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Pilgrimage To Emnabad

Discussion in 'Blogs' started by dalvindersingh grewal, Apr 3, 2017.

  1. dalvindersingh grewal

    dalvindersingh grewal India
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    Writer Historian SPNer Contributor

    Jan 3, 2010
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    Pilgrimage to Emnabad

    Dr Dalvinder Singh Grewal

    We reached Eminabad from Kartarpur very late on 19 November 2016 as the road was being expanded to four-lane. Eminabad(32°2`N, 74°16`E) then called Sayydpur is an ancient town in Gujranwala district of Pakistan. Tuzk-i-Babari makes a mention of Saidpur Saloi. Tuzk-i-Babari makes a mention of Saidpur Saloi. At the time of Sher Shah Suri, the town was named Shergarh. At the time of Akbar in A.D. 1582, Muhammad Amin Karori gave the town his own name and it came to be called Eminabad. Guru Nanak is stated to have visited the place three times: two times before he started his first journey and third time while he returned from fourth Udasi. According to Bhai Bala Janam Sakhi [1] after leaving Sultanpur and before setting out on his long travels, Guru Nanak, accompanied by Bhai Mardana, first visited Eminabad where Bhai Lalo, a carpenter by profession, became his Sikh. Gurdwara Rori Sahib, half a kilometer northwest of the town, marks the site where, according to tradition, Guru Nanak after the destruction of the town had stayed with Bhai Lalo.
    According to Bhai Gurdas, Varan, Vaar I. 24, Rori Sahib is the place where the Guru did his hard penance on pebbles. The Guru used to sit and lie on a hard bed of small stones (rori in Punjabi). This was the premier Gurdwdra of the town. The multi-storied building was set on fire by a mob of zealots soon after the partition of the Punjab on 15 August 1947. It was later restored by Pakistan government.

    Gurdwara Rori Sahib is the place where the Guru did his meditation on pebbles. It is located 2 kilometers south east of the present day Eminabad and one and a half kilometer of the centre of the village called Talab. The Guru used to sit and lie on a hard bed of small stones (rori in Punjabi) during meditation as alluded to in Bhai Gurdas, Varan, I. 24. It is half a kilometer northwest of the town and also marks the site where, according to tradition, after the destruction of the town Guru Nanak had stayed with Bhai Lalo. The Sikh tradition strongly subscribes to a meeting in 1520 AD between Guru Nanak and Babar during the latter's invasion of Saidpur, now called Eminabad. The town was taken by assault, the garrison put to the sword and the inhabitants carried into captivity. According to Sikh legends it so happened that Guru Nanak had embarked on the fourth of his preaching tours and had reached the City by foot shortly before it was sacked. During the sack of the City, Guru Nanak was cast into a prison and put to the task of grinding corn for the army of the invaders. The a large millstone is stated to be moving automatically, which was shown to Babur who immediately order release of Guru Nanak. According to the Puratan Janam Sakhi, Guru Nanak and Mardana, also among the captives, were ordered to be taken to prison as slaves. The Guru was given a load to carry and Mardana a horse to lead. But Mir Khan, says the Janam Sakhi, saw that the Guru's bundle was carried without any support and Mardana’s horse followed him without the reins. He reported this to Sultan Babar who remarked, "If there was such a holy man here, the town should not have been destroyed." The Janam Sakhi continues, "Babar kissed his (Guru Nanak) feet. He said, 'On the face of this faqir one sees God Himself.' Then all the people, Hindus and Muslims, began to make their salutations. The king spoke again, 'O dervish, accept something'. The Guru answered, 'I take nothing, but you must release all the prisoners of Saidpur and restore their property to them'. King Babar ordered, 'Those who are in detention be released and their property be returned to them'. All the prisoners of Saidpur were set at liberty." This was the premier Gurdwara of the town. The multi-storied building was set on fire by a mob of zealots soon after the partition of the Punjab on 15 August 1947. It was later restored by Pakistan government. Now an impressive Gurdwara with an equally impressive gateway stands at the place of pebbles (Rori) with a large sarovar, guava trees and flower beds and the building has been well renovated by the Government.

