(b) Medieval Period

 

The Slave Dynasty A.D. 1206 to 1288.- The successors of Muhammad Ghori founded the Sultanate of Delhi which held sway in the Punjab for many years. However, before discussing the history of Rupnagar District in medieval India, it is appropriate to mention here that almost the whole of area of today's Rupnagar District was included in the then Sirhind province. Hence the History of Rupnagar District is contained in the medieval history of Sirhind Province.

The dynasty founded by Qutb-ud-din Aibak and continued by other princes of servile origin is known to history as the Slave Dynasty. This dynasty ruled from A.D. 1206 to 1288. During the Sultanate period, Sirhind including the area forming the present Rupnagar District was an important administrative unit. Qutb-ub-din Aibak was the first Sultan of this dynasty who ruled from A.D. 1206 to 1210. Realizing the strategic postion and political importance of Punjab, Qutb-ub-din Aibak shifted his capital from Delhi to Lahore. Illustmish, was the next important sultan who reigned for twenty-six years. It was in A.D. 1221, during the reign of illtutmish, that the Mongols appeared for the first time on the banks of the Indus, under their celebrated leader Chingez Khan. However, during the period of Illtutmish India escaped the Mongol menace. After Illtutmish, Raziyya was an important ruler of the slave Dynasty. She was the first woman ruler of India who possessed a sagacity befitting her high status. The proud Turkish nobles however, could not reconcile themselves to the rule of a woman. Also they were offended at the undue favour shown by Raziyya to the Abyssinian slave Jalal-ul-din Yaqut. The Turkish nobles revolted. The first to revolt openly was Altuniya, the Governor of Sirhind14. Yaqut was killed. Raziyya tried to extricate herself from the critical situation by marrying Altunia, but to no effect. She alongwith her husband was put to death by her enemies on 12 December 1940.

The most important slave king was Balban, who ruled this country from A.D. 1245 to A.D. 1287, for twenty years as Prime Minister of Sultan Nasir-ud-din Mahmud and for 20 Years as Sultan of Delhi. During the reign of Nasir-ud-din Mahmud (1246-1266), a large fort was constructed at Sirhind to ward off attacks by the Mughal Hordes who were already casting covetous eyes on India15.

 

Balban appointed his cousin Sher Khan as Governor of Sirhind and its adjoining area. Sher Khan had all the attributes of an enlightened and sound administrator. Sher Khan was an energetic Governor who governed the Punjab, including areas lying across the Satuj, with great courage and tact and repulsed many incursions by the Mongols. As the governor of the frontier provinces, he had become so powerful and influential that Balban began to consider him a danger to his personal authority. In these circumstances, it is believed that Balban had managed to have Sher Khan poisoned to death. After Sher Khan, Balban appointed his eldest son as the Governor of this frontier province. Sutan was a talented young man who was not only a patron of literature, but was himself a great Persian and Arabic scholar. With great ability and to the entire satisfaction of his father, the prince administered the frontier divisions and held his own against repeated Mongol invasions. Sultan died in 1285 while engaged in a fight against the Mongols.

Balban was the strongest of Delhi Sultans of the Slave Dynasty. Although addicted to wine in his youth, after his accession to the throne, he prohibited the sale and manufacture of liquor throughout his dominions. Infringement attracted the severest penalties. An experienced administrator, Balban eagerly applied himself to the task of eradicating the evils from which the State had been suffering from a long time. Kekubad was the last ruler of the Slave Dynasty who reigned a little more than three years. He was a weak ruler from whom the throne of Delhi was Jalal-ud-din in A.D. 1290.

The Khilzi Dynasty (A.D.1288-1331).-Jala-ud-din Khilzi was the first ruler of this dynasty. He was assassinated at the instance of his nephew, Ala-ud-din on 19July 1985, after reigning for a period of 7 years. Ala-ud-din Khilzi was the most powerful ruler of this dynasty. During his times, the Mongols, under Kutlugh Khan, son of Amir Daud Khan, again invaded the Punjab in 1298. Their army on this occasion having occupied all the countries beyond the Indus, they advanced to the very gates of the capital, and escaped on the banks of Jamuna. The king put himself at the head of his troops and gave the invaders battle, when after a most bloody engagement, the Monglos were compelled to retreat and to evacuate India as rapidly as they had advanced towards it. However, while retreating, they caused hovoc in Punjab including in the area now comprising Rupnagar District.

