Alexander in Punjab

ALEANNDER’S AGGRESSION Alexander’s attack on India is the first well-known foreign invasion during the ancient period of Indian history. It took place in 326 B. C., a period of human history when the modern European nations like England, France, Germany and others were not even born. The Roman Empire had not as yet any foundation laid for it. It was only the Greeks who were resounding the European stage. Small Greek city-states ruled themselves independently. Of these Sparta and Athens were the most progressive. But when these small separate city-states were invaded by the ruler of a vast, well-organized, unitary and very powerful Persian empire ,they were unable to face him successfully. Those small Greek republics did their best to fight the enemy back, but all their efforts proved fruitless before the vast ocean-like Persian armies. Naturally, the Greeks earnestly thought of effecting a fusion of all their separated small city-states into a powerful Greek Kingdom and forming a united front. So Philip, King of Macedonia, who was fired with the same ambition, conquered all those small Greek republics14; but he died before he could develop them into a mighty nation15. However, his son who succeeded him to the throne was much more ambitious, more eager to gain power than his father whom he surpassed in valour16. It was Alexander. He inspired the whole Greek Community with a sense of solidarity and militant nationalism. He organized an invincible army, and marched on the Persian Emperor, Darius, himself, who had been the arch-enemy of the Greeks17. This well-organized Greek army simply routed the vast but ill-organized Persian army. At the battle field of Arbela (331 B.C.) whole of the Persian administration virtually collapsed18. With his victorious army Alexander marched straight on to the Persian capital and after conquering it he proclaimed himself the emperor of that country19. This unprecedented success is lust for conquests. With the Greek and Persian empires at his feet, the sky seemed to him well – within his limit. He was intoxicated with the wild ambition to conquer the whole world and therefore he planned to invade India, of which the Greeks had been hearing so much for generations together. He thought he would run over India as easily as he had crushed the Persian as well as the ancient Babylonian empire. In order to execute this daring plan he formed a new powerful army with the pick of his Greek soldiers, full of youthful enthusiasm and equipped it with glittering weapons. This army consisted of one hundred and twenty thousand foot-soldiers and a cavalry fifteen thousand strong20. These brave soldiers, mad with victory after victory, had been so much impressed by the unbroken chain of Alexander’s conquests that they looked upon this great general and emperor as a divine being. Alexander himself began to pose as the son of the Greek God, Zeus21. 1.5 GEOGRAPHICAL DIMENSIONS OF INDIA 11. In those days, some two thousand and five hundred years ago, the Indian community and Indian kingdoms had spread far beyond the Indus, right up to the boundary of Persia. The mountain range known today as the Hindukush was at that time called Paropnisus22, by the Greeks. Modern Afghanistan was called Gandhar, known in India tradition by the name, Ahiganasthan23, while the river Kabul has been called Kubha in our ancient literature24. Throughout the whole region up to the Hindukush mountain, ruled peacefully various states, some small, others large25. Right from these Indian states, all along the banks of the Indus, straight up to the place where it leaps into the sea, was a long and unbroken chain of Indian states which strictly followed Vedic religion. Most of them were republics26 and were then called ‘Ganas’ or ‘Ganarajyas’. Their constitution was essentially democratic. There were only two or three monarchies worth the name, one of which the biggest and strongest, was ruled by a Pourav King, whom the Greeks called Porus37. 1.6 DR. JAYASWAL’S ‘HINDU POLITY’ 12. Dr. Jayaswal, one of the prominent members of the revolutionary party, ‘Abhinava Bharat’, during the critical years of 1907-1910, and later on a world-famous Orientalist, has given, after a critical research, a very detailed account of the different ‘Bharateeya Ganas’ spread along both the banks of the Indus right up to its confluence with the sea. 13. According to Greek mythologies, they seem to have believed that their ancestors had migrated as a separate branch of the original Aryan Stock from the Gandhar and other regions beyond the Indus28. When Alexander’s forces entered the precincts of India they accidentally came across a small community of people who called themselves the original Greeks29. They had been completely merged with the Indians, but as soon as they saw this Greek army they avowed that they were the ancient brethren of those Greeks30. Alexander, too, was led to believe that India must be the original abode of his ancestors. He and his whole army were so much delighted at the sight of this, their antique fatherland, that they stopped fighting for some days and celebrated a great festival. The Greeks performed a sacrifice and offered oblations to propitiate their Greek deities31. 14. The Greek Gods resembled the Vedic ones very closely. Their names had undergone changes in pronunciation by corruption in course of time. The Greeks too performed sacrifices as the Indo-Aryans did, and offered oblations through the fire to their various deities32. They were also called Ionians. 1.7 ‘IONIAN’ AND ‘YAVAN’ 15. It is likely that these Greeks were the descendants of Anu, the son of Yayati? One wonders if Anwayan was later on corrupted to Indian. This bit of a guess must, however be left to the research scholars. The fact remains that the Indians called these Greeks ‘Yavanas’ from the very beginning, as is seen from the Sanskrit literature33. It is from the Greek word ‘Ionians’ that they came to be called ‘Yavans’ or ‘Yons’ in India. 1.8 BUDDHA NOT HEARD OF FROM GANDHAR-PANCHANAD TO SINDH 16. One more fact deserves mention here. The contemporary Greek writers have given in their books detailed description of the varied life of the people from those parts of India where Alexander moved—from Gandhar to Panchanad (the Punjab) and thence along both the banks of the Indus to the very place where it flows into the sea. But throughout descriptions not a single reference to either Lord Buddha or the Buddhistic cult or sect can be found, whereas there are numerous references to the Vedic Hindus34. From this and, of course, from other contemporary references it is quite clear that at least till that time the Buddhist sect was quite unknown beyond the Shatadru (Sutlej) river. It means about two hundred and fifty to three hundred years after the death of the Buddha the Buddhist cult spread here and there round about Magadha and not farther off, a fact which deserves special notice for the proper interpretation of subsequent history34a. 1.9 A GREEK MEANS A YAVAN! 17. Our contemporary Indian ancestors called these aggressive Greek foreigners, who professed a slightly alien religion, ‘Yavans’. But that is not the reason why we should call all foreign aggressors ‘Yavans’. It is obviously a mistake. Especially when our people began to call the Muslims ‘Yavans’, they really committed a blunder. Although the Greeks were aggressors and foreigners, they were, comparatively speaking, considered to be particularly devoted to learning and highly cultured and civilized according to the standards of the time. The Muslim hordes that invaded India, centuries afterwards, were highly fanatical, diabolic and ruthlessly destructive. It would have been in the fitness of things to call them ‘Mussalmans’ in view of their demonic nature. To call them ‘Yavans, is doubly wrong in as much as it unduly flatters them and does a very great injustice to the word ‘Yavan’ itself. The Mussalmans may be called ‘Mlenchhas’, not ‘Yavans’. 1.10 ALEXANDER AND STUPID MUSLIMS 18. A stupid notion common amongst most of the Muslims is worth a mention here. The name ‘Alexander’ was corrupted into ‘Shikandar’ in the Persian language. So long as the Greek empire had Persia under its sway many of the Persian people highly impressed by the unprecedented valour of Alexander named their new-born sons Shikandar. Later on even after the Persians were converted to Islam this practice of naming their children ‘Shikandar’ persisted. ‘The Muslim converts in India adopted that practice. But ignorant of the historical origin of the word ‘Shikandar’ thousands of Muslims in India fondly believe that, like Mohammad Ali, Kasim and others, the name Shikandar is a Muslim name; and (that valiant Alexander must be some Muslim personality). Nay, he could be so very valiant and a world conqueror simply because he was a Muslim. If any one tries to convince these fanatics, vulgar and vain-glorious Muslims that ‘Shikandar (Alexander) was not a Muslim, that he could never be one, as Mohammed Paighamber, the founder of the Muslim religion, was himself born not less than a thousand years after the death of Shikandar, these, die-hard Muslims, would call that person un-informed. 19. The eastern boundary of Alexander’s empire at that time was the Hindukush Mountains. After having crossed these mountains he marched with his vast armies to Taxila in India. The King of Taxila, King Ambuj (Ambhi) accepted his overlordship without giving him any battle36. Some Greek writers assert that this very King of Taxila had invited Alexander in order to put down his rival, King Porus36a. If that is so, Ambhi had quite naturally to pay for his treachery by his willing, though abject submission to the Greeks. 1.11 UNIVERSITY IN TAXILA AND A STRANGE COINCIDENCE 20. Taxila was the seat of the most famous Indian University of the time, where students from different counties came to study various sciences and arts. Even the Princes of different states came there, learnt political science and got lessons in the art of governance, warfare and strictly observed the rules of discipline prevalent there37. 21. By some strange coincidence, just when Alexander was marching at the head of his army into India, after reducing Taxila, a brilliant youth, who, a little later, was destined to carve a glorious page in the history of India, was learning the sciences of war and politics in the same University of Taxila38. He was called Chandragupta. The old teacher who was well-versed in different lores of the time and was also an astute politician and was giving lessons in politics and national revolutionary activities to this splendid youth under the portals of the same University, was Chanakya39. 22. But in the confusion wrought by this invasion of Alexander these two exceptionally gifted personalities had not yet attracted public attention to them. Both of them had been watching very closely the movements of Alexander’s vast forces. Alexander had, as it were, put all the crowns and coronets of Kings, and kings of kings and of all the small Rav’s and Raval’s, into a melting pot and forged a single crown to proclaim himself the Emperor of India; while the old sage, Acharya Chanakya, was secretly planning an easy transfer of that covetable crown to his young disciple’s head by means of a coup d’etat. 1.12 WAR WITH PORUS 23. The king of Taxila, Ambuj or Ambhi had, as already said, bowed down to the Greek might without fighting a single battle, and therefore everybody began to jeer at his treacherous act, as it humiliated the braver spirits. In order to counteract it, the neighboring Indian monarchies, and republics decided to force a bitter struggle on the Greeks. It is really unfortunate that these various independent Indian states did not think of making it a common cause, or perhaps had no time to do it. As soon as he reached Taxila, Alexander without any loss of time, sent ultimatum, to all the neighboring Indian states, demanding unconditional surrender, and when Taxila’s very next neighbour, King Porus, ignored his ultimatum and took up the challenge, the Greek captain-general marched on him40. 24. King Porus mainly depended on his war-chariots and elephants, whereas the Greeks relied upon their cavalry brigades. The river Vitasta (Jhelum) separated the two-armies. All of a sudden, even before the two armies joined battle, torrential rains overflowing the river with high floods began to assail them all round. Alexander searched high and low and in a few days found to the north a place where the river was fordable. With precipitate haste, be crossed the river and with his fine cavalry, dashed against the forces of King Porus41. This disturbed the whole plan of Porus; still he fought on a fierce battle. But the rains had turned the field muddy41a, rendering utterly useless Porus’s two great instruments of war, namely chariots and elephants. He could not, therefore, successfully check the brisk and energetic attacks of Alexander’s horsemen. In the thick of the battle, Porus seated on his elephant and desperatly fighting, was grievously wounded41b and fell into the hands of the enemy. Thus, partly because of Porus’s misfortune and partly because of Alexander’s military skill on the battlefield the Greeks were crowned with success. 1.13 VICTORY – SHREWD POLITICAL STRATEGY 25. When Porus was taken as a captive before Alexander the latter asked the Indian King, “How should I treat you?” Porus promptly replied, ‘like a King’. This apt reply has evoked the comment of European as well as our own historians that impressed by this bold reply, Alexander returned to Porus his territory making him a governor under him, instead of putting him to death41c. But this interpretation of Alexander’s treatment of Porus is wrong, and therefore, such platitudes should be avoided in school textbooks. 26. Obviously, Alexander was not like the artless simple Indian King, Harishchandra, who gave away his kingdom in his wakeful hours in order to fulfill a promise made in dream. He knew if he killed Porus or liquidated his kingdom, placing in his place some Greek Satrap; the high-minded people of the state would be aflame with rage and hatred towards the Greeks. “Now Alexander wanted to fight his way all along to the chief Capital of India, namely Pataliputra! Could he ever do so with the sole support of his own Greek army? On the other hand, it was far more profitable to win over Porus with apparent magnanimity and kindness as he had done to Ambhi of Taxila (Takshashila) and enlist his active support in order to facilitate the accomplishment of his of daring plan of the conquest of India. It is, therefore, not for the sake of appreciating the bold rejoinder of Porus but as a clever political strategy, that arch diplomat Alexander returned to Porus his Kingdom. He even annexed the smaller neghbouring states, which he had conquered immediately before or after his clash with Porus to the latter’s kingdom. He had appointed him as his Satrap (governor) of this vast Indian province28. Porus too gave his assent to Alexander’s proposals to simply wait for his time for fortune had played foul with him. Porus had done his duty, as a Kshatriya warrior would do, of fighting till the end against the enemy of his nation. In fact तावत् कालम ूित󰂣ेताम्् (Bide the time!) is a valuable tenet in political science. Knowing that the submission of king Porus was only time serving, the Indian populace also did not take it amiss. It will be shown later how at the opportune time King Porus (now Satrap Porus) turned the tables against Alexander himself. 27. After the end of the war with Porus, Alexander set himself up to the task of stabilizing the newly conquered neighbouring states and began a careful study of the life of the people there and in the yonder regions. Besides, to replenish his army that was depleted in numbers and energy because of the incessant wars from the Hindukush to the Panchanad, Alexander ordered fresh regiments of forces from his Satraps in Babylon and Greece, and sent back those of his fighting forces who were wounded and rendered invalid and also those who were shirkers43. 