In his six years of intensive research during the 1960s, Giani Ishar Singh Nara personally visited a large number of places where Guru Gobind Singh Sahib had set foot and pieced together chronologically his journeys and gathered credible information on his life. He brought out startling facts of which the Sikh community, by and large, was hitherto unaware. "Safarnama and Zafarnama" tells us of the circumstances under which Guru Sahib founded the Khalsa Panth, his relentless clashes for justice and religious tolerance with the tyrannical Mughals, martyrdom of his four sons and the many trials and tribulations undergone by him. The book also tells us of Guru Sahib's erudition as a scholar and a poet par excellence whose many compositions including his memoirs, "Bachittar Natak" and his telling letter "Zafarnama" in Persian to Emperor Aurangzeb, were compiled in the "Sri Dasam Granth" after him.
About the Author
Giani Ishar Singh was born in Nara, Tehsil Kahuta, District Rawalpindi (Pakistan) in 1898. He started his career as a raagi and pracharak in gurdwaras in and around Nara. In time, however, he realized that his forte lay in researching and writing on Sikh theology and pre-eminent Sikh personalities and over the years produced some outstanding works in Punjabi that won him much acclaim. Other than "Safamama te Zafarnama" (biography of Guru Gobind Singh Sahib), his other well-known works include "Vasakn Nahin Kattak", "Itihaas Baba Sri Chand Sahib te Udasin Samprada", "Raja Jogi-Jeevan Baba Sahib Singb Bedi" and "Sikh Panth ate Maharashtra di Saanjh" to name a few Giani ji passed away in 1995.
Lt. Col. Harindar Singh Bedi took voluntary retirement from the technical branch of the army in 1983. After a few years in the corporate sector in Nigeria and India, he decided to retire from active service in 2007 and took to translating Punjabi and Hindi books into English as a leisurely pursuit. He has translated several books up to now of which "Safarnama and Zafarnama" is the first one to be published.
This year in Jan. 2017, the 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh Ji was celebrated with great enthusiasm. Lacs of devotees from all over the world reached Patna Sahib, the birth place of the Guru. There was great fervour among the non-Sikhs also. Prime Minister Sh. Narinder Modi and various Chief Ministers were present in the main function. For the first time the entire media covered the programme and people at large could understand the contribution of Guru Gobind Singh Ji towards humanity. It was an awakening for the people and there was keenness to know more about the life and deeds of Guru Sahib. It was realized that enough literature, especially in English and other world languages, is not available. It is heartening to see soon after the celebrations that a proper book will soon be available. I admire Lt. Col. Harindar Singh Bedi who has done a great service in translating into English the book 'Safarnama te Zafarnama' written by Giani Ishar Singh Nara. What a coincidence that Giani ji presented this scholarly thesis to the community in 1971 at the time of tercentennial birth celebrations of Guru Gobind Singh ji and now his book will be available for a larger number of readers.
Lt. Col. Bedi is a direct descendant of Guru Nanak Dev ji. He has already translated Giani Nara's books on Baba Sri Chand and Baba Sahib Singh Bedi. I remember in my village Dhudial in District Jhelum (Pakistan) there was a beautiful Gurdwara on a small hillock surrounded by a dense jungle. This was built by the villagers as a mark of veneration for Baba Sahib Singh Bedi who visited the village in 1815. Our whole region is indebted to Baba Sahib Singh Bedi, his great-grandson Sir Baba Khem Singh Bedi and the latter's son Sir Baba Gurbaksh Singh Bedi of Kallar who brought thousands of people into the Sikh fold. Lt. Col. Bedi is the grandson of Sir Baba Gurbaksh Singh Bedi.
Giani Ishar Singh Nara went to each place which was visited by Guru Gobind Singh ji and collected the material for his book. He removed many doubts and clarified many myths about the Guru's life. The travels of Guru Sahib were quite extensive and every place sanctified by his visit has a separate story to tell which has been very well described by Giani ji. The last days of the Guru at Nanded will be of great interest to the readers. I have known Lt. Col. Bedi for the last 3 decades but I was not aware of his great talent in English-writing, He has thoroughly described every line written by Giani Ishar Singh. His translated work is a full and complete version of the original book. I expect S.G.P.C, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee and our Universities to take full benefit of Lt. Col. Bedi's efforts to propagate the ideals of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. The community should always encourage such efforts by competent persons.
