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BIR GURU, by Rabindranath Tagore, is a life sketch in Bengali of Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708), the last of the Ten Gurus of the Sikh faith, emphasizing especially how he had prepared Sikhs to stand up to oppression and injustice. This is Tagore`s first writing on Guru Gobind Singh published in 1885 in the Sraban July-August issue of the Balak. The poet was then in his early twenties. Though no reference is made in the text to any earlier work on the Sikhs, Tagore (1861-1941) seems to have been familiar with the writings of Malcolm (Sketch of the Sikhs), McGregor (History of the Sikhs) and Cunningham (A History of the Sikhs).

According to him. Guru Gobind Singh spent the time between the martyrdom of his father, Guru Tegh Bahadur (1675) and the creation of the Khalsa (1699) in seclusion along the banks of the Yamuna mastering different languages and literatures. His encounter with the armies of the hill rajas and troops of the Mughal Emperor are described in some detail. Emperor Aurangzib`s invitation to the Guru is said to have been the result of the alarm caused by the latter`s victory in the battle of Muktsar (1705). The account of the Guru`s death at Nanded is based on McGregor's version which runs counter to historical facts.

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