So much is happening!
Anticipation of the end of another year with barely any of the New Year’s resolutions achieved!
Holiday presents for your children’s teacher and colleagues!
Unexpected holiday and New Year cards from family and friends you haven’t heard from for an entire year!
And then it hits you!
The month of December is significant for you- the Sikh!
It was this month that the most inspiring Sikh women, Mata Gujri reminded her grandsons that fearlessness was within them. She spoke to them of their grandfather’s bravery and reminded them who they were. All this so that when they were taken in front of the Nawab who challenged them, who intended to entice them, they could speak freely what they believed in and choose death over a comfortable life as someone they were not!
As a mother of almost 4-year-olds, I wonder how can I give or share even an iota of what Mata ji did with and gave her grandchildren.
When the movie Chaar Sahibzade came out my husband, and I were eager to go see it and were brave enough to take our almost 3-year-olds to watch it in the theater! It was their first theater appearance and needless to say we didn’t get through the movie.
Soon after that episode, we visited the kids’ nanke. Both Nanaji and Naniji had for the first time after being in USA for almost 20 years gone to watch a movie in the theaters together-because ‘Chaar Sahibzaade’ was not to be missed. Naniji, savvy on her Ipad found the ‘Chaar Sahibzade’ jukebox music playlist and played it for her four grandchildren-my kids and their cousins. That is where my son fell in love with the Chaar Sahibzaade.
From there on we were asked to play the Chaar Sahibzade track several times a day. A perfect opportunity for me to try to teach them the name of the Chaar Sahibzaade! They didn’t know the story, but they were somewhat in love and mesmerized. They fell in love because they saw that these individuals that every one was raving about were little kids, just like themselves.
The movie shows the four brothers doing kirtan together! My kids were inspired to do kirtan together. The brother sister duo would pull out the tabla, find two sticks to make a dilruba and sing ‘satgur nanak pargatya’ just like the Chaar Sahibzade did in the movie. When they couldn’t remember the words to that Sabad they would sing Rasna Japti Tuhi Tuhi-the known Sabad from the local Gurduara that was sung by the Bhai Sahib and the children at the Gurduara or they would sing Sabads from their weekly 1- hour Khalsa School that they had learned through repetition.
The year passed by with lots of requests for the ‘Chaar Sahibzade’ playlist, yet several months of also not asking for it at all, until recently when they remembered it again.
Now older and able to understand much more I was giving them tidbits, as we would listen and see the video playlist. We spoke about the Sahibzaade’s daadiji- Mata Gujri, we spoke about their Papa-Guru Gobind Singh ji and of course his Baaj. We spoke about the Panj Piare’s names. They quickly remembered that the last time we had parshaad at home, we took out parshaad for the Panj Piare before they could get any and we spoke about the names of the Panj.
After doing a lot of repetition of names, slowly we started going into the story. Just recently we bought the movie on amazon to watch. There were lots of questions. I couldn’t explain to 3 year olds what was happening, but I could tell them over and over again that the Chaar Sahibzaade were brave and fearless. I told them that they weren’t scared and then I told them that Baba Zorawar Singh and Baba Fateh Singh were put in a wall. I didn’t know how to explain that they were bricked alive. My kids don’t know how a wall is made. They don’t know what death is! My daughter kept asking me how anyone could put anyone in a wall.
Finally we saw the movie together. While my son was glued to the movie, especially at all the fighting scenes and all the horses and of course his favorite ‘the Sabad’, my daughter was glued to the TV for 2 scenes-one with Mai Bhago fighting the Mughals and the other when they were making the brick wall. At Mai Bhago’s scene I said to her, ‘see that is Mai Bhago’ and she quickly turned and said ‘is she your friend?’ and I said ‘yes.’
So many stories can be shared in the month of December.
While my children are really young, I hope that every year we will continue to talk more and more about the Sahibzade and the stories around them.
I have to tell them more about Guru ji and more about Mai Bhago, Mata Sundari and the 40 Mukte.
I have to tell them about the Panj Piare and their hukam to Guru Sahib and what that means.
I have to tell them how and why the Chote Sahibzaade were so steadfast.
I have to tell them how Bhai Ajit Singh didn’t fall asleep with all those arrows in his chest, but that he was the first of the four Sahibzade to achieve Shahidi.
I have to tell them of the battle of Chamkaur and the battle of Khidrana.
I have to tell them what it meant when Guru Sahib said ‘Mitr Piare Nu Haal Muridan Da Kahina’.
There is so much to tell them and so much to be inspired by just in the Month of December!
Jasmine Kaur served as SikhRI’s Director of Education for 2006 -2013 years as well as Sidak lead for several years. She is currently working with SikhRI’s newest project ‘Sikhia- Redefining Sikh Education.’