BY Harsimran Kaur ON March 11, 2021, IN BOOK REVIEWS, Zafarnama – Guru Gobind Singh

(Translated by Navtej Sarna)

I am the dust of the feet of the almighty; hence I do not have the authority and the audacity to review the words of wisdom expatiated by the tenth Guru of the Sikhs – Guru Gobind Singh. My only aim through this book is to bring forth to my readers a beautiful Persian verse written by Guru Gobind Singh to the diabolical and ruthless Aurangzeb for his subterfuge to obliterate the miniscule Sikh army.

After the battle of Chamkaur in 1704 and losing his 4 sons, Guru Gobind Singh penned the Zafarnama to denounce the false prestige and virtues feathered by Aurangzeb, and enjoined him to shorn off the veil of deceit and ambiguity. His treacherous act of taking false oath on Quran to provide a safe route to Guru Gobind Singh and his retinue from the fort of Anandpur is vividly condemned by the Guru in the Zafarnama, and proclaims him to be a soul of immorality and impenitence.

The Persian verse has been assiduously translated by Navtej Sarna. The first few pages glorify the inception of Sikhism and its tenets. We come to know how Sikhism was sublimated from the soft hymns of Guru Nanak to a warrior smorgasbord of martial arts such as horse riding and archery. The sword became the emblem for righteousness and protection.

The Zafarnama starts with extoling the creator who is omnipresent and omniscient. He sustains the creation with his generosity and magnanimity. Guru Gobind signifies that we are at his mercy – he adorns the noble with rosary garlands and makes the ignoramus walk on hard pebbles. His bounties are numerous and he showers them as he wishes.  It brings us further to envisage the words so prickly mounted at Aurangzeb for his belligerence and disloyalty. Guru Gobind Singh leaves no stone unturned to show a reflective mirror to Aurangzeb as being a poltroon who did not have the nerve to enter the battlefield as he feared his ignominious end.  

Take Away

The Zafarnama is a teaching to live life honestly and incorruptibly. It’s a poetic masterpiece.

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