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On the first night after they left Anandpur, the Guru's contingent was attacked by
the imperial forces. Following a few skirmishes, the Guru and his followers reached the
banks of Sirsa river. The group could not keep together while crossing the flooded Sirsa
(or Sarsa) river. The Guru's mother, and his two younger sons, Fateh Singh and
Zorawar Singh, strayed away from the main group. Guru's old servant, Gangu, escorted
them to his village, Kheri. His wife Mata Jito, was in another group that also included
Mata Sahib Kaur; this group was escorted to Delhi by Jawahar Singh. The floods in the
river resulted in loss of several of the Guru's followers.
The Guru, with his two elder sons, and some other Sikhs, managed to cross the
river, and reached the Ghanaula village. He instructed a band of hundred followers
under Bachitar Singh to march to Rupar. The Guru, with the remaining followers,
marched towards Kotla Nihang near Rupar, to stay with his trusted acquaintance
Pathan Nihang Khan. From there, he proceeded to Machhiwara and Raikot, halting at
Bur Majra. He was informed that a large body of troops from Sirhind was chasing him.
He decided to face the enemy troops at the fortress of Chamkaur.
The imperial troops besieged the fortress at Chamkaur in December 1704,
leading to the battle of Chamkaur. The two elder sons of Guru Gobind Singh, Ajit Singh
and Jujhar Singh, died in the battle. The Guru asked the remaining disciples to get
ready for the final charge, and die fighting. However, his disciples insisted that the his
survival was necessary for the survival of the Khalsa, and planned his escape from
Chamkaur. It was decided that Sant Singh and Sangat Singh would stay in the fortress,
while Daya Singh, Dharam Singh, and Man Singh would accompany the Guru out of
Chamkaur. The Guru gave his kalghi (plume used to decorate headgear) and his armor
to Bhai Sangat Singh, a Sikh who resembled him. Sangat Singh was seated in the
upper room where Guru was stationed. The Guru marched out of Chamkaur in the
night, along with some followers. Next day, the Mughal army, which still believed that
the Guru was inside the fortress, attacked the fortress, and killed all the Sikhs inside the
The Guru separated from his companions, and reached Machhiwara, after
passing through Jandsar and Behlolpur. There, his three companions, Daya Singh,
Dharam Singh and Man Singh rejoined him. Gulaba, an old masand of Machhiwara,
gave them shelter, but feared for his own safety. Two Pathan horse merchants, Nabi
Khan and Ghani Khan, decided to help him. The Khans, who were old acquaintances of
the Guru, disguised him as the Pir (Sufi saint) of Uchh village, and carried him to safety,
in a palanquin. At Alam Gir, Nand Lal, a zamindar decided to help the Guru. From Alam
Gir, the Guru proceeded to Raikot. At Silaoni, Rai Kalha III, the Muslim chief of Raikot
state, received him warmly. The Guru stayed there for some time.
Meanwhile, Guru's mother Mata Gujri and the his two younger sons were
captured by Wazir Khan, the governor of Sirhind. The two boys were executed after
refusing to convert to Islam, and Mata Gujri died soon after hearing of her grandsons'
death. Rai Kalha's servant Noora Mahi brought this news to the Guru from Sirhind.Mata
Sundari and Mata Sahib kaur escaped towards Delhi escorted by bhai Mani Singh .
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Stay at Dina
Realizing that Rai Kot was not a suitable place to stage resistance against the
Mughals, Guru Gobind Singh left Raikot, and spent two days at Hehar with Mahant
Kirpal Das (who had earlier participated in the Battle of Bhangani). He then marched to
Lamma Jatpura, where his companion Rai Kalla took leave. The Guru moved
southwards, accompanied by three Sikhs. On the way he passed through the villages of
Manuke, Mehdiana, Chakkar, Takhtupura and Madhe and finally reached Dina (now in
Moga district) in Malwa (Punjab). The people had heard that the Guru had been killed at
Chamkaur, but the truth began to be known when he reached Dina. He was received
warmly at Dina by Shamira, Lakhmira and Takht Mal, the three grandsons of Rai Jodh,
a devotee of Guru Har Gobind.
