Sikh Sacrifices

There are many great martyrs in Sikh history. These are the sikhs who thought of humanity and their religion. And they sacrificed their life for their faith. They are the real heros who must be remembered. There are lot of Sikh Martyrs, just mentioning the few here.

Baba Sahibzada Zorawar Singh and Baba Sahibzada Fateh Singh

Guru Gobind Singh

The brave and fearless Sikhs of Guru Gobind Singh were engaged for months together in a prolonged battle with the Mughal army outside the fort of Anandpur. Emperor Aurungzeb sent a message on Oath that if the Guru and his Sikhs left the fort they would be allowed to go wherever they please.

Guru Gobind Singh had his doubts, but on being persuaded by his devoted Sikhs, he reluctantly agreed to leave the fort. However it happened exactly as the Guru had apprehended. As soon as Sikhs came out of the fort the Mughal Army pounced upon them. A fierce battle was fought on the banks of Sirsa River. The Valiant Sikhs faced the enemy with unparalleled courage. Each one of them killed quite a few Moghul soldiers before sacrificing himself.

Guru Gobind Singh's mother and his two sons

In the dust and din of battle, members of the family of Guru Gobind Singh got separated from each other. The two younger sons Sahibzada Zorawar Singh and Sahibzada Fateh Singh, proceeded along with Guruji's revered old mother Mata Gujri Ji. They passed through thick forests and difficult terrains. They came across wild animals saw lions and snakes on the way but the brave Sahibzadas walked on and on fearlessly in the company of their grand mother, reciting the holy psalms of their Gurus. The grand mother related to them stories from Sikh History. They were thus able to cover journey comfortably.

In Village

The two elder brothers, Sahibzada Ajit Singh and Sahibzada Jujhar Singh, accompanied their father Guru Gobind Singh. After Crossing Sirsa river, they stayed for the night at Roper and reached the Chamkaur Fort early next morning. After an arduous journey Mata Gujri Ji along with the two Sahibzadas, reached the hut of a Muslim water carrier, Kuma. On seeing Mataji he rushed out and, with folded hands, requested Mataji to bless his humble cottage by staying therein. Mataji was pleased with his devotion. Since it was getting dark, she decided to halt there for the night.

On getting duet the old Guru's domestic servant, Gangu arrived the next morning. He requested Mataji to go with him to his village. He assured her that their whereabouts will not be known to the Emperor's officials and they would be quite safe there. Mataji was a little reluctant but on his persistent requests she agreed. After getting their luggage loaded on a pony, all of them set out for his village. The two Sahibzadas went walking along with their grand mother. Off and on, they would enquire about their father and the elder brothers, Sahibzadas Ajit Singh and Jujhar Singh.

After trekking the whole day, they reached village Kheri in the evening. On arrival in Gangu's house Mataji put her bag and baggage in a corner of one of the rooms. Sahibzadas Zorowar Singh and Fateh Singh changed their clothes and set their beddings, recited the holy evening prayer and went to sleep in their grand-mother's embrace.

At midnight Gangu quietly stole into their room and removed the gold coins from her bag and slipped out of the room. When she got up the next morning, she asked Gangu, "Our things are lying scattered about, I hope the outer door was closed. Where are the-gold coins?" Gangu without uttering a word he rushed out of the house and started shouting for help to trace the thief. Mataji tried to pacify him and asked him to keep the gold coins if he so wished. At this Gangu flew into rage, "So you are suspecting me. How ungrateful of you. I have given you refuge and this is the reward I get." He left his house and headed straight for the Police station at Morinda. On arrival at Morinda, he went straight to the Kotwal. After paying his respects he told him that he desired to convey some confidential information. On an enquiry by the Kotwal, Gangu confided to him in a low voice that Guru Gobind Singh's mother and his two young sons were hiding in his house. The Kotwal was pleased to get this news. He called his constables and sent them along with Gangu to his house to arrest them.

