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"ਸਾਹਿਬ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਜੀ ਵਿਰੁੱਧ ਕੁਫ਼ਰ ਤੋਲਣ ਵਾਲੇ, ਗੁਰੂ ਸਾਹਿਬਾਨ ਦੇ ਵਿਰੁੱਧ ਬੋਲਣ ਵਾਲੇ ਨੂੰ ਸੋਧਣਾ ਹਰ ਗੁਰਸਿੱਖ ਦਾ ਫ਼ਰਜ਼ ਹੈ। ਇਹੋ ਜਿਹੇ ਸਿੱਖ ਨੂੰ ਜੇ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਅਤਿਵਾਦੀ ਕਹਿੰਦੀ ਹੈ ਤਾਂ ਮੈਂ ਅਤਿਵਾਦੀ ਹਾਂ।"
- Bhai Ranjit Singh (Jathedar Sri Akal Takht Sahib)

Satwant Kaur : An 18th Century Legend (Chapter 17)

Source: Bhai Veer Singh Ji, translated by Bimal Kaur

Jaswant: I want you to listen to me carefully. From your reference to places and names, I feel that you are in search of someone. But this is a closely kept secret. If these names were revealed, you would get into serious trouble. I am in your power and will undergo any treatment you mete out to me. But if I reveal these names, your secret will be out and you too will suffer. Your action thus, will solve nothing.

But if you treat me with sympathy and try to understand my pain, I will keep your secret and do all in my power to help you. I can sense from your tense manner and speech that you carry a heavy burden in your heart.

Why do you want to add to it?

The chief became lost in deep thought: "'He is right. In my eagerness I have revealed more than I should have. If I am rough with him, he can destroy me, but as a friend he can be of immense help. With a wry grin he said to Jaswant, "Young man, you are very sharp! All right, tell me your problems and how I can help you."
Jaswant: I will tell you everything, but first promise me you will be my friend.

Chief: Yes, but only if you will help me.

Jaswant: Can you tell me something about your problem?

Chief: No, not now. But if you decide to help me, then I will too.

Jaswant: I feel that your fear of trusting me is wrong.

Chief: Maybe.

Jaswant: Then you promise?

Chief: Do you know Nukro?

Jaswant: No.

Chief: I'll just come back (and he left).

Jaswant sensed that the chief was overcome with emotion and he had gone away to hid his tears. After a short while he returned. The moon had risen and in its glow Jaswant could see that the chief had washed his face. He appeared to struggle with some deep inner grief.

Jaswant had realized that this young officer was the only one who could save him from exposure. It was almost daylight and the soldiers would begin their task soon. He offered up a fervent prayer, 'Waheguruji, by your grace let his man feel sympathy and help me. Or save me in any manner you feel it.'

Chief: Young man, look at these and tell me what they are.

Jaswant: This one is a kada and this is a small kirpan.

Chief: Do Sikh children play with these?

Jaswant: No. Children and adults, all keep these with them. The ones you have, obviously belong to a child. They must have been made for a very loving mother because the metal quality is excellent.

Chief: And what is this?

Jaswant: This is the morning prayer of the Sikhs.

Chief: Is it Jap Nisaan?

Jaswant: Yes and it is beautifully written.

Quickly Jaswant turned the pages, and found written on the last page-Written by Shatrujeet Singh for his devoted wife Aas Kaur.

Jaswant: You are a Muslim. What use are these to you?

Chief: (Taking them back) They are of use. Now tell me, what have you decided?

Jaswant: Promise me first.

Chief: You are not the one with the stolen diamond are you? Is that why you want my help?

Jaswant: No.

Chief: All right, I promise in the presence of my Allah that I shall be a true and loyal friend to you. Now, you too must make a vow.

Jaswant: I vow as a Sikh to be your true friend and guard your secrets.

Chief: I have heard that Sikhs are truthful, but still I want you to confirm that you are swearing by your God.

Jaswant: When a Sikh takes an oath 'as a Sikh' it automatically means that his God is a witness because Sikhs always live in the presence of their Allah.

Chief: Very well. Tell me now, what do you want from me?

Jaswant: That I should not have to undergo the physical search.

Chief: Why?

Jaswant: I hate any strangers touching my body.

Chief: Right, but where is the harm?

Jaswant: Under normal circumstances, no, but I have taken a vow. You don't need to worry that I am the diamond thief. If you don't believe me I am ready to give my garments for your soldiers to check.

The chief was puzzled and said, "I still can't see the problem, but if this is all that you want me to do then I can only offer one suggestion. Come with me and change into the clothes of my groom and get busy looking after my horse. As a part of my staff you will not arouse suspicion." Then nodding to Jaswant, he moved away.

Jaswant (who, as we know, was none other than Satwant Kaur disguised as a male) quickly woke up the old Baba and whispered, "I have to go for a couple of days, but I shall definitely meet you the day after. Meanwhile, please don't worry and don't try to look for me," and with a reassuring smile, he followed the chief.

On reaching the chief's tent, Jaswant quickly changed into the clothes of the syce (groom) and folding his own into a neat pile he kept them aside. The chief was already convinced of Jaswant's innocence, but the casual way he changed his clothes made his belief more certain.

Satwant Kaur's life had taken many twists and turns. From being the beloved daughter of doing parents, she was kidnapped and sold in the marketplace. Suffering the pain of imprisonment she went on to create an atmosphere of friendship and satsang. She lay sleeping on a bed of hay beside the horse, whose caretaker she had become.

The chief, whose name was Agha Khan, completed the round of the camp, and dropped on to his bed, tired out physically and emotionally. His mind was in turmoil. Though he felt relieved at finding someone to help him, he could not be sure how much further to trust him.

With the dawn, the rest of the travelers were searched thoroughly and when nothing was found, Agha Khan asked for the Amir's permission to leave. They received this towards the evening as the thief had been arrested in the palace itself.

Due to the lateness of the hour it was decided the caravan would depart early next morning.

(to be continued...)


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