Days of 6-13 Poh commemorate the most emotional history of martyrdom for every Sikh around the globe. These are the days when we remember the Parivaar Vichhoda, the Martyrdom of Sahibzada Ajit Singh, and Jujhar Singh in the battle of Chamkaur and then the martyrdom of Mata Gujri and younger Sahibzadas Zoravar Singh and Fateh Singh Ji.
Battle of Chamkaur
The Battle of Chamkaur is unique and one of the most imbalanced battles ever fought in the history of the world.
Guru Sahib along with some of his Singhs fought against an army of lakhs in the fort of Chamkaur. Crossing the Sarsa river, Guru Sahib parted alongside his family and other precious treasure. Here Guru Sahib came towards Chamkaur Garhi, while Mata Gujri and CHhote Sahibzadas walked towards Sirhind in the company of their loyal cook Gangu.
Coming from the river Sarsa towards the fort of Chamkaur, they were pursued by the Mughal forces. On one side were millions of Mughal armies and on the other a handful of Sikhs. Historians put the number at 40. Although not all historians have the same opinion about their number, the manner in which these 40 Singhs formed 5-5 battalions and defeated the Mughal army is not a trivial matter.
About three dozen Sikhs, including Baba Ajit Singh Ji and Baba Jujhar Singh Ji, the eldest sons of Guru Ji, were killed in this battle while fighting with the Mughals. This war made it clear that troops don’t matter when one fights with a unique war strategy, courage, and extraordinary fighting skills. The way Guru Sahib devised the strategy of war in the battle of Chamkaur, he kept the Mughal armies on the run.
What was going on in the heart of a father at that time when sons of Guruji were being martyred while fighting with the Mughals during this battle? It is not easy to guess, but Guru Sahib did not shed a single tear on this occasion but watched his sons and Singhs fighting and being martyred in front of his eyes. The opinion of leaving this battlefield safely by the three Singhs was also an example of their political wit and leaving the fort with applause and an announcement was a deed of unprecedented courage.
Although Guru Sahib was not ready to escape from this fort, on the night Guru Sahib came out of this fort by the order of Bhai Daya Singh Ji. There were only 11 Singhs present in the fort according to historians.
Leader of Panj Singh Sahibans, Bhai Daya Singh Ji ordered Guru Ji to leave the fort and Gurudev obeyed this order. From that time onwards the tradition of Hukam of Panj Pyare was carried forward that we have forgotten today. When Guru Sahib founded the Khalsa Panth on the day of Baisakhi, Panj Pyare was considered Guru Khalsa. He had ordered to obey the order of Panj Pyare during any religious dilemma, which was repeated in the fort of Chamkaur.
Although Guru Sahib mentions the battle of Chamkaur in his Zafarnama, in it he exposes only the evil deeds of Aurangzeb but does not allow his sorrows to be exposed. The way the Guru’s loved ones fought in this fort has changed the history of Sikhism.
Three Singhs, including Bhai Jaita, set out for Machhiwara from this fort. We cannot presume the degree of agony Gurudev would have felt when he ordered Bhai Sangat Singh to fight on the front wearing a Kalgi. The environment when Guru Sahib Ji would have passed by the corpses of his beloved Singhs and sons?
Today when we remember the moments of those days our heads bow before their sacrifices and at the same time the question arises where is the Sikh community going today? Who sowed the seeds of light in the darkness by making sacrifices. Why is Sikhi heading for darkness today? Have we forgotten our history or are we being led astray?
ਵੀਹਵੀਂ ਸਦੀ ਦੇ ਮੁਢਲੇ ਦਹਾਕਿਆਂ ਵਿੱਚ ਇਸਲਾਮੀ ਕਵੀ ਮਿਰਜ਼ਾ ਅੱਲ੍ਹਾ ਯਾਰ ਖ਼ਾਨ ਰਹਿਮਾਨੀ ਯੋਗੀ ਦੀਆਂ ਮਰਸੀਆ ਰੂਪ ਵਿੱਚ ਲਿਖੀਆਂ ਬੀਰ ਰਸ ਅਤੇ ਕਰੁਣਾ ਰਸ ਭਰਪੂਰ ਨਜ਼ਮਾ ਸਿੱਖ ਵਕਤਿਆਂ ਅਤੇ ਸਰੋਤਿਆਂ ਵਿੱਚ ਬਹੁਤ ਮਕਬੂਲ ਹੋਈਆਂ। ਉਸ ਦਹਾਕੇ ਵਿੱਚ ਹੀ ਮਿਰਜ਼ਾ ਮੁਹੰਮਦ ਅਬਦੁੱਲ ਗ਼ਨੀ ਨੇ ਸ਼ਹੀਦਨਾਮਾ ਨਾਮਕ ਰਚਨਾ ਲਿਖੀ (ਇਸ ਵਿੱਚ ਗੁਰੂ ਤੇਗ ਬਹਾਦਰ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਦੀ ਸ਼ਹਾਦਤ ਅਤੇ ਯੁੱਧ ਚਮਕੌਰ ਦਾ ਜ਼ਿਕਰ ਹੈ) ਜਿਸ ਦਾ ਰੂਪ ਵੀ ਮਰਸੀਏ ਵਾਂਗ ਹੈ ਪਰ ਉਸ ਦੇ ਕੁਝ ਸ਼ੇਅਰ ਹੀ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਦੀ ਜ਼ੁਬਾਨ ਉਪਰ ਚੜੇ, ਇਕ ਤਾਂ ਸੀ,
ਨਾਮ ਕਾ ਅਜੀਤ ਹੂੰ ਜੀਤਾ ਨਾ ਜਾਊਂਗਾ।
ਜੀਤਾ ਗਿਆ ਤੋ ਯੁੱਧ ਸੇ ਜੀਤਾ ਨਾ ਅਉਂਗਾ।
ਉਸ ਦਾ ਇਕ ਹੋਰ ਸ਼ੇਅਰ ਭਾਵੇਂ ਜਿਆਦਾ ਮਕਬੂਲ ਨਾ ਹੋਇਆ ਪਰ ਉਸ ਵਿੱਚ ਉਸ ਕਮਾਲ ਦਾ ਬਿਆਨ ਕੀਤਾ ਹੈ।ਮੈਦਾਨ ਏ ਜੰਗ ਵਿੱਚ ਜੂਝ ਰਹੇ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਜੁਝਾਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਨੂੰ ਪਿਆਸ ਜਰੂਰ ਲੱਗੀ ਹੋਵੇਗੀ ਕਿਉਂ ਕਿ ਠੰਡ ਜਿੰਨੀ ਮਰਜ਼ੀ ਹੋਵੇ ਪਰ ਜਦੋਂ ਤੇਗ਼ ਵਹੁੰਦਿਆਂ ਜਿਸਮ ਵਿੱਚ ਗਰਮੀ ਆ ਜਾਵੇ ਤਾਂ ਪਿਆਸ ਲੱਗਦੀ ਹੈ… ਉਹ ਲਿਖਦਾ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਤੇਗ ਵਾਹੁੰਦਿਆਂ….. ਜਿਸਮ ਗਰਮ ਸੀ…
ਸ਼ਾਇਦ ਪਿਆਸ ਵੀ ਲੱਗੀ ਹੋਵੇਗੀ… ਪਰ ਦੁਸ਼ਮਣ ਦੇ ਵਾਰ ਜੋ ਗਲੇ ਉਪਰ ਲੱਗਾ ਤਾਂ ਜਿਸਮ ਲਹੂ ਲੁਹਾਨ ਹੋ ਗਿਆ… ਆਪਣੇ ਖੂਨ ਨੇ ਹੀ ਗਲੇ ਦੀ ਪਿਆਸ ਜਰੂਰ ਬੁਝਾਈ ਪਰ ਪਾਣੀ ਤੋਂ ਪਿਆਸਾ ਹੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਦਾ ਲਾਲ ਲਹੂ ਰੱਤੇ ਮੈਦਾਨ ਵਿੱਚ ਸਦਾ ਦੀ ਨੀਂਦ ਸੌਂ ਗਿਆ,
ਜਿਸ ਵਕਤ ਆਬ ਏ ਤੇਗ ਸੇ ਹਲਕ ਹੋ ਗਿਆ।
ਨਾਦਾਂ ਲਹੂ ਮੇਂ ਭੀਗ ਕੇ ਪਿਆਸਾ ਹੀ ਸੌ ਗਿਆ।
ਡਾ:ਸੁਖਪ੍ਰੀਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਉਦੋਕੇ
ਧਰਮ ਅਤੇ ਹੱਕ ਸੱਚ ਦੀ ਰਾਖੀ ਲਈ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਚਮਕੌਰ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਦੀ ਧਰਤੀ ‘ਤੇ ਸ਼ਹੀਦ ਹੋਣ ਵਾਲੇ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਸਿੰਘ ਜੀ ਦੇ ਵੱਡੇ ਸਾਹਿਬਜ਼ਾਦੇ ਬਾਬਾ ਅਜੀਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਜੀ, ਬਾਬਾ ਜੁਝਾਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਜੀ ਅਤੇ ਦਲੇਰ ਸਿੰਘਾਂ ਦੇ ਸ਼ਹੀਦੀ ਦਿਵਸ ‘ਤੇ ਉਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਦੀ ਸ਼ਹਾਦਤ ਨੂੰ ਸਿਜਦਾ।
The fortress at Chamkaur was in fact a mud-built “haveli” located on a high spot. The Guru had occupied it because there was no other fort available from where he could fight a defensive battle against the formidable armies of the viceroys chasing him hotly. The Guru had with him only 45 Sikhs including the two princes (his elder sons). He had taken refuge in that improvised fortress. He had to devise means for its defense.
