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Friday, December 22, 2006

Sahibzada Zorawar Singh ji & Fateh Singh ji

Guru Gobind Singh ji decided to evacuate Anandpur Sahib, on the advice of his Sikhs, although he had no confidence on the promises made by the adversaries, and told them about his views. Guru ji, accompanied by Sikhs and his family members evacuated Anandpur Sahib in December 1704, A.D. They had hardly reached the bank of rivulet Sirsa, when the enemy forces attacked them from behind without caring a bit about the promises made by them earlier in the name of their Holy Books.
During the ensuing battle on the bank of Sirsa rivulet which was in spate due to heavy rains upstream, only Guruji, forty Sikhs and two elder sons of Guru ji, Sahibzada Ajit Singh and Sahibzada Jujhar Singh, were able to safety cross the river. Others either died fighting bravely or were drowned in the flooded waters.The two younger sons of the Guru, Sahibzada Zorawar Singh and Sahibzada Fateh Singh, accompanied by thier Grandmother Mata Gujri ji, strayed away walking along the bank of Sirsa, without making any attempt to cross it. While walking away from the scene of battle along the bank of rivulet Sirsa, they met their old servent named Gangu Brahmin, who had worked in their house for nearly 20 years. On his request, Mata Gujri, accompanied by his two grandsons, agreed to go with Gangu to his village and stay at his place for some time.
Mata Gujri ji was carrying good number of gold coins in those days. She kept the money under her pillow when she went to sleep in the house alongwith Sahibzada Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh. Gangu’s greed for money turned him unfaithful.He quitly stole the money bag from under the pillow of Mata Gujri Ji while she was fast a sleep. When she got up in the morning she did not find the money bag under her pillow. She enquired from Gangu politely about the gold coins. The thief Gangu got annoyed at this questioning by Mata ji and started threatening her that he would get her arrested along with her grandsons for this accusation. Mata Ji tried to calm him down. Gangu had his eyes on the prize that he would receive from the Mughal rulers if he handed over the mother and two sons of Guru Gobind Singh to the police authorities. Accompanied by the village chief, he went to the police station at Morinda town and informed the station incharge about the preseence of Guru Gobind Singh’s mother and his two youger sons in his house and requested him to bestow him prize money for helping the authorities in the arrest of fugitives.
The police officer was immensly pleased at this important information provided by Gangu. He accompaind him to his vilage and arrested Mata Gujri along with her two grandsons and handed them over to Nawab Wazir Khan of Sirhand. Nawab Wazir Khan who had to return empty handed from Anandpur Sahib without being successful in arresting Guru Gobind Singh or his associates, was too glad to find Guru’s mother and two sons in his prison.Mata ji along with her two grandsons was imprisoned in the cold tower at Sirhind.The Nawab ordered them to be produced in his court the next morning. Sitting on the floor of this cold tower on this very cold December night,Mata Gujri tried to provide comfort and warmth of her body to her grand sons putting them on her lap,and Kissing the foreheades of the beautiful Kids,went to sleep.
She woke them up early the next morning and readying them for the ensuing test they were going to be put to at the court of Wazir Khan,the tyrant ruler of Sirhind. She thus said to them, “O sons of great Guru Gobind Singh ! you are going to be offered all the comforts of a luxurious life if you agree to say goodbye to your religion and adopt Islam as your new religion.If you refuse to accept such an attractive offer they will threaten you with painful deaths. I have full confidence that though you are young Kids,you will neither be fooled by the attractive offers nor be seduced by their threats. Be brave like your Guru father who has put every thing including his life at stake to prepare people to uproot the rule of tyrant rulers. Keep up the honour of your father at all costs.”While the grandmother was still advising her grandsons, the soldiers of Wazir Khan arrived to take the two kids of Guru Gobind Singh to the court. Mata Gujri wished her grandsons and sent them with the soldiers praying for their success to uphold their principles and steadfastness at the court.
