Zafamama : The Epistle of Victory 192 : Guru Gobind Singh Ji

Taking leave of Rai Kalha, the Guru went to Dina, where he waswelcomed by three brothers, Shamira, Lakhmira, and Takht Mai. 1 Whenhe warned them of the risk that they ran in housing him, they declaredtheir readiness to sacrifice their all for his sake. The Guru had beenthere for a few days only, when orders arrived from the Governor ofSarhind requiring Shamira to arrest and surrender the Guru. Shamiraremained firm and unperturbed. He returned the answer that he wasmerely serving his spiritual Master. Surely, the act was as harmless asthe Governor’s would be in serving the prophet of his religion. Headded that he would rather die than hand over the Master to theauthorities. Having despatched this reply, Shamira sent one of his trustedmen to Sarhind to keep eyes and ears open. If the Governor orderedout troops to capture the Guru, the spy was to give a timely warning.

His report was that troops had been ordered to be ready but theirdespatch had been postponed.

The Guru stayed quite a long time at Dina. Sikhs gathered roundhim again. Some of them were his Saint-Soldiers, who had partakenof the Immortal Draught and were ready to serve him with their lives.

He engaged more on pay in order to be ready for any surprise. He feltcertain that the Muhammadan army would soon be after him. He wasgetting ready to face it. He never thought of surrender. His spirits soaredas high as ever. Imagine the ordeals which he had passed through atAnandpur, Chamkaur and afterwards. His Sikhs had deserted him at acritical moment, those who had remained true to him had been killed,one by one, two of his four sons had died fighting before his eyes,’ theother two had been cruelly murdered, his mother had died, his wifeand his spiritual associate had separated from him, perhaps never tomeet again on this earth, and he himself had to travel barefooted through1. These three brothers were grandsons of Bhai Jodh Rai or Rai Jodha, who wasa devoted Sikh of Guru Hargobind. Their ancestral village was Kangar, but theyhad migrated to Dina, which was at a distance of about a mile and half from there.

forests and to pass winter night in the fields. All this had not brokenhis high resolve. When, at night, he lay for rest on the bare earth inthe jungle or in the furrowed fields with a clod of earth for his pillow,his hand always gripped the naked sword by his side. The thought ofaccomplishing the heaven-ordained task of helping and lifting the piousand the humble, preaching and exterminating the evil and tyrannical,and preaching the true religion of love and service, was always uppermostin his mind.

It was at Dina near the village Kangar, that the Guru wrote hisfamous letter to Aurangzeb. Two letters from the Emperor had beenreceived at Anandpur. A third, which contained the same invitation tothe Guru to see the Emperor, was received at Dina. It is possible thatAurangzeb might have been grieved to hear of the excesses committedby his subordinates on the mother and innocent children of the Guru.

He might have resolved to make peace with him. 1 But once a liar,always a liar. The Guru had seen how the oaths contained in his twoearlier letters had been violated without the least compunction.Moreover,Aurangzeb had taken no action whatsoever against those who hadbroken his oaths on the Quran and violated his solemn assurances. Itwas now time to send a reply to the Emperor. The letter which hewrote is in exquisite Persian verse and the tone of the whole is inkeeping with its title. He called it Zafarnama : The Epistle of Victory.

The Guru felt that, in spite of his apparent reverses, he had won amoral victory over the crafty Mughal, who had broken all his vows.

He was determined that the Emperor should know this, the whole letterreads like a rebuke addressed by a superior personality to one on alower place, rebuking him for his weaknesses and excesses.

Here is a translation of some extracts from the Zafamama :”I have no faith whatsoever in thine oath to which thou tookestthe one God as witness. I do not have even a particle of confidencein thee. Thy treasurers and ministers are all false. He who putteth faithin thy oath on the Quran is thereby a ruined man.

“As to what happened at Chamkaur, the thing is this that whatcould forty famished men do when a million fell on them suddenlyand unawares. The oath-breakers attacked them abruptly with swords,arrows, and muskets. I was constrained to engage in the combat; andI did my utmost with arrows and muskets. When all other expedientshave failed, it is lawful to have recourse to the sword. Had I beenable to repose confidence in thine oath on the Quran, I would nothave abandoned my city. Had I not known that thou wert crafty and1. Forster also lends, supports to this view.

deceitful as a fox, I would have never on any account come hither. Hewho cometh to me and sweareth on the Quran ought not to try toimprison or kill me. Thine army, dressed in black, came like a swarmof bees and, all of a sudden, charged with loud shouts. Every soldierof thine who advanced beyond his defences to attack my position,received an arrow from me and fell deluged in blood. Such of thytroops as did not come forward to attack me received no injury atour hands. When I saw that Nahar Khan had entered the fight, Iquickly gave him the taste of my arrow. All soldiers who had comewith him and boasted of their prowess ran away from the battle-fieldlike cowards. Then another Pathan officer advanced like a rushingflood, an arrow, or a musket ball. He made many assaults manfullyand with a mad zeal. He recieved many wounds and at last, afterkilling two of my Sikhs, was himself killed. Khwaja Mardud kepthidden behind a wall and did not manfully come out into the openfield. Had he shown his face to me, I would have bestowed an arrowon him, too. At last, many were killed on both sides and the earthwas covered with blood. Corpses lay in heaps… The brave warriorsfought most valiantly, not caring even for their lives. But how couldforty, even braver than the bravest, succeed against a countless host? When the sun set, God, my protector, showed me the way toescape from mine enemies. Not even a hair of my head was touched.