While at Dina, the Guru received a concilatory letter from Aurangzeb, asking him
to come to Deccan to discuss the situation. The Guru was wary of Aurangzeb, who had
beheaded his father. The Guru rejected the emperor's offer, and wrote a famous letter in
Persian, titled 'Zafarnamah (the Epistle of Victory). In the letter, the Guru reminded
Aurangzeb of his misdeeds, and condemened the treacherous acts of the Mughals. He
sent a group of Sikhs, consisting of Daya Singh, Dharam Singh, and some guards, to
despatch the letter to Aurangzeb, who was camping in Ahmednagar.
Guru Gobind Singh moved onto Talwandi Sabo and was at place called Rohi
when a group of forty Sikhs from Majha area of Punjab region accompanied by Mata
Bhag Kaur, also known as Mai Bhago, visited him. They had come to offer their
condolences over the death of his four sons and his mother, and also offered to effect a
compromise between the Guru and Mughal authorities. The Guru narrated to them the
atrocities of Mughals from the time of martyrdom of Guru Arjan to the laying of the siege
of Anandpur. He rebuked them for their behaviour and put them to shame for talking like
that. One of the leaders of the Jatha (group), Bhag Singh Jabhalia, said that it was not
in their means to have more faith in the Guru. The Guru said that he had not called for
them and they should write a disclaimer, which was signed by Bhag Singh Jabhalia and
another four. The remaining thirty five did not sign the disclaimer. The Guru at the
moment got the information of advancing Mughal forces led by Wazir Khan. He along
with those accompanying him moved on to take positions by the side of a mound, which
incidentally was also the only water source in the area.
At this stage Mata Bhag Kaur criticised the forty Sikhs for deserting Guru Gobind
Singh at such a crucial stage. Her challenge made the forty to face the oncoming
Mughal force led by Wazir Khan. In the Battle of Muktsar. that occurred on 30 poh
1972 (29 December 1705), beside the forty Sikhs and Mata Bhag Kaur from Majha,
Guru Gobind Singh and those accompanying him also participated. By sunset most of
warriors were killed or seriously injured. Of the forty only three Sikhs (Rai Singh, Sunder
singh and Mahan singh) were in their last breath, while Bhag Kaur lay seriously injured.
At their request Guru Gobind Singh tore the disclaimer and blessed them as Muktas
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(emanicipated). He also changed the name of the place, Ishar sar or Khidrana, to
Muktsar in their honour.
Stay at Talwandi Saibo
From Muktsar, the Guru moved to Rupana, Bhander, Gurusar, Thehri Bambiha,
Rohila, Jangiana and Bhai Ka Kot. At Chatiana, the Brars who had fought for him at
Muktsar, threatened to block his march as the Guru had failed to disburse pay arrears to
them. A Sikh from the neighborhood area brought enough money, which enabled the
Guru to pay off all the arrears. However, the leader of the Brars, Chaudhri Dana
apologized to the Guru on behalf of his people, and refused to accept any payment for
himself. At his request, the Guru visited his native place Mehma Swai. The Guru
continued his travel, passing through Lakhi Jungle (Lakhisar). From Lakhi, he visited
nearby areas and initiated large number of people into Khalsa.
A landowner called Chaudhari Dalla welcomed the Guru to his estate, and took
him to Talwandi Sabo (aka Talwandi Sabo Ki). On his way he passed through Chatiana,
Kot Sahib Chand, Kot Bhai, Giddarbaha, Rohila, Jangirana, Bambiha, Bajak, Kaljhirani,
Jassi Bagwali, Pakka Kalan and Chak Hira Singh. Guru Gobind Singh arrived at
Talwandi Sabo on 20 January 1706, and stayed there for several months. The place is
now called Damdama Sahib (the resting place). The Guru made a tour of the
neighbouring villages, and initiated several people into the Khalsa.
