The Raja of Ramgarh received and served him with great devotion and hospitality and made him suitable offerings. The Guru gave him a sword with a jewelled handle. The Rani of Raipur came here to pay her respects to the Guru and to invite him to visit her house.[6] From Tabra he left for Raipur,[7] the headquarter of the state of the same name where the Rani was acting as a regent for her minor son.[8]

The Rani was a devoted disciple of the Guru.[9] The Guru himself had blossomed forth in his own beauty in her soul. She had risen above all to the unknown heights of pure thoughts. She enjoyed perfect peace as she was love-immersed, all closed in joy of his faith. She believed obeying the Will of the Guru was the highest fulfilment of her life as whatever He willed was of the highest good. Since most of the Hill Chieftains had turned against him especially after the Battle of Bhangani and ~ the state of Raipur was hedged by all such states which had turned hostile to the Guru, Rani's ministers advised her to sap her discipleship of the Guru, which in their reckoning was like a red rag to the bullish Chieftains and could provoke them to invade and annex her state.

Rani of Raipur remained unshaken as she was one with the mission of the Guru, and fully supported and subscribed to it. The worldly possessions had ceased to have any meaning for her now. She had turned a true victor, surrendering everything at the feet of her Guru and yearning only for his blessings, his presence, and his divine light. She knew, perhaps, intuitively, that while returning to Anandpur he would pay a visit to her place; although her city did not fall on the direct route from Paonta to Anandpur. The Guru too was very keen to see his disciple, both to fulfil the longing of his disciple and to assure her protection from any danger from the hill Rajas. He reached Raipur along with his entourage including a retinue of large number of Khalsa soldiers.

The Guru encamped in the spacious campus near the main gate of the fort.[10] The Rani served victuals to the Guru and his entire retinue. She attended the holy congregation, listened to the chorus of heavenly music and partook of the immortalizing Word.[11] Her body, heart and soul drank deep, now that the fount of blessings had arrived at her door. At the conclusion of the congregation, the Rani begged the Guru to hold the morning holy congregation in her palace in the fort, and honour her with his benign presence at dinner late in the evening.

The Guru accorded his consent and the congregation was held as scheduled. He also stayed in the palace till the dinner time. The Rani then made an offering of a beautiful horse with costly trappings and a purse of eleven hundred rupees.[12] All members of the Khalsa army accompanying the Guru received two rupees each.[13] The Guru gave her son a robe of honour, a sword and a shield. To the Rani, he gave a priceless gift.[14] It was a book of Divine Word. He told her not to have any fear either from the Rajas or from the Turks.[15]

The Guru departed from the city, and she as her disciple, remained united with him. She constructed two gurdwaras, one where the Guru encamped and the other in the fort where he dinned.

An unusual incident took place here when Ranghars of Toda village stole Guru's camels during the night and passed them on to their relatives at village Laha where under the pressure of the village people, they had to restore them to him.

Next stay of Guru was at Mani Majra[16] where Mata Raj Kaur accorded him a hearty welcome (Maghar Sudi Dasmi BK. 1745). Therefrom he went to the village Dhakauli[17] and addressed the Sangat there and also met Isher Das, the Masand of the place. After this, he met Nihang Khan, the Zamindar of the place in proximity to the present-day Ropar city. Nihang Khan was so much touched by the gesture that he decided to dedicate all his life in the cause of the Guru. This happened on the Amavas of Maghar 1745 BK.[18] (1688).

A day later, the Guru visited the places such as Sirmour, Ropar, Ghanaulla, Bunga, Atari et. al. Then he arrived at Kiratpur and stayed with Mata Sulakhani. Bhai Amar Chand, the grandson of Guru Har Rai, Deep Chand and Nand Chand, the sons of Suraj Mai made their obeisance to the Guru.

In Bachittar Natak while the Guru gives the details of the Battle of Bhangani, he did not even allude to what made him leave for Anandpur immediately after the battle was over. According to Dr. Fauja Singh, 'Anandpur was strategically a much better place than Paonta in the state of Sirmour and that is why after about three years only, the Guru had returned to Anandpur.' But this does not explain the whole thing. The attitude of the ruler of Sirmour contributed a lot in arriving at the decision on the part of the Guru. Medini Parkash's callous indifference doubtlessly shocked the Guru. He found himself sandwitched between Fateh Shah as his avowed enemy on one side and Medini Parkash, an indifferent friend on the other. In such situation he was bound to rethink and reshape his policies.

Meanwhile Bhim Chand had also softened towards the Guru. He had seen for himself that the Guru was a force to reckon with and it was not an easy task to dislodge him from Anandpur. He had also observed that the Guru was not a jingoist, taking sadistic pleasure in waging wars, rather a harmoniser and a champion for the cause of righteousness. Besides, a member of the family of Bhim Chand had developed devotion for the Guru and his causes. It is on record that Rani Champa Devi, mother of Bhim Chand, had high regards for the Guru and took pleasure in inviting him to her home or going to him for paying her respects. This relationship had also helped to bring about harmony between the Guru and Bhim Chand. Political ambition of Bhim Chand also played its role. During Guru Gobind Rai's absence from Anandpur (Makhowal) Bhim Chand's position in the hill politics had changed for the better. Known chiefly as the head of an important state till 1635, he was now acknowledged as a great military leader. This became possible in 1686 when he had won a great victory over the combined forces of Bashahar, Mandi and Kothai who had attacked Bidhi Chand, the Raja of Kulu, the maternal uncle of Bhim Chand.[19]

Among the Hill Rajas the tradition of revolting against the Mughals was an old one, because they always regarded them as political and cultural impositions. The first wide­spread rebellion had taken place in the reign of Akbar.[20] The Rajas of Nurpur and Basu, Suraj Mai and Jagat Singh respectively had revolted in the later years of Jahangir reign and early in the reign of Shah Jahan. Perhaps believing that a concerted effort would be better rewarded, the Hill Rajas formed a confederation during the reign of Aurangzeb in 1675 and even defeated the then Mughal governor when he invaded the hills.[21] The Emperor's sudden return from the North-West had however disturbed the confederation so much that it disintegrated soon after. There were much better prospects now; for Aurangzeb had involved himself in the Maratha war in the far off Deccan while Imperial administration was fast losing its grip over the affair in the Northern region. The Hill Rajas hoped that they would liberate themselves from the Mughal yoke by concerted military action. Therefore they felt encouraged to join an union[22] which included states from all the three groups Simla, Kangra and Jammu.

Bhim Chand saw in the victor of Bhangani, a good ally, and he, therefore, sought reapproachment with the Guru which was reached, through the mediacy of the queen of Raipur. Both, the Guru and Bhim Chand entered into an agreement at Raipur.[23] The Guru now felt free to join his army which he had already sent to Anandpur and Bhim Chand was relieved of the fear of the Sikhs, to his sovereignty.

Guru Gobind Singh used the changed circumstances and the reapproachment with Bhim Chand to freely build up and strengthen his headquarter. He extended the area of Chak Nanki to cover the land of Agampura and Taragarh which he purchased from Rani Champa, heir apparent of Kahlur. He built Anandgarh fort in March 1689 from which the whole town of Chak Nanki soon came to assume the name of Anandpur—city of Bliss. Possibly, inspired by his father's unequalled serenity and tranquility under all circumstances and climes, the Guru named it so. He renewed his contacts with his disciples particularly with those living in Malwa and Doaba regions of the Punjab. He despatched the Hukamnama far and wide calling upon the Sikhs to visit Anandpur. The Sikhs responded enthusiastically. A large number of Anandpur's inhabitants who had accompanied him to Paonta came back. Many poets, scholars and thinkers came to pay homage to the Guru. A good number of them brought their families with them and made Anandpur their permanent home. Quite a few traders, shopkeepers and artisans chose to settle in Anandpur. It was a star attraction for all those who loved the life-style of the Sikhs. No wonder, Anandpur began to bustle with new life. The Guru took care that those who kept themselves away from the Battle of Bhangani did not settle at Anandpur. He, however, patronised all those who distinguished themselves in his service at Paonta.[24] He had to put his own house in order, for there were people in his camp who cared little for his cause and who had followed him merely for the sake of personal profit.[25] Besides all this, he took some important defensive measures.

