Thursday, April 3, 2008

Anandpur Battle and Separation of Guru Gobind Singh's Family Part-II

Anandpur Battle and Separation of Guru Gobind Singh's Family - The Martyrdom of the Younger Sahibzadas - Part [II]
Mata Ji and Sahibzadas in Sirhind / Scene at Nawab's court / Qazi gave his judgement
by Manpreet, Illustrations by Amarjeet Malik

Mata Ji and Sahibzadas in Sirhind
On arrival at the police station Mata Gujri Ji and the two Sahibzadas were lodged in the Kotwali for the night. Both the brothers listened to the tales of bravery of the followers of Guru Nanak, story of the unique Martyrdom of Guru Arjun Dev and Guru Tegh Bahadur from their dear and affectionate Grand mother. All three joined in reciting the sacred evening Sikh prayer, Rahras and Kirtan Sohila- before going to the bed.

Early next morning they were taken in a bullock cart to Bassi Police Station. News of their arrest had spread like a wildfire far and wide. Large crowds collected everywhere on the way. People were surprised that the young innocent boys had been put under arrest along with their aged grand mother. The fearless looks of Sahibzadas aroused their admiration and they observed, "They are the brave sons of their brave father." The remarks of the on-lookers made the constables panicky and they started walking fast. The cart-driver also whipped the bullocks so that they could reach Sirhind quickly.

On arrival at Sirhind, they were lodged for night in a cold room in the tower. At a great risk to his life, one of the devotees of the Guru Bhai Moti managed to send milk for Mata Ji and Sahibzadas. Sahibzadas Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh listened to episodes from Sikh History related to them by their grand mother. On hearing about the ideals set by the Gurus the two Sahibzadas assured Mata Ji that they would stand by their faith and follow in the footsteps of their illustrious father. Mata Ji was pleased to hear this and admired her grand children's courage and firm determination.

Next morning the police constables appeared again and told Mata Ji that they had orders for taking the two boys to the Nawab's court. On an enquiry by Mata Ji as to why they were called there, they answered respectfully that they were not aware of the reasons, their duty was to obey orders only. Mata Ji embraced her grandsons, blessed them and asked them to uphold the sacred traditions of the Gurus. The two Sahibzadas pledged to do so and departed cheerfully.

Scene at Nawab's court
The two Sahibzadas walked to the court boldly along with the constables. As they reached the court, they noticed that the big gate was closed and there was only a small window for entering the court. The intelligent Sahibzadas saw through the game. They put their feet forward and jumped inside through the window without bowing their heads.

The Nawab's court was in session. As the two Sahibzadas stepped inside, they greeted the courtiers with the Sikh salutation-

Wahguru Ji Ka Khalsa Wahguru Ji Ki Fateh

The court resounded with their greeting. All the courtiers were greatly impressed by their fearless behaviour.

Dressed in saffron shirts with Kirpans worn round their waists, the fair colored Sahibzadas looked very sweet and lovely. Nawab Wazir Khan addressed them in an affectionate tone: " What sweet and brave faces! Islam will be proud to have you within its fold. Just recite Kalma (Muslim benediction) and we shall welcome you in our midst. You will get anything for the asking."

The two Sahibzadas shouted back in one voice. "We care not for the worldly wealth. We shall not renounce our religion at any cost." The Nawab got quite annoyed at their reply but just kept quite.

Addressing the Qazi the Nawab said, "Have you observed the insolent bahaviour of these boys! Don't regard them as innocent. They are rebellious sons of a rebel. They will have to be punished."

The Qazi told the Nawab that, according to Islamic Law, the two boys were not guilty of any crime. They could not be held responsible for their father's actions.

The Nawab observed, however, "They are rebels too. Haven't you heard their rude statements!" The Qazi answered, "But they have not committed any crime."

Nawab Wazir Khan was taken back at the Qazi's unexpected reply. Nawab Wazir Khan again persuaded them and said, "You are still young and innocent. It is your age for enjoyment and fun. If you listen to our advice, you will enjoy life to your heart's content in this world and be blessed with a glorious life in Paradise."

Sahibzada Zorawar Singh spoke fearlessly. "We are fighting against tyranny and injustice. We are the sons of Guru Gobind Singh, the grandsons of Guru Tegh Bahadur and descendants of Guru Arjun Dev. We shall follow in their footsteps. We are ready for all sacrifices for the protection of our faith."

One of the officials of Moghul government Dewan Sucha Nand, who happened to be there, walked up to the Sahibzadas and asked them, "If you are released, where will you go?"

Sahibzada Zorawar Singh said, "We shall go to the forests, gather together a few Sikhs, get hold of good horses and then come and face you and your army on the battlefield."

On hearing this, Dewan observed, "Do you know that your father has been slain?"

Both the brothers reacted in an angry tone, "No one can kill our respected father. He will never fall in your hands."

The two Sahibzadas shouted back, "We don't need any advice from you. Listen carefully. Until this tyrannical Government is completely wiped out, we shall go on fighting."

Dewan Sucha Nand was taken aback at their reply. Addressing the Nawab, he said, "Sir, killing the serpent and feeding his young ones would not be wise. When these young kids grow up, they will rebel against the Government. They must be punished and should, on no account, be released." The Nawab listened to what Dewan Sucha Nand said.

Qazi gave his judgement
The two Sahibzadas were in a playful mood, taking to each other fearlessly and quite unconcerned when the Nawab, the Qazi and Dewan Sucha Nand were engaged in the conversation. The courtiers were quite amazed at the lack of any fear or anxiety on their faces even though it was a question of life and death for them.

The nawab said to the Qazi again, "You have heard the impertinent answers given by them to Dewan Sucha Nand. It would not be safe to release them. They are sure to raise the banner of revolt, like their father, when they grow up."
Young Sahibzadas
The Qazi had also listened to the conversation that took places between Dewan Sucha Nand and the two bold sons of Guru Gobind Singh. After some deliberation he pronounced his judgement and ordered that they be bricked up alive in a wall. Sahibzadas heard the sentence without dismay but the courtiers were taken aback on hearing the judgement. The Qazi advised the Nawab further that they be handed over to the Nawab of Malerkotla for carrying out the sentence since his father met his end at the hands of the Guru so that he can have his revenge by getting his sons buried alive.

Nawab Wazir Khan called Sher Mohammad khan, the Nawab of Malerkotla, and conveyed the Qazi's orders to him, "Your brother lost his life at the hands of Guru Gobind Singh. Here is an opportunity for you to wreak your vengeance. The Qazi has sentenced these two sons of Guru Gobind Singh to death and has further ordered that they be bricked up alive. We are handling them over to you for doing the needful."

On hearing this Sher Mohammad was dumb founded. After some pause he said to the Nawab in a faltering voice, "This is cruelty! My brother was killed on the battlefield. These innocent boys are not responsible for his death. If we have to take revenge it shall be from the father. God save us from this sinful act."

Saying this he got up and remarked in a mournful tone, "O God, how cruel!"


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