Intro: In order to infuse the martial spirit in the followers, Guru Arjandev began to wield two swords— the piree, the symbol of spiritualism; and miree, the symbol of material victory and prosperity.
Akbar died on October 17, 1605 AD. Prosperous and vast empire devoid of all—powerful Akbar lured many to see them on the helm of the affair. Consequently, the real and so-called successors set upon outdoing each other. So much so that the greed of power could not resist Khusro to turn rebel even against his own father, Jahangir. War broke out between father and son, but Khusro could not stay for long in the battlefield. Seeing his life at risk, he had to make flight in amid fighting. On his way to Afghanistan he came to meet fifth Guru of Sikhism Shri Arjandev. Receiving the guest Shri Arjandev applied tilak (sacred mark) on his forehead, and, as also, helped him with providing some money to be spent on the onward journey.
With all their ways of professing faith and their increasing influence among the public, Sikhs grew as a sore in the eyes of Mughals. And, above this, when the news of getting to be generous to his enemy fell in the ears of Jahangir the already simmering fire turned raging inferno. As a punishment for the ‘audacity’ that he showed he was ordered to remove all those references from the Adigrantha (holy book of Sikhs) that were in contravention of Islam. And, so also, he was told to either pay two lakh rupees as compensation in State treasury, or embrace Islam in case of failing to do so. The Hindus of Lahore even wanted to pay the fine by collecting fund together, but Arjandev stopped them for doing so. It was unacceptable to Gurudev to compromise with his honour, with his faith. He rejected all the proposals. Then what— as was done with Hindu ‘Kafirs’— the process of heart rending barbarous atrocities initiated to break the endurance of Guru. In the blazing heat of May of Lahore he was made to stand on the hot sand without food, without water for days together. Seeing no effect of all this on Guru, hot boiling water was poured on him. Despite undergoing such a barbaric torture, faith of Guru on Dharma did not shake. So far he bore all this firmly. But when he learnt that he was to be thrust inside the belly of slaughtered cow he decided to end his life. Then one day he expressed his wish to take dip in the river Ravi, which was granted. He was taken to the river by the guards, where once after taking the plunge he did not come out and finished his life.
This incident shook Hindus, and more particularly Sikh community. The gruesome treatment meted out to Guru Arjandev proved to be one of transforming the character of Sikh community. Following the path shown by Guru Nanak Dev, and so far being kept themselves absorbed in counting the beads of rosary, namjapa and kirtanas (devotional), the devotees no further needed to understand that to live in the physical world and as also for the protection of Dharma this alone will not work. And Guru Hargobind Singh, who ascended to the seat of Gurupad, included new provisions to arouse the sense of military-hood. “Alright if you bring flowers, sweets and incense sticks, but in the temple along with these commodities if the devotees bring horses, weapons and money then I will be extremely happy!”— He so expressed his wish before the followers in his sermons. He raised an army composed of faithful and, as also, the paid soldiers.
He built the Fort of Lohgarh for the protection of Amritsar. In order to infuse the martial spirit in the followers, he himself began to wield two swords—the piree, the symbol of spiritualism; and miree, the symbol of material victory and prosperity. Thus set out on the path of militarism Sikh community then never saw back— the climax of which later came into the form of Khalsa Panth to be initiated by Guru Govind Singh.
Er Rajesh Pathak (The writer is a senior columnist)