Dhir Mall

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Dhi Mall (1627-1677), the elder son of Baba Gurditta and a grandson of Guru Hargobind, was born at Kartarpur, now in Jalandhar district of the Punjab, on 10 January 1627. From his early years, he was prone to stubbornness, a trait which became stronger as he grew up. He stayed behind in Kartarpur when Guru Hargobind moved along with the family to Kiratpur. At the death, in 1638, of his father, Baba Gurditta, he did not go to Kiratpur to attend the obsequies, nor did he part with the original Bir (original Adi Granth of Guru Arjan) of the Adi Granth which had been left at Kartarpur at the time of Guru Hargobind's migration to Kiratpur and which had to be recited as part of the rites.

When Guru Hargobind chose Har Rai, Dhir Mall's younger brother, as his successor as the next Guru, Dhir Mall set himself up as Guru at Kartarpur and appointed his own Masands, or ministers, to collect tithes. He made friends with Ram Rai who had been ostracized by his father, Guru Har Rai, for purposely altering a line from the Holy Writ to sooth Aurangzeb's mind. Together they complained to the Mughal emperor, challenging especially the installation of Guru Har Krishan as successor to Guru Har Rai.

Guru Har Krishan's sudden illness and death at Delhi in March 1664 gave Dhir Mall another chance to stake his claim to the gurgaddi, (the spiritual seat) of the Gurus. Hearing that Guru Har Krishan had said that the next master was 'Baba Bakala' he quickly moved to Bakala and acted the part of a Guru, along with many others, hoping to be installed as the next Nanak. When his uncle Tegh Bahadur was proclaimed from the rooftop of his home as the true Guru, Dir Mall turned against his uncle and conspired with one of his masands, Shihan, who one day fired a shot at Guru Tegh Bahadur missing his target. His men attacked the Guru's house and ransacked it unchecked.

Makhan Shah Labana, the trader who had announced Tegh Bahadur as the true Guru, retaliated by recovering the stolen items, as well as the Bir of the Adi Granth of Guru Arjan. He returned them to Guru Tegh Bahadur. The Guru had everything returned to Dhir Mall, including what remained of the famed '500 hundred golden mohurs'.

Dhir Mall remained unrepentant and continued to attract followers who formed a sect of their own, The Dhir Malias. A few months after the Martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur, Dhir Mall was also summoned to Delhi by Emperor Aurangzeb and imprisoned in the Fort at Ranthambhor, where he died on 16 November 1677. His descendants, the Sodhis of Kartarpur, are still in possession of the original copy of the Adi Granth prepared under the direction of Guru Arjan. The shrine at Kartarpur dedicated to the founder of the sect is known as Dera Dhir Mall.


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