SIKHER BALĪADĀN, by Kumudin Mitra, first published in 1904, is a small tract, in Bengali language, of forty-one pages, dealing with the heroic sacrifices of seven Sikh martyrs. Perhaps inspired by Rābindranāth Tagore's poems on Bandā Siṅgh Bahādur and Bhāī Tārū Siṅgh, she introduced five more martyrs to the Bengali readership. These five included Gurū Gobind Siṅgh's younger sons, Fateh Siṅgh and Zorāwar Siṅgh, Bhāī Manī Siṅgh, Haqīqat Rāi and Subeg Siṅgh. Preceding them all was the martyrdom of Gurū Tegh Bahādur, the ninth spiritual mentor of the Sikhs. Published on the eve of the anti-Partition agitations in Bengal, the tract fell into receptive hands resulting in a rapid sale of three successive editions. It was translated into a few regional languages as well. The author added an introductory note to the fourth edition explaining the birth of Sikhism in the Punjab as a movement of social protest. The style of writing is simple and clear and the presentation of historical facts logical and systematic.

Himādrī Banerjee