When Wazir Khan learned that the Guru was at Sabo Ki Talwandi, he sent a
letter to Chaudhri Dalla asking him to hand over Guru Gobind Singh to him. However,
the Chaudhari refused, in spite of Wazir Khan's threats and promises of reward. Wazir
Khan complained to the Emperor, who was in the Deccan. The Emperor received
Dalla's letter written to Wazir Khan and also the Guru's Zafarnamah at about the same
time. He ordered Wazir Khan to remove all restrictions imposed on the Guru and stop
The Guru's literature had been destroyed as he crossed the river after evacuating
Anandpur. He dictated the Guru Granth Sahib to Bhai Mani Singh. A number of poets
and scholars gathered around the Guru at Talwandi Sabo, and the place came to be
known as Guru's Kashi (Varanasi). The Guru's wife, who had separated from him at
Anandpur, also reunited with him at Damdama Sahib. The Guru also reorganized his
forces at this place, and took many Dogras, Rathores and Brars into his service.
After Aurangzeb's death
After completing the composition of the Guru Granth Sahib, at Damdama Sahib,
the Guru left for Deccan to visit Nanded, nowadays known as Hazur Sahib in October
After the emperor's death, a war of succession broke out between his sons. The
third son, Mohammad Azam (or Azim), declared himself the Emperor. The second son
Muazzam (later Emperor Bahadur Shah) set out from Peshawar to claim the throne.
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The Guru's follower Bhai Nand Lal (who had earlier served in Muazzam 's court)
brought a letter written by Muazzam, to where the Guru was temporarily encamped at
Bhagora (Rajasthan). Muazzam had sought Guru's help in securing the throne, and had
promised to pursue a policy of religious tolerance towards the non-Muslims. The Guru
sent a band of his followers under the command of Bhai Dharam Singh, to help
Muazzam and changed his course of journey towards Agra. Muazzam's forces defeated
Azam Shah's forces in the Battle of Jajau near Agra on 12 June 1707 with the help of
Muazzam ascended the throne as Bahadur Shah. He invited Guru Gobind Singh
for a meeting which took place at Agra on 23 July 1707. The Guru was received with
honour and was given the title of Hind Ka Pir (the Saint of India). The Guru stayed with
the Emperor in Agra till November 1707. He made Dholpur a center of his missionary
activities, and toured nearby areas for many days, before proceeding to Deccan. In
November 1707, the Emperor had to march into Rajputana against the rebel
Kachwahas. He requested the Guru to accompany him. From Rajputana, the emperor
marched to the Deccan to suppress the rebellion of his brother Kam Bakhsh, and the
Guru accompanied him.
Guru Gobind Singh was not happy with Bahadur Shah's friendly attitude towards
Wazir Khan of Sirhind. He parted ways with the Emperor at Hingoli, and reached
Nanded in July 1708. At Nanded, the Guru camped on the banks of the river Godavari.
Saiyad Khan, the former general of the imperial forces, resigned from his post and
came to Nanded from Kangra, to see the Guru.
During a trip, the Guru met a bairagi (hermit) called Madho Das, whom he
initiated into Khalsa as Gurbakhsh Singh. Gurbakhsh Singh, popularly known as "Banda
Singh" or "Banda Bahadur", soon became his most trusted general.
While in Nanded, the Guru received in a letter from Saiyad Khan's sister Nasiran,
the wife of Pir Budhu Shah of Sadhaura. The letter informed him that the Emperor's
army had ransacked Sadhaura and hanged Pir Budhu Shah as a rebel, for having faith
in Guru Gobind Singh, whom they considered as a Kaffir ("infidel").
