- Banda Singh Bahadur
Baba Banda Singh Bahadur (1670-1716) (Lachhman Dev) was a
Sikhwarrior known for his struggle against the Mughal Empirein the early eighteenth century. The title "Baba" (Elder) in Sikhismdenotes respect.
Famous for the sack of the Mughal provincial capital,
Sirhind, he is revered as one of greatest Sikh warriors as well as one of the most hallowed martyrs of the Khalsa. His confrontation with the Mughal administration in Northern India, though brief, was strong enough to shake its foundations. The agrarian uprising that he led in the Punjab was the foundation on which the Dal Khalsa, the Sikh Misls and Maharaja Ranjit Singh built the edifice which finally culminated with Ranjit Singh capturing Lahorein 1799 and establishing the Sikh Kingdomof the Punjab.
One of the most revolutionary acts of Banda Bahadur, after establishing his authority in Punjab, was the abolition of the
zamindarisystem, and granting proprietory rights to the actual tillers of the land.
Banda Singh Bahadur was born in a
Minhas Rajputfamily, on October 16, 1670 at Rajouri in the Jammuregion of Jammu and Kashmir. He was named Lachman Dev. Wrestling, horseback riding, and hunting were his major hobbies. As a young man, he shot a doe and was shocked to watch the mother and her aborted fawn writhing in pain and dying. After this gloomy scene, he had a change of heart. He left his home and became a disciple of a Bairagi Sadhu, Janaki Das, who gave him the name, Madho Das. In the company of the Sadhuhe travelled through Northern Indiaand finally arrived at Nanded(in present-day Maharashtra), situated on the bank of the river Godavari, where he built a hut to meditate upon. Almost all writerare agree, that he was Rajputby birth.
Very little or of little account is known about the first forty years of his life.There is no certain account of his ancestry, place of birth and formative years. [cite book
last = Chandla
first = M.S
title = Banda Bahadur;Betrayed by his lieutenants
publisher = Aurva Publications
date = October 2006
location = Chandigarh
pages = 1
isbn = 81-901110-2-7] He has been presented as a
Rajput, a Peshwa, a Sodhi Khatri( Kshatriya), a mohyal Brahmin, and a Gujjar.
The only thing that is certain about Banda Bahadur's pre-Khalsa life is that he was a hermit ("bairagi"), who was baptised by Guru Gobind Singh as
Khalsa. Some of the views regarding his origins include the following:
* According to Dr. Ganda Singh and some other scholars, he was a
Dogra Rajput. [cite book
last = Ganda
first = Singh
title = Life of Banda Singh Bahadur : based on contemporary and original records
year = 1990
origyear = 1935
publisher = Punjabi University/Khalsa College
oclc = 25748134
page = 1
quote = His father Ram Dev was an ordinary ploughman Rajput.] [cite book
last = Sambhi
first = Piara Singh
coauthors = W Owen Cole
title = A popular dictionary of Sikhism
year = 1990
publisher = Curzon
isbn = 978-0913215517
oclc = 59977906
page = 49
quote = Born a Rajput, he was a Bairagi yogi until his conversion] [cite book
last = Seetal
first = Sohan Singh
title = Prophet of man, Guru Gobind Singh
year = 1968
publisher = Lyall Book Depot
oclc = 115772
page = 366
quote = And he is commonly known as Banda Bahadur. Banda Singh was, by his birth, a master of the Rajput tradition and a dauntless temperament] [cite book
last = Chib
first = Sukhdev Singh
title = Punjab
year = 1977
publisher = Light & Life Publishers
oclc = 3768858
page = 15
quote = "Originally a Dogra Rajput named Lachhman Das, Banda Bahadur was born in a farmer family at Rajouri."] [cite book
last = Singh
first = Khazan
title = History of the Sikh Religion
year = 1970
origyear = 1914
publisher = Dept. of Languages, Punjab/Newal Kishore, Lahore
oclc = 162514106
page = 211
quote = He was the son of Ramdev, a Rajput.] [cite book
last = Duggal
first = Kartar Singh
title = Maharaja Ranjit Singh: The Last to Lay Arms
year = 2001
publisher = Abhinav Publications
isbn = 978-8170174103
oclc = 48811299
page = 40
quote = A Rajput of the Dogra tribe, his real name was Lachhman Dev.] [cite book
last = Malik
first = Arjan Dass
title = An Indian guerilla war : the Sikh peoples war, 1699-1768
year = 1975
publisher = Wiley
isbn = 978-0470565766
oclc = 1339733
page = 27
quote = "Banda Bahadur was a Rajput of Jammu province who had become a monk. He came in contact with Guru Gobind Singh in the south and embraced Sikhism."] [cite book
last = Deol
first = Gurdev Singh
title = Banda Bahadur
year = 1972
publisher = New Academic Pub. Co.
