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Battle of Chamkaur (1704)

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Battle of Chamkaur
Part of Mughal-Sikh Wars
Date December 6, 1704
Location Near the village of Chamkaur
Result Mughal Victory.[1][2] Gobind singh escaped unhurt
Belligerents
Mughal Empire Nishan Sahib.svg Khalsa
Commanders and leaders
Wazir Khan Nishan Sahib.svg Gobind Singh
Strength
Unknown Less than 50
(Gobind Singh, Ajit Singh, Sahibzada Jujhar Singh, Panj Piare, 40 Sikhs)
Casualties and losses
Unknown 44 killed. Bhai Himmat Singh, Bhai Mohkam Singh, Bhai Sahib Singh Sahibzada Ajit Singh, Sahibzada Jujhar Singh were killed.

The Battle of Chamkaur, also known as Battle of Chamkaur Sahib, was fought between the Khalsa led by Gobind Singh and the Mughal forces led by Wazir Khan. Gobind Singh makes a reference to this battle in his victory letter Zafarnama.

Preamble to the battle

After Gobind Singh left Anandpur on the night of December 5 and 6, 1704,[3] 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.[4]

Despite giving assurance of safe conduct, the Mughals soldiers were looking for Guru Gobind Singh, to take his head as a trophy. After learning that the party of Sikhs had taken shelter in the haveli, they laid siege upon it.[4] The actual battle is said to have taken place outside the haveli where the Guru was resting.[4] Negotiations broke down and the Sikh soldiers chose to engage the overwhelming Mughal forces, thus allowing their Guru to escape. A gurmatta or consensus amongst the Sikhs compelled Gobind Singh to obey the will of the majority and escape by cover of night. It is alleged that the Sikh warriors were able to engage the Mughal troops in majority due to training in the Sikh martial art of Shastarvidya. All the Sikhs guarding the Guru were killed in the battle.

Zafarnama

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 versions.[5]

Aftermath

After finding out that the Guru had escaped, the Mughals started searching the woods and the area surrounding Chamkaur.[2]

The Mughals hastily chased after the Guru once they realised he had escaped. Guru Gobind Singh made a last stand [6] against the Mughals at Muktsar,[citation needed] but by then Aurangzeb had started to sue for peace.[7] The Battle of Muktsar was the last battle fought by Guru Gobind Singh.

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[8] ... 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.[9]

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[10] and lies.

References

  1. ^ Louis E. Fenech, The Sikh Zafar-namah of Guru Gobind Singh, (Oxford University Press, 2013), 66; "The Ẓafar-nāmah in this light assumes the form of an intriguing tautology: certainly the Guru was routed by Mughal forces at both Anandpur and Chamkaur; put bluntly, he and his Sikh were militarily defeated and left scattered.
  2. ^ a b "Chamkaur Sahib". Retrieved September 24, 2013. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ a b c Gurmukh Singh. "Chamkaur Sahib". Encyclopaedia of Sikhism. Punjabi University Patiala. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  5. ^ Major Nahar Singh Jawandha (2010). Glimpses of Sikhism. New Delhi, India: Sandun Publishers. p. 48. ISBN 978-93-8021-325-5. 
  6. ^ Singh, Prof Satbir (2004) [1973]. Purakh Bhagwant (biography of Guru Gobind Singh). Mai Heeran Gate Jalandhar India: New Book Company. p. 203. 
  7. ^ Singh, Prof Satbir (2004) [1973]. "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। 
  8. ^ Singh, Guru Gobind. "Zafarnamah stanza 42" (PDF). Zafarnama.com. Retrieved 24 September 2013. 
  9. ^ Singh, Guru Gobind. "Zafarnamah English translation stanza 42". Sikhs.org. Retrieved September 24, 2013. 
  10. ^ Singh, Guru Gobind. "Zafarnama stanza 45" (PDF). zafarnama.com. Retrieved September 24, 2013. 

External links