Many a senior officers and advisors of Nawab Wazir Khan were seated in the court along with him in addition to prominent public personalities. On entring the court Sahibzada Jorawar Singh and Sahibzada Fateh Singh loudly uttred, “Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh” to the utter astonishment and amazement of Wazir Khan and his courtiers.One of the prominent courtier Sucha Nand told the courageous sons of Guru Gobind Singh to bow before the ruler Wazir Khan and salute like the Muslims do. The kids told him that like other Sikhs, they too bow before no one except their Guru.

Nawab Wazir Khan now took over and said, “O small kids ! Your dad alongwith your two elder brothers has been killed in the battlefield. Luckily you have arrived in my court alive. Be quick and agree to be converted to Islam. As Muslim kids you will be provided best comforts of life like princes. You will be living in palaces, wearing silk clothes, eat variety of foods and play with other Muslim Princes and many servants will be at your beck and call, day and night.We are going to ban Sikhism and we will not leave any one alive as a Sikh. If you do not heed my advice to become Muslim, you will be put to the death in a most merciless manner. You will be cut to pieces so that no one dare become a Sikh in future.”
The brave and smart kids of the tenth master while smiling initially at the foolishness of this hot headed Muslim ruler were angrered at the threats held out by Wazir Khan and became more determined than before in their resolve to keep up the honour of their father Guru Gobind Singh.In reply to Wazir Khan’s lecture the brave kids said, “Sikhism is dearer to us than our lives. Nothing in this illusory world can induce us to shed our religion. We are kids of lion Guru Gobind Singh who is determind to infuse courage into the people of all religions to rise against the cruel and tyrant rulers to gain freedom. Our grandfather, Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur laid down his life to defend the right of religious freedom for the sake of opressed Hindu community being decimated by tyrant Aurangzeb. Our great great grandfather, Sri Guru Arjun Dev Ji submitted gladly to the will of God while facing tortuons death under the orders of Emperor Jahangir, to infuse courage and endurance in his disciples rather than convert as Muslim. We will never bring bad name to the predecessor martyrs of our faith even if we have to face death.”
Those present in the court of Wazir Khan were greatly impressed by the brave reaction offerd to Wazir Khan by 6 yrs old Baba Fateh Singh and 8 yrs old Baba Zorawar Singh.In order to offer some respite and encouragement to the dazed Wazir Khan, Sucha Nand courtier commented, “if these Kids at such an adolescent age can have courage to shun all inducements and threats to their lives, they could pose grave danger to the Mughal rulers when they grow upto manhood. Like their father they would encourage other Sikhs to rise in revolt against the Kingdom. It will be proper to deal with them firmly now and no mercy should de shown to them just because they are small children.
Nawab Wazir Khan, though impressed by the moral support provided and suggestions made by Sucha Nand, was more inclined towards coverting to Islam, the brave young sons of the great Guru Gobind Singh rather than punishing them with death penalty. He wanted to provide an opportunity to the historians to write that the two younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh preferred Islam to Sikhism. He, therfore controlled his anger and allowed the lads to go back home and consult their grandmother who might advise them to accept Islam to save their lives. Saying this Wazir Khan hurriedly left the court there by adjourning it for the day and thus denying the lads an opportunity to give a benifitting reply to his latest suggestion.
Mata Gujri Ji was immensly pleased to see her grandsons back in high spirits heaving a sigh of relief. She took them hurriedlyfrom the soldiers into her bossem and kissed profusely their bright and smiling faces gave indications of their winning the battle for the day. thereafter, she asked and they told her about what happended in the court of Wazir Khan. They made a special mention about the wicked advice provided to the ruler of Sirhind by Sucha Nand Courtier.
Mata Gujri congratulated her grandsons on their courage and stead - fastness shown by them in the court in the face of hostile attitude of Wazir Khan and his courtier Sucha Nand. She warned them of greater inducements and threats of torture when they went to the court next day. She advised them to remember Bhai Mati Dass,Bhai Sati Dass and Bhai Dayala Ji, who did not flinch in their faith and faced torturous deaths. Thus providing encouragment to her grandsons Mata Gujri went to sleep, keeping the brave young kids pressed to her body.The next day more inducements and threats were held out to the young Sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh but none of these could deter them from their firm resolve to stick to thier grandmothers advice.