 

In 1304, the Mongols invaded Punjab again. Tughlak Khan, Governor of Punjab, was deputed to oppose them with a large force. He inflicted a signal defeat on the enemy, who lost seven thousand men killed and wounded. Nine thousand of their troops were made prisoners and sent in chains to Delhi, where according to Ferishita (a historian) they were all put to death. Ali Beg and Khwajah Tash were trampled under the feet of elephants.

The reign of Ala-ud-din Khilzi is noted for many reforms effected by him in the civil administration of the country. He built magnificent palaces, mosques and colleges, and became a patron of learning. Amir Khusrow was the most famous poet of his time. Ala-ud-din died on 19 December 1316, after a reign of over 20 years.

The Tughlak Dynasty (A.D. 1321-1414) Mohammad Tughlaq and Firoz Shah Tughlaq were important rulers of this dynasty. The former was a visionary stateman, the latter was a practical man. Weak successors of this dynasty led to the disintegration of the Delhi Sultanate. It was the decadent plight of the Delhi Sultanate which encouraged Timur to invade India in A.D. 1398. The Delhi Sultanate failed to offer Timur resistance. The mighty invader plundered and ravaged this country. Punjab and Delhi were his worst victims. Wherever he went, he looted, plundered and pillaged the territory brutally and ordered the wholesale massacre of the local populace irrespective of age or sex. After collect in his booty, he started his march back home through Punjab. On his way back, he devastated whaterver lay in his way. Himself having no desire to staypermanently in India, he left behind very powerful Governors 17. Timur left India taking with him not only the riches he had poundered, but also skilled artisans, loads of marble and other materials with the purpose of building at Samarkand a mosque and a replica of the Qutab Minar. During his return journey. Timur decided to traverse the Punjab through the Shiwalik Range. He seems to have marched through the present day districts of ambala, Rupnagar, Hoshiarpur and Kangra from where he proceede to Jammu via Pathankot. It also seems probable that somewhere in the hills, probably at Rupnagar, Rattan Singh, a local ruler, opposed Timur but was defeated18.

The Sayyids and Lodhis (A.D. 1414-1526)- The founder of the Syyid Dynasty was Khizr Khan who took possession of Delhi in A.D. 1414, Previously, he was Governor of Punjab on behalf of Timur. During Khans' rule, Sultan Shah Kidgu was a very powerful Governor of Sirhind, including the area of present Rupnagar District. In A.D. 1419, Sarang Khan challenged the authority of Khizr Khan in Punjab. A battle was fought near Sirhind in which Sarang Khan was defeated by Sultan Shah Lodhi. He was, however, able to escape to safety in the Shiwalik Hills nearby via Rupnagar19. Once again Sarang Khan challenged the authority of Khizr Khan, but was again defeated at Rupnagar.

After the death of Khizr Khan on 20 May 1421, his son Mubarak Shah occupied the throne of Delhi. During his times, the brave Khokars grew more and more powerful and harassed him more than once. Their chief, Jasrat confidently aspired to the establishment of their supremacy on the ruins of the Delhi Kingdom. He had ravaged the area of Punjab up to Rupnagar and Sirhing. In October, 1421, a wing of the royal, army took Jasrat by surprise on his side of the river at Rupnagar. As Jasrat was putting his forces in battle array, he found that Mubarak Shah had crossed flank. He sought safety in slipping through the royal army and crossed the river to reach Jalandhar. From there, he hastened back to his strongest fort at Talwara. There, Mubarak Shah followed him with the help of Raja Bhim of Jammu. Mubarak Shah captured the fort and razed it but not before Jasrat had escaped further into the mountains20.

In 1432 again, Jasrat Khokhar attacked Allab Dad, Governor of the areas from Jalandhar to Lahore. Allah Dad was defeated and driven to seek shelter farther east, probably at Rupnagar, Jasrat was now left in peace for the rest of the reign of Mubarak Shab 21. Jasrat seems to have occupied the hilly portions of the present Jammu along with some claims to the hilly areas towards the east, including the present Anandpur Sahib Tahsil of Rupnagar District.

With the accession of Bahlol, the Punjab ceased to be a problem tract for Delhi. Before ascending the throne of Delhi Bahlol was the master of the entire plains of the Punjab. The brave Jsrat Khokhar was dead by that time. Even his successor Sikandar Lodhi had much trouble in the Punjab. It was in the reign of Ibrahim Lodhi when Babar invaded India that the Punjab area again assumed greater strategic importance. In 1526, Babar put an end to the rule of the Lodhi Dynasty, by defeating Ibrahim Lodhi at Panipat.