oclc = 730641
page = 14
quote = Banda Bahadur was a Rajput and was a man of limited means.] [cite book
last = Mahajan
first = Vidya Dhar
title = India since 1526
year = 1964
oclc = 3975743
page = 205
quote = Banda Bahadur was a Dogra Rajput. He was born in 1670. His original name was Lachhman Dass and he was very fond of hunting. Later on he became a Bairagi and went awayto Deccan.] [cite book
last = Madhok
first = Balraj
title = Punjab Problem, the Muslim Connection
year = 1985
publisher = Vision Books
oclc = 12361473
page = 25
quote = Banda Bahadur was the seion of a Rajput family of Poonch area, now in Jammu andKashmir State.] [cite book
last = Singh
first = Mian Goverdhan
title = History of Himachal Pradesh
year = 1982
origyear = 1932
publisher = Yugbodh Pub. House
oclc = 9063139
page = 141
quote = "He was a Dogra Rajput who was born at Rajouri in Kashmir."] According to this version, he was born on October 16, 1670 at
Rajouriin the Jammuregion of Jammu and Kashmir. He was named Lachman Dev. Wrestling, horseback riding, and hunting were his major hobbies. As a young man, he shot a doe and was shocked to watch the mother and her aborted fawn writhing in pain and dying. After this gloomy scene, he had a change of heart. He left his home and became a disciple of a "Bairagi" Sadhu, Janaki Das, who gave him the name, Madho Das. In the company of the Sadhushe travelled through Northern India and finally arrived at Nanded(in present-day Maharashtra), situated on the bank of the river Godavari, where he built a hut to meditateupon.
* H.A. Rose was not sure if Banda Bahadur was a Rajput or a Sodhi Khatri. [H.A. Rose. A glossary of tribes of Punjab and NWFP] .
* P.N. Bali calls him a Mohyal Brahmin. [P. N. Bali. History of Mohyals.]
* Hakim Rai calls him a Punjabi Sodhi. [Hakim Rai. Legend of Lachman Das,disciple of Guru Gobind Singh]
* J.D Cunningham labelled him a native of South India. [J. D. Cunningham. History of Sikhs]
* Major A.E. Barstow called him a runaway
Peshwa Maratha. [A.E. Barstow. Handbook on Sikhs]
* Major James Brown thought he was a native of Punjab. [James Brown. India Tracts 2.]
* Some authors such as Dr. Sukhdyal Singh of Punjabi University, Patiala, have claimed that Banda Bahadur was a commander of the Sikh Regiment in the imperial army of Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah.
* Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha, (Bhasha Bibhag Punjab, Patiala) Mahan kosh, book written by him, In his book, he believed he was
MinhasRajput, either from Rajouri in Jammu region or Doaba region of Punjab.Fact|date=February 2008
There are countless other claims about the ancestry of Banda Bahadur. Apart from the pseudonym Banda Bahadur, there is a long row of countless names assumed or bestowed upon him such as Lachman Bala, Lachman Dev, Narain Das, Madho Das; and many identities.
Meeting with Guru Gobind Singh
In the September of 1708,
Guru Gobind Singh, who had come to the Deccanalong with the Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah, happened to go to Madho Das’ hut. Madho Das was away. He had learnt Tantraand was locally famous for his occult powers. He attempted to conjure his magic to humiliate the Guru,but his magic would not prevail on the Guru. Defeated he fell at the Guru's feet and said with great humility, "I am your "banda" (meaning i surrender my whole self to you). The Guru inquired, if Madho knew who he was talking to. Banda said "yes,you are Guru Gobind Singh". The Guru soon gave Banda the title of "Bahadur". Becoming one of the the Guru's Singh (lion or champion) he took up the duties to fight against the Mughals in Punjab. Banda was baptized and converted into the Sikh fold,and was given the name "Gurbaksh" (meaning blessed by the Guru) Singh. He is popularly known as "Banda Bahadhur".
