Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A great Indian and Mohyal Martyres : Bhai Mati Das

10th November 1675 Bhai Mati Das Chhibber made supreme sacrifice
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Bhai Mati Das Chhibber was a Mohyal Brahmin of the Chhibber clan.He was son of Hira Nand, a disciple of Guru Har Gobind, under whom he had fought in many battles. He survived the Guru, and a little before his death he had entrusted his two sons, Mati Das and Sati Das to the care of Guru Har Rai, who had assured the dying man of his full attention and help. Both the lads remained attached to the Guru's family at Kiratpur. When Guru Har Krishan was summoned to Delhi by Aurangzeb, both the brothers, Bhai Mati Das Chhibber and Bhai Sati Das Chhibber , were present in his entourage along with Dyal Das . He belonged to the village of Karyala, a stronghold of the Chhibbers, in the Jhelum District in Punjab (Pakistan), about ten kilometres from Chakwal on the road to the Katas Raj Temple Complex. The village stands on the top of the Surla hills. This part of the country is known as Dhani meaning rich. A few kilometres away are the Salt Mines and coal mines of Dandot. The Katas lake is beautiful. Legend connects it to the Mahabharata. It is believed to be the same pool, where Yudhishtira was tested by his father, Lord Yama/Dharma in the form of a Yaksha. A great Hindu fair used to be held there up to 1947.
Great Sacrifice

At Delhi, GuruTeg Bahadur and his four companions were summoned to the council chamber of the Red Fort. The Guru was asked numerous questions on religion, Hinduism, Sikhism and Islam. It was suggested to the GuruTeg Bahadur that he should embrace Islam. On the Guru's emphatic refusal to abjure his faith, he was asked why he was called Teg Bahadur (gladiator or Knight of the Sword; before this, his name had been Tyag Mal). Bhai Mati Das Chhibber immediately replied that the GuruTeg Bahadur had won the title by inflicting a heavy blow on the imperial forces at the young age of fourteen. He was reprimanded for his breach of etiquette and outspokenness. As Bhai Mati Das Chhibber was a Brahmin, GuruTeg Bahadur was asked why he had courted the company of such men?He did not believe in caste then why he was defending Brahmins of Kashmir. Guru Teg Bahadur replied that when a person became a Sikh, he lost his caste. As for the Kashmiri Pandits, it was his duty to raise his voice against cruelty and injustice. The Guru and his companions were ordered to be imprisoned and tortured until they agreed to embrace Islam.

After a few days, Guru Teg Bahadur and three of his companions were produced before the Qazi of the city. Gurditta had managed to escape. He remained in hiding in the city, and in spite of all the efforts of the Government, he could not be traced. The Qazi turned to Mati Das first and asked him to embrace Islam. He refused to do so. He was condemned to an instantaneous death.

The executioners were called and the Guru and all the three of his companions were made to sit at the place of the execution. Bhai Mati Das Chhibber approached the Guru with folded hands and asked for his blessings, saying that he was happy to be the first to achieve martyrdom.

Guru Teg Bahadur blessed him telling that they must resign themselves cheerfully to the will of the Lord. He praised him for his lifelong single-minded devotion to him and his cause. With tears in his eyes, he bade him farewell saying his sacrifice would occupy an abiding place in history. Bhai Mati Das Chhibber touched the Guru's feet, embraced his friend and brother Bhai Sati Das Chhibber.

Bhai Mati Das Chhibber while standing erect was tied between two posts. He was asked if he had any parting words, to which he answered, "I request only that my head be turned toward my GuruTeg Bahadur jee while I am executed."

Two executioners placed a double-handed saw on his head. Mati Das serenely uttered ' Ek Onkar ' and started reciting the Japji Sahib, the great morning prayer of the Sikhs. He was sawn across from head to loins. It is said that even as his body was being sawn into two, the Japji continued to reverberate from each part until it was all over.

In recognition of the devotion and supreme sacrifice made by Bhai Mati Das Chhibber , Guru Gobind Singh bestowed title of Bhai on him.

In course of time, all Chhibbers belonging to the village of Karyala adopted this title.

Bhai Mati Das Chhibber occupies a premier position in the history of Indian and Mohyal martyrs.


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