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SIKH GURUS

GURU ARJAN SAHIB
(1563-1606)


GURU ARJAN SAHIB, son of Mata Bhani and Guru Ram Das Sahib, was born at Goindwal. He had a son (Guru) Hargobind Sahib. (According to a hagiography-type story, Guru Hargobind Sahib was born as a blessing of Baba Buddha. This type of stories are in contradiction with the Sikh ideology). Guru Arjun Sahib was installed as the Fifth Nanak, in 1581. Guru Arjun Sahib established his second headquarters at Guru Da Chakk (Amritsar), the city founded by Guru Ram Das Sahib in 1577, and named it Chakk Ram Das.

In 1587, Guru Arjan Sahib completed the contraction of Santokhsar Sarovar (tank), which had been started by Guru Ram Das Sahib. The digging of Tarn Taran Sarovar (tank) was started in 1590. He founded the city of Kartarpur (district Jullundur) in 1593. In 1597, he established the town of Gobindpur (now know as Hargobindpur) on the ruins of the village Ruhila. Ramsar Sarovar was completed in 1603. Though Chakk Ram Das and Goindwal Sahib, both, were Guru Sahib's headquarters he also stayed for some time at Guru Ki Vadali (sometimes between1589 and 1597) and for some months at Tarn Taran and Kartarpur too. Besides he also took several missionary journeys. It was at Goindwal that the Mogul emperor Akbar and his minister Abu Fazal came to see him.

Guru Arjan Sahib composed more than 2000 verses and all these are a part of Guru Granth Sahib compiled by him in 1603-04 and installed at Darbar Sahib, on August 16, 1604. The Sikh tradition of Daswandh (tithe), though in practice since Guru Nanak Sahib, was institutionalized by Guru Arjan Sahib. Guru Arjan Sahib became very much popular among the people of all the faiths. His missionary work added several followers to the Sikh fold. At this, some Hindu feudal and Muslims officials became jealous of Guru Sahib. Among such persons included Sheikh Ahmed Sirhandi, Birbal (Hindu minister of Akbar), Chandu (of Kalanaur) etc. and some other Hindu as well as Muslim feudal. Birbal, once, in 1586, asked Guru Sahib to pay him tax and when Guru Sahib refused to pay any tax, he threatened to attack Amritsar, but before he could attack the Sikh city, he was killed in a battle (in February 1586).

After the death of Akbar, in 1605, his son Jahangir became emperor. A few months after Jahangir's crowning, his son Khusrau rebelled. During the course of his rebellion, Khusrau, on his way to Lahore, visited Goindwal Sahib and made a casual obeisance to Guru Arjan Sahib. Though Khusrau's rebellion was suppressed, Jahangir took vengeance from all those who had supposedly cooperated Khusrau. In 1606, he ordered the arrest of Guru Arjan Sahib. On May 25, Guru Sahib received summons. The same day, Guru Sahib installed Guru Hargobind Sahib as the Sixth Nanak and himself left Amritsar for Lahore. Guru Arjan Sahib was arrested on May 27, 1606. Jahangir ordered the execution of Guru Sahib and assigned the task of execution to Murtaza Khan, the governor of Lahore. Chandu Shah (who had personal grudge against Guru Sahib) took the assignment of carrying the execution of Guru Sahib. Guru Sahib was given extreme physical torment for three days. Chandu employed Gurditta Bhatthiara (a gram-percher) to torment Guru Sahib. Guru Sahib was seated on red-hot iron plates. Burning sand was poured on his head. It continued for three days.

Finally, he was chained and thrown into the river Ravi Guru Sahib embraced martyrdom on May 30,1606. (Jahangir, in his memoirs, acknowledged personally ordering the execution of Guru Arjan Sahib). Gurdwara Dehra Sahib, at Lahore, preserves the memory of the martyrdom of Guru Sahib. Guru Arjan Sahib founded four major towns and built several buildings. He compiled the Sikh Scriptures. He toured far and wide and preached the Sikh mission and added several followers to the mission of Guru Nanak Sahib. It is hard to believe that all this was done by a single person in such as short span of his life.




 
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