EVERY thing was back to normal in Anandpur. But everybody was aware of the impending danger and well prepared for it. One day, a few Sikhs approached Guru Ji and told him that there was a Pandit, by the name of Kesho, who claimed that he could make Durga appear. Once Durga (Hindu goddess of war) appears and blesses a person, then that person wins every war. Personally Guru Ji had no faith in this claim but to prove his point to his followers he allowed that Pandit to do his prayers. For many months, worship of Durga continued but Durga did not show up. Soon Pandit ran out of excuses and ran away. Guru Ji dumped all the butter and the other material used for worship into the fire and told the Sikhs that there was no such thing as Durga as claimed by the Pandit. Guru ji pulled his sword and said, “This is Durga”.

In the new year 1699, Anandpur had festive atmosphere. Guru Ji called upon all the Sikhs to come on the Baisakhi Day. Special messengers were sent to the faraway places. Arrangements were made for their stay. A big tent city came into being in Anandpur within a few weeks. On March 30, 1699, (Baisakhi Day) Guru Ji came to greet his Sikhs in a different way. He had unsheathed sword in his hand and said, “My sword needs the head of a Sikh”. Nobody came forward. It was a strange demand. He asked again; then one Sikh, Daya Ram, came forward. He was a Khatri from Lahore. Guru Ji took him into the nearby tent. People heard the noise of the cutting of a head. Guru Ji came out but this time with the sword dripping with blood. Again he asked for another head. Many people thought that Guru Ji had gone crazy and they ran to Guru Ji’s mother to complain that Guru Ji had started killing his Sikhs. Many people ran away but another Sikh, Dharam Das (a Jat from Delhi) came forward and was treated the same way. Similarly he came back again and again. There were volunteers, Himmat Rai from Gujarat Mohkam Chand from Dwarka and Sahib Chand from Bidar ( Andhara) presented themselves. By then most of the people ran away from the gathering. But when Guru Ji came out for the 6th time, with him were five people, dressed in the same way as Guru Ji, himself. Everybody was surprised to see this. Guru Ji made all drink from the same vessel. This was “Khanda Da Amrit” (nector prepared with two edged sword). He gave all the men name “Singh” (Lion) and all ladies “Kaur” (princess). He ordered his Sikhs to wear five symbols of Sikhism and gave them a Strict code of conduct. He called them “Five Beloved Ones” and named them Daya Singh, Dharam Singh, Hammat Singh, Mohkam Singh and Sahib Singh. After baptizing them, he requested them to baptize him the same way. After baptism, he became Guru Gobind Singh from Gobind Rai. Thus Guru Gobind Singh became the 6th baptized Sikh himself. A new nation was born. After baptism Sikhs were not supposed to use their last names in an effort to abolish caste system. A new Khalsa brotherhood was born. After this, on the same day, many thousands of Sikhs got baptized in a few days. Thus an army of Sanit Soldiers was raised. Guru Ji wrote about Khalsa as follows:

“Khalsa is my special form,

I have my being in the Khalsa,

Khalsa is my body,

Khalsa is the life of my life,

Khalsa is my very God,

My Khalsa is a Saintly knight?”.

As on one side, Guru Ji trained Sikhs to be excellent soldiers, he also stressed upon them to remember God all the time. For the continued of education of the Sikhs, he sent five Sikhs, Karam Singh, Ganda Singh, Veer Singh, Sohbu Singh and Ram Singh to Banaras to learn Sanskrit. They were all dressed in white robes. They were called “Nirmalas” (Pure Ones). It became a separate off shoot of Sikhism. This organization did help a great deal in spreading the Sikh faith.

When every day many people were being baptized into Sikhism, it raised alarm into Hindu community. A Brahimin Pandit approached the Hill Chiefs and told them about the danger to Hindu religion from this new faith. Guru Ji tried to explain to the Hill Chiefs about his motive and invited them to join this faith. If the Hill Chief had listened to the Guru and had converted into Sikhism, may be the history of India would have been different. Instead, they became sworn enemy of the Guru. Raja Ajmer Chand of Bilaspur (who succeeded Bhim Chand) was very bitter and, therefore, asked for help from the Emperor.