1.14 INQUIRY OF THE INDIAN ASCETICS 28. The scouts whom Alexander had sent round to survey the local condition of the people in the subjugated as well as non-subjugated provinces, brought, among other reports, detailed descriptions of the penance-groves in the forests, and of the ascetics, anchorites, recluses, freed from all worldly bonds, wandering about all alone in search of knowledge and also of those sages who were deeply engrossed in philosophical thought Alexander himself was fond of learning and philosophical discussions, for he called himself the disciple of the great philosopher, Aristotle. He had already heard much in Greece itself of such ascetics and of austere Brahmins. So he earnestly desired to see personally at least some of these austere Brahmins in India, who the Greeks called ‘Gymnosophists’ and have talks with them. So he sent for some of such hermits from their forest-abodes44 and some he saw in their secluded cells. The Greek writers themselves have given some interesting tales about such occasions. I would like to cite a tale or two from among those in the words of the Greek writers themselves, so as to throw some light on the thoughts and feelings of the Greeks and their leader, Alexander. 29. “This philosopher (Kalanos), we are told, showed Alexander a symbol of his empire. He threw down on the ground a dry and shrivelled hide and planted his foot on the edge of it. But when it was trodden down in one place, it started up everywhere else. He then walked all round it and showed that the same thing took place wherever he trod, until at length he stepped into the middle and by doing so lade it all lie flat. This symbol was intended to show Alexander that he should control his empire from its centre not wander away to its distant extremities”45. 1.15 THE CANON OF DANDAMIS 30. Alexander keenly felt that he should send for and have a personal talk with one Brahmin, of whom he had heard so much in Taxi (Takshasheela). The Greeks called Brahmin ‘Dandamis’48 but I have not so far succeeded in tracing down his original Sanskrit name. The Brahmin, bent with age and knowledge, was free from all worldly ties and wandered naked everywhere. He did not pay any heed to Alexander’s messages. Thereupon Alexander sent his own officer ‘Onesikretos’ to this selfless recluse who told him, “Alexander the very son of God Zeus (Sansk: Dyus) and a world-conqueror has summoned you to his court. If you still fail to come, you will be beheaded instantaneously.” The Brahmin began to laugh vociferously at this threat and replied, “If Alexander is the son of Zeus; in the same manner and for same reason I am also the son of that very Zeus (Dyus). As to his boast of being a world-conqueror, it is absolutely vain! He has not as yet seen the other bank of the river Vyas. If he successfully faces the brave Indian states beyond and, yonder still, the powerful empire of Magadha, and still remains alive, we shall have time to consider whether he is a world-conqueror. Alexander offers me land and gold, but go and tell him that ascetics like me spit upon such things. This mother-land of mine provides me with everything I want, with the loving care of a real mother. If Alexander is going to chop my head off, then my head and body would mix up with this earth of which they are made, but he would never be able to murder my soul. It is invincible, indestructible and immortal. Go and tell him that he should issue these threats to those who are slaves of gold and power and are afraid of death. Before us these threats of a mortal like Alexander fall flat and are powerless! For, a true ascetic Brahmin can never be won over by gold, nor does he ever fear death!! I won’t come! Go away.” 31. We have quoted only some of the sentences from the reply of Dandamis to Alexander. Greek writers have given the full text of his fearless and direct reply46a. Plutarch too, has mentioned these tales. Some writers47 astounded by his dauntless and straight-forward answer, have remarked, “If at all anyone in the world has so successfully defied Alexander, who had conquered so many kingdoms, it was this naked, old Brahmin ascetic of India”47a. 1.16 BRAHMINS HANGED FOR POLITICAL CONSPIRACY 32. In his survey Alexander came to know that although these world-forsakers, ascetics, recluses and others were wandering all alone, their opinions exerted a powerful influence because of their disinterestedness, fearlessness and their disregard for any consequences whatever, upon the governments of Indian republics and also on the monarchies. The tongues of these free and fearless Brahmin ascetics had sharp edges like the swords of the Indian Kshatriyas and they protested against the unjust Greek aggression very sharply and spread, openly or secretly, great discontent against Alexander amongst the Indian populace. Naturally his first adoration of these ‘Gymnosophists’ suddenly gave place to his intense hatred against the Brahmin hermits. Thereupon he began to seize some such Brahmins and hang them48. Before beheading one such Brahmin; when Alexander asked him as to why he instigated a certain Indian ruler ”.’against’ the Greeks, he fearlessly and firmly replied that it was his most sacred tenet and that if he were to live, he ought to live honorably, else he should die honorably.” (Plutarch LXIV) 33. After defeating King Porus, Alexander thought his dazzling victory should unnerve the neighboring states and force them to submit meekly, but his hopes in this respect mostly belied him. As he crossed the Vitasta (Jhelum) and marched onward the various republics big or small, on his way began to offer sanguinary battles49. Without” a decision at the battlefield, they would never accept his overlordship meekly. Although the superior number and might of the Greeks went on overpowering the Indians, the consequent strain of incessant fighting did not fail to make itself felt on the Greeks. 34. Greek writers have described many such battles with various Indian republics, but this is no occasion to mention them either at some length or briefly. However, some of the chosen incidents have got to be given here at some length, at least as a mark of respect to those brave Indian republics who, though not jointly yet severally, offered the toughest of resistance to that mighty Greek army of a Hundred thousand gallant soldiers and their brave, world-famous, captain-general Alexander, who had vowed pompously to trample over the whole of India and conquer the Crown of Magadha for himself, and which finally forced him to strike a retreat homeward from the very threshold of India. 1.17 REPUBLICS OF SAUBHOOTIS AND KATHAS 35. The constitution of both these republics was democratic. Writes a Greek writer Diodoros,50 they were governed by laws in-the highest degree salutary and their political system was admirable50a. One special feature of these republics was that with a view to promoting healthy, strong and handsome progeny, the procreation of human species was not left to individual whims and fancies, but was controlled by the state. They were very fond of physical beauty50b. Hence marriages were arranged not with an eye on the handsome dowry, but with proper consideration of mutual physical fitness, beauty and health, and the ability of the bride and the bridegroom to bring forth healthy and sturdy children. Even while electing their leaders, who were-to guide the nation and bear the yoke of national welfare, sufficient weightage was given to the candidate’s build of the body and physical strength. Their laws regarding the proper production of human species were so strict that within three months of their birth children were medically examined by the state authorities, and if a child were found with some native defect or to be suffering from some incurable disease or deformed, it was immediately put to death under state orders without any mercy50c. 35-A. Readers of history know well that the Republic of Sparta had similar laws about heredity51. 36. Though not so very strict and ruthless as the Saubhootis and the Kathas, there were other Ganas or republics in India who paid special attention to heredity, and the bringing forth of strong and handsome children. The ‘Vrishnis’ were also very particular, from the ancient times, about the physical beauty and strength of their leaders and state officials. The physical strength and beauty of the world-famous leader of these Vrishnis, Lord Shree Krishna, has been immortalized. Lord Shree Krishna’s sons, too, have been credited by the Puranas52 with exceptional beauty. 1.18 REPUBLIC SUBSISTING BY ARMS 37. A good many republics, in the Panchanad (the Punjab) and along both the banks of the Indus, right up to its great leap into the sea, were said to be living on weapons53. The most remarkable fact about them was that not only the men but the women too in those republics, had necessarily to undergo military training so that at the time of war, literally “the whole nation could be drafted for military action. Although different from each other in some particular respects, their constitutions, needless to say, were essentially democratic. Whether big or small in size, they were all independent. 1.19 THE REPUBLIC OF THE YOUDHEYAS 38. The Republic of the Yondheyas, spread far and wide in the fertile lands to the south of the river Vyas In the Panchanad (the Punjab), was the most prominent of them all. It was looked upon with awe and respect by every one because of its valiant youths who always fought for their independence regardless of their lives. It was truly called, by the foreign historians54, ‘A nation in arms’. They too had a law necessitating everyone between the ages of 18 and 21 to undergo sound military training which kept not only their male but even the female population well-equipped with arms. 39. On seeing Alexander march down the Vitasta (Jhelum) and the Chandrabhaga (Chenab) in order to cross the Vyas, after defeating King Porus, the adjoining republics and the hill tribes, the gallant Youdheyas55, who were to the south of the river, spurned Alexander’s ultimatum of abject surrender and began all-out preparations for war. Yet the so-called Emperor of Magadha, the cowardly Dhananand, was not roused from his stupor. That lily-livered coward does not seem to have sent any military help to the gallant Youdheyas in order to vanquish Alexander at the very portals of India. Nevertheless, the Youdheyas got ready to face Alexander, relying on nothing but their own strength. 1.20 ALEXANDER’S ARMY STRUCK WITH TERROR 40. When Alexander’s army came fighting to the banks of the river Vyas, after crossing the Indus, the Vitasta, and the Chandrabhaga, they came to know that beyond that river the democratic Youdheyas had taken arms to fight for their independence against the Greeks. Besides, they learnt about their bravery and also of the fact that beyond the Youdheyas mightier Indian states along the banks of the Ganges were making ready to fight with them. Though the Greek soldiers already spent and disgusted with unceasing warfare with the Indians in the Panchanad, dared not cross the Vyas and join battle with the courageous and daring Indian states like the Youdheyas and the others56. 41. But the lust for war and conquest of their war-intoxicated enterprising, and exceptionally courageous captain-general and emperor, Alexander, was not quenched in the least. He proclaimed, throughout all the divisions of his army, his immutable decision to cress the Vyas, conquer the Youdheyas and March, straight off to Magadha. This obstinate declaration of Alexander roused a great furore and rage amongst the already war-weary army, even amongst the veterans! The Greek soldiers secretly began to pass resolu-tions, group by group, to refuse straightaway to go ahead. In spite of the fact that they had been considering Alexander unconquerable and the son of God Zeus, they were extremely disgusted with his lust for power. No sooner did Alexander smell of this dissatisfaction amongst his soldiers, he delivered an inspiring speech. 1.21 ALEXANDER’S SPEECH TO HIS ARMY57 41-A “On seeing that you, O Macedonians and allies! No longer follow me into dangers with your wonted alacrity. I have summoned you to this assembly that I may either persuade you to go farther or to be persuaded by you to turn back-……if we have driven the Scythians back into their deserts, and if besides the Indus, Hydaspcs, Akesines and Hydraotes flow through the territories that are ours, why should you hesitate to pass the Hyphasis also…? Are you afraid…? 41-B. “For my part, I think that to a man of spirit there is no other aim and end of his labours except the labours themselves… 41-C “But if any one wishes to know the limits of the present warfare, let him understand that the river Ganges and the Eastern sea are now at no great distance off… 41-D “But if we turn back, many warlike nations extending beyond the Hyphasis to Eastern sea and many others lying northwards between these and Hyrkania, to say nothing of their neighbours, the Scythian tribes, will be left behind us unconquered, so that if we turn back, there is cause to fear lest the conquered nations, as yet wavering in their fidelity, may be instigated to revolt by those who are still independent. O Macedonians and allies! Glory crowns the deeds of those who expose themselves to toils and dangers……. 41-E. “Such of you as wish to return home I shall send back to your own country, or even myself will lead you back.” 41-F. According to Smith, “he (Alexander) recited the glories of their .wondrous conquests from Hellespont to Hyphasis and promised them the dominion riches of all Asia. But glowing words fell on unwilling ears and were received with painful silence, which remained unbroken for a long time” (P. 79). 42. But the effect of his inspiring speech was contrary to his expectations. As it was now amply clear from the very lips of Alexander that they would be required to fight more sanguinary wars of attrition, they were scared to the marrow. Dr. Jayswal writes in his Hindu Polity, “The Greek army refused to move an inch forward against the nations whose very name, according to Alexander, struck his soldiers with terror”58. 43. Alexander was extremely enraged to see that his soldiers disobeyed him by flatly— refusing to cross the Vyas in order to save all further trouble, because they were thoroughly exhausted and afraid to fight immediately without any rest59. But Alexander was as cunning as he was brave. Apprehending danger, Alexander refrained from doing any thing rash in a fit of anger and straightaway walked off into his tent in utter despair. He stopped talking to anybody. He did not show himself outside his tent for three consecutive days60. Then he thoughtfully hatched a new plan in his mind. He, thereafter, gathered the whole of the Greek army and told them that he had given up the plan of crossing the Vyas. He said, “I have now decided to go back to Greece”. This statement naturally elated the rank and file of his army. Alexander then asked, “But how are we to go back? If we turn our backs straightaway and go to Greece by the same route as we came along, all this Indian Territory we have conquered would rise in revolt, thinking that we are stricken with terror. So instead of turning our back straight off towards the land route to Greece we should better go a little obliquely to the sea along the banks of the Indus and then return to Persia along the sea-route. Next time when we shall come again to India, we shall conquer the Indian states beyond the Ganges and accomplish our conquest of India”6Oa. 44. True it is that Alexander said ‘When once again we shall come to India’-“But O Greek Captain General, once again! Truly! But when? Let alone the kingdoms beyond the Ganges but if these very states that you have conquered today were to renounce the yoke of your sovereignty and become indepedent, then? Nay, even before that next time you mentioned, if you yourself were to be no more then…? Even the race of Zeus can succumb to the ravages of time, may it then belong to Greece!” 45. If those Indian Gymnosophists, ascetics and recluses have ridiculed Alexander’s threat of coming back again to India in some such manner, it could never have been out of place. 