CHALI MUKTE :
When the Emperor's army had surrounded Anandpur the condition inside the fort started getting worse after sometime, as the food supply dwindled. Sikhs tried their best to eat less. Sometimes they would attack the army to loot their ration, but time took its toll. Some Sikhs were more desperate than others. They thought of leaving Guru Ji's army and going home where they would work in their fields and look after their families. They went to Guru Ji and told their decision. Guru Ji did not get cross with them, rather he smiled and said, "I respect your decision and it is your choice to stay or to leave. If you have decided to leave I would like it if you would write your names on a piece of paper saying that I am not your Guru and you are not my Sikhs." They did it as soon as they could and escaped in the darkness to avoid being captured.
When they reached home their families were first surprised and then upset. They were not expecting them so soon since the battle was still continuing. When they heard that their loved ones had deserted Guru Ji, they were extremely annoyed. No welcome home, no smiling faces and no hospitality was offered. Instead a very brave lady Mai Bhago suggested to them that they should stay at home, look after the children and work in the fields; and that she would go in the battle field along with a few women and fight in their place. They were very ashamed and sorry for what they had done, especially when the news came that Guru Ji was forced to leave Anandpur. They had learnt their lesson. Under the leadership of Mai Bhago forty of them decided to return to Guru Ji and fight.
In the meantime while Emperor's army was surrounding the village Chamkaur and was trying to capture Guru Ji. Guru Ji had lost both of his elder sons and many Sikhs. Night fall came and the army stopped fighting (as this was the unwritten law of battle in those days). Inside the little fort everybody knew that in the morning the army would attack and kill or capture them. The Sikhs suggested to Guru Ji that he should leave in the dark of the night and they would hold the fort for as long as possible. Sikhs thought that by the morning Guru Ji would have escaped to the safety of the nearby forest. However, Guru Ji refused to leave his Sikhs under these circumstances. The Sikhs thought of a plan. Five Sikhs stood in front of Guru Ji, reminded him of the promise he had made with 'Panj Piare', and 'ordered' him to leave the fort. Thus Guru-ji had no choice since he had promosed to follow the orders of his 'Panj Piare'. Guru Ji stood at the wall of the fort and shouted, " I, Gobind Singh, the Guru of the Sikhs, am leaving this fort. Capture me if you dare." It was a very dark night. Although the army tried to run in every direction to catch Guru Ji, they could not find him. In the morning the army commander came to know that Guru Ji was going towards a small village. They followed him.
It was in the nick of time that the forty Sikhs under the command of Mai Bhago reached Guru Ji. Guru Ji got control of a small and the only source of water at that place. These forty Sikhs fought bravely with their swords and arrows, Guru Ji's arrows also uprooted the army. The army was dying not only due to injuries but also the thirst in the extreme heat of mid-day. They ran away without capturing Guru Ji. But by this time many of the Sikhs were dead and others were dying. Guru Ji walked amongst his true followers. He sat with every dead Sikh and blessed him. One of them, named Mahan Singh, was taking his last breath when Guru Ji saw him. He rushed to the dying Sikh, cleaned his face and said, "You are my beloved Sikh. I am very impressed by your bravery, devotion and sacrifice. You can ask for anything at this time and I will try to get it for you." A glow came into Mahan Singh's eyes and then his eyes were filled with water. He gathered all his strength, tried to touch Guru Ji's feet and said, "Guru Ji, I have only one request. Please, tear up that piece of paper on which I, with my other friends, wrote our names when we deserted you. Just say that you have forgiven us." Guru Ji smiled, put Mahan Singh's head in his lap, took out the paper and tore it . "I forgive you and your brothers and I appreciate your courage and bravery." Mahan Singh died peacefully in Guru Ji's lap. These forty Sikh are known as 'Chali Mukte - The forty who attained salvation.' (Chali means forty). There is a big Gurdwara at this place called 'Mukatsar'. Sikhs celebrate the occasion every year on the 14th of January all over the world.
It is known as 'Maghi Festival'.