Sikh History From Persian Sources

Randip Singh

Writer
Historian
SPNer
I thought I'd post my old posts from History of the Sikhs: Sikh History From Persian Sources! here:

I have taken the Liberty of posting a few texts from DR JS Grewal and Irfan Habib's book - Sikh History From Persian Sources.......
pg 93 - Akhbar's Meeting with Guru Arjan
Departing from Lahore...(Akhbar) crossed the Beas river. He visited the house of Guru Arjan, the successor of Baba Nanak, who was highly reputed for his knowledge of God. He was pleased from listening to his recitation of the Hindi verses that had been composed by Baba Nanak for expounding the knowledge of God. Deeming it to be an honour conferred on him, Guru Arjan made a suitable offering and pleaded that since, owing to the coming of the Victorious Army to the Punjab, grain prices had risen and the jama (land tax demand) of the localities (parganas) had been raised, now that the Imperial Army is leaving, the grain prices have falen, and the peasants are (therefore) unable to meet their obligation to pay the jama. In accordance with his plea, orders were issued to the Imperial Finance Ministers that a reduction of twelve-to-ten be made in the jama and the revenue collectors be instructed to grant remissions to the peasants acordingly and not to make demands on them in excess (of the amount now prescribed).........
Here Guru Ji shows his spiritual and temporal side..........he uses the opportunity to help the local peasantry..........
Heroic Yet Tragic End Of Guru Gobind Singh Ji's Son - pg 103
When he ( Guru Gobinds son) reached the site of battle, the battle was joined from both sides, and much bravery was displayed....................The men ( of the fort) by their heroic deeds, outdid the heroes of Iran and the commanders of Arabia, and by their greater strength of arms and experience prevailed over the weaker, frail warriors, who numbered more than fifty and less than sixty. That is, surrounding all of them, they mercilessly cut them down with stone hits, musket shots and arrows. The son of Guru Gobind, like a fierce tiger, with a sword that cut through the armour, sent many persons to death to join his own companions, and then he too, falling, lay dead by their side.....Couplet "with a diamond like sword of Darghan steel, he slew many, but was alas himself slain"
This passage describes Guruji's sone dieing fighting at Chitor.
On The Practice of Caste pg 77
Pratap Mal Chaddha: Chaddha is a sub-caste of Khatris. He is a gyani, that is arif (mystic). Sialkot is his native place. He has served arifs possessed of perfection. He does not recognise the ties of any religion or law. He regards all religions to be paths leading to the Creator. He recognises in every physical form manifestaion of the Beloved. Once, owing to some need, he became a follower of a man named Dwara, whois the deputy of a representative of Hargobind Nanakpanthi, and made himself to be a disciple of his. Dwara washed his feet, and thereafter the persons of that faith present their drank of that water, since whenever they (the Sikhs) admit anyone to their own religion, they do likewise. But, finally, some argument broke out between Pratap Mal and Dwara. Dwara said to Partap Mqal, "Yesterday, I washed your feet, that is, I made you my disciple, and today you fight with me" Pratap Mall said, "O fool, my foot is always washed by Jatts like you, I never let my hands touch my feet.". The Jatts are a lowly people in India and Dwara was a Jatt.
Despite Guru ji appointing followers from lower castes to be his Masands..........it is quite evident that the caste system was very much in place........