1.22 ALEXANDER’S RETREAT 46. However loudly and pompously Alexander might have swaggered with his mouth, the fact remains that the Greek soldiers took a fright of the Youdheyas and others beyond the Vyas and hence Alexander could not dare cross that river! Indian valour had taken the conceit out of the haughty spirit of the advancing Greek army, and so they had to strike a retreat. Alexander did not retire willingly. The Greeks proved to be powerless before the Indians, and hence was this ignoble retreat! To hide this simple fact the Greek & European historians write, “Had he but crossed the Vyas Alexander would have defeated not only the Youdhey but and the Magadha empire also. The Youdheyas and the Magadhas had never actually defeated the Greek army of Alexander on the open battlefield61.” These boastful ‘ifs’ and ‘whens’ can be answered most aptly on behalf of the valorous Indian Youdheyas in some such way: [Why fight with an enemy who flees away at the mere twang of our bow] 47. Again this typical itch of the Greek army for fighting in the open field was to be allayed for ever by the Indian military strength a little later! Soon Chandragupta was to make his entry on the military stage of India. Wait a bit, O you, reader! 1.23 ALEXANDER BUILDS A POWERFUL NAVY 48. Soon after his retreat from the Vyas, Alexander had five to six hundred warships built in order to make his way to the sea along the course of the Indus63. Embarking thousands of his well-equipped warriors on these warships, he began to march off to the sea through the river. About the commencement of this voyage of Alexander along the waters of the Indus, arrived the two fresh regiments of forces ordered from Babylon and Greece63a. Naturally, the heretofore war-weary and rebellious freek soldiers of Alexander were cheered up once more. 49. But while Alexander was making his way towards the sea after striking an ‘honourable’ retreat from the Vyas, a very great political conspiracy began to shape itself most secretly throughout the Greek-trodden Indian Territory from the banks of the Vyas right up to Gandhar. But of that conspiracy we shall have occasion to speak in a more detailed way a little later. Here it should suffice to say that; the Indian republics along both the banks of the Indus, whether big or small-made light of Alexander’s threat to come again to conquer India as nothing more than a pompous political stunt, and prepared grimly to oppose his forces as severely and as stubbornly as possible. But alas! It was a decision taken separately by each particular republic; it was not a well-organized, united effort, under a central authority to destroy the Greeks under Alexander. Hence the same story of Gandhar and Punchanad was repeated here, and the well organized army of Alexander, with its superior numbers, could successfully fight each Indian republic and go ahead. Even if these stray battles with various Indian armies did not fail to exhaust and weaken Alexander’s forces, still they could not crush him completely. There were, of course, some exceptions to these separatist war-efforts. Of them at least two, which even the hostile Greek historians praise whole-heartedly and which gave such a severe blow to Alexander, deserve a brief mention here. 1.24 THE REPUBLICS OF THE MALAVAS AND THE SHUDRAKAS 50. The two republics led their separate lives along the banks of the Indus. Both were rich, brave democracies with a high sense of honour. Of the two, Malava republic was the more famous from the ancient times and was quite extensive. These two republics had at times been hostile to each other. But when they saw Alexander’s powerful navy went on defeating every single Indian state in various battles and kept on forging its way to the sea, the political leaders of both these republics decided to correct the mistake of these several Indian democracies which fought singly with a vastly superior enemy, a mistake which was proving fatal to their wider national interests. So, instead of fighting the Greek army singly, they decided to amalgamate their fighting forces under a unified control64. Not only did they unite their men at arms but they intermarried in order to bring about political and social unity among them. For the intermingling of castes and blood they had a great collective marriage ceremony, wherein at least a thousand girls from both the ‘Ganas’ (republics) were inter-married to the youths of the other republic. 51. While this unified army of the Malava-Shudrak republics was fighting tooth and nail with the Greeks, Alexander laid siege to one their important cities. Although the name of this city cannot be ascertained positively, it must have been some capital city or one of similar importance. As this republican city kept on fighting desperately the Greek siege had to prolong. The haughty Alexander could not bear it. He thought of ordering the ladders to be put up on the ramparts of the enemy stronghold and commanding his Greek soldiers to climb them up and strainghtaway storm the city. 52. But the same sort of unrest and disaffection against Alexander began to be seen in his army as was once experienced at the time of the crossing of the Vyas. The Greek army was avowedly wending its way homeward in order to avoid new wars. But all along the bank of the Indus they had to fight fresh battles. And they knew that unless Alexander gave up his aggressive designs calculated to pacify his unsatiable lust for conquests brutal wars were unavoidable. Because of this bitter war with the Malava-Shudrak combined forces, the Greek discontent reached the climax and there were rebellious whispers openly flouting Alexander’s commands. 52-A. ‘When the Macedonian soldiers found that they had still on hand a fresh war which the most war-like nations (गण) would be their antagonists, they were struck with unexpected terror and began again to upbraid the King in the language of sedition. (Curtius Bk. IX Ch. IV as quoted in ‘Hindu Polity’) (Mc Crindle t. L. by, Alexander P. 234). 53. Still in the end Alexander promulgated his command to his soldiers to climb up the ladders and leap straight into the enemy stronghold which valiantly defied the Greek siege. Seeing that his Greek soldiers hesitated to undertake the daring feat,that exceptionally valiant commander of the Greeks, the mighty Alexander, himself began to climb one of the ladders put up against the ramparts of the stronghold. At this the whole Macedonian army was suddenly inspired to do the great deed, and all began to climb instantaneously. Once at the top of the ramparts Alexander straightaway jumped down in the midst of the enemy and there ensued a hand-to-hand fight between the Indian and the Greek forces. And suddenly – 54. And suddenly an Indian warrior took out an envenomed arrow from his sheath and applied it to his bowstring and let it fly with an unmistakable aim at the place where Alexander stood edging on his warriors, and shining in his golden helmet65. 55. It was not an arrow; it was in fact Indian revenge incarnate. 1.25 ALEXANDER ROLLED INTO A POOL OF BLOOD 56. The shaft of the Indian warrior unmistakably pierced the heart of Alexander, and suddenly the emperor rolled down unconscious66. A Greek soldier immediately covered him with his shield. There was a sudden hue and cry in the Greek ranks that Alexander had been wounded, that he had fallen unconscious. With exceptional daring the Greeks lifted him from the pool of blood and carried him safely to his camp. There with great difficulty that terrible shaft of the Indian warrior was extricated. The Greeks heaved a sigh of relief when after a long time of patient nursing, Alexander gradually regained consciousness. It took several days for the wound to heal up. During all this time Alexander was confined to bed. 57. But everywhere, in Babylon and Greece, the news that was received reported that Alexander was killed in the war by an Indian arrow67. Consequently there were some uprisings in Gandhar and Persia. But later on when it was known that Alexander was only severely wounded and was now recovering, the situation came to normalcy. 58. No wonder whatsoever, if the news of Alexander’s having fainted by a bow-shot was greeted cheerfully throughout the Malava-Shudrak republic. on the battlefield in pools of blood. The Ionian Emperor, Alexander, who unjustifiably shed Indian blood, was made to atone for it personally by the shedding of his blood. 59. 60. According to his cruel military code, he had been cruelly crushing down the states which had opposed him. But whenever there appeared any foe who was equally strong and who retaliated furiously, Alexander had the cunning to dissemble nobility and frankness of heart. When he recovered from his wound, he began to make overtures of peace to the commanders of the Malava-Shudrak army instead of dictating his usual arrogant terms68. For cease-fire talks a hundred representatives of the joint Malava-Shudrak republic were elected, and for them Alexander held a grand reception ceremony in his camp. Detailed and very entertaining descriptions of this reception are available in the books of Greek historians69. But for want of space we have to satisfy ourselves with a brief reference to it. The hundred representatives were, even according to the Greek standards, of uncommon height, heavily built, having handsome muscular bodies. They were clad in valuable embroidered clothes and had worn beautiful ornaments of gold and pearls and precious stones. Every one of them went to the Greek camp in his well-decorated and well-equipped golden chariot. They had with them elephants, too, with costly and beautiful outfits. The Greeks had always felt a special fascination for the elephants. 61. Although ranking in his mind was the fact that these very representatives of the Malava-Shudrak joint republic had brought upon him a little while ago, a mortal danger, Alexander showed his magnanimity in that reception ceremony and paraded his own imperial splendour. For every one of those hundred representatives there was a special golden seat. The banquet which was given in their honour was attended with costly wines and excellent savoury dishes68a. The grand banquet was followed by various field games and tournaments, music and dancing. In the end, a treaty was signed by the Malava-Shudrak representatives and Alexa.nder70. 62. The divergent accounts given about this treaty by various Greek writers of the time have at least this much in common to tell. The Greeks and the Indians had jointly agreed to put a stop to their hostilities and that the Malava-Shudrak republic was not to cause any harassment to the retreating army of Alexander while it was progressing on its way home along the Indus. Of these two valiant republics, the Malavas will be referred to later on when; I shall be describing the wars with the Sakas, the Yuechis and other Mlenchha powers. The fact that this Malava republic had been prosperous and strong for many centuries to come, therefore, need not be specially proved. 63. Even the Greek writers could not help recording some more acts or valour during the Indian resistance to the Greek onslaught, although the details of the time and place of their happenings are not available. Two of them are cited here to serve as specimens. 1.26 THE TREACHEROUS ATTACK OF THE GREEKS ON MASAGA TRIBE 64. At Masaga, Alexader captured a small armed community of seven thousand, which included several women. Alexander promised them their lives on condition that they should join his army and fight with his Indian enemies, or else, he threatened them with wholesalem an-slaughter. Or, as a third alternative, he said, he would carry them off as slaves! The leaders of the community agreed to his first proposal, but requested that they should be allowed one night for mutual exchange of views. Alexander agreed. Thereupon these seven thousand Indians marched towards a hill some nine miles ahead of the Greek Camp. Writes Vincent Smith, ’The Indians being unwilling to aid the foreigners in the subjugation of their countrymen desired to evade the unwelcome obligation’70a. So they decided to give the slip to the Greeks. But Alexander came to know of their intention. So while they were sleeping for a little rest, Alexander fell upon them all of a sudden with his huge army and began to cut down everyone. There was a great havo amongst those Indians. But within a short time they drew up their swords and other weapons. They made a hollow circular formation, gathering the women and children inside it, and faced the Greek attack most heroically. A good many women also were found desperately fighting with the foe. Till almost all of them were killed they kept on fighting for the freedom of their nation. 64-A. “The gallant defenders met a glorious death which they would have disclaimed to exchange for a life with dishonour.” (Early History of India, by Vincent Smith 1924, Page 59) 1.27 THE AGRASHRENIS 65. This little Indian republic of the Agrashrenis too, instead of surrendering, fought to the last with the vast Greek navy of Alexander as it was making its headway to the sea through the course of the Indus. When the Greeks attacked their very capital these brave Indian warriors erected blockades and barricades at different intervals and fought every inch of their ground so tenaciously that Alexander could not enter the city before he had sacrificed many Greek lives. According to Curtius71, “when those brave fellows could not further resist the odds, they (the Agrashrenis) set their houses on fire and their wives and children and all threw themselves into the flames71a!” That is to say, they ‘made johar’ (to use later day phraseology). 1.28 THIS IS THE SAME JOHAR! – JAI HAR!! 66. We generally believe that this magnificent and awe-inspiring tradition of ‘johar’ or self-immolation of large groups of men and women in times of national crisis was originally practised by the Rajputs only. But instances, like the one just mentioned, cited by the Greek writers who were astounded to witness them, go to prove that, even before the name of the Rajputs was ever heard of, this splendid tradition was followed by our Indian warriors right from the ancient days. The word ‘johar’ is comparatively modern. It was perhaps derived from the war-cry ‘Jai Har’! The Indian God of war and destruction is Har! Har! Mahadev!! That is why the Indians fought desperately inspired by this deafening war-cry! The Marathas too used the same war-cry ‘Har, Har, Mahadev!’ After fighting to the last, when every hope of success was over, or every chance of escape from the enemy was lost, this johar, this martyrdom, this noblest type of self-sacrifice was resorted to by the Hindus as the last unfailing weapon to save their religion, their nation, their own self-respect and to avoid capacity, abject slavery and hateful conversion! As soon as all men of fighting age were slain on the battlefield after taking the greatest toll of the enemy blood, their wives, mothers, daughters, hundreds of them, with babies at their breasts, used to leap into the burning pyres, specially kept ready for the purpose, and were reduced to ashes. This was what .known as ‘Johar was it was not an easy job! It was the limits of valour and endurance for the sake of keeping up the prestige of one’s self and one’s own religion! 67. Whoever had donned this exceptional armour of ‘johar’ and its leaping flames were beyond all attempts of an Alexander, an Alla-ud-Din or a Salim-why, even of Satan himself-to pollute them and convert them to his religion! Confronted with this horrible sacrificial fire the enemy stood aghast, discomfited and crest-fallen. 68. The above-mentioned ‘johar’-collective immolation of lives-by the Agrashrenis is one of the many described\ by the astounded Greek writers, and which the Indians preferred to the humiliation of being the captives of the Greeks. 1.29 THE JANAPAD REPUBLIC OF BRAHMANAKAS! 69. At last when Alexander’s naval force reached the mouth of the Indus, fighting incessantly all the way, it met with yet other independent republics. These ‘janapadas’ or ‘Ganas’ were like the small Greek city-states, and had none amongst them which could ably withstand with equal numbers the mighty and numerous army of Alexander. Still one of them, the ‘Brahmanak janapad’ made up its mind to cross swords with, rather than submit to, Alexander. This was the same ‘Brahmanak janapad’ which is referred to by Panini, says Dr. Jayaswal71b. It is already told how, while fighting in the Panchanad (the Punjab), Alexander had wreaked his rancourous revenge against the clan of philosophers, especially the Brahmans. When Alexander learnt that it was the same clan of Brahmans, to which this small state belonged, he decided to whack his malicious stroke upon it with all his might. Plutarch (McCrindJe ‘Invasion of India by Alexander’ P. 306; V; A. Smith E. H. I. P. 106) writes in his ‘Life of Alexander’, “These philosophers were specially marked down for revenge by Alexander as they gave him no less trouble than the mercenaries. They reviled the princes who declared for Alexander and encouraged free states (in India) to revolt against his authority. On this account he hanged many of them” (Ch LIX). 