After this, when the “Khalsa” was still in its infancy, another round of battle started. Anandpur was attacked in 1700 by the Jammu Hill Chiefs’ army and Emperor’s (Aurangzeb) armies.

Two Muslim commanders, Pande Khan and Din Beg attacked Anandpur. In this war elder son of Guru Ji, Ajit Singh, also took part for the first time. Pande Khan was killed by Guru Ji and Din Beg left the field. Sikhs won the field.

After this loss, the Hill Chiefs made another attempt in November, 1701 which was again repelled. When the Hill Chiefs did not succeed in direct confrontations, they surrounded Anandpur and cut the food and water supplies. One day they sent a mad elephant ,to break the door of the Anandpur Fort. Guru Ji sent Bachitar Singh (s/o Bhai Mani Singh) to fight with the elephant. He struck the elephant’s head with a spear pierced through the elephant’s armor. He turned back and killed many soldiers in a stampede that followed.

During the battle, a Sikh named Kanahia treated wounded Sikhs and non-Sikhs the same way by caring for their wounds and giving them water. He was the initiator of the concept of modern day “Red Cross”.

During the following year, Guru Ji had to fight almost all the time. He fought and won the. battles. He fought a battle in Sept. October 1702 at Nirmcho against the Hill Chiefs and the Emperor’s army which was under the command of Wazir Khan. Another battle he fought at Basala and again at Anandpur. In this battle, Muslim commanders were Sayad Beg and Alaf Khan. When Sayad Beg knew more about Guru Gobind Singh, he did not feel like fighting with the “Man of God”. Instead of fighting against Guru Ji, he came to Guru Ji’s side with his men and fought on Guru Ji’s side. Alaf Khan was wounded and defeated.

Hill Chiefs rushed again to Aurangzeb and this time he sent his General Saied Khan. He faced Guru Gobind Singh in war but was defeated and surrendered to Guru Ji. He was brotherinlaw of Pir Budhu Shah.

When Aurangzeb came to know about these defeats, he got alarmed too. Hill Chiefs again stressed the need to suppress Guru Ji’s increasing power. Army of the Emperor and Hill Chiefs jointly attacked Anandpur under the command of Wazir Khan of Sirhind. From their past experience. They thought they would now be able to win the Sikhs in battle. So they surrounded Anandpur. They also diverted the water supply. People and animals in the Fort started dying of hunger and thirst.

Siege continued to a long time. Some of the Sikhs deserted Guru Ji and left Anandpur and disclaimed him as their Guru. The Muslim, and the Hindu Chiefs sent a message to Guru Ji. They promised a safe passage to the Guru by swearing on Quran and Cow. They wanted Guru Ji to leave Anandpur and were ready to use fair or foul means. Guru Ji was aware of their wicked plan but he had to bow to pressure of the Sikhs and his mother. Finally, his bad farewell to Anandpur. On the night of Dec. 20, 1704, with his family and handful of Sikhs he left Anandpur.

As soon as they left Anandpur, all promises were broken. On the banks of Sirsa a fierce battle was fought. Prince Ajit Singh with a few Sikhs was able to stop the advancing imperial army while rest of the Sikhs crossed Sirsa and then he himself was able to cross Sirsa too. Udai Singh, a proud Sikh soldier died here along with many other Sikhs. Imperial army did not dare to enter into the river in the cold night of winter. In this confrontation, whole party got separated. Guru Ji’s two wives were with Bhai Mani Singh who reached Ropar and they were able to reach Delhi safely. Guru Ji’s mother with his two young sons went along with the if long time servant Gangi’ Brahim to his village)  “Kheri”. Guru Ji with two of his elder sons and 40 Sikhs reached Ropar and from there next day be reached “Chamkaur”.

