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Safarnama and Zafarnama (The Life and Times of Guru Gobind Singh Sahib)

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Item Code: NAN666
Publisher: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
Author: Giani Ishar Singh Nara - Translator: Harindar Singh Bedi
Language: English
Edition: 2017
ISBN: 9788121513128
Pages: 640
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
Weight 790 gm
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Book Description
About the Book

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.



Grateful Thanks of the Author XVII
Foreword XIX
Note by Translator XXIII
Preface by Author XXV
First Journey 1  
Preamble 1
Baba in Bakala 3
Journey to the East 4
Other Reason for Journey 5
Mata Gujari Ji Conceives 7
Guru Tegh Bahadur in Bihar and Assam 7
Patna is Blessed 9
Celebrations in Dhaka 12
Pir Bhikan Shah has Darshan of Newborn 13
Guru Tegh Bahadur in Kolkata 15
Second Journey 18  
From Patna to Sri Anandpur 18
Concern of Sikh Sangats and Uncle Kirpal Chand 26
Arrangements for Education and Marriage 28
Beliefs of Poets 32
Policy of the Mughal Rulers 33
Change in Mughal Policy 35
Briss in Anandpur 40
'Liberated' a Bear 41
Valuable Canopy from Kabul 42
Guru Sahib's Second Marriage 43
Raja Rattan Rai of Assam Arrives for Guru Ji's Darshan 44
The 'Ranjit Nagara' 45
Inauguration of the Ranjit Nagara and Hunting Expeditions 47
Raja Bhim Chand's Envy 49
Visit by Raja Medni Prakash 51
Third Journey 53  
Relocating in Paonta 53
Pir Budhu Shah of Sadhaura Visits Guru Ji 55
Guru Ji's Meeting with Sri Ram Rai 56
Sri Ram Rai Passes Away 61
At Kopal Mochan 63
Guru Sahib's Cantonment in Paonta 65
Sends Shagan to Raja Fateh Shah 67
Battle of Bhangani 69
Bestowal of Rewards after Victory 71
Birth of Sahibzada Ajit Singh 73
Fourth Journey 75  
Return to Anandpur from Paonta 75
Five Sikhs Sent to Kashi to Study Sanskrit 79
Fifth Journey 81  
Battle of Nadaun 81
Fight with Hussian Khan 82
Assault by Bahadur Shah 82
Building Forts 83
Anoop Kaur's Trickery 84
Tribute by the Author 93
Composition of the 504 Charitars 96
Compilation of Sri Dasam Granth 102
Sri Sarb Loh Granth 104
Predicted Creation of Khalsa Panth and its Greatness 106
Story of Devi Chandika's 'Appearance' 108
Historical Perspective 111
Author's View 112
Conducted a Massive Sacrificial Feast 116
Creation of Khalsa Panth 118
Extraordinary Demand for Sacrifice 121
The Baptism Ceremony 123
Gurmantra and Code of Conduct 126
Covered Donkey with Tiger Skin 128
Had Karah Prasad Looted 129
The Shikar Episode 130
Lest Someone Cast an Evil Eye 131
Bhai Pheru Singh 131
Bhai Joga Singh of Peshawar 132
Meeting Bedi Baba Kaladhari 136
Bhai Nand Lal 'Goya' takes Refuge of Guru Ji 137
Guru Ji Reveals Significance of Langar 139
Portents of Battle in Anandpur 140
Anandpur's Second Battle 141
MasandsExposed 142
Mai Bhagan of Agra 143
Offering by a Disciple of Nigahe Pir 144
Cantonment at Anandpur 144
Qazi Salar Din's Query 145
Battle of Lohgarh 147
Entreaties by Hill Chieftains 149
Sixth Journey 152  
Camp at Nirmohi 152
Battle of Nirmohi 153
Raja of Basali Visits Guru Sahib 156
Battle on Sutlej Riverfront 157