When on the third day the young Sahibzada Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh left for the court escorted by Wazir Khan’s soldiers, She could visulise that her grandsons would not come back in the evening and that the rulers will carry out their threats held out to the kids earlier. She was, however, confident that her brave grandsons would die happily for their faith. She took them in her bossom, kissed their faces and stroked their backs providing them lot of love and encouragement. She kept staring at them till they disappeared from her view.
Back in her prison cell, the cold tower, she went into meditation and prayed to the Guru and God to provide strength and unshakable determination to thetwo younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh and wished them success in the face of heavy odds they were to face at the court that day, which could in all probability be their final and last day at the court.
At the court, seeing no let up in the firm resolve of the brave sons of great Guru, the Nawab asked them as to what would they do in case he freed them. The young boys said in reply, “We would organise Sikhs and fight to finish against the tyrant rulers to provide freedom to the opressed. We will stick to our Sikh faith under all circumstances and you or others like you will never succeed in deflecting us from our faith.”Nawab Wazir Khan failed in his mission to convert the two Sahibzadas into Islam. He felt dejected and humiliated. He asked his court Kazi to suggest appropriate punishment for the kids. The Kazi promptly suggested bricking alive of the kids and then doing them to death with sword blows as per Muslim law, as understood by him.Shaken by this inhumane punishment for the young innocent children suggested by Kazi, Nawab Sher Khan of Malerkotla protested and said, “Islam does not specify punishment to the children for the guilt of their father. They are innocent and should be freed.” The Kazi lost his temper and told Sher Khan that he (Kazi) was much more conversant with Muslim law than him. Sucha Nand added fuel to fire by suggesting that Cobra’s off springs should be killed promptly lest they create trouble when they are fully grown up.
On this, Wazir Khan approved the punishment suggested by Kazi without any amendment. Nawab of Malerkotla protested loudly at this decision and walked out of the court.
When no one came forward to carry out the punishment pronounced for the young children, two Pathans of Ghilaza Tribe (known for their barbarism) were successfully persuaded to do the job. They made the young lads stand close to each other and started raising a wall around them. Sahibzada Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh started reciting hymns of Guru ji (Gurbani) and meditating on the name of God, remained composed and in high spirits.The Kazi carrying his holy book Koran in his hands continued to persuade the kids to accept conversion to Islam to save their precious lives. The children fully concentrating their minds on the name of God, paid no heed to what Kazi was trying to tell them. When the wall reached the shoulders of Sahibzada Fateh Singh, on a signal from Kazi, the two Pathans promptly choped off the heads of the two kids with the blows of their swords.Mata Gujri was thrown to death from the cold tower by the soldiers after being informed of the fate of her grandsons.
Thus the two sons of Guru Gobind Singh, aged 6 & 8 years respectively, became the youngest martyrs at the hands of barbarous rulers. Their brave deeds will provide inspiration to the Sikhs and their young children to emulate the brave acts of young Sahibzadas of the tenth master whom no amount of wordly attractions and threat could deter from their resolve to stick to their faith and fight against the unjust and cruel rulers. Mata Gujri ji also provided a shining example to all mothers and grandmothers as to how they should imbibe good qualities of religion, sacrifice, faith, in the young minds of their sons and grandsons at tender age, and prepare their minds and bodies to facce challenges they are likely to face as they grow up. The example of Mata Gujri Ji is worth emulating by all mothers and grandmothers.

Sahibzada Ajit Singh Ji & Jujhar Singh ji

The eldest of the four sons of Guru Gobind Singh, Sahibzada Ajit Singh was born at Paunta sahib on 7th january 1687 A.D. Sahibzada Jujhar Singh the second son of the tenth Guru, was born in March 1689 A.D. at Anandpur Punjab. The two were aged 18 yrs and 16 yrs respectively when they achieved martyrdom at Chamkaur Sahib. Because of their heroic deeds at such a young age, Sikhs reverdly call them “Baba”, expressive of their highest regard and respect for these brave sons of the GuruThey underwent training in physical ftness,riding,and use of weapons apart from getting formal and religious (Gurmat) education from competent Sikhs and their father right from their childhood.