He built a chain of forts. In addition to the fort named Anandgarh, he built Lohgarh, Fatehgarh, Taragarh, Agamgarh (also called Holgarh)[26] and Kesgarh. Kesgarh was in the centre of this network while all others were around it. It would be grossly incorrect inference that the Guru had anti-Mughal projects in mind. Anandpur which he had made his headquarters, was situated in potentially hostile territory. Bhim Chand's attitude could change any time and the political atmosphere of the region never portended stability. It was always likely to cause flare-ups even on trivial issues among the Hill Rajas or between the Hill Rajas and the Guru. It was therefore necessary for a body of outsiders like the Sikhs to put themselves in a strong position. The Guru increased the strength of his armoury, established foundries in his forts, employed skilled workers and cast match-locks, swords, daggers and lances et al. He encouraged his people to train themselves in martial art and organised hunting expeditions. The Guru himself led many such expeditions in the surrounding forests which was very rich in wild life including leopards, bears and elephants. The area was then known as Hathout meaning abode of elephants.

Expedition of Alif Khan

Two years after Guru Gobind Rai's return to Anandpur, the combination of the Rajas consisting of Gopal Chand of Guler, Ram Singh of Jaswan, Prithvi Chand of Dhadwal, Kesri Chand Jaswal and Sukhdev Singh of Jasrota stopped paying annual tribute to the Mughals. The Faujdars of Kangra and Jammu, who were assigned the duty of collection of tribute, naturally sought help from the Government of Lahore. A strong contingent under Mian Khan with Alif Khan as his deputy was deputed to lead the expedition against the hill chiefs.[27]

The object of this expedition was to crush resistance in the Jammu and Kangra regions simultaneously. Mian Khan himself went to Jammu and sent Alif Khan to Kangra.[28]

Alif Khan moved to Nadaun instead of Kangra (30 kms South of Kangra) which was apparently a Naib Faujdari with a small contingent of the Army to look after the Eastern part of the Kangra state. His aim was to make Nadaun his base and therefrom attack Bhim Chand to make a quick end of the challenge of Hill Rajas. His movement was quick and he thought that he would not allow Bhim Chand to have any help from outside. He selected an elevated ground and raised a wooden fortress on it.[29] Besides, he asked the Faujdar of Kangra to prevail upon the Hill Rajas who had joined the rebels to come with their forces to Nadaun. Kirpal of Kangra and Dayal of Bijharwal joined Alif Khan.[30]

Bhim Chand, contrary to the expectations of Alif Khan, acted with speed and alacrity. Raj Singh and Ram Singh Jaswal[31] immediately rushed to his help since their territories were very close to Nadaun. The Rajas of distant states also sent help, although they did not come themselves. Prithvi Chand of[32] Dhadwal sent his contingent. Sukhdev, a Gazi from Jasrota, also came to participate in the impending war. Bhim Chand specially sought help of the Guru on the occasion[33], who came in person at the head of a strong contingent equipped with bows, arrows, swords, spears and a few muskets, believing perhaps that it was a Dharam Yudh, because the Hill Rajas had taken up cudgels against the oppressive Mughal rule.

Though Bhim Chand had mustered a strong force, yet it was not an easy task to wrest victory. The enemy was entrenched in the fortress which though not very strong, being made of wood, yet had an assured advantage for its occupants of a cover denied to Bhim Chand. Moreover, Alif Khan’s forces having been deployed on a high ground held distinct advantage over Bhim Chand's forces.

Bhim Chand launched the attack. The sharp arrows and the shots could make no impact on the enemy because of its position and struck only the wooden rafters of the fortress. Bhim Chand led another attack invoking Hanuman[34] for help. Kirpal fought with great determination and exhibited true valour of a Rajput. Others too fought desperately and soon the troops of Katoch were surrounded on all sides. The people of the tribes of Nanglu, Panglu, Jaswal and Guler advanced in a well-planned move and on the other side, Raja Dayal of Bijharwal defended mightily.[35] At this critical juncture, the Guru played his part most effectively in the battle. He writes "Then this humble servant (of God) took up his gun and aimed at the heart of a Raja (Dayal). Fighting bravely he fell to the ground. Even when falling, the proud warrior in his rage shouted 'kill'. I put aside the gun and took up my bow, shot four arrows with my right hand and three with my left. I could not see whether they struck anybody or not. By that time, God turned the battle in our favour. The enemy was driven into the river....Arrows and bullets flew in abundance as if warriors were playing Holi.[36]

Alif Khan and his men fled the field.[37] They crossed the River Beas and Bhim Chand's victory was complete. The Rajas of Jaswal, Guler and other states hastened to their capitals for fear of Mughal reprisal on their respective states. Guru Gobind Rai stayed there for eight days[38] and then marched back to Anandpur with his followers. Bhim Chand and his troops remained behind at Nadaun[39] where soon after he reached an accord with Alif Khan through Kirpal Chand Katoch who acted as an intermediary. Bhim Chand and his associate Rajas settled terms of peace without consulting the Guru. The Bachittar Natak is completely silent about the scenario that developed after Nadaun victory but from Bhim Chand's role in later year, it appears that he and his associate Rajas had agreed to pay tribute thereby recognising Mughal suzerainty. To the dismay and anguish of the Guru, he was neither apprised by Bhim Chand while deciding to sit for negotiations with the Mughals nor was he informed of the terms arrived at.

The Guru and his followers while still on their way to Anandpur had to punish the inhabitants of Alsun[40] who had refused to sell supplies to them and displayed the audacity to ridicule Sikh religion, presumably at the instigation of certain officials of Kahlur who harboured strong dislike for the new religio-cultural model outside the Hindu context and, at least for the present, found themselves very strong because of their reapproachment with the Mughals.

It is difficult to determine whether the village was plundered or only the slanderers were chastised. However, one thing is certain; that the village dominated by the Rajput caste and having ties of lineage with Bhim Chand had aversion for the Guru and his mission, and in the case of the reapproachment of Bhim Chand with Rajas and the Mughal government, they thought it an appropriate occasion to pick up dispute with him to please their master and to give vent to their own innate hatred. The Guru under such circumstances had no alternative but to bring the villagers to the book. Inspite of his help to Bhim Chand in the battle of Nadaun, he gained nothing; not even the goodwill of Bhim Chand. According to S.S. Bal,[41] the Guru, however, won over two friends in Raja Raj Singh and Raja Ram Singh. Raj Singh's state Jaswan lay to the North of Anandpur and watched the only route that the Mughal Faujdar at Kangra could take to harm the Guru at his headquarter at Anandpur. Guler lay towards the North-West of Anandpur linking it with the present district of Hoshiarpur where the Guru had a devoted following. He could not thus be easily threatened by Bhim Chand even with the Mughal support from Kangra.' The Guru severed all connections with Bhim Chand.