About Bandha Bahadhur His Conquests and Followers
pg 135 - Territory Seized
So Saharanpur, Buriya, Sadhaura, Chhat, Ambala, Shahabad, Thanesar, Sahrind, Pail, Rupar, Bahlolpur, Macchiwara, Ludhiana etc., the details of which places would be cumbersome, were battered by those ill-famed hosts. All territory from Thanesar to the bank of the river Sutlej, excepting the territory of Lakhi jungle, came at one stroke under the control of those cruel, unjust people. Half the the chakla of Saharanpur was also annexed to the dominions of the arrogant ignoranmous. In the country of Panjab too, many village came into the hands of these error-smitten Sikh
It would appear the commentary is written with some considerable sour grapes, as so much fertile land came under Sikh control.
Pg 143 - Follower of The Bandha
A large number of persons belonging to the class of sweepers and tanners, and the community of banjaras and other base of lowly castes, assembled around him and became his disciple. The persons gace him the title of "Fat'h Shah"
It seems we owe much to our existence as Sikhs to classes that are ostricised. Remember these are the words from impartial people who were around at the time.
pg 140 - Martyrdom of Bandha and His Companions
On this day (of their arrival) I went to the Salt Market to wirness the event and accompanied them from there to the Imperial Fort. Of the people of the city there were few who not come to see the humbling of these rebels. Large crowds gathered in every lane and market such as had seldom appeared before. The Muslims were in a happy and festive mood. Yet many of those ill-fated ones [the Sikhs], who had come as prisoners in this condition, insisted on standing fast by their villany. There was no sign of humility and submission on their faces. Rather most of them, riding on the camels backs, kept singing and reciting melodious verses. If anyone in the lanes and bazar reminded them of the cruelties they had committed, which brought them to this condition, they gave immediate and manly retorts, and attributed their capture and humiliations tp the doings of fate. If anyone told them that they would now be executed, they replied, "Let them kill us! We do not fear death. Had we feared it, how could we have fought so many battles with you? We have fallen in your hands only because of hunger and lack provisions; otherwise, you would have come to know of our bravery far more than has been witnessed till now"
This shows true defiance in the face of death, abd no shirking, despite the odds. Truly inspiring!

pg 163-2 - Bandha Bahadhurs Followers
he (Bandha) in a very short time completed the building of a stone fort of great strength at the foot of the Siwalik Hills near Shahdaura (Sadhaura), of which he had laid the foundations. He made the fort his seat, and sent his officials to administer every city and village far and near.
Strange it was how through God decreed fate, the courage and bravery of the inhabitants of those places had departed. If a lowly sweeper or cobbler (chamar), more impure than whom there is no caste (qaum) in Hindustan, went to attend on that rebel, he would be appointed to govern his own town and would return with an order (sanad) of office of government in his hand. The moment he stepped into the territory, or town, or village, all the gentry and notables went out to recieve him, and after his alightining at his house, stood with folded hands before him. Since that man of low nature would have information about the real condition of all houses, what unprecedented impositions did they not inflict on the better-places persons of that place and what cruelty did they not invent! No Hindu or Muslim could have the power to see, or hear of, such cruelty. He (the official sent by Banda) would demand whatever precious goods were in anyone's house and deposit it in the ill-destined treasury of the Guru. No person could oppose his orders. Such is the power of Almighty that in the twinkling of an eye He can put such a lowly person in authority over a whole world of the high-born in such a manner that so many thousands of persons who had displayed bravery in so many manly contests, became help, became helpless and lost even the courage to speak in front of that single man
Some venom in the writers thoughts towards these sparrows that challenged the hawks! :) Robbing the rich to give to the poor.

Here's another interesting couplet...........
An Account of the Sikh 1808 - Imadu's Sa'adat by Saiyad Ghulam Ali Khan Naqavi (completed 1808)
page 214 Chapter 19 - Sikh History From Persian Sources
pp 70-71 Short Account of the Genesis of the Sect of Sikhs in Hindustan

Completely moving away from their path of God-worship, the Sikhs began to devote all their courage to conquest of the country, the pillage of the cities and districts (parganas) and highway robbery. Although in the time of Tegh Bahadhur thay had taken to these ways, there was not then this much of tumult. Finally, now (1808 AD) the whole country of the Punjab up to the Attock River (Indus), and this side up to Multan, and from the banks of the Sutlej to Karnal, outside the Punjab, which (i.e. Karnal) is forty seven Kurohs (kurohs or kos = 2.5 miles) distant from Shahjahanabad (Delhi), all of it, is in the possession of this sect. Their leaders of high dignity are mostly from the lower classes, such as carpenters, shoemakers and Jats. They are the enemy to the hookhah-smoker, but take pot after pot of hemp (bang = Bhang)