Thus he deployed some Sikhs soldiers to guard its walls and the gate and he himself took his position on the top story in order to have the full view of the battle of Chamkaur and to shoot his arrows at the attackers. Two Sikhs and the two princes were also there with their muskets and arrows to assist the Guru in the defense of the improvised fortress.
In pursuit of the Guru, the Mughal armies reached Chamkaur Sahib at night. In their bid to force their entry into the fortress, a contingent of the imperial forces launched a predawn assault, but it was repulsed by the Guru and his vigilant Sikhs. The volleys of musket shots and arrows released by the defenders caused the loss of many lives to the attackers. They made repeated charges but each time they had to fall back losing many of their soldiers. The failure of those attacks aroused the anger of the Mughal commander Nahar Khan. He and another army officer in their bid to scale the wall of the fortress made a violent charge, but both were shot down dead by the Guru.
Their efforts to enter the fortress by scaling its walls having failed, the attackers devised plans to direct their efforts towards forcing open the gate of the fortress.
The numerical strength of the Sikhs was meager. How could 45 Sikhs withstand an army of a million soldiers? In order to defend the fortress as long as they could, the Guru decided to send out in succession little bands of five Sikhs each under a captain to fight against the attackers in defense of the gate of the fortress. To face every attack of the enemy, a little band of the Sikhs would come out of the fort and engage the attackers far superior in number as long as they could Fighting valiantly till their end they would kill many soldiers of the enemy before being themselves overpowered and killed.
In this way, several batches of the brave Sikhs courted martyrdom in defense of the fortress gate frightfully reducing their own number. The minds of the remaining Sikhs were, then, seized with the concern for Guru’s safety. They held their council and arrived at the decision of requesting the Guru to make good his escape. Accordingly, some Sikhs reached the Guru. There they found the eldest prince Baba Ajit Singh begging his father to permit him to lead the next band of Sikhs warriors against the attackers. They heard him saying, “Respected father, my name is Ajit (unconquerable) I will not be conquered, however, if conquered, I will not come back alive, instead, I shall court martyrdom in the battlefield like my valiant Sikh brethren, fighting till the end.”
The Guru embraced his son, kissed his forehead, patted his back, and bade him go to face certain death. Baba Ajit Singh. was hardly eighteen. Before he had bid farewell to his father, the Sikhs intervened and with folded hands requested the Guru to save his and his two sons’ lives. They argued, if alive he could raise thousands of fighters to carry on the fight for the sacred cause. But the Guru scorned the idea of saving his and his sons’ lives saying that the lives of his Sikhs were as precious to him as those of his sons.
He let Baba Ajit Singh and five Sikhs go and fight the attackers. Baba Ajit Singh and his little band fought vehemently killing a number of enemy soldiers in a hand-to-hand fight. His dauntless courage and fighting skill made the enemy wonder-struck. The Guru, who had been watching the performance of his son from the top story, showered, in his mind, praises on him for his admirable feats. He saw him fall like the bravest soldier. He thanked God that his son had proved worthy of His cause.
Baba Jujhar Singh was a lad of fourteen. He had seen his brother boldly fighting against the experienced imperial troops and finally fall like a warrior. He, likewise, got the permission of his father to lead the next band of five Sikh warriors. The Guru armed him with his own hands, gave him a sword and a shield, patted his back, kissed him, and let him go saying, “Go my child and join your elder brother treading the path shown by him.” He fought as daringly as his brother had fought. The child warrior proved his worth by cutting down a large number of experienced soldiers of the enemy and kept fighting valiantly till his end. At his fall, the Guru again thanked the Lord, that he, too, had courted martyrdom for His cause.
Throughout the day-long fighting, the small batches of Sikh warriors had successfully defended the fortress gate. By that time Bhai Sahib Singh, Bhai Himmat Singh, Bhai Mohkam Singh (Three out of the five beloved ones) Baba Ajit Singh, Baba Jujhar Singh (the two princes), and 35 Sikhs had courted martyrdom in the holy presence of the Guru in the Battle of Chamkaur. As the night had fallen by then, the Mughal army lay down to take a rest. The five surviving Sikhs took counsel and said to the Guru, “We pray you to make good your escape. If alive you will raise thousands of Khalsa warriors to wage their relentless war against the tyrants. Your Khalsa will then destroy all these cruel and faithless oppressors.”
When the Guru declined their suggestion the Sikhs then said to him, “O, true king, now we, the five Sikhs are speaking to you not as your disciples but as a Khalsa body, which according to your own edict is ‘Guru Khalsa’, equal in status to the Guru himself. We as Guru Khalsa order you to make good your escape. As we are acting according to your preachings. we hope you will excuse us for assuming this role.”
As the Guru could not go against the dictates of Guru Khalsa, he had to yield. He then declared, “After me the Panth Khalsa shall be the Guru, taking guidance from the holy scripture “Guru Granth Sahib.” Wherever five Sikhs assemble and remember me I will be with them helping their good cause. The assembly of five Gur Sikhs will have the authority to grant pardon and readmit into the Khalsa fold a Sikh who has broken any rule of the Khalsa conduct by again administering baptism to him and imposing a suitable punishment (Tankhah) on him for his misconduct.”
He, then, thrice went round the Sikhs who were sitting in a circle, placed his plume and crest in front of them, offered them his arms, bowed before them, and cried out, “Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Sri Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh.” Thus he entrusted the Guruship to the Khalsa. The five Sikhs comprising Guru Khalsa were Bhai Daya Singh, Bhai Dharam Singh, Bhai Man Singh, Bhai Sant Singh, and Bhai Sangat Singh. Guru Khalsa then ordered the above-mentioned first three Sikhs to accompany the Guru and the last two ie Bhai Sant Singh and Bhai Sangat Singh to remain in the fortress to hold it against a million imperial soldiers as long as they had lived in their bodies.
The sky was covered with thick clouds and the darkness of night was all-pervading. In such an atmosphere at the dead of night, the Guru and his three companions left the fortress and proceeded onwards on their dangerous course each following his own path but guided by the direction of a certain star, which emerged occasionally because of the clouds, with the hope that after covering some distance they would join one another at some junction.
Battle of Chamkaur
The Battle of Chamkaur is unique and one of the most imbalanced battles ever fought in the history of the world. Unfold the facts and figures, myths and reality.
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