In Chamkaur, he stayed in a mud fortress of “Bidhi Chand” and waited for the advancing imperial army. Soon Chamkaur was surrounded by the Mughal army on 22nd the battle started. During this battle, Guru Ji’s elder sons, Ajit Singh and Jujhar Singh and three of his “Beloved Ones” died fighting. During the night, the fighting stopped. Mughals were so sure about their victory. In the mud fortress, only a few Sikhs were left. They requested Guru Ji to leave the fortress. Guru ji did not agree but in the form of “Guru Khalsa” five Sikhs asked Guru Ji to leave the fortress. Guru Jiagreed to their decision. “He gave his crested turban to one of the Sikhs, Bhai Sangat Singh (who had some resemblance to Guru) and himself wore his turban. He left the fortress with Daya Singh, Dharam Singh and Mani Singh in the darkness of the night. Bhai Sant Singh and Sarjit Singh remained in the fortress and died fighting bravely.

Thus in obeying the order of the “Guru Khalsa”, Guru Gobind Singh vested the “temporal” powers in the Guru Khalsa. By giving his turban to Sangat Singh, he crowned the Khalsa himself. As he had said earlier that “Khalsa is the life of my life” he proved that. Moreover it is a great honor to exchange turbans. It is the tradition that if two unrelated persons exchange turbans they are considered like “real brothers”. As the turban signifies self-respect, one will give his “self-respect” to the head of the one he trusts the most. Thus Khalsa has the honor of exchanging turbans with the Guru.

In the darkness of the night, there three Sikhs got separated. Guru Ji came to the forest of “Machiwara”. He was tired and hungry. He had seen many of his Sikhs and his two elder sons die in front of his eyes. His feet were blistered and had throes in them. He slept on the ground and used a stone for a pillow. He was not aware of the whereabouts of the rest of his family. Still, he thanked God and submitted to his will. Here he composed “his famous Punjabi song:

“Tell my bosom Friend, His the Devotee’s plight …”

As the day light broke, the Sikhs also reached there. Here Guru Ji stayed for two days at the house of Gulaba Masand. Imperial army was looking for Guru Ji when they found out that he had escaped. Two Pathan brothers, Ghani Khan and Nabi Khan also lived here. They were in the service of Guru Ji for a while. They offered their services Guru Ji disguised himself in a “blue robe” (worm by Muslim holy men at that time). He was seated in a palanquin which was. lifted by Pathan brothers in front and Sikhs at the rear. This way they travelled. Whosoever questioned, they told that they were escorting “UchKaPir” (A High Saint). It could also be interpreted as holy saint of Uchche, a well-known sacred place of Muslims near Mutlan. They travelled like that for which one day they were stopped by a detachment of the army. The officer was not satisfied by the identity. He had his suspicions so he stopped them and sent for Pir Muhammad who was Guru’s Persian tutor. Oazi told the officer that the man was not Guru Gobind Singh. The officer was satisfied and asked for the pardon for inconvenience and let them go. Later on, for this favour, Guru Ji gave Hukamnama (an autographed letter) to Pir Mohammad and Pathan brothers. Guru Ji reached Hehar (in Ludhiana Distr.) and stayed for a few days with Mahant Kirpal Das (follower of the Udassi sect). From there Guru Ji moved to Jat Pura where he was welcomed by a Muslim Rai Kalha. He was a rich and important person and was chief of Jagraon and Raikot. Here, Guru Ji received another news of tragic, death of his two younger sons and his mother. A messenger told him that “Gangu” had taken his mother to his house. He stole the money that Mother Gujari had and deceived them. He informed the Muslim officials of Morinda who arrested Mother Gujari and two sons and took them to Sir hind on Dec. 24, 1704. Where they were kept in a cold tower for two days. Wazir Khan triéd all means to convert them to Muslim religion but little boys stayed firm in their belief. He was ready to let them go but another Hindu Wazir of Sucha Nand, persuaded him to punish the “off springs of a snake”. Wazir Khan ordered that they should be bricked alive. Sher Mohammad of Malerkotla objected to this cruelty and said that it was against the rule of Islam. Wazir Khan finally ordered them to be executed. He could not find any one to kill the two innocent children. Finally on Dec. 27, 1704, they were bricked alive by two executioners from Samana (who were in the court for some other murder) Shishal Beg and Vishal Beg. After each layer of brick, they were asked again to give up their faith but when they kept on refusing, at the orders of Wazir Khan they were beheaded. When Mother Gujari heard about this she died from grief. Their bodies were cremated by a Sikh, Todar Mal.

Article extracted from this publication >>  January 16, 1987