Sahibzada Ajit Singh performed deeds of great courage during various battles that took place around Anandpur Sahib between the forces of Hindu Kings & Muslim rulers on one side & Guru’s forces on the other side.Under the ablest guidance and leadership of Guru Gobind Singh, the Sikhs started hunting Tigers and other wild animals in the jungels around Anandpur Sahib by learning the use of all sorts of weapons including the latest weapens. Casteless society, i.e., Sikhism raised hopes of equality for all and freedom from tyrant rulers of the time. Ever increasing numbers of Hindus and even Muslims adoping Sikhism, alarmed both Hindu kings of Hill States adjoining Anandpur Sahib, and the Muslim rulers who thought that if Sikhism is allowed to grow at this rate they would not be able to control the opressed for very long, the Hindu Hill State Kings through persistent complaints alarmed Emperor Aurangzeb about the growing strength and influence of Guru Gobind Singh which according to them could one day endanger the rulers of both Hindu and Muslim communities.
Thus the Muslims rulers in Delhi, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir joined hands with the Hindu rulers of Hill States around Anandpur Sahib, to destroy the growing influence of Guru Gobind Singh forever. Their combined fighting forces marched towards Anandpur Sahib and encircled it completely. They cut off supplies to the besieged Sikh community in the Anandpur Sahib Fort.
The Sikhs besieged in Anandpur Fort had to undergo extreme hardship due to non-availability of rations, water and medicines. On the other hand , seven months of unsuccessful military venture had also demoralised the leaders and soldiers of tyrant rulers. As a result they started to find a face-saving device to please Emperor Aurangzeb.They swore on Geeta and Koran assuring Sri Guru Gobind Singh that in case he vacated Anandpur Fort alongwith his Sikhs, they would not attack him and his soldiers. After this evacuation, they would also go away and be in a position to show their faces to the Emperor Aurangzeb. Guru Gobind Singh Ji decided to evacuate Anandpur Sahib on the advice of Sikhs although he had no confidence on the promised made by the adversaries and told them about his views.
Guru Ji, accompanied by Sikhs and his family members evacuated Anandpur Sahib in December 1704 A.D. They had hardly reached the bank of rivulet Sirsa, when the enemy forces attacked them from behind without caring a bit about the promises made by them earlier in the name of their Holy Books.Sahibzada Ajit Singh and part of Sikh forces kept the attacking enemy at bay by engaging them in a fierce battel till Guru Gobind Singh accompanied by others crossed the rivulet, which was in spate due to heavy rains upstream. Later Ajit Singh and the remaining Sikhs too crossed the rivulet sirsa & joined Guru Gobind Singh later. The enemy forces were deeply impressed by the fighting & leadership qualities shown by the eldest son of Guru Gobind Singh. The flooded rivlet took a heavy toll of Sikh lives.
By evening of the follwing day, Guru Gobind Singh accompanied by his only two elder sons and forty surviving Sikhs arrived at village Chamkaur, thoroghly exhausted. They quickly got themselves setteld in fortess-like house of chaudhary Budhi Chand and decided to face the approching enemy forces there.During the night, enemy forces encircled this fortess in large numbers. Their numbers swelled to lacs by day break. When the enemy attacked the fortess in the morning, Guru Gobind Singh, and his disciples kept the enemy at bay with the help of deadly arrows inflicting heavy casualties. When the stock of arrows started dwindling and the enemy forces starting coming close to the fortess, it was decided by Guru Gobind Singh to send Sikhs outside the fortess in batches offive toengage the enemy soldiers in hand to hand fight. Imagine 5 Sikhs, daring to take on lakhs enemy soldiers! This amply proved to the world how fearless the Sikhs of the Guru were and had love not for their lives, but the orders of their master.