Guru Gobind Singh Ji in Basali 159
Raja of Bibhaur Arrives for Darshan 159
Plundering Kalmot 160
Seventh Journey 163  
Back in Anandpur 163
Raja Bhim Chand Acknowledges Mistake 165
Narad Ji Comes for Darshan 166
Dola of Sri Sahib Devan 167
Sri Sahib Devan made Mother of the Khalsa Panth 169
Devoted Sewak Bhai Jagga Singh 170
Veneration of Bedi Sahibzadas 171
Baba Kaladhari's Grievance 172
An Important Question 175
Raja Bhim Chand's Deceitfulness yet Again 177
Another Battle in Anandpur 178
Eighth Journey 180  
The Rewalsar Fair 180
Guru Sahib with the Raja of Mandi 182
The Princess of Chamba 183
Ninth Journey 186  
From Chamba to Anandpur 186
Said Khan has Change of Heart 186
Consequences of Swearing 187
Settled' Account' of Previous Birth 188
Brahmins Return Charity 189
Aspirations of the Khalsa 192
Significance of 'Ardas' 194
Hargopal Das 'Sells' His Faith 195
Sermon to a Sanyasi 197
Explained Method of Simran to Sri Mata Jito Ji 198
The Big Battle of Sri Anandpur 202
Tenth Journey 214  
Abandoning Sri Anandpur 214
Battle of Chamkaur 215
Leaving the Garhi at Chamkaur 221
Guru Ji in Machhiwara Forest 222
In Gulaba Masand's House 226
Nabi Khan and Ghani Khan 228
Eleventh Journey 231  
In the Guise of 'Uch da Pir' 231
Sayyed Ji's Testimony 235
Guru Sahib's First Letter to Aurangzeb 236
Historical Research 240
More Views of the Author 243
From Ghulal to Lal Kalan and Katani 247
From Rampura to Kanech 250
To Sahnewal and Nandpura 251
From Jodhan to Mohi and Siloni 252
Siloni to Hehran 252
To Lamme Gram, Jhirari and Alamgir 255
With Rai Kala 255
Guru Gobind Singh Ji in Dina 259
Recruitment of Sewaks Starts 260
Bhai Shamir's Sewa 262
Shamira ‘Liberated’ 263
Mahant Dayalpuri Forgiven 264
Guru Ji Writes 'Zafarnama' to Aurangzeb 266
Bhai Daya Singh's Meeting with the Emperor 278
Evidence of Remorse 280
Anguish of the Subedar of Sirhind 282
Twelfth Journey 284  
Guru Sahib Leaves Dina 284
Naming a Sikh Child 285
Guru Ji Comes to Kot Kapura 286
From Kot Kapura to Dhillav Gram 289
Guru Ji in Jaito 292
Khidrana di Dhaab 293
Arrival of Deputation from Majha 294
The Bloody Battle of Muktsar (Khidrana di Dhaab) 299
Sense of Honour Awakens 299
Kapura's Gambit 301
Mughal Army Turns Back 303
Guru Ji Tears Bedawa and Re-ties 'Knot' 304
The Story of Mai Bhago 307
Blessed a Sadhu 308
Boon to Singhs and Discharging Surety 309
Liberated a Raven 311
Humbled a Conceited Yogi 312
Guru Ji Pays Fine 314
Blessed a Mastana Sadhu 315
Brars Ask for Salary 315
Avarice of the Brars 318
Baptized Bahmi Faqir 319
In Sahib Chand Village 321
Sikh Sangat of Babiha 321
Story of the Diwana Faqirs 322
Departure for Sabo ki Talwandi 324
Dalla Receives Guru Sahib 325
Entering Sabo ki Talwandi 328
Mata Sundari and Mata Sahib Kaur Arrive 330
Re-Writing the Adi Granth 332
A Complex Question 334
Author's View 337
Apt Response to Taunts 338
A Great Feat 339
Marvel of an Accomplished Guru 341
Going on Hunts 345
Dayal Das' Reluctance to get Baptized 347
Blessed Bhai Godaria 348
Subedar of Sirhind Threatens Dalla 350
Arrival in Bhagu Village 352
The Bathinda Fort 353
Back in Talwandi 354
Dispelled Drought 354
Guru Ji Baptizes Thousands 355
Sant Baba Pheru Singh of Attock (District Hazara) 356
