Itihas Guru Khaia

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Itihas Guru Khaia, by Sadhu Gobind Singh, whose earlier name was Pandit Ganda Singh, is a historical account, in Hindi, of the Sikhs, beginning with Guru Nanak (1469-1539) and terminating with the post Banda Singh period of much turbulence and trial. Sadhu Gobind Singh, a Nirmala scholar, was born in Amritsar district sometime in the third or fourth decade of the nineteenth century. Quite early in life, he became the disciple of Pandit Nihal Singh. He was at Kashi for many years studying Sanskrit language and literature, philosophy, history and the Puranas being his favourite subjects. It was there that he did all his creative writing. He passed away in 1899. He was not only learned in Sikh letters but was also a devout Sikh. He has written five books in all Nydya MuktdvaH, Udiyog Kalhd Prdrbodh, Vedant Paribhdshd, Vairag Shatak and the Itihas Guru Khalsa. All of which are in Hindi.

Itihas Guru Khalsa is the last work of the author. The book was published posthumously in 1902. The book which depends mainly on Giani Gian Singh's Panlh Prakdsh for its source material, comprises 584 pages (pp 585603 of the published version contain Guru Tegh Bahadur's hymns in the Dcvnagri script). The book is divided into 72 chapters. The first five chapters refer to the origins of the world, the Aryan peoples' settlement in India, the division of Indian society into a fourfold caste system and the contemporary Indian milieu.

Chapters 6 to 10 deal with the Muslim invasions of India and the consequent hardships undergone by the local population. Chapters 11-37 narrate the life stories of the ten Gurus of the Sikhs: some of these are rather brief whereas others are fairly detailed accounts. Tlicn follow the exploits of Banda Singh Bahadur (Ch. 3853), the turbulent period after the death of Banda Singh, and sacrifices made by tlie Sikhs prior to the establishment of Sikh rule by Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Besides providing a historical account of the Sikh people, the book is a very useful source on Indian philosophy, Sikli ideology, Sikh way of life and Sikh ethics. The language is simple, the style of writing precise and terse, and the narrative quite smooth. There are in the narrative several obvious historical inaccuracies.