An excellent introductory tour de force of the evolution of the Sikh belief and the power of continuity which the gurus provided, is then followed by a wonderful translation of the immortal and stirring words of the great Guru Gobind Singh. Not just a book but an object-lesson in the force-multiplier that righteous belief can provide on the battlefields of war, life and our minds. Anyone of Indian and particularly Panjabi heritage must read this.
This small book by Guru Gobind Singh and translated by Navtej Sarna, was first published in 2011 (2015), has 113 pages, 3 chapters and the book is dedicated to Sarna's parents. Mr Sarna is a diplomat and was a foreign office spokesman and India's ambassador to Israel. The Indian Persian in the Mughal period was varied from the classical Persian and its translation to Gurmuki (Punjabi) was imperfect. To translate this into English was a challenge. Written in exquisite Persian verse, the "Zafarnama" was a defiant message composed by Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Sikh Guru, and it was addressed to the Mughal Emperor Aurungzeb, following a series of fierce battles between the imperial forces and the Sikh warriors. These 111 stirring stanzas highlight the Guru's deep understanding of the true nature of God and Creation. Written in 1705, the most often quoted words are - " When all has been tried, yet justice is not in sight, it is then right to pick up the sword, it is then right to fight". Sarna then narrates the history of the 10 Sikh Gurus to the formation of the 'Zafarnama' by the Guru Gobind Singh until his death, aged 42, on 7.10.1708. In this book, the Guru's writing in Persian is on the LEFT pages, under which it is translated into English and the RIGHT pages narrates the meaning of Guru's supreme writing and poetic genius. The Zafarnama reached the Emperor Aurungzeb who was in failing health at the age of 91, in 1707 and he died in Ahmednagar. Some other books of interest are:- (1) History of the Sikhs, 2 Volumes, Khushwant Singh, 1962 (2004) (2) The Dasam Granth, Guru Gobind Singh, 2005 (3) History of the Sikh Gurus, 2 Volumes, Surjit Singh Gandhi, 2007 Having born in Kenya, I enjoyed reading this book.