The Saga of the Chote Sahibzade

The Chote Sahibzade by Arpana Caur – watercolor on paperA tribute to The Chote Sahibzade by Arpana Caur – watercolor on paper

As the year approaches the end, on December 26 every year, the world Sikh community commemorates the martyrdom of three of their most loved figures of the Guru household. On this darkest of days, their youngest heroes Sahibzada Fateh Singh (1699-1705) who was the youngest of Guru Gobind Singh’s four sons, Sahibzada Zorawar Singh (1696-1705), his elder brother and Mata Gujar Kaur ji, his grandmother sacrificed their lives for their faith and the right to remain Sikhs.

Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib which is situated 5 km north of Sirhind marks the sad site of their execution at the behest of Wazir Khan of Kunjpura, the faujdar of Sirhind. The three shrines exist within this Gurdwara complex to mark the exact spot where these tragic events were witnessed in 1705.

Baba Fateh Singh with his elder brother, set a precedence in Sikh history (and perhaps also in world history) by becoming the youngest known martyrs to sacrifice their lives for their principles and the right to practice their religion and their faith without coercion or the threat of terror. Even at such a tender age of 6 years, Baba Fateh Singh showed courage, determination and free-will not to be intimidated by the cruel, barbaric and unjust authorities of the time. He showed composure, fearlessness and the renowned trait of unparalleled heroism becoming of the Sikh leadership and was prepared to sacrifice his life but not his faith.

Gurdwara Fatehgarh SahibGurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib

The world salutes the supreme sacrifice of these fearless children who never once considered the easy option and always remained focused on their mission to uphold the principles of Sikhism and allowed their bodies to be tortured and violated and endured the intense pain of a slow, pain-ridden and certain

As soon as the two Sahibzadas attained martyrdom, Mata Gujri ji, who was sitting in meditation in the tower, breathed her last

The same evening Dewan Todar Mal, a jeweller reached Nawab Wazir Khan’s court for permission to cremate the dead bodies of the two Sahibzadas and Mata Gurji. The Nawab agreed on condition that the Dewan pay for the required piece of land by spreading as many Gold coins as would cover the entire spot. The Dewan accepted the terms, marked the site and spread coins on entire piece of land he selected for cremation. The two martyred young sons of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji were cremated with full honors along with their grandmother.

There is no parallel to the martyrdom of such young boys in the annals of human history. Sahibzada Fateh Singh was less than six years old (born 1699) and Sahibzada Zorawar Singh was just over eight (born in 1696). At such a tender age, they were bricked alive but did not bow before the tyranny and cruelty of the Mughal government. Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji was at the time in the forests of Machhiwara when the news of the martyrdom of his younger sons reached him. On hearing this he pulled out a plant with the tip of his arrow and prophesized that this tragedy will herald the uprooting of Mughal Empire in India.

Jahaz Haveli of Diwan Todar MalJahaz Haveli of Diwan Todar Mal

And to the Emperor he wrote in the Zafarnama:

“…Even though my four sons were killed, I remain like a coiled snake. What bravery is it to quench a few sparks of life?….. When God is a friend, what can an enemy do, even though he multiplies hundred times? If an enemy practices enmity and hatred a thousand times, he cannot, as long as God is a friend, injure even a hair on one’s head.”

Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji addressed his followers and reassured them thus:

“Although, four of my sons have joined Waheguru, many thousands of my sons are still alive”,

By saying this Guru accepted all Sikhs as his sons and daughters. A wave of anguish gripped the country as the news of the martyrdom of the Sahibzadas spread. It was Banda Singh Bahadur who undertook the task of dealing with these cruel oppressors and shook the very heart of the Mughal Empire. The town of Sirhind was reduced to utter ruins as a consequence of the cruel, uncaring and heartless treatment of the Sahibzade.

The renowned Hindi poet, Maithli Saran Gupta in his well-known book Bharat Bharati said:

“Whatever their present position, the future of the community whose sons can thus lay down their lives for their faith, is bound to be glorious.”

 

 

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