MATA BHAG KAUR (The First Brave General)
In Sikh history Mata Bhag Kaur was the first brave woman general who dressed like a man and led the forty deserters to Guru Gobind Singh Ji in the battlefield at Muktsar (Khidrana) Punjab.
In 1704 the fort of Anand Pur was besieged by the combined forces of the hill chiefs and Aurangzeb for a long period. The Sikhs were weak and hungry and the resistance was becoming difficult. The invaders were promising free passage if Guru Gobind Singh would abandon the fort. Forty Sikhs tried to persuade the Guru to leave the fort but Guru Ji didn’t agree and advised them to hold on. In utter frustration these forty Sikhs signed a disclaimer and resigned from the Khalsa by writing, “From today onward we reject you as our Guru and we are not your Sikhs”.
When they reached their villages, their wives severely criticised their cowardice. Mata Bhag Kaur organised and led them back into a bloody fight with the armies of Wazir Khan, the Nawab of Sarhand at Khidrana.
When Guru Gobind Singh Ji reached the battlefield, Mahaan Singh (the leader of forty deserters) was wounded but still alive. He requested the Guru Ji for forgiveness and died in his arms. The Guru blessed the forty brave fighters as Muktas (immortals) and we remember them in our Ardas (prayer). Each year on the 14th of January (Maghi day) a big festival is held in their memory in Muktsar.
Mata Bhag Kaur was also injured in the battlefield. Guru Ji took care of her wounds and she stayed with Guru ji in Nander till the end of her life. The spear she used in this battle is preserved in Hazur Sahib with Guru Ji’s weapons.
BIBI GURDEV KAUR