Monday, June 17, 2013

Sakhi Series :- 221 (Bhai Nihang Khan)

Bhai Bachitar Singh


Bhai Bachitar Singh was born on 6th May 1664 and took Amrit on the historic day of Vaisakhi on 30th March 1699. Bhai ji is most famously remembered as the Singh who attacked a drunken elephant.

The sakhi goes as Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji and a small number of Sikhs were defending their position in Lohgarh fort of Anandpur Sahib, which was under attack by numerically far suprior forces under the rule of the Moghul Emperor Aurangzeb and the Hindu rulers of the Hill States. Despite superior numbers, the besiedging forces were unable to penetrate the heavily-defended fort. They brought forth an armoured, druken elephant to batter in the gates. Bhai Bachittar Singh was tasked with stopping the elephant, armed with a nagni barcha (snake shaped spear), a type of spear. Bahi Bachitar Singh ji rode out of the fort on horseback and attacked the elephant, thrusting his spear into the animal's forehead and cutting its trunk with his sword. The wounded elephant retreated, disrupting the attackers' ranks.

In December 1705, when Guru Gobind Singh Ji decided to evacuate Anandpur Fort, they came to the River Sirsa. Whilst crossing the river, the Chotte Sahibazade along with Mata Gujri ji were separated from Guru ji. Guru Gobind Singh ji along with 40 other Sikhs came to Ghanaula village before reaching Macchiwara jungle. Some of the 40 Singhs included Guru jis two older Sahibzade, the Panj Piare, Bhai Sant Singh Ji, Bhai Jeevan Singh ji and Bhai Bachitar Singh Ji.

After resting at Macchiwara Jungle, Guru ji asked Singhs to do Asa di Vaar Kirtan. Around the same time some Mughal forces had manged to catch up with Guru ji. Guru Ji asked a few Singhs to fight against the oncoming forces whilst some did Asa di Vaar Kirtan.

Sahibzada Ajit Singh ji along with Bhai Jeevan Singh ji and Bhai Bachitar Singh Ji fought agianst the oncoming enemy. The enemy recognised Sahibzade Ajit Singh ji as the Son of Guru Gobind Singh Ji and decided to try and kill them. In this battle, Bhai Bachittar Singh ji was seriously wounded. Bhai Madan Singh and Sahibzade Ajit Singh ji carried the injured Bhai Bachittar Singh ji to Malikpur Rangharan, to the house of Nihung Khan. Guru Gobind Singh asked Nihang Khan to look after Bachittar Singh, after which he proceeded with the remaining forty or so Sikhs towards Chamkaur. Guru Gobind Singh ji before his departure bestowed upon Nihang Khan a sword, a dagger and a shield.

Rumors spread as quickly in those days as they do today, so hearing that Nihang Khan was sheltering some Sikhs, the Mughal troops searched his house while the mortally wounded Bachittar Singh lay in a small room attended by Nihang Khan's daughter. Living up to his name, Nihang Khan maintained his cool and succeeded in keeping the search party from entering the room by telling them that his daughter was nursing her very sick husband. Mughal soldiers believed in what Nihang Khan said, but confirmed from Bibi Mumtaz , '' Who is inside with you''?? Mughals asked.
''Its me and my husband here inside, he is sick'' replied Bibi Mumtaz!

Confirming that Guruji was not in house or village of Kotla, Mughal Army started its pursuit of Guruji.

Thus the danger was averted, but the life of Bhai Bachchittar Singh could not be saved. He succumbed to his injuries and breathed his last on 8 December 1705. Nihang Khan had the cremation performed secretly the following night.

Today that village is known as Kotla Nihung Khan. The sword, dagger and shield presented to Nihung Khan by Guru Gobind Singh ji were preserved and passed through generations in the family, but no shrine was raised to the Guru's visit in that most fateful night of peril - until Gurdwara Bhattha Sahib was constructed by Sant Baba Jivan Singh (1833-1938) of Buddha Bhora on the site. The construction was commenced in 1910 and completed in 1923. When the Pathan family left India, following the partition of 1947, they presented the sword and the dagger at the Gurdwara, but the shield was taken by the family who next occupied their house.

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