Guru Tegbahadur

Highlights

Guru Tegbahadur. When the atrocities on Kashmiri Hindus under the rule of Aurangzeb, the most rabidly truculent of Mughal kings, to force them to embrace Islam reached beyond tolerable limit they formed a delegation to be led by Shrikriparamji and approached Guru Tegbahadur to tell them their woes.

When the atrocities on Kashmiri Hindus under the rule of Aurangzeb, the most rabidly truculent of Mughal kings, to force them to embrace Islam reached beyond tolerable limit they formed a delegation to be led by Shrikriparamji and approached Guru Tegbahadur to tell them their woes. On hearing their heart rending tale of woes in the Sikha-sabha of Anandpur Guru Tegbahadur got to be dumbstruck, sinking into a deep thought.

Seeing the condition of the father, his son drew near him and asked, ‘Why don’t you speak, father?’

‘Now you are young, and unaware of the hard realities’, said father, after a little pause; ‘Turks are perpetrating harrowing atrocities on the people everywhere. And, as such, not one brave heart is there in sight to come forward to risk his life for their liberation from this hell’.

‘Why! – Who could be more able for this supreme sacred service than you, father?’ pleaded the son, Govindrai[ later to be popularly known as Guru Govind Singh, the last of the Sikh gurus]

Hearing the things of his own heart from the son, Guru Tegbahadur decided to help the Kashmiri Hindus, telling the delegation, ‘You send the message to Aurangzeb that the ninth Guru consecrated on the seat of his holiness Guru Nanak Dev is your Dharma -rakshak[the defender of Dharma]. First convert him into Islam then other would follow the suit.’

Kashmiri Hindus did the same, sending an emissary with the message of Guru to Aurangzeb. As was obvious the content of message put insolent Aurangzeb on violent rage. It was a challenge to his lordship; so far he never encountered the audacity of such kind from anybody in his realm. Fuming Mughal king soon arrested Guru along with the other five Sikhs- Shri Matidas, Shri Gurudittji, shri Udaji, Shri Chimaji and Shri Dayalji. He laid the two options before them— choose either Islam or death. But, caring not the threat looming large on their lives, they rejected the offer of living in the alien’s religion. Consequently, first Guru’s followers were put to brutal death; and, then, Guru’s head was chopped off.

However, the martyrdom of Guru Tegbahadur and his devoted followers went not in vain. It proved instrumental in transforming the very ethos of Sikh- philosophy. This tragic episode, and before it the martyrdom of their seventh Guru Arjundev in the hands of the then Mughal King Jhangir, made Sikhs well realize that the counting of the beads and muttering of mantras [hymns] though redeem them spiritually, but to survive in the physical world especially in the prevailing situation being governed by barbaric mentality of intransigent Turks they would have to wield the arms in the hands. Thus the sect which was peaceful and religiously devotional assumed martial character, with Khalsa -panth being founded by Guru Govind Singh as he succeeded Guru Tegbahadur to the highest seat of Sikhism.

by Er Rajesh

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