When groups of Sikhs started going out of Garhi (fortess) and fought bravely in afflicting heavy casualities before laying down their precious lives, Sahibzada Ajit Singh sought permission of his father to also allow him to go out to fight side by side the brave Sikhs.Guru Gobind Singh was immensly pleased at this and embraced his son. He himself armed his son and sent him out with the next group of five Sikhs whomhe considered no less dear than his own sons, to prove Guru’s saying that he would be worthy of being Gobind Singh when he would make a Sikh so brave and fearless that he would fight with one lakh and quarter enemies alone.
Coming out of the fortess Ajit Singh, the brave son of the Tenth Master, attacked the enemy soldiers like a lion leaping on a flock of sheep to be cut to pieces. Many enemy soldiers were both astonished and terrified on seeing the fighting calibre and methods of attack of this young boy. The accompanying Sikhs prevented enemy soldiers from other sides from encircling the brave Ajit Singh. After the brave son of the Master exhausted his arrows, he attacked to enemy with his spear. However, the blade of spear which had penetrated into the chest of one of the adverseries piercing his steel dress, broke inside the body of the enemy solider, when Sahibzada Ajit Singh pulled his spear back. Taking advantage of this delay caused by stuck up spear of Baba Ajit Singh, the enemy soliders were successful in injuring his horse, which fell dead. The Sahibzada swiftly dismounted the horse and pulling out his sword from its sheath, engaged the enemy soldiers. While he was cutting the adverseries to pieces by lightening attacks with his sword, an enemy soldier successfully attacked the brave son of Guru Gobind Singh with a sharp spear. This spear pierced deeply into the bady of Baba Ajit Singh. The brave son of Guru Gobind Singh was fatally injured and his youthful body fell on ground. He attained martyrdom under the watchful and appreciative eyes of his great father. Scores of enemy soldiers bodies were lying in heaps around the fallen body of brave Ajit Singh.Guru Gobind Singh was watching the brave acts of his son in the battle field from the fortess. He had been keeping the enemy at bay by his arrows thus providing his son a chance for prolonged fight with the enemy soldiers.The Guru was immensly pleased at the courage shown by his son and the tactics employed by him for inflicting heavy casualties on the adversaries.
Guru Gobind Singh thanked God for helping, Ajit Singh to live upto his father’s expectations. The Guru thus proved that for the cause he was fighting, he would not hesitate to offer his own sons for sacrifice, while demanding supreme sacrifice from his Sikhs. The Sikhs were as dear to him as his own sons.Thus fell the brave son of the Great Guru providing inspiration to the Sikhs for generation to come. The Sikh community will keep remembering this young martyr son of the tenth master for all times to come.
Sahibzada Jujhar Singh, the second son of Guru Gobind Singh had been keenly observing from the fortess Chamkor the heroic fight put up by his elder brother, Sahibzada Ajit Singh against overwhelming number and better equipped enemy soldiers. The brave fight put up by his elder brother filled Sahibzada Jujhar Singh with happiness and courage.
No sooner did Sahibzada Ajit Singh fell martyr, Sahibzada Jujhar Singh requested his dear father Guru Gobind Singh to grant him permission to accompany the next batch of Sikhs to repeat the heroic acts of his elder brother. He assured his father that he will not let him down and that he would attack the enemy soldiers and drive them away as a shepherd drives his flock of sheep.
The Guru Father was filled with immense pleasure at the determination of his 16 years old second son. He armed his son with weapons and allowed him to go out with next batch of five Sikhs.Once outside the fortess, the young Jujhar Singh fearlessly attacked the enemy soldiers like a lion, while accompanying Sikhs formed a protective ring around him. Guru Gobind Singh was watching his brave son’s deeds of valour and appreciated his courage and swordsmanship from top of the fortess. Even the enemy soldiers could not help appreciating the ferocity and smartness of the young boy. They had never seen such bravery performed by anyone at such a young age against mighty enemy forces. Sahibzada Jujhar Singh using arrows spear and finally his sword felled numerous enemy soldiers. Headless bodies of enemy soldiers were piling up around him. The accompanying Sikhs were likewise putting to death many more enemy soldiers while keeping a protective ring around Sahibzada Jujhar Singh.
