Sunday, May 26, 2024

Veer Bal – The Unsung Sacrifices

Written By Ojas Koneripura (Grade 11)

The December of 1704 marked the beginning and the end of the Battle of Chamkaur. A battle that portrayed bravery of young princes towards their motherland and religion and a battle that shook the Mughals to their roots. A battle that showed the cowardice and the fear of the Mughals because of the unmoved opposition of the princes.

Under the rule of Aurangzeb, the Mughal army was led by Wazir Khan, a chief in the Battle of Chamkaur. The Mughal forces and the Sikh forces under the leadership of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs clashed swords on the 21st of December, 1704. The battle took place for three days. The Mughal forces were allied with the Rajputs. The Sikhs who were led by Guru Gobind Singh were small in number, just 40, fought from a small haveli (house), as compared to the coalition of the Rajputs and the Mughals, who were in thousands.

In the battle, Guru Gobind Singh’s elder two sons, Ajit Singh and Jujhar Singh were martyred. Guru Gobind Singh escaped and his 40 men killed. In his letter, Zafarnama, to Aurangazeb he states that Aurangazeb promised on the Quran that the Guru and his 40 disciples were allowed to take a route without anyone interfering or attacking them. But Aurangazeb, being the man he was, broke his vow, and attacked the Guru and his 40 disciples from all sides. In the Zafarnama, Guru Gobind Singh states, “Mara etbare barin qasam nesat. Ki ezad gavah ast o yazdan yakesat, which means, “No longer do I believe in your words veracity, the one and only one sovran let my witness be.He also continues by saying “Na qatrah mara etbare barosat. Ki bakfshi va divan hamah kizab-gosat”,which means “I do not trust a little bit that king at all, whose ministers and Generals are liars all.” Guru Gobind Singh describes the battle scene like, “Gursanah chi kiire kunad chiha nar. Ki dah ak bar iiyad bam bekhabar”; “What can they do, the forty famished men, when attacked suddenly by a million foemen”. Guru Gobind Singh also describes the scene where the house they took defence in was plundered. “Har an kas zi divare amad brun bakhurdan yake tir sbud gbarke khun. Ki berfin na iimad kase zan divar. Na khurdand tir o na gasbhand khuar” which means, “Whosoever the safety of the wall there left, drowned in his own blood by an arrow cleft. From the shelter of the wall then emerged no one. None received an arrow, neither was harmed any one.”

After the war, the two younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh, Zorawar Singh (8-9 years old) and Fateh Singh (6-7 years old) were captured alive with their grandmother, Mata Gujri Kaur. They were imprisoned in a very cold tower, and were given not a single blanket to keep them warm. When the two young brothers were taken to Wazir Khan, the Mughal General in the Battle of Chamkaur, he laid out conditions in front of them. He said that if the brothers accepted and converted to Islam, they would be given respect, money and high ranks in the administration. The young warriors stood strong, unmoved by such a cheap offer. Wazir Khan gave the young brave hearts 3 days of time to think about the offer. On the last day, when Wazir Khan put forth the same offer, the young boys remembered their grandfather, Guru Teg Bahadur, who was beheaded openly in Chandni Chowk by Aurangazeb, because he upheld his faith in his religion and rejected the offer to convert to Islam. They could never be forgiven by anyone if they gave up on their religion just to live a mere life under their enemy. The princes, without any slight hesitation said a bold “NO!” to Wazir Khan’s offer, and shouted “Wahe Guruji ki Khalsa, Wahe Guruji ki Fateh!” 

An annoyed and disrespected Wazir Khan gave orders to brick the boys alive. The boys were made to stand alongside each other and the masons started to erect a wall tight around them. The young, fiery boys stood strong when they were repeatedly offered to convert to Islam. It is said that when the wall reached the shoulders of the two, it collapsed. The boys were then mercilessly taken out, laid on the ground and slain. Thus, came the end of the ‘veer bal’, who stood their ground, who stood unmoved to such pressuring offers of the General, who stood true to their religion their Gurus, who stood brave and fearless.

It is a shame that these stories don’t even get a mention in history textbooks whereas the same old glorified, out of proportion, history of the Islamic invasions and Mughals is repeated. Everyone celebrates Christmas on 25th December, but the importance of 26th of December has been repeatedly thrown to the winds. It is only now, from a few years ago the day has gained importance, but not yet the fame and importance it ought to gain. This historical event has to be taught to the children of the current generation. Staying brave, truthful to their identity and other important qualities expressed by Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh must and should be remembered and taught rightfully to every child. To remain truthful to one’s religion, family, faith, history, promise takes a lot of courage. And given the fact that they were just 9 and 6 years old is something mind-blowing and every kid has to be given examples of them instead of western personalities as our country by itself has history more than any western countries combined.

Featured Image Courtesy – Shwetank’s Pad

Ojas Koneripura
Ojas Koneripura
A history-freak and a passionate researcher of India's untold history!


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