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The Zafarnama

When Aurangzeb realized that the human he was fighting was not a mere mortal, he invited Guru Gobind Singh to come and negotiate terms of peace.

india Updated: Mar 12, 2004 15:43 IST
PTI

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Guru Gobind Singh had lost all his four sons in his fight for justice against the Moghuls, who had them killed by treachery, and who were hell-bent on converting every Hindu, forcibly, to Islam. In the name of religion heinous murders and horrific carnage took place.

The Guru, however, brave and pious soul that he was, refused to be cowed down. Though Aurangzeb pushed him to the limits, chasing him all over the country, forcing him to flee from place to place, his spirits would not be falsified in any way. He refused to give in to Aurangzeb's cruelty.

When Aurangzeb realized that the human he was fighting was not a mere mortal, as he thought he was, he finally wrote an invitation to him to come and negotiate terms of peace.

While temporarily camping at Dina village, the Guru composed his reply to the Moghul Emperor. This is the famous Zafarnama, the Epistle of Victory. Translated into English it reads thus:

"I would not have left my town if I had realized what a deceitful and crafty fox you are. I would not have been in these straits today…

"Every soldier of your army who left his defences to attack us has been killed. So many soldiers on both sides have been slaughtered, either with arrows or with bullets, covering the Earth with blood. Heads and legs are intertwined in piles all over. The arrows that whizzed across, and the twanging of the bows have reached the ears of Heaven. My brave soldiers have fought like lions, but how could just forty faithful warriors, however brave, succeed in overcoming all the mighty odds arraigned against them?

"You are faithless and irreligious. You neither know God nor Mohammed. A religious man never breaks his promise. Had the Prophet been here, I would certainly have told him about your treachery.

"Though my four loved sons have been killed, I still remain to take revenge. It is not a mark of heroism to extinguish these few sparks. You have only succeeded in sparking off an uncontrollable devastating fire…

"You are proud of your vast empire, while I am proud to belong to the kingdom of God. You must not forget that this is a world, which we have to leave, sooner or later… "

When Aurangzeb received this epistle, he was filled with remorse, and realized that all that he had done in the name of religion, was actually heresy. His conscience finally won over its battle against the Emperor's greed for power, and he ordered that Guru Gobind Singh and his Sikhs should not be harassed any more.

His repentance was so great, that he died soon thereafter. The pen proved mightier than the sword!

First Published: Mar 12, 2004 15:39 IST