Guru Gobind blessed Muslim-dominated Malerkotla abundantly after Nawab protested the execution of Guru’s sons


Malerkotla, the newly sculpted district of Punjab sent shockwaves through Uttar Pradesh, its chief minister Yogi Adityanath calling Captain Amarinder’s decision a “source of division.” It is the Malerkotla closest to communal politics, for even at the height of Partition’s communal violence, Malerkotla challenged the mainstream violence.

PEACEFUL PAST

At the time of the partition, there were exchanges or exchanges of corpses and refugees between the east and the west of the Punjab, in the midst of all these tensions, Malerkotla was peaceful and over the years became the model of inter-community unit.

There are many reasons for a place to be non-violent, especially when the rest of the state is engulfed in the embers of hate.

In Malerkotla, community peace and harmony can be attributed to the leadership of Muslim Nawabs, to modes of governance, such as the Subsidiary Alliance, and to social disapproval of violence, which comes from notions of izzat (honor) in Sikh society, these notions are rooted in honoring the words of Sikh gurus.

LEGEND OF A BLESSING AND A PROTEST

Malerkotla’s spirit of ikatth (community unity) is well documented in several books. Malerkotla was a princely state ruled and dominated by Muslims. Founded in 1454, it is known for its pluralism and shared religious space, which emerges from the tomb of its founder Haider Sheikh, the Sufi saint.

One of the most legendary reasons for remaining nonviolent at the time of partition has to do with the protests of Nawab Sher Mohammad Khan and the blessing of Guru Gobind Singh.

Author and scholar Pippa Virdee’s book “From The Ashes of 1947 – Reimagining Punjab” contains a chapter called “Sacred Malerkotla” which tells the legendary story.

During the reign of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb (1658-1707) there were battles between Mughal armies and Sikhs and one of them was an attack on Chamkaur (1705), just before this battle both Guru Gobind Singh’s sons were captured by Mughal authorities – Fateh Singh, six, and Zorawar, nine. The sons were executed and suffocated to death by being driven into the wall.

The Qazi who was present at the court of Nawab Wazir Khan Sirhind, where this episode took place, noted that Islamic law does not consider the two boys guilty of any crime and that the execution is against Islamic principles.

News of the execution reached the Nawab of Malerkotla Sher Mohammad Khan (1672-1712), who, after hearing everything, wrote a letter of protest, condemning the act as un-Islamic.

Speaking to Aurangzeb, he said the act violated Islamic law as it was not correct to punish children for enmity with their father.

Although Nawab’s protest did not help save the lives of the young boys, when the story of the protest reached Guru Gobind Singh, who after hearing this said, “His roots will forever remain green.”

This episode has taken on mythical proportions. Interviews conducted by the author show that people believed in the 300-year-old blessing and its power to keep unrest at bay.

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