The experience of the ultimate outcome of Battle of Nadaun convinced Guruji that he could not hope to depend for long on the friendship of his two neighbours and therefore, he stepped up activities to build up his strength. During the next three years and nine months when he had undisturbed peace, he worked out a plan to raise a much larger armed force. He gave his army a strong social base by giving a call to his followers not only to come to Anandpur in greater numbers every year but also to make the city as their home. But the Guru's preoccupations in raising the army did not divorce him from his religious duties. Once well-settled at Anandpur, he took up the completion of his work Akal Ustat in 1691 which he had started writing in 1684. The composition is considered to be one of his best works and is divided into six parts. In the first part there is invocation to God who is looked upon as Timeless, Omnipresent, All Steel and Supreme Nature. The second part deals with the futility of worldly pomp and power. The third part is a satire on various penances and austerities. The fourth part relates to the popular theological queries on the spiritual aspects of life and philosophy of Hindu Shastras. The fifth part sings the praises of Chandi as Primordial power. The last part is a hymn to God in all His splendour. Another composition Charitro Pakhyan (Triya Charitra) is believed to have been composed during this period in September 1693[42], understandably to expose the wiles of women and their perverse and unscrupulous characters and behaviours. In Akal Ustat, the Guru dilated on the functional attributes of God— universal in character, cutting across boundaries of races, continents and languages—sustainer of all for all times. To Him "temple and mosque are the same and Rahim and Ram are not different either." All humankind has the same components of earth, ether, air, water and fire. The differences whatsoever, are only of living, dress, customs and country. 'To all, he utters nothing but the truth, that he alone attains God, who loves Him.' This composition more than any other by him spotlights the non-sectarian and non-partisan character establishing his philosophy totally in tune with Guru Nanak’s teachings of universal humanism and strict monotheism.

Dilawar Khan's Attempt to Weaken Guru's Power

Large congregations at Anandpur and the Guru's rapidly increasing military strength unnerved the Kangra Faujdar and possibly a few Hill Rajas too. Their concern was compounded when they pondered upon the influence which the Guru brought to bear upon the Hill Chiefs to take decision of stopping payment of tribute to the Mughal exchequer forthwith, and the dangerous and wider ramifications which could result if Guru's influence was not checkmated. They, therefore, sought Aurangzeb's directions as to how should they proceed to arrest the menace.

The Emperor, in response to this representation, directed his Faujdars of Sirhind and Jammu and Subedar of Lahore to stop the Guru from collecting his Sikhs at Anandpur. A special order was issued in November, 1693 to the Governor of Sirhind to admonish Gobind Rai, son of Tegh Bahadur and make him abide by the instructions of the Emperor.[43] Accordingly, Dilawar Khan,[44] the Faujdar of Kangra began a series of attacks with the aim of breaking the Guru's power at Anandpur.

Khanzada's Expedition—1694

In November-December 1694, he sent his son Rustam Khan refered as Khanzada in Bachittar Natak to curb the power of the Guru at Anandpur. He framed a plan to take the Guru by surprise. He crossed River Sutlej with a thousand soldiers under the cover of darkness at about mid-night; but just then Alam Khan,[45] a Deoridar of the Guru, informed him. Immediately, the Ranjit Nagara was sounded. The Sikhs took up their arms with alacrity and promptitude and with the zeal of a zealot arranged themselves in a battle array to give a hot welcome to the enemy. The quick formation of the Sikhs bewildered the enemy as their guns began to discharge volleys of shots and emitted murderous fire altogether terrifying them. As a result they had to reel back with their weapons unused.[46] While going back, the soldiers of Khanzada plundered village Barwan, stayed for some time at Bhalan and then returned to Dilawar Khan crestfallen and demoralised. Thus the Guru became victorious without a fight as he writes: "Through God's favour, the wretched fools could not even touch me, and they fled."[47] Many of the Khanzada's soldiers lost their lives while crossing the flooded ravine. The Sikhs out of gratitude upto this day call the ravine, Himayati Nala—a helpful brook.

Hussain Khan's Expedition—1695

The failure of Khanzada piqued Dilawar Khan to plan another expedition against the Guru. He chose Hussain Khan,[48] perhaps the ablest General with the Kangra Faujdar for the purpose. Hussain Khan marched with fury and looted and plundered whatever came before him. He brought Madhakar Shah, the Raja of Dhadwal to his knees, and plundered Doon. Kirpal Chand, the brother of the Raja of Kangra joined him. Ajmer Chand of Kahlur too cast his lot with Hussain, probably with a view to achieve double-purpose: winning the favour of the Mughals and annihilating the Guru and the movement he was piloting.

All the three, Hussain, Kirpal and Ajmer Chand, along with their armies made plans to proceed to Anandpur. Just then an incident occurred which changed the course of future development. The Guru had appraised their designs and made preparations to foil it.

At this juncture, the Guru's mother at the instance of Masands tendered advice that he should avert war which could prove disastrous, by making up with Hussain. The Guru, however, quietened her by bringing it home to her that he was doing nothing against His all-pervading Will. Now when Ajmer Chand of Kahlur and Kirpal had joined hands with Hussain Khan; Gopal, the Raja of Guler too proceeded to negotiate with Hussain Khan. Flattered and blinded by his successes, Hussain Khan did not deem it proper to take note of the difficulties of Gopal, the Raja of Guler and threatened him with dire consequences if he did not pay ten thousand rupees as war levy. Gopal pleaded his inability to pay and came back[49]. Thereupon, Hussain besieged the town of Guler. Finding that the inhabitants of the town were incapable of withstanding the rigorous siege, Gopal sought for peace but nothing less than ten thousand rupees could satisfy Hussain. In helpless state, Gopal approached the Guru who sent Sangatia along with seven other Sikhs to re-open the negotiations on his behalf. Sangatia on his own security brought the latter in Hussain's camp to negotiate but the two parties could not reach any settlement. Kirpal and Ajmer Chand began to conspire to arrest Gopal but the latter escaped in time. Kirpal lost his temper and fulminated in fury. He together with his brave commandoes Kimmat, Himmat, Hussain Khan and Ajmer Chand lost no time to attack the city. Fighting commenced with vengeance. Raja Gopal was helped by Guru's commanders, Lai Chand, Ganga Ram, Kirpa Ram and Agri Singh Brar along with 300 chosen soldiers and Raja Ram Singh of Jaswan. Hussain won a lot of applause for his valour but a sharp pointed arrow struck Hussain Khan dead. Raja Kirpal and several other brave officers such as Himmat and Kimmat fell fighting. On the side of Gopal, there was a heavy loss. Sangatia and his seven comrades were killed.[50] Agri Singh Brar also fell fighting.

Gopal came out victorious. The Guru felt jubilant and correctly remarked that the rain of bullets that was originally intended for me was showered by the Almighty elsewhere.[51] The Guru calls this battle in Bachittar Natak as Battle of Hussaini.[52]

Another Expedition – August, 1695

Dilawar Khan sent yet another expedition. Jujhar Singh and Chandan Rai[53] were sent to Jaswan but they could not achieve the desired result. They undoubtedly recovered Bhalan[54] (14 kms away from Anandpur) a strategic place in the state, which had previously been captured by the Hill Chiefs and was now under the charge of Jaswan contingent. But before they could proceed further, Gaj Singh[55] of Jaswal with his contingent fell upon them. Jujhar Singh and Chandan Rai fought like lions but were soon over-powered. Jujhar Singh was killed in action and Chandan Rai fled. The enemy failed to reach Anandpur and retreated.[56] The result of the defeat of the Imperial forces had an adverse effect on the Mughal administration in the Hill area which fell in disarray much to the chagrin of Aurangzeb, who was away in Southern India to extend his sovereignty to the Shia states and the Marathas. The Hill Rajas took courage to withhold payment of their annual tribute in defiance of their agreement. The Sikhs hardened and emboldened their attitude towards the Imperial authority. The scenario being grave and disturbing, Aurangzeb realised that some drastic measures had become absolutely necessary and accordingly sent one of his sons, Prince Muazzam afterwards known as Bahadur Shah for the restoration of the order in hill area and for the recovery of unpaid tribute.[57] Prince Muazzam was born in September 1643. He was arrested by Aurangzeb in 1686 on the suspicion that he reached secret under-standing with the Shia ruler of Golconda to make use of his service later on certain occasions. He was set free in 1691. He remained viceroy of North-West region including Punjab and Afghanistan from 1696 to 1699.[58] He resided at Kabul and occasionally visited other provinces.

