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Mugal Forces and The Guru Hargobinddas ji Fought

Emperor Jahangir had died in Kashmir and his son Shah Jahan became the Emperor of India. When Prithia's son, Meharban heard Chandu's death, he was greatly distressed. Meharban said to himself,"Sulhi Khan died when he set himself against the Guru. My father died as he was against the Guru. Now Chandu has died. What magic the Guru possesseth that no one may withstand him." Meharban exchanged turban with Karam Chand, Chandu's son, in token of life-long friendship, and then discussed ways with him how to bring about the Guru's ruin. They started poisoning Shah Jahan's mind against him. Guru Har Gobind sent his revered Sikhs to Meharban to dissuade him from his hostile and evil designs. He also went himself to Meharban to strike a conciliatory note but in vain. Shah Jahan pursued a different religious policy. He served to orthodoxy, and religious fanaticism was at a considerable height during his reign. He took keen interest in the welfare of new converts to Islam. If any Muslim gave up his religion, he was severely dealt with. Some temples under construction in Punjab were demolished and mosques were raised in their places. His mind was poisoned against the Guru by his enemies and soon the ties of cordial relations as they had been since 1611, were snapped and a period of open hostility started towards the Sikhs. On his way to Pilibhit, the Guru visited Kartarpur where he met some Pathans of village, Wadamir, equipped with swords and shields who offered their services to him. With them was a tall and powerful youth, Painde Khan. His parents were dead and he was living with his uncle. The Guru enlisted Painde Khan on his personal staff and continually pampered him to increase his strength. He could, without the aid of a rope or bridle, arrest a horse running at full speed. No wrestler would engage with him. The Guru practised all martial exercises and collected arms of every description. He hunted and witnessed exhibitions of strength by Painde Khan and others. He presented to Painde Khan the offering made by the Sikhs. This caused great heart-burning and worry to others. A deputation of Sikhs went to Bhai Gurdas who in turn sent them to Bhai Buddha. Bhai Buddha represented to the Guru,"Thou art like the Ganges, like the sun and like the fire. The river Ganges swallows corpses and bones of the countless dead, and yet remains pure; the sun draws noxious vapors towards it, and yet remains pure; fire burns the dead, yet remains pure. Thou art like all three. The Sikhs seeing your love and enthusiasm for sport and military exercises, fear for you. Therefore, please abandon them." The Guru laughed and replied,"I have done nothing improper. I am only fulfilling your prophecy and elevating the conditions of my Sikhs."

A n orphan Pathan lad Paindey Khan (d.1634 AD) was brought up and trained in the art of warfare by Guru Hargobind Sahib. Paindey Khan led Mughal forces against Guru Ji and died at the hands of the Guru at the battle of Kartarpur. Before the Pathan breathed his last, Guru Ji asked him his last wish. He begged to be pardoned. Guru Ji forgave him and covered his face from the burning sun with his shield.

Preparations were made for the marriage of the Guru's daughter, Bibi Viro, and sweets were prepared and stored in a room. A company of Sikhs came from the west to behold the Guru and present their offerings. They were weary and hungry and reached late at night when kitchen was closed. The Guru desired that the sweets stored for the marriage should be served to his visitors. The key of the room was with Guru's wife, Mata Damodri who refused to give the sweets to any one till the bridegroom's party had partaken of them. The Guru again asked but his wife adhered to her determination. Upon this the Guru predicted,"My Sikhs are dearer to me than life. Were they the first to taste the sweets, all obstacles to the marriage would be removed, but now the Mohammadans shall come and possess themselves of the sweets and marriage be interrupted." This prophecy became true. In the meantime a Sikh brought sweets which were served to the Guru's visitors.

Emperor Shah Jahan went hunting from Lahore towards Amritsar. The Guru also went in the same direction. A clash took place between the Sikhs and the royal soldiers over the issue of a royal hawk. One of the royal hawks who was flying after a victim, strayed away and fell in the hands of the Sikhs. The royal soldiers came to recover the hawk but because of their arrogance and abusive language, the Sikhs refused to hand over the hawk and this started the trouble. The royal soldiers were driven away with a slaughter. They hastened back and reported to the Emperor about the seizer of the hawk and the violence of the Sikhs. The enemies of the Guru found a good opportunity to revive the charges against him and to remind the Emperor of Guru's alleged misdeeds.

