Gurudwara Shri Mehdiana Sahib
Gurdwara Sri Mehdiana Sahib, also called the ‘School of Sikh History’ is a Gurdwara located just outside Manuke village, near Jagraon in the Ludhiana district.
Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji visited the site of Gurdwara Sri Mehdiana Sahib after the Battle of Chamkaur (via Machhiwara, Raikot and other villages) against the imperial mughal armies of Aurangzeb and this was where Guru Sahib was first requested by his Sikhs to write the Zafarnamah.
The Gurdwara is known for its uniquely coloured architecture and monuments depicting important events in Sikh history.
Additionally, the Dhab (natural water reservoir), greenery, birds and trees make Mehdiana Sahib popular with Sikhs. Today parts of the Gurdwara have become dilapidated due to a lack of funds resulting from its isolated location and private ownership status.
Under the pressure of a prolonged siege with food and ammunition exhausted, Guru Gobind Singh and 400 Sikhs left Sri Anandpur Sahib on the bitter cold and rainy night of December 1704.
The Mughals and Ajmer Chand’s league of Rajput Hill Chieftains had offered Guru Sahib a safe passage to leave Anandpur Sahib on an oath sworn on the Quran, an oath that had been signed by emperor Aurangzeb, as well as, an oath sworn on the Gita and the cow (which hindus consider sacred) by the Rajput Chieftains.
However, their respective ‘Holy’ oaths proved to be meaningless as they lost little time betraying their promises to Guru Sahib, almost as soon as the Sikhs had left the safety of their impregnable fortress.
Separation of the Family (Parivar Vichora)
In the early hours of the morning at the river Sarsa the Guru and his Sikhs were attacked by the Mughal army under the command of Wazir Khan, breaking their oath of safe conduct. In the confusion, which followed the attack in the cold and darkness, many Sikhs became Shaheed (martyrs).
A group of Singhs fought the armies and kept them back while the rest of the Sikhs, Guru Sahib and Guru Sahib’s family crossed the river in the heat of the battle. Many Sikhs perished in crossing the cold river and got swept away by the current of the river.
During the confusion in crossing the River Sarsa, Guru Sahib was separated from his family. Guru Ji, his two eldest sons and 40 Sikhs were able to cross the river and were united on the other side. Gurdwara Sri Parivar Vichora Sahib is built on the spot where the battle occurred and the Gurus family were separated.
In the ensuing confusion many Sikhs were killed and all of the Guru’s baggage, including most of the precious manuscripts, were lost. The Guru himself was able to make his way to Chamkaur, 40 km southwest of Anandpur, with barely 40 Sikhs and his two elder sons. The imperial troops besieged the mud fortress at Chamkaur. There the imperial army, following closely on Guru Sahib’s heels, surrounded the area.
Guru Gobind Singh’s two sons, Sahibzada Baba Ajit Singh and Sahibzada Baba Jujhar Singh and all but five of the Sikhs fell in the action that took place on 22 December 1705. The five surviving Sikhs commanded the Guru to save himself in order to reconsolidate the Khalsa. Vastly outnumbered Guru Gobind Singh was disguised as another Sikh and escaped with only three others including Bhai Daya Singh and Bhai Dharam Singh.
Gurdwara Sri Mehdiana Sahib History
Guru Gobind Singh reached Mehdiana after gathering support from across the Malwa region passing through the villages of Raikot, Lamme Jatpura and Manuke before finally reaching Mehdiana. The nearest habitation at the time was almost 3 miles (4.8 km) away so Guru Gobind Singh and his followers rested by cleaned their teeth using tree twigs (Datan) and bathed in the water (Dhab). While Guru Gobind Singh was meditating Bhai Daya Singh asked what they should do next. Guru Gobind Singh’s reply encouraged his followers to have faith in God’s will as they had done no wrong.
“Bhai Daya Singh I have returned the Debt and have become victorious. Singh’s and Tigers are Kings of the same jungle. Singh’s should keep faith in the Almighty.”
