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Baba Banda Singh Bahadur

Early Life

Baba Banda Singh Bahadur was born in October 1670 to a Rajput family who were farmers in village Rajouri, district Punch, State of Kashmir. He was named Lachman Dev. As a child he was very fond of horse riding, martial art, hunting and was expert in use of bow and arrow and other weapons used in wars at that time.

At the age of 15 years while hunting a deer, he saw its twin unborn offspring writhing in pain and dying in front of his eyes. He was so moved by this that he left hunting and became an ascetic recluse. His father was a kind religious person and used to give free food and shelter to the visiting, sadhus and holy persons. Lachman Dev's attention turned towards them.

He became follower of Sadhu Ram Das of Ram Thamman near Lahore (now in Pakistan). After some time he followed Janaki Das. His name was changed to Madho Das. While moving from place to place, he reached Punchvati near Nasik in Maharashtra and became follower Sadhu Aughhar Nath. Madho Das served Aughhar Nath with full devotion for 5 years. Aughhar Nath pleased with his services, bestowed him with all his virtues, occult powers and even his own created holy book. Aughhar Nath expired in 1691. Thus at the age of 21 years, Madho Das, the Rajput youth attained miraculous powers and reached Nander to set up his own Ashram.

Thus living at Nander since the last 16 years, in the year 1708, a the age of 38 years, Madho Das with lot of miraculous powers and fame was a master of a big Ashram and was very proud of his wisdom, meditation, occult powers and fame. He started insulting, putting down all saints, sadhus, intellectuals, faquirs etc. who so ever came to his Dera.

The Prevailing Circumstances in 1704

Guru Gobind Singh left Anandpur Sahib in Dec 1704 along with his family and the Sikhs in the most compelling and incomparable circumstances. The 10 lakh forces of Mughal and their aiding Pahari Kings had assured the Guru that no one will be harmed when he left Anand Pur, but had attacked him from all sides and on one side the river Sarsa was in spate. Even though Guru Gobind Singh lost his four sons and unlimited sikhs, he was still in high spirits and took all this as Will of God. His determination - never to compromise with the circumstances - but stand erect like a rock while doing his duty towards mankind was unshrinkable. While moving from North of Punjab towards South of Punjab he sent "Zaffar Nama" a letter of victory to Aurangzeb, the king of India through Bhai Daya Singh. This made Aurangzeb to repent for his sins. This is clear from his last letter to his son Kaam Bakash. It stated- "I came alone in this world but without blemish. Now I am going with full of sins. I do not know about myself what will happen to me-my soul. I am full of evil deeds. When arrested in the court of God, I do not know what punishment I will meet." These lasting words of Aurangzeb had been engraved on his grave at his Makbra in Aurangabad.

Aurangzeb died in 1707 AD. An in-fight for the throne occurred in between his sons. His eldest son Bahadar Shah sought Guru's help. Bahadar Shah was a Shia Muslim. He promised Guru Gobind Singh to hand over all who committed atrocities and were guilty. With the help of Guru, he became the next king of Hindustan in 1707. Even after that atrocities were going on in Punjab unabated and Bahadar Shah failed to fulfill his promises to the Guru perhaps for fears of unrest among the Muslim masses.

In South, people revolted against Bahadar Shah. The king requested the Guru to accompany him. While reaching at Agra from Delhi Guru Gobind Singh became clear of the intentions of Bahadar Shah and separated his caravan from that of Bahadar Shah, but kept on moving towards South. The movement was perhaps his foresightedness and farsightedness.

Baba Banda Singh Bahadur joining Guru Gobind Singh Ji

While moving towards South at Jaipur, a mahant Jait Ram came to pay his respect to the Guru. Guru Sahib asked him to suggest for some good and holy persons. Mahant Jait Ram suggested some names and advised not to go to Madho Das Bairagi, as he was very egoistic and insulted one and all. Instead, the Guru decided to face Madho Das first of all rather than anybody else.