The Mughal Dynasty and the Sikh Gurus.- Babar, the son of Omer Sheikh Miza, who claimed Timur and Changez Khan among ancestors, laid the foundation of the Mughal Empire in India in 152 when ne defeated Ibrahim Lodhi in the first battle of Panipat. The whole of Punjab including the area of Rupnagar District fell the Mughal Rule.

 

At the time of Babar's invasion, the organised religion had become stultifying. In the words of Sir Gokal Chand Narang" the" springof religion had been choked up by weeds of unmeaning ceremonials, debasing superstitions the selfishness of the priest, and the highly spiritual character of Hindusim had been buried under the ostentatious paraphernalia of sects."

What is now know as the Bhakti movement took birth and grew in many parts if India in the period of 9th century to 16th century. Amoung the leading saints and mystics of the time were shankar Acharya (AD.788-820) and Ramanuj time were (A.D.) 1017-1137 from south India, Ramanands (A.D.) 1300-1411) from Allahabad, Kabir (whose exact dates of birth and death are controversial but lived in the 15th century) from Benaras, are Chaitanya (A.D. 1481-1533) from Bengal and Namdev (b.A.D. 1270) 22. The reaching of these saints had many common features such as the debunking of idol- worship and casteism universal love and brotherhood, the unity of God etc. The saints made efforts to bring together the two major communities of Hindus and Muslims. In the Punjab the Bhakti of Guru fell on his nine successors Guru Nanak amd after him, the mantle of Guru fell on his nine successors. Guru Nanak lived in the time of the Lodhis and the first twon Mughal Emperors. It is interesting to note that Guru Nanak began his spiritual mission at exactly the same time as when Babar laid the foundation of Mughal Empire in India. Guru Nanak's travels encompassed an larger part of the subcontinent including the present Rupnagar District and his teaching nleft an indelible mark in Punjab. It significant that even as the area now forming Punjab came to be ruled by the Mughal, Guru Nanak's spiritual influence began to hold sway over the hearts of men in the same political territory. The mystic Philosophy seems to have found a particularly responsive environment in the part that is now Rupnagar District. It was eventually in Anandpur Sahib that the 'Khalsa' was born as an instrument to resist the oppression of the later Mughals, particularly Aurangzeb and this transformed a primarily religions people into fearless warriors who were to challenge the might of the Empire. The spread of the teachings of the Great Gurus forms a vital factor in determining the history of Rupnagar District. In this context, it will be worthwhile here to give a brief description of the life and teachings of the Sikh Gurus and their impact on the District in the background of the Mughal rulers of the times.

 

Guru Nank played a tremendous role in unifying the philosophy of different religions of the time. He admitted that Mohammad was the messenger of God sent to instruct mankind and to lead them to the path of righteousness. But with utmost humility Gutu Nanak considered himself an ordinary mortal, a man among men23.

Guru Nanak lived through the rule of Sher Shah Suri (1540-45) who had snatched power from Humayun (1530-56). Sher Shah Suri was an enlightened ruler who introduced many reforms in various fields. During Sher Shah's rule, the present area of Rupnagar District continued to be included in the province of Sirbind whose administrator was Khawas Khan (Masand-i-Ali)24. However, in 1555 Humayun was able to recapture his empire from the weak successors of Sher Shah Suri and appointed Bairam Khan as the Governor of Sirhind.

During the peiod of Humayun and Sher Shah Suri, Guru Nanak's teachings were further developed by Guru Angad Dev (1532-1552). the popularization of Gurmukhi alphabet was a very significant contribution of Guru Angad Dev. He also started collecting the hymns of Guru Nanak which in due course assisted Guru Arjan Dev in compiling the Adi Granth.

The philosophy was further propagated by Guru Amar Das (1552-1574), Guru Ram Dass (1574-1581) and Guru Arjan Dev during the reign of Akbar. As Akbar took various measures to consolidate the Mughal Empire, the Sikh Gurus also took important steps for the establishment and spread of their faith Guru Amar Das constructed a baoli (well with a flight of stairs) at Goindwal, elaborated the institution of langar (community kitchen) and established the Manji system. Guru Amar Das, being old could not tour all the places where his followers were concentrated. He established separate centres of Sangats called Manjis as the Guru's representatives who addressed congregation by sitting on Manjis or cots. They were twenty two in number and one such Manji was also established at village Wayun in Kharar Tahsil of Rupnagar District.

The Sikh Gurus were held in high esteem by Emperor Akbar. It was due to that reason that Guru Ram Das in 1577 obtained a grant of the site, together with 500 bighas of land from Emperor Akbar at a nominal price. It is believed that the present city of Amritsar was built on land obtained from Akbr.

