Emperor Aurangzeb was a fanatic Sunni Muslim. He had come to the throne with the help of bigot Muslim nobles and intolerant Mullhas. They suggested to him to make India a country exclusively for the Muslims. Under their influence, he had deprived the Hindus of many privileges. A religious tax Jizya was reimposed on them. Their schools were closed. They could not build new temples. Some of the old temples were
demolished. They were not permitted to ride the Arabian horses.Many more restrictions were imposed on them.
In the Punjab, Guru Teg Bahadur was respected even by the Muslims. He had his friendship with Sufi saints like Saifuddin. Official reports form Lahore and Sirhind reached the Emperor that Guru Teg Bahadur’s teachings of. “Neither frighten any one nor sustain fear in mind from any one”
were making people bold to resist the Emperor’s zeal of converting the Hindus into the Muslim fold.
The Brahmans were the religious leaders of the Hindu community. They were more learned than the other segments of the Hindu populace.
The Pundits of Kashmir were the most learned of all. The beautiful valley of Kashmir had a large population of the learned Pundits. They were looked upon as the leaders of the Hindu community.
The bigoted Maulvis and the intolerant councillors had proposed to the Emperor that if he could convert the Brahmans to Islam, the general populace of Hindu community would follow suit.
They assured him that this way the whole of India would completely become a Muslim state.
Under Aurangzeb there was no constitution to be followed to govern the country. The will of the sovereign was the law of the land. The only exception was that it should not oppose the Quranic injunctions. Courts were the centres of corruption.
The bigotry and fanaticism of the Emperor had deprived the Hindus of getting justice from the courts. They (The Hindus) were governed by a different code of law. Their plight was pitiable.
They felt the oppressive sword of the ruler always hanging over their heads. According to
Aurangzeb’s belief, the conversion of Hindus to Islam was a noble act. So, he was zealous to make forcible conversions. He did not think that such an aggressive attitude of the Emperor was against the spirit of Islam. Sher Afghan was the Governor of Kashmir. He received the royal orders to force the Pundits of the valley either to embrace Islam or face death. The Subedar of Lahore was Zalam Khan. He was also asked to arrest the Sikh movement and preate such conditions for the Hindus as would force them to embrace Islam.
Sher Afghan called the leaders of the Pundit community to his office. He bluntly told them either to embrace Islam or face death. The Pundits were aghast to hear the command of the Governor.
They requested him to give them some time to consult their coreligionists. The Governor gave them six . months for their final decision. He reported the Emperor accordingly.
The Pundits of the valley consulted the Pundits of Kurukshetra and Gopal Mochan. They came to the conclusion that Guru Teg Bahadur was the only holy man in the whole of India, who could provide them with some solace. He could be the sole champion of their cause. So, they decided to go to Anandpur Sahib. They made Pundit Kirpa Ram of Matan (Kashmir) as their spokesman.
The deputation of Pundits reached Anandpur. It waited upon the Guru. It was received at Guru’s Darbar with due courtesy. Pundit Kirpa Ram related his tale of woes. He told the Guru that the intolerant Governor was bent upon converting them to Muslim fold. He had given them a few month’s time to arrive at their decision. They had to choose between death and Islam. They were overawed by him because the given time was going to expire very shortly. Pundit Kirpa Ram further stated that they had sought his shelter, thinking that he was the only spiritual head to show them the light and make them come out of the blind alley. He said that they were passing through the bitterest ordeal as the honour of whole of India was at stake.
Guru Teg Bahadur patiently listened to the pathetic tales of the Pundits. He then went into a trance. He deeply pondered over the matter. After a while, when the Guru opened his eyes, there was a strange divine spark visible.
The Pandits felt an unrelenting kind of confidence in them. Guru Teg Bahadur remarked that the naked fanaticism had clouded the mind of the Emperor. He had adopted the wrong course of intolerance and tyranny/Depriving the subjects of their right of worship was an offence. To put an end to the tyrannical rule of a fanatic and to keep the Dharma alive, a great holy man had to sacrifice his life. Only then the storm of oppression could be arrested.
Gobind Rai, then only a nine year old boy, was sitting beisde his father. He had heard all that was discussed between the Pundits and the Guru.
Finding that the assembly was in grave and serious mood while thinking over the situation, he said to the Guru,” Revered father, if the storm of oppression could be checked by the sacrifice of a holy life, then check it, by giving your life, who is holier than you in the whole of India?
The Guru was very much struck by the remarks of his young son. The spark of confidence appeared in his eyes. He told the Pundits that the hour had come to uproot the tree of oppression.
He said to the Pundits,” Go and tell your Subedar that if Guru Teg Bahadur embraces Islam as his religion, the whole of India will become Muslim.
Then there will be no need of bloody and forcible conversions.”
The Pundits were over awed. But the Guru encouraged them. They bowed their heads. Then, they took leave of the Guru. First, they saw the Governor of Lahore, Zalam Khan. They told him to convey to the Emperor that with the single conversion of Guru Teg Bahadur, the whole of Northern India would embrace the religion of prophet, Mohammed. Similarly, they told the Governor of Kashmir that the entire population of Pundits of the valley would change their religion the day, GtUru Teg Bahadur accepted Islam as his religiftn.
