E. Rajesh Pathak
Historical accounts of transformation of Sikhism as a life philosophy is instructive, and an extremely eye-opening ever more initially who drew towards Sikhism of Guru Nanak Dev by instinct were peace-loving, and religiously devotional. But later, with heart-rending cruelty against humanity, as first Guru Arjundev was killed by Jahangir and then Guru Tegbahadur by Aurangzeb, the course of Sikhism changed.
This was no longer untenable for Sikhs to have learnt that Bhajans [devotional songs], Keertan [prayers] and fast may bring spiritual peace to mind; but as far as security of community is concerned that can’t be achieved without arousing the spirit of organisation, fearlessness and martialism among the people. And to fulfil that aim the ‘Khalsa-panth’ came into existence, founder of which was none other than Guru Gobind Singh. First five volunteers who came forward to fulfil the resolutions of Khalsa were venerably known as ‘Panj-Payare’.
One among them was from Dhobi-community; second, Bhisti; third Darji; fourth khatri and fifth from Jat community. As also three among them were from Beedar, Dwarkapuri and Jaggannathpuri; and other two from Punjab.
Having been initiated in Khalsa it was mandatory to keep kesh [long hair], kataar [dagger] and kangi [comb]; and wearing kachha[small-piece of loin-cloth] and kada[bracelet], which are popularly known as five ‘Kakaar”.
It was the time when people were
subject to bear insult and atrocities in the hands of Mughals on the basis of religion.
Guru Gobind Singh resolved to change the prevailing estate of affair. Then began a sequel of battle after battle against Mughal commanders, and those kings who were indulged in appeasing Mughals in order to anyhow save their respective territories.
He successfully won first, second and third battles of Anandpur and that of Nirmohgarh prominently. Increasing influence of Guru Gobind Singh forced Aurangzeb to change his strategy. He issued order to the Commanders of Sarhind, Lahore and Jammu to jointly launch attack on Guru Gobind Singh. Consequently, a war broke out first at Anandpur, and then at Chamkore. Foreboding the ferocity of war Guru Gobind Singh sent his mother and sons, eight years old Joravar Singh and five years old Fateh Singh, with his trusted servant to his native village. In famous battle of Chamkore with Guru Gobind Singh were 40 dedicated fighters led by rest of his two sons, Ajit Singh and Jujhaar Singh, to face 700 Mughal soldiers.
In the fierce battle which lasted only for one day both the brave sons got martyred. With remaining fistful soldiers Guru Gobind Singh receded from here to take refuge in Khidrana. On the other side the servant despatched for native village turned traitor, and handed over his sons [Joravar and Fateh Singh] to the Commander of Sarhind, Wazir Khan. He called the meeting of Kaazis and Ulemaas, in which order was issued to both sons to either adopt Islam or embrace death. Both sons preferred death than to leave their Dharma, consequently they were buried alive in the wall.
Later, one more battle was fought with Mughals in Khidrana, in which Guru Gobind Singh emerged victorious. Meantime Auranzeb died, and there broke out fighting among his sons to grab power.
Guru Gobind Singh supported eldest son, Bahadurshah, and even killed his brother Azam Khan in one of the battles. As Bhadurshah elevated to the post of Mughal king peace prevailed in Punjab. However to recover from the setbacks received from the hands of Rajputs in North-west and in South from Marathas, Bahadurshah sought help from Guru Gobind Singh.
But he refused to respond the proposal, probably taking it as betrayal against those fighting for the common cause. Treading on the path shown by his shrewd ancestors, Bahadurshah, hatching conspiracy, put his two men behind Guru Gobind Singh, who first won Guru’s confidence and then martyred him. Martyrdom of Guru Gobind Singh went not in vain. Following the path shown by him, his descendent, great Maharaja Ranjit Singh later fulfilled his dream. Though Marathas liberated Punjab in 1755-56 from Mughals but credit for strengthening of Indian sovereignty in the region actually goes to subsequent Sikh rule there. Not only this, breaking the dominance of truculent foreigners, invading army of Mahahraja led by Harisingh Nalwa even entered deep inside Afghanistan up to Kabul and earned the glory of bringing back after centuries the jewel-studded Gate of Somnath temple back to India and established it back to its original place. Likewise Harimandir sahab Gurdwara of Amritsar that was once burnt down by Ahmad Shah Abdali was renovated and as well as embedded with the gold, giving it the form of ‘Swaran Mandir’. Cow-slaughter was also prohibited in the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.