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ZORAWAR SINGH

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ZORAWAR SINGH (1696-1705), the third son of Guru Gobind Singh, was born to Mata Jitoji at Anandpur on 17 November 1696, and was barely nine years old at the time of the evacuation of Anandpur on the night of 5-6 December 1705. Since the death, on 5 December 1700, of Mata Jitoji, Mata Gujari, his grandmother had been especially attached to young Zorawar Singh and his infant brother, Fateh Singh. She took charge of both as the column moved out of Anandpur. While crossing on horseback the rivulet Sarsa, then in spate, the three were separated from Guru Gobind Singh.

Their cook, Gangu, who had also succeeded in crossing the stream, escorted them to his own house in the village of Kheri, now known as Saheri, near Morinda in present day Ropar district. While unsaddling the horse he saw that there was some cash in the saddlebag. This tempted him to treachery. He not only stole the saddlebag during the night, but also planned to betray the fugitives to the government in hope of a reward. On the morning of 7 December 1705, the day of the fateful battle of Chamkaur, Zorawar Singh, along with Fateh Singh and their grandmother, was taken into custody by Jani Khan and Mani Khan Ranghar, the officials at Morinda.

They were despatched on the following day to Sirhind where they were consigned to the Cold Tower (Thanda Burj) of the Fort. On 9 December 1705, Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh were produced before the faujdar, Nawab Wazir Khan, who had just returned from Chamkaur with his feudal ally, Nawab Sher Muhammad Khan of Malerkotla. Wazir Khan tried to lure the Sahibzadas to embrace Islam with promises of riches and honours, but they spurned the suggestion. He then threatened them with death, but they remained undaunted. Death sentence was finally pronounced. Upon Sher Muhammad Khan's intercession for the innocent children to be spared their lives, they were given some more time to ponder over the suggestion to convert.

Zorawar Singh and his brother spent another two days of severe winter in their old grandmother's lap in the Cold Tower. Still adamant, they were, on 11 December 1705, ordered to be sealed alive in a wall. According to tradition, as the masonry around their tender bodies reached chest high, it crumbled. The Sahibzadas were sent to the Cold Tower again for the night. The next day, 12 December 1705, the alternative of conversion being again turned down, Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh were put to death by execution.

The aged Mata Gujari, who had all along been kept in the Cold Tower, only a little distance away, breathed her last as the news reached her ears. Seth Todar Mall, a wealthy merchant of Sirhind, performed the cremation of the three dead bodies the following day. The site of the fateful happenings, since christened Fatehgarh Sahib, close to the old town of Sirhind, is now marked by four Sikh shrines. A religious fair is held here from 25 to 28 December every year to honour the memory of the martyrs.

References :

1. Kuir Singh, Gurbilas Patshahl 10. Patiala, 1968
2. Chhibbar, Kesacr Singh, Bansavalmama Dasan Patshahian Ka, ed. Rattan Singh Jaggi. Chandigarh, 1972
3. Sainapati, Sn Gur Sobha, ed. Ganda Singh. Patiala, 1967
4. Gian Singh, Giani, Panth Prakash. Delhi, 1880
5. Padam, Piara Singh, Char Sahibzade. Patiala, 1970

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