GURDITTĀ BHAṬHIĀRĀ was, according to tradition, engaged by Chandū Shāh to torture Gurū Arjan to death. Death by torture had been ordered by Emperor Jahāṅgīr himself and Chandū Shāh had, out of personal rancour, taken upon himself the responsibility of carrying out the imperial fiat. Gurdittā, a poor bhaṭhiārā or gram-parcher by trade, was told to heat up an iron plate placed over a big hearth. Gurū Arjan was made to sit on the red-hot plate and Gurdittā was ordered to pour hot sand over his body. The torture ended in Gurū Arjan's death. Years later, when Jahāṅgīr was reconciled to Gurū Arjan's son and successor, Gurū Hargobind, he had Chandū Shāh handed over to the Gurū to be dealt with according to his deserts. Chandū Shāh was paraded in the streets of Lahore and subjected to insult and shoe-beating by the people. As he was taken to the street where Gurdittā Bhaṭhiārā practised his trade, the latter, filled with contempt and anger, threw the heavy laddle he had, under his orders, used to pour hot sand over Gurū Arjan's blistered frame, at him saying, in the words of Bhāī Santokh Siṅgh, Srī Gur Pratāp Sūraj Granth, "Keep away, you arch-sinner, and do not cast your evil shadow upon me." The hot laddle hit Chandū Shāh in the stomach and killed him.


  1. Santokh Siṅgh, Bhāī, Srī Gur Pratāp Sūraj Granth. Amritsar, 1927-33
  2. Giān Siṅgh, Giānī, Twārīkh Gurū Khālsā. Patiala, 1970

Major Gurmukh Siṅgh (Retd.)