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Sāhibzādā Ajīt Singh and Sāhibzādā Jujhār Singh – Unforgotten

Sāhibzādā Ajīt Singh and Sāhibzādā Jujhār Singh – Unforgotten

Whoever opens the gate to Sikh history and walks down the alley leading into the
past of the Sikh community will meet a spectre, and this spectre is called freedom.
But the spectre is not that of the Sikhs, but of the tyrants. Freedom is one of the many
reasons VAHEGURŪ JĪ had sent the Sikh Gurūs into the world, for it was necessary
to work against dark powers and light a fire to warm human beings. To secure
freedom for freedom demands courage, fortitude and struggle, and many brave men
have fallen in its name: inconspicuous warriors as well as grand warriors, heroes all
of them.

And this is the story of two of them:

Sāhibzādā Ajīt Singh Jī, the eldest son of Gurū Gobind Singh Ji, was born in Pāuṇṭā
Sāhib on January 7., 1687; the Gurūs second son, Sāhibzādā Jujhār Singh, was born in
Anandpur Sāhib on March 14., 1689. From their earliest childhood on their father and
some able Sikhs instructed them, besides their formal and religious education, in
physical training, riding and the art of warfare. This last point especially was to turn
out to reveal their father's wise foresight, for dark shadows which would not give
way to light were overcasting the Gurū, his sons and the Sikh community. And as
the threats were always present, hunting tigers and other wild animals in the
impenetrable jungle around Anandpur Sāhib was an integral part of the routine of
putting weapons to the test. But how did this state of affairs arise?
Throughout its long history, India had seen many seeds of religion grow and perish.
The seed of Sikhism had remained and began to bear fruit and grow roots deep in
the hearts of human beings. More and more Hindūs and Muslims turned to the
young tree of Sikhism, whose growing branches could not bear tyranny or
oppression and whose tender fruits tasted of a casteless society in which all are
equal. Thus a steadily growing unrest grew among the Hindū kings of the hill states
around Anandpur Sāhib as well as among the Muslim rulers. Both of them were
afraid that the steady growth of the tree of Sikhism would deprive them of their
power. And so the Hindū kings started to use every opportunity to complain to Śāh
Auraṅzeb about Gurū Gobind Singh Jī. Their evil words stirred up hatred against the
Gurū, and they advised the Śāh to get rid of him for ever. And as the Śāh was
already hostile to the Gurū he listened to them only too well and was the main
influence when the Muslim rulers in Dillī, in the Pañjāb, in Jammu and Kaschmir
united their soldiers with those of the Hindū kings to form an army that was to
destroy the Sikhs.
Their united forces marched on Anandpur Sahib and surrounded the fort with an
impenetrable wall. Thus a siege began that was to last for seven months. During this
time the besieged Sikhs were cut off from all supplies. There was a lack of
everything, food, water and medicine, which became more drastic day by day. But
the besieging forces faced difficulties as well. Their abject failure had discouraged
their soldiers and made their leaders lose face with regard to Auraṅzeb. So they
looked for a way out, carried on negatiations with Gurū Gobind Singh and promised that they would not attack him if he only vacated Anandpur Sāhib. To confirm their
pure intentions, the Hindūs took an oath on their sacred book, the Bhagavagitā, and
the Muslims took an oath on the Koran.
Gurū Gobind Singh Jī certainly was aware that his mortal enemies would not honour
their oaths. It would not make sense for them to let him and his Sikhs go after having
invested so much into destroying them. But as the situation in Anandpur Sāhib was
hopeless, all mistrust and all doubts did not help Gurū Jī. He had to take action, and
so he agreed to the withdrawal.
The Gurū, his family and his Sikhs left the fort with heavy hearts, but freely and
without interference. After an arduous march they finally reached the banks of the
river Sarsā Nadī. Here the Gurū's dark forebodings turned into certainty, for the very
moment they began to cross the river, the enemy struck them from behind –
viciously, cruelly and relentlessly. Sāhibzādā Ajīt Singh and part of the Sikh army
provided rear cover to Gurū Gobind Singh and his soldiers so that they could cross
the Sarsā Nadī, which, however, was virtually impossible. Heavy rainfalls had
turned the river into a roaring flood whose waters swept along everything that was
not strong enough. Once he had made sure that his father with his troop had reached
the other side safely, Sāhibzādā Ajīt Singh followed them through the river which
had claimed the lives of many as tribute for the lives of a few.
In the evening of the following day Gurū Gobind Singh, accompanied by his two
eldest sons and only forty surviving Sikhs, reached the village of Camkaur, where
they moved into the fortress-like house of Chaudhary Buddhi Chand. Protected by
its strong walls, they decided to face their adversaries the next day.
During the night the enemy soldiers moved closer, and by dawn they had grown into
a huge army that teemed with men and animals. Screams of hatred rose from rough
throats and tore the cool morning air. Weapons clanged menacingly. Horses were
stomping on the ground uneasily. Trek oxen loudly roared with fear so that
frightened birds ducked into their nests. The plain stank with sweat and thirst for
When the unequal battle began, Gurū Gobind Singh and his disciples used well-
aimed arrows to face the enemy and caused them heavy losses. But the supply of
arrows soon ran out, and the enemy soldiers approached closer and closer. Gurū
Gobind Singh sent out his Sikhs in groups of five to face the enemy in close combat.
What courage, what heroic bravery! - This is the matter from which an epic arises.

