SUNDARĪ, MĀTĀ (d. 1747), the second wife of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh (1666-1708), was the daughter of Bhāī Rām Saran, a Kumarāv Khatrī of Bijvāṛā, in present-day Hoshiārpur district of the Punjab. She was married to Gurū Gobind Siṅgh at Anandpur on 4 April 1684. On 26 January 1687, at Pāoṇṭā, she gave birth to Sāhibzādā Ajīt Siṅgh, the eldest son of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh. Consequent upon the evacuation of Anandpur on the night of 5-6 December 1705, Mātā Sundarī, along with Mātā Sāhib Devāṅ, was escorted by Bhāī Manī Siṅgh to Delhi. She re-joined Gurū Gobind Siṅgh in 1706 at Talvaṇḍī Sābo, where she heard the news of the martyrdom of her son and the other Sāhibzādās as also of the death of her aged mother-in-law, Mātā Gujarī. She went back to stay at Delhi while Gurū Gobind Siṅgh left Talvaṇḍī Sābo for the South. At Delhi, Mātā Sundarī adopted a young boy whom she named Ajīt Siṅgh because of his resemblance to her own late son. After the passing away of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh at Nāṇdeḍ in October 1708, the Sikhs looked up to her for guidance. She appointed Bhāī Manī Siṅgh to manage the sacred shrines at Amritsar and also commissioned him to collect the writings of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh. She also issued under her own seal and authority hukamnāmās to saṅgats. The hukamnāmās since discovered and published bear dates between 12 October 1717 and 10 August 1730.

         Mātā Sundarī was disappointed in her adopted son, Ajīt Siṅgh. Emperor Bahādur Shāh treated him as the successor of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh, called him to his court and gave him a robe of honour in September 1710. This went to his head and he started living in style as a courtier. He grew arrogant and haughty even towards Mātā Sundarī who disowned him, and migrated to Mathurā. Ajīt Siṅgh was later convicted for murder and was put to death on 18 January 1725. Mātā Sundarī returned to live in Delhi where she died in 1747. A memorial in her honour stands in the compound of Gurdwārā Bālā Sāhib, New Delhi.


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  4. Harbans Singh, Guru Gobind Singh. Chandigarh, 1967
  5. Macauliffe, Max Arthur, The Sikh Religion : Its Gurūs, Sacred Writings and Authors. Oxford, 1909

Shamsher Siṅgh Ashok