The Prince took up his position in August 1696 at Lahore[59] and from there he directed operations aimed at the Hill Rajas. He deputed Mirza Beg to teach a lesson to the Hill Rajas. He inflicted upon them defeat after defeat, plundered their country, set fire to villages, took hundreds of prisoners and in order to make example of them had them shaved clean and their faces blackened, seated them on donkeys and made an exhibition of them throughout the disturbed area.[60] Having received such a severe treatment from the Imperial troops, the Rajas realised that it was too dangerous to provoke the wrath of Aurangzeb and defy his authority. They were extremely demoralised and gave up all hope of fighting their way out to freedom. They paid their arrears of tribute into the royal treasury and made abject apologies for their deviation from the path of loyalty. Even those who deserted the Guru or turned apostates or made away with the offerings collected for the house of Guru also suffered destruction and humiliation. After Mirza Beg, the Prince sent four more officers who also pursued the policy of Mirza Beg relentlessly and with equal severity.[61]

Under these circumstances the Guru, no doubt, passed through turbulent times.[62] He, therefore decided to prepare himself to meet any future contingency. He sent Hukamnama[63] dated 2nd August, 1696 directing his leading disciples such as Bhai Tiloka and Bhai Rupa to rush to Anandpur along with their followers. He also wrote to the progenitors of the Phulkian house asking for assitance.[64] But while taking strong measures to humiliate and demoralise the Hill Rajas, Prince Muazzam left the Guru untouched presumably he did not find any justification to proceed against him. The Guru had no principality nor did he flaunt sovereignty. Till 1696, the Guru took up arms against the Mughals only twice, for the first time at Nadaun and for the second time at Guler. In both these cases, the Guru came to the assistance of the Hill Rajas with twin objectives that the Mughals did not find opportunity to financially squeeze and socially degrade the people and did not proceed against him under the influence of the smiten Mughal officers or local elements inimical to him.

The Guru's power did not pose any threat to Mughal authority, a fact which had been amply brought home to the prince at Lahore by Mahabat Khan, the then Governor of the Punjab. Besides, the Prince himself was open-minded, liberal and particularly considerate towards saints and holy man. Understandably, Guru Gobind Singh whom he called Dervish— a saint (he mentioned him so in one of his royal rescripts) could not be a victim of anybody's whims or distorted thinking.

Nand Lai Goya who was a litterateur in the court of the Guru and had been in the service of the Prince formerly at Agra, also seemed to have exercised his personal influence with the Prince in favour of the Guru.[65]

Real politic also warranted good behaviour towards the Guru. The Prince had seen for himself that he had a following totally dedicated to him. That could be useful in case the struggle for the throne ensued after the death of his father who had grown very old and in view of the average longevity of life at that point of time could be expected to leave this world any time.

Certain other issues also demanded answers before we close the account of the expedition of the Prince. One— how did the Hill Rajas react to the Guru under these circumstances? Two—why did the Guru keep quiet? Three—what has the Guru to say regarding those persons who deserted him or turned apostates or made away with the offerings that the faithful Sikhs had deposited with them.

The Hill Rajas tried to involve the Guru on their side and against the Mughals, but he did not respond because he had observed for himself that they were selfish and their actions had always harmed the Sikhs even causing demoralisation among them. However, their pressure tactics had significant effect on the internal cohesion of the Sikhs, many of whom left the Guru, some out of fear of the Mughal forces, some under the instigation of the Hill Rajas and some prompted by the urge to grab the offerings, meant for the Guru. He makes explicit mention of such people in his composition, Bachittar Natak. In Chaupais 5 to 8 the Guru condemns those persons who proved treacherous to his cause.[66]

In Chapter 13, he calls them opportunists sure to become penniless and desperate. In that state they would come to him for shelter and help but they would not be allowed any soft corner.[67]

Regarding his own safety and that of his followers at Anandpur he says:

"Providence Himself protected the saints as He could not see any pain being caused to them."

"He considered me as His own slave and saved me from all troubles by extending His hand of Grace."[68]

By not opposing the Mughal forces while they aggressed against the Hill Rajas, did the Guru not resort to the act which tantamounted to his acquiescence in Mughals' excesses? Was it not appropriate for him to side with the Hill Rajas?

According to Teja Singh and Ganda Singh, the prince did not touch the Guru because of some kind of understanding between him and the government. The learned scholars based their conclusion on the following statement of the Guru as recorded in Bachittar Natak (XIII, 9):

Babe Ke Babar Ke Dou Ap Kare Parmeshwar Se Aou

Din Shah Un Ko Pehchano Duni Pat Un Ko Anumano

Jo Babe Ke Dam na de Hai Tin Te Gaih Babar Ke Lei Hei.

Sirdar Kapur Singh has bitterly criticised the statement of Teja Singh and Ganda Singh. Writing in 'The Baisakhi of Guru Gobind Singh' he says,[69] "The learned authors make a most amazing statement about the Sikh doctrine of the Church and the states inter-relationship, which is wholly unwarranted and which is pernicious to the extreme. Neither the context hints at any such understanding, nor the text is susceptible of translation or interpretation which the learned authors have made it here. Nor, the whole Sikh history or the Sikh doctrine lends any countenance to the doctrine of ultimate and mutual exclusive dichotomy of the church and the state." The learned Sardar then gives his version of the translation which in our view reflects correct sense of the original:

Those of Baba (Nanak) and those of Babur God himself maketh them both Know the former thus :

As the king of religion Understand the latter thus :

As the secular king.

They who fail to render that,

What is due to the (house of) Baba The minions of Babur seize them,

And make exactions upon them And inflict severe punishments Upon such defaulters;

In addition, their worldly goods and property are looted and taken away.

The text nowhere says, explicitly or by implication, that the church and the state 'both derive their authority from God Himself. It clearly says, "God maketh them both as the instruments of His will. The word Kare in the text neither literally nor here can be interpreted to mean authorised; it simply means made by or maketh. Similarly the word Pehchano is not in the sense of a commandment: thou shalt recognise. It means know, identify, understand. The house of Baba means the true relgion of Earth, and the text says, understand the term to mean thus as such. Likewise anumano cannot and does not mean recognise and accept. It literally and here in the next stanza means, understand, see, take it as, infer that the house of Babur means the secular state."[70]

There is no doubt left by the Guru about the meanings of this text. "He says that there are two forces which claim allegiance of men's souls on earth, the truth and morality as religion, and the state as embodiment of mere utilitarianism and secular politics. The primary allegiance of man is to the truth and morality and those who fail in this allegiance suffer under the subjugatism of the earthly state unnourished by the courage and hope which is born through unswerving adherence to their primary allegiance. In this perpetual struggle between the state and the church, for exclusive possession of the soul of a man, a man of culture and religion shall not lose sight ever of his primary allegiance, and he who does so, does it at his own peril, for, by doing so, he helps give birth to times in which everything is force, politics, utility and labour, poverty and hardship, tyranny and slavery. The Guru does not assert that this perpetual dichotomy and antagonism of the Church and the state must be resolved or even that it is capable of being resolved, by the suppression or subjugatism of the one by the other; rather, he appears to recognise their eternal antagonism and in this antagonism sees the hope and glory of man, the social and political context in which the Sikh way of life is to be practised." "The church must perpetually correct and influence the state without aiming to destroy or absorb it for, as the history shows the attempt of the one to oust the other, meets with no lasting success, and each of the two antagonistic entities arises again after having been crushed in vain and both appear anew as if bound together. This is what the Guru means when he declares in the text that the House of Baba Nanak and the house of Babar, God maketh both of them and that "Those who repudiate their allegiance to the House of Nanak, suffer grievously without hope, at the hands of the state."

