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New Light on the Martyrdom of Guru Arjun Dev

Dr Kirpal Singh

Note to Jahangir's Tuzk
It is customary for historians to rely on the notations in Emperor Jahangir's diary about his resolve to shut down “the shop of false hood”, Dukan-i-batil, as he described the Sikh faith. Dr Kirpal Singh, the noted historian questions the veracity of Jahangir's sources of information about the role of Guru Arjun Dev ji in his alleged efforts to go to bless and his assistance to the fugitive prince Khusro during his flight from the wrath and pursuit of Imperial forces.

– Editor

For quite some time it has been customary to quote Tuzk-e-Jahangiri extensively on the execution of Guru Arjun Dev. No doubt, it is a primary source for this significant event but everything narrated relating to the Guru Arjun Dev may not be taken as true. There are many assertions made therein which do not prove to be correct. It had been stated in Tuzk-e-Jahangiri that, “At last when Khusrau passed along this road this insignificant fellow proposed to wait upon him. Khusrau happened to halt at the place where he was and he came out and did homage to him. He behaved to Khusrau in certain special way and made on his forehead a finger mark in saffron which the Indian call ‘qashqa’ and is considered propitious. (Alexander Rogers Translation, Vol. I, p 72)

It has been stated in Tuzk-e-Jahangiri that Guru Arjun went to a particular place where Prince Khusrau was staying and paid homage to him. It is wrong because Guru Arjun never went out of his residence at Taran Tarn where he was staying at the time Khusrau passed that way after his severe defeat in the battle of Bharowal which was near Goindwal. As stated in Tuzk-e-Jahangiri, the battle was fought on 15 April 1606 viz 16, Ze-ul-Haj, 1046 AH.

Dr Vir Singh and Dr Ganda Singh, both are of the opinion that Khusrau did not see Guru Arjun which does not appears to be correct. For that we have to study the details of Khusrau's movements between rivers Beas and Ravi.

According to Shahjahan Namah, the contemporary Persian source, when Khusrau crossed river Beas, a large number of men joined his forces with the result that his army rose to ten to twelve thousand. For this reason, Khusrau hastened to Lahore so that he could capture the fort of Lahore. So Khusrau could not conquer the fort. He besieged the fort for nine days and after that he decided to block the way of the Imperial army pursuing him. Khusrau had planned to check Murtaza Khan and not to allow him to cross the river Beas. So from Lahore he marched towards Beas to block the way of his opponent but by that time when he reached Bharowal, Murtaza Khan’s forces had also arrived there. Bharowal is near Goindwal - hardly five to six kms on the road to Taran Tarn. The battle was fought at Bharowal. Murtaza Khan’s forces fought most bravely. As has been described in Iqbal Namah Jehangiri, another Persian contemporary source that the royal army played a trick. The captain sent some of his soldiers in disguise to Khusrau's army to excite the people by the rumour of Emperor’s crossing the river with very big army. To confirm it many trumpets and drums were sounded and beaten to show that the King had arrived.

It may be stated that the same day Emperor Jahangir crossed the river Beas with very big army. The followers of the Prince were frightened and deserted him. Many were slain in pursuit. The details of this battle had been given by Mohmit Khan in Iqbal Namah Jahangiri who was with Murtaza Khan fighting against Khusrau. This battle resulted in severe defeat of Khusrau. Dr Ishwar Prasad has described the battle in the following words:

“The battle was fought at Bharowal in which rebels were severely defeated. About four hundred of them were slain in the battle and those that survived were terribly frightened. Khusrau himself escaped from the field of battled and his box containing jewellery and other precious articles fell in the hand of imperialists. But he was not yet safe.”

After being defeated and deprived of his treasure and valuables he want to Guru Arjun at Taran Tarn which was about 20 kms from the battlefield.

This is confirmed by our traditional source, Mahima Parkash (1776 AD). It has been stated there “Bhaga aaya ik shehzada” (Prince after running from the battlefield came to the Guru) and he presented something to the Guru and told the Guru his miserable plight. Guru took pity on him as such he offered him food but he was afraid that he was being pursued by huge army and he needed money to feed his soldiers. He was given a small amount to feed his followers. He went away during the night vuz the 15th of April 1606 AD.

Now the question arises why the intelligence service of the Emperor did not inform the meeting of Khusaru with the Guru. After the severe defeat, everybody was convinced that Khusrau would be caught and arrested. And he could not escape the wrath of the Emperor. Therefore, nobody took serious note about him.

Next day Khusrau was arrested while crossing the river Chenab.
Thus Guru Arjun only helped the hungry prince as per Sikh traditions. he had no intention to help the Prince and join politics as Hafiz had stated:

Ramoz-e-saltnat Khusarwan danand
Tu ghosha nashini Afafiza makhrosh.

(The secrets of the empire are known to the Kings. Hafiz you are only a faqir (ghosha nashini) do not speak.)



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