Babar, founder of the Mughal empire in India, met Guru Nanak, founder of the Sikh faith, and sought his blessings so that he might succeed in establishing an empire in this country. On the other hand, Aurangzeb, last of the Great Mughals, so estranged Guru Gobind Singh, last of the Sikh Gums, that not only the latter would not see him, though thrice invited to do so, but he also decided to stake his all in efforts to destroy the Mughal empire. It would, thus, seem that Guru Gobind Singh vowed to destroy what had been established with the bless-mgs of Guru Nanak.
Now, what was the cause of this total reversal of relations between the House of Babar and the House of Baba Nanak? Was it a sudden development, resulting from the personal idiosyncrasies of one or the other? Or was it a gradual growth, generated and promoted by mutual actions and reactions; a natural, inevitable outcome of the historical process that had been going on ever since the historic meeting between Babar and Guru Nanak? To put the question in another form: Were the aims and ambitions of Guru Gobind Singh totally opposed to those of Guru Nanak? Had he, deliberately and causelessly, started on a career altogether inconsistent with, or repugnant to, the doctrines preached and practiced by Guru Nanak? Or, on the other hand, were the policy and acts of Aurangzeb totally different from those of Babar and against the assurances given by him to Guru Nanak? Had he abandoned the policy which Babar had promised to adopt and did adopt? Had he begun to treat his non-Muhammadan subjects in a manner incompatible with the conditions which Guru Nanak had attached to his blessings? Again, was this policy of Aurangzeb a legacy from the past, or was it a deliberate innovation on his own part?
These questions pose a tough problem; for faulty, unwarranted, and untenable
answers to them have tended to engulf Guru Gobind Singh in a cloud of
misunderstandings so thick that he has been aptly called 'The Great
For a proper appreciation of Guru Gobind Singh's relations with the Mughals, that is, with Aurangzeb and his son and successor, Bahadur Shah, and for arriving at a just estimate of the Guru's work and personality, it is essential to find out correct and satisfactory answers to these questions. It shall be our endeavor here to find out such answers and to narrate how the aforesaid reversal of relations between the Houses of Baba Nanak and Babar took place actually.
In order to achieve that purpose, we shall have to briefly review the course of relations between the ten Gurus, on the one side, and the Mughal emperors, on the other.
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