Thursday, 5 October 2017

Diwan Todar Mal, a legend in Sikh history

Gurudwara Fatehpur Shaib, Punjab flickriver.com

 Above image: This gurudwara is built at the place where younger sahibzadas (Guru Gobind Singh's younger sons) were pu to death alive building wall around them by Governor of  Sirhind Wazir Khan. Diwan Todar Mal sold his fortune to buy land for their cremation........................


Diwan Todal Mal gate. Sahibzadas.info

Diwan Todar Mal Jain of Sirhind, as per  account in the Phulkian state gazetteer,  belonged to Kakra village, a few miles from Patiala and was a businessman. His name had become synonymous with the Sikh history in India and even today Diwan Todar Mal is deeply respected  and revered by the  Sikhs. The  Diwan Todar Mal Memorial Hall, congregation hall, worthy of name and personal sacrifice  has been built  at historic Gurudwara Fatehgarh Sahib by SGPC.

How come Todar Mal, a businessman was associated with Sikh history and their struggle against religious suppression during the reign of Aurangzeb, the most treacherous Muslim ruler of Delhi? Aurangzeb was so cruel and mean, he imprisoned his father and and killed his brothers to  ascend the covetous throne. 


Todar Mal's  affluence and how successful he was in his business dealings could be figured  out from his rich, lavsh haveli (residence) called  “Jahaz Mahal” built  just outside the Mogul Governor Nawab Wazir Khan’s palace. It shows that Todar Mal had good relationship with the higher-ups in the Mogul rule  and enjoyed their patronage. He was a Dewan in the court of Wazir Khan, Governor of Srihind. He was also a true follower of Guru Gobind Singh, a great Sikh Guru and developed a liking for his preaching. 

At that point of time, the Sikhs and Moguls fought several wars over the control of the territory and under the Mogul they and other non-Muslims faced religious persecution. Forced conversion of non-Muslims to Islam, imposing of toll tax jisha on them angered them. Guru Gobind Singh and his followers revolted against the atrocities committed by Aurangzeb and his men. At last, Aurangzeb ordered his army to kill Guru Gobind Singh and his family. 

At the end of 1704 A.D, on orders from Wazir khan, the young Sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh, Baba Zorawar Singh and Baba Fateh Singh, were captured and put to death alive by covering them with a brick structure. . When nobody was willing to claim the bodies and cremate them as per Sikh rites, without any fear for his life,  Diwan Todar Mal  took possession of the bodies. This was done in order to show his deepest respect for Guru Gobind Singh. That fate takes its own course is true in his hitherto uneventful life. Never had he any inkling that circumstances would push him to a stage where he had to choose either of the two - dedication to his Guru or continuance of luxurious life. Being a man with scruples, he chose the former as the latter was transient in nature.

Todar Mal arranging gold coins vertically on the land imgrum
 Wazir mercilessly demanded gold coins should be kept in vertical position  equal to the size of land sought to perform last rites of younger sahibzada of Guru Gobind Singh and Mata Gujri. Todar Mal, without reservation and unmindful of his future  financial security  gave his savings and land to buy land for the last rites. He later also made arrangements for their cremation. the bodies of all the three were cremated by the descendants of Todar Mall Shahjahani because the latter had already died in 1665-66.  His family later moved over to Ludhiana, leaving behind the haveli after earning the fury of Wazir Khan.  After decades, it fell into disrepair and caved in some places.


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It was indeed a noble act on the part of Todar Mal and through this great deed he gained immortality and has become a part of Sikh history. 

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2004/20040102/punjab1.htm#11