Guru Gobind Singh hoped that Emperor Bahadur Shah would fulfill his promise and punish the Governor of Sirhind, and his accomplices for persecuting the people of Punjab, and for murdering the Guru's mother,
Mata Gujriand his two younger children, Sahibzada Zorawar Singhand Sahibzada Fateh Singh. The promise was made by Bahadur Shah to the Guru earlier, when Shah asked the Guru to help him consolidate his rule over India, following the death of his father, Emperor Arungzeb. Guru Gobind Singh had rendered help to Bahadur Shah in the war of succession after the death of Auranzeb, in which Bahadur Shah emerged as a victor.Bahadur Shah was reluctant to carry out his promise, or may have been unable to do so during his delicate rule. The Guru had no ill-will towards the new Emperor, and decided to part ways with the him.
In a few days, the Guru held a
durbar,and administered "Pahul" (ceremonial initiation into Khalsa) to Madho Das and named him "Gurbaksh Singh". He appointed him as his military lieutenant and invested him with full political and military authority as his deputy to lead the campaign in the Punjab against the Mughal administration and to punish Nawab Wazir Khan and his supporters.
The Guru gave Banda five arrows from his quiver by as a symbol of temporal authority. He was given an advisory council of five devoted Sikhs ("Hazuri Singhs"), who on their arrival in the Punjab were to assure the Sikhs that Banda was the Guru's nominee and deputy and to organize them in order to lead an expedition against Sirhind:
*Baj Singh, a descendant of the third Sikh Guru,
Guru Amar Das.
*Baj Singh's brother Ram Singh.
*Binod singh, a descendant of the second Sikh Guru,
Guru Angad Dev.
*Binod Singh's son Kahan singh
Twenty five soldiers were to accompany Banda from
Nandedto Punjab. A "Hukumnamah" (edict) by the Guru, instructing Sikhs to join Banda Bahadur in his struggle against Wazir Khan (Mughal Goverener of Punjab) was provided. As an insignia of his temporal authority invested in him, the Guru also gave Banda Bahadur his own sword, green bow, "nagada" (War drum) and a Nishan Sahib. Three hundred Sikh cavaliers in battle array accompanied Banda up to a distance of eight kilometres to give him a final send off.
Banda in present-day Haryana
Here, Banda witnesses first-hand, the complete destruction of the "Satnami" sect which had risen in revolt against the Mughals. Men, women and children, one and all had been wiped out of existence. It was here that Banda suppressed some dacoits and robbers.
= Hissar =
He was well received by local Hindus and Sikhs as a leader and a deputy of Guru Gobind Singh. Liberal offerings were made to him, which he distributed among the poor and the needy.
Here, Banda issued letters to the Sikhs of Malwa, to join him in his crusade against Wazir Khan of Sirhind.
Banda made proper arrangements to escort
Mata Sahib Kaurto Delhi. From Kharkhauda about fifty kilometres north-west of Delhi, Mata Sahib Kaur was sent to Delhi under armed escort, to join Mata Sundari, who was acting as the head of the Khalsaafter the death of her husband, Guru Gobind Singh. Sonepat
At Sonepat, fifty kilometres north of Delhi, early in November 1709 Banda commanded about five hundred followers. He attacked the government treasury, plundered it and distributed it among his retinue. This was his second success against the government and it considerably raised his prestige. Marching slowly, he advanced towards Sirhind.
Kaithal, about a hundred kilometres further north, Banda seized a government treasury, which was being sent from the northern districts to Delhi. He kept nothing out of it for himself and gave it away to his rank and file.
Samana, fifty kilometres farther north, was the native place of Jalal-ud-din Jallad, the professional executioner, who had beheaded
Guru Teg Bahadur, while his son had beheaded the two younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh. Ali Hussain, who by making false promises had lured Guru Gobind Singh to evacuate the fort of Anandpuralso belonged to Samana. It was an accursed place in the eyes of the Sikhs. The entire peasantry of the neighbourhood was now up in arms, and Banda's following had risen to several thousands. Banda fell upon the town on November 26, 1709. The inhabitants were massacred in cold blood and the town razed. Samana was the district town and had nine Parganas attached to it. It was placed under the charge of Fateh Singh. Samana was the first territorial conquest and the first administrative unit of Banda.
Then, Kunjpura, Ghuram, and Thaska inhabited by
MuslimRanghars were destroyed. Damla was the village of the people, who had deserted Guru Gobind Singh in the Battle of Bhangani, It was ravaged. "Shahabad Markanda" also fell to Banda.
Usman Khan, the chief of Sadhaura, about twenty-five kilometres away, had persecuted Sayyid Budhu Shah for helping Guru Gobind Singh in the Battle of Bhangani. On the approach of Banda , the leading Muslims of the town gathered in a big and strongly built mansion. They were all massacred. This building came to be known as "Qatal Garhi" (The Fort of Murder). Banda attacked the town and destroyed it.
A contemporary historian, Khafi Khan wrote: "In two or three months time four to five thousands pony-riders, and seven to eight thousand warlike footmen joined him. Day by day their number increased, and abundant money and material by pillage fell into their hands. Numerous villages were laid waste and he appointed his own police officers (thanedars) and collectors of revenue (Tahsil-dar-e-mal)"
The ultimate aim of Banda was to punish Wazir Khan and conquer Sirhind. It required time to consolidate his material and territorial gains. He also wanted to study the military resources of Sirhind. He was anxious to see what steps the government would take against him. He therefore established his headquarters, in the beginning of February 1710, at Mukhlisgarh situated in the lower
Siwalik Hillssouth of Nahan, about twenty kilometres from Sadhaura. His fort stood atop a hill top. Two "kuhls" or water channels flowed at its base and supplied water to it. This fort was repaired and put in a state of defence. All the money, gold and costly material acquired in the expeditions were deposited here. He minted coins and issued orders under his seal. The name of Mukhlisgarh was changed to Lohgarh (the Fort of Steel), and it became the capital of the first Sikh state.
Banda ruled over the region bounded on the north by the Shiwalik hills, on the west by the river Tangri, on the east by the river
Jamuna, and in the south by a line passing through Samana, Thanesar, Kaithal and Karnal. He abolished the ZamindariSystem of land prevailing under the Mughals and declared the actual cultivators as the owners of land. Thus he established peasant proprietorship, and won the approbation and support of the overwhelming majority of the population. Khafi Khan says that Banda "issued orders to imperial officers and agents and big jagirdars to submit and give up their business."
The invasion of Sirhind
Banda Singh Bahadur devoted three months in organizing his civil and military administration. Bahadur Shah was still away from Delhi. The Delhi Government had made no attempt to recover their lost territory from Banda. Wazir Khan of Sirhind was making his own preparations independently to meet the danger from Banda.
Banda's troops were mostly untrained, raw levies and not fully armed. Banda possessed no elephants, no good horses and no guns. His followers had matchlocks, spears, swords, bows and arrows. According to Khafi Khan, the number of Banda's troops rose from thirty to forty thousand.
Wazir Khan's preparations
Wazir Khan had proclaimed a
jihador a holy war against Banda. He was joined by the Nawab of Malerkotla, other Muslim chiefs and jagirdars as well as Ranghars in large numbers. The majority of his soldiers were trained men. Wazir Khan's own forces were six thousand horsemen, eight to nine thousand musketeers ("burqandaz") and archers, and with these about ten guns of artillery and many elephants. In addition, there were about ten thousand Ghazis. The total number of Wazir Khan's troops was about thirty thousand.
Banda advanced from Lohgarh and halted at Banur, near
Ambala, fourteen kilometres from Rajpura. Banda sacked the town, and then went towards Sirhind.
The Battle of Chhappar Chiri
The battle was fought on May 12, 1710 at "Chhappar Chiri", twenty kilometres from Sirhind. On the Mughal side, Sher Muhammad Khan, the Nawab of Malerkotla was the leader of the right flank. Wazir Khan was in command of the centre. Suchanand, Diwan of the Nawab was put on the left. On the Sikh side, Baj Singh and Binod Singh (two of the five Sikhs sent by Guru Gobind along with Banda to the Punjab) headed the right and left flanks respectively while Banda commanded the centre facing the Wazir Khan's army.
Suchanand could not withstand Baj Singh's attack and fled. Sher Mohammed Khan was about to overpower Binod Singh's wing when he was suddenly struck by a bullet and was instantly killed. His men immediately dispersed. Wazir Khan was rushing upon Banda who stuck fast to his ground and discharged arrows relentlessly. Baj Singh and Binod Singh now joined Banda. Due to their combined assault, Wazir Khan was killed.
Wazir Khan's death is variously described.According to the most accepted view Baj Singh rushed upon Wazir Khan, who threw his spear. Baj Singh caught hold of it and flung the same spear upon Wazir Khan. It struck the forehead of his horse. Wazir Khan discharged an arrow which hit Baj Singh's arm. He then rushed upon him with his sword. At this juncture, Fateh Singh came to Baj Singh's rescue. His sword cut Khan from shoulder to waist.
Pursuit of fugitives
Wazir Khan's head was stuck up on a spear and lifted high up by a Sikh who took his seat in the deceased's
howdah. Sirhind's troops on beholding the Nawab's head took alarm, and fled in dismay and despair. The Sikhs fell upon them and there was a terrible carnage. The Sikhs reached Sirhind by nightfall. The gates of the city were closed. The guns mounted on the walls of the fort commenced bombardment. The Sikhs laid siege to the place. They took rest at night. Wazir Khan's family and many Muslim nobles fled to Delhi at night.
By the next afternoon, the Sikhs forced open the gates and fell upon the city. The Government treasury and moveable property worth two crores fell into Banda's hand which was removed to Lohgarh. Several Muslims embraced Sikhism. Dindar Khan, son of Jalal Khan Rohilla became Dindar Singh. The official newswriter of Sirhind, Mir Nasir-ud-din changed his name to Mir Nasir Singh.
The province of Sirhind occupied
Sirhind was the economic and provincial capital of Mughals.The entire province of Sirhind consisting of twenty-eight paraganas and extending from the
Satlujto the Jamuna and from the Shiwalik hills to Kunjpura, Karnal and Kaithal, yielding Rs. fifty-two lakhs (one lakh = one hundred thousand Rupees) annually came into Banda's possession. Baj Singh was appointed the governor of Sirhind. Ali Singh was made his deputy. Their chief responsibility was to be on guard against the Mughal troops from Lahore and Jammu. Fateh Singh retained charge of Samana. Ram Singh, brother of Baj singh became the Chief of Thanesar. Binod singh in addition to his post of the revenue minister, was entrusted with the administration of Karnal and Panipat. His main duty was to guard the road from Delhi. Banda retired to his capital at Lohgarh. His era began from May 12, 1710, the date of his victory in the battle of Sirhind. The Zamindari system was abolished in the whole province in one stroke.
Banda advances towards Lahore
Having set up administrative machinery, Banda advanced from Sirhind to Malerkotla in June, 1710. The town was saved for a ransom of two lakhs on the recommendation of Kishan Das Banya, an old acquaintance of Banda. From there he marched to Morinda whose "faujdar" had handed over Guru Gobind Singh's mother and his two younger sons to Wazir Khan. Then he visited Kiratpur and Anandpur to pay homage to shrines. He took
Hoshiarpurand Jalandhar. Banda crossed the Beasinto Majhaand fell upon Batala. After this, he went on a pilgrimage to Dera Baba Nanak. At Amritsar, Banda made large offerings. He invited young men to embrace Sikhism. Many from Majha joined the Khalsa. Banda marched towards Lahore. Sayyid Islam Khan, the Governor mounted guns on the walls of the city. Banda laid a siege, but was unable to scale the walls of the fort. Lahore could have fallen, but Banda was in a hurry to look after his government.
Though the city remained safe owing to its fortifications, the suburbs were completely destroyed by Banda and his men.
Banda's rule, though short-lived, had a far-reaching impact on the history of the Punjab. With it, began the decay of Mughal authority and the demolition of the feudal system of society it had created. Banda's increasing influence roused the ire of the Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah, who journeyed northwards from the Deccan to punish the Sikhs. Instructions were issued to the governors of Delhi and
Oudhand other Mughal officers to march towards the Punjab. Prohibitory laws against Sikhs were passed.
On December 10, 1710 Emperor Bahadur Shah issued a general warrant for the faujdars to "kill the worshippers of Nanak (the Sikhs), wherever they were to be found." ("Nanak Prastan ra Har ja kih bayaband baqatl rasanand"). Banda was chased out of every corner of the Punjab and he took refuge in the Shivalik hills.
Banda got married to the daughter of one of the hill chiefs and it was a few years before the Mughals could trace him down. He again started his campaigns against the Mughals, coming down from the hills to the plains, but was overwhelmed by the superior numbers of Mughal forces.
A massive imperial force drove the Sikhs from Sirhind and other places to take shelter in the fort of Lohgarh in the hilly region. Further reinforcements arrived and sixty thousand horse and foot closely invested Banda's hill retreat. For want of provisions, Sikhs were reduced to rigorous straits. They killed their horses for food, and when they could stand up to the enemy no longer, they made desperate nightly sallies to escape into the hills of Nahan. Banda, though, did not lose hope.
The Sikhs came out of their mountain haunts to recover their lost territories and once again occupied Sadhaura and Lohgarh.
Farrukhsiyar, who came to the throne of Delhi in 1713, ordered against them the sternest campaign ever launched. They were hounded out of the plains and their main column of about 4,000 men under Banda were subjected to a terrible siege at the village of Gurdas-Nangal, about six kilometers from Gurdaspur.
For eight months the garrison resisted the siege of 100,000 Mughal troops under gruesome conditions. Towards the end, an unfortunate dispute arose between Banda and one of his most trusted advisers, Binod Singh. This man along with Baj Singh and three others made up the war council that Banda was supposed to consult in any difficult situation. Binod Singh advised the evacuation of the fortress, but for some reasons of his own, Banda wished to fight it out there. Binod Singh was senior in age, and when this difference of views flared up into an open quarrel, Banda agreed to let Binod Singh take his men out of the Fortress. Binod Singh and his supporters then charged out of the fortress and escaped.
Towards the end of November 1715, the remaining defenders were running out of ammunition and food. They were trying to exist on boiled leaves and the bark of trees, and were gradually reduced to mere skeletons. Then on December 17, 1715, Abdus Samad Khan, one of the Mughal commanders, shouted across the separating moat, that he would not allow any killing by his men, if Banda opened the gate to the fortress. When Banda ordered the gate be opened, the Mughals rushed in to spear or stab as many as three hundred of the half-dead and helpless defenders. About seven hundred were captured alive and handcuffed in twos. Banda had chains round his ankles and his wrists, and was then locked in an iron cage. The Mughals were still afraid that he might escape and so they placed a guard on each side of the cage with swords drawn and the cage was placed aloft an elephant, which led the procession, which paraded through Lahore, before proceeding towards Delhi. Zakarya Khan, the son of the Lahore Governor, then ordered his men to lop off more Sikh heads on the way. The prisoners were first taken to Lahore, and thence to Delhi.
Torture and execution
The cavalcade to the imperial capital was a grisly sight. Besides 740 prisoners in heavy chains, it comprised seven hundred cartloads of Sikh heads with another 200 stuck upon pikes. On February 26, 1716, the procession neared Delhi, and Farukh Siyar ordered his Minister, Mohammed Amin Khan, to go out to receive them and to prepare them for a suitable display in the city. On February 29, the citizens of Delhi lined the streets, to get a good sight of the procession.
First came two-thousand soldiers, each holding a Sikh head impaled on his upright spear. Next followed Banda's elephant. A gold-laced red turban was placed on his head, and to add further mockery to his plight, a bright printed scarlet shirt was slipped on his body. Then came 740 prisoners (500 had been collected on the way). These men were chained in pairs and thrown across the backs of camels. Their faces were blackened, and pointed sheepskin or paper caps were clapped on their heads. Behind this line came the Mughal Commanders, Abdus Samad Khan, his son Qamar-ud-Din Khan, and his son-in-law Zakaria Khan. Their men lined both sides of the streets.
