Banda Singh Bahadur Essay Example
Banda Singh Bahadur Essay Example

Banda Singh Bahadur Essay Example

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  • Pages: 8 (1958 words)
  • Published: March 12, 2017
  • Type: Autobiography
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Also known as Lachhman Dev alias Madho dass Bairagi, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur (16 October, 1670 - 9 June, 1716) hailed from the Jammu region and is honored as one of the most valorous Sikh warriors and respected martyrs of the Khalsa Army. The Khalsa heroically resisted the oppressive Mughals, known for their brutal regime and terrorist tactics. Even though his confrontation with the Mughal rule in North India was brief, it was potent enough to disrupt the very foundations of this malevolent empire. He spearheaded an agrarian revolt in Punjab which paved the way for the Dal Khalsa, the Sikh Misls and Maharaja Ranjit Singh to construct what would eventually become the Sikh Kingdom of Punjab. This culminated with Ranjit Singh taking over Lahore in 1799. Consequently, this marked an end to a grim chapter in India's history



On October 16, 1670, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur was born into a Minhas Rajput family in Rajouri, located in the Jammu area of Northern India's Jammu and Kashmir. His birth name was Lachman Dev. As a child, he was passionate about wrestling, riding horses, and hunting and demonstrated high levels of energy and activity. Unfortunately, a traumatic incident in which he mortally wounded a doe and its unborn fawn provoked a profound transformation in him. Witnessing their agonizing death deeply affected him, leading to a drastic change in his lifestyle. He then renounced his home lifestyle and began leading an ascetic life. During this period, he met Janaki Das, a Bairagi Sadhu, became his follower, and received a new name, Madho Das. He journeyed through Northern India with the Sadhus before settling down at Nanded on

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the bank of the Godavari river (presently located in Maharashtra, central India) to build a hut for solitary meditation and attunement with God.

Encounter of Madho Das and Guru Gobind Singh

The meeting between Madho Das and Guru Gobind Singh happened in September 1708. Guru Gobind Singh, accompanied by the Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah, had traveled to the Deccan. While hunting, he stumbled upon the abode of Madho Das who was not at home. The Guru instructed his followers to prepare a meal since it had been days since they ate. Madho Das hearing this, felt angered. Equipped with the knowledge of Tantra, he attempted to embarrass the Guru through various methods but failed. Unaffected by all this, the Guru asked his identity.

Madho Das, having exhausted all his mystical abilities and conceded defeat, humbly stated, "I am your banda (servant)". The Guru probed further if he knew whom he was talking to. Banda acknowledged him as Guru Gobind Singh. What followed was a long dialogue between the Guru and Banda during which the former advised him to abandon his solitary lifestyle and reclusive ways. Guru Gobind Singh implored him to adopt the responsibilities of a true warrior and stand for virtue and fairness before God.

The Objective of Banda Singh Bahadur

Guru Gobind Singh anticipated that Emperor Bahadur Shah would keep his promise and seek justice in Punjab by penalizing the Governor of Sirhind, Nawab Wazir Khan, along with his partners for their wrongful acts against ordinary individuals including the demise of the Guru's mother, Mata Gujri, and his two minor sons, Sahibzada Zorawar Singh and Sahibzada Fateh Singh. Seeing his hesitance, the Guru appointed Madho Das Bairagi, led

by five Sikhs, to put an end to the Mughal harassment of innocent individuals in Punjab.

A few days later, the Guru organized a court and on the 3rd of September 17081, he honoured Madho Das through Khanda di pahal, giving him the name Banda Singh Bahadur. He designated Banda as his military deputy, bestowing upon him comprehensive political and military authority as his representative. His mission was to lead the fight in Punjab against the corrupt Mughal rule and to bring Nawab Wazir Khan and his allies to justice. Banda was given five arrows with gold tips and a nagara (drum) as tokens of secular power. An advisory council of five loyal Sikhs (Hazuri Singhs) was also granted to him. Once they arrived in the Punjab, their role was to assure the Sikhs of Banda's appointment by the Guru and his status as a deputy. They were also tasked with unifying Sikhs for a siege on Sirhind. The council consisted of Baj Singh, a successor of Guru Amar Das who was the third Sikh Guru, and his brother Ram Singh.

Binod Singh, who is a descendant of the second Sikh Guru, Guru Angad Dev, was the father of Kahan Singh Fateh Singh. He was tasked with preventing twenty five troops who were assigned to serve as Banda's security detail. Banda Bahadur was given a Hukumnamah (a command) penned by the Guru himself that directed Sikhs to aid Banda in his resistance against the Mughal dominance. As a symbol of the temporal authority bestowed upon him, Banda was given the Guru's personal sword, a green bow, five arrows from his quiver, and a Nishan Sahib by

the Guru. To bid him a proper farewell, three hundred Sikh horsemen in war formation escorted Banda up to eight kilometers.

In Haryana's present-day Banda, 1709

Upon arriving at Narnaul, Banda witnessed firsthand the total annihilation of the Satnamis. His anger flared upon discovering that every last person from the Satnami sect, including men, women, and children, had been completely eradicated. It was at this location where Banda put a stop to certain bandits and thieves. (This event is referenced in Shri Guru Panth Parkash by Giani Gian Singh, pages 345-46, 4th edition). In Hissar: Banda was warmly welcomed by Hindus and Sikhs as a figurehead of the patriotic movement and representative of Guru Gobind Singh. He was generously gifted for the sake of the nation and dharam (religious righteousness), which he in turn disseminated among the impoverished and desperate.

