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Legendary Sikh Battle of Amritsar 1628

The Battle of Amritsar took place between Guru Hargobind and the forces of the mughal army and was fought on the 5 June 1628 (22 of Jeth, in Bikrami 1685). Jahangir had died in 1627 and his son Shah Jahan had become his successor. Adding to Shah Jahan's worries over the increasing influence and power of the Sikhs, those who harboured ill-will against the Sikhs renewed their conspiracies and incited him to turn against Guru Ji.

Reason For Conflict

After persecution from the mughal government the Sikhs began organizing regular training exercises and became a rallying point for people disaffected by the mughals. Increasing tensions erupted during a clash between a group of Sikh and mughal hunting parties.

The Battle of Amritsar started with the capture of a rare white Baz (hawk) which had been a gift to Shah Jahan from the Emperor of Persia. (The Hawk was at the time one of the royal symbols of authority). On Vaisaki a party of Shah Jahan's troops were hunting in a royal private reserve near Gumtala village near Amritsar at the same time as some of the Guru's Sikhs.

The Guru's hawk downed a special, rare white hawk that had been a gift of the Shah of Persia. The Sikhs had picked up and tethered the white hawk unaware that it belonged to the emperor. The mughal troops, no doubt in a panic had seen the hawk fall and came looking for the Emperors prized Baz.

The mughals are said to have used some derogatory language towards the Sikhs who refused to return the hawk and this soon escalated into a small violent conflict between the two parties with the mughals leaving the fight. Reports were soon made to the Court explaining, no doubt that the Sikhs were hostile and superior in numbers as well. Soon officials of the emperor sought the return of the valued gift from the Guru who it is said, refused to return the hawk as Guru Ji replied that the Hawk had come to the Guru with his own wish and couldn't be returned, because that which had come into the protection (sharan) of the Guru. When this news spread, the local people hostile to the Guru started backbiting and encouraged Shah Jahan to "teach" the Guru who was the leader.

The Mughal Response

Hearing of this incident the enraged Shah Jahan who deputed Mukhlis Khan with a force of 7,000 soldiers, 'to teach a lesson' to Sri Guru Hargobind Ji. The Sikhs all in all, had 700 soldiers, and they were about to fight for the first time together, out numbered 10-1. First the mini fortress of Lohgarh was attacked. The Sikhs stationed there, though small in number, provided stiff resistance. The attackers had an upper hand over the Sikhs on the first day of the battle but suffered a number of casualties. They looted and plundered all the property and holy residence of Guru Sahib. The mughal force also attacked the house where Guru Hargobind had been staying but did not find anything because it had been evacuated earlier.

The battle saw fierce fighting near where Khalsa College, Amritsar and Gurdwara Sri Pipli Sahib, Amritsar is located. Bhai Bhanno was killed in the fighting and Guru Hargobind took up command when he died. The Sikhs, after consolidating their position, struck back, giving a devastating blow to the mughal force. The general, Mukhlis Khan had been captured by the Sikhs on two occasions, each time Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji gave orders to free the prisoner. Each time he attacked back with his force.

Duel With Guru Hargobind

Eventually, the battle moved to the site of Gurdwara Sri Sangrana Sahib Chabba where after further fighting Mukhilis Khan had challenged Guru Ji to a one on one duel, while the other soldiers looked on.

The duel did not last very long, Guru Hargobind asked Mukhilis to attack first, just to make sure the mughal general would have no regrets, Mukhilis Khan made three swings at Guru Ji, each time, Guru Ji had evaded the swing, finally Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji had decided to finish the job, in one swing, Guru Ji had cut Mukhilis Khan's body directly in two pieces, as the mughals looked in terror, they started to retreat.

Sikh began to chase the retreating mughals but Guru Hargobind stopped them saying that the Sikhs had nothing to gain but inflicting further pain on a defeated enemy. Guru Hargobind collected the bodies of 13 Sikh martyrs, namely Bhai Nand Ji, Bhai Jaita Ji, Bhai Pirana Ji, Bhai Tota Ji, Bhai Tirloka Ji, Bhai Sai Das Ji, Bhai Paida Ji, Bhai Bhagtoo Ji, Bhai Nanta Ji, Bhai Nihala Ji, Bhai Takhtoo Ji, Bhai Mohan Ji and Bhai Gopal Ji, and cremated them togther. The dead muslims were buried in a deep pit.

The battle ended in a decisive Sikh victory, resulting in Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji gaining great respect with the local people. Gurdwara Sri Sangrana Sahib Chabba was built on Guru Hargobind's instructions in memory of the martyred Sikhs.

Aftermath

With the battle over, Guru Ji and his family traveled to Chabal, to solemnize the marriage of Bibi Viro Ji (the Guru's daughter). This was the first conflict between the mughals and Sikhs and legitimized Guru Hargobind's efforts to militarize his followers. In addition, the Sikh victory destroyed the idea of mughal invincibility and increased the Guru's support among peasants in Punjab.

  • Gurdwara Sri Plaaha Sahib

    Gurdwara Sri Plaaha Sahib

    Khairabad, Amritsar, Punjab, India.

    Associated with Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji.

    It was from here that an incident led to the first Sikh battle with the mughals.


  • Gurdwara Qila Lohgarh Sahib Amritsar

    Gurdwara Qila Lohgarh Sahib Amritsar

    Lohgarh Gate, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar City, Punjab 143006, India.

    Associated with Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji.

    Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji built a small fort at this location called Lohgarh, it was attacked by the mughals in 1628.


  • Gurdwara Sri Pipli Sahib Amritsar

    Gurdwara Sri Pipli Sahib Amritsar

    Putli Ghar Bazar, Amritsar, Punjab, India.

    Associated with Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji.

    The second day of the battle saw fierce fighting where Khalsa College, Amritsar is located now near Gurdwara Sri Pipli Sahib Amritsar.


  • Gurdwara Sri Sangrana Sahib Chabba

    Gurdwara Sri Sangrana Sahib Chabba

    Chabba, Amritsar, Punjab 143022, India.

    Associated with Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji.

    The 1628 Battle of Amritsar, the first Sikh battle, concluded here with a decisive Sikh victory against a much larger mughal army.


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