By Line: Shivendra Pandey
Jetha aka Guru Ram Das was born on 24th September 1534 to a poor Sikh Family in Chuna Mandi, Lahore (now part of Pakistan) is the fourth of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism. His father was Hari Das and mother Daya Kaurboth who died when he was aged seven. He was brought up by his grandmother. Guru Ram Das married Bibi Bhani, the younger daughter of Amar Das. They had three sons: Prithi Chand, Mahadev, and Guru Arjan.
At age 12, Bhai Jetha and his grandmother moved to Goindval, where they met Guru Amar Das. The boy thereafter accepted Guru Amar Das as his mentor and served him. The daughter of Guru Amar Das got married to Bhai Jetha, and he thus became part of Guru Amar Das’s family. As with the first two Gurus of Sikhism, Guru Amar Das instead of choosing his own sons chose Bhai Jetha as his successor and renamed him as Ram Das or “servant or slave of God.”
Ram Das became the Guru of Sikhism in 1574 and served as the Sikh leader until his death in 1581. He faced hostilities from the sons of Amar Das, shifted his official base to lands identified by Amar Das as Guru-ka-Chak. This newly founded town was eponymous Ramdaspur, later to evolve and get renamed as Amritsar – the holiest city of Sikhism.
Guru Ram Das appointed his own son Arjan as his successor, and unlike the first four Gurus who were not related through descent, the fifth through tenth Sikh Gurus were the direct descendants of Ram Das.
Guru Ram Das died on 1 September 1581, in Govindval town of Punjab. Of his three sons, Ram Das chose Arjan, the youngest, to succeed him as the fifth Sikh Guru.