    Chakki Sahib, inside the town, preserved as a relic a stone mill which was believed to be the one which Guru Nanak was made to ply during his brief period of captivity. This Gurdwara is situated in the heaet of Eminabad town where Baber’s army had taken guru Nanak as prisoner and the Baber having realized the miraculous impact of Guru Nanak freed him with dignity and honour. Gurdwara is now famous as Gurdwara Chakki Sahib

    Gurdwara Khuhi Bhai Lalo, also inside the town, marked the house and the well (khuhi, in Punjabi) belonging to Bhai Lalo where Guru Nanak had first met him. The Guru proceeded a second time to Eminabad, where he again visited Bhai Lalo. He declined the invitation of Malik Bhago for a special meal but on insistence showed him ‘what is the truthful and just earning what is earned through evil means’. Lalo complained to him of the oppression of the Pathans, who were leading a luxurious life caring little for others. The Guru replied that their dominion should be brief, as Babar was on his way for the conquest of India.
    Devastation of Saidpur by Babur

    Third time from Gorakh Hatri Guru Nanak travelled via Hasan Abdal and Tilla Bal Gudain to reach Saidpur. When the Guru reached Bhai Lalo’s place, he saw that the town he had earlier put up in had been devastated. Houses had been destroyed and there were ruins all around. Bhai Lalo lived on the outskirts of the town. He told him that the devastation occurred when the Mughals invaded it. The people put up resistance but it was futile. Those who resisted were killed. The Mughals destroyed the town and made women and children captives. Bhai Lalo also told the Guru how the Hindu and Muslim women and children prayed in the hour of crisis. The Mughal soldiers paid no heed and captured them.

    Guru Nanak listened to this all with rapt attention. He had returned from Khorasan (North West Afghanistan was then called Khorasan) and Kabul which was Babur’s capital town. He had already heard of Babur’s invasion on India. After listening to the plight of Saidpur from Bhai Lalo, the Guru told him that Mir Zahir-ud-Din Babur had conquered some areas of Khorasan and made Kabul his capital. Now he has been making repeated attempts to conquer India. He has been responsible for the devastation and ruin of Saidpur. Seeing the devastation the Guru uttered the following hymn:

    Khorasan Khasmana kia Hidustan draia:

    Most of the writers including many Sikhs say that seeing this horrible scene, the Guru appealed in anguish to the Almighty when he said:

    'Eti mar pai kurlane tai ki dard na aaya.' (Asa Mohalla 1, p-360)

    And they translate the above verse as:

    'When there was such slaughter and lamentation,
    didst not Thou, O God, feel pain?'

    Let us examine the correctness of this. Did the Guru make such an anguished appeal to God or not?

    A. In the very first stanza (pauri) of japji on the very first page of Guru Granth Sahib, Guru Nanak says:

    'Hukam rajai chalna Nanak likhia nal.'

    'O Nanak thus runs the Writ Divine, The righteous path, let it be Yours.'

    Again in Asa Mohalla 5, page 394, it is stated:

    'Tera kia meetha lagei, Har nam padarth Nanak mangei.'

    'Sweet be Thy Will, My Lord Nanak beseeches the gift of Naam.'

    The above quotations mean that whatever happens in life; should be willfully accepted. In the house of Guru Nanak, there is no room for tears or cries. There is no place for appeal before the Divine Writ. One must embrace God's Will as the sweetest gift of life. This is the first lesson preached by Guru Nanak to the humanity in Japji. How could then the Guru go into anguish? Does the Divine Jot also feel anguish?

    B. The Guru assures that a true devotee's prayers are always answered by the Almighty and are accepted by Him: 'Nanak dass mukh te jo bolai eeha uha sach howai.' (Dhanasri Mohalla 5, p-681)

    'Whatever God's servant, Nanak, utters shall prove to be true both in this world and the next.'