Banda issued letters from Tohana, urging the Sikhs of Malwa to join his fight against Wazir Khan of Sirhind. It was a unique moment in Punjab’s history, where the conditions granted a significant opportunity for an ambitious leader with considerable talents to lead a belligerent crowd, extremely eager to back him up in any venture he took on. Banda then shifted his focus eastward towards Delhi. His plan was to have Mata Sahib Kaur left in Delhi while he looted officials of Haryana, a remarkably fertile region. From Kharkhauda, which is around 50 kilometers northwest of Delhi, Mata Sahib was safely escorted to Delhi to unite with Mata Sundari, who was then leading as the head of the Khalsa. However, she might have been perturbed at Banda overlooking her by failing to meet her in the capital before

launching his fight.

In Sonepat, which is situated 50 kilometers north of Delhi, Banda led around 500 adherents in early November 1709. He launched an attack on the government treasury, looting it, and distributed the spoils among his followers. This second victory over the government significantly boosted his reputation. Progressing towards Sirhind through a series of slow marches, Banda continued his success. In Kaithal, approximately 100 kilometers further north from Sonepat, he confiscated a government treasury that was being transported from the northern districts to Delhi. True to his character, Banda kept nothing for himself, sharing everything with his troops.

The town of Samana, located 50 kilometers north, was the birthplace of Jalal-ud-did Jallad, a professional executioner who decapitated Guru Tegh Bahadur. His son also beheaded two of Guru Gobind Singh's younger sons. Samana was also home to Ali Hussain, who deceitfully convinced Guru Gobind Singh to leave Anandpur. Hence, it was considered an accursed place by the Sikhs. The Mughal administration's mistreatment had provoked complete rebellion among the local farmers. Banda's followers had swelled into the thousands. On November 26, 1709, Banda attacked Samana.

The locals stood no chance against the Khalsa army and were brutally defeated, with the town being completely devastated. Samana served as the district town and was associated with nine Parganahs. Fateh Singh was put in charge of it. Samana holds the distinction of being both Banda's first territorial acquisition and inaugural administrative division. Notorious Mughal Ranghars, known for their brutal sexual assaults and plundering, inhabited Kunjpura, Ghuram, and Thaska, which were subsequently obliterated. Ranghars are people with a Muslim father and a Hindu mother. Damla, a Pathan village whose inhabitants abandoned Guru

Gobind Singh during the Bhangani battle, was also laid to waste. Shahbad Markanda was another place that fell under Banda's control.

Article Viewpoint of Sadhaura: Sadhora's Invasion by Usman Khan - Usman Khan, the chieftain of Sadhaura (which is located 25 kilometers away), persecuted Sayyid Budhu Shah for his assistance to Guru Gobind Singh Ji during the Bhangani conflict. The local Hindu population was subjected to abuse by Muslims. When Banda arrived, key Muslim figures congregated in a large and heavily fortified residence where they were subsequently killed. This structure later became known as Katal Garhi. Banda wreaked havoc on the town, decimating it. According to contemporary historian Khafi Khan, "Within two or three months, around four to five thousand horsemen and seven to eight thousand militant infantry had joined him. Their numbers continued to swell, and they gained considerable wealth and resources through looting. Many villages were ravaged, and he appointed his own law enforcement officials (thanedars) and tax collectors (Tahsil-dar-e-mal)."

Proceeding to Lohgarh: Banda's main objective was retaliation against Wazir Khan and the conquest of Sarhind. However, he needed time to solidify his material acquisitions and territorial control. He was also keen on understanding the military strength of Sarhind while keeping an eye on the government’s response towards his actions. For this reason, in early February 1710, he set up his command center in Mukhlispur, located at the lower Shiwalik hills south of Nahan, approximately 20 KM from Sadhaura. His fortress was established on a hill with two kuhls or water channels at its base providing its water supply. He ensured that the fortress underwent repairs and was prepared for defense.Every bit of the

wealth, gold, and luxurious resources obtained during these ventures were stored here. He minted currency and issued directives under his official seal. The initial name of Mukhlispur was altered to Lohgarh, turning it into the capital of the inaugural Sikh state.

Banda was the ruler of an area enclosed by the Shiwalik hills in the north, the Tangri river on the west, the Jamuna river on the east, and a boundary that passed through towns such as Samana, Thanesar, Kaithal and Karnal in the south. He revoked the Zamindari System of land that was prevalent under the Mughals, asserting actual cultivators as land owners. In doing so, he set up peasant proprietorship and garnered the approval and backing of most of the populace. Khafi Khan states that Banda commanded imperial officers, agents, and large jagirdars to submit and abandon their operations. This led to the successful realization of Guru Gobind Singh's dream for political autonomy just a year following his demise. His name instilled fear into lawbreakers, leading to a significant reduction of thefts and robberies. Irvine writes that a striking and total overturn of customs was observed in all areas occupied by Sikhs.

A person considered to be of low status in Indian society, such as a scavenger or leather craftsman, merely had to leave his home and commit to the teachings of the Guru. In a brief period, he would come back to the place of his birth as its leader, harboring commands and an official directive in his possession. Upon his entry into the locality, affluent and high-born individuals approached him, hands clasped in respect, ready to heed his instructions. Everyone was expected

to comply with an issued command and even those who had braved multiple battlefields became so intimidated they feared expressing any form of opposition.

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