Satwant Kaur : An 18th Century Legend (Chapter 23)
Source: Bhai Veer Singh Ji, translated by Bimal Kaur
Prince Timur had reached Kabul. When Abdali learnt that Marathas had come to Punjab, he became livid with rage and began to plan new attacks.
Timur had left spied behind to bring in details of conditions in Punjab from time to time. When the caravan reached Jalalabad, Agha Khan met some of these spies, who were on their way to Kabul with the latest reports. From them he learnt that the Marathas had reached Attock and were manning the border. But thought the country it was the Sikh units which were in control.
Agha Khan felt thrilled that the was reaching his country in time to be of service. He would fight shoulder to shoulder with his compatriots to ward off Abdali's invasion.
Hasn Khan's spies to returned to Kabul as they were satisfied that the old nursemaid was not with the caravan. Now Saeen and Agha Khan could relax and meet openly. One day Saeen said to Agha Khan:
I have told everything about you to Jaswant. He too was brought here as a captive from Punjab, but I have not had the time to learn all the details yet. He was very grateful for your help, but now that he knows you are a Sikh and Shatrujit Singh's son, he is overjoyed. He told me that your sister is alive and sings beautiful songs full of love and longing for her missing brother. Even though there has been no news about you for so many years, they have not given up and the Sikh jathas pray for the safety of you and your mother.
Agha Khan: Amma, it amazes me that the community into which I was born has so much love and concern for its members. After seventeen long years they still pray for the safe return of a young woman and her son and friend, and keep sending undercover people to search for them! And all the time without losing hope!
Alas! if only I had not been captured and taken away. I would have grown up in my own home, eating Sikh food! I would have been the support of my aged father, and with drawn sword in hand I would have been serving the panth on the battlefield.
The first few years of my youth have been misspend in accepting enemies as friends and treating friends as enemies. Well, what is past is past. With God's grace I shall try and make up for lost time.
Saeen: May Waheguru grant you a safe return home. The community you belong to is so closely knit that daily each Sikh prays for his brothers and sisters with these words:
Jahan jahan Khalsa Ji Sahib
Tahan Tahan racchiya riyaet (Ardas)
(O God, wherever are the members of the holy Khalsa, extend They protection and mercy to them)
Along with prayers each Sikh remains ever-alert to come to the help of anyone in distress. But the prayers have a deeper meaning as through them they ask for divine help and guidance for their brethren who are caught in difficult and painful situations. They accept it as the Lord's will if a Sikh dies fighting; his faith intact and his heart full of love for his Lord. But they consider a calamity if a Sikh gives up his faith and acts in a cowardly manner.
I love listening to Jaswant when he relates the incidents about Punjab. You must also find some time listen to him. You will find the experience most enjoyable.
Just then Jaswant came and sat down near them.
Agha Khan: Welcome, my very dear and close friend!
Jaswant: I am so grateful and happy that we share the same roots. In His infinite mercy, Waheguru looks after his own.
Agha Khan: For seventeen years I have lived in an alien culture, not knowing the greatness of my own. But the moment I learnt my true identity, my blood boiled. If Amma had not stopped me, I would have cut off the head of my mother's killer and offered it at my real father's feet, and won his commendation. Tell me Jaswant Singh Ji, won't my father blame me for not avenging my mother's death?
Jaswant: No, Shatrujeet Singh Ji will never do that. Sikhs do not enjoy spilling blood needlessly. When they see the weak and innocent being tortured and killed, only then they pick up their swords. They are basically fakirs, but with courage and determination in their hearts. They go to war to protects the people from the cruelty of the tyrants. It is this love for humanity that makes them fight. They have no desire to enrich themselves with the spoils of war.
They want to see their country free from the yoke of foreign rule and this is what gives them grit, determination and true resolve. It is selfless love which makes the Sikhs first try to change the thinking of the people in power. When they are met with stubbornness and willful destruction, they put up a strong resistance. When all else fails, they resort to weapons. But this too is done not with hatred but with love in their hearts. That is why their battles do not end in needless massacres. Since the time of Banda Bahadur, Sikhs have been ruthlessly attacked and mercilessly butchered a number of times. Yet, they are not afraid, but are always ready to fight.
The massacres of Sikhs by Mir Mannu were the most horrifying. At that time, a couplet most often recited by Sikhs was:
Mannu saadi daatri, assin Mannu de soye
Jiun jiun soye waddhiye doon sawaaye hoye (a popular slogan)
(Mannu is our scythe, and we, the grass. The more he cuts us down, the more our numbers increase.)
Your mother was truly a noble soul. She forgave her killer, and in so doing she went to meet her Lord with a clean heart full of love. She was brave to the end, giving up her life but not her faith, and left you a legacy of love and dedication to your panth.
Agha Khan: I am finding it very difficult to understand these high ideals. For me the need to take revenge is of foremost importance.
Jaswant: And that is because of the upbringing you have had for seventeen years.
Agha Khan: Yes, I have learnt two lessons extremely well - loyalty and revenge.
Jaswant: (laughing) Loyalty is good and these people have it because of their love for their community. Indians on the other hand, are too self-centred. This causes them to lead narrow lives and suffer the consequences. Sikhs exhibit exceptional loyalty because their love is based on high ideals; they feel no enmity towards anyone. They seldom show any meanness of thought or action.
Agha Khan: Seventeen years have gone by and yet my community has not given up on me. What kind of love is this? But tell me will they now accept me?
Jaswant: Whole heartedly.
Agha Khan: Will they interact with me?
Jaswant: Why not? The joy they will feel on seeing you will have to be seen to be believed. When they hear that the moment you learnt about your true identity, you did not take a moment to give up the wealth and comfort of your royal life to revert to the panth, cries of Dhan Kalghiyanwale will echo all around. To the panth this will be a confirmation that the blood of Sikhs is pure and does not come under any worldly influence.
(To be continued...)