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BIDHI CHAND, BHAI

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BIDHI CHAND, BHAI (d. 1640). warrior as well as religious preacher of the time of Guru Hargobind, was a Chhina Jatt of the village of Sursingh, 34 km south of Amritsar (31° 37`N, 74° 52`E). His father`s name was Vassan and his grandfather`s Bhikkhi. His mother was from Sirhali, another village in the same district. As a young man Bidhi Chand had fallen into bad company and taken to banditry. One day, a pious Sikh, Bhai Adali of the village of Chohia, led him into Guru Arjan`s presence.

Bidhi Chand wished no longer to return home and decided to dedicate the rest of his life to the service of the Guru. He was one of the five Sikhs chosen to accompany Guru Arjan on his journey to Lahore where he was martyred in 1606. Guru Hargobind chose him to be one of the commanders of the armed force he had raised and he displayed as a soldier great feats of valour in battles with the imperial troops. His bestknown exploit, however, was the recovery of two horses, Dilbagh and Gulbagh, from the stables of the governor of Lahore. The horses belonged to a Sikh who was bringing them from Kabul as an offering for Guru Hargobind, but they were seized on the way by the Mughal satrap.

The first horse Bidhi Chand recovered disguised as a hayseller, and the second disguised as an astrologer. Besides being a brave warrior, Bidhi Chand was well versed in Sikh lore and tenet. From Kiratpur, he was sent out by Guru Hargobind on a preaching mission to the eastern provinces where a Muslim saint, Sundar Shah of Devnagar, became so attached to him that, before he left for the Punjab, he secured his word that he would return and spend his last days with him. According to Gurbilas Chhevin Patshahi, Bidhi Chand remembered his promise and, as he saw his end drawing near, he took his leave of Guru Hargobind and went to Devnagar.

The two friends spent three days reflecting together on the teaching of Guru Nanak, whereafter, continues the Gurbilas, both died at the same time (14 August 1640). Sundar Shah`s disciples buried the one in accordance with Muslim rites and cremated the other in accordance with Sikh rites, and raised shrines in their honour. Some time later, Lal Chand, a nephew of Bhai Bidhi Chand, brought from the site of his shrine at Devnagar some earth over which he built a samadh in his ancestral village, Sursingh.

References :

1. Gurbilas Chhevin Patshahi. Patiala, 1970
2. Gian Singh, Giani, Twarikh Khalsa. Patiala, 1970
3. Macauliffe, Max Arthur, The Sikh Religion. Oxford, 1909
4. Banerjee, Indubhusan, Evo/ution of the Khalsa. Calcutta, 1980

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