The Guru assumed that the Emperor had fallen prey to Wazir Khan's
propaganda, and was plotting to kill all of his supporters. He sent a letter to the
emperor, demanding an explanation for Pir Budhu Shah's death. There was no reply
from the emperor. Instead, the Guru heard rumors that the emperor was planning to
wage a battle against him. The Guru appointed Banda Singh as the commander of the
Khalsa, and asked him to march towards Punjab.
Wazir Khan, the Nawab of Sirhind, felt uneasy about any conciliation between
Guru Gobind Singh and Bahadur Shah I. He commissioned two Pathans, Jamshed
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Khan and Wasil Beg, to assassinate the Guru. The two secretly pursued the Guru and
got an opportunity to attack him at Nanded.
According to Sri Gur Sobha by the contemporary writer Senapati, Jamshed Khan
stabbed the Guru in the left side below the heart while he was resting in his chamber
after the Rehras prayer. Guru Gobind Singh killed the attacker with his Talwar
(traditional Sikh curved sword), while the attacker's companion tried to flee but was
killed by Sikhs who had rushed in on hearing the noise.
The European surgeon sent by Bahadur Shah stitched the Guru's wound.
However, the wound re-opened and caused profuse bleeding, as the Guru tugged at a
hard strong bow after a few days. Seeing his end was near, the Guru declared the Guru
Granth Sahib as the next Guru of the Sikhs. He then sang his self-composed hymn:
"Agya bhai Akal ki tabhi chalayo Panth Sabh Sikhan ko hukam hai Guru
Maneyo Granth, Guru Granth Ji manyo pargat Guran ki deh Jo Prabhu ko milbo
chahe khoj shabad mein le"
Translation of the above:
"Under orders of the Immortal Being, the Panth was created. All the Sikhs
are enjoined to accept the Granth as their Guru. Consider the Guru Granth as
embodiment of the Gurus. Those who want to meet God, can find Him in its
The Guru reportedly left the visible body, along with his horse Dilbagh (aka Nila
Ghora) on 7 October 1708 at Nanded, before which he had declared the Guru Granth
Sahib as his successor.
Guru Gobind Singh, gave the Sikhs their very distinctive symbols
hair, the dastar, the pure iron kara, and the sword. After ceaseless battles local
landlords allied themselves to the Mughal governor Wazir Khan, who himself requested
assistance from the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb when the local Muslim rulers was
consecutively attacked by the Sikh rebels who rose up against the oppression of the
Battle of Bhangani,
Battle of Nadaun,
Battle of Guler (1696),
First Battle of Anandpur,
Battle of Anandpur Sahib (1701),
Battle of Nirmohgarh (1702),
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Battle of Basoli
Battle of Anandpur (1704)
Battle of Chamkaur (1704)
Battle of Bichhora Sahib,
Battle of Muktsar.
Creation of the Khalsa
The usual interpretation of the Khalsa is made as "Pure" as in the following
statement: ("pure/devoted") word khāliṣa[h] is the recognition of every Sikh that follows
the discipline and text from the Guru Granth Sahib.
There is also another word from Arabic which is pronounced as "Khalsa" and is
adapted in Punjabi/English/Hindi and many other languages. So, there are two different
words in Arabic: (Khalsa) and (Khalisa(h)). Furthermore, there is a word in Persian
meaning "pure" and pronounced as "Khalis". A reader of Urdu can testify the "Khalis" in
the Persian script and language as described below.
"Khalsa" is also used for a property which belongs to the emperor directly. The
official language in the Mughal era was Persian and Persian language contains a word
"Khalis" which directly translates to "Pure" in English. This may give a new meaning to
the word "Khalsa". On these grounds and as per writings of the Guru Gobind Singh, the
father of the Khalsa, wherein the great Guru describes the Khalsa as army of the
timeless-being, it is evident that Khalsa means timeless sovereign.
