A.D. They had hardly reached the bank of rivulet Sirsa, when the enemy forces attacked them from behind without caring a bit about the promises made by them earlier in the name of their Holy Books.
During the ensuing battle on the bank of Sirsa rivulet which was in spate due to heavy rains upstream, only Guruji, forty Sikhs and two elder sons of Guru ji, Sahibzada Ajit Singh and Sahibzada Jujhar Singh, were able to safety cross the river. Others either died fighting bravely or were drowned in the flooded waters.
The two younger sons of the Guru, Sahibzada Zorawar Singh and Sahibzada Fateh Singh, accompanied by thier Grandmother Mata Gujri ji, strayed away walking along the bank of Sirsa, without making any attempt to cross it. While walking away from the scene of battle along the bank of rivulet Sirsa, they met their old servent named Gangu Brahmin, who had worked in their house for nearly 20 years. On his request, Mata Gujri, accompanied by his two grandsons, agreed to go with Gangu to his village and stay at his place for some time.
Mata Gujri ji was carrying good number of gold coins in those days. She kept the money under her pillow when she went to sleep in the house alongwith Sahibzada Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh. Gangu’s greed for money turned him unfaithful.He quitly stole the money bag from under the pillow of Mata Gujri Ji while she was fast a sleep. When she got up in the morning she did not find the money bag under her pillow. She enquired from Gangu politely about the gold coins. The thief Gangu got annoyed at this questioning by Mata ji and started threatening her that he would get her arrested along with her grandsons for this accusation. Mata Ji tried to calm him down. Gangu had his eyes on the prize that he would receive from the Mughal rulers if he handed over the mother and two sons of Guru Gobind Singh to the police authorities. Accompanied by the village chief, he went to the police station at Morinda town and informed the station incharge about the preseence of Guru Gobind Singh’s mother and his two youger sons in his house and requested him to bestow him prize money for helping the authorities in the arrest of fugitives.
The police officer was immensly pleased at this important information provided by Gangu. He accompaind him to his vilage and arrested Mata Gujri along with her two grandsons and handed them over to Nawab Wazir Khan of Sirhand. Nawab Wazir Khan who had to return empty handed from Anandpur Sahib without being successful in arresting Guru Gobind Singh or his associates, was too glad to find Guru’s mother and two sons in his prison.
Mata ji along with her two grandsons was imprisoned in the cold tower at Sirhind.The Nawab ordered them to be produced in his court the next morning. Sitting on the floor of this cold tower on this very cold December night,Mata Gujri tried to provide comfort and warmth of her body to her grand sons putting them on her lap,and Kissing the foreheades of the beautiful Kids,went to sleep.
She woke them up early the next morning and readying them for the ensuing test they were going to be put to at the court of Wazir Khan,the tyrant ruler of Sirhind. She thus said to them, “O sons of great Guru Gobind Singh ! you are going to be offered all the comforts of a luxurious life if you agree to say goodbye to your religion and adopt Islam as your new religion.If you refuse to accept such an attractive offer they will threaten you with painful deaths. I have full confidence that though you are young Kids,you will neither be fooled by the attractive offers nor be seduced by their threats. Be brave like your Guru father who has put every thing including his life at stake to prepare people to uproot the rule of tyrant rulers. Keep up the honour of your father at all costs.”
While the grandmother was still advising her grandsons, the soldiers of Wazir Khan arrived to take the two kids of Guru Gobind Singh to the court. Mata Gujri wished her grandsons and sent them with the soldiers praying for their success to uphold their principles and steadfastness at the court.
Many a senior officers and advisors of Nawab Wazir Khan were seated in the court along with him in addition to prominent public personalities. On entring the court Sahibzada Jorawar Singh and Sahibzada Fateh Singh loudly uttred, “Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh” to the utter astonishment and amazement of Wazir Khan and his courtiers.
One of the prominent courtier Sucha Nand told the courageous sons of Guru Gobind Singh to bow before the ruler Wazir Khan and salute like the Muslims do. The kids told him that like other Sikhs, they too bow before no one except their Guru.
Nawab Wazir Khan now took over and said, “O small kids ! Your dad alongwith your two elder brothers has been killed in the battlefield. Luckily you have arrived in my court alive. Be quick and agree to be converted to Islam. As Muslim kids you will be provided best comforts of life like princes. You will be living in palaces, wearing silk clothes, eat variety of foods and play with other Muslim Princes and many servants will be at your beck and call, day and night.We are going to ban Sikhism and we will not leave any one alive as a Sikh. If you do not heed my advice to become Muslim, you will be put to the death in a most merciless manner. You will be cut to pieces so that no one dare become a Sikh in future.”
The brave and smart kids of the tenth master while smiling initially at the foolishness of this hot headed Muslim ruler were angrered at the threats held out by Wazir Khan and became more determined than before in their resolve to keep up the honour of their father Guru Gobind Singh.
In reply to Wazir Khan’s lecture the brave kids said, “Sikhism is dearer to us than our lives. Nothing in this illusory world can induce us to shed our religion. We are kids of lion Guru Gobind Singh who is determind to infuse courage into the people of all religions to rise against the cruel and tyrant rulers to gain freedom. Our grandfather, Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur laid down his life to defend the right of religious freedom for the sake of opressed Hindu community being decimated by tyrant Aurangzeb. Our great great grandfather, Sri Guru Arjun Dev Ji submitted gladly to the will of God while facing tortuons death under the orders of Emperor Jahangir, to infuse courage and endurance in his disciples rather than convert as Muslim. We will never bring bad name to the predecessor martyrs of our faith even if we have to face death.”
