Guru Teg Bahadur’s martyrdom and alleged thanklessness and cowardice of Kashmiri Pundits

Published on 24 Nov 2014 on category Events for zone Kashmir

Sikh historians term Hindus as backstabbers for alleged betrayal of Gangu Bahman, but in reality Harkishan's brother was a conspirator in the execution of Teg Bahadur, a Sikh researcher finds out.


The painting of alleged delegation of the Kashmiri Hindus which went to Teg Bahadur The painting of alleged delegation of the Kashmiri Hindus which went to Teg Bahadur

Historian Satish Chandra with his expertise in medieval Indian history has ‘documented’ the self-sacrifice of Guru Teg Bahadur, the 9th Sikh Guru for the sake of Kashmiri Pundits according to some notable historical accounts. Though there are several historical versions for the reasons of the great martyrdom with equal credibility, this version is most widely accepted. There are various versions about the martyrdom of Guru Teg Bahadur that range from Guru’s political rivalry with Ram Rai, the brother of Guru Harkishan to his alleged sabotage activity with Mughal rebel Hafiz Adam to his alleged sympathy with Pashtun rebels. There are contradictions about the place of his arrest, some accounts say it was Malikhpur on his way from Anandpur to Delhi while some accounts name Patna as the place of his arrest. Despite these contradictions, the widely accepted version says he was arrested from Malikhpur on his way to Delhi as a negotiator for the Kashmiri Pundits. As popularly preached, a delegation of the Kashmiri Pundits approached Guru Teg Bahadur with a request to save Kashmiri Pundits and ‘Hinduism’ from the Mughal attempts to extinct the Hindus. Aurangzeb had made it a state policy to convert or kill the Hindus and the Mughal governor in Kashmir Iftekhar Khan launched a massive conversion and slaughter program against the Hindus. According to some historical accounts, and strictly by the writings of historian Satish Chandra, the Kashmiri Pundits pleaded the Guru to save them.

This fact has been enthusiastically used by the Khalistanis in the supremacist and hateful agenda that is hell bent to portray the Hindus or at least Pundits (to gain the support of other 3 castes/classes) as cowards begging for help to the Sikhs. The Hindu organizations in their unity campaign have adopted this fact as an appeasement policy that had backfired as Khalistani supremacist agenda. The Khalistanis want the Hindus to be continuously grateful and thankful and bow down to them for generations to come. But at this point of time, an honest analysis is paramount into the matter to save the national integrity.

Did the Kashmiri Pundits approach Guru because they were cowards? Contemporary situations speak otherwise. Before Lakshmandas Bhardwaj @ Banda Bahadur launching an all-out offensive against Mughal army in order to seek revenge, the Sikhs had a love-hate relationship with the Mughals same way as all the Indian communities’ and their factions had, from Rajputs to Marathas. Even Guru Arjan Dev who was assassinated by the Mughals had been awarded land for the Harmandir Sahib by Mughals.

The Kashmiri Pundits had struggled, launched small-scale offensives but they didn’t have an organized army or any state of their own. They realized that the extinction would have been possible only through talks and negotiations. Guru Teg Bahadur was at that time the central point of devotion in Punjab with a large number of followers. More than that Guru Teg Bahadur and the Sikh royal had good terms with the Mughals. The Mughals were sought by one or the other aspirants of the Guru posts in the Guru family for help in getting installed as Guru. Guru Harkishan’s brother Ram Rai was such one lobbyist.

The Kashmiri Pundits tried to give talks one chance and asked Guru Teg Bahadur to negotiate. The Guru gave the Kashmiri Pundits the assurance to talk on their behalf. The enthusiasm of the Guru was such strong that he was said to have challenged the Mughal king Aurangzeb that if the Mughals are able to convert him to Islam, he guarantees the mass acceptance of Islam by the Hindus.

Three Pundits of Kashmiri and Punjabi origin also accompanied him viz. Bhai Tyala Ram, Bhai Sati Das, and Bhai Mati Das. After a series of terrible physical torture, the Guru was beheaded. The three aides of the Guru were also split into two by extra large blades, boiled in hot water and burnt alive. Guru Teg Bahadur’s sacrifice for the sake of Kashmiri Hindus thus became memorable in the history of India with the name “Hind Di Chadar”.

Guru Teg Bahadur’s sacrifice was certainly for the Hinduism but how much correct are the neo-Sikhs or Khalistanis in abusing the Hindus to be ungrateful? The example of a traitor Pundit Gangu Bahman is given time and again but why do they hide the nefarious role of their own Guru-aspirant Ram Rai in the assassination of the 9th Guru? Gulam Mohiuddin Bute Shah documented Ram Rai’s dark role in instigating Aurangzeb against Guru Teg Bahadur and organizing the execution. His plan was to fill the vacant of the Guru post if Teg Bahadur is assassinated according to his plan. However, his dream could never be fulfilled as Guru Teg Bahadur crowned Guru Govind Singh as the next Guru before leaving for Delhi from Anandpur.

The truest testimony of the martyrdom of the Guru Teg Bahadur comes in a poem on the incident by his son Guru Govind Singh, “He embraced martyrdom for the sake of His faith.” According to historian Koenraad Elst, “He was not a Sikh defending Hinduism, but a Hindu of the Nanakpanth defending his own Hindu religion.”

In any case, the Hindus are not thankless to Guru Teg Bahadur for his service and martyrdom for the Hindu religion. Though Guru Teg Bahadur’s influence and operating area was only Punjab and parts of Himachal, Haryana, and Kashmir and he embraced martyrdom for the sake of Kashmiri Pundits, he is called “Hind Di Chadar” (Shield of India) despite the fact the Mughals were never been able to make it behind the Bindhya Mountains and never reached North Eastern India and had so many independent states within its empire. Still, Guru Teg Bahadur is called Hind Di Chadar because his martyrdom was for Hinduism in general and beyond the state territories. As Guru Govind Singh described that the Guru embraced martyrdom for the sake of “His own faith”, there is no point that detaches him from Hinduism. Hindus remember and mourn him and for that, they don’t need any certificate or need not be grateful any person other than the Guru himself. And as far as the cowardice of the Hindus is concerned, Sikh’s biggest military hero Guru Govind Singh was also trained by a Mohyal Brahmin Kripa Ram Dutt. The Mohyal Brahmins and Dogra Hindus made most of the front line brigades of the Khalsa army and the commander of Khalsa army himself was a Brahmin named Lakshmandas Bhardwaj aka Banda Bahadur Bairagi, a Vaishnavite.

The article was written by Gurleen Kaur Randhawa for Covert Wires, a TNT initiative. Gurleen studied history in a western university.

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Fist Published On: 24 Nov 2014

Last Updated On: 02:58:10am 10 Apr 2017

Reading Timelength: 6 Minutes

Type of Post: Article

Category: Events

Zone: Kashmir

Primary Topic: #Sikh_History

Tags: gangu bahman, guru harkishan's brother, guru harkishan's brother responsible for teg bahadur executi

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