Emperor Aurangzeb was camping at Hassan
Abdal, fighting against the insurgent Pathan tribes. The reports from the two Governors reached him. He was pleased to know that his dream of seeing India the land of the faithfuls (Only the Muslims) would be realised with a single conversion. It appeared to him an easy task. He directed the Subedars of Lahore and Sirhind to keep austirict watch on the activities of Guru Teg Bahadur. Very shortly he summoned Guru Teg Bahadur to Delhi through the Subedar of Sirhind.
Guru Teg Bahadur had already made up his mind for the supreme sacrifice. He had foreseen the impendent eventuality. In the meantime, the officials reached Anandpur Sahib with the summons. The Guru told the officials that he would be reaching Delhi in due course. He was not a convict. He had done nothing against the Govt. His only offence was that he championed the cause of the Hindus. So, the officials did not press him to accompany them.
The Guru took with him five Sikhs i.e. Bhai Mati Dass, Bhai Dyala Ji, Sati Dass, Bhai Udha Ji and Bhai Gurclitta Ji. Mata Gujri was ordained to stay at Anandpur and take care of Gobind Rai.
. While on his way to Delhi, the Guru halted at many places. At every place he told the assembled Sikhs to keep their minds free of fear, they should also not practise frightening other people. Leaving Anandpur his first halt was at Kiratpur, followed by other halts at Saifabad, Samana, Kaithal, Lakhan Majra, Rohtak and Agra.
Guru Teg Bahadur was arrested at Agra. Before his arrest he had sent backto Anandpur Bhai Udho Ji and Bhai Gurditta Ji to inform the Sikh Sangat of his arrest. Bhai Mati Pass, Bhai Dyala Ji and Bhai Sati Dass Ji, tfie three remaining Sikhs were also arrested along with the Guru.
The Guru and the Sikhs were made prisoners and brought to Delhi. They were first kept in an old building. Then, they were shifted to Chandni Chowk Kotwali. Guru Teg Bahadur was kept in a cage. There were spikes fitted in its internal walls.
The Guru could neither stand nor rest his back with the walls. The sharp tips of the spikes hurt his body.
By the orders of the Emperor, he was asked to accept any one of the three conditions for his release. Accept Islam as his religion, show a miracle or face death. The Guru said that he would not lose his faith. He told that it did not behove men of God to show miracles. He was ready to face death to save the honour of mother India from the bigoted tyrants.
To terrorise the Guru, his Sikhs were inflicted with horrible tortures. Bhai Mati Dass was the Guru’s Diwan. He was the head of Bhai family of Karyala in the Jhelum District. It is now in Pakistan.
He was a devout Sikh. He was fastened in twains.
He was asked what his last wish was. He replied that his face be kept towards the Guru. He was sawed alive. He kept reciting Jap Ji Sahib, when the saw was piercing through his body. Bhai Mati Dass showed unshakable courage and devotion for his faith. He courted martyrdom in the holy presence of his Lord, Guru Teg Bahadur.
Then came the turn of Bhai Dyala Ji. He was the real brother of Bhai Mani Singh Longowal (Sangrur). He was boiled alive in a cauldron. The holy words of the Guru were on his lips when he was being boiled alive. His prayers were that the Guru might bless him the requisite fortitude to remain unflinching in his faith.
Bhai Sati Das was Bhai Mati Dass’s younger brother. He was wrapped from head to foot in cotton, then kerosene oil was poured on him. He was burnt alive to death. Facing the inhuman tortures boldly, he kept on reciting the Gurbani and was roasted alive.
On November 11,1675, the Guru was brought out from the cage. He was made to sit under the tree near the well. This site is just close to the Kotwali at Chandi Chowk, Delhi. The Chief Qazi,Wahab Ali read out the sentence and the executioner Jalal-ud-din of Samana (Patiala) beheaded the holy Guru, Teg Bahadur.
After the martyrdom of Guru Teg Bahadur in Chandi Chowk, Delhi was rocked with a terrible storm. In the confusion that ensued Bhai Jaita Ji and Bhai Addo Ji showed rare feats of valour and took away the holy head of the Guru to Anandpur Sahib. There, Guru Gobind singh fondly
embraced Bhai Jaita Ji saying,” Rangrete- GuruKe-Bete “The scavengers are the dear sons of the Guru.” The sacred head was cremated there at Anandpur.
Bhai Lakhi Shah and his son Nigahia, the Labana Sikhs of the Guru, unmindful of the consequences of their daring action, took the holy body to their village Rakab Ganj. They carried the body in a cart. They cremated the body with due respect, setting their housie on fire for this purpose.
At the place, where the holy body was cremated by the devout Sikhs, stands tfc^ Gurudwara Rakab Ganj Delhi. *
Guru Teg Bahadur saved the honour of India by sacrificing his life, so, the grateful nation remembers him saying, “Guru Teg Bahadur Hind Di Chadar, (The Saviour .of the Honour of India”).