ZORĀWAR SIṄGH (1696-1705), the third son of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh, was born to Mātā Jītojī at Anandpur on 17 November 1696, and was barely nine years old at the time of the evacuation of Anandpur on the night of 5-6 December 1705. Since the death, on 5 December 1700, of Mātā Jītojī, Mātā Gujarī, his grandmother had been especially attached to young Zorāwar Siṅgh and his infant brother, Fateh Siṅgh She took charge of both as the column moved out of Anandpur. While crossing on horseback the rivulet Sarsā, then in spate, the three were separated from Gurū Gobind Siṅgh. Their cook, Gaṅgū, who had also succeeded in crossing the stream, escorted them to his own house in the village of Kheṛī, now known as Saheṛī, near Moriṇḍā in present-day Ropaṛ district. While unsaddling the horse he saw that there was some cash in the saddlebag. This tempted him to treachery. He not only stole the saddlebag during the night, but also planned to betray the fugitives to the government in hope of a reward. On the morning of 7 December 1705, the day of the fateful battle of Chamkaur, Zorāwar Siṅgh, along with Fateh Siṅgh and their grandmother, was taken into custody by Jānī Khān and Mānī Khān Raṅghaṛ, the officials at Moriṇḍā. They were despatched on the following day to Sirhind where they were consigned to the Cold Tower (Ṭhaṇḍa Burj) of the Fort. On 9 December 1705, Zorāwar Siṅgh and Fateh Siṅgh were produced before the faujdār, Nawāb Wazīr Khān, who had just returned from Chamkaur with his feudal ally, Nawāb Sher Muhammad Khān of Mālerkoṭlā. Wazīr Khān tried to lure the Sāhibzādās to embrace Islam with promises of riches and honours, but they spurned the suggestion. He then threatened them with death, but they remained undaunted. Death sentence was finally pronounced. Upon Sher Muhammad Khān's intercession for the innocent children to be spared their lives, they were given some more time to ponder over the suggestion to convert. Zorāwar Siṅgh and his brother spent another two days of severe winter in their old grandmother's lap in the Cold Tower. Still adamant, they were, on 11 December 1705, ordered to be sealed alive in a wall. According to tradition, as the masonry around their tender bodies reached chest-high, it crumbled. The Sāhibzādās were sent to the Cold Tower again for the night. The next day, 12 December 1705, the alternative of conversion being again turned down, Zorāwar Siṅgh and Fateh Siṅgh were put to death by execution. The aged Mātā Gujarī, who had all along been kept in the Cold Tower, only a little distance away, breathed her last as the news reached her ears. Seṭh Ṭoḍar Mall, a wealthy merchant of Sirhind, performed the cremation of the three dead bodies the following day. The site of the fateful happenings, since christened Fatehgaṛh Sāhib, close to the old town of Sirhind, is now marked by four Sikh shrines. A religious fair is held here from 25 to 28 December every year to honour the memory of the martyrs.
Shamsher Siṅgh Ashok