In Polish Station

On arrival at the police station Mata Gujri ji and the two Sahibzadas were lodged in the Kotwali for the night. All three joined in reciting the sacred evening Sikh prayer, Rahras and Kirtan Sohila - before going to bed. Early next morning they were taken in a bullock cart to Bassi police station. News of their arrest had spread far and wide. Large crowds collected everywhere on the way. People were surprised that the young innocent boys had been put under arrest along with their venerable grand mother. The fearless looks of the Sahibzadas aroused their admiration and they observed, "They are the brave sons of their brave father". Next morning the police constables appeared again and told Mataji that they had orders for taking the two boys to the Nawab's court. On an enquiry by Mataji as to why they were called there, they answered that they were not aware of the reasons, their duty was to obey orders only. As they reached the Court they noticed that the big gate was closed and there was only a small window for gaining entry to the Court. It was setup so that the Sons of Guru Gobind Singh would have to bow to Quran which Qazi was holding in his hands across the door. They put their feet forward and jumped inside through the window without bowing their heads.

In Nawab's court

The Nawab's court was in session. As the two Sahibzadas stepped inside, they greeted the courtiers with the Sikh salutation -- Wahguru ji ka Khalsa, Wahguru ji ki Fateh "The Khalsa is God's own Victory be to God". All the courtiers were greatly impressed by their fearless behaviour. Nawab Wazir Khan addressed them in an affectionate tone: "What sweet and brave faces! Islam will be proud to have you within its fold. Just recite Kalma (Muslim benediction) and we shall welcome you in our midst. You will get anything for the asking"

The two Sahibzadas shouted back in one voice. "we care not for the worldly wealth. We shall not renounce our religion at any cost". Addressing the qazi the Nawab said, "Have you observed the insolent behaviour of these boys! They will have to be punished." The Qazi told the Nawab that, according to Islamic law, the two boys were not guilty of any crime. They could not be held responsible for their father's actions. The Nawab observed, however, "They are rebels too. Haven't you heard their rude statements!". It is your age for enjoyment and fun. If you listen to our advice, you will enjoy life to your heart's content in this world and be blessed with a glorious life in Paradise"

Sahibzadas

Sahibzada Zorawar Singh spoke fearlessly. "We are fighting against tyranny and injustice. We are the sons of Guru Gobind Singh, the grand sons of Guru Tegh Bahadur and descendants of Guru Arjan Dev. We shall follow in their footsteps. We are ready for all sacrifices for the protection of our faith" In a low voice the Nawab observed, "How proud of their faith!" One of the officials of the Moghul government Dewan Sucha Nand, who happened to be there, walked up to the Sahibzadas and asked them, "If you are released, where will you go?" Sahibzada Zorawar Singh said, "We shall go to the forests, gather together a few Sikhs, get hold of any good horse and then come and face you and your army on the battlefield." On hearing this, Dewan Sucha Nand observed, "Do you know that your father has been slain?" Both the brothers reacted in an angry tone, "No one can kill our respected father. He will never fall into your hands." The two Sahibzadas shouted back, "We don't need any advice from you. Listen carefully. Until this tyrannical government is completely wiped out, we shall go on fighting.

Dewan Sucha Nand was taken aback at their reply. Addressing the Nawab he said, "Sir killing the serpent and feeding his young ones would not be wise. When these young kids grow up, they will rebel against the government. They must be punished and should, on no account, be released." The Nawab listened to what Dewan Sucha Nand said. The two Sahibzadas were in a playful mood, talking to each other fearlessly and quite unconcerned when the Nawab, the Qazi and Dewan Sucha Nand were engaged in this conversation. The courtiers were quite amazed at the lack of any fear or anxiety on their faces even though it was a question of life and death for them. The Nawab said to the Qazi again, "You have heard the impertinent answers given by them to Dewan Sucha Nand. It would not be safe to release them. They are sure to raise the banner of revolt, like their father when they grow up.