Akbar was a liberal and tolerant ruler who did not obstruct development of the Sikh religion. He specifically permitted Guru Ram Das to develop the city of Amritsar which later became a strong religious centre. After Guru Ram Dass, Adbar allowed full freedom to Guru Arjan Dev for further development of Amritsar and the Sikh Church. The compilation of the Granth Sahib was completed by Guru Arjan Dev during the reign of Akbar. An interesting incident depicts Akbar's reaction to the novel philosophy. It was complained by certain sections that the Granth Sahib contains a bold criticism of both Hindusim and Islam. Consequently, two disciples of the Guru Bhai Buddha and Bhai Gurdas went to the court and read out certain passages from the Granth. The Emperor was so impressed with the catholicity of the teachings contined in the passages that he remarked, "It is a volume worthy of reverence25.

It is also to be noted that during the period of Akbar, there was considerable eficiency in the field of Administration. Bairam Khan was the administrator of the Sirhind area which then included the present Rupnagar District. After the death of Akbar, Jahangir occupied the throne at Agra on 3 November 1605. The Administration was generally conducted on the lines laid down by Akbar and the reign of Jahangir may be regarded as a continuation of that of his father, although marked by a certain deterioration resulting from Jahangir's poorer abilities. Jahangir's considerable natural abilities were marred by habitual and excessive intemperance which added ferocity to the innate violence of his temper. When angry, and especially if his throne was perceived to be threatened, he was capable of the most fiendished cruelty, having men flayed alive, impaled, torn to pieces by elephants, or otherwise tortured to death. Mere passionate caprice, even when no questin of treason arose, sometimes induced him to commit shocking barbarities26.

Jahangir prided himself especially on his love of justice, and his reputation for the quality still endures in India. The fearful penalties which he inflicted were imposed without regard to the status in life of the sufferers. With the accession of Jahangir, the relations of Guru Arjan Dev with the Mughal Empire deteriorated. The reasons were not far to seek. In the first instance, Jahangir was not a tolerant ruler and he regarded with great disfavour the popularity of the new religion, as is clear from the following extract from Jahangir's own autobiography. Tuzak-i-Jahangiri, persian, 35:-


 

"In Goindwal, which is on the River Biah (Beas), there was a Hindu, named Arjan, in the garments of sainthood and sanctity so much so that he captured the fancy of many of the simple-hearted Hindus, and even of the ingnorant and foolish followers of Islam by his ways and manners, and they had loudly sounded the drum of his holiness. They called him Guru, and from all sides stupid people crowded to worship and manifest complete faith in him. For three or four generations of spiritual successors, they had kept their shop warm. Many times, it occurred to me to put a stop to this vain affairs or to bring him into the assembly of the people of Islam."

In due course, Jahangir did detrmine to take action against Guru Arjan and in 1606 the Guru died in prison as a result of torture. The charge was that the Guru had given shelter to the /Emperor's son, Prince Khusrau, who had revolted against his father. The martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev in 1606 provoked his followers to take the martial path.

It was Guru Arjan Dev's martyrdom which inspired the young Hargohind to follow the policy of Miri and Piri by wearing two swords, as emblems of his temporal and spiritual powers. He also sent a circular letter to his massands to ask the Sikhs to bring in future arms and horses as a part of their offerings. The official reporters and the enemies of the Guru pointed out to the Emperor Jahangir the implications of the new policy of Guru Hargobind. Accordingly, Guru Hargobind was imprisoned in the fort of Gwalior for some time. However, cordial relations developed later between the Guru and Jahangir.

In 1627, Jahangir died and was succeeded by his son Shah Jahan. For some time, the relations of the new Emperor with Guru Hargobind continued to be friendly. the son of Shah Hahan, Dara Shikoh, was particularly favourably disposed to wards the Guru. The new militant policy of Guru Hargobind, however, soon brought him in conflict including armed conflict with the Mughal throne27. The Guru fought four battles, all of which he won. The first battle was fought at Aritsar in 1628, the second at Lahera in Malwa in 1631, the third at Kartarpur in 1634 and the last at Palahi near Phagwara in the Kapurthala District.

 

The Guru realised that with the wars against Mughal authority, his real work-the propagation of the teachings of his predecesors-had greatly suffered. He, therefore, decided to find a place of safety from where he could carry on his missionary activities. Thus, immediately after the battle of Kartarpur (district Jalandhar) in 1634 the Guru reached village Palahi near Phagwara. He was being chased by a Mughal regiment and a large number of Pathans from different areas. The Guru and the Sikhs fought valiantly and won the battle. Thereafter the Guru decided to go farther east in the Hill States. While he was thus in search of a refuge in the hills, the Raja of Kahlur donated to him a piece of land. On the site, the Guru built a town which he named Kiratpur, now in Rupnagar District, Kiratpur was so named because the founder wanted God's praises (kirtan) ever to be sung there. During the last ten years of his life, Guru Hargobind suspended armed resistance and engaged himself entirely in religious activities. A large number of people of the hill states became his followers. It is said that even the Rajas of Kulu, Suket, Haripur and Chamba became the Guru's devotees. It was also during that period, probably in 1636, that Guru Hargobind's son Gurditta appointed head preachers in different partrs of the country including Phul, Almast, Gonda and Balu Hassna. Each of these founded a dhuan or hearth and did much to spread the message of Sikhism in the area, Besides these dhuans, in the course of time many other similar centres of missionary work called 'Bakhshishes' or bounties were set up for the propagation of the faith28.

Thus with Guru Hargobind, the centre of the Sikh Church shifted to the Malwa region in Rupnagar District. Henceforth, Rupnagar District becomes closely and directly linked with the Sikh Gurus and their fortunes. Indeed, from this period the history of Sikh religion becomes an integral part of the history of this district.

Guru Hargbind spent the remaining years of his life at Kiratpur Sahib. The Guru had a very attractive personality and commanded the highest devotion. A contemporary Muslim historian, Mohsin Fani, writes that when the Guru died, a large number of Sikhs wanted to burn themselves on his funeral pyre. Two of them, in spite of the dissuasion of the successor, committed suicide, throwing themselves on the burningpyre. Some exalted Muslim Saints too, such as, Main Mir, held the Guru in great reverence. Mughal Mansabdars, such as Wazir khan and Yar Khan, also had very high regard for the Guru. It was owing to the influence of Wazir Khan in Jahangir's court that the Guru and the Sikhs received certin favours from the Emperor29.

 

Guru Har Rai, the seventh Guru of the Sikhs was born at Kiratpur Sahib in Rupnagar district. he was son of Baba Gurditta had shown a miracle and reanimated the dead cow of a farmer friend. When the Guru reproached him for this misuse of his spiritual power, Baba Gurditta could not bear it and died at the age of twenty-four. Two other sons of Guru Hargobind, Baba Atal and ni Rai also died during the life time of their father. Thus, at the time of his death, Guru Hargobind was left with two sons, Suraj Mal and The Bahadur, neither of whom were nominated as the Guru's successor. Guru Hargobind's choice fell on Har Rai, his grandson (the son of Baba Gurditta) who had impressed him with his piety and kind disposition. Guru Har Rai was, at that time, only fourteen years old30.

By temperament, Guru Har Rai was quite different from his grand father. Although, according to the advice of Guru Hargobind, he maintained a splended court and a retinue of 2,200 soldiers, he had great aversion to war. He preferred the solitude of the hills and quiet meditation to the excitement of the chase or the din of the war. Even when he went out for the game or the chase, he would capture the birds and animals rather than kill them, bring them home and feed them. Thus in course of time, he established a small zoological garden which became a place of recreation for his disciples. A recorded incident reflects his tender bearted nature. Once, while walking in his garden, his loose cloak broke the stems of some flowers which fell to the ground. The Guru was so touched by the sight that tears welled up in his eyes and he thereafter, decided to carry his cloak carefully in his hands. An important feature of the new Guru's teachings was his edict that no one's feelings should be injured. He often used to recite Farid's famous verse: "All men's hearts are jewels; to distress them is not at all good. If thou desirest the Beloved, distress no one's heart." He was convinced that a temple or a mosque could be repaired, but not a broken heart31.

It is said tht once Dara Shikoh, eldest son of Shah Jahan who was beloved both of his father and of the people, fell seriously ill, possibly on account of a poison administered by his younger brother Aurangzeb and no remedy could be found for his recovery. On hearing of this, Guru Har Rai sent Dara a herbal, medicine which cured the Prince completely.

Guru Har Rai's habit was, morning and evening to listen to devotional music in the company of his followers and then discourse on the Guru's word. At the same time, he would miss no opportunity to celebrate noble sentiments of humility and disinterested service. The story goes that once Guru har Rai chanced upon a serpent whose skin sparkled in the warm sunshine of winter. Pointing to it, th eguru said, "This serpent might as well have been a Pandit in his previous life, beautiful to behold in his dress, but the only knowledge he has is, to bite. Men also bite other through love or self-surrender, but through the sharp wits and the poisonous fangs of controversy and argument 32."

In 1645, Guru Har Rai retired to Nahan (Himachal Pradesh) in the country of Raja Karam Parkash. He devoted all his energy to consolidate the Sikh religion, and went frequently on short tours to inspire his diciples by personal contact. At Nathana he blessed a poor and hungry Jat boy, Phul, who was to become the founder of the famous Phulkian family comprising the erstwhile States of Patiala, Nabha, Jind and Faridkot and some others 33."

At the end of Shah Jahan's rule, a war of succession broke out among the sons of the Emperor. On account of his friendly relations with Dara Shikoh, the eldest son of Emperor, Guru Har Rai was per force involved in politics. Guru Har Rai was per force involved in politics. Guru Har Rai is known to have arranged assistance for Dara, however, soon brought the Guru in conflict with Aurangzeb who had by then become Emperor.

Immediately after his succession, Aurangzeb sent for the Guru, The latter, instead of going personally, sent his eldest son, Ram Rai to wait on the Enperor in Delhi. With a view to corner him in argument, the Emperor enquired form Ram Rai why the Gurus in their Holy Book had written against the Musalmans as in a verse in Asa-di-var of Guru Nanak which reads like this:

"The clay of Musalman may find its way into the kiln of a potter who makes vessels and bricks out of it. It cries out as it burns."

Ram Rai, by a clever presence of mind, saved the situation. He said that the original of the text is bei-man (faithless) and not Musalman and so it was the mistake of the scribe and not of the Guru. By this interpretation Ram Rai saved himself from the wrath of the Emperor but, by not showing the courage of his convictions, he incurred the displeasure of his father. Guru Har Rai declared him unfit for the exalted position of Guru and decided to nominate as successor his younger son, Har Krishan who was then just a child. On 6 October 1661, when Guru Har Rai died, Har Krishan was nominated as the eighth Guru.34

Guru Har Rai often undertook tours for spreading his spiritual message. During his time, many important persons adopted his faith. A bariagi monk, Bhagat Gir, was one such disciple. He was renamed Bhagat Bhagwan and was sent to spread the message of Guru Nanak in the eastern parts of the country. Bhagat Bhagwan gained repute as a powerful preacher. He established a Bakhshish (bounty) in Hindustan with 360 centres or gaddis most of which are still extant. Another important conversion that took place at Kiratpur was that of Bhai Sangatia. He was given the name of Sikhism there. He also established another Bakhshish. Similarly one Bhai Gonda was sent to Kabul to preach the Sikh faith there. Bhai Gonda achieved great success in that country.35

Guru Har Krishan The seventh Guru, Har Rai disnheriting his elder son, Ram Rai, appointed his six-year child. Har Krishan, the Guru in succession to himself. Guru Har Krishan was absorbed in meditation from early childhood and was treated by the Sikhs with great affection and affection and esteem. Ram Rai who felt himself impained lodged a complaint with Aurangzeb against his father's decision to nominate Guru Har Krishan in preference to hi. Aurancgzeb a past master in intrigue, aimed to take advantage of Ram Ram"s disffection and use him for weakening the Sikh movement. The Emperor summoned Guru Har Krishan to Delhi asking him to justify his claim to Guruship and sent Mirza Raja Jai Singh to Kirapur to escort the Guru. The Guru's mother was terribly afraid of the machinations of Ram Rai and the stern character of the Emperor. But nobody could not dare disobey Aurangzeb.36

Guru Har Krishan came to Delhi with his mother and masands. He was kept as a royal guest in the bungalow of Raja Jai Singh which hallowed spot is called Bangla Sahib and bears to the present a beautiful gurudwara in the memory of Guru Har Krishan. Guru Har Krishan's visit to Delhi drew large crowds, both on the way to Delhi and in the imperial capital itself. This not only frustrated the hopes of Ram Rai, but also assured the Emperor that the Sikhs by and large were satisfied with the present succession. 37

Shortly afterwards, the Guru had an attack of smallpox with high fever, and he became almost unconscious. Owing to infectiousness of the disease, he was shifted to a house in village Bhogal near the present Nizam-ud-din Railway Station. His followers who were attending on him realized that the Guru might succumbed to the fatal disease. They were anxious to secure his nomination of a successor according to old tradition. They placed a coconut and five paise before him and pressed him to name his successor. In delirium the child could utter only the words "Baba Bakala" the reference being to Tegh Bahadur, his grand uncle, who was living at Bakala, 4 kilometres to the north of the modern Beas Railway Station. Immediately thereafter the child became unconscious and expired on 30 March, 1664. Guru har Krishan was only eight years old. He was cremated on the bank of River Yamuna where now stands the Gurudwara Bala Sahib. 38

