Open main menu

Page:Provincial geographies of India (Volume 1).djvu/197

This page needs to be proofread.
ch. xviii]

was succeeded by his grandson, Har Rai (1645-1661). The new Guru was a man of peace. Har Rai died in 1661, having nominated his younger son, Harkrishn, a child of six, as his successor. His brother, Ram Rai, disputed his claim, but Aurangzeb confirmed Harkrishn's appointment. He died of small pox in 1664 and was succeeded by his uncle, Teg Bahadur (1664-1675), whose chief titles to fame are his execution in 1675, his prophecy of the coming of the English, and the fact that he was the father of the great tenth Guru, Govind. It is said that when in prison at Delhi he gazed southwards one day in the direction of the Emperor's zandna. Charged with this impropriety, he replied: "I was looking in the direction of the Europeans, who are coming to tear down thy par das and destroy thine empire."

Guru Govind Singh.— When Govind (1675-1708) succeeded his father, Aurangzeb had already started on the course of persecution which fatally weakened the pillars of Turkish rule. Govind grew up with a rooted hatred of the Turks, and a determination to weld his followers into a league of fighting men or Khdlsa (Ar. khdlis = pure), admission into which was by the pahul, a form of military baptism. Sikhs were henceforth to be Singhs (lions). They were forbidden to smoke, and enjoined to wear the five k's, kes, kangha, kripan, kachh, and kara (uncut hair, comb, sword, short drawers, and steel bracelet). He established himself at Anandpur beyond the Hoshyarpur Siwaliks. Much of his life was spent in struggles with his neighbours, the Rajput Hill Rajas, backed from time to time by detachments of imperial troops from Sirhind. In 1705 two of his sons were killed fighting and two young grandsons were executed at Sirhind. He himself took refuge to the south of the Sutlej, but finally decided to obey a summons from Aurangzeb, and was on the way to the Deccan when the old Emperor died. The Guru