The Qazi had listened to the conversation that took place between Dewan Sucha Nand and the two bold sons of Guru Gobind Singh. After some deliberations he pronounced the judgement and ordered that they be bricked up alive in a wall. Sahibzadas heard the sentence without dismay but the courtiers were taken aback on hearing the judgement. The Qazi advised the Nawab further that they be handed over to the Nawab of Malerkotla for carrying out the sentence since his brother met his end at the hands of the Guru so that he can have his revenge by getting his sons buried alive.

Nawab Wazir Khan called Sher Mohammad Khan, the Nawab of Malerkotla, and conveyed the Qazi's orders to him, "Your brother lost his life at the hands of Guru Gobind Singh. Here is an opportunity for you to wreak your vengeance. The Qazi has sentenced these two sons of Guru Gobind Singh to death and has further ordered that they be bricked alive. We are handing them over to you for doing the needful" On hearing this Sher Mohammad Khan was dumb founded. After some pause he said to the Nawab in a faltering voice, "This is cruelty! my brother was killed on the battlefield. These innocent boys are not responsible for his death. If we have to take revenge it shall be from the father. God save us from this sinful act. Next morning they were taken to the Nawab's court. The Nawab asked them again, "I do hope you have made up your mind to embrace Islam, otherwise, as you know, you will be bricked up alive." Both the Sahibzadas proclaimed fearlessly, "we shall never give up our faith, whatever may be the consequences. Death has no meaning for us." The Nawab was simply amazed at their determined and firm reply. One of his officials stepped forward, and said to the Nawab, "Sir the two royal executioners of Delhi, Shisal Beg and Vishal Beg, are present in the court for hearing of their case. They are prepared to carry out your orders for bricking up these boys alive if they are granted pardon." The Nawab called them and told them, "Your request for pardon has been granted on condition that you brick up these two sons of Guru Gobind Singh alive in a wall."

The constables who were escorting the two Sahibzadas, were getting perturbed on hearing such observations from the crowd and were rushing forward.

The Sahibzads were brought to the spot where a wall was bring raised. Both of them were made to stand side by side. The Qazi arrived there soon after and tried to persuade them to accept Islam and not to cut short their lives. Even the executioners tried to prevail upon them but they were both unflinching in their determination and told the executioners, "Raise the wall fast and bury the Moghul Raj Quickly. Don't delay for a minute." Thereafter both of them started reciting Japji while the wall was going up brick by brick.

As soon as the two Sahibzadas attained martyrdom, Mata Gujri ji, who was sitting in meditation in the tower, breathed her last. The messenger who came with the news of the martyrdom of the Sahibzads found that Mata-Ji had already attained salvation. There was great commotion in the town of Sirhind. Everyone was furious at the atrocious crime. They were unanimous in their view that this heinous act would herald the doomsday of the Moghul Empire. They admired the courage and steadfastness of the brave sons of Guru Gobind Singh and remarked, "What determination at this young age! They did not budge an inch from their position in spite of several allurements by the Nawab and Qazi."

Bricking up in a wall

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 paid for the required piece of land by spreading as many Gold coins as would cover the entire spot. The dewan accepted the terms and brought bag fulls of Gold coins. He marked the site and spread coins on entire piece of land he selected for cremation. The Nawab then said that the gold coins needed to be standing on their edges in order to cover the land. The Dewan then gathered allot more coins in order to fulfil the Nawab's greed. The two martyred young sons of Guru Gobind Singh were cremated with full honours along with their grand mother. 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 1698) and Sahibzada Zorawar Singh was just over eight (born in 1696). They laid down their lives in December 1704. Guru Gobind Singh 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 Moghal Empire in India.