In the afore-alluded excerpt from Chapter Thirteen of Bachittar Natak as also in the whole corpus of Chapter, he nowhere mentions even in nuances that there was any understanding between him and the Mughal government, or that the Sikh doctrine is, in essence, the care of the other world, through non-interference with the world which should remain within the exclusive domain of the secular state.

The only established fact is that the Imperial expeditionary contingents inflicted severe punishment on the rulers of different Hill states as also on their residents including those who deserted the Guru out of fear or for selfish motives or both. The Prince did not think it necessary or wise to invest the fortified town of Anandpur, the seat of the Guru. The Guru declares that the Imperial forces decided not to join issues with him.

The decision of the Prince not to touch the Guru was personal and had no connection with any directive from Emperor Aurangzeb. Nor was it the product of any understanding, tacit or avid, between the Guru and the Prince. It seemed that various factors, his understanding that the Guru was not a potential threat to Mughal kingdom, his innate respect for the sages, the Real Politic, the pleas of Bhai Nand Lal, all combined impelled the Prince to arrive at the decision of leaving him untouched.

The Guru on his part kept cool because the Prince did not distort or manipulate moral principles of the Sikhs, nor did he disturb their independent cultural and religious identities.

He did not come forward to help the Hill Rajas, firstly; because the Rajas had always been unscrupulous in their conduct vis-a-vis him and his mission; and, secondly; they bandied claim of Almighty absolutism, professedly denying the right to the Sikhs to live independently as per value-pattern as told by their Guru. At times, the Hill Rajas even threatened to oust him from Anandpur, if he and his Sikhs did not subscribe to their views regarding society and religion and did not pay annual tribute as a mark of recognition of the sovereignty of the Raja of Kahlur.

Muazzam's cowing down of Hill rulers and his departure from Lahore ended the Guru's anxiety and he felt free to engage himself in peaceful pursuits now. A phase of intense activity followed. He invited new entrants to his literary Darbar already enriched with the return of the Sikhs who had been sent to Benaras in 1686.[71] He encouraged them to translate the episodes of Ramayan and Mahabharat found relevant to the mission of his new order that he was about to embark upon.[72] To leave no room for any ambiguity and doubt in comprehending the Avtars not only in all their glory but also in their weaknesses, such compositions as Vishnu De Chaubis Avtar, Brahma Avtar, Uppa Avtar were completed. In 1696 he is said to have written Charitaro Pakhyan mainly to divert the attention of his young disciples from sex thoughts to the noble cause, in the service of religion and nation. Ram Avtar was also finished in 1698. Bachittar Natak was written in the first half of 1698. A perusal of his works would convince one and all that the Guru's literary activities had a purpose. He felt that the people should be vitalised to stand against injustice. No wonder then, the Guru took care to impart knowledge from the classics what was vital and morale building. He examined the conduct of Avtars, their strong points as well as their weakness. His purpose was to show that they were not God, all-powerful and infallible, rather personalities like others, liable to commit mistakes and prone to foibles. In Bachittar Natak, he seemed to recapitulate and reaffirm the message conveyed to him directly by God. In holy congregations, the theme underlying his writings was deliberated upon frequently; and, as a result, the devout Sikhs as well as non-Sikhs who came to Anandpur felt its impact. This in turn, infused into them fresh confidence and brought them face to face with new challenges.

Among the new entrants to the Darbar of the Guru, the most notable was Bhai Nand Lai, son of Chhaju Mai, Mir Munshi of Dara Shikoh, who was holding post of Munshi at Ghazni. Bhai Nand Lai had served the Mughal Government in various capacities before coming to Anandpur. The Munshi of Nawab Wassaf Khan, the incharge of fort of Bhakkar, Nazim of Dina, Kehror, Fatehpur and Pargana Mahayyud-din Pur, and Naib-Subedar of Multan. During the regime of Aurangzeb he was turned out of Government service because of his father's cordial relations with Dara Shikoh-a facet which was unbearable for Aurangzeb. He felt much hurt and decided to involve himself totally in literary pursuits in his quest to find new themes. For solace of his disturbed mind, he decided to visit Anandpur to see the Guru, whose fame as a saviour and heralder of a new age had spread far and wide. He had known about him in his childhood when he used to visit Sikh Sangat at Ghazni and some other places in Afghanistan. When he reached Anandpur and saw for himself the Guru totally absorbed in his task of awakening and elevating the people, he was simply captivated. His intellect quickened, his sensibility sharpened, his moral sense purgated and heightened, his self-attuned to the essence of Guru's teachings and he was transported to the stage of transcendence. He became beau ideal of a Sikh. He decided to live at the Darbar of the Guru. After some time i.e. in 1695, he went to Agra where he got the post of Mir Munshi of Prince Muazzam who had, just after his release from the prison assumed the charge of the Subedar of Agra.

He however was not destined to work at the post for long. It is believed that Aurangzeb once asked for the interpretation of an excerpt from Al-Quran. Various interpretations were presented to the Emperor but the version forwarded by Prince Muazzam was considered to be the most appropriate. In a public Darbar, Nand Lai was awarded a robe of honour and a cash prize of Rs. 500. Aurangzeb who did not like an infidel's mastery over the sacred text suggested to the Prince that such a man of learning should be converted to Islam. When the Emperor edict came to the knowledge of Bhai Nand Lai, he felt perturbed. There was only two courses left for him. He could either embrace Islam or go elsewhere. The former course was rejected by him forthwith because he had to all intents and purposes, entered the Sikh fold. The second course was more practical for him. He at once packed up, begged leave of the Prince and reached Lahore. Here he met his pupil Ghiasuddin, the Darogha of Agra who had come on leave to this place. Both of them reached Anandpur. Ghiasuddin returned to Lahore after some time but Bhai Nand Lai continued to stay at Anandpur upto 1705. During this period Bhai Nand Lai drank deep in the fount of Sikh spiritual thought as enshrined in Adi Granth. He keenly observed the Sikh way of life and understood the ultimate goal of the Sikh movement. The inauguration of the order of the Khalsa was also noted by him. His politic genius blossomed. He produced seven works of poetry in Persian and three in Punjabi. The first book which he presented to the Guru, bore the title Bandgi Nama which was changed to Zindgi Nama by Guru Gobind Singh. The Guru wrote the following verse at the end of the book:

Ab-e-Hai Van Pur Shud Chun Jam-e-o.

Zindgi Nama Shud, Bandgi Nama-e-o.

(When this goblet was filled with the water of life his Bandgi Nama became Zindgi Nama).

Other books in Persian were Ghazaliat, Tausife Sana, Ganj Nama, Jot Bigas, Dasturul Insha, Arzul Alfaz. The three books named Jot Bigas, Rehat Nama, Tankhahnama were in Punjabi. Except Tausife Sana and Khatima and Dasturul Insha, all the books whether in Persian or Punjabi depict the splendour of the Guru and his philosophy besides the devotion of Bhai Nand Lai for him. The style is excellent and speaks highly of the literary attainments of Bhai Sahib.

