Without any doubt, Sikh women had played an equal part in the struggle to keep alive the Khalsa ideals and beliefs. Sikh women worked as a silent majority in the background and sometimes as in the case of Mai Bhago exceeded the Khalsa men in warfare. But the most important part of Khalsa women was to raise the Khalsa children who kept the Khalsa alive. In Punjabi society, most often children hear stories by their grandmother, mother, aunts, etc. This builds up their character.
Mir Mannu's holocaust:
Chhote Sahibzade, (youngest two sons of Guru Gobind Singh) were raised on the stories of sacrifices of their great grandfather Guru Arjan Sahib ji, their grandfather Guru Tegh Bahadur by their grandmother Mata Gujri ji(mother of Guru Gobind Singh ji, Tenth guru). When their turn came they happily sacrificed their lives, eventhough they were only 7 and 9 years old. This alone was the most amazing, glorious, sad and defining moment of the future of Sikhs. Seven and Nine years old were following the Will of God as dictated by Guru Nanak dev ji. After this incident, Sikh women, men, children put their whole effort to save their ideals and beliefs of Guru Nanak.
Mughals had two points of administration in Punjab, Sarhind and Lahore. Mughals who ruled from Delhi appointed two governors at Sarhind and Lahore, under these governors there were many Nawabs, like Malerkotla, Faridkot, Bahawalpur, etc,. Under the Nawabs there were many Parganahs i.e. Zamindars, or landlords who would hold many villages as their land, on these villages farmers, ironsmith, carpenters, etc work and were taxed 67% of their income.
Question - If your children were taken from you..... ripped apart in front of your eyes.....
Then their bodies were cut up and strung around your neck.....
Would you continue to remember your Guru?
Try and understand how strong and magnificent these Mothers and Daughters of the Khalsa Panth were.....
In the first half of the 18th century, state terrorism against the Sikhs was on the steady increase and was intensified by Mir Mannu. In 1748, the Mughals appointed Mir Mannu as Governor (Subedar) of Lahore and also as a Nawab of Multan (1748-1753).
Male Sikhs were offered a choice of either islam or death.
In order to pacify Hindus, Mir Mannu appointed a Khatri Hindu of Lahore named Kaura Mall as his diwan or minister. He then ordered 30,000+ army of mughals at Lahore to finish the Sikhs. The mughal army swept the countryside and killed many of the Sikhs they found. By now, the faith of the common people in Sikhi and the strength of the Khalsa had increased tremendously. Despite Mannu's extreme torture and reign of terror, nothing could deter the Sikhs. A Panjabi folk song of that period goes like this in English:
We are the plants and Mannu a sickle,
But by now, everyone knows,
The more he cuts us, the more we grow
This is the time when the army of Mir Mannu was going from house to house searching for Sikhs. Many of the Sikhs took shelter in jungles but some Sikhs who were living with their families in the cities and could not just leave right away or join any jathas. They were captured by the army and all were being sent to Lahore. Most of the prisoners were Sikh women and children.
Many of the old women were killed on the way because they were weak and could not walk for a long time. All of the Singhni's and their children were put in Lahore jail.
At that time Sikh population was so small that it affected their numbers. A decade earlier, when similar thing had happened (governor had decided to kill all Sikhs) At that point people thought that all Sikhs are finished, but Bhai Gharjha Singh and Bhai Bota Singh came out of hiding and fought with Mughals, just to show them that Sikhs were far from finished.
Everyday muslims would come and taunt them by saying "where is your Khalsa now? They can't even come to rescue you. All of them have been killed by the army. So it is better for you to accept Islam and live a rich happy life." Singhnis never ever thought of leaving Sikhi. They kept reciting "Waheguru Dhan Guru Waheguru Waheguru". The sacrifice of the Khalsa women that was so great that it became a part of Daily Ardas.
