A Golden Legend from Sikh History; Tale of Bidhi Chand and Horses for Guru Hargobind
Bhai Bidhi Chand
The legend of Bhai Bidhi Chand has thrilled millions of Sikhs. It is a tale of valor and courage and enriches Sikh Folklore. For people who may not be aware Sikhism was founded by Guru Nanak Dev in the 15th century. The guru who traveled extensively to Mecca and Tibet ( 1469-1540) left behind a religion that incorporated basic teachings of Islam and Hinduism.
Bidi Chand was a small time man born in Punjab in 1540. His exact date of birth is disputed but one can surmise that he was born during the time the second Guru Angad was the temporal head.
Bidhi Chand grew up, but he had no source of Income and so he joined a band of robbers. This band looted various people and the spoils were then shared between them.
One day Bidhi Chand stole a buffalo from his own village and spirited it away. The villagers got wind of this and pursued Bidhi. He left the buffalo and took shelter in the house of a holy man named Bhai Adali. Seeing the thief cowering in fear, Bhai Adali asked him what was his problem? Bidhi Chand narrated that he had stolen a buffalo and the villagers were after him. He feared he would be killed.
Bhai Adil offered to save him, but he made a condition. He asked Bhai Bidi Chand to give up being a robber and thief and dedicate his life to the 5th Guru Arjan Dev. Bidi Chand agreed and kissed the hand of Bhai Adali as a token of his acceptance.
The thief was thus transformed into a warrior of the Guru. He presented himself to the court of the Guru and was duly inducted into the Darbar.
Bidhi Chand and Guru HarGobind
After the martyrdom of Guru Arjan, his son Guru Hargobind became the guru and was recognized by Emperor Jahangir. One day an Afghan trader who was a follower of the Guru appeared at the court of the guru and narrated a tale. He said he wanted to present two horses named Gulab and Dilbagh to the guru, but while he was bringing the horses from Kabul the governor of Lahore had taken a liking to the horses and captured them. He told the Guru that the horses were in the Lahore Fort.
The Guru smiled and asked for a volunteer who would dare the Lahore Fort Garrison and bring the horses to him. He assured the Afghan not to worry as he would retrieve the horses from the Fort.
Bidhi Chand volunteered for the task and the Guru blessed him. The warrior now made plans to enter the Lahore Fort and resue the horses.
Bidhi Chand disguised himself as grasscutter and entered the fort to help cut the grass in the garden ( bagh). The Lahore Fort was not only the residence of the governor but also housed his stables and had lovely gardens.
Bidhi Chand entered the fort and reached the stables. He saw one of the horses in a corner. He went up to the horse and whispered in his ear, that he had been sent by the Guru. Animals have a strange sense of recognition and understanding and the horse allowed Bidhi Chand to mount him. He immediately pressed the flanks of the horse and it is an Arabian charger of high pedigree surged forward. The guards were left standing as Bidhi Chand rode away straight to the Guru's Darbar with the horse.
The Guru was delighted, but the horse would not eat anything as it missed his partner. Seeing the plight of the horse the Guru called Bidhi Chand and told him " Look Bidhi, this horse is missing its partner, so either you return the horse back to the Fort or bring the other horse also."
Bidhi Chand was in a quandary, but he had promised to bring the second horse to the Guru and he wanted to be true to his words. This time he disguised himself as soothe sayer and approached the fort. He was taken to the Governor, who asked him what he could do? Bidhi Chand replied that he could locate the stolen horse.
This delighted the Governor and he instructed his guards to allow the Soothsayer to see the second horse. Bidhi Chand told the Officer in charge that he could locate the stolen horse in no time and requested that he be allowed to mount the horse, as only after that he could locate the whereabouts of the other horse. The soldiers agreed and allowed Bidhi Chand to mount the horse.
The Horse which was pining for its companion sensed something and when Bidhi Chand pressed his flanks the horse surged forward. The Soldiers had shut the gate of the fort but Bidhi Chand was not deterred. He rode the horse to the walls of the fort and with him astride the beast jumped the wall into River Ravi, which was touching the edge of the fort wall. It was a stupendous feat as the horse leaped into the swirling Ravi. The Guards short arrows but they were confused and Bidhi astride the horse forded the river and rode all the way back to the Gurus Court. Both the horses were united and the Guru was thrilled.
The heroic tale of Bidhi Chand is true and as per records, he passed away in 1630. His tale is not much known in the West, but readers can read this hub and realize that the East has lovely tales of chivilary and bravery