Battle of Chamkaur

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Battle of Chamkaur
Part of Mughal-Sikh Wars
Date December 21, 1704
Location Near the village of Chamkaur
Result Sikh Victory
Belligerents
 Mughal Empire Nishan Sahib.svgKhalsa
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the Mughal Empire.svg Wazir Khan Nishan Sahib.svg Guru Gobind Singh
Strength
1000 40
Casualties and losses
Unknown 37

The Battle Of Chamkaur or also known as Battle Of Chamkaur Sahib was a battle fought between the Khalsa led by Guru Gobind Singh against the Mughal forces led by Wazir Khan, who was send by Aurangzeb the Emperor of India. Guru Gobind Singh makes a reference to this battle in Zafarnamah. He tells how one million soldiers of Mughal troops attacked his 40 men.[1]

Preamble to the battle[edit]

After the Guru left Anandpur on the night of December 6 to 7, 1705,[2] they had crossed the Sarsa river and stopped in Chamkaur. They asked permission of the city chief for shelter to rest for the night in their garhi or haveli. The older brother thought giving him shelter would be dangerous so he refused. But the younger brother gave permission to let them stay there for the night.[citation needed]

Despite giving assurance of safe conduct, the Mughals soldiers were looking for Guru Gobind Singh. After learning that the party of Sikhs had taken shelter in the haveli, they laid siege upon it.[citation needed]

The Mughals forces have been described as numbering over 1,000,000.[1] The Guru only commanded an unknown number of solidiers on the eve of the battle. The actual battle is said to have taken place outside a mudfort where the Guru was resting.[citation needed] Negotiations broke down and the Sikh soldiers chose to engage the overwhelming Mughal forces, thus asking their Guru to escape. A "Gurmatta" amongst the Sikhs compelled Guru Gobind Singh to obey the will of the Panj Piyare and leave by cover of night (In Sikhism, Panj Piyare hold the authority to issue commands relating to all temporal matters of the Sikh Panth). All the Sikhs guarding the Guru were killed in the battle except the 3 who left with the Guru.

Zafarnama[edit]

Zafarnama or "Epistle of Victory" is a letter that was written by Guru Gobind Singh to the then Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Zafarnama vividly describes what happened at Chamkaur, and also holds Aurangzeb responsible for what occurred and promises he broke:

13: Aurangzeb! I have no trust in your oaths anymore. (You have written that) God is one and that He is witness (between us).
14: I don't have trust equivalent to even a drop (of water) in your generals (who came to me with oaths on Quran that I will be given safe passage out of Anandgarh Fort). They were all telling lies.
15: If anyone trusts (you) on your oath on Quran, that person is bound to be doomed in the end.

After his escape from Chamkaur, the exhausted Guru is said to have been carried by two Pathans, (Ghani Khan and Nabi Khan), to Jatpur where he was received by the local Muslim chieftain. He later went to Dina, and stayed at Bhai Desa Singh's house, where he is said to have written "Zafarnama" in Persian, in 111 couplets.[3]

The end of the battle[edit]

On December 7, 1705, at first light, officers of the Mughal horde, Khwaja Muhammad and Nahar Khan, sent a messenger with terms of treaty demanding submission to Islamic law, which the Guru, his sons and other warriors unanimously declined. Ajit Singh reacted with outrage vehemently demanding the emissary be silent and return to his masters. The Mughal officers ordered their troupes to attack the Guru's vastly outnumbered warriors. The Guru's solidiers responded but their small store of arrows and ammunition quickly expended and by late afternoon hand to hand combat remained their only option. Two Mughal officers, Nahar Khan and Ghairat Khan, and many of their soldiers died attempting to breach the compound. The Sikh warrior held back and prevented all out invasion of the fortress.

Aftermath[edit]

After finding out that Guru Gobind Singh had escaped, the Mughals started searching the woods and the area surrounding Chamkaur.[4] Guru Gobind Singh made a last stand [5] against the Mughals at Muktsar,[citation needed] however, by then Aurangzeb had started to sue for peace.[6][citation needed] The Battle of Muktsar was the last battle fought by Guru Gobind Singh where the pursuing Mughal army was decisively defeated.

There he wrote Zafarnamah, ("the epistle of victory"), a letter to Aurangzeb in which he wrote

CHIRAG-E JAHAAN CHUN SHOD-E BURKA POSH SHAH-E SHAB BAR-AAMAD HAMEH JALWA JOSH

[7]

... But still when the lamp of daylight (sun) set and the queen of night (moon) came up, then my protector (God) gave me passage and I escaped safely, not even a hair on my body was harmed.

[8]

The Guru emphasised how he was proud that his sons had died fighting in battle, and that he had 'thousands of sons – the Singhs'. He also said that he would never trust Aurengzeb again due to his broken promises [9] and lies.

See also[edit]

Bhai Jiwan Singh

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ralhan, O.P (1997). The Great Gurus Of The Sikhs. Anmol Publications PVT LTD. p. 154. ISBN 81-7488-479-3. ... the word used to describe the number of Mughal soldiers is "Dahlakh". It is a Persian word and historians translate it meaning as "infinite" or "Ten Lakh". 
  2. ^ Singha, H. S (2000). The encyclopedia of Sikhism (over 1000 entries). Hemkunt Press. p. 43. ISBN 978-81-7010-301-1. Retrieved December 22, 2011. 
  3. ^ Major Nahar Singh Jawandha (2010). Glimpses of Sikhism. New Delhi, India: Sandun Publishers. p. 48. ISBN 978-93-8021-325-5. 
  4. ^ "Chamkaur Sahib". Retrieved 24 September 2013. 
  5. ^ Singh, Prof Satbir (1973 (First time) ,2004). Purakh Bhagwant (biography of Guru Gobind Singh). Mai Heeran Gate Jalandhar India: New Book Company. p. 203.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  6. ^ Singh, Prof Satbir (1973First time, 2004). "Chamkaur ton Mukatsar". Purakh Bhagwant(Biography of Guru Gobind Singh) (in Punjabi). Mai Heeran Gate Jalandhar, India: New Book Company. p. 200. ਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਦਾ ਪੱਤਰ ਪੜ੍ਹਨ ਉਪਰੰਤ ਉਸ ਨੇ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਦੇ ਹਾਕਮਾਂ ਪਾਸ ਹਿਦਾਇਤਾਂ ਭੇਜੀਆਂ ਕਿ ਉਹ ਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਨਾਲ ਸਿਦਕ ਸਫ਼ਾਈ ਨਾਲਪੇਸ਼ ਆਉਣ।  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  7. ^ Singh, Guru Gobind. "Zafarnamah stanza 42". Zafarnama.com. Retrieved 24 September 2013. 
  8. ^ Singh, Guru Gobind. "Zafarnamah English translation stanza 42". Sikhs.org. Retrieved 24 September 2013. 
  9. ^ Singh, Guru Gobind. "Zafarnama stanza 45". zafarnama.com. Retrieved 24 September 2013. 

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