At the same time, the Guru took care to expedite the process of acculturising his disciples in Sikh discipline. He exhorted them to attend Sangat, listen to and participate in Kirtan, and do service at Guru ka Langar. The Sikh's consciousness expanded and was enlightened. Anandpur, therefore, fully reflected a new religio-social model. Every home functioned as if it was Guru ka Langar (Lords Kitchen). Sometimes, the Guru tested his Sikhs. In the early morning of one day, the Guru disguised himself as a common pilgrim and went around the streets of Anandpur looking for a meal. The Sikhs were busy preparing the food. So they could not promise anything till they were fully prepared to receive guests. Then he reached Bhai Nand Lai's house and asked for food. Bhai Nand Lai welcomed the guest with a beaming smile and a radiant face and placed at his disposal what was available in the kitchen: butter, half-kneaded flour, half-cooked pulse and sundry vegetables. He then very humbly said, "This is getting ready and is all for you. But if you permit me, I will prepare them for you and serve you in the name of 'My Master'. Next morning the Guru told everyone that there was but one Guru ka Langar at Anandpur and that belonged to Bhai Nand Lai. The Guru's words of commendation were a sort of homily on Guru ka Langar. Every house of a Sikh should provide food to the needy in a spirit of thankfulness to God whom he/she should consider as the Primal provider of provisions. While doing so, no consideration of caste and creed et al. should circumscribe the minds. Sikhs should never forget to offer his thanks to the Almighty before taking or serving food. The Guru said, "If a hungry person calls at your door and you turn him away, remember that you are turning out not him but me. He who serves the poor and the needy; serves me. The mouths of the poor are the Guru's receptacles for all gifts.[73]

Anandpur presented a spectacle of perfect harmony, free from petty jealousies and parochialism. It bore the look of Heaven where all castes, creeds and colours met in the joyous Sangat. The focal point of the people of Anandpur was the Guru whom they looked upon as an enlightener, sustainer and protector.

One day there came a Kalal or a wine distiller a profession; held in acute hatred by the society in Punjab. He was still clinging to the wrong belief that[74] one's profession determines one's status in society. With this status complex weighing on his mind, he stood a little away from the Guru. But the Guru took him by his hand and seated him in the congregation. He hesitated and meekly admitted that he was a Kalal. The Guru proclaimed, No, 'You are not a Kalal', but 'Guru ka Lai' [a gem (son) of the Guru], Such was the Guru's disposition towards so called low castes. His mission was to uplift such people and give them a realisation that they were as dignified as anyone else in this world. The Guru's baptism of love, indeed, articulated them to feel free, proud and self- confident.

On another occasion, the Guru called for a glass of water. It was brought to him by a handsome lad, a scion of a rich lord. The hands fetching the glass were clean as also were water and the tumbler. The Guru held the glass in his hand for a while, and then returned the same to the young man without even sipping, and said, "My son, it seems your hands have not yet laboured in the service of the people." "No Sir, I have never worked with these hands as yet", said the boy. "Ah my boy, go and make them pure first in the service of the people."[75] The Guru's priorities were very clear, that society based on caste should be discarded forthwith and it should be reorganised on the basis of love for all, equal rights, divinity of individuals, dignity of labour and faith in the singularity and unicity of God with a commitment to improve the lot of the people.

Taboos, totems, superstitions, rituals, fasting, sacrifices, renunciation, yogism, pilgrimages, and such-like things which had often been projected as the right tools to comprehend and realise God were simply rejected as irrelevant, never to be adopted and believed upon.

A group of Hindu Sanyasis visited Anandpur. They expressed their views complainingly to the Master that he was not laying due emphasis on the virtues of renunciation. The Guru replied, "My disciples are men of renunciation. In joy, their bliss is infinite and no more is needed; all things come to their hands and they use them as they need. As long as they do not go under illusion (Maya), they are free and pure. If one has obtained self-realistion, then of what use, my friends, is renunciation."[76] They were keen to extend the arguments further when he interrupted them playfully, bidding his Sikhs to put live charcoal on the lids of their coconut bowls of renunciation. And as the lac cementing the joints melted under fire, the bowls were shaken and gold coins dropped out exposing their hypocrisy and double-talk.[77]

Hansa, a religious teacher of the Jains, came to the Guru perhaps to see the spiritual calibre of the Guru. He was a pandit, a great painter and a leading monk. He brought an offering of painting of the sunrise for Guru Gobind Singh. The Guru saw it and said, "Technically the painting is a fine piece of work. It seems painter's heart was dark and cruel. Hansa was puzzled. He sought an audience with the Guru but the Guru would not oblige him. Then one day a palanquin came to Anandpur. Seated in it was almost a living skeleton, though long ago he was a robust young man. He was lying in a helpless condition in pursuance of his vow of self-purification. The Guru sent for him.

This young man now half dead with his efforts of fulfilment of his vows, was once in the convent with Hansa as a Jain Brahmchari. Close by to the same convent, there lived a young girl almost a child whose parents had dedicated her to the Jain temple as an offering. She and the young man belonged to the same village and had played together in their childhood. Both loved each other at an age when they hardly knew what love was; but their guardians had separated them, putting the boy in the temple and the girl in the convent. Hansa was in charge of the temple. For years, both the young boy and the girl did not see each other. Then one day while gathering flowers in the forest, they met for a moment and started talking nostalgically. This was an inexcusable sin according to the rules of the convent and the nunnery. The girl was punished by having her eyes gouged out. The boy was sent to the hills for a prolonged penance.

Hansa was responsible for all that had befallen upon the young boy and the girl. Hansa knew the whereabouts of the girl and he was asked to bring her to Anandpur. After a long search, the blind girl was brought by him to Anandpur. By this time the young Brahmchari had also recovered from his illness and gained full health. He was sitting in the holy assembly, and enjoying the divine Kirtan as the blind girl arrived in the holy congregation. The Guru looked at her as she came in front of the master. The Guru blessed her and initiated her into the Rajyog of Nam. It is recorded that she recovered her sight and that her face reflected the celestial light. The Guru's jubilance was immense and he ordered that the two disciples be tied in nuptial knot and the event celebrated there and then. The Guru's message was loud and clear. The penance and celibacy are not at all the valid means of emancipation. These are, in fact, against the order of God according to which there is no antagonism between Prakriti and spiritual pursuits, rather both are the attributes of the same single supreme unit, that is God. How can therefore, repression or penance which afflicts the body, be acceptable to God? Similarly celibacy cannot be accredited as valid since it prevents and prohibits a person from taking de-jure part in worldly activities which are in fact the manifestation of the Divine. Hansa gave up his old beliefs—non-existence of God, duality between material and celestial world, transitoriness of the world, futility of the worldly activities, celibacy, penances and fasts—and hastened to embrace Sikh religion.

Festivals such as Baisakhi, Diwali and Holi were celebrated with great enthusiasm and care was taken that these occasions served as a means to suffuse the people with Guru's mission and the Sikh philosophy. Holi festival was so organised and celebrated that the Sikh's perception of Holi changed altogether.

They discarded the hollow belief that the festival was celebrated to express joy at the burning of Holka—a sister of Harnaksh who disliked his son Prahlad for not accepting his father's claim that he was God. In order to please her brother, Holka planned to bum Prahlad. She took him in her lap, sat in the midst of a heap of easily combustible straw. She is believed to have worn a sheet of cloth believed to be fire-proof made so through incantations. The myth also subscribes that with long and strenuous penance, she had acquired a boon that she will not be burnt by fire. But it so happened that the sheet moved aside uncovering a part of her body exposing it to the vagaries of raging fire with the result that she was burnt to ashes. The boy escaped the furious fire because a part of the sheet that had uncovered Holka's body draped over him. In the historical consciousness, the event has been considered triumph of goodness over evil; and on this account some people consider it an appropriate occasion to celebrate.

The Sikhs, despite finding the theme to their liking, did not make this story the raison-de-etre of their celebration of Holi festival. For them the festival symbolised loftiness of spirit and its assertiveness in the cause of humanity; very much akin to the nature in the spring blossoming forth amidst turnings and twistings. The Guru called Holi as Hola Mohalla and not simply a festival of colours. Each celebration at Anandpur was a lesson in inter-personal socialisation, a great aid in fostering a common natural pride and a shared sense of fraternity in social actions.