    Being embodiment of Divine Light, if the Guru had appealed to the Almighty, He should have accepted his appeal and should have punished Baber. History reminds us that Baber's dynasty was rather blessed with a rule for seven generations.

    The Guru had reached Eminabad before Baber's attack on the city, and he uttered the Sabad given below in which he told Lalo about the oncoming massacre. He had warned some people to leave the city and they actually did:

    'As the word of the Lord occurs to me, so do I narrate it, O Lalo,
    Bringing a bridal procession of sin, Baber has came hastily from Kabul

    and demandeth wealth as his bride, O Lalo;
    Modesty and religion have vanished, falsehood marchs in vain, O Lalo;
    They sing the paean of murder, O Nanak, and smear themselves with the saffron of blood.
    Nanak sings the praises of the Lord in the city of corpses and utters this commonplace-
    He who made men, assigned them different positions,

    He sits apart alone and regards them.
    True is the Lord, true His decision, true the justice He meets out as an example.
    Bodies shall be cut like shreds of cloth;
    Hindustan will remember what I say. (Tilang Mohalla 1, p-722)

    In view of the above analysis, it seems quite evident that the Guru did not appeal to God, but addressed that Sabad to Baber, who then fell on the feet of the Guru and asked for forgiveness.

    Baber wrote in his memoirs, ‘The inhabitants of Saidpur were put to sword, their wives and children carried into captivity and all their property plundered. Many people were killed and most of the rest were taken as prisoners by the Baber's army. It is said that the Guru along with his minstrel Mardana, were also taken to the concentration camp. The prisoners were given hand mills to grind the corn. The Guru asked Mardana to play on his rebec and he then started kirtan. As the Divine Sabad was sung- all the prisoners came and sat around the Guru, every grinding mill started working automatically. On seeing this supernatural phenomenon, the guards stood spell-bound and they sent the word to Baber, who came and witnessed the whole scene with his own eyes. Baber was wonder-stuck and asked the Guru if he could offer him anything. Boldly replied the Guru:
    'Hear, O Baber Mir; Foolish is the Fakir,
    Who begs anything of thee; Whose own hunger has not appeased.'
    Baber said, ‘O holy man, I see God in your face. I will do anything you ask for.

    The Guru then uttered the following Sabad and put most of the blame of killings on Baber:

    'Thou ruled over Khorasan; Now thou terrified Hindustan (India),
    He has sent you the Mughal as a messenger of death,
    Has slaughter and lamentations awakened no compassion in thee?
    The Creator is the Supreme Lord,
    If a strong man beats another strong man no feelings of resentment arise;
    But if a ravening lion falls on a herd, its master should show his manliness.
    (Asa Mohalla 1, page 360)

    This is the Sabad which other writers have attributed to as Guru's appeal to God. In actuality, this was Guru placing the blame on Baber. The Guru asked Baber, when his army fell like a lion on these innocent men, women and children, did he feel any pain for them.

    Baber was overtaken by remorse. A new moral and spiritual consciousness was awakened in him, and he fell on the feet of the Guru. He asked the Guru to be gracious unto him. (History has revealed that kings were always afraid of the curses of the holy men).

    The Guru replied, ‘O Emperor, If you desire kindness, set all thy captives free’.

    Baber agreed on the condition that his empire should be blessed by the Guru and should be allowed to continue for generations. The Guru promised, ‘Your Empire shall remain for a long time’. Upon this the Emperor ordered all the prisoners be set free. Baber then asked the Guru for instructions to rule. The Guru explained, ‘Deliver just judgment, reverence for holy men, forswear wine and gambling. The monarch who indulges in these vices shall, if he survives, bewail his misdeeds. Be merciful to the vanquished, and worship God in spirit and in truth’.

    Now the question is why was Baber blessed with kingdoms instead of being punished? The Gurbani (Divine Word) says: ‘'Jo saran awai tis kanth lawai eho birdh swamy sanda.' (Bihagra Mohalla 5,p-544)

    'God embraces him who seeks His protection; this is the characteristic of the Lord.'