Those present in the court of Wazir Khan were greatly impressed by the brave reaction offerd to Wazir Khan by 6 yrs old Baba Fateh Singh and 8 yrs old Baba Zorawar Singh.
In order to offer some respite and encouragement to the dazed Wazir Khan, Sucha Nand courtier commented, “if these Kids at such an adolescent age can have courage to shun all inducements and threats to their lives, they could pose grave danger to the Mughal rulers when they grow upto manhood. Like their father they would encourage other Sikhs to rise in revolt against the Kingdom. It will be proper to deal with them firmly now and no mercy should de shown to them just because they are small children.
Nawab Wazir Khan, though impressed by the moral support provided and suggestions made by Sucha Nand, was more inclined towards coverting to Islam, the brave young sons of the great Guru Gobind Singh rather than punishing them with death penalty. He wanted to provide an opportunity to the historians to write that the two younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh preferred Islam to Sikhism. He, therfore controlled his anger and allowed the lads to go back home and consult their grandmother who might advise them to accept Islam to save their lives. Saying this Wazir Khan hurriedly left the court there by adjourning it for the day and thus denying the lads an opportunity to give a benifitting reply to his latest suggestion.
Mata Gujri Ji was immensly pleased to see her grandsons back in high spirits heaving a sigh of relief. She took them hurriedlyfrom the soldiers into her bossem and kissed profusely their bright and smiling faces gave indications of their winning the battle for the day. thereafter, she asked and they told her about what happended in the court of Wazir Khan. They made a special mention about the wicked advice provided to the ruler of Sirhind by Sucha Nand Courtier.
Mata Gujri congratulated her grandsons on their courage and stead - fastness shown by them in the court in the face of hostile attitude of Wazir Khan and his courtier Sucha Nand. She warned them of greater inducements and threats of torture when they went to the court next day. She advised them to remember Bhai Mati Dass,Bhai Sati Dass and Bhai Dayala Ji, who did not flinch in their faith and faced torturous deaths. Thus providing encouragment to her grandsons Mata Gujri went to sleep, keeping the brave young kids pressed to her body.
The next day more inducements and threats were held out to the young Sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh but none of these could deter them from their firm resolve to stick to thier grandmothers advice.
When on the third day the young Sahibzada Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh left for the court escorted by Wazir Khan’s soldiers, She could visulise that her grandsons would not come back in the evening and that the rulers will carry out their threats held out to the kids earlier. She was, however, confident that her brave grandsons would die happily for their faith. She took them in her bossom, kissed their faces and stroked their backs providing them lot of love and encouragement. She kept staring at them till they disappeared from her view.
Back in her prison cell, the cold tower, she went into meditation and prayed to the Guru and God to provide strength and unshakable determination to thetwo younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh and wished them success in the face of heavy odds they were to face at the court that day, which could in all probability be their final and last day at the court.
At the court, seeing no let up in the firm resolve of the brave sons of great Guru, the Nawab asked them as to what would they do in case he freed them. The young boys said in reply, “We would organise Sikhs and fight to finish against the tyrant rulers to provide freedom to the opressed. We will stick to our Sikh faith under all circumstances and you or others like you will never succeed in deflecting us from our faith.”
Nawab Wazir Khan failed in his mission to convert the two Sahibzadas into Islam. He felt dejected and humiliated. He asked his court Kazi to suggest appropriate punishment for the kids. The Kazi promptly suggested bricking alive of the kids and then doing them to death with sword blows as per Muslim law, as understood by him.
Shaken by this inhumane punishment for the young innocent children suggested by Kazi, Nawab Sher Khan of Malerkotla protested and said, “Islam does not specify punishment to the children for the guilt of their father. They are innocent and should be freed.” The Kazi lost his temper and told Sher Khan that he (Kazi) was much more conversant with Muslim law than him. Sucha Nand added fuel to fire by suggesting that Cobra’s off springs should be killed promptly lest they create trouble when they are fully grown up.
On this, Wazir Khan approved the punishment suggested by Kazi without any amendment. Nawab of Malerkotla protested loudly at this decision and walked out of the court.
When no one came forward to carry out the punishment pronounced for the young children, two Pathans of Ghilaza Tribe (known for their barbarism) were successfully persuaded to do the job. They made the young lads stand close to each other and started raising a wall around them. Sahibzada Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh started reciting hymns of Guru ji (Gurbani) and meditating on the name of God, remained composed and in high spirits.
The Kazi carrying his holy book Koran in his hands continued to persuade the kids to accept conversion to Islam to save their precious lives. The children fully concentrating their minds on the name of God, paid no heed to what Kazi was trying to tell them. When the wall reached the shoulders of Sahibzada Fateh Singh, on a signal from Kazi, the two Pathans promptly choped off the heads of the two kids with the blows of their swords.
Mata Gujri was thrown to death from the cold tower by the soldiers after being informed of the fate of her grandsons.
Thus the two sons of Guru Gobind Singh, aged 6 & 8 years respectively, became the youngest martyrs at the hands of barbarous rulers. Their brave deeds will provide inspiration to the Sikhs and their young children to emulate the brave acts of young Sahibzadas of the tenth master whom no amount of wordly attractions and threat could deter from their resolve to stick to their faith and fight against the unjust and cruel rulers. Mata Gujri ji also provided a shining example to all mothers and grandmothers as to how they should imbibe good qualities of religion, sacrifice, faith, in the young minds of their sons and grandsons at tender age, and prepare their minds and bodies to facce challenges they are likely to face as they grow up. The example of Mata Gujri Ji is worth emulating by all mothers and grandmothers.