In September 1708 Guru Gobind Singh along with a few Sikhs reached at the Ashram of Madho Das Bairagi, At that time he was not in his dera. The Guru took his seat and the Sikhs spread all over the Dera to arrange and cook food. Followers of Madho Das ran and informed him of all about the happenings. Madho Das used all his occult powers to insult, harass and let-down the Guru but failed in all his efforts. Full of rage, he came running to the Dera and shouted at the Guru "Who are you and why have you entered my ashram?" The Guru calmly replied, "You have all the power, you should know".

Madho Das said that he knew nothing about him. The Guru asked him to be calm and think it over. After some time, he said "Is it true that you are Guru Gobind Singh?". The Guru replied, "Yes I am, now tell me, who are you?" His hands were folded and he said to the Guru, "I am your Banda (slave)." Banda also means a good human being. The Guru said, "If you are my Banda, then work as a Banda (a good human being). He assured Guru Sahib to do as per his advice.

With these words Madho Das was at the feet of Guru sahib. The Guru stayed in his Dera for a few days. He was given Amrit and named Gur Bakhash Singh but remained famous with the name of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur. It was not less than a miracle and was the magnetic like personality of Guru Gobind Singh at his 42 years of age that a 38 year old Rajput, at a place far away from his native, now a mystic, celibate, vegetarian, having occult powers, master of a big ashram but very haughty and proud was turned into a devoted and disciplined soldier and made an army general by the Guru, who fell on the cruel rulers of Punjab like a storm and cloud burst.

Baba Banda Singh Bahadur's March towards Punjab

In Oct. 1708, at Nander, Guru Gobind Singh sent Baba Banda Singh Bahadur to Punjab and advised him to:

Banda Singh Bahadur

1. Put a stop to the cruelty of Punjab rulers.

2. Punish the guilty and cruel misrulers.

3. To fight for human rights, uplift and strengthen the poor, the low and slave like people who could not even imagine freedom.

The Guru blessed him with:

1. Guru's order to Sikh Sangats.

2. Five arrows.

3. A double Edged sword (Khanda).

4. A big leather mounted drum (Nagaara).

He sent with him five Sikhs for counseling:

1. Bhai Daya Singh

2. Bhai Binod Singh

3. Bhai Kahan Singh

4. Bhai Bijay Singh

5. Bhai Ran Singh

Another 25 Singh's as companions and fighters.

In the times of Sikh Gurus, wars were defensive. Generally they fought when war was thrust upon them. Though at two occasions Baba Ajit Singh, the eldest son of Guru Gobind Singh was advised by the Guru to go and help the poor Brahmins who's newly married daughter-in-law was taken away by the local Mughal chieftains that Baba Ajit Singh along with few Sikhs were offensive.

The 6th Guru, Guru Hargobind fought 4 wars with the Mughal Chieftains and won in all. His war strategy was to challenge the Generals and fight with them and avoid bloodshed of masses even then numbers of brave Sikhs and Mughal soldiers were killed because no General wanted to face the Guru alone.

The 10th Guru, Guru Gobind Singh faced about 16 wars in a period of about 25 years. Whole family of Guru Gobind Singh, thousands of sikhs, devoted muslims - the name of Peer Budhu Shah of Sadhoura (a town in Punjab) is worth mentioning, his 2 sons, nephews and many of his followers - sacrificed their lives while fighting the Mughal soldiers. In a later period the Nawab of Sadhoura, Usmaan Khan, the Mughal ruler, killed Peer Budhu Shah and cut his body into pieces and threw them in different parts of Sadhoura, punishing him for having served Guru Gobind Singh.