The Emperor sent Mukhlis Khan, one of his trusted generals with seven thousand soldiers to punish the Sikhs. The Sikhs of Lahore hearing of the military expedition against the Guru, sent immediately a messenger to Amritsar o apprise the Guru of the attack. There were great rejoicing going on at the palace of the Guru on account of his daughter's marriage. The Guru's family was immediately removed to a house near Ramsar. Early next day it was decided to send the family to Goindwal. It so happened that the coming day was fixed for Viro's marriage. Thus the Guru ordered that his family and all the non-combatants of the city should halt at Jhabal, a town about seven miles south-west of Amritsar and the marriage should be celebrated there before going to Goindwal. Two Sikhs were sent to stop the bridegroom's procession, lest it should fall in the hands of the enemy.

There was a small fortress, Lohgarh, outside the city. It was a kind of raised platform (serving as a tower) where the Guru used to hold his court in the afternoon and it was surrounded by high walls. Twenty-five Sikhs were osted there in an anticipation of the attack. The Guru went to the temple and prayed for the victory. He repeated the following verse on the occasion:

"Wicked men and enemies are all destroyed by Thee, O Lord, and Thy glory is manifested.

Thou didst immediately destroy those who annoyed Thy saints.

" (Dhanasri Mohalla 5, p-681)

The Sikh detachment at Lohgarh though courageous were too few to stop the Mughal army. After estroying hundreds of the enemy soldiers, they fell martyrs to the Guru's cause. The enemy soldiers proceeded to the Guru's palace in search of him but became furious finding the palace empty. They searched the house and took care of the sweets. With the day break, began the conflict, the clashing of swords and the hissing of the bullets. Brave men fell and died, blood flowed in profusion, corpses were piled over one another, heads, bodies, arms, and legs were separated and horses without riders careered around the city.

Bhai Bhanu was the commander-in-chief of the Guru's army and Shams Khan was one of the chiefs of the mperial army. Shams Khan's horse was killed. Bhai Bhanu then dismounted, and he and Shams Khan engaged in a single combat. Bhai Bhanu told Shams Khan,"I will not allow you to escape now." Shams Khan replied,"Defend yourself, I am going to strike." Bhai Bhanu received the sword on his shield, and putting forward all his force, beheaded Shams Khan with one blow. The Mohammadans seeing their commander slain, rushed to Bhai Bhanu and surrounded him from all sides. He cut down the enemy as if they were radishes. At last he was struck by two bullets which passed through his body and the brave commander of the Guru's army left for his heavenly abode.

Bhai Bidhi Chand, Painde Khan and Bhai Jati Mal had been committing great havoc among the Mohammadan army. They, lifting their lances, made their enemies' horses riderless. The Guru himself fought so bravely that no one when struck by him, asked for water again. Painde Khan was equally successful in the combat. He made Didar Ali, the last survivor of Mukhlis Khan's personal staff, bite the earth.

Mukhlis Khan, now left alone, thought nothing remained for him but to engage the Guru himself. He said,"Let you and me now decide the fight by single combat, and none else approach." In order to please him, the Guru warned his own men to stand aside. He then discharged an arrow which killed Mukhlis Khan's horse. The Guru dismounted and said,"Show thy skill and strike the first blow." Mukhlis Khan aimed a blow which the Guru avoided by a swift movement. The next blow fell on the Guru's shield. The Guru then warned,"You have made two strokes which I have parried. Now it is my turn." The Guru then lifting his powerful arm dealt Mukhlis Khan such a blow that his head was cut off in two.

Painde Khan, Bhai Bidhi Chand and Bhai Jati Mal killed the enemy soldiers who held the ground but the majority of them fled without looking behind. After that the Guru's victory was complete and the drums of victory were joyously sounded. This battle was fought in 1628 (some date it as 1634). The battle was extended to a distance of about four miles to the south of Amritsar and a dharmsal called the Sangrana was erected to commemorate the Guru's victory. A fair is held every year on this spot.

After completing the last rites of his brave soldiers, the Guru went to Jhabal and performed the marriage ceremony of his daughter.