Guru Gobind Singh composed his famous letter, Zafarnamah or the Epistle of Victory, in Persian verse, addressed to Emperor Aurangzeb. The letter was a severe indictment of the Emperor and his commanders who had perjured their oath and treacherously attacked him once he was outside the safety of his fortification at Anandpur. It emphatically reiterated the sovereignty of morality in the affairs of State as much as in the conduct of human beings and held the means as important as the end. On receiving this letter the Emperor was so shocked of his actions that he fell ill and died.

Guru Gobind Singh addressed his followers thus: "I have sacrificed four sons for the survival of the thousands of my sons who are still alive." A wave of anguish gripped the country at the news of the martyrdom of the Sahibzadas. After some time the recluse Banda Bairagi came under the influence of Guru Gobind Singh ji, and was made Khalsa as Banda Singh Bahadur. He shook the Moghul empire and the town of Sirhind was reduced to the utter ruins.

Baba Ajit Singh

Baba Ajit Singh was the eldest of the four sons of the Guru Gobind Singh. He was born at Anandpur on January 7, 1687. From his early life he was given the sort education and training that befitted the saint-soldiers of Guru Gobind Singh. He acquired wonderful proficiency in the use of weapons of war, especially the bow and the arrow. He was also an excellent swordsman. He was strong and a brave warrior. He began to take part in the Guru's wars very early in life. He performed astonishing feats of bravery on several occasions. No danger or difficulty could ever daunt him. No danger could deter him from his path of duty. Once a Brahman came to Guru Gobind Singh's darbar. He complained that his newly-wedded wife had been taken away by force be some Pathans of Bassi, near Hoshiarpur. Baba Ajit Singh offered to help

Baba Ajit Singh

Brahman to recover his wife. With a band of young brave Sikhs, Baba Ajit Singh fell upon Bassi during the night. He arrested the Pathans responsible for the wicked deed. He recovered the Brahman's wife. He took the wicked Pathans to Anandpur the following morning. The Brahman's wife was restored to him. The wicked Pathans were punished, suitably and severely.

Years later, Anandpur was besieged by the Mughal armies from Sarhind and Lahore. They were commanded by Nawab Wazir khan and Nawab Zabardast Khan, respectively. All the hill chiefs, who were Hindus, joined them with their armies. One day, during the siege, the two commanders of the imperial army sent a messenger to the Guru. He was told to give this message to him : 'This army is not one belonging to petty hill chiefs. It is that of the great and mighty Emperor Aurangzeb. You will not be able to oppose it for long. You should show respect to the emperor, give up fighting, and embrace Islam.' Baba Ajit Singh was standing near the Guru. The messenger's words aroused his anger. He drew his sword and said, 'Shut up. If you utter another word, I shall humble your pride. I will cut off your head from your body. I will cut you to pieces for daring to speak such insolent words before the Guru.' The messenger said nothing more. He went away, humbled and burning with rage.

The siege of Anadpur caused great hardships to the Guru and his Sikhs. The besiegers were also getting tired. They sent message after message to the Guru. They said, 'Vacate the fort. Go where you like. We swear on the Quran and the cow that you will not be harmed.' The Guru was sure that the oaths were false. He was not in favour of placing any trust in them. But he was prevailed upon, chiefly be his mother, to vacate the fort. He did so during the night of December 20,1704. As soon as the besiegers realized this, they forgot their oaths and fell upon the Guru's party. Baba Ajit Singh, with a party of Sikhs, held up the enemy, while the rest were crossing the river Sarsa. When all had crossed, he and his party plunged their horses into the flooded river. They soon reached the other bank. The enemy did not have the courage to jump into the fast-flowing ice-cold water of the flooded stream. After crossing the Sarsa, Guru hurried towards Chamkaur. He had only forty Sikhs with him, beside his two elder sons. The Mughal army was coming after him. He learnt that another Mughal army lay only a few miles away ahead of him. He was thus between two large armies. He decided to meet them at Chamkaur. He reached there about sunset. He occupied a mud-house or haveli, and began to wait for the enemy.