He divided the gathering at Anandpur into two groups; one part took up position in the Holgarh Fort and dug in for defence against impending attack. The other under command of the Guru made the attack. In front of the attacking party were the standard bearers. A separate flag was flying on the Fort. Both the sides were divided into various battalions. It was a mock fight without arrows and bullets. The garrison was dressed in white, while the assailants wore yellow clothes. The fighting lasted four and a half hours. Eventually the Fort would be captured through various war manoeuvres employed by the attacking force. War drums were beaten. The Cavalry units of both sides rushed upon each-other. A number of prisoners were taken by both parties. Afterwards a Darbar was held and conventional Holi was played joyfully. Gulal, rosewater, and saffron water were freely sprinkled on one another with pichkaries (syringes). Huge quantity of Karah Parshad worth Rs. 5000 would be prepared and laid in big pans on the lawns adjoining the Guru's court. The Guru would order the Sikhs to plunder it. At once all would assault the Karah Parshad pans. All of them jostled each other to get to the parshad, often resulting in rolling of a few to the laughter of others. In a moment the entire quantity would be finished. The Guru also participated in the game. He called it Mai Holla or a petty fight. Later on it became popular as Hola Mohalla which according to Bhai Kahn Singh means 'attack or place to be attacked'.[78] The occassion could not but attract the focalised attention of Bhai Nand Lai, a poet of Persian language. He also carried a pen-name of 'Goya'. He composed a poem. A free translation of the poem is reproduced here.

"Many have written about the flower of Holi in the garden of the world. It made the lips beautiful like a flower bud. Rose water, amber musk and saffron water fell like rain from all sides. The scattering of clouds of Gulal by the blessed hand (of the Guru) reddened the earth and the sky. The syringes filled with saffron-coloured water imparted lovely hue to the uncoloured (Har Be Rang Ra Khaehrang-o-Bn Kurd). When my king (Shyam) wore the coloured neck cloth, both the worlds became happy through his kindness. One who happened to see his divine face achieved the objective of his life. Goya's heart has only one desire that he should sacrifice himself for the dust over which the Guru's devotees pass."[79]

Despite Guru's enhanced attention to peaceful pursuits, he did not lose sight of the defence of his headquarters, for he could visualise the hardened attitude of the Hill Rajas towards him and assess the situation for a possible thrust of the Mughal because of their parochial stance. He, therefore, completed the construction (1699) of five forts all around the town : Kesgarh at the Centre; Anandgarh (fort of bliss) 500 meters to the East, Lohgarh (fort of steel) one kilometer to the South, Holgarh one and a half kilometer to the North. Fatehgarh, Anandgarh and Keshgarh were built on Hill tops. All were located at strategic places. Fatehgarh, Holgarh and Fohgarh were situated on the banks of a rivulet Charan Ganga. All the forts could bear the assault of big guns. They were connected with each other through skilfully constructed earth works and underground tunnels. The strongest fort was Anandgarh which exists even to date.

For water supply a huge well was dug up. It was worked by the Persian Wheel. The well and the wheel can still be seen there.

The code of conduct framed by very close associates of the Guru who had observed him and even received directions from him from time to time has the following to say in respect of discipline.

He is not a Sikh who does not observe discipline.

Without discipline one is just a vagabond,

Wandering aimlessly from door to door.

Without discipline one falls into the hellish pit.

One who does not observe discipline is a wild creature.

One who does not observe discipline is a defaulter.

One who does not observe discipline cannot be happy.[80]

Therefore, hold fast to the disciplined way of life.[81] Behind feverish, literary and cultural activities there could be discerned the restlessness of a soul struggling hard to come to some important decision. To those who were intimately connected with him, it must have foreshadowed some great step. The Hill Rajas and Mughal Faujdars however, could not have guessed what Guru Gobind Singh was thinking in those years. When they heard of the birth of Gobind's third son (Zorawar Singh) early in 1697 and of another (Fateh Singh) two years later, they might have imagined that the Guru was settling down and would pay more attention to his family life than to his people. His elder sons Ajit Singh and Jujhar Singh were born in 1687 and 1690 respectively. What was really in the offing, none, could figure out. And when at long last, its configuration was visible it was stunning, striking, perplexing and storming besides heralding of a new era where hackneyed society and its value-style would yield place to fresh social pattern based on fresh value-system.

Notes and References

[1] Swarup Singh Kaushish, Guru Kian Sakhian, p. 102, (ed.) Piara Singh Padam.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Kartar Singh, Life of Guru Gobind Singh, p. 81.

M.A. Macauliffe calls this city Lakhanpur which is wrong.

[4] According to Bhai Kahn Singh, Guru Shabad Ratmkar Mahan Kosh; Giani Gian Singh, Twarikh Guru Khalsa, Guru Gobind Singh stayed here for a few days, on his way back from Paonta to Anandpur.

[5] Kartar Singh, Life of Guru Gobind Singh, p. 81.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Gurmukh Singh, Historical Sikh Shrines, p. 305.

[8] Ibid., "The Rani of Raipur came here to pay her respects to the Guru and invited him to visit her house and bless her young son."

[9] Kalghidhar Chamatkar; Kartar Singh, op.cit., p. 83.

[10] Kartar Singh, Life of Guru Gobind Singh, p. 83.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Swarup Singh Kaushish, Guru kian Sakhian, pp. 102-103.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Hutchinson and Vogal, J. Ph., History of the Punjab Hill States I, 388, 462, 582, Mandi State Gazetteer, p. 37.

[20] Ibid., pp. 149-50, 225, 326.

[21] Ibid., pp. 205, 309.

[22] Journal of Indian History XXXI, II, 140, 142, cited by B.N. Goswami, Social Background of Kangra Valley Painting.

[23] Bhai Vir Singh says that the agreement was signed at Paonta. We do not agree with his contention. He argues on the presumption that Bhim Chand led the attack on the Guru in the Battle of Bhangani but this presumption is open to objection on the ground that the Guru makes no mention of the Raja of Kahlur's participation in the Battle of Bhangani. We concur with J.S. Grewal and S.S. Bal in their view that the formality, if there was any, was effected at Anandpur, though a tacit understanding must have been reached through someone, when Guru Gobind Singh stayed with the Rani of Raipur.

[24] Bachittar Natak, VIII, p. 37.

[25] Indubhushan Banerjee, Evolution of the Khalsa, Vol. II, pp. 73-74.

[26] Holgarh was in the village named Agamgarh, and therefore it also assumed the name Agamgarh vide page 19 of Anandpur Sahib (Punjabi) by Dr. Harjinder Singh Dilgeer.

[27] Bachittar Natak, IX, 2.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Ibid.

[30] J.S. Grewal and S.S. Bal, Guru Gobind Singh, p. 87.

[31] Following the Gurbilas Patshahi 10, Indubhushan Banerjee rightly calls him the Raja of Jaswal. This gets confirmation from the name Ram Singh appearing in the list of the Rajas of Jaswal given by Hutchinson and Vogal. See Indubhushan Banerjee, Evolution of the Khalsa, Vol. II, p. 81 and Appendix A.

[32] According to Indubhushan Banerjee, he was the Chief of Mudhwar, a hill state in the Jammu region. According to Hutchinson and Vogal, the later Chiefs of Datarpur bore the suffix of Dhadwal. We feel that he was more likely to be the Chief of Datarpur. History of the Punjab Hill States. Vol. I, p. 212.

[33] Bachittar Natak, IX. 3.

[34] Ibid., IX, 6.

[35] Ibid., IX, 16.

 "Nanglu is a sect of Rajputs descended from Chua Mian, son of Sagar Chand, the sixth Raja of Kahlur." A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North West Frontier Province, Vol III, p. 156). Possibly the Panglu also is another Rajput sect of the same type.

