The Chali Mukte (forty liberated ones) are a band of Sikhs who fought to protect Guru Gobind Singh in a December battle in 1705. During the battle conditions for the Sikhs were poor and there was little food and water to go around. These forty Sikhs chose to abandon Guru Gobind Singh by leaving the fight and returning home to their families. Once home they realized the severity of what they had done and decided to return to battle. The forty men returned just in time to protect Guru Gobind Singh from being captured. Upon completion of the battle the Guru returned the forty men their honour by destroying the record of the names of those who had disowned him, thus making them mukte (liberated).
Mukta from the Sanskrit mukt means ‘liberated, delivered, emancipated,’ especially from the cycle of birth and death. In Sikhism, Mukti (liberation) is the highest spiritual goal of human existence and one who achieves this state is called mukt or mukta.
Today the Chali Mukte are remembered daily in the Sikh ardas (prayer) offered at the end of all religious services.