69-A. That little ‘Janapad’ too fought to the last with these Greeks for the sake of its national honour and independence. 1.30 PATTANPRASTHA 70. What now is called by the Muslims, Sindh Hyderabad, was at that time known as Pattanprastha. In Sanskrit language the cities along the sea-shore or at the mouths of rivers were mostly called ‘Pattan’. Pattan is equivalent to the English word ‘Port’. Perhaps the English word ‘Port’ might have been a corruption of the Sanskrit ‘Pattan’. When Alexander neared the sea this small state of Pattanprastha was confronted with a dilemma: to surrender to the enemy was most hateful to the Pattanprasthis’, but they knew full well that they would never be able to fight with the powerful Greek army on equal ground. So they resolved the dilemma by forsaking, collectively, their native country, their homes and landed property and motherland with sad hearts72. 1.31 ALEXANDER’S HOMEWARD VOYAGE 71. That part of the ocean where the Indus flows into it should really be called Sindhusagar. Sindhusagar, a name for the sea to the west of India is a fitting counterpart for the Gangasagar, a traditional name for the eastern sea. 72. On first reaching the sea, Alexander divided his army into two parts. The first batch he sent back to Iran (Persia) by a land route through what now goes by the name of Balucbistan73. The whole of Alexander’s army had been thoroughly exhausted in this expedition to India. Moreover, Baluchistan, at that time was full of impregnable forests and thoroughly unknown to the Greeks. So, the Greek division, sent this way, somehow reached Persia, after so many hazards and privations. On the other hand, Alexander himself set sail by the sea-route with another division of his army and reached Persia74. As the whole of the old Persian Empire had now formed a part of Alexander’s greater demsne he went to his capital namely Babylon. But he did not return to the capital in that same triumpnant spirit in which he had started on his Indian campaign two years ago, with a view to winning for himself the vauntful title of the Emperor of India. Not only did he not return like the Emperor of India, he did not even appear to be an emperor at all. He returned just like an ordinary commander of an army despaired and worn out after a long-drawn and hazardous campaign. 1.32 INDIA WAS NOT PERSIA 73. The cause of this disappointment of Alexander was that the Greeks up to that time knew only one empire, worth the name, -much more extensive than their own Persia! When these Greeks marched upon that Persian emipre under their uncommonly brave and brilliant commander, Alexander, and when after only two or three campaigns the vast Persian Empire fell before them like a paper palace, they were so much flushed with their victory that they fondly considered their commander to be endowed with divine qualities, and as such unconquerable. Alexander himself could not escape the infection of pride. His ambition to win for himself the over lordship of the whole world soared to the sky. Bharat appeared to him just next to and as easy a prey as, Persia. So very vast a land and so very weak!!! So he wanted to crown his Persian conquest with the glittering diadem of the Indian imperial authority. Greedily enough he ran to have it with all haste! 74. But the experience he had was quite contrary to what he had expected. In India he had to face the bitterest. Opposition at every step. Although he never lost a battle as such, his Greek army was completely exhausted and exasperated in the very process of winning them. These victories were far too costlier than the ones in Persia, and all their vauntful declarations of conquering India as easily as Persia proved to be empty words ‘full of sound and fury signifying nothing’. And in the end he had to return with the acquisition of only a small strip of land along’ the Indus river. 75. Thus was Alexander disappointed and to a certain extent insulted. But that valiant emperor was not downcast! He was itching to return once again to India after stabilizing things in the newly conquered regions of India and annexing them permanently to his vast empire, like those of Syria, Persia, Babylon and others. 76. Alexander declared the annexation of the region from Hindukush and Gandhar to Taxila (Takshasheela), half of the Panclhanad up to the river Vyas, and that from the confluence of .the Vitasta with the Indus to the sea. He appointed the Indian King Ambuj or Ambhi of Taxila his governor (Satrap) of the Hindukush region75,’ and King Porus as his governor of the Panchanad. To the third but narrow strip of land along the Indus, were appointed his two trusted Greek generals, Philip and Nicanor, under whom he placed the mobile force of the Greeks. He established in India some townships too, one of which was Alexandria in the direction of Taxila76. 1.33 ALEXANDER’S DEATH 77. Before Alexander decided to stabilize things in the Indian Territory he had recently captured, he learnt that the local democratic institutions refused to accept his over lordship77. Even while Alexander was in Sindh, he received intelligence of a revolt by the Indian subjects in Gandhar. He was about to send a fresh and large Greek army to Gandhar. But in quick succession followed another disturbing news of a fresh conspiracy being hatched in the Punjab (Panchanad) to overthrow Alexander completely. But Alexander could at that time do nothing to thwart any such attempts at revolt. During his campaign against India not only his army but he himself was completely exhausted. To add to it, his addiction to drinking had grown beyond all limits of safety; he suddenly took ill and died in B.C. 323. That is to say, hardly within a-year-and-a-half of his return from India with all his army the great Greek (Macedonian) Emperor breathed his last at Babylon78. 1.34 INDIAN POLITICIANS CONSPIRE 78. As has already been told, as soon as Alexander began to retreat along the Indus, some of the Indian politicians began hatching out a secret plan against the Greeks in the Punjab to win back their lost freedom. But it was not merely aimed at the recovery of the lost territory. It was essentially to overhaul and revolutionize the whole gamut of the political life of India and to bring about a sweeping change in the internal life of the country. Even if Alexander had not died so soon, the deep-laid Indian plot was destined to achieve this daring political revolution. This sudden death of Alexander, however, gave Indian political workers an unexpected golden opportunity and they were quick enough to utilize it for the overthrow of the Greek power. 1.35 GREEK GOVERNORS BEHEADED 79. Alexander had left behind Nicanor and Philip as the chief representatives of the Greeks. When the news of Alexander’s death reached India the Indians in the republic of the Ashvinis suddenly fell upon the Greek Governor, Philip, and assassinated him along with his small Greek regiment79. The second, Nicanor, was also similarly despatched,80 and all those monarchies and republics along the banks of the Indus which had acquiesced in the Greek overlordship, shook it off at once and proclaimcd their independence forthwith. Greek colonies, Greek ensigns and standards-whatever signified the Greek power were completely destroyed on the spot. The whole of the tract along the banks of the Indus right from the Panchanad to Sindh which Alexander had conquered and annexed for ever and anon to his empire, became independent within six months of Alexander’s death81. 80. Alexander had conquered states und countries and empires like Greece, Syria, Persia, Babylon, Egypt and the like. There founded Greek cities and Greek colonies, and even after the division of his vast empire, just after his death, his governors and military commanders and their dcscendants ruled the respective regions like Babylon for centuries together. Even now in some other countries cities exist with the name Alexanderia, and Alexander’s name is ever crowned with the honorifix ‘The Great’ throughout ancient history. 81. But what happened in Bharat? The small states and republics in the farthest corner of India which Alexander had annexed to his empire under the impression that he had conquered them for ever and for ever, after fighting inces-santly on various battlefields for two long years and shedding the blood of millions of Greek and Hindu soldiers – those very Indian states and republics and monarchies literally uprooted his power, his standard, the Greek coloniesand every hated sign of the Greek victry-and that too witJrin six months or at the most a year81a ! 82. At last, not to speak of the city of Alexandria which he had established, his own name too is not to be traced anywhere in Indian history, as if there never was any invasion, any aggression on India’s borderland of any Mlenchh (Yavan) emperor, named Alexander, who dinned the ears of the people throughout Europe with his proud title, ‘The Great’! Curiously enough, even no stray reference has yet been discovered in Vedic or Jain or Buddhist ancient literature. 83. Writes Vincent Smith in his famous Early History of India: “All these proceedings prove conclusively that Alexander intended the permanent annexation of those (Indian) provinces to his empire…. But within three years of his departure from India (fron 325 BC to 322 BC) his officers in India were ousted, his garrisons destroyed and all traces of his rule had disappeard. The colonies which he founded in India, unlike those established elsewhere in Asiatic provinces took no root. His campaign though carefully designed to secure a permanent conquest was in actual effect no more than a brilliantly successful raid on a gigantic scale which left upon India no mark save the horrid scars of a bloody war. India remained unchanged. She continued her life of splendid isolation and soon forgot the passing of the Macedonian storm. No Indian author-Hindu, Buddhist or Jain-makes even the faintest allusion to Alexander or his deeds;” (Page 117). 84. Who were the most prominent leaders of this political conspiracy which wiped out, within a period of six months or a year, the whole of foreign political dominance caused Alexander’s aggression right from the Panchanad to Sindh? History as yet is ignorant of their names81b! Still two of them at least have become immortal! They are the same two men whom I have mentioned while describing A1exander’s advance up to Taxila. The first was a brilliant and smart youth, who had just completed his studies at the University of Taxila, Chandragupta! And the other was Acharya Chanakya, who had been a teacher at that University and who later on gave practical lessons in political craft and political revolutions to the young Chandragupta! As they were to lead the whole of Bharat hereafter, it is fit and proper that they should be introduced here. DID ALEXANDER CONQUER INDIA ? NO. 141. In the ancient period throughout the whole of Europe Greek civilization was the only one which was far ahead of others. Almost all the modern nations of Europe, therefore, revere it as their source. Naturally the name of a valiant Greek emperor of that time like Alexander is, therefore, a source of living inspiration to them. The European histories, therefore, call him “Alexander the Great” and many anecdotes and legends in the mythical manner are colourfully taught to the young pupils through their history text-books. But the commonly educated European people – not of course, the few learned historians – are blissfully ignorant of thet hen Indian antogonists of Alexander and his Greek empire, Chandragupta, his minister, Chanakya! Snch perversion of history can be overlooked so far as the European people are concerned. But after the establishment of the British rule over India in our schools and colleges too the same disproportionate praises were sung of Alexander in the history text-books and other types of literature. Because three or four generations of ours have been imparted the same English education, our educated classes are also impressed by the name Alexander the Great. But they too probably never knew who Chandragupta or Chanakya was. This perversion of history and the misunderstanding it has created in the minds of our people should no more be tolerated hereafter. We may not mind the other traditional anecdotes about Alexander, but those at least which are connected with Indian history and which extol Alexander disproportionately to the derogation of the Indian people, must be deleted from our school text-books and from our literature. Take for example, the one colourfully told in the school and college books of Europe and other types of literature and which was widely published in our country also by the English. 142. The Greeks and the other European people believed that Alexander was a world-conqueror and he had conquered the whole of India. When that war-like Emperor returned home after his world-conquest, he is said to have burst into tears at the sad thought that no more country remained for him to be conquered. This anecdote about Alexander is proudly told not only in Europe but even in India! Now it can be very clearly seen how very absurd and ludicrous this belief is from the short account given earlier in these pages. To the great nation of those times, China, he never turned his face. But even if we leave this fact aside, we have already shown how he was baffled and made to retreat when he came conquering to the Western frontiers of India with the ambitious design to conquer the Empire of Magadha and the rest of India and how his aspirations were defeated. Alexander was brave, Alexander was a conqueror! But he was not a world-conqueror! Conqueror of India he never was!! If at all that valiant hero was really moved to tears it was impossible that his tears should have been caused by the thought that there was no other country left for conquest! For he himself knew that it was false. His tears then must have been caused by the sad realization that he was not able to defeat Indian completly which he longed so much to conquer. On the contrary he must have been much disturbed by the thought that even the small corner of Indin that he believed he was able to conquer was also very likely to be wrenched from his bands by thc rebellious Indians! 142-A. As it is said in the poem “Gomantak” [Of whomsoever else he might be the conqueror, Alexander was never the conqueror of India! He did not even see the courtyard (of the palatial edifice) of India, and to many others he was never known (even by name)!] 1.59 SUPER ALEXANDER! 143. Great men should ordinarily be never compared with one another. They are great in various ways, but if anybody tries to compare any such and extol the one to the derogation of the other, this hoax must be exposed and refuted completely. So long as Europe eulogizes Alexander alone as ‘the Great’ and tries to brow-beat his antagonist, Emperor Chandragupta, by evading any reference to him, we Indians must need assert that if at all they are to be compared, Chandragupta was Super-Alexander in comparison with Alexander! Alexander ascended the throne of a strong nation, already won by his father and commanded an army that was also formed by King Philip. On the strength of this ancestral inheritance he bravely built up a strong Greek empire! But Chandragupta enjoyed no such heritage! He had not a single soldier under his command; besides he had been banished from his ancestral empire by his father! Only one man was at his side; it was Arya Chanakya! Under these circumstances he had to start anew! Yet he built up a army, conquered the ancestral empire, and wiping out the Greek conquests under Alexander himself and under his general Seleucos Nicator, founded an Indian empire mightier even than that of Alexander himself! 144. The epoch which starts with the conquest of the Yavanas by Emperor Chandragupta, the Super Shikandar is THE FIRST GLORIOUS EPOCH of Hindu Victories over the Aggressor. courtesy(Six Glorious Epochs of Indian History By V. D. Savarkar)

