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Art of Punjab Painting: Chhotey Sahibzadey & Mata Gujri Ji

A new painting by Kanwar Singh from artofpunjab shows the shahidi of the Chhotey Sahibzadey.


This painting by Kanwar Singh from artofpunjab shows the shahidi of the Chhotey Sahibzadey. Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh were the youngest of Guru Gobind Singh's four sons, aged only 8 and 6 when they and their grandmother Mata Gujri were imprisoned by the tyrant Wazir Khan in Sirhind. Wazir Khan offered them safety if they converted to Islam or death by being bricked alive if they refused. Though they were only young children physically, their spirit had been prepared for this moment since birth. The painting conveys the internal strenth of their spirit, honed as sons of Guru Gobind Singh and grandsons to Guru Teg Bahadur, who also attained sahidi for refusing to give up the Sikh faith. Even though they are the ones being confined to darkness, they alone are shown as the source of all radiance and light.  That is why the painting shows the outside world painted in dark blood red like an open wound. The high walls of the fortress also question who is really imprisoned and who is truly free. This painting of the Chhotey Sahibzadey reflects on their pure spirit which is prepared to embrace death, fearing and hating none, as Guru Nanak taught.

From the Editor:
Many of us live comfortable lives outside of the brutality of war or extreme poverty. It's hard for many of us to imagine the feeling of starvation and not knowing if or when we are going to eat again. 

Many soldiers of war end up taking thier own lives because their minds are haunted by the inhumanity. Hardened men have difficulty coping with war so it is almost unimaginiable that young children would be able to withstand such conditions. But that is exactly what happened.

The younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh were captured and kept with thier grandmother, Mata Gujri ji, in a freezing open air prison in the coldest time of the year. Baba Zoravar Singh was 8 and Baba Fateh Singh was 6 years old. Then they were interrogated for days by powerful, manipulative and angry men. It wasn't just the might of a blood thirsty ruler and general, Wazir Khan, that they faced off with, they also also had to contend with spiritually corrupt religious zealots. When the young boys refused to change their religion, they refused to believe in lies they had been told of their father, they refused the promises of wealth and power, the high priest condemned them to be tortured and killed as rebels against the state. But with prayerful souls and warriors hearts they didn't flinch for a second. They showed no weakness and boisterously faced their fate with nobility, and cheerful spirits.

The punishment given to them was that a wall be built around them so they would suffocate and die in the darkness. But there is no darkness that could put out these lights. They never let any doubts into their minds and with unphased prayer they faced death with fearlessness. From their legendary virtues we are reminded to give our own children such faith and strength. May we always remember Baba Zoravar Singh and Baba Fateh Singh as we make ourselves to be more and more true children of the Khalsa, unextinguishable lights fearless of death. 


To see this and other Sikh paintings by artist Kanwar Singh, please visit his online gallery


Please visit Guru Maneyo Granth Gurdwara for the New Year Diwaan on Dec 31st which will including the ‘Without Shape Without Form’ Sikh Art Exhibition scheduled for 7-9pm to see this new painting along with an extensive collection of my artwork. 
Editor's note: This article was originally published on Dec. 28th 2018

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