For seven days, executions were carried out, until all the ordinary captives had been disposed off. Their bodies were loaded on wagons and taken out of town to be thrown to the vultures. The heads were hung up on trees or on poles near the market-place to be a lesson to all rebels. The jailors next turned their attention to the 20 major leaders, including Baj Singh, Fateh Singh, Ali Singh and Gulab Singh. These men were tortured to the extreme and were asked to divulge the place where they had buried all the treasures that had been looted from Sirhind, Batala and other towns during their better days.
Failing to get any clues after three months, they prepared to put an end to their lives on Sunday, June 9, 1716. Banda's cage was again hoisted on top of an elephant, and he was dressed in the mock attire of an emperor, with a colourful red pointed turban on his head. His four-year old son, Ajai Singh was placed in his lap. The twenty chiefs marched behind the elephant and this procession then passed through the streets of Delhi, and headed for the mausoleum of Bahadur Shah, near the
Qutub Minar. On reaching the graveyard, the captives were again offered a choice of two alternatives: conversion to Islamor death. All chose death. They were tortured again before being executed. Their heads were then impaled on spears and arranged in a circle around Banda who was now squatting on the ground. There were hundreds of spectators standing around watching this scene.
Banda Singh Bahadur was then given a short sword and ordered to kill his own son Ajai Singh. As he sat unperturbed, the cxecutioner moved forward and plunged his sword into the little child cutting the body into two. Then pieces of flesh were cut from the body and thrown in Banda's face. His liver was removed and thrust into Banda Singh's mouth. The father sat through all this without any signs of emotion. His powers of endurance were to be tested still further. But before that, Mohammed Amin Khan, who was standing near, spoke as follows: "From your manner so far you appear to be a man of virtue, who believes in God, and in doing good deeds. You are also very intelligent. Can you tell me why you are having to suffer all this here ?"
Banda's reply was, "When the tyrants oppress their subjects to the limit, then God sends men like me on this earth to mete out punishment to them. But being human, we sometimes overstep the laws of justice, and for that we are made to pay whilst we are still here. God is not being unjust to me in any way."
The executioner then stepped forward and thrust the point of his dagger into Banda's right eye, pulling out the eyeball. He then pulled out the other eyeball. Banda sat through all this as still as a rock. His face gave no twitch of pain.
The cruel devil then took his sword and slashed off Banda's left foot, then both his arms. But Banda's features were still calm as if he was at peace with his Creator. Finally they tore off his flesh with red-hot pincers, and there being nothing else left in their book of tortures, they cut his body up into a hundred pieces, and were satisfied. (These details of the torture are given in full, by the following writers: Mohammed Harisi, Khafi Khan, Thornton, Elphinstone, Daneshwar and others).
With Banda's death, the torch of the Khalsa was taken up by new warriors like
Baba Deep Singh, Nawab Kapur Singh, Chhajja Singh, Bhuma Singh, Hari Singh Dhillon, Jassa Singh Ramgarhia, Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, Budh Singh, Naudh Singh and Charhat Singh Sukerchakia and others. The Age of the Dal Khalsa and the Sikh Misls ( principalities) had dawned. Within ninety years, Ranjit Singh Sukerchakia united the Misls, captured Lahore and established the Sikh Kingdom of the Punjab.
Baba Deep Singh
Hari Singh Nalwa
Jassa Singh Ahluwalia
Jassa Singh Ramgarhia
*Maharaja Ranjit Singh
Nawab Kapur Singh
* [http://www.allaboutsikhs.com/sikh-history/sikh-martyrs-baba-banda-singh-bahadur.html Banda Singh Bahadur]
* [http://www.sikh-history.com/sikhhist/warriors/banda.html Banda Bahadur]
*Prof. Inder Singh Ghagga [http://www.singhsabhacanada.com/Articles/84 Banda Singh Bahadar – Bandai or Tatt Khalsa?]
*Harbans Singh "The encyclopedia of Sikhism.
*Hari Ram Gupta "The Heritage of the Sikhs.
*Sohan Lal Suri "Umdat-ut-Tawarikh"
*Khushwant Singh "A History of the Sikhs, Volume I"
*Dr. Ganda Singh "Banda Singh Bahadur"
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