Still unsure, Bhai Daya Singh repeated his requested, on behalf of all Sikhs (Sangat), asking for a course of action. Guru Gobind Singh’s humble reply showed that despite being Guru to the Sikhs Guru Gobind Singh was a servant to God and the Sangat. The following quote refers to the execution Guru Gobind Singh’s father and proceeding Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur, for opposing forced conversion to Islam of Kashmiri’s by muslim emperor Aurangzeb.
“Singho Dhaende Desh Da Jadon Sahara Nahin Si Udo Pita Nu Desh Te Variya Main |
Mata Gujri Sirhind De Vich Gujri Sama Gujareya Jiven Gujareya Main |
Char Puttar San bakshe Parmatma Ne Oh Vi Joda Joda Kar Ke Variya Main |
Mainu Shahenshaw Na Tusi Kaho Singho Kishtan naal Hai Karza Utareya Main |”
“The Sangat is bigger than Guru. [I] Sent my father to Delhi on Kashmiri Pandits plea.
[Then] On Sangat’s request [I] left Anandpur Sahib,
[I] left Chamkaur Garhi on Sangat’s request,
[And] now you are asking me on the Sangat’s behalf.”
Discussions about the future of the Sikhs continued until on Sangat’s request for Guru Gobind Singh to begin writing the Zafarnamah. Guru Gobind Singh went to the village Chakkar that night and the next day travelled to Dina Sahib to stay with Lakhmir and Shamir; after gathering support at the villages Takhtupura and Madhe. In Chakkar Guru Gobind Singh wrote the Zafarnamah and sent it to Aurangzeb in Aurangabad with Bhai Daya Singh and Bhai Dharam Singh.
It is this reason that some Sikhs claim that Mehdiana Sahib has Guru Gobind Singh’s blessing and that visiting it will mean their prayers will not go unanswered.
Before the late 1960s the Mehdiana complex looked like a forest with dense trees and bushes growing all around. The gurdwara was not developed and maintained properly and there was no habitation within a distance of two to three miles (5 km). Later Jathedar Jora Singh Lakha took the responsibility for its development and made Mehdiana Sahib a popular destination for Sikhs. In 1972, when Jathedar Jora Singh started the work, only a few acres were attached to the Gurdwara. The Gurdwara complex had now covered 25 acres (100,000 m2).
In the vicinity of the Gurdwara there are sculptures and statues of Sikh warriors who not only laid their lives for the sake of the religion but also endured torture at the hands of the mughals. These statues depict soldiers, women and children being cut to pieces. Some sculptures show Bhai Kanhaiya, one of the soldiers of Guru Gobind Singh, serving water not only to the wounded soldiers in their own army but also to wounded enemy soldiers. Through these sculptures Jathedar Jora Singh not only aimed to depict history but also to educate people that Sikhi was more important than their lives. Sikh’s felt it was better to sacrifice one’s life than to accept injustice and cruelty and lose one’s self-respect.
The Sikh religion was born from the sacrifices of our ancestors and should not be taken for granted. The importance of preserving one’s self-respect and the triumph of good over evil has been beautifully depicted in the sculptures and paintings here.
The Gurdwara is a fine specimen of Sikh architecture. Crores of rupees have been spent on its construction. Exquisite meenakari work can be seen here. On the door of the 8th floor of the building is engraved a picture of Bhai Gurdas who is dictating the bagtan di bani to Sri Guru Arjan Sahib Ji. On the walls of the Gurdwara are engraved images of Guru Gobind Singh’s deeds along with his hymns and on the main door is shown Bhai Daya Singh holding the horse of the Guru. Inside the main building of the Gurdwara a beautifully decorated Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is kept.
The Gurdwara complex has its own Dasmesh Public School. Around 500 children from surrounding villages learn at this school. To the right of the Gurdwara building is a museum which houses beautiful paintings depicting the journey of Guru Gobind Singh from Patna to Anandpur Sahib. Near the main building of the Gurdwara, is Baba Farid’s asthan. This asthan looks like a small fort with a beautiful and realistic sculpture of Baba Farid and the pictures of different birds like crows, eagle etc. surrounding him. For the entertainment of children there is a mini zoo which houses rare animals. This zoo is in the form of a fort. There is also a Sarovar and Langar is served 24 hours a day.