Shaheed Banda Singh Bahadur Jee

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“I will tell you, whenever men become so corrupt
and wicked as to relinquish the path of equity and
to abandon themselves to all kinds of excesses,
then the Providence never fails to raise up a
scourge like me to chastise a race so depraved;
When the tyrants oppress their subjects to the
limit, then God sends men like me
on this earth to mete out his punishment to them."
~ Banda Singh Bahadur ~
Born in October 1670 in Kashmir and named
Lachman Dev. At the age of 15 years while hunting,
they shot a deer tearing the belly and saw twin unborn
off springs writhing in pain and dying in front of him.
Upset to see what he had done, he changed his name
to Madho Daas and spent many years in meditation,
during this time he developed spiritual powers and
took delight in practicing tricks on his visitors to his
monastery.
Guru Gobind Singh Ji visited Madho Daas monastery
in September 1708. Madho Daas tried to practice his
tricks of magic on the Guru but failed miserably and
concluded that he at last had found his master. He fell
at the Guru's feet and said, ‘‘I am your Banda (slave).
I shall carry out your orders whatever they be.’’
Guru Ji baptised (gave Amrit to) Madho Daas to
became part of the Khalsa. Madho Daas was
renamed to Gurbakhash Singh but remained famous
with the name of Banda Singh Bahadur.
The Guru instructed him in the principles of his faith and learnt about the
martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev, Guru Tegh Bahadur and Guru Gobind Singh's
four sons. On learning all this, he was filled with righteous indignation and said
to the Guru, 'O true King, permit me to go to the Punjab and punish those who
committed such cruel deeds.'
Guru Gobind Singh Ji appointed Banda Singh Bahadur with orders to:
1. Put a stop to the cruelty of Punjab rulers.
2. Punish the guilty and cruel rulers.
3. To fight for human rights, uplift and strengthen the poor, the low and
slave like people.
It was first time in the Sikh history that Sikhs were attackers and offensive but
their aim was same as earlier of fighting for justice and against oppression.
Once Banda Singh Bahadur Ji reached Punjab they sent Guru's message to
the Sikhs all over Kashmir, Punjab and Afghanistan.
Memories of unlimited sacrifices of Gurus, their families, Sikhs and their
sufferings at the hands of oppressors were fresh in the Sikh masses. Listening
to the call of Banda Singh at the behest of Guru, Sikhs started joining Banda
Singh.
After some time the strength of 40,000 warriors was at his command.
Banda Singh Bahadur attacked towns of Muslim oppression which were the
towns of Rai Kot, Saharanpur, Jalalabad, Ludhiana, Jalhandur, Hoshiarpur,
Batala, Kalanaur, and Pathankot. Most of Punjab was under the control of
the Khalsa.
After taking Sadhaura, Bandha Singh chose the fort of Mukhlispur as capital
of the emerging Sikh state. Bandha restored the crumbling fort, renamed it
Lohgarh and planted the Khalsa flag upon it. To give Lohgarh added
authority an official seal and coins were minted to celebrate Sikh rule.
The seals and coins were dedicated to Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh
Ji. The Persian inscription read :
Degh O Tegh O Fateh O Nasrat-I-bedirang
Yaft az Nanak Guru Gobind Singh.
The inscription praised the cauldron (representing Sikh commitment to feed
the poor) and the sword (the symbol of power) and unqualified patronage as
attributes bequeathed by Guru Nanak to Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
Banda Singh Bahadur with the
Khalsa at Fort of Mukhlisgarh.
They renamed to Lohgarh Fort
and made it the 1st Sikh capital.
Achieved on 10th May 1710.
Banda Singh and his forces were at the fort of Lohgarh in December 1710 and the
Mugal forces surrounded the fort and cut off all supplies. In one pitch dark night,
Banda Singh and his men forced their way through the Mughal army and moved
towards Jammu.
Banda Singh collected his forces and again conquered Batala, Kalanaour,
Sarhind, Muzaffar Nagar and other areas in 1712 and ruled till 1715.
Even in war, Banda Singh Bahadur had instructed not to harm any Mosque,
Madrassa and Makbras (Graves). Irrespective of their religion, the old, women
and children were protected from any harm.
It was for the first time that Banda Singh
broke the belief of Mugals that they could
not be conquered by any one. He
established a democratic rule.
The poor and down trodden got a sense
of living with dignity. He protected the
poor and low, did not harm those who
surrendered.
Banda Singh Bahadur with the Sikh
army (Khalsa) ready to battle at
Gurdas Nangal (Punjab) against the
Mughal army.
Took place during 1715.
In April 1715, Farakh Seyer the King of Hindustan, ordered that Banda Singh
either be killed or arrested. Banda Singh and his forces were at Gurdas Nangal
where they occupied a kachhi Garhi (a dilapidated four walled area). The Mughal
forces surrounded it for 8 months and they had cut off all the supplies from
outside.
Day by day conditions worsened in the Garhi. No food was left, grass, leaves of
plants and trees were boiled and eaten. Even balk of trees was eaten. One
cannot imagine the misery they faced.
Number of Banda Singh's men fell ill and had bad stomach. After surrounding for
8 months, the Mughal army charged towards the fort. Even at this stage the
Sikhs offered heavy resistance.
The Nawab was surprised at the lack
of wealth Banda Singh had and the
great determination with which they
were fighting. Very few gold coins
and weapons were found with them.
Banda Singh with about 800 Sikhs
was captured in December 1715.
The local chieftains were ordered to behead the Sikhs wherever found and present
their heads to the Nawab, thus thousands upon thousands of Sikhs were murdered
for a procession in Delhi in February 1716
The procession consisted of:
1. Banda Singh on an elephant in an iron cage in the fore-front.
2. 760 prisoners in chains on camels.
3. About 700 Mugal soldiers on horses with heads of Sikhs on their spears.
4. About 700 cart loads with heads of Sikhs.
5. A dead cat on a spear indicating not even a trace of a Sikh is left.
Among the captured Sikhs not even a single Sikh was sad, disappointed or ready
to ask for mercy. Accepting it as the Will of God they were happily singing Gurbani.
700 were beheaded in front of Delhi Gate
publically in March 1716. In June 1716, 26
Sikhs were beheaded in the presence of
Banda Singh, hoping that he may still ask for
mercy. Now it was the turn of Banda Singh.
They was asked to accept Islam or face
death. They accepted death.
Execution of Banda Singh Bahadar
Banda Singh's 4 years old son was seated on his lap. A dagger was given to
Banda Singh and ordered to cut his own son. He refused. The executioner
pierced the chest of his son, took out the vibrating heart and tried to push into the
mouth of Banda Singh, where they refused furiously.
After this his flesh was notched out with pliers, hot sharp rods were inserted into
his flesh. His eyes were notched out, hands and feet were chopped off. They
finally attained Shaheedi when thier head was chopped off. This took place on 9th
June 1716.
SUMMARY
Banda Singh Bahadur ruled only for 6 to 7
years. This broke the yoke of 700 years rule
of the invading forces from the Arab
countries. The Mughal myth of power was
broken by him. The sacrifices of Banda Singh
and his men did not discourage the Sikhs but
prepared them for the worst future fights.
Passing through very difficult times for the next 40 years, the Sikhs ruled at Lahore
under the leadership of Nawab Kapoor Singh and then by Jassa Singh Ahluwalia
in 1756. Later on they ruled all over Punjab in the form of 12 Sikh Misls (groups).
This ultimately led to establish Khalsa Raj in 1799 AD.
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