For such reasons it was imperative for Baba Banda Singh Bahadur to be offensive and punish the guilty. The Nawab of Sarhind, Wazir Khan, the murderer of 2 younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh was feeling relieved knowing that Guru Gobind Singh had departed towards South but had constant fear that Sikhs won't let him live. He had prepared and sent two Pathan spies to chase and murder the Guru. At Nander one day they succeeded in stabbing Guru Gobind Singh when he was resting, even though both of them lost their lives. The wounds of the Guru were operated and stitched. After about one and a half month, the injuries became the cause of Guru's passing away. But before this the Guru had already created Khalsa, prepared Baba Banda Singh Bahadur and sent him to Punjab.

It was first time in The Sikh history that Sikhs were attackers and offensives but their aim was same as earlier. Baba Banda Singh Bahadur was on the way to Punjab, when Guru Gobind Singh after giving Guruship to the everlasting Shabad Guru - Guru Granth Sahib, had left this world. After reaching Punjab, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur sent Guru's message to the Sikhs all over Punjab, Kashmir 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. News of passing away of their dear Guru, Guru Gobind Singh added fuel to the fire for fighting the Mughal rulers and making sacrifices. Listening to the call of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur at the behest of Guru, Sikhs started joining Baba Banda Singh Bahadur. In a short period Baba Banda Singh Bahadur had 4000 horse rider and 7800 artillery Sikhs with him. After some more time the strength of 40,000 warriors was at his command.

His army was constituted by four types of people:

1. The true followers all over from Punjab, Kabul, Kandhar, Multan and Kashmir.

2. God fearing Muslims.

3. Poor, down-trodden and low caste, who had been subjected to torture.

4. Some selfish bad elements, who had the intention of looting.

Banda had approximately 500 men with him when he reached the borders of the Punjab. From Feb 1709, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur easily took over two centers, Sonepat and Kaithal. Meanwhile, more people joined him. Samana, a large Mughal city famous for minting coins, was conquered on 11 November 1709. About 20,000 people are said to have been killed there. With the treasury in their hands, the Sikhs became financially stable. Two other army centers, Mustafabad and Sadhora (near Jagadhari), were also taken. After meeting the basic requirements, other towns and areas of Punjab such as Ghurham, Thaskaa, Shahbaad, Kapoori, etc. were retaken.

Usmaan Khan, the murderer of Peer Bhudu Shah was killed by Baba Banda Singh Bahadur's army. At Usmaan Khan's death, even the people of Sadhoura felt relief and were grateful to the Sikh army. Malerkotla was won without any resistance, because it was the Nawab of Malerkotla, who had fervently appealed against the killing of Guru's two younger sons. In the meantime another group of Sikhs from Majha (Central Punjab) attacked Ropar and other nearby areas and joined with the forces of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur.

Now main aim for the Sikhs was Sarhind and its Nawab Wazir Khan. This war took place in May 1710 at the field of "Chhappar Chiri" 15 miles away from Sarhind. Wazir Khan lost his life. The Mughal army ran away from the field. The Sikhs entered the city of Sarhind. Most of the high officials and administrators were killed. Their buildings were destroyed and looted. Even in war, unlike the muslims, Banda Bahadur had instructed his army not to harm Mosques, Madrassas and Makbras (Graves). Irrespective of their religion, the old, women and children were protected from any harm.

Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi was the main conspirator for the death of Guru Arjan Sahib Ji. Even his grave was not destroyed. All attempts were made to avoid to give any religious colour to these wars. As and when an area was conquered Baba Banda Singh Bahadur appointed one of his trusted lieutenants to govern these places and who in turn appointed other local people for administration.

Keeping up the continuous the wave of attacks on other areas, in 1710 Baba Banda Singh Bahadur took over other Northeren Areas in between rivers of Jamuna and Ganga such as Saharan Pur, Shamli, Muzzafar Nagar etc. Baba Banda Singh Bahadur established his capital at Mukhlis Garh, a place situated in the base of hills and away from the main highway and central areas from a defensive perspective. He repaired the fort of Mukhlis Garh and renamed it as Lohgarh (fortress of steel). He even started a mint to make coins and stamps in the name of Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh and established the Khalsa Kingdom.

