Guru Kian Sakhian - Tales of sikh Gurus - Book By Swarup Singh Koshish

Publisher: Singh Brothers
Authors: Bhai Swaroop Singh
Page: 230
Format: Hardbound
Language: English
Product Code: SGE132
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GURU KIAN SAAKHIAN : AN APPRAISAL

Very truly, sources are life and blood for the discipline of history. As a human without oxygen would be lifeless so a historian without sources would be  a person without craft. For doing the history of any people availability of sources is a prerequisite. Actually, the nature and quality of the sources as well as their selection and examination determine the quality of the interpretation of a historian. The Sikhs who created history in the north-west of India, have given scant attention to record their annals. Almost all the historians working on the history of the Sikhs, have always felt the scarcity of source material. What has been written either belongs to the category of hagiography or has come out of the pen of outsiders. Sometimes these chronicles lack in objectivity and neutrality, the two most sought after principles for doing the history. Occasionally, these sources instead of supplementing each other provide divergent account which at times is hardly to reconcile.

Search for new source material is a fascinating as well as challenging task. In fact utility and authenticity of a new source largely depends upon the integrity and skills of a historian introducing it. It needs much experimentation and testing to establish its historical value. Guru Kian Saakhian  which surfaced in 1970s and has been used very enthusiastically by some scholars is such a source of Sikh history which has never been subjected to rigorous methodology to test its authenticity. Professional historians are still skeptic about its origin. Thus its fate as a genuine source or vice-versa is hanging in the air.

According to the colophon at the end, it was completed in 1790 (1847Bk.) at Bhadson near Thanesar now in the present state of Haryana. Though, the name of its author is missing in the colophon yet its authorship is attributed to Swaroop Singh Kaushish. It is said he was a Bhatt, a minor or sub-section of priestly class living on alms. The Bhatts who were some sort of bards besides keeping the geneology of their clients oftenly dabbled in poetics to eulogise them. Traditionally, they used to visit their clients at the end of a season and recorded birth, death or any other important event in their Vahis. Guru Kian Saakhian is said to be largely based on the Bhatt Vahis which its author has got from his ancestors. Originally, he wrote it in Bhattakhri, a peculiar from of Devanagari without vowel symbols. In 1868 Chhajju Singh, a descendant of the author converted it into Gurmukhi. However, its original in Bhattakhri and its second version in Gurmukhi are no more extant, which puts a big question mark on the very origin of this document. The present version in circulation is a copy which Giani Garja Singh has made from another copy which was in possession of Sant Gurdit Singh of village Dabwali Malko Ki, near Malout. The published version is based on the copy edited by Giani Garja Singh, which in turn has again been revised and re-edited by Piara Singh Padam in 1986.

Bhatt Vahis came to light in 1960s and credit for it goes to Giani Garja Singh who had done a pioneering work in this field. After him Giani Gurdit Singh, Dr. Fauja Singh etc. have used this category of source material for historical write-ups. These scholars trace the descent of the author of Guru Kian Saakhian back to the Bhatts associated with the Sikh Gurus whose writings are well-preserved in the Sikh scripture. Keeping in mind the significance of this newly found  source of Bhatt Vahis, the Department of Guru Nanak Studies, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar way back in 1978 has initiated a research project on the Bhatt and Panda Vahis. At that time the author of these lines was entrusted with the task to locate the Bhatts and their Vahis in question. On the basis of leads provided by Giani Garja Singh in his writings especially Shahid Bilas Bhai Mani Singh (1961), we were able to establish contact with the Bhatts residing at Banbhauri (Distt. Hisar), Karsindhu (Distt. Jind) and Bhadson (near Kurukshetra). We observed that though some of them possessed Vahis but most of them were Jangams, a Saivite sect living on alms. On examination of their Vahis we found that their accounts relate to the Wanjaras of Malwa and Khamdesh of central India. Barring one example all of them were clean shaven and frequently smoke tabacco. By faith every inch they were Hindus and had nothing to do with Sikhism. (Balwant Singh Dhillon, "Bhatt Vahian : Tath Te Kath", Punjab History Conference, 23rd Session, Panjabi Section, March 17-19, 1989, Panjabi University, Patiala, pp. 54-60).

