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Fear Ends Where Faith Begins

Sikhi-Faith

Char Sahibzade

Baba Ajit Singh, Baba Jujhar Singh, Baba Zorawar Singh and Baba Fateh Singh were the four Sahibzadas (sons) of Guru Gobind Singh ji. Generally, we use the word ‘Baba’ for an old man but it is also used for a person, worthy of respect. At the time of their martyrdom Baba Ajit Singh and Baba Jujhar Singh were 17 and 15 years old, and the two younger brothers, Baba Zorawar Singh and Baba Fateh Singh were only 9 and 7.

Baba Ajit Singh was an excellent swordsman. He was also expert in the use of other weapons of war like bow and arrow. He started taking part in Sikh battles against tyrants, early in life.

Once a young Hindu Brahman came to Guru Gobind Singh ji at Anandpur Sahib and requested him to help him as some Pathans had abducted his newly-wedded wife. Baba Ajit Singh offered to recover the young Brahman’s wife. With a few brave Sikhs he chased the Pathans, overpowered them, and recovered the young lady and restored her to her husband.

In the year 1704, when Guruji had to leave the besieged fort of Anandpur, all the four Sahibzadas were with him. The Anandpur Fort had been surrounded by the Mughal armies for several months and all supplies to the Sikhs inside had been completely cut off. To take over the control of the fort, the Mughal officers sent in a note to Guru Sahib saying that if he and his followers vacated the fort, they would let them pass through peacefully and vowed not to hurt anyone.

The enemy betrayed the Guru, violated their oath and fell upon the Sikhs as soon as they opened the gates to move out. Baba Ajit Singh with a few Sikhs held up the enemy while the rest crossed the river Sirsa. When all had crossed, Baba Ajit Singh and the young Sikhs in his command plunged their horses into the flooded river and joined a group of Sikhs marching ahead of them.

In the utter confusion of the battle and the river crossing, the two younger sons of the Tenth Guru along with their grandmother Mata Gujri ji got separated from the rest. While Guruji with his two elder sons and forty Sikhs hurried towards Chamkaur, a nearby village, where they quickly occupied a strategically located Garhi (a small fortess) and started preparing for their defense against the Mughal forces pursuing them from all sides, while Mata Gujri ji and the younger Sahibzadas moved on in a different direction.

The Mughal forces soon besieged the Garhi and decided to force open its gate. Baba Ajit Singh with the permission and blessings of his father took five Sikhs with him, went out and riddled the enemy with a continuous spray of arrows. He fought very bravely to his last breath and died a martyr’s death. Guru Sahib watched his eldest son’s great fighting skills and thanked God that he met a saint-soldier’s death.

Baba Jujhar Singh, the second son of Guru Gobind Singh Sahib, also had the same training as his brother. He stood up and requested his father to allow him to be the next one to go and follow his elder brother. Guruji embraced him and gave him a sword and a shield. He also went out with five Sikhs. Many mighty warriors fell upon this lad of fifteen. He fought with courage for as long as he could, till he got overpowered by the huge army. He breathed his last, fighting like a true Sikh warrior with Waheguru, Waheguru on his lips.

On the other hand, Baba Zorawar Singh and Baba Fateh Singh, the two younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh ji and their grandmother Mata Gujri ji, who got separated from Guruji, moving in a different direction, reached a village nearby. There they met a Brahman named ‘Gangu’ who had earlier served in the Guru’s house. He offered them shelter in his house but stole their valuables and money when the three of them were resting at night. Later, when Mata Gujri questioned him about it, he became furious and reported their presence to the village chief who was a Mughal. Both the Sahibzadas with their grandmother were arrested and taken to the Governor of Sarhind, who confined them in a tower of his fort where they passed a cold December night on hard floor without any bedding or food.

Next day, the Sahibzadas were summoned before the Governor. The young Sahibzadas kept up their princely dignity and refused to bow before the Governor. Instead, they uttered “Waheguru ji ka Khalsa , Waheguru ji ki Fateh” The Governor was annoyed and threatened them with torture if they did not embrace Islam. Both of them firmly refused to give up their faith. The Governor gave them 24 hours to think and consult their grandmother. He promised them many charming favors if they agreed and warned them that they would be bricked alive, if they refused.

When Mata Gujri heard all about it, she warmly hugged them and told them how proud of them she was. “Stay strong, my beloved kids, it is better to die with honor than to live in disgrace”, she counseled. Next day when they were taken to the court, the Governor again made them tempting offers but they rejected all of them, and refused to give up their Sikh faith for Islam. The Governor ordered them to be bricked alive. The Governor of Malerkotla, Sher Mohammed who was also present pleaded for their release as they had not committed any offence, he said, but of no avail.

The two brothers were made to stand closely side by side and a brick wall started being raised around them. When they were covered in the wall upto their shoulders, the Governor again asked them to embrace Islam and go free. But these two young faces, glowing with confidence, calmly shook their heads in the negative. At this point, the Governor ordered and their heads were cut off. This is how the two younger sons of the tenth Guru became martyrs.

When Mata Gujri was told about the martyrdom of her grandsons, she thanked Waheguruji for giving them a dignified death. Then she closed her eyes and went into deep meditation. Next morning they found she had breathed her last.
Todar Mal, a rich businessman and follower of Guru Gobind Singh ji sought permission from the Governor to cremate the three bodies. He was permitted on the condition tha he paid as many gold coins as placed closely together would cover the piece of land required. Todar Mal agreed, purchased the land and cremated the dead bodies. ‘Gurdwara Joti Sarup’ was erected later on that piece of land. The place where the Sahibzadas were bricked and beheaded stands the Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib. At the site where the three were imprisoned stands the Gurdwara called ‘Mata Gujri Burj’(Tower). This happened in the month of December 1704.

 

Sikh Martyrs