• Welcome to all New Sikh Philosophy Network Forums!
    Explore Sikh Sikhi Sikhism...
    Sign up Log in

Gurus Guru Tegh Bahadur: The Shield Of Nation

Dalvinder Singh Grewal

Jan 3, 2010
Guru Tegh Bahadur: The Shield of Nation
by Col. Dr. Dalvinder Singh Grewal
Group Director & Principal,
GTBK Institute of Engg. & Technology
Malout, Muktsar Punjab

The period of later Mughals in India was of great turmoil and turbulence.
The religious fanaticism of Aurangzeb had .started a reign of terror over the
Hindus. As the physical subjugation of the Indians to the foreign invaders
was complete; the psychological subjugation was the next step which had
started with Islamisation of India. This process was adopted by Aurangzeb
with greater zeal without caring for the feelings of the poor public. He wanted
India to be Dar-ul-Islam. In April 1669, he had 'ordered the governors of
all provinces to demolish all the schools and temples of the infidels and
strongly put down their teachings and religious practices.' (Maasar-I-Alamgiri,
81). 'Every idol-house built during the last 10-12 years, whether with brick or
clay, should be demolished without delay, and the Governor should not allow
the cursed Hindus and the despicable infidels to repair their old temples.'
(Muraqa'at-I-Abul-Hassan, 202), He appointed officers in all sub-divisions
and the cities to the Empire to enforce the order on destruction of Hindu
temples this being their main duty. The number of the officers was so large
that a director-general was appointed to guide their activity. Side by side with
destruction of temples, Aurangzeb was busy converting Hindus to Islam.
(Sarkar J.N., History of Aurangzeb, 267).

No one could afford to speak out as his mouth was sure to be shut and
tongue cut off. None dared to point out to the atrocities of the invaders,
thus these activities of conversions of Hindus in to Islam not only went on
unchecked but increased progressively. This algebraic increase was sure
to convert the entire Hindu community of India into Islam within the next few
years. This was certainly a cause of worry for those who loved Hinduism
from their core of hearts. However there was no one to lead them. It was this
situation in which Guru Tegh Bahadur (1921-1675) not only offered to give
voice to the feelings of the Hindus but also accepted to lead them to stop this
carnage and conversion regime.

Born on 1 April 1621 in Punjab, at Amritsar, in Guru ke Mahal, to Mata
Nanaki, Tegh Bahadur was more inclined to meditation from the very
childhood. However when desired by his father of Sri Guru Hargobind, the
sixth Guru of Sikhs, he took up sword and showed his mental in the battlefield
of Kartarpur and mowed down the Mughal attackers. He was declared ninth
Guru of Sikhs at Baba Bakala in March 1965.

This declaration has an interesting background. Makhan Shah Lubana
(Vanjara), a trader had a serious problem when his ship got stuck in sea. He
prayed to the Guru that if his ship got saved with Guru's blessings he would
offer 1000/- Gold coins to the Guru. Just before on 30 March 1664, Guru
Harkishen had left for heavenly abode and had uttered the word 'Baba Bakale'
indicating that his successor was his grand elder in lineage stationed at Bakala. As Makhan Shah's ship got saved he reached Bakala to pray and pay
the prayed amount to the Guru. Tegh Bahadur was not declared Guru till then
and number of Guru Harkishan's relatives claimed themselves as Guru. Not
sure as to who was Guru, he offered a gold coin each in front all one by one.
As he offered the gold coin to Tegh Bahadur, pat came the question, "Is your
ship safe?" Makhan Shah was quick to realise. He declared openly, "Guru
ladho re" (The guru has been found.) Tegh Bahadur was then installed as the
ninth Guru by the sangat.

Guru Tegh Bahadur, established village Makhowal on the land donated by
Raja Bhim Singh the King of Kahloor who was his devoted follower. There
after he left for preaching the word of God in Malwa and later moved to
UP, Bihar, Bengal and Assam. He found the people being oppressed and
victimised by the ruling class. He raised voice against the oppression through
his writings and declared that he was not afraid of anyone. "Bhai kahu ko
det(i) nah(i), nah(i) bhai manat aan(i)". (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p.1427)
"Neither I cause fear unto others nor I accept any fear."

He traveled wide to convey the true message of the Lord. Wherever he went,
he instilled confidence in the Public. He also helped in stopping the expansion
of the Mughals and subjugation of Hindus by helping Raja Ram Singh the
General of Aurangzeb and the King of Assam to come to terms and enter
into a respectable treaty where the latter's kingdom was not to be disturbed.
He had provided a leading light to the flickering hope of the Indians who
found a hope in him as their saviour at this crucial juncture when either their
annihilation or conversion was sure.

Iftikhar Khan (1671-1675), the Governor of Kashmir (Bamzai, PNK, History
of Kashmir, p.371) had taken the orders of Aurangzeb very seriously. He
tortured the pandiits of Kashmir and attempted forcible conversion. The
leading pundits of Kashmir under Pundit Kirpa Ram of Mutton, came to Guru
Tegh Bahadur with a delegation of 16 Pandits, explaining him the terrorised
conversions of Hindus by the ruler of Kashmir.(Bhatt Wahi Multani Sindhi,
Khata Balaonton ka). He knew that the Islamic zealots will not stop until some
special event occurred. Some great personality has to raise his voice against
this and accept his own sacrifice as a result. Finding no one else ready to
take on this cause where martyrdom was sure, Guru Tegh Bahadur took
upon himself to raise the voice against oppressive conversions. He asked
the pandits to convey to the Kashmir ruler that if their Guru Tegh Bahadur
accepted Islam they would also accept conversion.

The message was conveyed and the expected reaction came too fast.
Mughals saw this as a fit case for fast conversion. The Emperor sent an
order from Hassan Abdal for the arrest of Guru Tegh Bahadur. (Ghulam
Hussain, Siar-ul-Mutakharin). Guru Tegh Bahadur was arrested along with his
three devoted disciples, Bhai Diala, Bhai Mati Dass and Bhai Sati Dass. and
brought them to Delhi for enforcing conversion so that all the Kashmiris could
convert thereafter.

The courtiers and Qazis tried to convince first and then lure them into conversion. But soon they found that this task of conversion was not so easy
as they had thought. The King was regularly informed of the events. Having
failed to convince or lure they thought of force and if need be the ultimate
elimination. Execution of the Guru would have sent a wrong message to
the public, not to yield to the oppression. This in turn would have turned the
waves of forcible conversion in the opposite direction. Guru Tegh Bahadur's
execution was considered as the last choice. They thought it a better way
to torture his disciples and create fear in Guru's mind so that he ultimately
yielded to their will.

There started the most horrifying tale of torture and the great story of the
resistance and fearlessness. The words" Bhai kahu ko det na na bhai manit
aan" was actually converted into deeds of great valour and the greatest
martyrs of India did what is now being written in golden letters of Indian
history. Neither the Guru nor his disciples bowed before the torture. The
order, "put Tegh Bahadur to sword and display parts of his body on the gates
of the city" was soon received from Aurangzeb. (Ghulam Hussain, Siar-ul-

This history was created on 10 November 1675. First disciple of Guru Tegh
Bahadur to be put to the death by torture was Bhai Mati Dass. Bhai Mati Dass
was not only the most devoted Sikh of the Guru, but was also the Diwan
and the Home-Minister (Gharbari) of the Guru.1 He was to be put to death
in front of the Guru by sawing his body into two parts. Bhai Mati Dass was
bound between two planks and sawing started from his head. Bhai Mati
Dass remained totally calm and started reciting Gurbani facing the Guru, His
recitation continued through the entire process of sawing. Even when his body
was cut into two pieces the name of the Lord could be heard emerging out of
both the parts. (ardho ardh chirai su dara. Paryo pirthi par hoi dofara. Donhun
tan te Japuji padai. Horat sabh ke achraj badhai.)2 According to Metcalffe " It
is said that even when his body was divided in two, he continued to repeat the
great morning-prayer of the Sikhs, and only became silent when its recitation
was complete."3

Guru Tegh Bahadur was being asked continuously either to accept Islam to
save himself and his disciples or to show any miracle, which the Guru refused
blandly. There was silence of graves around at such a fearful occurrence but
this silence was broken by Bhai Diala's forceful words. He said, "It is not that
you have got a guiltless Sikh sawed into two pieces, but you have sawed the
Baber's dynasty."4

Hearing this Qazi and other courtiers became ferocious. Bhai Diala was
caught hold, tied with ropes and thrown into the boiling water. Bhai Diala
kept cool and recited the Gurbani till he did not breathe his last. The Guru
was again asked for accepting Islam or to show miracle which the guru again
refused. Then came the turn of Bhai Sati Dass brother of Bhai Mati Dass. Cotton was tied around him and he wads put to fire. Bhai Mati Dass too
continued with the morning prayer till his part was detached.

The Qazi Abul Wahab Bohra and the courtiers were extremely irritated at
the kind of peace on the faces of the martyrs; there being no sign of fear on
anyone's face and not caring for punishment but for the recitation of grubbing.
Bohra repeatedly asked Guru Tegh Bahadur to accept Islam or show miracle
but Guru said, " I can go into the ground but I will not leave my religion."
Guru Tegh Bahadur boil, Dhar payeeye dharam na chhodie." The irritated
Qazi ordered the Guru to be put to sword. Guru Tegh Bahadur was thus
achieved martyrdom saving Hinduism. Guru Tegh Bahadur's body could not
be displayed on the gates as it was taken away by his disciples. Lakhi Shah
Vanjara along with other disciples brought a convoy of carts on the route
where Guru's body was lying and in the dust, he picked up the body from
the ground and brought it to his house. Immediately he put the body on pyre
inside his house and put his house on fire. Guru's head was taken away by
Bhai Jaita to Anandpur Sahib.

Guru Tegh Bahdur's sacrifice for saving religion is unparalleled. Guru Gobind
Singh later wrote in his verses," tilak janjhu rakha prabh taka. Keeno badu
kalu mahi saka. Dharam het saka jin kia. Sees dia par sirar na diya. (He was
the protector of Tilak (vermilion) and janjhu (sacred thread). He did a great
deed in this Kalyuga. He laid down his life for the religion. He gave his life but
did not back away from the word." Soon this news spread around and the true
Muslims felt this was a great atrocity done on a religious man. The forcible
conversions were soon to stop, as Guru Gobind Singh raised a formidable
force of Sikhs to save the nation. Thus Guru Tegh Bahadur became the shield
of Hinduism at a crucial juncture. A writer rightly observed, If Guru Tegh
Bahadur had not laid his life, 'every Indian would have been circumcised.'


  • guru teg bahadur.jpg
    guru teg bahadur.jpg
    21.7 KB · Reads: 4,321


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
This is definitely a keeper. I will put a picture on the thread and stick it. We will have a commemorative thread too by January 31. Thank you for getting a head start. Love the article.

p/s Aman Singh ji beat me to it.


May 15, 2008
Guru Tegh Bahadur: The Shield of Nation

by Col. Dr. Dalvinder Singh Grewal
Group Director & Principal,
GTBK Institute of Engg. & Technology
Malout, Muktsar Punjab​

Very Nice & Hard work



📌 For all latest updates, follow the Official Sikh Philosophy Network Whatsapp Channel: