Kashmiri pandits

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Kashmiri Pandits with Guru Tegh Bahadar

Kashmiri Pandit (Kashmiri:कशढ़मीरी पणढ़डित / ਕਸ਼ਮੀਰੀ ਪੰਡਿਤ ) refers to a person who belongs to a sect of Hindu Brahmins originating from Kashmir, a mountainous region in South Asia.

Kashmiri Pandits & The Great Sacrifice of Guru Teg Bahadur

Main article: Martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur

Kashmiri Brahmins came to Guru Tegh Bahadar at Anandpur in May 1675 to seek the assistance and protection against atrocities of the Mughal leader, Aurangzeb. Kirpa Ram led this group of Kashmiri Pandits driven to dire straits by the persecution by the state. They had faced stiff taxes, atrocities, cruelty under the Muslim Mughal governor of Kashmir. Honour of their daughters and sisters was being lost and they were losing their religion to the fanatic zeal and proletyzation activities of Islamic crusaders.

Pandit Kirpa Singh Dutt (d. 1705) was the son of Bhai Aru Ram, a Sarasvat Brahman of Matan, 65 KM east of Srinagar, in Kashmir. Aru Ram had met Guru Har Rai and sought his blessing at the time of the latter's visit to Kashmir in 1660.

Background

Iftikhar Khan, governor of Kashmir (1671-75) was a harsh man and was making forcible conversion to Islam. Kashmiri Brahmins asked Guru for a solution. Guru replied "Such activities can only be stopped by a sacrifice of a great person". Just then 8 years old son of Guru Tegh Bahadar, Gobind Rai (Later Gobind Singh) came along and saw his father in deep thoughts.

He enquired about the reason. He offered a possible solution by saying "who else is greater then you, O father". Guru Tegh Bahadar knew immediately about his mission and Dharma. He told Kashmiri Brahmins "Go tell Aurungzeb that if they can convert your Guru then you will all become Muslims." Kirpa Ram obliged and Aurungzeb issued summons for Guru. Guru performed the ceremony and declared that next Guru will be his son, Gobind Rai.

Guru makes a promise to the Pandits

Guru Tegh Bahadar whose help the visitors sought asked them to go and have it communicated to the Emperor that, if he (Guru Tegh Bahadar) was converted, they would all voluntarily accept conversion.

Kirpa Ram and his companions sent to Emperor Aurungzeb a petition to that effect through Zalim Khan, a governor of lahore. Then followed by imperial summons, and Guru Tegh Bahadur's arrest and Martyrdom in Delhi. Shaheedi of Nanak 9 Kirpa Ram returned to Anandpur.

Guru Gobind Singh ji from 1675 until 1690 took an extensive courses in Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, and Punjabi in educating himself. According to chronicles, Pandit Kirpa Dutt helped Guru Gobind Singh in his Sanskrit Studies.

Guru Gobind Singh contemplated the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev (his great grand father), Guru Tegh Bahadar (his father) and decided to create a khalsa. Khalsa was created at Anandpur on March 31st 1699. At Gurdwara Anandpur Sahib Pandit Kirpa Ram Dutt became Kirpa Singh after taking Khanda Baate da Pahul. In 1699 he received the holy Amrit and entered the fold of the Khalsa.

Other Descendants of Figures With Kashmiri Pandit Background

Gangu

Main article: Gangu

Gangu was a Server at Anandpur Sahib who controled over the kitchen of Guru Sahib, who later betrayed the younger Sahibzadey and Mata Gujri Ji

According to Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha, in his work Mahan Kosh: On page no. 433 Nabha has mentioned the service of 'Gangu' in the house of Sat Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Saying he was a sewadar in the Guru ka Langer in Anandpur Sahib. Gangu was one of the Kashmiri Pandits who came to the court of the ninth Nanak, that is Sat Guru Teg Bahadur Ji, (concerned with threats made by Mughal authorities). Gangu, who was about 25 years at that time, returned to Kashmir, but five years later he returned to the Guru's court, entering the service of Sat Guru Gobind Rai.

Gangu was blessed with a son he named Raj Kaul who was raised by his grand parents in Kashmir. When Satguru Gobind Singh Ji and the Sikhs left Sri Anandpur Sahib in 1704, Gangu took the lost Mata Gujar Kaur (Mata Gujri Ji) and the two younger sons of Satguru Gobind Singh Ji, to his village of Kherhi (where he and wife had migrated from Kashmir). After offering them shelter (but instead of following the age old Hindus saying, “A guest is to be treated like a God”) he went to the authorities. His three guests were arrested, and he was given a reward from the Governor of Sirhind.

Some Have Suggested

It has been suggested that Gangu may have been an ancestor of Motilal Nehru, the father of one of India's most legendary political families, and the grandfather of Indira Gandhi, who attacked Sri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar. This however may be sheer conjecture by those who wish to explain the 1984 attack on the Golden Temple as some sort of ancient revenge for Gangu and his wife having been executed by Banda Singh's army. (Hopefully someone will supply the research on which such claims are made.)

However the first prime minister of free India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, has claimed to be a Kaul.

Jawaharlal Nehru writes in his autobiography:

We were Kashmiris. Over two hundred years ago, early in the eighteenth century, our ancestor came down from that mountain valley to seek fame and fortune in the rich plains below. Those were the days of the decline of the Moghal Empire after the death of Aurungzeb, and Farrukhsiar was the Emperor. Raj Kaul was the name of that ancestor of ours and he had gained eminence as a Sanskrit and Persian scholar in Kashmir. He attracted the notice of Farrukhsiar during the latter's visit to Kashmir, and, probably at the Emperor's instance, the family migrated to Delhi, the imperial capital, about the year 1716. A jagir with a house situated on the banks of a canal had been granted to Raj Kaul, and, from the fact of this residence, 'Nehru' (from nahar, a canal) came to be attached to his name. Kaul had been the family name; this changed to Kaul-Nehru; and, in later years, Kaul dropped out and we became simply Nehrus.

Though this fact is widely disputed by most historians and Nehru's Kashmiri origins are questionable. It's only his family claims that place him among Kahmiris, as there are no records to prove his Kashmiri ancestry. If his ancestors were given a house and jagir adjacent to a canal (nehar) then they should have been referred to as nehri not Nehru which was in accordance with Persian court language of the day. (Source: Wikipedia / from Nehru's book.)

Interaction With Sikhs & Pandits During Sikh Rule of Kashmir

Sikhs played a huge role in Kashmir during the Sikh Rule of Kashmir Some of these articles describe the role Sikhs had with Kashmiri Pandits:

See also