Guru Kian Saakhian comprises 112 anecdotes (sakhis) in all. Of these Sakhi No. 1-4 relate to Guru Hargobind, No. 5-14 deal with the life of Guru Har Rai, No. 15-18 concern with Guru Har Krishan, No. 19-33 are devoted to the life of Guru Tegh Bahadur and No. 34, 35 and 36 are associated with Dhir Ma, Ram Chand and Bhar Mal respectively. The major Chunk No. 37-112 describe important events related to the life of Guru Gobind Singh. The little seems to be quite misnomer as it does not include any anecdote relating to the first five Sikh Gurus. It starts in an abrupt manner with the activities of Guru Hargobind in and around Kiratpur. Though, it is said to be an independent attempt which is largely based on the Bhatt Vahis, but a close look at the sakhis confirms that its author has drawn heavily from Mahima Parkash by Sarup Das Bhalla, Parchian Sewa Das, Malwa Des Ratan Ki Sakhi Pothi and some other sources as well. The style employed does not fit well into the prevalent category of Janamsakhi or Goshti literature. Similarity, the language is a mixture of Punjabi and Hindustani prose. The thrust is on narrative which falls in the category of hagiography. Significantly, it provides dates of the events which are very unique. It offers 'a feast of dates' to an historian working on the history of the Sikh Gurus.

On examination we find that authenticity of the narrative and accuracy of the dates are two major problems that come in the way of Guru Kian Saakhian as an incredible source. For example Guru Har Rai's Travel in Jammu and Kashmir (Sakhi # 6), Ram Rai's role after his expulsion from the Panth (Sakhi # 11-13, 39-41), Guru Tegh Bahadur's visit to Patna in 1656 (Sakhi # 14), Harji's cordiality towards Guru Tegh Bahadur (Sakhi # 21), Guru Gobind Singh's sojourn in Jammu-Kashmir and Lakhi Jungle in the year of 1692 (Sakhi # 50-51), Creation of Khalsa in 1698 (Sakhi # 58) and marriage of Sahibzada Ajit Singh in 1704 (Sakhi # 76) are some of the events which are not corroborated  by any other source. Secondly, the nature of description of the events is quite contrary to the Sikh tradition in current. Thirdly, no relic or place sanctified by Guru Gobind Singh has been noticed so far in Jammu and Kashmir.

The author of Guru Kian Saakhian makes us to believe that in 1656 Guru Tegh Bahadur before assuming Guruship had been to Bihar and Assam and Guru Gobind Singh took birth at Patna in December 1661 (Sakhi # 14). On the other hand a Hukamnama of GuruTegh Bahadur addressed to the Sangat of Patna makes reference to his sojourn in Assam in the company of a Raja (Ganda Singh, Hukamname, p. 87). A news of Imperial letter, Akhbarat-i-Darbar-i-Muala (May 13, 1710) confirms that Guru Tegh Bahadur was in the company of Raja Ram Singh of Jaipur during his expedition to Assam. (Ganda Singh ed., Makhiz-i-Tawarikh-i-Sikhan, p. 83). Another Hukamnama of Guru Tegh Bahadur refers to the birth of Guru Gobind Singh at Patna (Hukamname, p. 103). Similarly, in another Hukamnama (p. 107) Guru appreciates the Sikh Sangat of Patna for looking after the child Gobind Das and family of the Gurus. These Hukamnamas bear testimony to the fact that these were written when Guru Tegh Bahadur was not an ordinary person  but had assumed Guruship of the Panth in its full sense. Thus, the above information of Guru Kian Saakhian stands confronted by the other reliable sources.

Like Guru Kian Saakhian an entry of Bhatt Vahi Poorbi Dakhni also refers to Guru Gobind Singh's birth in 1661 at Patna (Piara Singh Padam, Guru Kian Saakhian, pp. 15-16). However, the entry in question is very interesting and worth-noting. It makes reference to Guru Tegh Bahadur as the Ninth Guru whereas at that time (December 1661) instead of him Guru Har Krishan was holding the mantle of Guruship. The same entry describes the city of Patna on the banks of Jamuna. It proves that the author of Guru Kian Saakhian was not well-versed with the topography surrounding the city of Patna. All these factors coupled with internal contradictions jeopardise the authenticity of Guru Kian Saakhian. Pal Singh Purewal, an established almanac expert has very laboriously checked the correctness of dates mentioned in it. He has come across certain instances of internal conflict between the elements of dates. In his opinion such dates instead of coming from reliable source, are calculated or concocted ones.

