- Category: Eighteenth century Literature
10, a poeticized account of Guru Gobind Singh`s career, was completed in 1751, forty-three years after his death. Until it was published in 1968, there were only four manuscript copies of the work known to exist. Apart from specialists, very few had heard of it. The author of this work is Kuir Singh, a resident of Mohalla Kamboari of a city, which, in his book, remains unspecified, but which could possibly be Lahore. He entered the fold of the Khalsa under the influence of Bhai Mani Singh.
He uses two noms deplume for himself, namely Bisan Hari/ Visanu Hari and Sri Kant Hari. The practice of using in the text synonyms of the actual name was fairly common amongst medieval Hindi poets.But the terms Kuir Singh employs have no semantic relationship with his name. It is likely that he adopted the new name Bishan Singh (synonym: Bisan Hari} on receiving the rites of Khalsa baptism. The entire Gurbilds is written in verse of various forms, including aril, salok, savaiyd, sirkhandi, sorathd, kabii, chaupal, jhuland, tribhangi, dohird, bhujang, rasdval, gid, and nardj.
Out of a total of 2,938 chhands, 2,901 arc written in Braj Bhasa and the remaining 37 in Punjabi. The work has a few specimens of prose interspersed in the text which are linguistically very significant. As far his sources of information, the poet seems to have had access to two preceding works. Guru Gobind Singh`s Bachitra Ndtak and Sainapati`s Sri Gur Sobhd. More than that, he has relied on information personally obtained from Bhai Mani Singh.Whereas the Bachitra Nalak comes down to 1696 and the Sri Gur Sobhd takes up the thread in a broad way from where it ends, Kuir Singh`s Gurbilds covers the entire span of Guru Gobind Singh`s life.
It is the first work to record details of the early years of his career, of the Sis Bhet episode in the creation of the Khalsa, and the march of the Guru from Chamkaur to Talvandi Sabo. li also contains reference to Guru Gobind Singh passing on the spiritual succession to the Guru Granth Sahib which was to be the Guru after him. Equally important is the poet`s evocation of Guru Gobind Singh`s image. Writing at a time when the Sikhs were engaged in a bitter struggle against the Mughal rulers, he portrays the Guru as a liberator and warrior, and as the guardian angel of the Khalsa ranks.
The Guru`s mission, nebulously hinted at in the Bachitra Ndlak, is now clearly understood as the extirpation of the tyrannical rule of the Mughals and the establishment of an autonomous Khalsa raj. A devotee and admirer of Guru Gobind Singh, he addresses him by such terms as Prabhu (Master), Kartar (Creator), Karunasindh (Ocean of Compassion), Dayanidh (Treasure of Grace), Kripasindh (Ocean of Kindness), etc. The Gurbilds is not, however, free from faults. Its dates are often erroneous; for instance, 1689, instead of 1699 for the creation of the Khalsa and 1709 instead of 1708 for the death of Guru Gobind Singh at Nanded. Figures concerning the strength of enemy forces and the casualties suffered by them are grossly exaggerated.
The battles of Anandpur are divided into two rounds, the first of which is described as preceding the attacks of Dilawar Khan, Husain Khan and Mirza Beg, which is historically incorrect. Similarly, Guru Gobind Singh`s journey to the South with Emperor Bahadur Shah is unhistorically interrupted by long visits, lasting for years, to places like Patna, Kashi and Ayodhya. A notable feature of the work is the evidence it furnishes about the martyrdom of BhaT Mani Singh and his companions in 1734. Kuir Singh seems to have been an eyewitness and mentions the names of some of the Sikhs who were executed along with Bhai Mani Singh. No other contemporary source contains this information.