The Mughals armies arrived during the night. They besieged the mud-house on the following day. They attacked it from all sides. They had to retreat every time after suffering heavy losses. Then they decided to force open the gate. They rushed towards it. A batch of five Sikhs went out to meet them holding their advance as long as possible. The Sikhs fought very bravely. They killed many at last they were over-powered and slain. Then another batch of five Sikhs went out to meet the enemy and check his advance. This went on for some time. The enemy suffered heavily at the hands of each batch of Sikhs. After a time, Guru Gobind Singh's eldest son, Baba Ajit Singh, asked permission to go out and oppose the enemy. He said, 'Dear father, my name is Ajit or Unconquerable. I will not be conquered. And if conquered, I will not flee or come back alive. Permit me to go, dear father.' He was less than eighteen years of age. The Guru knew what the end of his son would be. But were not they who had already fallen also his sons ? He hugged and kissed Baba Ajit Singh for the last time. He then bade him go out and seek martyrdom and life everlasting.

Baba Ajit Singh went out. He was accompanied by five Sikhs, the ratio ok Sikhs verses enemy was 1:25,000. At first they poured a rain of arrows on the enemy. He fought like a hero killing 100's. Soon his stock of arrows was exhausted. He took out his lance and sprang upon the enemy. He was wounded but he fought on as bravely as ever. Baba Ajit Singh thrust his lance into the heart of a Muhammedan soldier. The soldier wore steel armour. The lance got stuck in the armour. Baba Ajit Singh tried to pull it out. It broke in two. He drew his sword and fell upon the enemy. But he was overpowered. He fell. He was martyred. His soul went to meet his grandfather at the Almighty's darbar. The Guru had been watching his son from the roof of the mud-house. He had admired and rejoiced at the skill, strength, and bravery shown by his son. He had seen him wounded. He saw him fall. He thanked God that his son had met a saint-warrior's death, that he had achieved martyrdom and eternal life.

Baba Jujhar Singh

Baba Jujhar Singh was the second son of Guru Gobind Singh. He was born in March 1689. He, too, had the same training as his elder brother. Like Baba Ajit Singh, he accompanied the Guru to Chamkaur. Baba Jujhar Singh had also watched his elder brother fighting with the enemy. He had seen him fall. At once he stood before his father with folded hands. He made the same request as his elder brother had done. 'Permit me, dear father,' said he, 'to go where my brother has gone. Don't say that I am too young. I am your son. I am Singh or Lion of yours. I shall prove worthy of you. I shall die fighting, with my face towards the enemy, with God and the Guru on my lips and in my heart.'

Baba Jujhar Singh was then less than sixteen years of age. The Guru was pleased to hear what he had said. He embraced him. He gave him a sword and a shield. On his turban he planted a small crest, such as bridegrooms wear.

Baba Jujhar Singh

'Go my son,' said he, 'and wed life-giving death. We have been here for a while. Now we shall return to our real home. Go and wait for me there. Your grandfather and elder brother are already waiting for you.'

The lad of less than sixteen, thus armed, went out with five Sikhs. He fought as bravely and fearlessly as his elder brother had done. Many a mighty warrior fell before the child-warrior. But the odds were too heavily loaded against him. He was overpowered. He died fighting to the last. The Guru was watching all this When he saw his son fall, he thanked God that his son had proved a worthy saint-warrior, and achieved martyrdom and life everlasting.

The lad of less than sixteen, thus armed, went out with five Sikhs. He fought as bravely and fearlessly as his elder brother had done. Many a mighty warrior fell before the child-warrior. But the odds were too heavily loaded against him. He was overpowered. He died fighting to the last. The Guru was watching all this When he saw his son fall, he thanked God that his son had proved a worthy saint-warrior, and achieved martyrdom and life everlasting.

Guru Gobind Singh, his two sons and the forty Sikhs killed thousands of enemy soldiers. This was the sheer strength of their Amrit.

