In 1704 the fort of Anandpur Sahib, was sieged by the combined forces of the Mughal army and Hill chiefs. Within the Sikh rank of warriors, there was a group of warriors had made up their mind to leave Anandpur Sahib. Guru Gobind Singh Ji with a heavy heart asked them that if they truly […]
In 1704 the fort of Anandpur Sahib, was sieged by the combined forces of the Mughal army and Hill chiefs. Within the Sikh rank of warriors, there was a group of warriors had made up their mind to leave Anandpur Sahib. Guru Gobind Singh Ji with a heavy heart asked them that if they truly wished to leave then they must write a disclaimer and have it signed by all the deserters claiming that they no longer belonged to the Guru, and the Guru no longer belonged to them.
Mai Bhago known for her faith and courage and when she saw the 40 Sikhs approaching in the distance she went out to meet them. She asked news about Guru Gobind Singh Ji, and when she heard about their decision to leave Guru Sahib ,her blood boiled with anger. She could not contain herself, she charged them with cowardice and a lack of faith in their Guru.
Mai Bhago donned on men’s clothing and told them that either to stay behind and look after the children or try to amend by returning to Guru Sahib Ji . Ashamed by their act of desertion they vowed to put things right and mounted their horses and set off towards Ferozpur.
When Wazir Khan advanced to attack the Guru Gobind Singh Ji , Mai Bhago’s group took up positions near a place called Khidrana. As the enemy forces came close the Sikhs pounced on them, a fierce battle ensued; although heavily outnumbered the Sikhs attacked with ferocity and many were killed on both sides. The dust raised by the battle alerted Guru Sahib Ji who by this time had vacated Anandpur Sahib, he joined his Sikhs on a sandy hill (tibbi) and shot arrows at the enemy. As the battle raged Guru Sahib Ji mounted his horse and led his contingent from the West.
Bhai Maha Singh was one of the martyrs of Muktsar, collectively called ‘Chali Mukte’, the Forty Liberated Ones. He, in addition to Mai Bhago, was the only ones among the wounded who had some life still left in him. Guru Gobind Singh Ji dismounted from his horse and surveyed the scene on the battlefield. He saw one of his Sikhs lying wounded and recognized him as Maha Singh, the leader of the 40 deserters. Guru Ji sat beside him and put his head on his lap and wiped away the blood and tears from his eyes, just as a father would a son.
Guru Ji was greatly impressed and pleased by his Sikhs. “Ask whatever you will, the house of Guru Nanak is open to you” spoke Guru Ji but Maha Singh only had one thing on his mind, the letter of desertion. “O Lord of all the heavens, if you are in mercy then please forgive me and my companions for our betrayal, and I pray that you tear up the letter we handed to you.” The all knowing Guru had kept the letter on his person knowing full well that it would be needed, Guru Ji took it out and tore it in front of Maha Singh.
“You have redeemed yourself here and in the hereafter.” The forty deserters who lay dead in the battlefield were blessed by Guru Sahib Ji as the Chali Mukte –the forty liberated ones. A Grand Gurdwara now stands at the site of the battle, known as Gurdwara Tibbi Sahib, Mukhtsar.
~ Tapasleen Kaur