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गोरक्षा के अमर बलिदानी

IM000731.JPG15 सितम्बर 1871 को राम बाग अमृतसर में चार नामधारी सिखों ने गोरक्षा के लिए फांसी की रस्सी अपने गलो में पाई और देश पर बलिदान हो गए।इस दिन बलिदान देने वाले यह चार सिंह थे बाबा लहना सिंह,फतेह सिंह भाटरा, हाकम सिंह पटवारी और बहिला सिंह संधू नारली।इनके पांचवे साथी झंडा सिंह ठटा जिन्हें भगोड़ा करार दिया गया था, को पकड़ कर 12 अगस्त 1873को शहीद किया गया।कुछ अन्य सिखों को भी काले-पानी की सजा हुई और भगोड़ा करार दिया गया।इन नोजवानो का बलिदान अँग्रेज़ सरकार की बुचड़खाने खोलने की नीति के विरुद्ध हुई।बर्तानवी सरकार गो-हत्या के लिए बुचड़खाने खोल के देश के मुसलमानो को अपने साथ जोड़ना चाहती थी और सिख बुचड़खाने नहीं खुलने देते थे।इस से सरकार तिलमला उठीभारत के भिन्न भिन्न राज्यो में पहले गोहत्या नही होती थी।वास्कोडिगामा जब भारत आया था तो केरल के राजा ने उसे अपने यहाँ रहने के लिए जो नियम बताए थे उनमें गोहत्या न करना भी सम्लित था।अंग्रेज भी किसी राजा महाराजा के साथ सम्बन्ध स्थापित करने के लिए गोहत्या न करने की बात मान लेते थे।18 जनवरी 1818 को राजपूत राजाओं के साथ हुई सन्धियों के बारे में दिल्ली के रेसिडेंट मेटकाफ ने ब्रिटेन के तत्कालीन जनरल सकतर  को लिखा कि उन सन्धियों में एक शर्त गोहत्या की मनाही है।मेटकाफ ने अपने पत्र में यह भी लिखा कि उनकी भावनायों का ख्याल रखा जाये ।अफगान युद्ध के समय महाराजा रणजीत सिंह के साथ अंग्रजो की हुई सन्धि में भी यह शर्त थी कि अंग्रेज सेना पंजाब से गुजरते हुए गोहत्या नही करेगी।अंग्रेजो ने यह शर्त भी मान ली थी।

भारत एक कृषि प्रधान देश था और हैं।इसलिये यहाँ मशीनी खेती न होने के कारण, पशुयों विशेषकर गायो की नस्ल का महत्व रहा है।यह घर की सभी साधारण आवश्यकतओं को पूर्ण करने में समर्थ थी।गो भक्ति के वेदों,स्मृतियों, उपनिषदों ,महाभारत, रामायण और पुराणों में सैंकड़ो संदर्भ मिलते है।बाबर ने अपने बेटे ह्मायु को नसियत दी थी,” तुम विशेषकर गोहत्या पर लगी रोक को जारी रखना।” भले ही ह्मायूँ ने इस पर अमल नहीं किया और परिणामस्वरूप उसे भाग कर काबुल में शरण लेनी पड़ी।गुरु गोबिंद सिंह जी की बाणी में भी गोहत्या का दुख मिटाने के सम्बंध में वर्णन है।

अंग्रजो ने भारत में राज स्थापित करने के बाद बुचड़खाने खोलने आरम्भ किये।पंजाब में नामधारी पन्थ के सिखों ने बाबा राम सिंह जी के नेतृत्व में बुचड़खाने बन्द कराने हेतु सशस्त्र क्रंति की,जिसका आरम्भ अमृतसर से हुया।

अंग्रेज सरकार ने पंजाब पर अधिकार कर एक समझौते के अनुसार 1847 में सर हैनरी लारेंस को पंजाब का रेजीडेन्ट बनाया।उस ने यह साबित करने के लिए कि वो श्री हरमंदिर साहिब के सन्मान का रक्षक थ, 24 मार्च 1849 को ताँबे के पतरे पर उकेर कर श्री हरमंदिर साहिब के मुख्य द्वार पर टांगा, जिस पर खुदा था,’ अमृतसर में गोहत्या नही की जायेगी।” (Kine are not be killed at Amritsar).  महाराजा रणजीत सिंह के राज में गोहत्या पहले से बंद थी।मुसलमान भी गोहत्या नही करते थे।1857 की क्रांति के समय भी अमृतसर के अंग्रेज रेजीडेन्ट फेड्रिक कूपर ने  चालाकी से काम लेते हुये श्री हरमंदिर साहिब आकर स्वयं को सिख धर्म का अनुयायी घोषित किया, और कहा कि यदि महारानी विक्टोरिया का राज्य सुरक्षित रहा तो वो भारी स्वर्ण मंदिर में देगा।बाद में उसने सिख राज से जब्त वस्तुयों में से कुछ वस्तुए चुरा कर श्री हरमंदिर साहिब को भेंट कर दी थी।

परन्तु 29 मार्च 1849 को पंजाब पर अंग्रेजो का पूर्ण निर्न्तरण होने के बाद परस्थितियों ने नया रूप ले लिया।20 मई 1849 को ही इंग्लेंड में बैठे गवर्नर जनरल भारत सरकार ने आदेश जारी किया गया कि,”जिन परम्परायो को पड़ोसी का धर्म अनुमति देता है, उनमे किसी को दखल देने की अनुमति नहीं होगी।”

क्योंकि मुसलमान और ईसाई धर्म गोमांस खाने की मनाही नहीं करते, इसकीआड़ लेकर अंग्रेजो ने बुचड़खाने खोलने आरम्भ किये।अमृतसर में तो 3मई 1849 से ही गोहत्या की खुल दे दी गई थी।एक बूचड़खाना हरमंदिर साहिब के सामने घण्टा घर वाले स्थान पर खोला गया।यह स्पष्टतः सिखों और हिन्दुओ को चिरहाने और भोंडे  श्कितिप्रदर्शन के अतिरिक्त कुछ नहीं था।इसकी एक दीवार श्री हरमंदिर साहिब से सटी हुई थी।इसकी गंध मंदिर परिसर में भी फैली रहती थी। आंधी और पक्षीयो के कारण मांस के टुकड़े  श्री हरमंदिर साहिब की परिक्रमा और सरोवर में बिखर जाते थे।मुसलमान भीअंग्रेज सरकार की शह पर हिन्दुओ और सिखों की भावनाओं की कद्र नहीं करते थे।नगर में गोमांस खुलेआम बिकने लगा।इससे लोगो मे आक्रोश फैलने लगा।1869 में पंजाब के तत्कालीन गवर्नर जनरल ने स्थानीय लोगो की सोच के बारे में बताया कि,”लोग समझते है कि अंग्रेज खुद गाय का मांस खाने के कारण मुसलमानो को गोहत्या के लिए उकसाते है, जिससे हिंदुयों और मुसलमानों में खाई और बड़े।”

अंग्रजो की गोहत्या की नीति के बारे में तत्कालिक नेता भले ही लाहपरवाह हो गये हो ।पुजारी भी हमे क्या कहने लगे।परन्तु नामधारी सिखों के लिए यह असहनीय था।इस सम्बंध में कई गुप्त बैठके की गई।उन्होंने सतगुरु बाबा राम सिंह जी का आश्रीवाद लेकर उन्होंने 14-15 जून 1871 की मद्यरात्री को अमृतसर के बूचड़खानों से गाये छुड़ाने के लिए आक्रमण किया गया।इस हमले में पीरा,,जीवन,षादी और अम्मी बुचर मारे गये।जबकि कर्मदीन ,इलाहिबक्ष और ख़लीबा बुरी तरह से घायल हुए।इसके लिए हथियार लाल सिंह ने उपलब्ध करवाए थे,जोकि पुलिस में हवलदार था।

इससे अंग्रेज सरकार तुरन्त हरकत में आ गई।परन्तु लाख कोशिशें करने के बाद भी वो इन क्रांतिकारियों को पकड़ नही पाई।तब अपनी नकामी से बौखलाई पुलिस ने 12 निर्दोष लोगों को पकड़ कर उन्हें दोषी ठहराते हुये मुकदमा जिला सेशन कोर्ट में भेज दिया गया।

अब अमृतसर की धरती पर वो घटना घटी ,जिसका उदाहरण इससे पहले इतिहास में नही मिलता,परन्तु जिसका अनुसरण आगे चल कर मदनलाल ढींगरा,भगत सिंह और उधम सिंह जैसे शहीदों ने किया।इन 12 निर्दोष लोगों के प्राण बचाने हेतु नामधारियों के श्री सतगुरु बाबा राम सिंह जी के आदेश पर लहना सिंह,फतेह सिंह भाट रा, हाकम सिंह पटवारी और बहिला सिंह संधू ने कोर्ट में प्रस्तुत हुये और कहा,”पुलिस के पकड़े हुये सभी लोग निर्दोष है,हमने ही गोहत्या का कलंक मिटाने और अंग्रेज सरकार को खत्म करने के लिए यह किया है।”।15 सितम्बर 1871 को इन सभी को खुलेआम रामबाग अमृतसर में फांसी दे दी गई।जब इनसे इनकी अंतिम इच्छा पूछी गई तो इन्होंने कहा कि इन्हें रेशम की रस्सी से फांसी दी जाए,क्योंकि जुट की रस्सी ।के मजबूती के लिएचर्भी लगी होती ह।रामबाग में उन्होंने रेशम के बने फाँसी के फंदे स्वयं अपने गले मे पहने और शहीद हो गये।

इसी तरह नामधारियों ने रायकोट और मलेरकोटला में भी अपने प्राणों का बलिदान दिया।

ब्रिटीश सरकार ऐसी घटनायों को अपने विरुद्ध आंदोलन ही मानती थी।इसी कारण से पंजाब के माली मामलिया के कमिश्नर जी एस अयोगलिवन ने लिखा,”गो वध  विरोधी आंदोलन धार्मिक जोश की आड़ में राज विरुद्ध बगावत है।”

दिसम्बर 1893 में ब्रिटेन की महारानी विक्टोरिया ने भारत के तत्कालीन वायसराय को एक पत्र में लिखा,”मुसलमानो की तरफ हिंदुयों से अधिक ध्यान देने की जरूरत है।वो निश्चय ही वो अधिक वफादार है।भले ही मुसलमानो द्वारा की जा रही गो हत्याओं  को गोहत्या विरोधी आंदोलन का बहाना बनाया जा रहा है।फिर भी वास्तव में यह आंदोलन हमारे ही विरुद्ध है।”

नामधारियों के प्रमुख बाबा राम सिंह जी ने ही देश में सर्वप्रथम स्वदेसी लहर और न- मिलवर्तन  लहर चलाई।

अंग्रेजो ने उन्हें गिरफ्तार कर कालेपानी भेज दिया गया।

अमृतसर के रामबाग में बना शहीदी स्मारक आज भी हमे उन गोरक्षकों के शौर्यपूर्ण और तेजश्वी अमर बलिदान की याद दिलाता है और दिलाता रहेगा।यहाँ आज भी वो पेड़ देख सकते हैं, जिन पर इन क्रांतिकारियों को फांसी दी गई थी।यहाँ आकर हरेक का सिर इन बलिदानियों के सन्मान में झुक जाता है।

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Banda Bahadur


Veer Vairagi alias Banda Bahadur was a great warrior and liberator
of the Hindus in Panjab, during the cruel and fanatical rule of the
Muslim rulers in the beginning of the eighteenth century.

Banda Bahadur’s life sketch

The story goes that Banda’s original name was Lachhman Dev.

He was born in Kartik 1727 Bikrami Samvat, October-November

1670, four years after the birth of Guru Gobind Singh. He belonged

either to Kashmir or Panjab. He was a Rajput cultivator. By

the time he was just turned twenty, his astonishing mind was set on

its task. He had a reputation of being a great hunter. One day he

killed a doe which immediately delivered itself of two cubs which

expired in his presence. The sight shocked him. He renounced

worldly life and became a Bairagi Sadhu or a wandering hermit

and ultimately settled at Nander on the banks of river Godavari in

Maharashtra. He won great fame as a sorceror under the name of

Madhodas and commanded thousands of followers.

Guru Gobind Singh went to his hermitage. Madhodas was away.