Bhai Mati Das Ji

Bhai Mati Das came from a Brahman family of village Kariala in the district of Jhelum (Pakistan). He was the eldest son of Bhai Praga. His grandfather, Mahatma Gautam Das, used to be a deeply religious man of noble, saintly character. He was loved and respected by all, Hindus and Muslims alike. Bhai Praga was a strong stalwart. He had the body and the strength of a giant. He embraced the Sikh faith during Guru Har Gobind's time. He lived the life of a true Sikh. His life was a model for others. He was a prominent saint-soldier of Guru Har Gobind's. He took a hero's part in Guru Har Gobind's battle. He had four sons: Bhai Mati Das, Sati Das, Jati Das and Sakhi Das. Bhai Mati Das was a strongly built as his father, Bhai Praga. He was a dear, devout disciple of Guru Tegh Bahadur. He actually practiced what he believed and professed. Guru Tegh Bahadur made him his diwan. He had to look after the income and expenditure of the Guru's darbar.

Bhai Mati Das Ji

Along with the Guru, Bhai Mati Das was also arrested, chained and imprisoned. Under Emperor Aurangzeb's orders, Guru Tegh Bahadur was to be beheaded. The qazis decided to torture and kill the Guru's companions before his eyes. They thought, 'The sight of their suffering and fate might shake his resolve. He might be inclined to save himself be agreeing to our proposal. He might embrace Islam.' So they picked out Bhai Mati Das first of all. He was led out in chains to Chandani Chowk under a heavy guard. He was calm. His face beamed with glory. His gait was a mighty hero's swagger. He walked like a superior among inferiors. His whole bearing showed wonderful self-confidence and self-satisfaction. A large crowd had gathered already in Chandani Chowk. Bhai Mati Das was brought there under a heavy guard. A number of qazis accompanied him. They were apparently saying something to him. But he neither listened nor heard. His mind was wholly fixed on God. He was eager to meet him. No eyes were dry. All observers were filled with reverence and admiration for that tall, strong, calm, and holy man of God. They shuddered at the thought of what was about to happen to him.

The spot fixed for his execution was reached. The guard and the qazis halted, with Bhai Mati Das in their midst. The chief Qazi then said to Bhai Mati Das, 'O brave young man, be wise. This is my last appeal to your common-sense. Why throw away your youthful life and all the joys it may bring ? Accept Islam, and be one of the ruling class. You will have wealth and high position. You will enjoy a life of peace, plenty and pleasure. When you die, prophet Mohammad will receive you among the faithful. You will be led into Paradise. You will live there forever among pleasure of all kinds. If you refuse to accept all these good things of this world and the next, you will be killed with torture. So be wise. Make a wise choice.' Bhai Mati Das replied, 'Why waste your time and breath ? I prefer dying to giving up my faith. Be quick.' The Qazi said, 'All right, let it be as you desire. But have you any last wish which you would like to be fulfilled before you are killed ?'.

Bhai Mati Das said, 'Yes. Stand me with my face toward my Guru. In that way I shall behold him to the last moments of my life here.' His wish was granted. He was made to stand with his face toward the Guru. He was tightly tied between two erect flat logs of wood. A saw was placed on his head. Each end of it was held by a fierce looking Pathan. The saw began to move to and fro. Blood began to flow down Bhai Mati Das's face and neck. He did not utter any cry of pain. His face showed no sign of suffering. He was calmly repeating Japji. His body was sawn into two. His devout, brave soul reached the bosom of the kind and loving Father of all. Bhai Mati Das has not died. He still lives in the hearts of those who worship goodness, who admire nobility. He lives in the minds of those who lead a spiritual life. He is the inspiration of those who prefer the soul to the body; who, in order to save their soul, to keep in pure and unsullied, would gladly sacrifice the body and all its pleasures. He is the motivation of those who place duty before self. He is the hero of all who work for noble objectives, not for rewards or recognition.

