Guru Har Gobind Sahib Ji, (Punjabi: ਗੁਰੂ ਹਰਿ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਸਾਹਿਬ) also Saccha Padshah (ਸੱਚਾ ਪਾਦਸ਼ਾਹ “True Emperor”) (5 July 1595 – 19 March 1644). According to another tradition, he was born on 5 July 1595. He was the sixth of the Sikh gurus and became Guru on 25 May 1606 following in the footsteps of […]
Guru Har Gobind Sahib Ji, (Punjabi: ਗੁਰੂ ਹਰਿ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਸਾਹਿਬ) also Saccha Padshah (ਸੱਚਾ ਪਾਦਸ਼ਾਹ “True Emperor”) (5 July 1595 – 19 March 1644). According to another tradition, he was born on 5 July 1595. He was the sixth of the Sikh gurus and became Guru on 25 May 1606 following in the footsteps of his father Guru Arjan Dev. He was not, perhaps, more than eleven at his father’s execution. Before ascension, he nominated Guru Har Rai, his grandson as the next Guru of the Sikhs.
He put on two swords: one indicated his spiritual authority and the other, his temporal authority. (‘miri’ symbolizing temporal power and ‘piri’ symbolizing spiritual power).He built the Akal Takht, the Throne of the Almighty. Guru Har Gobind ji excelled in matters of state, and his Darbar (court) was noted for its splendour. The arming and training of some of his devoted followers began, the Guru came to possess seven hundred horses, and his Risaldari (army) grew to three hundred horsemen and sixty gunners in the due course of time. Additionally, five hundred men from the Majha area of the Punjab were recruited as infantry. Guru Har Gobind built a fortress at Amritsar called Lohgarh “Fortress of steel”. He had his own flag and war-drum which was beaten twice a day.
The Guru was a brilliant martial artist (shastarvidya) and an avid hunter. Guru Hargobind encouraged people to maintain physical fitness and keep their bodies ready for physical combat.
Relations with Jahangir and wars with Mughals
The reasons for Guru Har Gobind to arm his followers were many. Both externally and internally, the situation was changing. The Guru had to adjust his policy to the demands of the new environment. Sikhism had developed its organisation mostly during the tolerant days of Akbar. Akbar had never interfered with the development of Sikhism. He had even helped the Gurus in various ways. But the execution of Guru Arjan at the hands of Jahangir and imprisonment of Guru Hargobind definitely showed that sterner days were ahead. The policy of mere peaceful organisation no longer sufficed. Both Guru Arjan had foreseen and Guru Hargobind also saw that protecting the Sikh community without the aid of arms was no longer possible. Guru Hargobind accumulated a stable of eight hundred horses and three hundred mounted followers constantly attended to him. A guard of fifty-six matchlock-men secured his safety in person.
Jahangir could not tolerate the armed policy of Guru Hargobind and consequently imprisoned him. The main reason for leaving him after years was that there were a lot of reports from across the length and width of the country that people were against the throne due to the popularity of the guru, as well as the unjustified martyrdom of the fifth guru. A lot of people were following Sikhism, and there was a possibility of a coup if the Guru was not released at the earliest. As it is, there were 52 Hindu kings in the Gwalior prison at that moment, the policies of Jahangir against the local majority people were oppressive in nature. Therefore, the situation compelled him to order release of Guru Hargobind and save the throne.
During the reign of Shah Jahan, relations became bitter again. Shah Jahan was intolerant. He destroyed the Sikh baoli at Lahore. The quarrels between Mughal officials and the Sikhs originally started over hawks or horses, but subsequently led to risings on a large scale and were responsible for the deaths of thousands of persons on both sides. Battles were fought at Amritsar, Kartarpur and elsewhere. Guru Hargobind defeated the Imperial troops near Amritsar. The Guru was again attacked by a provincial detachment, but the attackers were routed and their leaders slain. Guru Hargobind grasped a sword and marched with his devoted soldiers among the troops of the empire, or boldly led them to oppose and overcome the provincial governors or personal enemies.
A childhood friend of Guru Hargobind, Painde Khan, whose mother had been the nurse of the Guru, had become his enemy. The cause given, in some accounts, was a valuable hawk of a follower of the Guru which was taken by Khan, and when asked for, was resented by him. Other accounts note Khan’s vanity and his pride. This opportunity was used by Mughal officials, who saw Guru Hargobind as an ever-present danger. Painde Khan was appointed leader of the provincial troops and marched upon the Guru. Guru Hargobind was attacked, but the warlike apostle slew the friend of his youth, with his own hand, and proved again a victor.
During the era of Guru Hargobind, the Sikhs increased greatly in number, and the fiscal policy of Guru Arjan and the armed system of Guru Har Gobind had already formed the Sikhs into a kind of separate entity within the empire. The Guru was not unconscious of his latent influence, but in his private life never forgot his genuine character, and always styled himself Nanak, in deference to the firm belief of his Sikhs, that the soul of their great teacher was alive in each of his successors.
Guru Hargobind had no regard for idol worship. One of his followers cut off the nose of an idol; on complaints from various neighboring chiefs, he summoned the Sikh to his presence; the culprit denied the act, but added, ironically, that if the idol bore witness against him, he would accept punishment willingly. “O fool,” replied the chiefs, “how will the idol speak?” Replied the Sikh, “If he can’t save his head, then how will he avail you?”
~ Source: wikipedia.org