Sikh Women in Mir Mannu's Death Camps grinding flour
Mir Mannu started deploying his terror tactics. First of all, he ordered that all Sikh women in Jails to be provided with specially made mill stones to be three times heavier (1 1/4 Mann) than normal (a flour grinding instrument named Chakki). Sikh women would happily sing the Shabads of Nanak and grind flour the whole day but did not accept conversion to islam as the condition for their freedom.
Every woman was given forty pounds of grain to grind for each day in jail. A very heavy stone was placed on the chest of those who could not grind. They were given just a bowl of water and a quarter of a piece of bread to eat in a single day.
The muslims then started killing the innocent children by throwing them up in the air and landing them on sharp spears. One soldier would throw a child up in the air and another soldier would spear the child before the child hit the ground. The dead bodies of these children were cut into pieces and the ladies were garlanded with those pieces. Pieces of flesh of the children were thrust into the mouths of their mothers.
Mir Mannu then ordered that all of the infant Sikhs who were with their mothers at the jail were to be executed immeadiately. Only those to be spared were those who converted to islam. More than 300 infant Sikhs were killed by Mughals and their dead bodies given back to their Khalsa mothers, not a single mother embraced Islam. The women's children were fixed on javelins before their very eyes. Their children were cut into pieces and garlands of those pieces were put around their mother's necks. But the faith of Sikh women was unshakable.
Miri Manu Slaughtering Sikh Woman And Children
One of the women was very beautiful and Qazi wanted to marry her. He would come everyday and try to convince her to accept him but she never did. She had a son who was less than two years old. One day upon leaving, qazi gave orders to some of the army men to torture her and her son so she would give up her faith. One night the cruel animals (men) tied her up first and then started torturing her son.
The muslim soldiers hung her son upside down, took a knife and started to cut into his flesh from the neck all the way down to stomach. Singhni kept calm and kept praying "Guru Ji, Jaan Jayai par Dharam Na Jaayai". Then they slowly cut her son into pieces and he became shaheed. Then they started beating the Singhni with sticks and "chabuks". After a while the Singhni passed out. They hung her upside down and left. She stayed that way all night. In the morning they took her down but she was unable to get up and walk. She lay there by the wall, did Nitnem and then did ardaas:
"Sacchay Paatshah Ji, Saari Raat Aap De Bhanay tay Sukh Naal Beetee Hai. Aap ji da kotaan kot shukar hai, aap jee nay aapnee amanat vaapas lai layee hai. Aggay waastay vee bhanay vich chalan da uddam ball bakhsis karna. Daata Ji, praan jayai par Sikhi na jayai. Mehar karni"
Sikh infants were cut into pieces and garlands of those pieces were put around their mother's necks
Hearing this some of the guards were shocked and wondering what Sikhs were made up of? Some of the guards left their jobs by saying "These Sikhs are deeply religous and are not evil. We cannot torture these innocent souls. Even their women and children are so strong and brave. If they continue like this they will rule Punjab one day." Some of the fanatic muslims were enraged by this. They started to torture the woman again. A heavy weight was put on her body and her bones were crushed. They hit her with sticks. After so much torture she became shaheed but she never gave up her faith. The only words that came out of her mouth was "Waheguru Waheguru".
The atrocities committed on the Sikh women by the upholders of "islam" were so great that in 1750 Chief of Buddha Dal, Kapur Singh Virk and his 500 Khalsa attacked Lahore in disguise of a Sufi Saints to kill Mir Mannu but he escaped.
In 1753 Mir Mannu died a very horrible death and suffered greatly. In 1753 Kapur Singh Virk attacked Lahore again and this time he was able to free all the prisoners at these jails.
The sacrifice of these Khalsa women was so great that it became a part of Daily Ardas in 1760's and is still part of the Ardas (daily prayer) to this day.
Everyday Sikhs pay homage to the "Singhnian jinna ne sawa sawa mann de pisne peese, bachiye de tota galean vich pavaye, par Dharm na haariya". Sikh Women who happily grinded 60 kg Chakki, had to put garlands of the dead bodies of their children around their necks but did not reject the teachings of Nanak. This is the proud heritage of the Sikhs and Sikh Women! Our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, our pride and our inspiration!