Bhai Dyal Das Ji

Bhai Dyal Das was another of the Sikhs who had been arrested along with Guru Tegh Bahadur, and taken to Delhi. Like his companions, Bhai Dyal Das was also arrested, chained and imprisoned in the Kotwali Delhi. After having martyred Bhai Mati Das, the qazis turned to Bhai Dyal Das. They led him to the spot where Bhai Mati Das had been sawn into two. He was told to see what had happened to his companion. He was advised to be wiser. He was told of joys and pleasures he could enjoy by accepting Islam. He was told what would happen to him if he refused to become a Muslim. Bhai Dyal Das heard all this. He did not feel nervous or afraid. He remained firm in his resolve. Then he said, 'My misguided friends, do you think that you have killed my brother, Bhai Mati Das ? You are mistaken. You have not killed him. You have given him ever lasting life. He has become

Bhai Dyal Das Ji

immortal. He will live forever in the hearts of men. he will be source of inspiration to others. Many like him will rise and follow his example. A time will come when you and your emperor will be no more, but Bhai Mati Das will be yet alive. I will not give up my faith. The pleasure which you offer have no charm for me. The tortures which you have threaten me have no terrors for me. Be quick. Send me to where my brother, Bhai Mati Das, has gone to live forever in the lap of the Lord.'

He contributed many hymns to the Guru Granth Sahib including the Saloks, or couplets near the end of the Guru Granth Sahib, which are extremely popular.

'All right,' said the Chief Qazi, 'be ready.' He was seated in a large boiling vessel. It was filled with water. Then they lit fire under it. They went on heating it from below. The water began to boil. Bhai Dyal Das was calm and cool all this while. He sat in the boiling water with no sign of suffering on his face. He did not give out even the faintest cry of pain. He went on repeating Guru's hymns. This went on until his soul left his body to join Bhai Mati Das.

Bhai Sati Das Ji

Bhai Sati Das was a brother of Bhai Mati Das, who had been the first to be martyred on that day. After putting Bhai Dyal Das to death, Aurangzeb's men took out Bhai Sati Das from the prison. He was told to see what had happened to his other two companions. 'If you don't want to suffer what they have suffered,' they said, 'give up your kufar or false faith, and embrace Islam, the only acceptable to God. Be wise, make a wise choice. If you embrace Islam, you will be given a high position and plenty of pleasures. Make up your mind. Bhai Sati Das was firm as a rock in his resolve. He told the Qazi and his men that he was eager to join his martyred

Bhai Sati Das Ji

companions. Under the Qazis's orders, Bhai Sati Das was wrapped in cotton, which was soaked in oil. Thus wrapped, he was burnt alive to death. All the time he was calm and cheerful, and continued reciting the Guru's hymns. This happened on 11th November, 1675. Such heroic souls never die. They live for all times as sublime as ever. Throughout the ages they stand like light-houses in the waves, guiding humanity through storms. They are inspiration of the soul for the rising generation.

It behoves us to ever remember such heroes; to preserve and pursue, in our life and practice, the noble principles for which they laid down their lives. We should be firm and sincere in our faith. We should prefer a life of spiritual joys to a life of flesh and fleshy pleasures.

