Chaar Sahibzaade

Shaheedi (martyrdom) is a theme that runs throughout Sikh history, highlighted by the commemoration of these sacrifices that allow us to practise our faith and discipline to this day. Some of the most inspiring stories come from the Chaar Sahibzaade (four young, beloved ones), the four sons of the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Between December 21 and December 27, 1704 AD, Chaar Sahibzaade; Ajit Singh Ji, Jujhar Singh Ji, Zorawar Singh Ji, and Fateh Singh Ji were martyred.

These days hold a special memory in the mind and heart of every Sikh and they remember the Chaar Sahibzaade with great vigour and very acute sadness.

The story of "Safar-E-Shahdat":

Guru Gobind Singh ji, his four sons, his wife - Mata Jeeto Ji, Mata Gujari Kaur, Guru's Mahil, Panj Piaras, and hundreds of Sikhs departed Anandpur Sahib on the freezing night of December 20th, 1704 AD. They departed Anandpur Sahib after the Pahaadi King swore on the cow, which is regarded holy in their religion, and the Mughal swore on their holy scripture, the Quran, and promised not to attack the fort.

However, as soon as Guru Gobind Singh Ji departed the fort, Mughals broke their oaths and attacked Sikhs along the Sarsa River, around 25 kilometres from Anandpur Sahib.

Because of this attack, Guru's family was divided and broke away. The place of the attack is known as "Pariwar Vichora". The Gurudwara Sahib which was created in their memory is known as "Gurudwara Pariwar Vichora Sahib".

Guru Gobind Singh ji and Vadde Sahibzaade - Ajit Singh Ji & Jujhar Singh Ji were on one side of the river, while Mata Gujri ji and Nikke Sahibzaade - Zorawar Singh Ji & Fateh Singh Ji were on the other. Mata Sundari Ji and Mata Sahib Kaur Ji, on the other hand, travelled to Delhi with Bhai Mani Singh Ji.

The two older sahibzaade were with their father at Chamkaur, where a fierce struggle between Sikhs and Mughals was taking place. Aurangzeb, the Mughal emperor, had set a price on Guru Gobind Singh's head, expecting to eliminate the existence of Sikhs once and for all if he could assassinate their Guru. The Sikhs were ambushed by the Mughals while resting in a fort in Chamkaur. Guru Gobind Singh's two older sons, Ajeet Singh and Jujhar Singh, witnessed as Sikhs offered their lives to protect those inside despite being vastly outnumbered. When they asked their father for permission to fight, they knew there could only be one outcome. Nonetheless, all the Sikhs with Guru Gobind Singh recognised it was in the panth's best interests to sacrifice themselves in order for the Guru to escape and join the rest of the Sikhs. These two devoted their lives in combat, battling against the Mughal army, who had tried so hard to end the Sikh lineage, only adding fuel to the flames with their martyrdom.

Guru Gobind Singh Ji's mother, Mata Gujar Kaur, and two younger sons, Joraver Singh and Fateh Singh, had put their trust in an old acquaintance after being separated from the rest of the Sikhs, only to be delivered over to the Mughals for reward money. While they were imprisoned in a tower in Sarhand, the local Nawab (Mughal ruler) Wazir Khan assigned himself the mission of converting the younger sahibzaade to Islam or killing them. They looked to their grandma Mata Gujar Kaur Ji for strength when they were only five and eight years old.

She reminded them of the courage legacies from which they were born. Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji, the ninth Sikh Guru, had devoted his life to save an entire community of Hindus. She strengthened them with the recitation of gurbaani (Sikh hymns) and the remembrance of the Creator.

When Wazir Khan summoned them to his court, he offered them riches and happiness in exchange for converting and abandoning their Sikhi. Refusing to be intimidated by these tyrants' threats, the Sahibzaade stood firm for several days until the Nawab eventually determined that martyrdom was the only alternative. He had the younger Sahibzaade bricked alive and then their heads chopped off because the bricks did not suffocate them quickly enough. The Sahibzaade remembered the Creator and sang hymns throughout the process, bringing tears to the eyes of all who observed it. Mata Gujar Kaur Ji, still alone in the freezing tower —now that her husband and four grandchildren had been martyred— waited for news. When she learned of her youngest grandchildren's martyrdom, she quickly joined them, being pushed to her death from the tower. She was a bold woman who inspired courage in all those who were affected by her faith, and she made sacrifices that continue to inspire Sikh adolescents and adults today.

For Sikhs, our history is a long tradition of martyrdom, sacrifice, and struggle; most importantly, it is a history of dedication and faith in the face of adversity. Even when gold was offered for our heads and children's legacies became their deaths before they reached maturity, our religion and discipline came first. Our Gurus had taught us the importance of integrity and honesty above everything else. These lessons remind us that we all share the same Creator, and it is only through acknowledging that Divine Light that we may find harmony among our diversity.