Who was the 10th Sikh Guru?

By Sunil Kumar

The 10th guru of the Sikhs was Guru Gobind Singh.

The only son of Tegh Bahadur and Mata Gujri; he is often held up as an exemplar of bravery, dedication and fearlessness. Born in Patna, present-day Bihar to a Sodhi Khatri(before and after Sikhism; the Punjabi word for Kshatriya) clan; his birth name was Gobind Rai. He established the Khalsa in 1699. According to Sikh historians; Chandi da Var(Ballad of Durga) was written by Guru Gobind Singh; a poetic composition included in his Dasam Granth; part of the Sikh canon apart from the main Guru Granth Saheb.

One of his most famous and bravest followers was Banda Bahadur; born Lachman Das; a Hindu Bairagi Brahmin. Gobind Singh is also famous for writing a defiant letter in Persian to genocidal zealot Aurangzeb after his family was mercilessly slaughtered. This is called “Zafarnama”(the epistle of victory).

The last guru of the Sikhs was killed when Wazir Khan; an enemy Muslim army commander sent two of his men Jamshed Khan and Wasil Beg to assassinate him. Jamshed is believed to have stabbed him at Nanded(present-day Maharashtra, India); now the location of a famous gurdwara.

The subsequent weakening and collapse of the Mughal empire; the rise of the Marathas and the Sikh empire under Ranjit Singh led to eventual entry of the British and Indian independence. Gobind Singh is largely revered due to the Sikh faith and his injunction that after him; there would be no gurus and the holy book “The Guru Granth Sahib” would be regarded as an embodiment of the Sikh faith.

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