Sardar Subeg Singh, Shahbaz Singh Ji

Sardar Subeg Singh was an influential Jat zamindar of Jambar, in the district of Lahore. He was also a government contractor. He was great scholar of Persian, a wise and upright man. He proved useful to Zakriya Khan on a number of occasions. For many years the Mughal government pursued a policy of persecuting the Sikhs. It was determined to root them out completely. Thousands and thousands were murdered in cold blood. But the Sikhs just continued to grow. They never thought of giving up their faith to save their lives. The martyrdom of persons like Bhai Taru Singh produced a wave of indignation among Sikhs of the Majha. They decided to retaliate. They resolved to take revenge. They began to fall on government treasuries and caravans. Parties coming with chests of revenue meant for Lahore were waylaid and looted. As a result for some years no money from revenue could reach the government treasury. The forces of government tried to punish the offenders. But they were unable to contact them; for the Sikhs did not live in houses or forts. After each attack, they used to run away to their camps in the forests. The story of persecution and revenge went on for some time. The government, at last, felt tired of this method of dealing with rebels. It decided to pacify and conciliate them. Accordingly, in 1733 Zakriya Khan represented his difficulties to the Delhi government. He suggested that a policy of conciliation should be given in a trial. with that end in view, he proposed that a grant be made to the Sikhs and a title be conferred on their leader. The proposal was accepted. The next thing needed was to persuade the Sikhs to agree to the proposal. Zakriya Khan felt that to persuade them would not be an easy task. He turned to Sardar Subeg Singh for help. He said to him, 'If you succeed in bringing them round, you will receive good service to me and my government. It will be remembered, appreciated and duly rewarded.'

Sardar Subeg Singh

Sardar Subeg Singh agreed to do his best. He agreed to meet the Sikhs and try his skill. At that time the Khalsa had assembled at the Akal Takhat, Amritsar. He went there and held discussion with them. He informed them of the offer made by the government. He offered them the title of 'Nawab' for their leader, along with a Jagir of about one lakh rupees. They would not accept the offer. They were about to reject it outright. But Sardar Subeg Singh succeeded in overcoming their objections. Then they accepted the offer. In this way, some sort of peace was made between Mughal government and the Sikhs. Zakriya Khan felt relived a good deal. He appreciated the part played by Sardar Subeg Singh in bringing about the reconciliation. But after some time, the campaign of persecution was started once again. In the heat of that campaign even Sardar Subeg Singh was not spared. He was arrested along with his son, Sardar Shahbaz Singh. This is how it happened. Sardar Subeg Singh had a son named Sardar Shahbaz Singh. He used to read in a Muhammadan school under a qazi. The boy was usually handsome, bright and promising. The qazi took a fancy to him. He wished to convert him to Islam. He wanted to marry his daughter to him. The qazi tried his utmost. He used all his skills. But Sardar Shahbaz Singh was firm in his faith. Neither threats nor tempting offers could make him change his resolve. Because of this, the qazi's fondness for the bright, handsome boy diminished. He became determined to finish him. He reported unfavourably to the government against him. He said, 'The boy has used disrespectful words against his prophet. He has said foul thing against Islam. This kafir deserves no mercy. He deserves death.'

On the basis of this report, Sardar Shahbaz Singh was arrested and taken to Lahore. He was to stand trial before the governor. At the same time, his father, Sardar Subeg Singh, was also arrested and imprisoned. It was said against him that he supplied information to the Sikhs. But Zakriya Khan died before he could see the end of his victims. He was succeeded by his son, Yahiya Khan. This person was more cruel than his father. He had no soft corner in his heart for Sardar Subeg Singh. He took up his case and pursued it to the bitter end. Sardar Subeg Singh was asked to give up his religion or suffer death at the wheel. He refused to give up his religion. Thereupon, he was put on the wheel and turned on it. The pain was sharp and intense. But it did not break his spirit. Then his son, Shahbaz Singh, was told, 'You can save your life by accepting Islam.' He refused to give up his faith. Thereupon, he was bound to the wheel. He was turned on it before his father's eyes. Both bore the torture with great patience. They went on shouting, 'Akal' all the time. At intervals, the wheels were stopped and the two were asked, 'Do you agree to embrace Islam ?' Every time they shook their heads and shouted, 'NO'. The wheels were set in motion again. The two kept on shouting 'Akal' ! 'Akal'. The wheels had sharp knives arranged around them. They went on working mercilessly. The shouts of Akal grew feebler and feebler. Then they ceased altogether. Both left their bodies. They went away to join the ranks of illustration Sikh martyrs. This occurred in the year 1745.

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