“Did I not know, O faithless man, that thou wert a perjurerworshipper of mammon, and transgressor of religion ? Thou

keepest no faith and observest no religion. Thou knowest not Godand believest not in Muhammad. He who hath regard for his

religion never swerveth from his promise. Thou hast no idea ofwhat an oath on the Quran meaneth, nor dost thou have any faithin Divine Providence. Wert thou to take a hundred oaths on theQuran, I would not even then trust thee in the slightest. Hadstthou any intention of keeping thine oath, thou wouldst have girdedup thy loins and come to me. When thou didst swear by Muhammadand called the Word of God to witness, it was incumbent on theeto observe that oath. Were the prophet himself present here, Iwould tell him the whole story of thy treachery. Do what isincumbent on thee, and adhere to thy written promise. Thoushouldst have fulfilled that promise and also acted according towhat the Qazi, who brought your message and letter, said to meorally. Everybody should be a man of word, and not have onething in the heart and quite another on the lips. Thou didstpromise to abide by the words of the Qazi. If thou hast spokentruly, then come to me. If thou desirest to seal thy promise on theQuran, I shall gladly send it to thee for the purpose. If thou cometo the village of Kangar, we shall have an interview. Thou shaltrun no danger in coming here, because the whole tribe of Brarsare obedient to my orders. Come to me so that we may speak toeach other, and that I may utter kind words to thee.

“I am a slave and servant of the King of kings, and ready to obeyHis orders with my life. Should His order reach me, I will go to theewith all my heart. If thou hast any belief in God, delay not in thismatter. It is thy duty to know God. He never ordered thee to oppressany person. Thou art seated on an emperor’s throne, yet how strangeare thy justice, thy regard for religion, and thy nature. ..Promises notmeant to be fulfilled injure those who make them. Smite not anyonemercilessly with the sword, or a sword from on high shall smite theeand spill thy blood. O man, be not reckless, fear God. The King ofkings is without fear. He is the true Emperor of the earth and heaven.

He is the master of both worlds.. .He is the Protector of the miserableand Destroyer of the reckless.. .Thou art bound by thy oath on theQuran. Bring the matter to a good issue according to thy promises…

What though my four sons have been killed, the coiled cobra stillremains. 1 What bravery is there to quench a few sparks of life ? Thouart only exciting a raging fire all the more…. I would have gone manytimes to thee had thy promise been kept when my bullocks wereplundered. 2 As thou didst forget thy word on that day, so will Godforget thee. God will for certain punish thee for the evil deed thoudidst design. …I do not deem thou knowest God, since thou hast doneacts of oppression. Wherefore the great God knoweth thee not, andwill not receive thee with all thy wealth. Hadst thou sworn a hundredtimes on the Quran, I would not have trusted thee in the slightest evenfor a moment. I will not enter thy presence, nor travel on the sameroad with thee, but, if God so wills it, I will proceed toward thee. 31. Opinions differ as regards what the Guru means here. Some think that he appliesthe term to himself and means to say that he himself is alive and unconquered.

Others believe that he alludes here to his young son, the Khalsa. “The Guru heredistinctly threatens the Emperor.”

Macauliffe.op. cit

2. This happened at Anandpur.

3 . Here the Guru is clearly alluding to the possibility of his meeting Aurangzeb onfield of battle. Yet, in spite of all that the Guru says about the untrustworthiness ofthe Emperor and his own determination never to trust him. Latif says that, onreceiving the Emperor’s summons, the Guru said ‘that to obey his majesty’s commandwould be an honour to him’, and that the Guru started towards the Dec can to see”Fortunate art thou, Aurangzeb, king of kings, expert swordsmanand rider. Thou art well-built and intelligent. Thou art clever toadminister thy kingdom. Thou art generous to thy co-religionists,and prompt to crush thy enemies. ..Exalted is thy position. ..Thou artmonarch of the world, but far from thee is religion.

“I wanted to destroy the hillmen, because they were full of strife.

They were idol-worshippers, and I was an idol- breaker. What can anenemy do when God, the friend, is kind ?….Thou art proud of thy armyand wealth. I repose my trust and confidence in the kindness of theKing of kings. Be not heedless; this caravansarai is only for a fewdays. … Even though thou art strong, oppress not the weak. Lay notthe axe to thy kingdom. When God is a friend, millions of enemiescannot do any harm….”

The letter was entrusted to Bhai Daya Singh and Bhai DharmSingh, the two out of his Beloved Five who had survived the battle ofChamkaur and accompanied him during his hazardous wandering. Theywere directed to deliver it to Aurangzeb, who was then at Ahmadnagarin the Deccan. After passing through Delhi, Agra, Ujjain, Burhanpur,and Aurangabad, and meeting with many adventures and hardships onthe way, they at last reached Ahmadnagar in the Deccan.

When they entered Aurangzeb’s court with the letter, they neitherbent their heads, nor uttered any word of salutation. They simplyshouted,” Wahiguru ji ka Khalsa, Sri Wahiguru ji ki Fateh”, and handedthe letter to him. 1

How Aurangzeb reacted to the Zafarnama will be dealt with inanother chapter.

the Emperor. He adds, ‘Dr Trumpp believed that Guru Gobind (Singh) never obeyedthe summons of Aurangzeb to attend the Imperial camp, but he has given neitherauthority nor reasons for this belief. The whole purport of the Zafarnama composedby (Guru) Gobind (Singh), in which he exposed the wrongs of the MoghalGovernment, tends to show that he proceeded on his journey to visit the Emperor.’

Let the reader peruse the Zafarnama and then decide for himself whether it hasthe purport attributed to it by Latif, or, whether it is not authority enough for DrTrumpp and others to maintain that the Guru never obeyed the summons.

1. Narang op. cit.