In Sikh tradition, the word Khalsa first appears in a hukmanama (order) by Guru
Hargobind (the sixth Guru) which refers to a sangat as "Guru ka khalsa" ("Guru's
Khalsa"). It also appears in a letter by Guru Tegh Bahadur (the ninth Guru), in the same
Although the early Mughal emperors had peaceful relations with the Sikh Gurus,
the Sikhs started facing religious persecution during the reign of Jahangir. Persecution
against the Sikhs continued until the creation of the Sikh Kingdom in 1799. Guru Arjan
Dev, the fifth Guru, was arrested and executed by Emperor Jahangir in 1606. The
following Guru, Guru Hargobind formally militarized the Sikhs and emphasized the
complementary nature of the temporal power and spiritual power.
In 1675, Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Guru of the Sikhs was executed by the
Mughal emperor Aurangzeb for saving the religious rights of Hindus. In 1699, his son
and the tenth Guru, Gobind Singh sent hukmanamas (letters of authority) to his
P a g e
followers throughout the Indian sub-continent, asking them to gather at Anandpur Sahib
on March 30, 1699, the day of Vaisakhi (the annual harvest festival).
Guru Gobind Singh addressed the congregation from the entryway of a tent
pitched on a hill (now called Kesgarh Sahib). He drew his sword and asked for a
volunteer who was willing to sacrifice his head. No one answered his first call, nor the
second call, but on the third invitation, a person called Daya Ram (later known as Bhai
Daya Singh) came forward and offered his head to the Guru. Guru Gobind Singh took
the volunteer inside the tent, and emerged shortly, with blood dripping from his sword.
He then demanded another head. One more volunteer came forward, and entered the
tent with him. The Guru again emerged with blood on his sword. This happened three
more times. Then the five volunteers came out of the tent unharmed. These five, who
were willing to sacrifice their lives for their Guru, were called Panj Piare ("the five
beloved ones"). These five volunteers were : Daya Ram (Bhai Daya Singh), Dharam
Das (Bhai Dharam Singh), Himmat Rai (Bhai Himmat Singh), Mohkam Chand (Bhai
Mohkam Singh), and Sahib Chand (Bhai Sahib Singh).
Guru Gobind Singh then took an iron bowl and poured some water in it. Sahib
Devan (later Mata Sahib Kaur) added some sugar crystals to the water, and the Guru
stirred this mixture with a double-edged sword whilst reciting the Five Banis. The
resultant solution is called as "Khandey di Pahul" (ceremony of the double-edged
sword) or commonly known as "amrit" (nectar of immortality)
These actions allude to the nature expected of the inductees to the Khalsa: that
they must have the will and the strength to fight oppression (symbolized by the sword),
but must always remember that their actions are born from protection and not hatred
(symbolized by the sweetness of the sugar).
Each of the Panj Piares were given five handfuls of the Amrit to drink, and had
amrit sprinkled in their eyes five times. Each time, they repeated the phrase "Waheguru
Ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji ki Phateh" ("The Khalsa belongs to Waheguru (the wondrous
teacher), the victory belongs to Waheguru (the wondrous teacher)").
Guru Gobind Singh gave them the title (analogous to "Knight" or "Sir" in English
culture) of "Singh" (meaning "tiger"). Similarly, for female the title of "Kaur" (meaning
"Princess"). It is noted that about twenty thousand men and woman took this baptism of
steel on the first day. Majority of Sikhs nowadays carry this title without taking the oath
of double-edged sword.
Guru Gobind Singh is the "Father" of the Khalsa and Mata Sahib Kaur is the
"Mother". One important outcome of joining the Khalsa is the abolition of one's previous
caste, nation, race, rituals, customs, religion, clan, Karma. The new member is the
citizen of Anandpur Sahib and their birthplace is the Keshgarh Sahib.
The Khalsa is led by Panj Pyare or the five-beloved. At the Battle of Chamkaur,
the Khalsa led by Panj Pyare passed on an order/command to the Guru Gobind Singh
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