Guru Tegh Bahadur

Guru Tegh Bahadur became ninth Sikh Guru in 1664, who is very closely associated with the history of Rupnagar District. He laid the foundation of Anandpur Sahib where later during the period of Guru Gobind Singh the 'Khalsa' was born. Guru Tegh Bahadur was the youngest son of the sixth Guru, Hargobind, and his wife Nanaki. He was born at Amritsar on 1 April 1621. He became Guru at the age of 43 but in the first few years faced great persecution at the hands of imposter rivals who even provoked the established priesthood against hi. Guru Tegh Bahadur was a man of quiet and retiring disposition. Immediately after his pontification, he was assaulted by his nephew Dhirmal, one of whose men shot a bullet the guilty, the Guru's shoulder. When pressed to punish the guilty, the Guru declare; To exercise forgiveness is a great act. To exercise forgiveness is to give alms. Forgiveness ensureth man's salvation. There is no virtue equal to forgiveness." Accompanied by his mother Nanaki and wife Gujari, her brother Kripal Chand an a few followers, he visited Amritasar in 1664 by the priests closed the doors of Hari Mandir against him. Guru Tegh Bahadur stayed for some time at Amritsar. he dug up a meditation cell called Bhora Sahib close to the Akal Takht. As he was not allowed to live at one place, he remained on the move administering to the spiritual needs of his disciples. These tours were also not sate for him. Harassed everywhere Guru Tegh Bahadur went to Kiratpur , the town founded by his father39.

The jealous relatives and the corrupt Masands did not allow Guru Tegh Bahadur to live in peace even at Kiratpur Sahib. In 1672, Guru Tegh Bahadur purchased for a sum of RS. 500 a piece of fallow land from the Raja of Bilaspur. The land was situated at a distance of 8 kilometrs to the north below the hill of Naina Devi close to the village of Makhowal, on the left bank of the Satluj. He called the farm 'Nanki Chak' after his mother. The portion of the town to the south-east was later named Anandpur or the 'abode of bliss.' "The two portions of the city", writes Dr. Trilochan Singh "were until recently marked as Nanaki Chak and Anandpur in revenue papers". He took up abode in a house which is called Bhora Sahib. 40

Guru Tegh Bahadur also made a tour of Kamrup (Assam) via Dacca, where the local Sangats were eagerly waiting to have him in their midst. On the outward journey the Guru left his family at Patna. It was at Dacca that Guru Tegh Bahadur received the happy news of the birth of his son at Patna said, consequently, wrote a letter of thanks to the Sikh Sangat of Patna for their kind treatment of his family. The Guru stayed at Dacca for some time and it is said that he also built a dharamshaia or Sikh temple there. Thence he visited Chattagong, Sondip and Lashkar, returning to Patna after a two years stay in Assam. He did not, however, stay long in Patna and came back to the Punjab. He again settled at the new town of Makhowal (Anandpur) which he had previously built. After some time, he again set out on a tour, increasing considerably his following in Malwa region of the Punjab. among his disciples were even some Mohammadans, such as Saijuddin and a few Pathans of Garhi near Samana (now in Patiala District.)

Aurangzeb could never permit such activities of a Hindu religious reformer. He, therefore, determined to take action against Guru Tegh Bahadur. According to the Sigh tradition, the Guru become a target of persecution at the hands of Aurangzeb because he had taken up the cause of Kashmiri Brahmins who faced with persecution and forcible conversion to Islam had approached him to lead them. The Mughal Governor of Kashmir, Sher Afghan had forcibly converted to Islam a large number of the Hindus and those who resisted had been massacred in large number. The Kashmiri Brahmans had in despair sought the protection of the Guru whom they regarded as the holiest figure among the Hindus of northen India. Tradition has it that on ad day the Guru was absorbed in contemplation of the problem, his son Gobind asked his father," Father dear why sittest thou silently today?" The Guru replied," Thou knowest nothing yet, thous art still a child the world is grieved by the oppression of the Turks. No brave man is to be found. He, who is willing to sacrifice his life shall free the earth from the burden of the Mohammadans." The child Gobind then at once remarked," For that purpose who is more worthy than you who is at once generous, holy and brave?" On hearing these words the Guru's mind was made up. He decided to make his own sacrificial thread of the Hindus." He then informed the Kashmiri Brahmans to go and tell Aurangzeb " Guru Teg Bahadur, the ninth Sikh Guru, is seated on the throne of the great Guru Nanak, who is the.

