The Master’s Darbar In Peace : Guru Gobind Singh Ji

About a year passed in peace. The Guru utilized this interval in creatingliterature, in instilling a new life and spirit in his followers, and in perfectinghis plans for the creation of a nation of Saint- Warriors. But the peace wasbroken after about a year. He had to engage in a fight once again in 1747Bk (1690 A.D.).

The Hill-Chiefs had not paid the tribute to the Emperor of Delhifor a number of years. In 1690 A.D. Mian Khan, Governor of Jammu,received orders from Delhi, calling upon him to take active steps tocollect the arrears of tribute from the Hill-Chiefs. He sent Alif Khan,a military commander of his to make and enforce the demand. Thecommander reached Nadaun via Kangra. From there he sent word toRaja Bhim Chand and others that they should either pay the tributedue from them; or get ready for batde. The Rajas met to consider thematter. They did not wish to re-shoulder the burden which they hadthrown off and which had been off their shoulders for some years.

Accepting the advice of Raja Bhim Chand’s Chief Minister, they soughtthe Guru’s advice and aid. He counselled them to resist the demand;for if they paid it once, more and more would be demanded afterwards.

‘Peace at all cost’, said the Guru, ‘always ends in war. So pay notribute to the Turks. Prepare for the fight, I shall be with you.’

With the Guru’s assistance the invader was repulsed after a bloodybattle at Nadaun in 1690 A.D. 1 The Guru utilized this event for preachingto the chiefs the advantages of offering a united front to the tyrants.

He urged them to lay aside all fear and hesitation, and to championthe cause of their country’s freedom. If they remained inert or compromised with people who had vowed to annihilate either them or theirfaith, sorry, indeed, would be the plight of the Hindus in times to come.

The Rajas were elated with victory and they promised to abide by theGuru’s advice, in future.

1. Raja Bhim Chand abdicated in 1691 A.D. so the battle of Nadaun, in which hedid participate, must have been fought some where in 1690 A.D.

The battle of Nadaun had been fought and won by the Guru andthe Hill-Chiefs together; but the victory was regarded by all as beingthat the Guru, After the defeat of Alif Khan, Dilawer Khan, Governorof Lahore, decided to defeat and suppress the Guru and the Hill-Chiefs.

He sent his son, Rustam Khan to do this. Rustam Khan decided to dealwith the Guru before turning his attention to the Hill-Chiefs. He directedan attack upon Anandpur. The Sikhs prepared to withstand the attackwith all their might. Because of the rains, a small tributary stream ofthe Sudej, flowing by Anandpur, was in high flood. It acted as a strongobstacle in Rustam Khan’s way. Partly because of this obstruction andpartly because his army was struck with fear on hearing the loudwar-cries of the Sikhs encamped on the other side on the stream. RustamKhan turned back with out giving battle to the Guru. As this streamhelped the Sikhs at this juncture, it was named Sahaiti Nala: the HelperStream.

After that, Dilawar Khan’s slave, named Husaini or Husain Khan,boasted that if he given an army, he would plunder the Guru’s city andexact tribute from the Hill-Chiefs. He said that he would return eitherwith the full amount of the tribute or with the heads of the recusantchiefs. Accordingly, Dilawar Khan gave him the command of twothousand men. With them he promptly marched towards Anandpur.

Raja Ajmer Chand, who had succeeded Raja Bhim Chand in 1691A.D., Raja Kirpal Chand of Katoch, and many other Hill-Chiefs forgotall their promises given to, and their treaty with, the Guru. They atonce threw their lot with Husaini. They paid tribute to him and proceededwith him towards Anandpur, intent upon attacking, sacking, and destroying it altogether. But before attacking the city, they decided to finishwith Raja Gopal of Guler. The latter sent an envoy to the Guru to prayfor help. The Guru sent a strong contingent of his choicest warriorsunder the command of Bhai Sangria Singh. A bloody battle ensued.

Husaini. his two officers named Himmat and Kimmat, Raja KirpalChand of Katoch, and some prominent officers of the Hill-Chiefs’ armywere slain. A great part of the army was also killed. The rest fled interror. Ajmer Chand saved his life by taking to his heels. Bhai SangitaSingh and seven of his companions were also slain. The battle wasfought in 1751-52 Bk or 1694-95 A.D.

Although the Guru had been only a helper in the battles of Nadaunand Guler, yet the victories at both places were considered to be his.

They caused a lot of anxiety to the Emperor. He had already heard ofthe Guru’s military preparations and his victory over the Hill-Chiefs atBhangani. In consequence, he had, on November 20, 1693, issuedorders to his Faujdars that the Guru should be admonished and preventedfrom assembling his Sikhs.’ When or in what form the above saidadmonition was conveyed to the Guru is not clear. But it is recorded,”This does not seem to have produced much effect. It was soon reportedto the emperor that the Sikhs had caused a good deal of disturbanceround Lahore and a general order for massacre was issued.” 2The news of these repeated disasters to the imperial armies hadcaused anxiety to the Emperor. He himself was too busy in the Deccan.

Therefore, he sent his eldest son, Prince Muazzim, afterwards knownas Bahadur Shah, to set right the matters in the Panjab. This was in1696 A.D. The prince himself took up his position at Lahore. He sentMirza Beg with a strong force to chastise the Guru and the Hill-Chiefs.

The latter were severely punished, but the Guru was left alone. Thatwas owing to the intercession of Bhai Nand Lai, who was a devoutSikh and a secretary to the Prince.

Bhai Nand Lalseems to have brought about some sort of understandingbetween the Prince and the Guru. On hearing from Bhai Nand Lai aboutthe spiritual greatness and lofty cosmopolitan principles of the Guru, thePrince became a friend and admirer of the Guru. He arranged matters insuch a way that, for the time-being at least, the Guru made up his quarrelwith the Mughal govemrhent. He advised his followers to render untoCaesar what was due unto him. This is clear from the following versefrom his Vachittar Natak :

“The House of Baba Nanak and that of Babar,

Both derive their authority from God Himself.

Recognize the former as supreme in religion.

And the latter, as supreme in secular affairs!

This would show, in the first place, that the Guru had no politicalmotives or ambitions. He did not want to exercise control over the secularaffairs even of his own Sikhs. He was prepared to recognize the Mughalgovernment’s supreme authority in secular affairs even over his ownfollowers, provided that government recognized him as having supremeauthority over his followers in religious affairs, that is, if the governmentagreed to permit full religious freedom to him and his followers. He knewthat, if such freedom and authority were guaranteed, he would be able tomake his followers so strong that they would be able, ultimately, to put1. Akhbarat-i-Darbar-i-Mualla (R.A.S., London), Vol. I, 1677-95. Entry datedNovember 20, 1693.

2. Ahkam-i-Alamgiri, 15 a, quoted by S. R. Sharma in The Religious Policy of theMughals p. 16T.

3. Chapter 9 : xiii.

an end to the Mughals’ oppressive bigotry and their campaign of forcibleconversion. Secondly, it shows that at that stage at least, the Guru didnot want to open hostilities with the Mughal government He neededtime to mature his plans in peace, and to equip his growing communityin such a way and to such a degree that it would have no difficulty invanquishing and liquidating the hated tyrants.