Sikh Gurus > Guru Hargobind Ji

Two Masands, Bakhat Mal and Tara Chand had been deputed to Kabul to collect funds for the Guru. They returned with a company of Sikhs who brought the offering and two horses of supreme beauty and speed, named Dil Bagh and Gul Bagh. Both of the horses were seized by the Emperor's officials who presented them to the Emperor. The Sikhs were much dismayed to see that they were robbed of the horses which they had bought for the Guru. Bhai Bidhi Chand before entering the services of Guru Arjan, had been a notorious highwayman and robber and several of his exploits in that capacity were recorded. Afterwards he became Guru's follower. The Sikhs thought that as there were no horses like Dil Bagh and Gul Bagh in the world, so there was no one like Bidhi Chand who could secure possession of the horses. Ultimately Bidhi Chand decided to do the job. He got ready, uttered a prayer and went to Lahore to recover the horses. There lived a Sikh carpenter, Jiwan in Lahore and he stayed with him. Bidhi Chand started the work of a ghasiara (grass-cutter). He cut beautiful soft grass, made a bundle and took it to the market. The grass was beautiful and Bidhi Chand was demanding very high price for that. Ultimately he reached Sondha Khan, the royal stable- keeper who on seeing the grass remarked that he had never seen such grass before. It was fit for Dil Bagh and Gul Bagh, and he ordered his men to adjust the price and buy it for the horses. Sondha Khan took Bidhi Chand with grass on his head to where the horses were tethered. The horses ate to their heart's content as if they had been fasting for a whole day. He continued this practice for several days before he was appointed grass- cutter for the Emperor's famous steeds for one rupee a day. He worked so hard and showed so much civility and sweetness in his words that Sondha Khan entrusted him with bridling and unbridling of the horses. The Emperor once came to see the horses and was very much pleased to observe their excellent condition and he admired Bidhi Chand for that. One day one of his fellow-servants told him that he was drawing more money than any one of them but he never celebrated. Bidhi Chand agreed to their demand. He went to the market and bought the most potent liquor. A dinner was arranged. He served so much and so strong a liquor to his friends that they were disposed of for the night and Bidhi Chand was free for his action. He mounted on Dil Bagh and applying the whip he faced him towards the fort-wall over which he wanted the horse to leap. The horse which was never touched before, on receiving a cut with whip roused at unusual summons, gathered his strength and cleared without hesitation the high battlement with a bound, and plunged with his rider into the river (river was flowing by the side of the stable). Bidhi Chand, well skilled in horsemanship, steadied the horse in the water and reached safely to shore. He reached Bhai Rupa, a village where the Guru was staying. The Sikhs noticed that Dil Bagh did not eat his corn well and he was missing his mate Gul Bagh. So Bidhi Chand set out to recover Gul Bagh too. When he reached Lahore, he heard that a reward was posted for the finder of Dil Bagh. Bidhi Chand changed his appearance and dress, reaching at the gate of the fort he claimed, "I am an experienced tracker and astrologer, and can trace anything that has been lost." Bidhi Chand under the pseudo name of Ganak, when presented before the Emperor, convinced him that he had the skill to interpret omens, d iscover tracks and read the stars and planets. The Emperor promised him lakhs of rupees if he pointed out where the stolen horse was. Bidhi Chand replied to the Emperor, "I know where the horse is, but I want to have a look at the place whence he was stolen, and then I will give all the information." Upon this the Emperor along with his attendants took him to the stable. Some tried to dissuade the Emperor from trusting the stranger but the advice was disregarded. Upon Bidhi Chand's advice all the horses were saddled in the stable, perfect solitude and tranquility was ordered and an embargo was put on the ingress and egress of the inhabitants of the fort. All this was done to make possible for Bidhi Chand to sit in perfect tranquility and make c alculation. Macauliffe records Bhai Bidhi Chand's address to the Emperor, "Hear everything, consider not the thief a person to be forgotten. Thy father, by the power of his army, formerly took possession of an excellent horse intended for the holy and worshipful Guru Har Gobind, whose fame is like that of the sun, and thou hast now imitation of thy unjust father seized these steeds specially intended by the pious Sikhs for their beloved Guru. I have made reprisal and taken the first horse by my ingenuity. My name is Bidhi Chand; I am the Guru's servant. It was I who took home Dil Bagh, the horse thou art in search of. On account of separation from his mate, he wept copiously on his arrival, and we could only induce him to eat and drink with difficulty. Wherefore, in the guise of a tracker and with a love for dumb animals, I have come to take his companion to join him. I am the thief, the true King is my Master. Thou hast now given me Gul Bagh ready saddled. I have thoroughly gauged the wisdom of thy court. I will tell where the horse is, and in doing so remove all blame from myself. The Guru hath pitched his tent in the new village of Bhai Rupa. Know that Dil Bagh is standing there. Gul Bagh shall now go to join him." Upon this Bidhi Chand undid the ropes that tethered the horse to the peg and galloped it to Bhai Rupa where the Guru had encamped. Dil Bagh's name was changed to Jan Bhai (as dear as life) and Gul Bagh was called Suhela (companion). At this the Emperor got inflamed and he asked, "Is there any brave man who will undertake an expedition against the Guru?" Up rose Lala Beg, a high officer of the imperial army and said that he would lead the expedition against the Guru, and produce the stolen horses before the Emperor in a few days. Lala Beg's brother Qamar Beg with his two sons, Qasim Beg and Shams Beg, and his nephew Kabuli Beg also volunteered. Lala Beg and his companions were put in command of an army of thirty-five thousand horse and foot. The imperial army marched to Bhai Rupa and not finding the Guru there proceeded to his new