Bhai Bidhi Chand Chhina was born in the 16th century during the mid to late 1500s. The exact date is unknown, but his birth occurred in the village of Sursingh about 70 miles south of Amritsar, India. His Hindu father Vassan, grandfather Bhikkhi, and mother from the nearby village Sirhali, were of Chhina Jatt lineage. While growing up, Bidhi Chand came under the influence of a gang of thieves who live in his mother's home village, and adopted their ways.
Bidhi Chand made his living stealing. One day he absconded with a herd of water buffalo. Angry villagers ran after him shouting. While attempting to evade his pursuers, he met Bhai Adali, a Sikh
from Chohia. Knowing that he would be killed if caught, Bidhi Chand begged for mercy and pleaded with the Sikh to save him. Bhai Adali agreed on the condition that Bidhi Chand promise to renounce his occupation as a thief and return the animals to their village. The Sikh hid Bidhi Chand and smeared mud on the animals to disguise them. After the villagers passed, Bidhi Chand thanked Bhai Adali and repented of his wrong doings.
Change of Heart:
Bhai Adali took Bidhi Chand to the court of Fifth Guru Arjun Dev
. Upon meeting the guru, Bidhi Chand had a complete change of heart. He confessed his misdeeds and implored the guru to grant him clemency. With the guru's blessing Bidhi Chand dedicated himself devotedly to the guru's service completely. He remained with the guru thereafter, ever involved in seva
. When the Mogul ruler had Guru Arjun Dev arrested, Bidhi Chand, along with four other Sikhs, traveled with the guru to Lahore where Guru Arjun Dev became the first martyr
of Sikhism in 1606.
Bidhi Chand proved to be a strong and courageous warrior. Sixth Guru Har Govind
had an army of about 5,000 Sikh warriors divided into five regiments and put Bidhi Chand in charge of one of these. Bidhi Chand played a major role in four important battles (dates in accordance with Encyclopaedia of Sikhism by Harbans Singh
- September 28, 1621, and October 4, 1621 - Ruhela.
- April 14, 1634 - Amritsar.
- December 16, 1634 - Lahira near Mehraj, modern day Bathinda.
- April 26 - 27, 1635 - Kartar Pur.
In each incidence, though vastly outnumbered, Sikhs bravely, and victoriously, battled Mogul imperial troupes.
Dilbagh and Gulbagh:
Mughals absconded with two valuable horses given to Guru Har Govind
and secured them in a fortress surrounded by a high wall. Bidhi Chand devised an undercover, gupt
mission, and used his skill as a thief to recover them. Disguised as grass cutter, he gained access to the horses, Dilbagh and Gulbagh. He drugged the guards with wine and jumped Dilbagh over a low part of the wall into the river below. Bidhi Chand returned to the fort disguised as a fortune teller saying if he put his hands on the remaining horse, he could tell who had taken the other horse. Bidhi Chand kept his word and to everyone's astonishment, he leaped on Gulbagh and jumped over the wall.
In the Oven:
Two costly shawls meant as gifts for the guru were confiscated by the Mughals. Bidhi Chand determined to recover them, disguised himself as an old woman to gain entry into the palace. He located the shawls but while retrieving them, guards discovered his deed and raised the alarm. They chased Bhidi through the gates and into the streets. Bhidhi Chand ducked into a burning brick kiln to escape detection. The guru protected his devoted disciple by absorbing the heat of the flames with his own body. The guru called for water to brought to bathe and cool his body so that Bidhi Chand suffered no harm.
A convert is often most zealous in their new belief, and Bidhi Chand proved to be no exception. He ministered actively throughout his life as a Sikh. Guru Har Govind sent Bhai Bidhi Chand Eastward in the capacity of preacher, to teach the three principles
of Sikhism. On one mission he traveled to Devnagar, where he met and became very close with the Muslim Pir
, Sundar Shah. Before Bidhi Chand returned to Punjab, Sundar Shah requested him to return one day, and the two made a pact to spend the end of their days together in Devnagar.
True to his word, when he felt his life coming to an end, Bidhi Chand took leave of Guru Har Govind. He left Punjab returned to Devnagar. Bidhi Chand and Sundar Shah spent the last three days of their lives together and both expired on August 14, 1640. Local people gave each one last rites
according the their individual beliefs and commemorated their passing by erecting two shrines. Bidhi Chand's nephew carried earth from his uncle's shrine back to his homeland and built a memorial smadh
in the village of Sursingh to honor Bidhi Chand's birthplace.
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