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Arrest Of Guru Arjan

A number of factors led to the arrest, trial and torture of Guru Arjan. Emperor Jahangir, a notorious alcoholic, drug addict and womanizer, already hated Guru Arjan for several reasons. He was opposed to all those who had been in Akbar's good books. He had recently approved hostile actions against the Sikhs. And, his mind had been posioned against Guru Arjan by a number of enemies of the Guru. Jahangir also hated Guru Arjan because he attracted a large number of followers from all sections of the society. Sometimes the entire village bowed to him and this aroused Jahangir's jealousy due to which he became vindictive.

The heretic sect begun by Prithi Chand enjoyed support of the mughal court until it lost power, but has always been boycotted by Sikhs and became known as the Minas, or "unscrupulous scoundrels". When Prince Khusrau rebelled against his father Emperor Jahangir and was travelling west, he visited Guru Arjan. Prithi Chand's son, Meharban, took advantage of Prince Khusrau's visit to Guru Arjan to turn the Jahangir against the Guru.

Meharban informed Chandu Shah, another enemy of Guru Arjan, falsely telling him that the Guru had blessed Prince Khusrau and promised him that he would become Emperor. Chandu informed Jahangir and also represented to the Emperor that, if he did not have Prince Khusrau quickly arrested, the pretender would receive great military assistance from the followers of the Guru. The people of the Panjab, he said, were all highway robbers.

Jahangir's Ignorance

Sheikh Ahmad Sarhindi incited Jahangir against Guru Arjan when he halted at Sarhind in pursuit of Prince Khusrau. Sheikh Farid Bukhari was leading the vanguard of the army which was pursuing the Prince. He declared that the Guru should have captured Prince Khusrau and ought to have handed him over to Jahangir. He therefore considered the Guru a rebel. Jahangir also took the same view. He, incorrectly, wrote in his autobiography;

"A hindu named Arjan lived at Goindwal on the bank of river Beas in the garb of a Pir and Sheikh. As a result many of the simple minded hindus as well as ignorant and foolish muslims had been persuaded to adopt his ways and manners, and he had raised aloft the standard of sainthood and holiness. He was called Guru. From all sides cowboys and idiots became his fast followers. This business had been flourishing for three or four generations. For a long time it had been in my mind to put a stop to this vain affair (dukin-e-bitil) or to bring him into the fold of Islam. In these days when Prince Khusrau passed along this road, this foolishly insignificant fellow (mardak-emajhil) proposed to wait on him. Prince Khusrau happened to halt at the place where he lived."

The pandits and the qazis also thought it a favourable opportunity to institute new proceedings against the Guru on the old charge of having compiled a volume which blasphemed the worship and rules of the hindus and the prayers and fastings of the muhammadans By such accusations Chandu Shah induced Jahangir to summon and arrest Guru Arjan. Chandu's heart was now gratified, for he knew he had at last secured his revenge.

Excuse For Arrest

The visit of Prince Khusrau to Tarn Taran came handy as an excuse for Jahangir to do as he wished with Guru Arjan and abolish Sikhism. And so, even though Jahangir knew that Guru Arjan was a peaceful man who helped people, he saw this as a good pretext for putting an end to the Guru's activities. Thus he immediately ordered the Guru to be arrested, and brought before him.

The Guru now felt that his enemies were victorious and that his end was near, but he was confident at the same time that the vials of God's wrath would burst on their heads. Before his departure for Lahore he appointed his son (Guru) Hargobind his successor and gave him injunctions suitable for the occasion. The Guru then addressed his wife Mata Ganga;

"This body does not stay forever. A wise person should not love it. Whatever is born perishes, and whatever is high, falls sooner or later. This is nature's law. To love the body is a grievous error. All bodies grow old daily and do not preserve their original strength. From a child one grows to be a man, and then comes old age, which seizes the body and causes it to waste away until it falls into its final sleep. There is no need to mourn for me."

The Guru took with him Bhai Bidhi Chand, Bhai Langaha, Bhai Paira, Bhai Jetha, and Bhai Pirana.

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