After a long drawn battle, the enemy soldiers attacked the young Jujhar Singh from all sides in large numbers, breaking the protective ring around him.Under the appreciative gaze of his father and the accompanying Sikhs, Sahibzada Jujhar Singh put up a brave fight but was ultimately fatally injured and fell martyr on the ground encircled by heaps of dead bodies of the enemy forces.
The way both the elder sons of Guru Gobind Singh achieved martyrdom upholding the principles for which their father had been actively mobilising his disciples, the Guru was able to show to all the Sikhs and enemy the he did not value his own sons more than his Sikhs and that he would not hesitate even to sacrifice his own sons for the Sikh cause.
On seeing his second son falling martyr like his first-son, Guru ji thanked God for enabling his sons to live upto his expectations. There is no parallel in the world when a father had thanked God, instead of weeping, on the death of his sons in front of his eyes.The heroic deeds of these two elder sons of Guru Gobind Singh will keep inspiring the young Sikh generations to rise to the occassion when ever called upon to fight for justice and rights against injustice and cruelty for all times to come.
Thus, Guru Gobind Singh, sacrificed his dear and brave sons, only to prove that when it comes to making sacrifices for Sikh cause, he would not hesitate to offer his own sons to show to the world that the Sikh ideals alone, and not his own sons, were more dear to him

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Guru Nanak Blind Missionary Society

Guru Nanak Blind Missionary Society was founded in 1988 by four blind friends, Avtar Singh Mann, Gian Singh Surjit, Rajinder Singh and Sital Singh Sitara, who had a dream to set up, in Punjab, India, a residential music academy and training school for blind children.
The dream quickly became a reality and the Guru Nanak Mission Neterheen Birdh Ashram and Sangeet Academy - the Ashram started teaching its first students in 1989.

Today, the Ashram goes from strength to strength due to the hard work of all the wonderful people involved. Sadly, two of our founders are no longer with us. Rajinder Singh passed away in 2003, and Gian Singh Surjit recently passed away on 20th October 2006. All the founders have worked tirelessly raising funds around the world to provide a source of financial, educational, and emotional support to our blind children - to ensure that they grow up to be confident, intelligent, self-respecting and talented musicians.
In Phagwara, Punjab, North India - on the famous GT Road- stands the Ashram. The Ashram is the only project of its kind in India - a residential music academy and training school for blind children founded, funded and managed by blind people.The Ashram accommodates 80 little blind people, and fifteen paid staff, including, teachers, music professors, administrators, medical staff, and many wonderful volunteers. There is also a Sikh temple, the 'gurdwara', within the Ashram grounds.
The histories of our little blind people are often tragic: orphaned, discarded, or worse.The Ashram exists for these children, to provide a safe, loving and nurturing environment in which the children receive an invaluable education, learn to cope with their blindness, integrate into a sighted world and flourish there. As part of a program to ensure that blind and sighted children learn to be perfectly at ease with one another, the Ashram also accommodates a number of sighted orphans living in the complex, and pays for their education at a local school for sighted children. In the evening they return to the Ashram to play, sing and laugh with their blind friends. The Ashram’s children are profoundly happy and joyful beings, they are respected and understood, and they learn skills which will ensure them a far brighter future than their circumstances in India would otherwise have allowed.
The charities trustees are: Avtar singh Maan, Ranbir Singh Rai, M S Vilkhoo, Anup Singh, Ravinder Singh Khera, Amrik Singh and Sundeep Kaur Sitara
The charities accountant is Jatinder Singh Gulhati.
Guru Nanak Blind Missionary Society is supported and funded by genoruous donors, volunteers, individuals and organisations involved in our sponsor a child programe and by funds raised at reguluar fundraising events.
Over the next twelve months, were are planning to expand the Ashram to include an on site eye clinic and a separate building to accommodate our school girls. We’ve just purchased an adjoining plot of land for this project, and we now need to raise alot of money to complete this project.
We are lucky to have a small army of wonderful people who work tirelessly to help the charity achieve its aims. Needless to say, we would welcome you with open arms if you would like to become a volunteer just visit

Sikh Youth of The Month For December