 It appears that Guler also supported Bhim Chand and this is confirmed by Gurbilas Patshahi 10 (VII 41). It seems that the Guru is refering to the clans of Jaswal and Guleria and not to the states of those names. Guleria and Jaswal were two of the six clans of Katoch (Indubhushan Banerjee, Evolution of the Khalsa, Vol. II, p. 82. Footnote.

[36] Bachittar Natak, pp. 18, 19, 20.

[37] Ibid., p. 22.

[38] Ibid., p. 23.

[39] Ibid.

[40] Bachittar Natak IX, p. 24.

[41] J.S. Grewal and S.S. Bal, Guru Gobind Singh, p. 91, 1967.

[42]           The date is given in the tale no. 405 in Charitro Pakhyan. The total number of tales is 404 but the last tale is numbered 405, showing thereby one tale is missing.

[43] Akhbarat-i-Durbar-i-Mualla (R.A.S.) 1/1677-79 an extract of the news letter dated 20-11-1693 in the Akhbarat runs as follows: News from Sirhind— Gobind declares himself to be Guru Nanak. Faujdars ordered to prevent him from assembling (his Sikhs).

[44] According to Gokal Chand Narang, he was the Governor of Kangra, Transformation of Sikhism reprint 1989, p. 90. According to Panth Parkash he was Govemer of Kashmir. The author of Suraj Parkash calls him Panj Hazari Sardar. Indubhushan Banerjee considers him only a Mughal officer. According to Macauliffe, he attained power in Punjab during insurrection which arose while Aurangzeb was in Deccan.

[45] According to Sunder Singh the author of the Battles of Guru Gobind Singh, Alam Khan was Guru's Deoridar. According to Indubhushan Banerjee, he was Guru's attendant. Giani Gian Singh calls him Alam Shah—Twarikh Guru Khalsa, p. 835.

[46] Bachittar Natak, X 6.

[47] Bachittar Natak, X, 9, 10.

[48] Ibid., XI, 8.

[49] The amount was exhorbitant even if he was expected to share the burden with his friend, the Raja of Jaswan. It must have been compared with the annual tribute that they paid to the Mughal government which did not exceed a few hundred rupees for either Guler or Jaswan. For the amount demanded; see Bachittar Natak, XI, 13 and for the annual tribute by the three Rajas to the Mughal government; see B.N. Goswami, Social Background of Kangra Valley Painting, pp. 57-58.

[50] Bachittar Natak, XI, 57.

[51] Ibid., XIII, 69.

[52] Ibid.

[53] Jujhar Singh was a Rajput prince whom Aurangzeb despatched from Deccan. Chandan Rai was the deputy of Jujhar Singh. Hari Ram Gupta, History of the Sikhs I, p. 242.

[54] Indubhushan Banerjee, Evolution of the Khalsa, II, 86.

[55] Guru Gobind Singh mentions this name in Bachittar Natak. Gaj Singh was in command of Jaswan contingent. He certainly was not the ruler of Jaswan State who was Ram Singh.

[56] Bachittar Natak, Section XII, Chaupais 1-12.

[57] Ibid., XIII, I, 'Sahazadah Ko Agham Madar Desh', Bhai Santokh Singh, Sri Guru Partap Suraj Granth, part II, Ansu 48.

[58] William Irvine, Later Mughal, pp. 1-4.

[59] Refer to Khafi Khan's account in Elliot and Dowson, History of India as Told by its Own Historians, Vol. VII, p. 153.

[60] Gokal Chand Narang, Transformation of Sikhism, p. 91.

[61] Bachittar Natak, XIII Chaupais 9-25.

[62] The statement is amply supported by different Hukamnamas. One of these letters is to the progenitors of the Phulkian house in which the Guru asks for assistance. In another Hukamnama, addressed to the Sangat of Dacca the Guru acknowledges the receipt of swords, cloths and money and asks for more. Still in another letter asks for first class war elephant. (Hukamnamas 35-37 in the book Hukamname).

[63] Hukamnama dated 2nd August 1696 (2nd Bhadon Samat 1753 BK) to Bhai Tiloka and Rama and the entire congregation under them to come to him with a force. For English translation see Patiala and East Punjab Historical Backround, p. 44. Also consult the book Hukamname by Dr. Ganda Singh, page 147, Hukamnama no. 43. Also see Hukamnama no. 42, p. 145.

[64] Indubhushan Banerjee, Evolution of the Khalsa, Vol. II, p. 166. S.S. Johar, Guru Gobind Singh, 1967.

[65] According to Gurbilas Patshahi 10, this was due to the pleas of Nand Lai 'Goya' who was sympathetic to the Sikhs and was erstwhile employee of the Prince. Also refer to Indubhushan Banerjee, op.cit., p. 116.

[66] Bachittar Natak, XIII 8.

[67] Ibid., XIII 12.

[68] Ibid., Chaupais 24-25.

[69] Kapur Singh, Parasharprasna, pp. 197-198.

[70] Kapur Singh, Parasharprasm, pp. 197-98.

[71] These later formed the nucleus of Nirmal Panth. They returned to Anandpur in 1692 according to Dr. S.S. Bal and 1697 according to Khazan Singh. We consider Bal's date as correct because there is a strong tradition that they lived at Benaras for seven years.

[72] We observe some of the most talented poets in Guru Gobind Singh's Darbar now beginning to translate parts of Mahabharat. Amarat Raj Sabha- Purav Mangal Shaliya-Purav and Kuresh Daro-Purav. It is difficult to say if something similar was done about Ramayana, but in all probability some poets had commenced translation of Ramayana in this period. See Bhai Vir Singh's tract Guru Gobind Singh Da Vidya Durbar.

[73] That the Sikhs considered it their relgious duty to feed and serve all who called at their door is confirmed by the testimony of Munshi Sujan Rai of Batala, who began his book, the Khulastut-Twarikh in 1695-96. and finished it in 1697-98 or a year or two before the Birth of the Khalsa.

"If a person turns up at their door at midnight and calls in the name of Baba Nanak, though he may be stranger or even a thief, robber or scoundrel, they serve him according to his need, as they serve a brother and a friend." Sujan Rai Bhandari Khulastut-Tawarikh (Pbi.), p. 81.

[74] It was believed that merely stepping on the bone of a dead Kalal would condemn one to the fire of hell. (Puran Singh, Ten Masters, Chief Khalsa Dewan, Amritsar, p. 102)

[75] Bhai Vir Singh, Kalgidhar Chamatkar; Puran Singh, op. cit.

[76] Bhai Vir Singh, Kalgidhar Chamatkar; Puran Singh, Ten Masters, p. 101. Kartar Singh, Life of Guru Gobind Singh, p. 94.

[77] Ibid., p. 101. Kartar Singh, Life of Guru Gobind Singh, p. 94.

[78] Kalgidhar Chamatkar, pp. 225-26.

Nihangs have preserved the memory of this day's mock battle. They celebrate Hola Mohalla at Anandpur on the following day after Holi. They wear deep blue robes, tall conical turbans, yellow girdles and enact the mock battle. Riding on horses with sparkling spears and swords and shouting their war-cries, they march, in procession. They often halt the procession for a while to display and demostrate the skill that they had acquired in the use of their personal weapons.

[79] Swarup Singh Kaushish, Guru Kian Sakhian, p. 145, Sakhi No. 73.

Hari Ram Gupta, History of the Sikhs Vol. 1, pp. 244-45.

[80] Rehni rahe sol sikh mera. Oh sahib main us ka chera.

Rehat bind na sikh kahavai. Rehat bind dar chota khavai.

Rehat bin sukh(u) kabhu na lahe. Ta te rehat su drirh kar rahai.

(Rehatndma, Bhai Desa Singh)

[81] "Tankhah Nama" quoted in Social and Political Philosophy of Guru Gobind Singh, by Sher Singh, pp. 128-129.