Protector of the Hindu faith and religion. First make him a Musalman and them all the people including ourselves, will of our own accord, adopt your faith." The Kashiri Brahmans did according. Aurangzebthen sent his emissaries to Anandpur to summon the Guru to Delhi. But he would not go with them. He however, promised to follow them. Professor Puran singh says," He had yet to go to see his disciples who were thirsting for him, those that lived on his way to Delhi> He took his own time and his own road" This caused suspicion in the minds of the Mughals and Aurangzeb ordered that he should be searched and arrested. The Guru was then. Found at Agra and along with his five chosen displies, was arrested and brough to Delhi where, he alongwith his companions, was thrown into prison."

Aurangzeb urged the Sikh Guru to embrace Islam. Tegh Bahadur turned down the proposals withcontempt. He was then asked to show miracles. The Guru rejected the idea by saying that he would not interfere in the work of God. He was thrown into prison and was chained in an iron cage. He was subjected to severe torture both physical and mental. His companions were imprisoned elsewhere and the Guru was falsely told that they had fled. The darogha of the jail was sayyid Hasan Abdullah of Mani Majra, now falling in the Union Territory of Chandigarh. He treated the Guru with as great consideration as the circumstances permitted"

The Guru's most devoted follower, Bhai Mati Das, was asked ton become a Musalman, but he refused disdainfully. He was at once tied between two posts and while standing erect was sawn across from head to loins. Dayal Dass a follower of the Guru abused the Emperor and his courtiers for this inhuman act. He was tied up like a bundle and thrown into a block of charcoal. Another disciple Sati Das who condemned these brutalities was hacked to piece limp by limp . jatia ( another discple) was also present in disguise of a sweeper with a broom and a basket in his hands. He coalesced the remains of these martyrs at night and consigned them to the River Yamuna flowing at a stone's throw48. These killings 41 K.S. Narang and H.R. Gupta, History of the Punjab(1500-1858) pp.131-132

 

42 Hari Ram Gupta, Hostory of the Sikh Guras (New Delhi, 1978) p. 141.

48I bid., p. 142 took place on 10 November 1675. The next day when it was the Guru's turn he wrote some words on a piece of paper, which he said was charmed, and then, having tied it round his neck declared that the sword would fall haremless on it, The executioner was now summoned to test the miraculous charm. The blow was given and the head of the Guru rolled on the floor. The paper was picked up. It contained these words' Sir dia sirar na dia'. meaning that he had given his head, but not his secret, his life was gone, but his insoration or apostolic virtue remained in the world. Noon took up courage to cremate the body of the Guru. Jaita, a Mazhabi Sikh carried away the Guru's head to Anandpur covering a distance of 340 km, a prodigious performance indeed, and presented it to Gobind Raj, the 9-year old child, who remarked, " Rangrete Guru Ke Bete", meaning that the Mazhabi Sikhs were Giur's own sons. Gurudwara Sis Ganj at Anandpur Sahib marks the site where the head was ceremoniously received. A Labana Sikh, Lakhi Shah, stole the decapitated body in a chart laden with cotton and cremated it in his village named, RakabGanj, 8 kilometers distant, by setting his own but with all the belongings on fire to avoid detection The ashes of the body were collected, placed in a brass vessel (gagar) and buried underground at that very spot44

The martyrdom of Guru Regh Bahadur is a great landmark in Sikh history. " His execution", says G.C. Narang, "was universally regarded by the Hindus as a sacrifice for their faith. The whole of the Punjab began to burn with indignation and revenge" The Sikhs and their leader, the youthful Gobind, finally decided to carry on the policy and programme of Guru Hargobind to its logical conclusion, i.e. to transform the peaceful sect of the devotees into a disciplined and organized military order.

In sacrificing his life, the Guru proteted the Hindu religion. His son, Guru Gobind Singh, in his autobiography Vachitra Narak, writes that his father died for the protection of " the frontal mark and the sacred thread of the Hindu". With the tragic death of such a saintly figure as Gure Tegh Bahadur, all the Hindus of the Punjab were stirred. Many took a vow not to submit to the tyranny of the Mughals. Thus, a great storm arose in the Punjab after the martyrdom of the Guru and that storm carried off the Empire of Aurangzeb if it were a dead leaf lying on the road.

 

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