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SAIF UDDIN MAHMUD, also called Saif Khan (d.1685), a high ranking noble in the reign of Aurangzib, was a man of religious disposition which, earned him the popular title of Faqirullah, meaning a holy man of God. His father, Tarbiat Khan, had been a Bakhshi or paymaster under Emperor Shah Jahan, and his elder brother, Fidai Khan, was Aurangzib`s foster brother. During the war of succession (1658) Saif udDin had fought gallantly on the side of Aurangzib, who rewarded him with the title of Saif Khan and the governorship of Agra. Relieved of his post later, Saif Khan retired to his small fief in Sirhind territory where he founded, in 1668, a fortified habitation named Saifabad, now Bahadurgarh, near Patiala. He was governor of Kashmir twice in 1665-68 and again in 1669-1671. In 1671, he quit the post and turned a hermit.

He was restored to his title and rank at the end of 1675, and made Subahdar of Bihar in 1678, but was dismissed in 1683. He died on 23 April 1685. Nawab Saif Khan was an admirer of Guru Tegh Bahadur whom he met on several occasions. Once Guru Tegh Bahadur is said to have put up with him at Saifabad for over three months. The Guru encamped in Saif Khan`s garden, outside the fort, enclosing his mansion and mosque.

The Nawab also took him into the inner apartments of his mansion to enable the ladies of his household to meet him. An old Gurdwara across the road from the Bahadurgarh Fort now marks the site where Guru Tegh Bahadur had stayed as Saif Khan`s guest. Saif Khan`s tomb is also located near the Fort. People still remember him with reverence as Saifa Baba and visit his tomb, especially on Thursdays.

References :

1. Padam, Piara Singh, and Giani Garja Singh, eds., Guru kiari Sakhian. Patiala. 1986
2. Trilochan Singh, Guru Tegh Bahadur: Prophet and Martyr. Delhi, 1967
3. Harbans Singh, Guru Tegh Bahadur. Delhi, 1982

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