In some cases information provided by the author of Guru Kian Saakhian is very unique and has come to us for the first time. For example code of conduct of the Khalsa (Sakhi # 59-60), investiture of the Adi Granth with Guruship by Guru Gobind Singh (Sakhi # 112) etc. present graphic accounts which are not available anywhere else. These factors enhance the value of Guru Kian Saakhian as a historical source. It compels us to take notice of it very seriously. To recapitulate, we can say that instead of relying on its face value, judicious, cautious and selective use of Guru Kian Saakhian can be of immense value to fill up the gaps in  the history of the Sikh Gurus. S. Pritpal Singh Bindra, a well-known educationist and literary figure based in Toronto, Canada deserves our accolades for introducing this source to the English knowing people. He has understood the text well and has remained very close to the original to keep its spirit intact. Introduction with copious notes and references by Pal Singh Purewal serve the purpose of corrective as well as judge the veracity of the events. English knowing readers will find this volume quite interesting and helpful to understand various facets of the literature associated with Sikhism.

January 24, 2005 Dr. Balwant Singh Dhillon
  Head, Deptt. of Guru Nanak Studies,
  Guru Nanak Dev University,
  Amritsar.

From the frontcover of the Book 'Guru Kian Saakhian - Tales of Sikh Gurus' By Bhai Swaroop Singh Kaushish

Guru Kian Saakhian by Bhai Swaroop Singh Kaushish is an important source on the lives of the Sikh Gurus, believed to be written on the basis of Bhatt Vahis in 1790 A.D. It comprises of 112 Sakhis related to the life-stories of Guru Hargobind Sahib to Guru Gobind Singh. It provides dates of the events which are very unique and in some cases the information has come to us for the first time.

The present work is an English translation of this important source book. Pal Singh Purewal, an established almanac experts has very laboriously checked the correctness of dates mentioned in it. His scholarly introduction with copious notes and references serves the purpose of corrective as well as to judge the veracity of the events.

About the Author 'Pritpal Singh Bindra' of the Book 'Guru Kian Saakhian - Tales of Sikh Gurus

Pritpal Singh Bindra, born in 1929 at Lahore, did post-graduation in teaching at Khalsa College, Amritsar. He moved to U.K. in 1960 after teaching a few schools in India. He taught in London for two years and thereafter, went into his own insurance business. He sold his business in 1983 and exclusively engaged himself in Sikh Studies. His works Thus Sayeth Gurbani, Charitro Pakhyaan and Kalaam-e-Goya Bhai Nand Lal have been well received. He has also more than 100 articles on Sikh Studies to his credit.

 

Table of Contents of the Book 'Guru Kian Saakhian - Tales of Sikh Gurus' By Bhai Swaroop Singh Kaushish

 

  CONTENTS  
  Guru Kian Saakhian : An Appraisal 11
  Introduction 17
  Guru Kian Sakhian  
1. Here goes the tale of the Rajas from the Hills 39
2. Here goes the tale of Kalyan Chand Kahluri and Raja Himmat Chand Handoori 41
3. Here goes the tale of Nawab Nasir Ali Khan of Ropar 42
4. Here goes the tale of travel to the town of Lakhmipur and marriage of Sri Har Rai Jee. 44
5. Here goes the tale of Sri Ram Rai, Bibi Roop Koir and the birth of Sri Harkrishan Jee. 46
6. Here goes the tale of Guru Jee's travel from Jalalpur Jattan to the country of Kashmir 47
7. Here goes the tale of the journey of Sri Karta Purkh (Ram Rai) Jee from Kiratpur to Delhi 48
8. Here goes the tale of berries from Mecca 50
9. Here goes the tale of the departure of Karta Purkh to the country of the Punjab 52
10. Here goes the tale of the travel of Diwan Durgah Mall to Kote Guru Har Rai 54
11. Here goes the tale of the arrival of Sri Karta Purkh at Lavpur 56
12. Here goes the tale of Sri Karta Purkh Jee's travel to Kote Guru Har Rai Jee 57
13. Here goes the tale of Sri Karta Purkh Jee's  departure to Bilaspur 59
14. Here goes the tale of the travel to the Punjab of Sri Ram Rai Jee and Sri Ram Rai Jee and Sri Tegh Bahadur Jee 60
15. Here goes the tale of Sri Dhir Mal's departure to Bakala and the marriage of Bibi Roop Koir 62
16. Here goes the tale of inviting Eighth Guru Jee to Delhi 63
17. Here goes the tale of getting Sri Chhaju Ram to elucidate Sri Geeta 65
18. Here goes the tale of Guru Harkrishan's visit to the Royal Darbar 67
19. Here goes the tale of the arrival of Mata Jee at Bakala and putting mark of Guruship on the forehead of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Jee 69
20. Here goes the tale of the arrival of Makhan Shah Lubana at Bakala 71
21. Here goes the tale of Guru Jee's departure to Kiratpur to offer condolence to the household of Mata Sulakhni 72
22. Here goes the tale of getting a pool built at Talwandi and of going to Dhamdhan 73
23. Here goes the tale of Bhai Sangtia and Bhai Ram Dev 74
24. Here goes the tale of going to Bilaspur (at the Seventeenthday Service) of Raja Deep Chand 76
25. Here goes the tale of travel from Dhamdhan to Delhi 78
26. Here goes the tale of travel from Assam to Delhi and the country of Punjab 81
27. Here goes the tale of going to Chak Nanki 82
28. Here goes the tale of Brahmins (Hindu Priests) of Kashmir coming to Chak Nanki 83
29. Here goes the tale of Guru Jee's appearance, alongwith three Sikhs, before Delhi's Suba (the administrator) at Sirhind 85
30. Here goes the tale of martyrdom of three Sikhs of Guru Jee 87
31. Here goes the tale of Guru Jee's martyrdom at Delhi 88
32. Here goes the tale of cremation of Guru Jee's body 89
33. Here goes the tale of the delivery of Guru Jee's head at Chak Nanki 90
34. Here goes the tale of the heavenly departure of Baba Dhir Mall during the internment in the Fort of Ranthambore (in Rajputana) 92
35. Here goes the tale of the arrest of Baba Ram Chand Jee froom the village of Bakala 94
36. Here goes the tale of Baba Bhar Mall leaving Bakala and going to Kartarpur 95
37. Here goes the tale of the inhabitation of Anandpur 96
38. Here goes the tale of Rani Champa coming to Chak Nanki 98
39. Here goes the tale of going to the country of Sirmor 99
40. Here goes the tale of celebrating the Dipawali (Festival of Lights) at the Town of Paonta 100
41. Here goes the tale of Guru Jee's visit to the town of Khurvadhi (Dehradoon) 101
42. Here goes the tale of enthroning Mata Punjab Kaur on (temporal/spiritual) seat at Khurvadhi 102
43. Here goes the tale of Guru Jee's return to the town of Paonta 104
44. Here goes the tale of Raja Fateh Chand's invasion of Paonta 107
45. Here goes the tale of going to Kapal Mochan on a pilgrimage 109
46. Here goes the tale of cooling down of Gorra of Bhani 110
47. Here goes the tale of travelling from Anandpur to Bilaspur 112
48. Here goes the tale of Rani Champa's visit to Anandpur  for Darshan 112
49. Here goes the tale of the battle of Nadaun and Rani Champa's departure for her heavenly abode 113
50. Here goes the tale of going to Rawalsar, Jammu and the country with jungles 115
51. Here goes the tale of travel to the Town of Dhamdhan and Khurvadhi 117
52. Here goes the tale of travelling from Khurvadhi to Anandpur 118
53. Here goes the tale of the invasion of Anandpur by Rustam Lahori 120
54. Here goes the tale of the battle of Guler 122
55. Here goes the tale of Prince Muazzam's travel to the Punjab 123