It is most appropriate to add here what the great Indian scholar and former President of India Dr. S. Radhakrishnan wrote about the Tenth Master published in Baisakhi Number of the "Spokesman" 1956: "Guru Gobind Singh was besieged at Anandpur for three years; his two elder sons died fighting at Chamkaur; the two younger ones, innocents of 7 and 5, were first entombed alive and when a tremor of the earth demolished the wall, leaving them yet alive, they were literally slaughtered as sheep and goats by butchers! Guru Gobind Singh created and organized, vitalized and militarized the Khalsa. He created heroes out of dross and earth clods. Truly, he turned sparrows into hawks, lambs into lions, lumps of clay into heroes. For 1000 years, after the defeat of Raja Jaipal, India had lain prostrate. The raiders and invaders descended into India and took away the people to be sold as slaves. People watched and had not the courage to strike a blow in defence of their weeping, wailing, sobbing, groaning mothers, sisters and daughters.
(These tragic scenes were repeated in 1947). Alas, poor India suffered unfathomable anguish. Guru Gobind Singh raised the Khalsa to defy religious intolerance, religious persecution and political inequality. It was a miracle that heroes appeared out of straws and common clay. Those who grovelled in the dust rose proud, defiant and invincible in the form of the Khalsa. They bore all sufferings and unnamable tortures cheerfully and unflinchingly, and accepted martyrdom for over fifty years in the first half of the eighteenth century. In the time of Bahadur Shah, Farrukh Siyar, Mir Many and Zakariya Khan, Bhai Taru Singh suffered martyrdom in 1738 and Bhai Mani Singh in 1750. Their martyrdom did not go in vain. On their ashes, on their blood and bones, was laid the foundation of the Sikh empire which was secular in character and which blocked the Khyber Pass. India was spared the anguish which invaders had repeatedly inflicted on India for about 1000 years.
India is at long last free. This freedom is the crown and climax and a logical corollary to the Sikh Guru's and Khalsa's terrific sacrifices and heroic exploits. The Khalsa's traditions must inspire the Sikhs to live and die (if need be) for India's freedom. No cause could be worthier, nobler, grander, dearer."
Many such writings by various scholars are available. Our religious organizations should earmark enough budgets for the proliferation of such literature.
‘Nama’ is a Persian word denoting a letter, epistle, document or book presenting one's view, deed or undertaking such bai nama (sale deed), rehin nama (mortgage), ikrar nama (undertaking), rehit nama (Sikh code of conduct), hukam nama (written command, edict), etc.
The letter that Guru Gobind Singh Sahib wrote about the victory of his ethics and truth to Aurangzeb was named 'Zafarnama'. That has been reproduced in this book partly in its original form but in Gurmukhi script and partly translated into Gurmukhi.
Prior to this Guru Sahib has himself written about the earlier journey of his soul in his granth "Bachittar Natak." His soul left the Hemkunt Mountain and found an 'abode' in Mata Gujari ji's womb on the banks of the Triveni. He then took birth in Patna city.
He spent six years in Patna and then came to the Punjab. This journey has been covered briefly. From Anandpur he went to Paonta. He again returned to Anandpur and travelled to many places from there. Eventually he had to forsake Anandpur, and after the saga of Chamkaur and Machhiwara, went to Dina in the Malwa region of the Punjab. He spent a few months here, and then passing through Rajasthan, arrived in Nanded (Deccan). He breathed his last in Nanded. This too was a journey of his soul. That is why this book has been given the title "Safarnama te Zafamama."
It is hoped that discerning readers will find this title appropriate, and in addition to bringing to light Sri Guru Gobind Singh Sahib's noteworthy acts in all the 'journeys' of his life that have been recorded in historical perspective, my well- researched work in removing all kinds of historical misconceptions and shortcomings will be acknowledged as a work of rare value.
Your email address will not be published *
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend