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Banda Singh Bahadur

Banda Singh Bahadur was a Sikh warrior and commander of the Khalsa army. He established the first Sikh Raj (1709-1716) and he is known to have halted the Zamindari and Taluqdari system and gave the farmers proprietorship of their own land. All classes of government officers were addicted to extortion and corruption and the whole system of regulations and orders was subverted. He punished the corrupt officers and zamindars and led land reform. Banda Singh Bahadur was born in a Minhas Rajput farmer family (maybe Bhardwaj clan) on October 16, 1670, at Rajouri in the Jammu region of Jammu and Kashmir province of India. He was named Lachman Dev, and he was a very active and energetic child. 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 in pain and dying. After this gloomy scene, he had a change of heart. He left his home and met a Bairagi Sadhu, Janki Das and became his disciple and changed his name to Madho Das. In the company of sadhus, he travelled through North India and then finally arrived at Nanded in Maharashtra on the bank of river Godavari, where he built a hut to meditate upon God. In September 1708, Guru Gobind Singh, who had come to Deccan along with Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah, happened to go to Madho Das. He had a long conversation with Madho Das. He encouraged him to give up this present recluse lifestyle and the lonely way of living. The Guru Gobind Singh asked him to resume the duties of a true warrior to fight for righteousness and justice before God. Guru Gobind Singh had hoped that Emperor Bahadur Shah would fulfil his promise and do justice in Punjab by punishing the Governor of Sirhind, Nawab Wazir Khan, as his accomplices for their crimes against the common people including the death of Guru's mother, Mata Gujri and his two younger sons, Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh. Founding him reluctantly, he deputed Maduh Das, under the leadership of five Sikhs, to end Mughal persecution of innocents in Punjab. Guru Gobind Singh baptized Madhu with Khanda Di Pahal on September 3, 1708, and conferred the title of Bandha Singh Bahadur on him. He appointed him as his military lieutenant and invested him with full political and military authority as his deputy to lead the company in Punjab against the Mughal administration and to punish Nawab Wazir Khan and supporters. Bandha Singh Bahadur was given an advisory council of five devoted Sikhs, who on the arrival in Punjab were to assure the Sikhs that Banda Singh was the Guru nominee and deputy and to organize them in order to lead an expedition against Sirhind. The five Sikhs were 1. Baj Singh (descendant of Guru Amardas) 2. Ram Singh (brother of Baj Singh) 3. Binod Singh (descendant of Guru Angad Dev) 4. Khan Singh (son of Binod Singh) 5. Fateh Singh. Twenty-five soldiers were to act as Banda's bodyguard and join Banda Singh in his struggle against Mughal. The guru gave him his sword, green bow, five arrows, a Nishan Sahib, and a Nagara, a symbol of temporal authority. Journey to Punjab of Bandha Singh Bahadur On his way to Punjab, many people joined him and he reached Narnaul after one year. There he suppressed some dacoits and robbers and he was well received by Hindu and Sikhs at Hissar. They then went to Tohana and Sonipat. Now he had 500 followers with him. He attacked the government treasury, plundered it, and distributed it among his fellows. At Kaithal, Banda Singh seized a government treasury. He occupied the area of Samana on November 26, 1709, then Sadhaura and punished the jallads who had beheaded Guru Tegh Bahadur and two sons of Guru Gobind Singh. He punished Usman Khan who persecuted Sayyid Budhu Shah. The name of Mukhlispur was changed to Lohgarh and it became the capital of the first Sikh State. The battle of Sirhind was fought on May 12, 1710, at Chhappar Chiri in which Wazir Khan was killed and Baj Singh was appointed Governor of Sirhind. Banda Singh Bahadur also took Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar and crossed the Beus river and occupied the Batala area. Banda Singh's rule, though short-lived, had a significant impact on the history of Punjab. Sikh Raj resulted in the decay of Mughal authority and demolition of the feudal system of society. Emperor Bahadur Shah's orders, issued on December 10, 1710, was a general warrant for the Faujdars to "kill worshipers of Guru Nanak" where ever they are found. Banda Singh took refuge in Shivalik hills. He got married to the daughter of one of the Chiefs of the Chamba area. After some time he again started his campaign against Mughals and came out of the hills to the plains of Punjab. He fought against the Mughal officers who were very cruel to the common people. The Sikhs in their faqur's dress struck terror into the heart of royal troops. In March 1715, the army under the rule of Abdal Samad Khan, the Mughal governor of Lahore, drove Banda Singh and the Sikh forces into the village of Gurdas Nangal, (Gurdaspur, Punjab) and laid siege to the village. The Sikhs defended the small fortress for eight months under conditions of great hardship. Advisors of Banda Singh asked him to evacuate the fortress, but he wished to fight it there. Finally, Banda Singh agreed to let Baba Binod Singh take his men out of the fortress. 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 bark of the trees and were gradually reduced to mere skeletons. On December 17, 1715, Abdul Samad announced that he would not allow killing by his men if Banda Singh opened the gate of the fortress. Banda Singh ordered to open the gate. The Mughals stabbed 300 Sikhs and 200 were captured alive and handcuffed in twos. Zakaria Khan took the charge and in order to give the Emperor a bigger present, he ordered his men to lop off more heads of Sikhs and they also caught more Sikhs on the way to increase the numbers. About 740 Sikhs along with Banda Singh were taken to Delhi via Lahore. They were put in Delhi fort and pressured to give up their faith and become Muslims. The prisoners remained unmoved. On their firm refusal, these non-converters were ordered to be executed. Every day 100 Sikh soldiers were brought out of the fort and murdered in public. This continued for seven days. Ajai Singh, son of Banda Singh, was murdered, his heart was cut out, and thrust into Banda Singh's mouth. However, his resolution did not break under torture. After three months of confinement, on June 9, 1716, Banda Singh Bahadur's eyes were gouged out, his limbs were severed, his skin removed and then he was killed. Battles fought by Banda Singh Bahadur

  1. Battle of Sonipat 2. Battle of Samana. 3. Battle of Chappar Chiri

4 Battle of Sadhaura 5 Battle of Lohgarh 6. Battle of Jammu 7 Battle of Rahon 8. Battle of Jalalabad. 9. Battle of Gurdas Nangal 10. Battle of Sirhind Legacy

After the death of Sardar Banda Singh Bahadur, the torch of the Khalsa was taken by new warriors like Baba Deep Singh, Nawab Kapur Singh, Chhaja Singh, Bhuma Singh, Hari Singh Dhillon, Jassa Singh Ramgarhia, Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, Bud Singh, Naudh Singh, and Chart Singh Sukerchakiaand others. From 1716 to 1799, Sikhs had a very tough time. After 1799, Maharaja Ranjit Singh united the Misls, captured Lahore and established the second Sikh Raj in Punjab.

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