Persecution from the Mughals

The rule of the Sikhs over the entire Punjab east of Lahore obstructed the communication between Delhi and Lahore, the capital of Punjab, and this worried Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah. He gave up his plan to subdue rebels in Rajasthan and marched towards Punjab. The entire Imperial force was organized to defeat and kill Baba Banda Singh Bahadur. All the generals were directed to join the Emperor's army. To ensure that there were no Sikh agents in the army camps, an order was issued on August 29, 1710 to all Hindus to shave off their beards.

Baba Banda Singh Bahadur was in Uttar Pradesh when the Moghal army under the orders of Munim Khan marched to Sirhind and before the return of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, they had already taken Sirhind and the areas around it. The Sikhs therefore moved to Lohgarh for their final battle. The Sikhs defeated the army but reinforcements were called and they laid siege on the fort with 60,000 troops. Gulab Singh dressed himself in the garments of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur and seated himself in his place. Baba Banda Singh Bahadur left the fort at night and went to a secret place in the hills and Chamba forests. The failure of the army to kill or catch Baba Banda Singh Bahadur shocked Emperor, Bahadur Shah and On 10 December 1710 he ordered that wherever a Sikh was found, he should be murdered. The Emperor became mentally disturbed and died on February 18, 1712.

Baba Banda Singh Bahadur wrote Hukamnamas to the Sikhs telling them to get themselves reorganized and join him at once. In 1711 the Sikhs gathered near Kiratpur Sahib and defeated Raja Bhim Chand, who was responsible for organizing all the Hill Rajas against Guru Gobind Singh and instigating battles with him. After Bhim Chand's death the other Hill Rajas accepted their subordinate status and paid revenues to Baba Banda Singh Bahadur. While Bahadur Shah's four sons were fighting each other for the throne of the Mughal Emperor, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur recaptured Sadhura and Lohgarh. To take the intiative Baba Banda Singh Bahadur conquered Batala, Kalanaour, Sarhind, Muzaffar Nagar and other areas in 1712. In Delhi, Farukh Seyer son of Azimu-Shaan became the new emperor of hindustan in Feb 1713.

Farakh Seyer, the next Mughal Emperor, appointed Abdus Samad Khan as the governor of Lahore and Zakariya Khan, Abdus Samad Khan's son, the Faujdar of Jammu. In 1713 the Sikhs left Lohgarh and Sadhura and went to the remote hills of Jammu and where they built Dera Baba Banda Singh. During this time Sikhs were being hunted down especially by pathans in the Gurdaspur region. Baba Banda Singh Bahadur came out and captured Kalanaur and Batala which rebuked Farakh Seyer to issue mughal and hindu officials and chiefs to proceed with their troops to Lahore to reinforce his army.

For the first time, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur broke the belief that the mughals could not be conquered. He established a democratic rule. The poor and down trodden received a sense of life with dignity. Those who tilled the land became its owners. Baba Banda Singh Bahadur sheltered and protected the poor, he did not harm those who surrendered. An example is when the army of Afgan fighters, who did not want to fight Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, surrendered and accepted his leadership.

Revolutionary

Baba Banda Singh Bahadur is known to have abolished or halted the Zamindari system in time he was active and gave the farmers proprietorship of their own land. It seems that all classes of government officers were addicted to extortion and corruption and the whole system of regulatory and order was subverted.[28] Local tradition recalls that the people from the neighborhood of Sadaura came to Baba Banda Singh Bahadur complaining of the iniquities practices by their landlords. Baba Banda Singh Bahadur ordered Baj Singh to open fire on them. The people were astonished at the strange reply to their representation, and asked him what he meant. He told them that they deserved no better treatment when being thousands in number they still allowed themselves to be cowed down by a handful of Zamindars. The men didn't kill anyone but nonetheless this was a usefull lesson that enabled farmers to take control of their lands.

Arrest and Torture of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur and his men

In April 1715, Farakh Seyer the new emperor of hindustan, ordered all his governors in North India that Baba Banda Singh Bahadur should either be killed or arrested. He taunted the Governer of Lahore, Abdu-Samad for his inability and sent his own forces for to help. Baba Banda Singh Bahadur and his forces were at Gurdaspur. He occupied a Kachhi Garhi (a dilapidated four walled area) of Duni Chand at Gurdas Nangal.

The Mughal forces dared not even to attack this Kachhi Garhi and surrounded it for 8 months. Baba Banda Singh Bahadur only had a small number of men with him and a limited quantity of weapons and food. The Mughals had cut off all supplies. Baba Binod Singh suggested adandoning the Garhi (as was done in Dec 1710 while leaving the fort of Loh Garh). However, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur's strategy was different, he did not want to leave the Garhi but said that those who wanted to leave, could go. During the night, Baba Binod Singh and his men left the Garhi. This left Baba Banda Singh Bahadur and about 800 of his men in the Garhi.

Day by day conditions worsened in the Garhi. No food was left, grass, leaves of plants and trees were boiled and eaten. Even the bark of trees was eaten. One cannot imagine the misery they faced. Meat of animals and birds was eaten. Not even wood was left for cooking. It is said a few cut the flesh of their own thighs to eat.

A number of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur's men fell ill and stomach cramps. After being surrounded for 8 months, the Mughal army with swords in their hands charged the fort. Even at this stage the Sikhs offered heavy resistance. It is said Baba Banda Singh Bahadur alone had killed about 50 to 60 soldiers of the Mughal army before he was captured.

Hazi Karam-war Khan writes in his book 'Tazkiratu-Sulatin Chugtian' that arrest of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur and his men was not the result of wisdom or bravery of the rulers, but it was the Grace of God that Kafir (non-muslim) Baba Banda Singh Bahadur and his men were weakened by hunger.

The Nawab was surprised at the wealth Baba Banda Singh Bahadur had and the determination with which they were fighting. Only about 600 rupees, 23 gold coins and a few weapons were found with them. The Mughal soldiers thought that the Sikhs had swallowed the gold coins. Many Sikhs were killed, their stomachs torn open to be checked, but nothing was found. Thus Baba Banda Singh Bahadur with about 760 sikhs were captured in Dec. 1715. They were taken to Lahore in the form of a procession. Emperor Farukh Seyer wanted the prisoners to be taken to Delhi. Abdu-Samad, the governor of Lahore, wanted to go to Delhi to recieve a reward, but Farakh Seyer ordered him to stay and send his son, Zakria Khan.

Abdu-Samad and his son thought that Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, 200 heads on spears and 700 prisoners were not enough for the emperor. They ordered the local chieftains to behead the Sikhs wherever they could be found and present their heads to them. Thus thousands of Sikhs were murdered.

Baba Banda Singh Bahadur was clothed with clothes of a joker with a cap on head, was firmly chained, put in an iron cage. The cage was tied on top of an elephant. On both sides of the cage two Mugfal soldiers were seated with unsheathed swords, lest Baba Banda Singh Bahadur free himself and try to run away. About 760 prisoners were forced to wear coats of goat skins and caps of different colours. They were tied with chains and shackles and were seated on unsaddled camels - two on one with back to back.

Musalmaan carrying heads of Sikhs on their spears.

Thus the procession consisted of:

1. Baba Banda Singh Bahadur on an elephant in an iron cage at forefront.

2. About 760 prisoners in chains on camels.

3. About seven hundred Mughal soldiers on horses with heads of Sikhs on their spears.

4. About 700 hundred carts, loads with severed heads of Sikhs.

5. A dead cat on a spear indicating not even a trace of a Sikh was left.

The procession proceeded to Delhi on Feb 1716. Thousands of men and women were on streets to witness the events. People of all faiths, even Christians, were witness. Among the captured Sikhs, not a single Sikh was disappointed or ready to ask for mercy. Accepting it as the Will of God they were happily singing Gurbani.