    The Guru tells us that the characteristic of his Master (God) is such that whosoever begs His pardon falls on His feet for forgiveness, He embraces him. Since Guru Nanak himself was the embodiment of Divine Spirit, he pardoned Baber when he sought for forgiveness, and he blessed him with a boon of Mughal dynasty which continued for a long time.

    Guru Nanak and Mardana set out from Saidpur and arrived at Talwandi. They stayed there for some time. Bhai Mardana took time to meet his family. The parents of Guru Nanak had by now grown quite old.

    Therefore, the Guru wished to spend some time with them and other members of the family just like any other householder. However, on a second thought, he took Mardana along and set out from Talwandi.

    They travelled north-west and reached Lahore. From there they went farther north-east along the Ravi for about 50 miles (80 km.) from Lahore and set up a camp there.

    Guru Nanak liked this beautiful spot on the bank of river Ravi very much. He started living there.

    In a nearby village lived aJatof Doad sub-caste. He and his wife came to the Guru daily to offer him milk. It is said that with Guru’s blessing Doad’s family flourished and became prosperous.

    It was some time after the Guru settled here, the villagers in the surrounding areas got to know that a holy man, beloved of God who sang divine hymns had established himself there. People from far and near started coming to him.

    Once a few mendicants came to see him. At that time Mardana was performing kirtan:

    “O Nanak! Falsehood is shattered only the truth remains at the end.”

    The verse stirred the inner feelings of the mendicants who started to sing the same verse by playing with pieces of reed. Wherever they went, they sang this verse. Thus, the popularity and greatness of Guru Nanak spread all around.

    When a rich man (Karoria) of this region learnt that a holy man had settled in his ilaqa and that his popularity was increasing each day, he felt jealous. He thought of ousting such a holy man from his territory.

    When he started for the Guru’s camp with this intention, his horse would not move. The ‘expedition’ had to be postponed. Next time, when the horse was readied with saddle, but at that very moment some foreign particle fell into the eye of the rich man (Karoria). He had to get off his horse. By now he was blinded by his ego. His companions advised him that he had failed in his mission twice. The fakir might be some beloved of God, and it would not be proper to harass him. At first he did not listen all this, but after some time he comprehended it. He gave up all ill- will towards the Guru.

    One day an idea struck him that he should go and see this fakir who is so popular among the masses. Therefore he went to the Guru and felt elated to see him. There was one Duni Chand another rich man (Karoria) of Lahore whom the Guru had saved with his teaching. When he learnt that the Guru had settled about 50 miles (80 km.) north-east of Lahore, he came to see the Guru and arranged to get a house constructed for the Guru as well as an inn for the visitors. Thus was founded a new village which Guru Nanak namedKartarpur.

    The Fear of You, O Lord God, is my marijuana;
    my consciousness is the pouch which holds it.
    I have become an intoxicated hermit.
    My hands are my begging bowl;
    I am so hungry for the Blessed Vision of Your Darśan.
    I beg at Your Door, day after day. || 1 ||
    I long for the Blessed Vision of Your Darśan.
    I am a beggar at Your Door - please bless me with Your charity. || 1 || Pause ||
    Saffron, flowers, musk oil and gold embellish the bodies of all.
    The Lord’s devotees are like sandalwood,
    which imparts its fragrance to everyone. || 2 ||
    No one says that ghee or silk are polluted.
    Such is the Lord’s devotee, no matter what his social status is.
    Those who bow in reverence to the Nām, the Name of the Lord,
    remain absorbed in Your Love.
    Nanak begs for charity at their door. || 3 ||
    - Guru Granth Sahib, p. 722

    Guru Nanak saw decline of the Pathans in the devastation of Saidpur. It seemed as if all grace and grandeur of the Pathan regime had ended. At this time the Guru uttered the following hymn:

    Where are the games, the stables, the horses?
    Where are the drums and the bugles?
    Where are the sword-belts and chariots?
    Where are those scarlet uniforms?
    Where are the rings and the beautiful faces?
    They are no longer to be seen here. || 1 ||
    This world is Yours; You are the Lord of the Universe.
    In an instant, You establish and disestablish.
    You distribute wealth as it pleases You. || 1 || Pause ||
    Where are the houses, the gates, the hotels and palaces?
    Where are those beautiful way-stations?
    Where are those beautiful women, reclining on their beds,
    whose beauty would not allow one to sleep?
    Where those betel are leaves, their sellers, and the Harames?
    They have vanished like shadows. || 2 ||

    For the sake of this wealth, so many were ruined;
    because of this wealth, so many have been disgraced.
    It was not gathered without sin, and it does not go along with the dead.
    Those, whom the Creator Lord would destroy - first He strips them of virtue. || 3 ||
    - Guru Granth Sahib, p. 418

    Guru Nanak stayed with Bhai Lalo for some time and then left for Talwandi.

    Baber invaded the Punjab for the third time and it was the year 1521. He sacked the town of Eminabad and subjected it to massacre, loot and rape. It was a horrible scene, which Guru Nanak himself describes that there laid in the dust, the fairy heads of the damsels and beautiful women.

    Babar's Invasion (1521 A.D)

    Third time Guru Nanak came to meet Bhai Lalo on return from Afghanistan in his fourth itinerary. Babar was soldier of fortune, founder of the Mughal dynasty in India, diarist and poet, descending in the fifth generation from Timur, was born on 14 February 1483. In June 1494, he succeeded his father, 'Umar Sheikh, as ruler of Fergana, whose revenues supported no more than a few hundred cavalry. With this force of helmeted, mail clad warriors; Babar began his career of conquest. He joined in the family struggle for power, thrice winning and thrice losing Samarkand, alternately master of a kingdom or a wanderer through the hills. In 1504, he made himself master of Kabul and so came in touch with India whose wealth was a standing temptation. In 1517 and again in 1519, he swept down the Afghan plateau into the plains of India. He entered the Punjab in 1521 on the invitation of Daulat Khan Lodhi, the governor of the province, and 'Alam Khan, an uncle of Ibrahim Lodhi, the Delhi Sultan. But, wars in his home country however, compelled Babar to return so that his final invasion was not begun until November 1525.

    Babar's army of 12,000 men was mostly undisciplined group of men who wanted to loot the riches of India. These 12,000 men, a tiny army with which to attempt the conquest of Ibrahim Lodhi's realm, first divested Punjab. Guru Nanak in his famous epic named "Babarvani" describes the atrocities of Babar and his men in Punjab.

    Babarvani (Babar's command or sway) is how the four hymns by Guru Nanak alluding to the invasions by Babar (1483-1530), are collectively known in Sikh literature. The name is derived from the use of the term in one of these hymns "Babarvani phiri gal kuiru na rot khai” -Babar's command or sway has spread; even the princes go without food" (GG, 417).

    Three of these hymns are in Asa measure at pages 360 and 417-18 of the standard recension of Sri Guru Granth Sahib and the fourth is in Tilang measure on pages 722-23.

    In his first invasion, Babar came as far as Peshawar. The following year he crossed the Indus and, conquering Sialkot without resistance, marched on Saidpur (now Eminabad, 15 km southeast of Gujranwala in Pakistan) which suffered the worst fury of the invading host. The town was taken by assault, the garrison put to the sword and the inhabitants carried into captivity. During his next invasion in 1524, Babar ransacked Lahore. His final invasion was launched during the winter of 1525-26 and he became master of Delhi after his Victory at Panipat on 21 April 1526.

    Guru Nanak was an eye-witness to the havoc created during these invasions. Janam Sakhis mention that he himself was taken captive at Saidpur. A little of his, outside of Babarwani hymns, indicates that he may have been present in Lahore when the city was given up to plunder.

    In six pithy words ‘Lahore sahr kahr sawa pehr’, he c0onveyed the horror: "For a pahar and a quarter, i.e. for nearly four hours, the city of Lahore remained subject to death and fury" (SGGS, p.1412). The mention in one of the Babarvani hymns of the use of guns by the Mughals against the Afghan defence relying mainly upon their war - elephants may well be a reference to the historic battle of Panipat which sealed the fate of the Afghan king, Ibrahim Lodhi.