Sant Baba Punjab Singh 356
Sant Baba Rocha Singh 357
Second Warning Letter from Subedar of Sirhind 361
Inspiring Martial Spirit 361
Initiated a Mock Fight 362
Had Karah Prasad 'Looted' 362
Amrit Poured into Sarovar 363
Boon to Sikhs 363
Those Absent were Actually Present and Vice Versa 364
Dalla Baptized 364
Boon to Ancestors of Nabha and Patiala Rulers 365
Guru Ji's Utterances regarding Malwa's Future 367
Kapura's Gory End 369
Invitation from Aurangzeb 371
Thirteenth Journey 380  
Guru Ji Leaves Sabo ki Talwandi 380
Dalla Slips Away 381
Blessed a Brahmin Astrologer 382
Sightseeing in Nohar City 383
Bestowed Largesse on Param Singh and Dharam Singh 384
Consequence for Disregarding Guru Sahib 386
Guru Sahib Arrives in Madhu Singhana 387
At Pushkar Raj 388
In Dadu Mahatma's Ashram 389
Bhai Daya Singh Returns 393
What Delayed Bhai Daya Singh 394
Aurangzeb's Death 395
Divine Intervention 396
Guru Ji in Historical City of Baghaur 398
Sudden Clash in Baghaur 399
Fourteenth Journey 401  
Back towards Delhi 401
Bahadur Shah Seeks Guru Ji's Help 402
Guru Ji Ensures Bahadur Shah's Victory 404
Guru Sahib in Delhi 405
Shoots an Arrow from Moti Bagh 407
Fifteenth Journey 410  
From Delhi to Mathura 410
Views of the Author 411
From Mathura to Agra 413
Blessed Emir Khan Khanan 414
Guru Sahib's Meeting with Bahadur Shah 414
Silence of Historians 417
Misunderstandings of Historians 421
Guru Ji's Views on Keeping Kes 427
A Sayyed Asks Guru Ji to Show Miracle 428
Tore Up Qazi's Written Order 429
Rajas Jai Singh and Ajit Singh Call on Guru Ji 430
Bahadur Shah Comes for Guru Ji's Darshan 434
Discussion on Religions 435
Guru Ji's Archery Tested 436
Guru Ji Visits Royal Toshakhana 439
Bahadur Shah Reminded of Promise 440
Sixteenth Journey 442  
From Agra to Rajasthan and the Deccan 442
Guru Ji in Chittor 444
Death of Bhai Man Singh 445
In Burhanpur 447
The Fortunate Udasi Mahatma 448
Bahadur Shah Invites Guru Ji 451
Guru Gobind Singh Ji in Nanded 452
Meeting of Guru Ji with Banda Bahadur 455
A Pertinent Question 467
Urged Banda to Remain a Celibate 469
Another Big Misunderstanding 472
Banda Singh Bahadur's Spirituality 477
Author's Views 479
Demand for Pay by Brar Sikhs 488
Bahadur Shah Gifts a Diamond 489
ShikarGhat 491
Dedicated a Gem 491
Under Debt for Purchase of Horses 492
Arrival of Udasi Mahatmas 493
Mata Sahib Kaur Sent Back to Delhi 494
Bahadur Shah Prepares to Leave for Hyderabad 495
Hinduism, Islam and Khalsa Panth 46
Views of the Author 501
Royal Conspiracy to Assasinate Guru Sahib 504
God's Will is Inalienable 509
Dagger Assault on Guru Sahib 511
Passing Away of Bhai Daya Singh 514
Guru Ji's Wound Opens Up 514
Guruship Conferred on Sri Adi Granth 522
Final Guidance and Departure from World 529
Seventeenth Journey - The Last 534  
Spiritual Flight of Soul 534
Epilogue 538
Additional Information 541
Views on Conspiracy to Assassinate Guru Sahib 546
Author's Views on Postulations 552
How Postulation on Curse Gained Currency 562
Laying of Foundation of Takht Sri Hazur Sahib 565
Guru Sahib's Weapons and Other Relics 567
Notes 572
Glossary 593
Bibliography 599
Reviews 602
Annexure 1 611
Annexure 2 612


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