About the Misl Leaders........
pg 198
Zi'lhijja 1177 928 June 1764) pp 110-11
The facts about Jassa Singh Kalal and others are as follows: Hari Singh Bhangi, Hinal Singh, etc have come from the vicinity of Chak Goru, in accordance with a letter of summons from Jassa Singh Kalal. Having arrived in the (Jaladhar) Doab they met each other sincerely and cordially. Accordingly, on 12 Zi'lhijja the same year (12 June 1764), all these persons, viz., Hari Singh Bhangi, Nihal Singh, Kardar Singh...(?), Daliwaliyan and Gujar Singh, with a force of nearly thirty thousand horse and foot, crossed over to this side of the Sutlej at the Rupar ghat, and entered the chakla of Sirhind. Their forces are engaged in the sacking and plunder of villages in the mahals of Ambala and Shahabad-with-Kunjpura. They are also settkling matters and intend to invade Antar Ved (Ganga-Yamuna Doab).

About the Sikh Soldiery pg 215
Imadu'd Sa'adat Pp 70-71
Short Account of the Genesis of the Sect Of Sikhs in Hindustan
It should not be hidden that after the Durranis ( Abdalis) no army can match the Sikh soldiery. In this sect are such strong, tall youths with tiger-like bodies that if a kick of theirs hits a Central Asian (wilayati) Qipchaq horse, it would assuredly die then and there. Their musket can pick a man at the distance of nine hundred steps. Each of them can ride a horse for over two hundred kurohs of the way (in one march). It is obvious that if they were not like this, how could they have got the better of the army of the Wilayat (Afghanistan?) After all, the Durrani army too was made to recognize the sharpness of the Sikh sword
.............

CHAPTER 18 - SIKH RESISTANCE TO AHMAD SHAH ABDALI'S INVASION OF THE PUNJAB 1764-65
pg 207 Jangnama by qazi Nur Mihammed compiled 1765
pg 100 Section: XV: The Shah's going to Guru Chak (Amritsar) and his destroying that place
After marching for 3 (days) and nights, the Shah arrived at the Chak on the fourth night. The Sikhs, getting the news of tigers coming to attack the dog-hearted ones, had withdrawn from there. When the Shah arrived at the Chak, he did not find any one of those infidels there. But a few men had stayed back within the internal enclosure so that they might spill their own blood and sacrifice their lives for the Guru. As they saw the Shah and the entire army of Islam, all, of them came out of the enclosure. Those Sikhs were thirty in number: they did not at all show any fear of being killed nor the dread of death. as they engaged the holy warriors (ghazis) and spilt their blood all the Sikhs were killed.
A heroic sacrifice witnessed by Muslims themselves............

