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Sikhs Flight From Anandpur Sahib (December 1705)

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Siege and Evacuation of Anandpur:

The Sikhs flight from Anandpur took place on the night of December 5, 1705. Tenth Guru Gobind Singh reluctantly agreed to evacuate Anandpur Sahib which had been under siege for seven long months. Starving Sikhs suffering severe food shortages and lack of water pressured the Guru and his mother Mata Gujri to accept promises of safe passage from their Mughal adversaries. A letter written by Emperor Aurangzeb stressed that he had sworn a holy oath on the Islamic scripture Qur'an (Koran) and to prophet Muhammad that he should not be accepted into Paradise should any harm befall the Guru or his Sikhs. The emperor invited them to come to court or gave permission to go in safety wherever they pleased. The Guru's mother insisted upon leaving. Fearing treachery, the Guru required a signed document of renunciation from any Sikh who wished to leave him and return home. Of the 500 Sikhs who evacuated Anandpur, *40 remained entirely faithful to the Guru.

More:
Siege of Anandpur Sahib (1705)

Pursuit and Sacrifice:

It may have been the fire, set to burn all belongings left behind, that first alerted their adversaries to the Sikh's flight from Anandpur Sahib, for as soon as they left the safety of their fortress, the enemy pursued them, proving the promise of safe passage to be nothing more than an evil plot. Guru Gobind Singh's eldest son, Sahibzada Ajit Singh led the rear guard. The enemy caught up with him at Kiratpur. Udai (Ude) Singh offered to replace Ajit Singh, and with **50 courageous warriors held off the enemy, who mistook Udai Singh for Guru Gobind Singh. A bloody battle ensued with each and every one of the Guru's warriors sacrificing their own lives so that the Sikhs ahead of the enemy could escape. The Guru continued on to Nirmoh where he gave a letter to Gulab Rai for the Raja of Sirmaur requesting quarters for the Sikhs. Ajit Singh had not yet caught up with his father by the time the Sikhs reached Sarsa River. Concerned, the Guru sent Jiwan Singh (known prior to his initiation as Bhai Jaita, who risked his life to procure the head of the Guru Gobind Singh’s martyred father Ninth Guru Teg Bahadar) back with **100 warriors to find Ajit Singh, who finally reached his father with news that Jiwan Singh had been killed while protecting him.

Separation at River Sarsa:

Guru Gobind Singh parted with his mother, wives and younger sons at the crossing of River Sarsa. A trusted Sikh from Dehli offered to escort them and provide lodging for the women and boys with relatives in Ropar. Many Sikhs lost their lives, swept away in the dark torrent of flood waters along with valuable documents and irreplaceable handwritten scriptures. Mata Gujri and the two young Sahibzade became separated from their party and made their way alone to Saheri the village of Gangu, a Brahmin who had been formerly been associated with the Guru's household and discharged from service. Gangu's false assurance of protection, and shelter, ultimately resulted in the martyrdom of the two younger Sahibzade and Mata Gujri a few days later.

Reprieve and Resistance:

Guru Gobind Singh's wives, Mata Sahib Kaur and Mata Sundri made it safely to Ropar, where they had a short reprieve for the remainder of the night. The next day Bhai Mani Singh escorted them to Delhi where Jawahar Singh housed them and took charge of their welfare. After crossing Sarsa River, the Guru, his two elder sons, and warriors, proceeded to Ghanaula where they divided forces. The Guru sent Sahibzada Ajit Singh with Bhai Bachittar Singh and **100 warriors by direct route to Kotla Nihang Khan, where he planned to meet them. The Guru and his remaining warriors journey along the banks of the Sutlej River and arrived undisturbed. Ajit Singh and Bhai Bachittar however met with resistance twice, first battling with the Rangars of village Malikpur and again with a band of fierce Ropar Pathans. The fighting took the lives of many Sikh warriors. Bhai Bachittar suffered mortal injuries. Ajit Singh carried him to meet one final time with Guru Gobind Singh where he succumbed to his wounds.

Martyrdom at Chamkaur:

Guru Gobind Singh the two elder Sahibzada and remaining warriors left Kotla Nihang Khan at nightfall. Nihang Khan sent his son Alam Khan along to guide them. They reached Baru Marja on December 7, 1705 only to learn that a large convoy of enemy troops from Sirhand. The Guru pressed on towards Chamkaur with his sons and 40 warriors where they engaged in battle with no less than 700 mounted cavalry. Overwhelmed by sheer numbers and certain of inevitable death, the Guru's warriors fought strategically and ferociously. Both the elder Sahibzadas attained martyrdom at Chamkaur. Three of the original Panj Pyare also met with martyrdom at the battle of Chamkaur. The last five warriors to remain alive held counsel and ordered Guru Gobind Singh to escape. Two warriors gave cover, while three others accompanied their Guru into the wilderness.

*The Sikh Religion Vol. 5 by Max Arthur Macauliffe
**History of Sikh Guru's Retold Vol. 2 by Surjit Singh Gandhi

More:
Battle of Chamkaur and Martyrdom of Elder Sahibzadas
Sirhind Martyrdom of Mata Gujri and Younger Sahibzade

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