Bibi Gurdev Kaur OBE recites "Zafarnama" in Raag Hindol. Zafarnama means the Notification of Victory and is the name given to the letter sent by the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji in 1705 to the Mughal Emperor of India, Aurangzeb. The letter is written in Persian verse and was sent from Dina through two Sikhs, Bhai Daya Singh and Bhai Dharam Singh. It was intentionally not entrusted to the Emperor's messengers because of the nature of its contents and because Guru Ji wanted to know the Emperors immediate reaction on reading it, from his Sikhs.
Of the 111 verses, the maximum numbers of 34 verses are to praise God; 32 deal with Aurangzebs invitation for the Guru to meet him and the Guru's refusal to meet the Emperor - instead the Guru asks Aurangzeb to visit him; 24 verses detail the events in the Battle of Chamkaur, which took place on 22 December 1704; 15 verses reprove Aurangzeb for breaking promise given by him and by his agents to the Guru; In verses 78 and 79, Guru Ji had also warned Aurangzeb about the resolve of the Khalsa not to rest till his evil empire is destroyed and 6 verses praise Aurangzeb.
Although Bhai Daya Singh and Bhai Dharam Singh travelled with great speed they could not get an early audience with the emperor. They stayed at the house of Bhai Jetha Ji. It was some months before the Sikhs met with the Emperor. Guru Ji had instructed Bhai Daya Singh to speak boldly and fearlessly before Aurangzeb when handing him the letter; this he did. The Emperor read the letter and felt that the Guru was a highly intelligent, truthful and fearless warrior. He was nearly 91 years of age and his body started to tremble from feelings of remorse and regret at what he had done in his life time. Again he put pen to paper and wrote a letter to Guru Ji stating his inability to come to the north and requesting that Guru Ji meet him in Ahmadnagar at his earliest convenience. The letter was sent through royal messengers.
How did the Zafarnama, in its present form, reach us? Original letter written in the hand of Guru Ji in not available. However it is said that a copy of Zafarnama, written in the hand of Guru Ji, was found with the Mahant of Patna Sahib in 1890 and one Babu Jagan Nath made a copy; this copy was somehow misplaced by him. Since Babu Jagan Nath was himself a scholar in Persian language, he could reproduce it from his memory and got it printed in Nagri Parcharni Patrika in Benaras. He is also believed to have sent a copy to Sardar Umrao Singh Shergill in Amritsar who is said to have given it to Khalsa college and which in turn reproduced in Makhz-e Twarikh Sikhan. In Punjab newspapers, it first appeared in the Khalsa Samachar of 16 July 1942. Then in 1944, Sardar Kapur Singh ICS published it in Urdu Ajit of Lahore under the heading "Fatehnama". It is quite possible that in the process of translations and publications of Zafarnama at different stages, some verses were not reproduced correctly and what we have today is not the original Zafarnama of Guru Ji in its entirety. The abrupt end of Zafarnama also indicates that it is not complete and that some verses have been left out. Objections raised by some scholars on the authenticity of a few verses may be viewed in this context.
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