here is a bit more information from Qazi Nur Mohammed.............pg 210
(p 157) XLII: An Account of the Limits and Country of the Sikhs
Jhandha holds Chiniot as if in his jagir; the black-faced man rules there as a potentate (amir). Chatthajat as well as the whole country of Jhang is the jagir of Hari Singh the Lame. Vairabal (Bhairuval?) is in the jagir of Karam Singh; Narol (Narowal?) is under Jai Singh, of bad demeanour; Kalanaur is under Jassa Kalal (the arrach maker); and the (Jallandhar) Doab is also (partly)under that unmannerly one. The Bist-Jalandar (Beth Jalandhar Doab) is (also) under Jassa Najjar (Carpenter), for both the Jassas have become allies. They also lord over (lit eat of) all the district of Baatala; their drum and banner (of lordship) is held in unison. Gujjar Singh and Lehna (Singh) lord over (lit. eat of) Waniya-ke and collect all of its revenues. Augarh Singh (and) Sanwal hold in their jagir the place, Pindi-i Saiyidan.(p161) Chamyari is also in his jagit; both the Sikhs are potentates (amir) there. there is a city on the banks of a river, which Suba (Singh) holds, and Sawa (Sobha?) is Suba's close ally. The city's name is Adina Nagar; and their (the chiefs) names shine like day. Aimanabad (and) upto the river (Ravi) is also under the control of these two evil, inauspicious Sikhs. Chartu (Charat Singh) holds Rohtas in his jagir; that city is under his direction. When Natha has seized Dipalpur, which city can comfort the heart? Along with him (his) brother Jassa holds the jagir; and Karam Singh (too) is a co-sharer with him. Many others too from amongst the renowned Sikhs hold the other territories in their jagir. From Sirhind, Lahore and the country of Multan up to the Derajat, those Sikhs have divided the country among themselves. they have not learnt to have fear of any one. On Muslims, whether they are near or far, it is proper and obligatory that they should all unite in a body to attack those men, and overthrow the foundations of the power of the Sikhs. God! Give our Shah victory, for the sake of the Prophet who is the benefactor of man, that he (the Shah) may remove their very foundations from this world, and reduce the repute of those accursed Sikhs!
What we seem to have here is s continuity of the abolition of the Zamindari system, which meant land was held by Nawabs and Rajputs. The revolution was first started by Bandha Bahadhur. The philosophy was simple...........those that work the land should own the land.........
 
Just one word. The man that says no one should be proud of caste is the one that is always on about it. I have read a few passages in this post and they seem to always down grade that jatt caste. Caste is your deeds. No man is smaller than me. In the the same breath no man is bigger. Its the person and who they are. Everyman is capable of all bad and good. Just depends they way in which you focus your mind. I am a man of No caste. Just a humble one.
 

Randip Singh

Writer
Historian
SPNer
Just one word. The man that says no one should be proud of caste is the one that is always on about it. I have read a few passages in this post and they seem to always down grade that jatt caste. Caste is your deeds. No man is smaller than me. In the the same breath no man is bigger. Its the person and who they are. Everyman is capable of all bad and good. Just depends they way in which you focus your mind. I am a man of No caste. Just a humble one.

It is indeed ironic that you who seems not concerned about caste seem to only pick up on this issue....there is much more to the excerpts from the Persian sources than this.There are mentions of battles, the Guru's, sacrifice, martyrdom, character etc etc....yet you have focused on one tiny aspect the caste?.......and that caste of the Jatt as well......there is mention of tanners, shoemakers, carpenters too....why not mention them?

Dear friend, these are pages of Persian Historical texts translated by Dr JS Grewal, himself a Sikh of Jatt origin........they should be viewed in the context of what they are....historical texts.

The fact that the Jatt was seen as lowly at that time in history is neither here nor there, it is the fact that how society operated in those days that is important......In this case the haughtyness of the Khatri's (Kshatriyas), despite efforts by the Guru's to get rid of the system, should make us aware that today if we are haughty, then what our status was in the past.....and why we should get rid of caste.
 
Thanks for sharing veer ji.

Caste system is so disgusting. Guru Sahib created Khalsa to abolish this discrimination and now we are again back to the same low/high/useless distinctions!!!

I didnt know that history has depicted Banda Bahadur in such a venemous way. Historians should be impartial always, and should consider every possible aspect.

Regards.
 

Randip Singh

Writer
Historian
SPNer
Thanks for sharing veer ji.

Caste system is so disgusting. Guru Sahib created Khalsa to abolish this discrimination and now we are again back to the same low/high/useless distinctions!!!

I didnt know that history has depicted Banda Bahadur in such a venemous way. Historians should be impartial always, and should consider every possible aspect.

Regards.

rember...these are Persian's words i.e theMughal historians of the time......filtering through the venom one gets the impression how massive a threat they viewed Bandha.

on caste one must remember these are accounts from 300 years plus ago.
 
Randip Singh Veer ji, what are your impressions of the visual accounts of the shaheed of Panjvi Paatshaah Guru Arjun Dev Ji?

This book relates some interesting information, particularly the operandi of their shaheed.

Dass
 
Top