    The Sikh tradition strongly subscribes to a meeting in 1520 between Guru Nanak and Babar during the latter's invasion of Saidpur, now called Eminabad, in Gujranwala district of Pakistan. The town was taken by assault, the garrison put to the sword and the inhabitants carried into captivity. According to the Puratan Janam Sakhi, Guru Nanak and Mardana, also among the captives, were ordered to be taken to prison as slaves. The Guru was given a load to carry and Mardana a horse to lead. But Mir Khan, says the Janam Sakhi, saw that the Guru's bundle was carried without any support and Mardana’s horse followed him without the reins. He reported this to Sultan Babar who remarked, "If there was such a holy man here, the town should not have been destroyed." The Janam Sakhi continues, "Babar kissed his (Guru Nanak) feet. He said, 'On the face of this fair one sees God himself.' Then all the people, Hindus and Muslims, began to make their salutations. The king spoke again, 'O dervish, accept something'. The Guru answered, 'I take nothing, but you must release all the prisoners of Saidpur and restore their property to them'. King Babar ordered, 'Those who are in detention be released and their property be returned to them'. All the prisoners of Saidpur were set at liberty"

    Babarvani hymns are not a narrative of historical events like Guru Gobind Singh’s Bachitra Natak, nor are they an indictment of Babar as his Zafarnamah was that of Aurangzeb. They are the outpourings of a compassionate soul touched by scenes of human misery and by the cruelty perpetrated by the invaders. The sufferings of the people are rendered here in accents of intense power and protest. The events are placed in the larger social and historical perspective decline in moral standards must lead to chaos. A corrupt political system must end in dissolution. Lure of power divides men and violence un-resisted tends to flourish. It could not be wished away by magic or sorcery. Guru Nanak reiterated his faith in the Almighty and in His justice. Yet so acute was his realization of the distress of the people that he could not resist making the complaint: "When there was such suffering, such killing, such shrieking in pain, did not Thou, O God, feel pity? Creator, Thou art the same for all!"

    The people for Guru Nanak were the people as a whole, the Hindus and the Muslims, the high-caste and the low-caste, soldiers and civilians, men and women. These hymns are remarkable for their moral structures and poetical eloquence. Nowhere else in contemporary literature are the issues in medieval Indian situation comprehended with such clarity or presented in tones of greater urgency. In spite of his destructive role Babar is seen by Guru Nanak to have been an unwitting instrument of the divine Will. Because the Lodhi's had violated God's laws, they had to pay the penalty. Babar descended from Kabul as God's chosen agent, demonstrating the absolute authority of God and the retribution which must follow defiance of His laws. Guru Nanak's commentary on the events which he actually witnessed thus becomes a part of the same universal message. God is absolute and no man may disobey. He commands with impunity. Obey Him and receive freedom. Disobey him and the result must inevitably be retribution, a dire reckoning which brings suffering in this present life and continued transmigration in the hereafter. The hymn rendered in free English verse reads: Lord, Thou takest Khorasan under Thy wing, but yielded India to the invader's wrath.

    The fourth Babarvani hymn is probably addressed to Bhal Lalo, one of Guru Nanak’s devotees living at Saidpur itself. It ends on a prophetic note, alluding perhaps to the rise of Sher Khan, an Afghan of Sur clan, who had already captured Bengal and Bihar, defeated Babar's son and successor, Humayun, at Chausa on the Ganga in June 1539 (during the lifetime of Guru Nanak), and who finally drove the Mughal king out of India in the following year. The hymn in Tilang measure is, like the other three, an expression of Guru Nanak’s feeling of distress at the moral degradation of the people at the imposition by the mighty. It is a statement also of his belief in God's justice and in the ultimate victory of good over evil. In an English rendering:

    “Yet You take no blame; and send the Mughal as the messenger of death.
    When there was such suffering, killing, such shrieking in pain, Didst not You God, feel pity?
    As descended the Lord's word to me, so do I deliver it unto you, O Lalo:
    Leading a wedding-array of sin [Babar] has descended from Kabul and demands by force the bride, O Lalo.

    Decency and righteousness have vanished, and falsehood struts abroad, O Lalo.
    Gone are the days of Qazis and Brahmans, Satan now conducts the nuptials, O Lalo.
    The Muslim women recite the Qur'an and in distress remember their God, O Lalo.
    Similar is the fate of Hindu women of castes high and low, O Lalo.
    They sing paeans of blood, O Nanak, and by blood, not saffron, ointment is made, O Lalo.
    In this city of corpses, Nanak proclaims God's praises, and utters this true saying:
    The Lord who created men and put them to their tasks watched them from His seclusion.
    True is that Lord, true His verdict, and true is the justice He deals.
    As her body's vesture is torn to shreds, India shall remember my words.
    In seventy-eight they come, in ninety seven shall depart; another man of destiny shall arise.
    Nanak pronounces words of truth, Truth he utters; truth the time calls for."

    The words Seventy-eight and ninety-seven" in the penultimate line are interpreted as 1578 and 1597 of the Indian calendar, corresponding respectively with 1521 and 1540 which are the dates of Babar's invasion and Humayun's dethronement by Sher Khan/Shah. Though Babar's Tuzk, or Memoirs, a work of high literary quality, gives many interesting details of the campaigns and the events he was involved in and also describes the Indian life and customs very minutely there is no mention in these recollections that he met Guru Nanak. Nevertheless, the possibility of such a meeting having taken place cannot be ruled out. There are references in Guru Nanak’s banis to Babar’s invasions. An open tragedy like the one that struck Saidpur moved him profoundly and he described the sorrows of Indians-Hindus and Muslims alike-in words of intense power and suffering. Babar's army, in the words of Guru Nanak, was "the bridal procession of sin." In fact, Indian literature of that period records no more virile protest against the invading hordes than do Guru Nanak’s four hymns of Babarvani in the Guru Granth Sahib. Babar died on 26 December 1530 at Agra. Several years later his body was moved to its present grave in one of the gardens of Kabul.

    Babar's invasion and occupation of India impacted the life in India in all aspects. His generals forced people to be converted to Islam, his Zamindars and other influential people bestowed lands and property on the newly converted Muslims. Babar himself became a Ghazi which in Islamic terminology is a positive epithet and it means "a Muslim who has killed a non-Muslim", such a person is guaranteed heaven with "beautiful women, wine and rivers of honey." Another thing to note is that Babar destroyed several Hindu temples all over Punjab, and UP. Reason given is because founder of Islam, Mohammad had done the same thing when he attacked Mecca and destroyed its temple and idolized Kaba. He made a pathway to Qaba using destroyed debris of the old temple, this tradition was continued by all the Mughal kings who invaded Indian, including Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir, Shahjahan and Aurangzeb, they destroyed temples and converted them to mosques, even though it is not allowed in Islam as Muslims claim but Mohammad himself had done it so they followed their leader.

    The clash between Sikh and Islamic culture was inevitable and resulted in first small hostilities between Guru's followers starting with the Sixth Guru Hargobind and later into full scale with Tenth Guru Gobind Singh.[9][10]

    The Emperor Babar
    Emperor Babur was the grandson of Tamerlane (Timur The Lame) who is chiefly remembered in history for the sacking of the Great City of Samarkand which lay along the ancient Silk Road stretching from Constantinople to China. In the sack of Samarkand over 700,000 inhabitants of the City are said to have been put to the sword. Tamerlane was the great grandson of Genghis Khan – the Great Khan who conquered half the world.

    During the early sixteenth century Babar set out from Afghanistan to conquer India. And when he reached the great mercantile City of Multan in the Province of Sind, the City was sacked and there was terrible carnage and a ungodly portion of the city’s greedy merchants were fed to the sword. It so happened that Guru Nanak had embarked on the third of his preaching tours and had reached the City by foot shortly before it was sacked. During the sack of the City, Guru Nanak was cast into a prison and put to the task of grinding corn for the army of the invaders.
    A short time thereafter, guards at the prison worried by the apparently ill-omened incarceration of Nanak, reported to Babar that there was a very holy man in the prison and that it was imperative that the Emperor see him. Babar then attended at the prison and visited with Guru Nanak. Upon the conclusion of this visit, Babar very much affected, granted Respected Guru Nanak his liberty and invited him to attend in his tent for further discussions. The painting above immortalizes that singular event where Guru Nanak Ji met Babar in his tent and where surely a discussion on God and Philosophy transpired. In the background of this very fine painting is Mardana the Rebec player and companion of Guru Nanak on his long travels over 35 years. To the left of Babur is his young son Hamayun. Notice a guard holding Babur’s falcon. Noblemen and soldiers of Babar’s Afghan Army listen intently as the discourse carries on into the night.

    And some of the above events are recounted in the portion of the Respected Guru Granth Sahib which is called the Babar Vani. The Babar Vani is one of the very rare parts of the Guru Granth Sahib which mentions a historical event. In the Babar Vani there are allusions to a rich, corrupted and depraved mercantile class in the City enjoying vast and sumptuous marriages and pomp and finery. Also mentioned is the terrible carnage unleashed by Babar on the inhabitants of the mercantile City and especially the maidens of rich merchants who were taken into slavery. Coming from the Spartan breed of Genghis Khan, Babar had scant inclination for the luxurious and effeminate finery of the City’s Hindu merchant caste.

    Babar went on to conquer India. At the crucial battle of Panipat in 1526, his army of 70,000 soldiers defeated the much larger army of the Tughlak Slave Dynasty numbering some 200,000 soldiers including over a 1000 armoured elephants.

    When Babar invaded India in the 1490s, the people went to the Yogis to ask for their assistance to lead their courageous resistance to the pending inhumanity and cruelty of the invading forces. The Yogis gave them the same reply “We are healers, we are people of peace, we will shower our blessing on all of you and we will meditate and perform Yoga. Just go home and sit in peace. We will read the mantras (buzz word of the 15th century) and the invading forces will become blind.”

    Guru Nanak records this cowardice of the spiritual leaders on page 417 of the SGGS. Koe Mughal Na Hoa Andha, Kiney Na Parcha Laiya. Meaning: No Mughal was blinded and none of their mantras worked. Guru Nanak took the Yogis to task for being cowardly in not providing courageous spiritual leadership. The philosophy of Guru Nanak in this shabad focuses on courage, bravery and inner strength. Spirituality without courage is cowardice. Of what use is being pious if one does not have the courage to speak out, to take actions against injustice or to stand beside the weak, the oppressed and the needy. This is the essence of the Sant-Sipahi Sikhi of Guru Nanak and that of Guru Gobind Singh’s Saint-Soldier Khalsa.


    [1]Giani Gian Singh, 1970,Twareekh Guru Khalsa, Part 1, Guru 1, Language Department Punjab, Patiala, p.286
    [2]Giani Gian Singh , p. 286
    [3] Tara Singh, Sri Gur Tirath Sangrah. Amritsar, n.d.
    [4] Thakar Singh, Giani, Sri Gurduare Darshan. Amritsar, 1923
    [5] Surindar Singh, Kohli ed., Janamsakhi Bhai Bala. Chandigarh, 1975
    [6] Hal-bans Singh, Guru Nanak and Origins of the Sikh Faith. Bombay, 1969
    [7]Adapted from Sikhism.About.com. Bhai Rama Singh of UK, author of In Search of the True Guru (From Manmukh to GurSikh)
    [8] Gurudwara Panja Sahib, Hasan Abdal | World Gurudwara
    [9] EMINABAD - Pakistan
    [10]Harbans Singh "The encyclopedia of Sikhism
    [11] Karminder Singh Dhillon, Ph.D (Boston University)
    [12] Sardar : The Emperor Babur Meets Guru Nanak
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