Gursikhs from the Past

Bhai Sukha Singh & Bhai Mehtab Singh

The Mughal government had started an all-out campaign against the Sikhs. As a result most of the Sikhs had left the plains. They had taken shelter in places like the Shivalik hills jungles and sandy deserts. Sometimes however they used to come out of their hiding and make their presence felt. One such occasion was Nadir Sash's invasion of India. Nadir Shah of Persia had overrun the Punjab and plundered Delhi in the early months of 1739. On the way back he decided to avoid the heat of the plains. So he took a northerly route under the Shivalik hills.

A number of Sikhs were passing their days in those hills. They decided to plunder the invader and plunderer. They fell on the rear of the hindermost part of his army. They took away much of his booty. This action astonished Nadir Shah. He called a halt at Lahore. He enquired from Zakriya Khan 'Who are these people who have dared to interfere with my onward march ? Who are these bold mischief-makers ?' Zakriya Khan replied 'They are a group of fakirs. They visit their Guru's tank at Amritsar twice a year. After bathing they disappear.' 'Where do they live ?' asked Nadir Shah. 'Their saddles are their homes' replied the governor. 'Take care' said Nadir Shah the day is not far off when they will take possession of your country.'

'Nadir Shah's remark cut Zakriya Khan to the quick. He resolved to intensify his campaign against the Sikhs. He re-started the practice of offering rewards for their capture and destruction. Thousands of Sikhs were killed. Soon the plains seemed to have been cleared of them. However another action still was taken against them. The Darbar Sahib of Amritsar was occupied. Its approaches were guarded by military pickets. The latter prevented the Sikhs from assembling in their favorite sacred place. Massa Ranghar of Mandiali was put in charge of the Darbar Sahib. He was the most active of the Chaudries engaged in capturing and destroying Sikhs. The inmost Gurdwara was turned into a notch-house (dance hall). He used to smoke and drink and enjoy the dance of public women there. The news of this disrespectful used of the sacred Gurdwara was conveyed by some persons to a party of Sikhs living in Jaipur Rajputana. One of those Sikhs was Bhai Mehtab Singh. He was a GurSikh of Mirankot near Amritsar. He was astonished at the news. He said to the messenger "You have heard of this outrage to the sacred place and yet you still live and go about telling the news to others ! Why was not Massa killed then and there ? Is there no Sikh left ?" 'No 'replied the messenger. 'There is no Sikh there with a greater sense of honor then those who have run away to places like Jaipur in order to save their lives.' Bhai Mehtab Singh was a strong bodied brave young man. The messenger's taunt stung him like a scorpion. He stood up at once took his sword and said 'I shall go and cut off Massa's head with this sword and bring it here. He saddled his horse and got ready to gallop away. Bhai Sukha Singh of Mari Kambo offered to go with him. Both galloped off towards Amritsar. When they arrived close to the sacred city they disguised themselves as Muhammadans. They filled two bags with well rounded pieces of broken earthen pots. Each of them placed one of the bags before him on the horse. They looked like Muhammadan Lambardars come to pay their land revenue."

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