Sāhibzādā Ajīt Singh Jī
When the first group of five Sikhs left the fortress to fight the overwhelming Satans
in a struggle that could only end in the arms of death, Sāhibzādā Ajīt Singh asked his
father, who was overjoyed at his son's courage, for permission to join the fight as
well. His father embraced him, equipped him with weapons and let him ride into
battle with the next five Sikhs. Thus the Gurū demonstrated that his son's life was
not dearer to him than that of his Sikhs.
Sāhibzādā Ajīt Singh was his father's son through and through. With the force and
agility of a tiger he shot his arrows and wounded many enemies mortally. When his arrows were used up, he took up his spear, which he handled with such courage and
ferocity that many enemy soldiers retreated before him in surprise and fear. Then
fate struck. He had penetrated an enemy's armour, and his spear became stuck in the
soldier's breast. The attempt to withdraw it cost him precious minutes, and so it
happened that his horse was mortally wounded and fell from beneath him. Although
Sāhibzādā Ajīt Singh could jump to safety with a courageous leap, drew his sword
and killed many enemy soldiers, the enemy's numerical superiority became too
strong. A soldier used an advantageous moment and thrust his sharp spear deep into
the young fighter's body.
Mortally wounded, Sāhibzādā Ajīt Singh sank down on the bank of death. His eyes
grew wide with astonished unbelief, and a smile curled his mouth as the Big Sleep
came, took him up into its protecting arms and carried him away from everything
that would not touch him any more.
Gurū Gobind Singh had watched his son's fight from the fort and had used volleys of
arrows to give him more time to face the enemy. Now he saw him fall and knew that
he would not rise again as he lay among the scores of enemy dead as if asleep.
Gurū Gobind Singh was Gurū and so he knew that VAHEGURŪ JĪ calls those to him
who he wants to have close to him or who he needs in some other place. Gurū
Gobind Singh was a warrior and this made him be proud of his son, whose heroic
death made him one of the Unforgotten.

Sāhibzādā Jujhār Singh had watched his brother Sāhibzādā Ajīt Singh fighting as he
stood next to his father on the fort. His brother's courage filled him with pride and
admiration. And as soon as his brother had fallen, he asked his father for permission
to join the battle with the next group of five Sikhs. Overflowing with youthful zest
for action, he assured his father that he would not bring shame on him. And so his
father embraced him as well, equipped him with weapons and let him go.
As soon as Sāhibzādā Jujhār Singh met the enemy, he attacked them with the
fearlessness of a lion while the Sikhs accompanying him formed a protective ring
around him. His enemies could not help paying respect to his swordmanship, for
during their whole lives as soldiers they had never seen a youth who handled his
blade so skillfully.
Arrows, spear and sword - Sāhibzādā Jujhār Singh fought expertly with all weapons.
But the blows of his sword above all were deadly strong and decapitated many
enemy soldiers. The Sikhs accompanying him equalled his courage and his skill, but
when the battle had reached its climax, more and more enemy soldiers approached
from all sides, broke the protective ring around Sāhibzādā Jujhār Singh and mortally
wounded him. The world had been laying open to the youth, but night came to him
too early and made him another one of the Unforgotten as he grasped his brother's
hand, who had been waiting for him. Together they went to the place of which there
has never been given an account.

Gurū Gobind Singh Jī had lost two sons within a very short time. He had shown his
Sikhs and the world that he loved his own flesh and blood not more than his faithful devotees. And the Great Understanding he had made him give the place of honour
not to his mourning, but to his love for VAHEGURŪ JĪ.

Sāhibzādā Ajīt Singh Jī and Sāhibzādā Jujhār Singh Jī have gone down in the history
of the Sikhs as martyrs, as Unforgotten Ones. Because of their heroic deeds they are
respectfully called Bābā in spite of their youth. Some want to die a martyr's death for
VAHEGURŪ JĪ and Sikhism. May nobody desire this, for desires may become true,
and some of those wishing for a martyr's death would not be able to live up to these
high demands.
The alley of Sikh history has been flooded with blood and infinite suffering. Maybe
there are other things to wish for.

Elisabeth Meru
München, Germany
April 2012

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