headquarters, Lehra which was a few miles away from Bhai Rupa. The Guru chose this site because it was not connected with any city to provide rations and other requirements of war to the enemy and it had one well of drinking water which was firmly guarded by the Guru's army. The Guru's army was commanded by Bhai Bidhi Chand, Bhai Jetha, Bhai Jati Mal, and Bhai Rai Jodh and there were about four thousand soldiers. Rai Jodh with a thousand men went to oppose Qamar Beg. Showers of bullets thinned the ranks of the imperial army. They used their swords and guns. The Guru's troops caused great havoc upon the enemy. Rai Jodh finding an opportunity pierced Qamar Beg with his lance who fell and soon after died. After seeing his chiefs slain and his army disheartened, Lala Beg himself hurried to oppose Bhai Jati Mal, and discharged an arrow which struck Jati Mal on the breast and made him fall fainting to the ground. The Guru seeing Jati Mal fall, entered the battle field and invited Lala Beg to measure his strength with his. He shot Lala Beg's horse which fell with its rider. The Guru, on seeing the chief on the ground, dismounted so as not to take an unfair advantage of his adversary. Lala Beg assumed the offensive and aimed several blows of his sword at the Guru, who avoided them all. The Guru then putting forward his strength, struck the chief a blow which completely severed his head from his body. Kabuli Beg, the chief's nephew was the only one of imperial commanders remained in the field. On seeing Lala Beg fall down, Kabuli Beg jumped on the Guru. He s lashed again and again at the Guru but every blow was evaded. The Guru then warned him, "It is now my turn, be on thy guard. " He then dealt him such a blow that his head was cut off. This ended the battle. The surviving imperial army soldiers fled for their lives. Twelve hundred soldiers of the Guru's army were slain or wounded. The battle which had begun at midnight, lasted for eighteen hours on the 16th of Maghar, Sambat 1688 or 1631 CE (some date this battle in 1634). The Guru admired the bravery shown by Bhai Bidhi Chand, Bhai Jati Mal and Bhai Rai Jodh. In order to commemorate the victory, a tank called Guru Sar was built on the spot.

The Guru went for a repose at Kangar and soon returned to Kartarpur. After a while a war broke between the Sikhs and the Mughals. This time the cause was Painde Khan. He went to Subedar of Jullundhur, Qutab Khan, and then both of them went to the Emperor and induced him to despatch a strong force against the Guru. Kale Khan, the brother of Mukhlis Khan, was given a command of fifty thousand men. Qutab Khan, Painde Khan, Anwar Khan and Asman Khan were commissioned to fight under Kale Khan. Bhai Bidhi Chand, Bhai Jati Mal, Bhai Lakhu, and Bhai Rai Jodh ranged their troops on the four sides of Kartarpur. The imperial army chiefs advanced against them. The Pathans were, however, powerless against the brave Sikhs who were fighting for their religion and their Guru. Bidhi Chand engaged with Kale Khan, and Baba Gurditta, Guru's eldest son, with Asman Khan. Even Tegh Bahadur (later on the ninth Guru) who was only fourteen years old, had shown feats of valor in the field. Painde Khan with drawn sword confronted the Guru and used profane words for the Master. In the words of Mohsin Fani, a Muslim historian of that time, the Guru addressed him, "Painde Khan, why use such words when the sword is in your hand. Brave as you are my boy, come I give you full leave to strike first. I have no grudge against you. But you are full of wrath. You can wreak your rage by striking the first blow." Painde Khan aimed a heavy blow at the Guru but it was parried off. He was allowed again to strike but in vain. Infuriated with his double failure, he gave a third blow but the Guru was able to avoid it. The Master then urged him, "Come, my boy, I will teach you how to strike. Not your way but this..." Saying this he gave him such strong blow that Painde Khan fell on the ground mortally wounded. From this blow he seemed to have regained his old sense of discipleship. The Guru told him, "Thou art a Musalman. Now is the time to repeat your kalma (creed)." Painde Khan replied, "O Guru, your sword is my kalma and my source of salvation." The Guru on seeing him dying was filled with pity, and putting his shield over his face so as to shade it from the sun, he said, "Painde Khan though men spoke ill of you, I forgot all your failings but the evil destiny misled you so much that you brought an army against me. It is your own acts of ingratitude and insolence that have led to your death at my hands. Though you have been ungrateful and untrue to your salt, I pray the Almighty to grant you forgiveness." After all his chiefs were slain, Kale Khan confronted the Guru. He discharged an arrow which whizzed past him. A second arrow grazed the Guru's forehead, and drops of blood bespattered his face. The Guru remarked, "Kale Khan, I have seen your science. Now see mine." At this he discharged an arrow which killed Kale Khan's horse. The Guru thought it a point of honor also to dismount and offer his adversary a choice of arms. Sparks of fire issued from clash of sword to sword. The Guru parried all his strokes and commented, "Not thus, this is the way to fence." He then dealt Kale Khan a blow with his two-edged scimitar which severed his head from his body. On this the imperial soldiers fled for their lives. Bidhi Chand and Jati Mal shouted slogans of victory. It is said that several thousand Mohammadans were killed while only seven hundred of the Guru's brave Sikhs lost their lives in this battle. It ended on the 24th day of Harh, Sambat 1691 (1634 CE). Guru Har Gobind fought and won four battles. Since the Guru's purpose had always been defensive, he did not acquire even an inch of territory as a result of these victories. However this effected a great change in the character of the Sikhs who, side by side of their rosaries, girded up their loins and buckled on their swords in defence of their faith. A new spirit of heroism was risen in the land to resist the mighty and unjust power of the Mughal government who had embarked upon the policy of religious discrimination against non-Muslim subject. The Guru was looked upon by the Sikhs not only a divine messenger but as an accomplished swordsman, a hero and thorough master of the war.