Friday, February 11, 2011

Baba Ajit Singh..ਬਾਬਾ ਅਜੀਤ ਸਿੰਘ ..बाबा अजित सिंघ

In ordinary speech the word 'Baba' means 'grandfather' or 'an old man'. Hence, on reading the heading of this true story you might be led to think that it relates to some old men. But that is not the case. When the events narrated below took place, Baba Ajit Singh was in his teen. Then, you might ask, why He is  called Baba ? The explanation is..... Among the Sikhs the word Baba is also applied to one worthy of high respect. It means 'Most Respected.' The sons of the Sikh Gurus were called 'Babas' from the very beginning of their lives. That is why the word 'Baba' is applied to the Guru Gobind Singh's sons.
Baba Ajit Singh was the eldest of the four sons of the Guru Gobind Singh. He was born at Anandpur on January 7, 1687. From his early life he was given the sort education and training that befitted the saint-soldiers of Guru Gobind Singh. He acquired wonderful proficiency in the use of weapons of war, especially the bow and the arrow. He was also an excellent swordsman. He was strong and a brave warrior. He began to take part in the Guru's wars very early in life. He performed astonishing feats of bravery on several occasions. No danger or difficulty could ever daunt him. No danger could deter him from his path of duty. 
Once a Brahman came to Guru Gobind Singh's darbar. He complained that his newly-wedded wife had been taken away by force be some Pathans of Bassi, near Hoshiarpur. Baba Ajit Singh offered to help Brahman to recover his wife. With a band of young brave Sikhs, Baba Ajit Singh fell upon Bassi during the night. He arrested the Pathans responsible for the wicked deed. He recovered the Brahman's wife. He took the wicked Pathans to Anandpur the following morning. The Brahman's wife was restored to him. The wicked Pathans were punished, suitably and severely.
    Years later, Anandpur was besieged by the Mughal armies from Sarhind and Lahore. They were commanded by Nawab Wazir khan and Nawab Zabardast Khan, respectively. All the hill chiefs, who were Hindus, joined them with their armies. One day, during the siege, the two commanders of the imperial army sent a messenger to the Guru. He was told to give this message to him : 'This army is not one belonging to petty hill chiefs. It is that of the great and mighty Emperor Aurangzeb. You will not be able to oppose it for long. You should show respect to the emperor, give up fighting, and embrace Islam.' Baba Ajit Singh was standing near the Guru. The messenger's words aroused his anger. He drew his sword and said, 'Shut up. If you utter another word, I shall humble your pride. I will cut off your head from your body. I will cut you to pieces for daring to speak such insolent words before the Guru.' The messenger said nothing more. He went away, humbled and burning with rage. 
    The siege of Anadpur caused great hardships to the Guru and his Sikhs. The besiegers were also getting tired. They sent message after message to the Guru. They said, 'Vacate the fort. Go where you like. We swear on the Quran and the cow that you will not be harmed.' The Guru was sure that the oaths were false. He was not in favor of placing any trust in them. But he was prevailed upon, chiefly be his mother, to vacate the fort. He did so during the night of December 20,1704. As soon as the besiegers realized this, they forgot their oaths and fell upon the Guru's party. 
Baba Ajit Singh, with a party of Sikhs, held up the enemy, while the rest were crossing the river Sarsa. When all had crossed, he and his party plunged their horses into the flooded river. They soon reached the other bank. The enemy did not have the courage to jump into the fast-flowing ice-cold water of the flooded stream. After crossing the Sarsa, Guru hurried towards Chamkaur. He had only forty Sikhs with him, beside his two elder sons. The Mughal army was coming after him. He learnt that another Mughal army lay only a few miles away ahead of him. He was thus between two large armies. He decided to meet them at Chamkaur. He reached there about sunset. He occupied a mud-house or haveli, and began to wait for the enemy. 
    The Mughals armies arrived during the night. They besieged the mud-house on the following day. They attacked it from all sides. They had to retreat every time after suffering heavy losses. Then they decided to force open the gate. They rushed towards it. A batch of five Sikhs went out to meet them holding their advance as long as possible. The Sikhs fought very bravely. They killed many at last they were over-powered and slain. Then another batch of five Sikhs went out to meet the enemy and check his advance. This went on for some time. The enemy suffered heavily at the hands of each batch of Sikhs. After a time, Guru Gobind Singh's eldest son, Baba Ajit Singh, asked permission to go out and oppose the enemy. He said, 'Dear father, my name is Ajit or Unconquerable. I will not be conquered. And if conquered, I will not flee or come back alive. Permit me to go, O' father. He was less than eighteen years of age. The Guru knew what the end of his son would be. But were not they who had already fallen also his sons ? He hugged and kissed Baba Ajit Singh for the last time. He then asked him him go out and seek martyrdom and life everlasting. 
    Baba Ajit Singh went out. He was accompanied by five Sikhs. At first they poured a rain of arrows on the enemy. He fought like a hero. Soon his stock of arrows was exhausted. He took out his lance and sprang upon the enemy. He was wounded but he fought on as bravely as ever. Baba Ajit Singh thrust his lance into the heart of a Muhammedan soldier. The soldier wore steel armour. The lance got stuck in the armour. Baba Ajit Singh tried to pull it out. It broke in two. He drew his sword and fell upon the enemy. But he was overpowered. He fell. He was martyred. 
His soul went to meet his Grandfather at the Almighty's darbar. The Guru had been watching his son from the roof of the mud-house. He had admired and rejoiced at the skill, strength, and bravery shown by his son. He had seen him wounded. He saw him fall. He thanked God that his son had met a saint-warrior's death, that he had achieved martyrdom and eternal life. 

ਤਵੰਗਰੀ ਬਾ-ਦਿਲ ਅਸਤ, ਨਾ ਬਾ-ਮਾਲ,
ਬੁਜ਼ੁਰਗੀ ਬਾ-ਅਕ਼ਲ ਅਸਤ, ਨਾ ਬਾ-ਸਾਲ |
Tavangri baa-dil ast, naa baa-maal,
Buzurgi baa-akal ast, naa baa-saal.
Richness is measured by the hugeness of heart, not by amount of wealth
Seniority is measured by presence of wisdom, not by ones years of age