The Sikhs were put in the Delhi fort and pressured to give up their faith and become Muslims. On their firm refusal all of them were ordered to be executed. Leaving Baba Banda Singh Bahadur and a few of his companions for interrogation, the others were beheaded in front of Delhi Gate at Khuni Darwaja. The public execution went on for 7 days at the rate of 100 executions per day. The slaughter was carried over in March 1716.

Baba Banda Singh Bahadur's men were executed. Out of hundreds, they ALL accepted death rather than convert to islam.

This horrible butchering of the Sikhs was witnessed and documented by many. The brave Sikhs showed no sign of dejection or humiliation, instead they sang their sacred hymns; none feared death or gave up his faith. The British Embassy at Delhi recorded, "It is not a little remarkable with what patience they undergo their fate and to the last it has not been found that one apostatized from this new formed religion."

Baba Banda Singh Bahadur and his remaining men were interrogated for 3 months to find out about their war strategies, wealth and ammunition. Baba Banda Singh Bahadur had, in fact, never buried any wealth or currency. Whatever he got he used to distribute among his soldiers and needy. His weapons were only swords, spears, bows, arrows, daggers etc. His army was on foot and horses. He had no elephants or cannons or any other sophisticated weapens.

In June 1716, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur and his 26 companions were moved to the streets of old Delhi in the form of a procession and then taken to the Makbra (Grave) of Khawaza Kutub-ud-deen Bakhitiyar Kaki near Kutub Minar. 26 sikhs were beheaded in the presence of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, hoping that he would ask for mercy. Then, it was Baba Banda Singh Bahadur's turn, he was asked to accept Islam or face death. He accepted death.

According to a Muslim historian, a nobleman received permission to see Baba Banda Singh Bahadur before he was executed. He asked Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, "It is surprising that one who shows so much acuteness in his features and so much nobility in his conduct, should have been guilty of such horrors." With the greatest composure, Banda replied, "In every faith and every land, whenever men have become corrupt, despotic and tyrannical, God sends a scourge like me to punish them and teach them a lesson", thus spoke Baba Banda Singh Bahadur a great Sikh hero in reply to a question put to him by Mohammad Amin Khan, the author of Siyarul-Mutakherin.

Execution of Baba Banda Singh Bahadar

Baba Banda Singh Bahadur's 4 year old son was seated on his lap. A dagger was given to Baba Banda Singh Bahadur and ordered to cut his own son. He refused. The executioner pierced the chest of his son, took out the violently vibrating heart and tried to push into the mouth of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur. Though shackled, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur refused furiously. After this his flesh were notched out with pliers, hot sharp rods were inserted into his flesh. His eyes were notched out, hands and feet were chopped off. Thus when he became unconscious, his head was chopped off. This black day was on 9th June 1716.

Whether it was a Muslim, Hindu or Christian, that saw the executions of the Sikhs, they all felt the nature of souls who sacrificed their lives. Souls that did not bow to the acceptance of defeat.

The English historian Cunningham wrote that the inhumane activities of the Mughals was so barbaric that no body, except those who saw them, could believe it.

Farakh Seyer, who tortured and killed Baba Banda Singh Bahadur and his men in June 1716, met with the same fate, after just three years, at the hands of his own men. There was a revolt against him. He hid himself in the dark rooms of Red Fort and was chased, as with Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, Farakh's eyes similarly notched off and then was killed.

Torture and Execution of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur

Baba Banda Singh Bahadur ruled for 6 to 7 years. This broke the 700 year rule of the invading forces from the Arab countries. Their myth of power was broken by him. The sacrifices of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur and his men did not discourage the Sikhs but prepared them for future battles.

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) under different names. This ultimately led to the Khalsa Raj under Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1799 AD.

Baba Banda Singh Bahadur thus became a martyr. A Bairagi, having become an Amritdhari Sikh, committed himself to live as a protector of the rights of the people. He offered his own life while fighting the tyranny of the state. Though his rule was short-lived, reforms brought about by him still exist today. Baba Banda Singh Bahadur demonstrated that the people have within them the power to topple tyrannical rulers.

Subsequently, the people, guided by the Khalsa, destroyed the oppressive rulers of Punjab and became the masters of their own state.

History

Baba Banda Singh Bahadur's courage was unparalleled. He possessed a most fearless and undaunted spirit. W.L. M' Gregor, in his The History of the Sikhs wrote, "Banda Bahadur was a man of undaunted valour and bravery". The coolness with which he met his death, earned praise for Banda even from the historian Khafi Khan.

Baba Banda Singh Bahadur took over the military leadership of the Sikhs after the death of Guru Gobind Singh. On embracing Sikhism he became a staunch Khalsa Sant-Soldier of Guru Gobind Singh and followed the teachings of the Gurus, in theory and practice, living a pure and simple life.

During his time as the Jathedar of the Sikhs the followers of the young faith increased with many hindus and even large numbers of muslims becoming Sikhs. Nawab Amin-ud-Daula writes in the third Ruqat-I-Amin-Ud-Daula as follows, "Many hindus and musalmans adopted their faith and rituals. And their chief (Baba Banda Singh Bahadur) captivated the hearts of musalmans who came in contact with him. He addressed them with the title of Singh. Accordingly, Dinder Khan, a powerful ruler of the neighbourhood was named Dinder Singh and Mir Nasir-ud-Din was renamed as Mir Nasir Singh."

A Mughal scribe charged with reporting events to the Mughal Darbar wrote to the Emperor about the activities of Banda Bahadur the following words, "The wretched man has his camp in the town of Kalanaur up to 9th instant. During the period he promised and proclaimed, 'I do not oppress Muslims'. He fixed a daily allowance and wages and looks after them. He has permitted them to read the Khutba and do Namaz. As many as 5,000 musalmans have gathered around him. Having entered his friendship, they are free to shout their call and say prayer in the army of the wretched."

This report by the Mughal official speaks of Banda's allowing the Mughals under his rule to practise their religion in their own way freely, while the previous Emperor Bahadur Shah (Aurangzeb's son) who had been aided by the Sikhs and Guru Gobind Singh in securing the Mughal throne had issued on December 10, 1710 (after the Guru's death) an imperial order stating that, "every Sikh wherever found should be put to death without any hesitation and without any further thought'. Furrukhsiyar was the second Emperor to follow Bahadur Shah I his excessive cruelties on his own men would lead to his death.

Banda Bahadur established the first independent sovereign state under Sikh rule, with its own coins and seal. Although it was short-lived, it put the Sikhs on the path to establish their own rule in many parts of Punjab subsequently. Sri Gokal Chand Narang writes in his book, Transformation of Sikhism that the personal magnetism of Banda Bahadur was too great for the Mughals to ignore, as his undaunted courage and extraordinary valour knit his followers closely to him. The fact that not even a single Sikh, out of thousands that were captured and executed by the Mughal Government, renounced his faith to save his own life was due, in no small part, to the exemplary piety and lofty character of Banda Bahadur.

Gurdwara Sri Shaheedi Asthan Baba Banda Singh Bahadur

Gurdwara Sri Shaheedi Asthan Baba Banda Singh Bahadur

Gurdwara Sri Shaheedi Asthan Baba Banda Singh Bahadur is situated in the Meharauli Area of Delhi near the Qutab Minar.

Here Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Ji, his four year old son Ajai Singh along with forty Sikhs were tourtured to death by the Mughals.

Gurdwara Sri Shaheedi Asthan Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Sahib is about one and a half kms away from the Qutab Minar.

The Secretary, Management Committee,

Gurdwara Banda Bahadur,

Near Qutab Minar,(very near Mehrauli police station),

Mehrauli, New Delhi.

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