Guru Tegh Bahadur’s Sangat Dhaka
Going still further by this Sangat-tola lane, about 100 yards, we arrive at Guru Tegh Bahadur’s Sangat. The mahalla is called Sangat-tola after the name of this establishment. The Sangat is located in a two-storeyed rectangular building, but the eastern side is rounded off so as to give the shape of an apse. This feature is probably dictated by the site and has no particular importance [significance]. The present building is absolutely new, hardly fifty years old. Another small room to the west of this building is shown, where, it is pointed out, Guru Tegh Bahadur stayed. At present the rooms in the ground-floor have been let out to a Hindu Vakeel. The real Sangat is to be found in the second storey, where one room has been properly set and well kept tip by an old lady, popularly called Sikhir Ma (Sikh’s mother), who is left behind by her co-religionists to keep aflame the torch of Sikhism in this far off land of East Pakistan. The lady, in her dismal sorrow, deserves our sympathy for her great enthusiasm and love of devotion.
The story of Guru Tegh Bahadur’s visit is told in the words of Guru Bakhsh Singh: “The importunities of the poor devotees who could not travel all the way to the Punjab for a pilgrimage became so great and pronounced that the ninth Guru Tegh Bahadur, the father of Guru Gobind Singh, at last decided to accede to their wishes. The opposition that his succession to the gaddi had met and the consequent jealousy and enmity also prompted him to leave the Punjab for some time. The news sent a thrill of joy through the devoted hearts and such was the enthusiasm evoked that preparation began to be made to receive the Holy personage long before he started on his mission in 1665. At Patna a short halt was made, during the course of which, to the Guru’s own wishes to see the Sikhs of Bengal was added the earnest prayer of a Rajput Commander (Raja Subal Singh Sesodia, a commander of 1500) ordered to proceed with an expedition against Chittagong. The Guru left his family at Patna and accompanied the Raja to Dhaka. He had not been there long, when the news of the birth of Gobinda Singh reached him. On his arrival at Dhaka the Guru found his way to the Sangat in the town; Masand Bulaki, now informed all the Sikhs of the Guru’s arrival. They came in crowds to do him honour and receive his instruction and benedictions. Such was the enthusiasm displayed that the Guru declared that Dhaka was ‘the store house of his faith’; when the Guru was about to depart Masand Bulaki’s mother had a picture of the Guru painted. This picture together with some pieces of the Chawki, she had got prepared for Guru to sit on, are still preserved in the Sangat. This picture, even if not contemporary, is certainly very old.
“But these are not the only things to interest us here…. For, herein are preserved, half a dozen old letters, some of which are in the handwriting of Guru Tegh Bahadur and Guru Gobind Singh; a copy of Grant/i Sahib made in Sambat 1732 A.D. i.e. to say the earliest and the first complete copy known; a beautifully illuminated copy in bold type and made about Nawab Serajuddoula’s time, and some other books differing considerably from printed editions of them that are available now. The books also contain some important historical data.”
All these books have been well kept up here. The paintings are also here. The visitor can see all of them and admire the perseverance of the lady.