Small Hands Strong Hands
Sdni Manjit Kaur
The sight of small soft hands took my surti back 310 years, remembering small soft hands of Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji’s chhotay sahibzaaday who were just 6 and 8 years of age when at banks of river Sirsa, they along with their grandmother got separated from the rest of family.
After an arduous journey Mata Gujri Ji along with the two Sahibzadas halted for a night with a devoted Muslim water carrier Kuma. Gangu, the domestic servant took the reluctant Mata ji and the Princes along with him to village Kheri.
The greedy, avaricious and selfish Gangu, first stole the gold and other precious things of Mataji and then passed on the prized information about the whereabouts of Mataji and the little Princes to the Morinda Kotwal. The treachery and betrayal of Gangu got the Mataji and the princes arrested. In the cold nights of December, they were lodged in a cold room in the tower; without food and warm clothes.
As Snow covered mountains rose above the morning mist on sunny day at Fairplex, Pomona, CA on December 25th 2014; thousands of Sikhs came from all over the country to celebrate the Prakash Utsav of Sahib-E- Kamaal, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
On 29th anniversary of Darbar-E-Khalsa, organized by IIGS, the Guru’s Darbar was decorated in mesmerizing colors of pink and gold. In the center, there was a special dome created for King of kings, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
Sangats formed multiple lines beginning from the Khalsa Bazaar leading to the entrance door for Darbar Hall, to pay respects to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, before they got out from the exit door to get Guru’s parsaad. I stood there behind the Karah-parsaad table, distributing Guru’s parsaad, watching the cupped hands and listening to the melodious kirtan, the anand is indescribable. They were small hands, big hands, weak hands, strong hands, manicured hands, some-not-so-clean hands, napkin-covered hands, hands with deep dark defined lines, hands with no lines, hands with tremendous fine lines
Wazir Khan tried to lure the Sahibzade to embrace Islam with promises of riches and honors, but they spurned the suggestion. He then threatened them with death, but they remained undaunted. Still adamant, the young Sikhs were ordered to be sealed alive in a wall on December 25, 1704. Mata Gujri ji The 83 year old Mata Gujari Kaur Ji, who had all along been kept in the Cold Tower only a little distance away, breathed her last as the news reached her ears.
I was startled from my thoughts with the sounds of ‘Jo Bole So Nihaal, Sat Sri Akaal’ from the Darbar hall but only for few seconds. A teenaged boy was standing in front of me with cupped hand for parsaad. I could not help thinking of Guru ji’s older Sahibzaaday Baba Ajit Singh, age 16 and Baba Jujhar Singh, age 14, who attained shahidi in Chamkaur battle in December 1704 too. The heroic deeds of these two elder sons Guru Gobind Singh will keep inspiring the young Sikh generations to rise to the occasion whenever called upon to fight for justice and rights against injustice and cruelty for all times to come. Thus, Guru Gobind Singh sacrificed his dear and brave sons, only to prove that when it comes to making sacrifices for Sikh cause, he would not hesitate to offer his own sons to show to the world that the Sikh ideals alone, and not his own sons, were dearer to him.
Once again, I pulled my thoughts in present. Kirtaniya were singing ‘aayio parhan sunanh ko baani’ in their melodious voice. Some familiar faces exchanged warm smiles and Gurpurb greetings. It was past noon and the queues of devotees have become longer than before. IIGS sewadars were busy directing them in most humbled manner in and out of the Darbar hall.
As much as I enjoyed being there, my surt was still somewhere thinking of supreme sacrifices of the Rider of Blue Horse and the Lord of White Hawk, Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji. I was just imagining about him in forest of Machiwara, when a messenger arrived to inform Guru Gobind Singh that his two sons, Sahibzada Jujhar Singh and Sahibzada Zorawar Singh aged six and eight years old had been entombed alive by the Governor of Sirhind Province upon their refusal to convert to Islam, that sound of ‘Mitr Piyare nu, haal muridaan da kehna’ touched my ears. It was in that moment that I lost sight of all hands in front of me under the welled up tears; just presence of immense love that Guru Sahib has had for Khalsa filled my heart and everywhere around.
I could feel his presence everywhere in Darbar-E-Khalsa. It filled me with great pride that we were celebrating gurpurb with such grandeur of our Dasam pita about whom Dr. Gopal Singh so eloquently stated; “He abolished privilege and raised the lowest, equal in all ways to the highest and restored to man his manhood, to woman her woman-hood. To him temple and mosques were one and same. Freedom, freedom, freedom resounded from everywhere, freedom from foreign tyranny as much as from what drags man down: superstition, hypocrisy, ego, self-pity and covetousness, and worst of all, the joyless round of a living death. He only lived for mere two scores and two years but in this short span of life he changed the map of India and the world”