This month is very special in Sikh history. It marks the martyrdoms of the four Sahibzaade (princes) of Guru Gobind Singh jee, Mata Gujar Kaur jee (Guru jee’s mother) and countless other beloved Gursikhs who died sacrificing themselves for the Sikh nation. As a small tribute to the Sahibzaade and all the great Shaheeds, with Guru’s kirpaa Daas has attempted to write up a brief summary of the historical events leading up to Saka Chamkaur Sahib and Saka Sirhind based on lectures of Dr. Sukhpreet Singh Udhoke and Giani Pinderpal Singh.
PART 1: THE STORY OF LEAVING ANANDPUR SAHIB
Siege of Anandpur Sahib
Anandpur Sahib is in a valley in North-East Panjab. The hills that surround Anandpur Sahib had small kingdoms of 22 Hindu kings. The Hindu kings had a growing enmity with Guru Gobind Singh jee as Guru Gobind Singh jee was against idolatry and the caste system. One of the Hindu hill kings called Ajmer Chand of Kahlir and his father Bheem Chand personally went to the Emperor Aurangzeb and stirred up the Emperor to attack and finish Guru Gobind Singh jee who was said to be a threat to not only the Hindu religion but also the Islamic rule of India. Armies were sent from across Northern India to surround Anandpur Sahib. The army was so big that if each soldier picked up a handful of soil and threw it at Anandpur Sahib, the city would get buried in soil. The siege lasted from about May to December. The food ran out and the Sikhs struggled for even water. Just to get water, a small band of Sikhs would leave the fort and most of them would die fighting in the process. Despite the lack of food, water and the growing cold and wet weather, the Sikhs kept in good spirits.
“IF YOU WILL BLESS ME WITH HAPPINESS, THEN I WILL WORSHIP AND ADORE YOU. EVEN IN PAIN, I WILL MEDITATE ON YOU. ||2|| EVEN IF YOU GIVE ME HUNGER, I WILL STILL FEEL SATISFIED; I AM JOYFUL, EVEN IN THE MIDST OF SORROW. ||3||”
Attempt to attack the Fort of Anandpur Sahib
Guru Gobind Singh jee had his own Intelligence wing that gathered information from different sources. The Head of Intelligence for the Sikhs was called Bhai Chatur Singh Brar. Bhai Sahib informed Guru Sahib three days before that the Mughals planned to send a drunk elephant equipped with lethal armour to break the gate of the Lohgarh Fort. Guru Sahib chose a 4ft tall Singh that was slim build, called Bhai Bachitar Singh jee, to go and fight with the lethal drunk elephant. As the lethal drunk elephant approached the gate, Bhai Bachittar Singh who was on horseback, made a powerful thrust with his spear piercing the elephant’s armour plate and injuring the animal in the forehead. The wounded elephant ran back creating havoc and great damage in the enemy’s ranks. Bhai Sahib showed that it is not necessarily physical build and strength that is needed for victory but spiritual strength, fearlessness and courage that is gained from Rehit, Gurbani and Simran.
The Oath of the Hindu Hill Kings
The 22 Hindu hill kings sent a Hindu priest called Pandit Parmanand to see Guru Gobind Singh jee. Pandit Parmanand came holding a cow statue made out of flour and told Guru jee, “The Hindu hill kings have sent me on their behalf. They take an oath on the holy cow that if you leave Anandpur Sahib and head for Deena Kangar, they will not attack you and allow you to leave with dignity and respect.” Mata Gujar Kaur jee afterwards tells Guru jee, “They are taking an oath on their holy cow. We should perhaps accept this.” Guru jee replied, “Mata jee, they are taking an oath on an animal, not even a human being. I will show you how much their oath means to them.” Guru jee got some bullock driven carts to be filled with rubbish and then covered with expensive material. Guru jee then asked the Sikhs to send these carts outside of the city gates so that it looked like the Sikhs were leaving. When this happened, straight away the Hindu hill kings got their armies and attacked. Guru jee proved how much integrity these kings really had.