56. Here goes the tale of five Sikhs proceeding to Mian-Kaa-Maurr 125
57. Here goes the tale of Bhai Pheru and the reformation of the Masands (the agents) 127
58. Here goes the tale of the offering of heads by the Sikhs 129
59. Here goes the tale of endowment of the Amrit 131
60. Here goes the tale of Code of Traditional Theological Rules and Rites (Rehit Maryada) 133
61. Here goes the tale of Five Sikhs going to Guru Kaa Chak 135
62. Here goes the tale of baptising a boy or a girl 137
63. Here goes the tale of Prem Dass Uddasi of Pargana Jhang 138
64. Here goes the tale of the war with Baliya Chand and Alam Chand 140
65. Here goes the tale of putting on donkey the skin of a lion 140
66. Here goes the tale of three-day war with the Rajas and their defeat 142
67. Here goes the tale of the running away of Duni Chand from the Fort Anandgarh 143
68. Here goes the tale of killing of the elephant by Bhai Bachiter Singh and assassination of Raja Kesri Chand 146
69. Here goes the tale of abandoning Fort Anandgarh on the instance of Hill Rajas 147
70. Here goes the tale of the fighting of Nirmohgarh 149
71. Here goes the tale of going to the Town of Basali Nagar 151
72. Here goes the tale of Guru Jee's return to Anandpur after staying at Basali 152
73. Here goes the tale of the celebration of Hola Mohalla from Fort Anandgarh 154
74. Here goes the tale of the demise of Sodhi Niranjan Rai and Silahi Chand 158
75. Here goes the tale of Devki Dass Brahmin and battle of Anandpur 159
76. Here goes the tale of the marriage of Sahibzada Ajeet Singh 161
77. Here goes the tale of the departure of Rai Singh and Bibi Tara Bai from Anandpur 163
78. Here goes the tale of relinquishing the fort of Anandpur 164
79. Here goes the tale of Bachiter Singh and the battle of Chamkaur 166
80. Here goes the tale of endowing the Crest to Sant Singh 168
81. Here goes the tale of Bhai Bachiter Singh's departure to the Celestial Abode at Kotla Nihang Khan 170
82. Here goes the tale of proceeding ahead from Machhiwara alongwith the (Muslim) Pir and the Disciple 171
83. Here goes the tale of going to Alamgir and Hayhar 173
84. Here goes the tale of the arrival of Rai Kalha and Alam Khan from Raikot 174
85. Here goes the tale of arrival at the Town of Dina and the writing of Zaffarnaama 176
86. Here goes the tale of going ahead from Dina Kangar 178
87. Here goes the tale of Mailagar Singh and Ganga Singh 179
88. Here goes the tale of going to Sodhi Kanwal Nain at Dhilmi 180
89. Here goes the tale of Hariya Sikh and Jograj Jat 181
90. Here goes the tale of meeting Majhail Sikhs with Guru 183
91. Here goes the tale of the battle at the Khidrana Dhab (small lake) 185
92. Here goes the tale of tearing off the Bedawa (the letter of disowning) 187
93. Here goes the tale of emancipating Ghogarh 188
94. Here goes the tale of exorcising the evil-spirits from the town of Bhunder 190
95. Here goes the tale of the emancipation of a snake 191
96. Here goes the tale of the village of Bug Sar Jassi 192
97. Here goes the tale of turning into green the pegs made out of Jand Tree 194
98. Here goes the tale of travelling to Talwandi Saboki in the territory of Lakhi Jungle 195
99. Here goes the tale calling Mata Sunder Saroop and Mata Sahib Kaur back from Delhi 196
100. Here goes the tale of the arrival of Bhai Mani Singh and other Sikhs at Saboki Talwandi 198
101. Here goes the tale of Bhai Tiloka and the delivering of Zaffarnaama at Ahmad Nagar 200
102. Here goes the tale of the arrival of the Sikh Congregation to Talwandi Saboki 202
103. Here goes the tale of departure towards the direction of Dakhan, the South 204
104. Here goes the tale of the participation in the battle of Jajaoo 206
105. Here goes the tale of proceeding to Dakhan (the South) and getting Tankhah (the religious punishment) 208
106. Here goes the tale of going to Seminary of Mahant Jait Ram 210
107. Here goes the tale of the battle at Chataurgarh 212
108. Here goes the tale of Guru Jee's departure to Burhanpur 213
109. Here goes the tale of going to the seminary of Loonia Sidh 214
110. Here goes the tale of going to the seminary of Madho Das at Naded 216
111. Here goes the tale of Madho Das becoming a Singh and Guru Jee getting stabbed with a dagger 218
112. Here goes the tale of Guru Jee's journey to the heavens 220
  Appendix-I 223
  Appendix-II 229
 

 

Books
Author Bhai Swaroop Singh
Pages 230
Cover Hardbound
Language English

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