The Guru ordered his disciples to kill a few goats of the Bairagi and

cook meat there and then. The matter was reported to the Bairagi.

The Guru asked him who he was. Madhodas replied, he was Banda

or Guru’s slave. The Guru enquired, if he knew whom he was talking

  1. He said he was none other than Guru Gobind Singh. At

that time Banda was 38 years old and the Guru was of 42 yeaTS.

The Guru encouraged him to give up his present way of living and

resume the duties of a real Rajput. In a few days the Guru held a

durbar, conferred the title of Banda Bahadur on him and appointed

him his military lieutenant to punish the Governor of Sarhind who

had killed his two youngest sons, and was mainly responsible for

the death of his two elder sons, his mother and thousands of Sikhs

and Hindus. He was given a council of advisers of five Sikhs who

on their arrival in Panjab were to assure the Sikhs that Banda was

Guru’s nominee and deputy to organise them in order to lead an

expedition against Sarhind.

2 Evolution of Sikh Confederacies

Banda came to Panjab and was joined by thousands of Sikhs

and Hindus. He plundered all the Muslim towns and villages on

the way, conquered Sarhind and killed Wazir Khan, its Governor.

He appointed Sikh officers in place of Muslims in the Sarhind province

lying between the rivers Satluj and Jamuna up to Karnal and

Panipat. Then he extended his rule up to river Ravi and occupied

the whole of Indian Panjab and Haryana, while the Rajas of

Himachal Pradesh became his tributaries. He led expeditions into

the Ganga Doab also. He set up his headquarters at Lohgarh, a

small fortalice, situated in the lower Shiwalik hills south of Nahan

and north-east of Sadhaura, in Nahan district. After five years’ rule

he was defeated and killed by the Mughal Emperor, Farrukh Siyar.

Now three questions of importance arise: Where was Banda’s

original home, whether he was known to Guru Gobind Singh before

their meeting at Nander, and if Banda was baptised.

Banda’s original home

There are a couple of theories about the original home of Banda

Bahadur. Most of the historians hold that his birth place was at

Rajauri in Punchh district of Kaskmir. Sixty years after Banda,

James Browne wrote that he was born in the Jullundur Doab.l J.D.

Cunningham says, “he was a native of the south of India.”z The

present writer is of the view that Banda belonged to Sarmur State

now District of Nahan in Himachal Pradesh. This conclusion is

based on the following grounds:

  1. Guru Gobind Singh’s field of activities had been the region

lying between the rivers Satluj and Jamuna. He stayed at Paonta in

Nahan district of Himachal Pradesh from 1685 to 1688. The Guru

frequently went on hunting expeditions around Paonta as well as in

the hilly areas south of Paonta ar,d Nahan. This part of the country

surrounded by Paonta, Nahan, Morni, Kalka, Pinjor, Chandi

Mandir, Tilokpur below Momi, Tilokpur below Nahan, Kala Am

and Mukhlispur was the famous hunting ground for tigers, leopards,

bears, wild boars and deer, particularly in winter. Ahmad Shah

Abdali hunted tigers and bears here in February 1765. The Governor-

Generals from Calcutta came here to hunt. On March 28, 1838

Lord Auckland killed eight tigers near Kala Am in the dry bed of

river Markauda in a few hours.

Banda was also a mighty hunter. During these hunting excursions

the Guru seems to have met Banda many a time. Without

any previous acquaintance, the Guru would not have undertaken a

long journey of nearly two thousand kilometres and appointed Banda

his Deputy on a fortnight’s experience at Nander to guide the destiny

of his beloved Khalsa.

  1. Banda’s outward appearance as a Bairagi must have considerably

changed due to his long hair and ash-smeared body. The

Guru must have recognised him, but to make himself quite sure he

enquired who he was. Banda recognised the Guru at once, and

replied that he was Guru’s slave.

  1. Guru Gobind Singh spoke a language which was a mixture of

Hindi and Panjabi. Such a language must have been spoken by

Banda, otherwise the Sikhs would not have followed him so quickly

and Hindus would not have joined him so speedily. Both the Sikhs

and the Hindus took him as one of themselves for this reason.

This language is still spoken in Ambala district and southern parts

of Nahan district even today.

  1. Banda’s exploits in this region clearly prove that he was familiar

with every nook and corner of this tract.

  1. The establishment of his headquarters at Mukhlispur is

another proof of Banda’s knowledge of this area. Mukhlis Khan,

the Governor of Sarhind, often hunted in these jungles. In the heart

of a dense forest he built a rest house for himself on the top of a

hill in 16771 and called it after his own name Mukhlispur. It looked

like a small fort. That is why Khafi Khan calls it QUachi.

  1. Banda’s disappearance into the hills and emergence at Kiratpur

in one day indicates his familiarity with the submontane tract of

Shiwalik hills.

  1. After Banda’s escape from this fort in December 1710, Raja

Bhup Prakash of Nahan was arrested, put in an iron cage and sent

to Delhi. Banda passed through the states of Nahan, Nalagarh

Bilaspur, Kangra and Chamba. No action was taken against any

oth.:r state. It seems clear that the Raja of Nahan was punished not

that Banda escaped through his territory, but that Banda was his

subject, and it was his duty to apprehend him.

  1. Banda’s abolition of zamindari system also demonstrates his

knOWledge of this region. The land there belonged to zamindars

under the feudal system. This practice was not confined to Nahan

state but also extended to parts of Ambala district, lying at the foot

of Shiwalik hills. There the landlords were mainly Muslims and

tenants were mostly Hindu Jats and Gujars.

  1. Banda changed the name of Mukhlispur to that of Lohgarh.

From here he issued his own coins. In addition to the names of

Nanak and Gobind Singh, they bore the words ‘Sachcha Sahib.’

In the language of this tract ‘Sahib’ meant God. When a Hindu met

a Muslim, he greeted him with ‘Sahib Salaam’ (Salute to God),

and the reply given was ‘Sahib ko Salaam.’ The Hindus among

themselves greeted each other with ‘Ram Ram.’ Sachcha Sahib

therefore meant True Lord God. In his letters and orders Banda

used the words ‘Sri Sachcha Sahib,’ not for himself, but for God

and the Guru. The other Gurus after Nanak in their letters wrote

their names as Nanak. Banda eould not write Nanak as he was not

the Guru. He adopted the term of Sachcha Sahib. The word Sahib

was chiefly used there.

  1. In the battle of Sarhind Sher Muhammad Khan, Nawab of

Malerkotla, had fought hard against Banda. The Nawab was killed

while fighting. In order to punish the Nawab’s family, Banda attacked

Malerkotla. To save the town from pillage Kishan Das Banya,

an old acquaintance of the Bairagi, came to see him. Banda embraced

him. On his recommendation the town was saved on payment of

two lakhs of rupees as fine. l The shopkeepers of the plains visited

Shiwalik hills for the purpose of trade. They exchanged sugar, oil,

salt and cloth for the hilly products such as blankets, ginger, turmeric

and honey. In some of these visits Kishan Das might have met

Banda Bahadur.

Was Banda baptised by the Guru?

There is no doubt about it that Banda became a disciple of Guru

Gobind Singh, but he was not baptised according to his new ceremony

of administering pahul. It appears that the Guru did so deliberately

for certain reasons;

  1. Banda was already known as Guru in Maharashtra and he

commanded a large following. The Guru did not want to enhance

Banda’s prestige as a religious leader of the Sikhs.

  1. He was over-active and over-energetic (Bara-Tejdhari),2 both

in worldly life as well as in spiritual domain. The Guru was fully

familiar with the Masands’ role. He had abolished that institution,

and was not prepared to create another masand so aggressive and

powerful as Banda.

  1. By making him a regular Sikh, the Guru feared lest he might

claim Guruship in course of time. Without baptism the Khalsa

would not accept him as the Guru. This actually happened. Ratan

Singh Bhangu and Santokh Singh write that later on Banda declared

himself Guru, and the Khalsa rejected his claim. They insisted on

his getting himself baptised and t:’l.king meat diet. l

Bhai Santokh Singh in Suraj Granth says: “He was not in accord

with the Khalsa. Without the Guru’s approval he started his own

sect. He did not take baptism of the dagger. He did not adopt the

Sikh way of life (keeping five K’s). He did not eat meat and drink

wine, and did not wear black clothes.”2

Gian Singh also says that the Guru did not baptise him.3 Khazan

Singh is of the view that “although Banda became his disciple the

Guru did not deem it advisable to initiate him with Pahul.” lie

further observes: The Guru “selected and deputed Banda Bahadur,

not as successor and leader of the Khalsa, but as an avenging agent

without admitting him into the Khalsa order with the usual initiation

of Amrit baptism.”4

Kartar Singh Kalaswalia says that the Guru presented Banda at

the time of his departure for Panjab with his own special dagger

which he always wore around his neck. At this his Khalsa shouted:

“We will never allow a non-Khalsa to have it. We will sacrifice our

lives after killing him.” Further he says Banda “was neither a baptised

Sikh nor a Sahajdhari.”6

Karam Singh, the well-known Sikh historian, declares that “although

Banda had come within the fold of the Sikhs, he had no time

to take Amrit.”6

  1. Had Banda been baptised, he would not have changed the

Guru’s salutation of Wah Guruji ka Khalsa, Wah Guruji ki Fatah

to Fatah Darshan.

  1. In case of his being a regular Sikh, a schism could not have

taken place among his followers into Tatva Khalsa and Bandai


  1. There are no contemporary or near contemporary sources to

establish the fact that Banda had been baptised. All sources quoted

in support of this assertion are one hundred years or more later.

Banda invested with temporal authority

At a durbar held at Nander about the middle of September 1708,

the Guru conferred the title of Bahadur on Banda and invested him

with full political and military authority as his Deputy to carryon

the national struggle in the Panjab and to punish Wazir Khan of

Sarhind and his supporters. He was supplied with a standard and a

drum as symbols of temporal authority. He was given an advisory

council of five devoted Khalsa: Baj Singh, a descendant of the

family of the third Guru, Amar Das, his brother Ram Singh, Binod

Singh, who descended from Guru Angad, his son Kahan Singh and

Fatah Singh.l Twenty-five Sikh soldiers were given to him as his

bodyguard. A rescript called hukamnamah or a letter of authority

in the handwriting of the Guru instructing the Sikhs to join Banda

Bahadur in his national war against Mughal tyranny was provided.

As an insignia of his temporal authority invested in him, the Guru

gave Banda Bahadur his own sword, green bow and five arrows

from his quiver. Three hundred Sikh cavaliers in battle array accompanied

Banda to a distance of eight kilometres to give him the final

send off.

Banda on his journey, 1708-09

The Guru refused to accompany the Emperor beyond Nander.

He had been severely wounded by a Pathan set on the Guru by

Wazir Khan with the connivance of the court nobles. The despatch

of Banda to the Panjab had infuriated Emperor Bahadur

Shah. As a result of his intrigue the Guru passed away on October

7, 1708. Banda had not gone far when he heard the sad news. This

did not discourage him. On the contrary it doubled his zeal and set

the fire of vengeance ablaze in his heart. Besides Banda had seen

with his own eyes how Tara Bai. a young widow five years younger

than he. had set Aurangzeb’s teeth on edge from 1700 to 1707. Sir

Jadunath Sarkar writes. “During this period the supreme guiding

force in Maharashtra was not any minister but the Dc wager queen

Tara Bai Mohite. Her administrative genius and strength of character

saved the nation in that awful crisis that threatened it in consequence

of Rajaram’s death.”1 He now feared the safety of his own

person and his men on account of Emperor’s hostility. He wanted

to reach Panjab before the Emperor was free from the revolt of his

brother Kam Bakhsh at Hyderabad.

Banda seems to have travelled in disguise and by circuitous routes

to avoid detection. Generally he adopted the same route across

Maharashtra and Rajasthan as was followed by Guru Gobind

Singh. The distance between Nander and Hissar in Haryana by that

route was 1,600 kms.2 At the rate of 16 kms or 10 miles a day on

an average, Banda should not have taken more than 100 days during

his journey, but he actually took about a year. It means that he

might have been frequently in hiding. The Emperor should have

instructed his officers to make short work of Banda and his party,

as this much of diplomacy he could not have ignored. That is why

Banda travelled right across Maharashtra and Rajasthan, both of

which were in revolt against the Mughals.

Banda in Haryana, 1709

Narnau/: Banda arrived at Narnaul. There he saw complete destruction

of Satnamis with his own eyes. His blood boiled on learning

that the entire sect of Satnamis, men, women and children, one

and all, had been wiped out of existence. It was here that Banda

made up his mind to retaliate upon Muslims. Here he suppressed

some dacoits and robbers.1

Bhiwani: At Bhiwani Banda looted the government treasury and

distributed it among his followers. This liberality attracted a large

number of young men to join him.’

Hissar: In Hissar district called the Bagar desh where Banda

was in October 1709, he was well received by the Hindus and Sikhs

as a leader of the nationalist movement and deputy of Guru

Gobind Singh. Liberal offerings were made to him in the cause of

the country and dharam (religion and virtue) which he distributed

among his followers and the poor and the needy. In this region he

took to suppressing dacoits and robbers, seized thei.r booty and

gave it to the poor people. Young men of narrow means and daredevils

began to flock under his banners, and the number of his

retinue was swelling.3

Tohana: Here Banda issued letters to Malwa Sikhs to join him

in his crusade against Wazir Khan of Sarhind.

Never perhaps in the history of Panjab did the circumstances of

the time offer so fair a field to the ambition of a leader, conscious

of great talents, and calleo to the command of a warlike people,

only too eager to support him in any enterprise he might undertake.

The Emperor was away in the Deccan, and many of his notable

chiefs and commanders had been killed in the recently fought civil

war. The Governors of Delhi, Sarhind, Lahore and Jammu acted

independently and had no cooperation among themselves. Banda

directed his attention to the east towards Delhi. There were two

motives behind this move. He wanted to leave Mata Sahib Devi in

Delhi and plunder the Government officials and rich Muslims of

the fertile areas of Haryana. From Kharkhauda about 50 kms

north-west of Delhi, Mata Sahib Devi was sent to Delhi under proper

escort, to join Mata Sundari, who was acting as head of

the Khalsa. She might have resented Banda’s ignoring her for not

having visited her at the capital before starting on his crusade.

Sonepat: At Sonepat, 50 kms north of Delhi, early in November

1709 Banda commanded about 500 followers. He attacked the

IBanda’s arrival at Namaul and his suppression oflawless people is mentioned

by Giani Gian Singh, Shri Guru Panth Prakash, 4th edition, 345-46.

government treasury, plundered it and distributed it among his

retinue. This was his second success against the government and it

considerably raised his prestige. By slow marches he advanced towards


Kaitha/: Near Kaithal, about 100 kms farther north, Banda seized

a government treasury which was on its way from the northern districts

to Delhi. He kept nothing out of it for himself and gave it

away to his rank and file.

Samana: Samana, 50 kms farther north was the native place of

Jalal-ud-din Jallad, the professional executioner, who had beheaded

Guru Tegh Bahadur, while his son had beheaded the two younger

sons of Guru Gobind Singh. Ali Husain who by false promises had

lured Guru Gobind Singh to evacuate Anandpur also 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 was thoroughly squeezed.l Samana

was the district town and had nine parganahs attached to it. It was

placed under charge of Fatah Singh. Samana was the first territorial

conquest and the first administrative unit of Banda. A large

quantity of gold, arms and ammunition fell into his hands, while

everybody fighJng under him became rich and prosperous.2 Fatah

Singh was given a body of troopers to maintain peace and order.

Other Muslim Towns: Kunjpura, Ghuram and Thaska, inhabited

by Muslim Ranghars, notorious for rape and rapine, were destroyed

next.3 Damla was the village of those Pathans who had deserted

Guru Gobind Singh in the battle of Bhangani. It was ravaged.~

Shahabad Markanda, 25 kms south of Ambala, a Muslim town, fell

Banda’s victim. Mustafabad, 40 kms south-west of Ambala, was

laid waste. The Nawab of Kapuri who was lewd and lustful was

killed and his fort was razed to the ground.

Sadhaura: Usman Khan, the chief of Sadhaura, 25 kms distant,

had persecuted Sayyid Budhu Shah for helping Guru Gobind Singh

in the battle of Bhangani. The Muslim population maltreated the

local Hindus. On the approach of Banda the leading Muslims

gathered in a big and strongly built mansion. They were all massacred.

This building came to be called Qatal Garhi.1 Banda attacked

the town and destroyed it.

The contemporary historian Khafi Khan wrote: “In two or three

months’ time, four to five thousand 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. Soon eighteen to nineteen thousand men in arms under

him raised aloft the standard of plunder and persecution.”2 Further

on he says: “Numerous villages were laid waste, and he appointed

his own police officers (thanedars) and coIlectors of revenue (tahsildar-


Lohgarh: The ultimate aim of Banda was to punish Wazir Khan

and conquer Sarhind. It required time to consolidate his material

and territorial gains. He also wanted to study the military resources

of Sarhind. He was anxious to see what steps the Government

would take against him. He therefore established his headquarters,

i1J. the beginning of February 1710, at Mukhlispur situated in lower

Shiwalik hills south of Nahan, about 20 kms from Sadhaura. Its

fort stood on 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. AIl the money, gold and costly material acquired

in these expeditions were deposited here. He struck coins and

issued orders under his own seal. The name of Mukhlispur was

changed to Lohgarh, and it became the capital of the first Sikh

State. “Although he declared himself as the slave of the Guru, yet

the Khalsa looked upon him as the Guru and became his followers.”4

Banda ruled over the region bounded on the north by the Shiwalik

hills, on the west by river Tangri, on the east by river Jamuna, and

in the south by a line passing through Samana, Thanesar, Kaithal

and Kamal. He abolished the Zamindari system of land tenure

prevailing under the Mughals an<\ declared the actual cultivators as

the owners of land. Thus he established the 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.”l So Guru Gobind Singh’s dream of political

sovereignty was realized within a year of his death.

Banda’s name struck terror into the hearts of lawless people,

and thefts and brigandage became a thing of the past. “In all the

parganahs occupied by the Sikhs,” writes Irvine, “the reversal of

the previous customs was striking and complete. A low scavenger

or leather dresser, the lowest of the low in Indian estimation, had

only to leave home and join the Guru, when in a short time he

would return to his birthplace as its. ruler with his order of appointment

in his hand. As soon as he set foot within the boundaries,

the well-born and wealthy went out to greet him and escort him

home. Arrived there, they stood before him with joined palms

awaiting his orders… Not a soul dared to disobey an order, and

men who had often risked themselves in battlefields, became so

cowed down that they were afraid even to remonstrate. Hindus who

had not joined the sect were not exempt from these.”2

Banda’s troops

Banda 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 him. Wazir Khan of Sarhind was making his own preparations

independently to meet the danger from Banda.

Banda’s troops consisted of two classes of people. The old Sikhs

who had fought under Guru Gobind Singh joined him purely to

punish Wazir Khan. They also wished to see the fulfilment of the

Guru’s prophecy for Sikh sovereignty in Panjab. They numbered

about five thousands. Another class of Sikhs of about the same

number comprised young men who wanted to punish and plunder

the enemies of their faith. The third group of Hindu Jats, Gujars

and Rajputs, about ten thousands in number were intent on plunder

alone. Most of them were untrained, raw levies, not fully armed.

Banda possessed no elephants, no good horses and no guns. His

followers had matchlocks, swords, spears, bows and arrows. According

to Khafi Khan the number of Sikhs had risen to thirty or forty


Wazir Khan’s preparations

Wazir Khan had proclaimed a jihad or a holy war against Banda.

He was joined by the Nawab of Malerkotla, all other Muslim chiefs

and jagirdars as well as by Ranghars in large numbers. His men

were fully equipped with fine, up-to-date arms. Majority of his

soldiers were trained men. Wazir Khan’s own troops were “five or

six thousand horse and seven or eight thousand musketeers (barqandaz)

and archers, and with these, some artillery and elephants.” In

addition there were about eight thousand ghazis. The total number

of his troops was about twenty thousands.

Banda advanced from Lohgarh and halted at Banur, near Ambala,

14 kms from Rajpura. The Muslims of that town used to seize cows

and oxen of Hindus and slaughter them in their presence. Banda

sacked it, and then went ahead towards Sarhind.

On hearing the news of Banda’s advance, the Sikhs of the

Jullundur and Bari Doabs gathered at Kiratpur to join his forces.

Their passage was barred near Rupar by Sher Muhammad Khan

of Malerkotla. He was defeated. They met Banda between Banur

and Kharar on the road leading from Ambala to Rupar.1

The battle of Sarhind, May 12, 1710

The battle was fought at Chhappar Chiri,2 20 kms from Sarhind

on May 12, 1710. On the Mughal side Sher Muhammad Khan,

Nawab of Malerkotla, was the leader of the right wing. Wazir

Khan was in command of the centre. Suchanand, chief secretary

of,the Nawab, was put on the left. On the Sikh side, Baj Singh

headed the right flank and Binod Singh the left flank, while Banda

c,ommanded the centre facing Wazir Khan. Shouts of Sachcha

Radishah, Fatah Darshan, Akal, Akal and Ya Ali, Ya Ali, rent

. tbe sky.3 Suchanand could not withstand the ferocity of Baj Singh.

He was soon vanquished and fled away. The artillery fire of the

Mughals told heavily on the plunderers in Banda’s camp. They

were equally divided between the forces of Banda and Binod, and

they took to flight. Sher Muhammad was about to overpower

:ainod Singh’s wing when he was suridenly 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. There a bloody battle was going on.

Baj Singh and Binod Singh now joined Banda. Banda and the Sikh

leaders now converged around Wazir Khan, who was killed.

Wazir Khan’s death is variously described. Khafi Khan says that

he was struck by a musket balJ.l Mir Muhammad Ahsan Ijad says

that Baj Singh rushed upon Wazir Khan. The Governor threw his

spear at him. Baj Singh caught hold of it. He 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 Fatah Singh came to the

rescue of Baj Singh. His sword cut the Khan from shoulder to the


Akhbarat-e-Durbar-e-Mualla dated May 13, 1710 stated that the

battle began in the morning and lasted until afternoon. Wazir Khan

was wounded by arrows and bullets and fell dead. His son and sonin-

law also perished.1

Latif writes that he was killed by an arrow which pierced hill

breast.4 Kanhiyalal says he was struck by a bullet in breast.5 Macauliffe

holds that his head was cut off by Banda himself in a scuffle.’

Pursuit offugitives

Wazil’ 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. The Sikhs

with one voice and in a wild excitement raised the sky-rending

shouts of Sat Sri Akal. The Muslim troops on beholding the Nawab’s

head took alarm, and trembling fled helter skelter in dismay and

despair. The Sikhs fell upon them and there was a terrible carnage.

Blood flowed freely not only in the battlefield but on a wide tract

up to the city of Sarhind, 20 kms distant. Wazir Khan’s body was

dragged by oxen and was then burnt.7 Khafi Khan writes that in

the course of flight “not a man of the army of Islam escaped with

more than his life and the clothes he stood in. Horsemen and foot

men fell under the swords of the infidels who pursued them as far

as Sarhind.”1

The city ofSarhind

The Sikhs reached Sarhind 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 in

the night and gained strength for another trial the following day.

Wazir Khan’s family and the Muslim nobles fled to Delhi at night.

Severe fighting took place on May 13, 1710. The fort guns caused

“great havoc among Sikhs, and about 500 of them lost their lives.

The Sikhs in knots were hammering at the gates, and the Mughal

gunners obviously were playing a losing game. By afternoon they

succeeded in breaking open a couple of gates, and Banda’s troops

entered the town. Inside the town destruction of life and property

knew no bounds. Whole families were wiped out of existence.

Every follower of Banda seized as much in calih and kind as much

he could carry home The Government treasury and moveable property

worth two crores fell into the hands of Banda and it was

removed to Lohgarh. Several Muslims of note saved their lives by

embracing Sikhism. Dindar Khan son of JaJal Khan Rohilla became

Dindar Singh. The official newswriter of Sarhind Mir Nasirud-

din changed his name to Mir Nasir Singh.2

The province of Sarhind occupied

The entire province of Sarhind consisting of twenty-eight parganahs

and extending from the Satluj to the Jamuna and from the

Shiwalik hills to Kunjpura, Kamal and Kaithal, yielding 52 lakhs

annually (Bawani Sarhind) came into Banda’s possession. Baj Singh

was appointed Governor of Sarhind. Ali Singhwas made his deputy.

Their chief responsibility was to be on guard against the Mughal

troops from Lahore and Jammu. Fatah Singh retained charge of

Samana..Ram Singh, brother of Baj Singh, became chief of Thanesar.

Binod Singh, in addition to his post of the revenue minister,

was entrusted with the administration of Kamal 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 Sarhind. The zamindari system was

abolished in the whole province at one stroke. l

Banda advances towards Lahore, June 17/0

Having set up the administrative machinery, Banda advanced

from Sarhind to Malerkotia to punish the family of Sher Muhammad

Khan. 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. He chastized the Brahmins and

Ranghars who had made over Guru Gobind Singh’s mother and

his two youngest sons to Wazir Khan. Then he visited Kiratpur

and Anandpur to pay homage at the holy shrines. He took Hoshiarpur

and Jullundur and carried fire and sword everywhere. Banda

crossed the Beas and fell upon Batala. Shaikh-ul-Ahad, a leading

Muslim chief and theologian, was killed. Several other places including

Kalanaur were captured. 2 He went on a pilgrimage to Derah

Baba Nanak. At Amritsar Banda made large offerings. He invited

young men to embrace Sikhism promising remission of land revenue

and other rewards. Thereupon the people of Majha joined the


Banda marched to Lahore. Sayyid Islam Khan, the Governor,

mounted guns on the walls of the city. He was joined by all the

Muslims of the neighbourhood. A fierce action took place at a

distance from the city. Thousands were killed on both sides. The

Muslims were defeated. They assembled the next day, “but were

again defeated with great slaughter.”4 Lahore must have fallen, but

Banda was in a hurry to look after his Government.

Thus the city remained safe owing to its strong fortifications. But

the entire suburbs for miles around were completely devastated. In

this campaign Banda was joined by thousands of low-caste Hindus.5

Banda in the Upper Ganga Doab, July 1710

Banda returned to Sarhind, toured over the province to see that

the administration was going on well. Then he returned to Lohgrah.

In the course of his excursions tales of bigotry of the Muslims of

the Upper Ganga Doab were brought to his notice. He lost no time,

and crossed the river Jamuna at Rajghat near Buria and entered the

district of Saharanpur. He punished and plundered the people of

Saharanpur, Behat, Nanautah and Jalalabad. The people submitted

after a tough resistance. Thus Banda’s rule extended from the river

Ravi to the Ganga, and from the neighbourhood of Lahore to the

vicinity of Panipat.1

The Haidari Flag, September-October 17/0

Immediately on his return, the Musiims of Lahore district and

its vicinity declared a holy war against the Sikhs. Thousands of

Muslims gathered under a huge standard with a green flag, called

Haidari Jhanda, to crush the Sikh revolt. The Sikhs assembled under

their local leaders in self-defence. Three main battles were fought

at Qaila Bhagwant Rae, not far from Lahore, Kotla Begam near

Chamyari and Bhilowal. The Muslims were defeated and dispersed.2

The battle of Rahon, October-November 17/0

The Sikhs fell back. They captured Rahon situated on a high

mound near the Satluj in the Jullundur Doab. Shams Khan, faujdar

of the Jullundur Doab, had his headquarters at Sultanpur

Lodi. At the head of 5,000 men he marched against the Sikhs.

There were no provisions in the fort of Rahon. They left the fort

and came out to oppose Shams Khan. A hard battle was fought in

Yaqub Khan’s garden. Shams Khan was joined by his uncle

Bayazid Khan, Governor of Jammu. Umar Khan, an Afghan chief

of Kasur, also united with them. A tough fight followed. The Sikhs

held together for a few days. Finding the situation untenable they

entered Rahon in the night. The place was immediately besieged.

They stood their ground for some time, eating whatever could be

had from the deserted houses. The fort fell in November and the

Sikhs were driven away.3 Shams Khan then advanced upon Sarhind.

Baj Singh and Ali Singh were defeated. They fled away to Lohgarh.

Shams Khan occupied Sarhind and killed a number of Sikhs.

Bahadur Shah marches against Banda

Emperor Bahadur Shah had defeated and killed his only surviving

brother Kam Bakhsh in January 1709. He remained in the Deccan

for about a year to establish his own administration. Meanwhile

several Rajput princes had revolted in Rajasthan. Bahadur Shah

came there in May 1710. At Ajmer he got the news of Sikh

rebellion in Panjab. He hurriedly settled terms with the Rajputs

and left for Panjab towards the close of June 1710.

Several Hindu chiefs such as Chatarsal Bundela1 and Udet Singh

Bundela followed in his train. The Governors of Allahabad,

Lucknow, Moradabad, Delhi and Sayyid Abdullah of Barah Sadat

in Muzaffarnagar district were ordered to join him.2

In July 1710 the Emperor appointed Zain-ud-din Ahmad Khan

Governor of Sarhind. In August 1710 Firoz Khan Mewati was

placed in command of the advance-guard. Muhammad Amin

Khan,3 Governor of Moradabad, with his son Qamar-ud-din Khan

(both of whom became prime ministers of Delhi later on) joined

the Emperor in Haryana. Another force under Sayyid Wajih-uddin

Khan of Barah Sadat was sent to reinforce Firoz Khan

Mewati. By a proclamation ingress into and egress from Delhi was

strictly forbidden. Kokaltash Khan was given charge of Sonepat.

Early in September 1710 all the Hindus in the camp were clean

shaved to avoid any resemblance with the Sikhs. Muslim chiefs

and jagirdars joined the imperial forces on their way. Churaman

Jat of Bharatpur reported himself on duty in the royal camp near


The Emperor was so much worried that he did not enter his

capital and marched straight to Sonepat in the last week of October.

Here he learnt the news of a couple of engagements with the Sikhs.

Firoz Khan Mewati had fought an action with Binod Singh at

Amin, 24 kms north of Kamal, and he presented 300 Sikh heads

to the Emperor at Sonepat. He was given one lakh of rupees and

appointed Governor of Sarhind in supersession of his previous

orders for the appointment of Zain-ud-din Khan.

Mewati fought two more battles against Binod Singh and Ram

Singh at Traori and Thanesar, defeated them and established bis

own military posts there. Hundreds of Sikh heads with their long

flowing hair were hung up on trees all along the road. He then

advanced to Shahabad, and captured it.

In November 1710 the Emperor passed through Panipat, Kamal,

Thanesar and Shahabad. He encamped at Barara. In one month

he covered a distance of 150 kms. In the beginning of December

1710 he reached Sadhaura which became the base of his operations.

There the Emperor received 300 Sikh heads sent by Shams Khan

from Sarhind. Firoz Khan Mewati was ordered to restore Emperor’s

authority in the rural areas.

Clashes with Imperial forces

Bahadur Shah planned to advance upon Banda’s stronghold at

Lohgarh. The Imperial forces were terror-stricken (tars-o-hariis).l

“According to the popular voice,” writes Irvine, “he was a most

powerful magician, greater even than he who made a calf to talk;

he could turn a bullet from its course and could work such spells

that spear and sword had little or no effect upon his followers.

Owing to those idle rumours the Emperor and the nobles and the

soldiers were much disturbed in mind and were disheartened. The

Sikhs, on the other hand, were encouraged by the belief instilled

into them by Banda that all who lost their lives in this war would

be recreated at once in a higher rank.”z

A strong Mughal force under Rustamdil Khan advanced from

their base at Sadhaura towards Lohgarh to examine the position

of Banda’s defences. At a distance of 5 kms they were suddenly

attacked by Banda’s troops. Khafi Khan writes: “It is impossible

for me to describe the fight which followed. The Sikhs in their

faqir dress struck terror into the royal troops. The number of the

dead and dying of the Imperialists was so large that, for a time, it

seemed they were losing ground. A nephew of Firoz Khan Mewati

was killed and his son wounded.”· In the battle Banda lost 1,500

Sikhs and two Sardars.’ Banda cut off convoys and other detachents,

and kilJed two or three faujdars. It rained for four or five

days and weather became very cold. Thousands of soldiers fell ill

and many horses died. Their stench was unbearable. The soldiers

attributed this calamity to the sorcery of Banda.

Another big contingent under command of Emperor’s son Prince

Rafi-us-Shan, was ordered to reinforce Rustamdil Khan. Kamwar

Khan in his Tazkirat-ul-Salatin writes: “This humble person was

then present with the troops of Prince Rafi-us-Shan, and saw with

his own eyes that everyone of the cursed Sikhs came out of the

entrenchments, challenged the Imper~al troops, and after great

struggle and trial, fell under the swords of the Ghazis.”t Rustamdil

Khan was raised to the mansab of 4,000 Zat and 3,000 Sawar with

the title of Ghazi Khan Rustam-e-Jang.

The siege of Lohgarh

Rustamdil Khan made a farther advance by 4 kms, and reached

the stream Som. From there the fort of Lohgarh was visible. It

was perched on the top of a hill. Between the stream Som and

Lohgarh lay a dense forest. It produced frightful sounds at night.

The imperial camp arrived there on December 9, 1710. The prime

minister Munim Khan and his son Mahabat Khan were assigned

the duty to guard the royal camp.

The foIlowing day on December 10, 1710, the Imperial army,

60,000 strong, pushed forward in battle array so as to surround

the fort of Lohgarh on all sides. Wazir Munim Khan, his son

Mahabat Khan and Chatarsal Bundela were in charge of the right

wing. Ddet Singh Bundela and Churaman Jat commanded the left

wing. Rustamdil Khan was in the centre. When they reached within

range of the Sikh guns, they were heavily shelled. The Mughal

troops entered the trenches at the foot of the hill. The Sikhs fought

hard, but they were repulsed. The survivors retreated up the hill.

Large numbers of Muslims were also killed.2

The fort of Lohgarh. was small. There was no space for storing

large quantities of grain and fodder. Their supplies had run short.

“The infidels bought what they could from the grain-dealers with

the royal army, and pulled it up with ropes,”3 In this exigency

Banda decided to escape. A Sikh Gulab Singh by name, a Khatri

and formerly a tobacco-seller, had a great resemblance with Banda

Bahadur. He put on Banda’s clothes and took up position in his

place. At 3 o’clock in the morning on December 11, 1710, a hollow

trunk of a big tamarind tree lying in the lower parts of the hill was

filled with gunpowder. The guns in the fort were also kept ready

to fire simultaneously. Just when the gunpowder in the tree trunk

was blown off and the guns in the fort fired, Banda and his men

escaped in the gre~ confusion prevailing in the Mughal camp.

They safely disappeared into the Sarmur hills. 1

From Sarmur right across lower parts of the Shiwalik hills, Banda

passed through Hindur (Nalagarh), Kahlur (Bilaspur), KutJehr,

Jaswan, Siba and Nurpur, to Chamba.

With the sunrise on December 11, 1710, the imperialists delivered

a vehement assault on the fort. Gulab Singh and his companions

kept on firing from the fort. The Mughal troopers continued

climbing up the hill. Gulab Singh and thirty of his companions

were captured. A number of women and children of the neighbouring

village had taken up shelter in the Sikh fort. They were

taken prisoners. The booty in the fort comprised many horses and

camels, five elephants, three big guns, seventeen light guns, a few

muskets and swords, a canopy with silver poles, gold and silver

coins worth eight lakhs of rupees, and from underground gold coins

to the value of twenty lakhs of rupees.s

There were great rejoicings in the Imperial camp. On December

12, 1710 a great durbar was held, and various honours were conferred

on all the commanders. In the evening it was discovered

that the real Banda had escaped and that it was his duplicate who

had been captured. According to Khafi Khan “the hawk had flown

and an owl had been All were thoroughly disappointed.

The Mughal camp wore a mourning appearance. The Emperor

summoned Prime Minister Munim Khan and administered to him

a sharp rebuke. The Wazir took the insult to heart, fell ill, and

died two and a half months afterwards, when the Emperor was

halting at BadhauJi not far from Sadhaura on his way to Lahore.’

On December 13, a contingent of Mughal troops was despatched

to seize the Barfis Raja of Nahan, Bhup Prakash, whose younger

brother had been offered the gadd; by Aurangzeb if he would

embrace Islam. The Raja was seized. He and Gulab Singh, Banda’s

substitute, were both put in an iron cage, sent to Delhi and imprisoned

in the Red Fort.l Gulab Singh’s thirty companions were

beheaded. Muhammad Khan came from Sarhind and presented to

the Emperor six cartloads of Sikh heads.2

It was the duty of the Raja of Nahan to supply ice in summer

to the Imperial capital. In winter ice was stored in pits at the foot

of hills. In hot weather it was carried wrapped in thick blankets by

porters to Dhamras on the river Yamuna. There it was packed in

boxes and floated down the river in rafts to Daryapur near Khizarabad

in Ambala district. At this place it was loaded in boats and

reached Delhi in three days.

Banda at Kiratpur, December 12,1710

One day after his escape from Lohgarh Banda arrived at Kiratpur.

On December 12, 1710 he addressed a number of letters to

various centres of Sikhs inviting them to gather at Anandpur immediately.

One of such letters was addressed to the Sangat at

Jaunpur in V.P. It is reproduced below:

One God! Victory to the Sect!3

This is the order of Sri Sachcha Sahib to the entire Khalsa of

Jaunpur. The Guru will protect you. Call upon the Guru’s name.

Your lives will be fruitful. You are the Khalsa of great Immortal

God. On seeing this letter repair to the presence, wearing five arms.

Observe the rules of conduct laid down for the Khalsa. Do not use

bhang, tobacco, poppy, wine, or any other intoxicant…

Commit no theft or adultery. We have brought about the golden

age (Satyuga). Love one another. This is my wish. He who lives

according to the rules of the Khalsa shall be saved by the Guru.

Poh 12 Samvat 1.”4

From Kiratpur Banda went to Anandpur, and passing through

the hills reached Chamba. Raja Vdai Singh offered Banda a princess

“a supremely beautiful girl. She had large eyes, her limbs were

graceful and delicate, and she is described by the enthusiastic

chronicler as the very image of the goddess of love.”l

Bahadur Shah died, February 28,1712

The Emperor marched in pursuit of Banda. Passing through

Sadhaura, Sarwarpur, Rasulpur and Badhauli, where his prime

minister Munim Khan passed away, he reached Rupar on April 30,

  1. He crossed the Satluj on May 17, 1711, and reached Hoshiarpur

on June 9, 171 I. The river Beas was crossed on June 23. He

arrived at Kahnuwan on July 17 where he enjoyed hunting water

fowls. He reached Lahore on August II, 1711. Some time afterwards

the Emperor developed signs of insanity and died on February

28, 1712.

The battle of Raipur-Bahrampur, November 1711

Banda came out of the hills in September 1711. He seized Pathankot

and Gurdaspur. At the latter place he built a fort and collected

stores ofmunition, grain and fodder. In November Qutb-ud-din Khan

Kheshgi, faujdar of Jammu, advanced to oppose him. Banda was

then subjugating the country in the neighbourhood of Batala and

Kalanaur. Qutb-ud-din lay encamped 40 kms to the north. His

nephew Shams Khan proceeded from Sultanpur to join his uncle.

Both the chiefs attacked Banda near Raipur-Bahrampur. In a severe

scuffle the Sikhs took to their heels. Shams Khan issued out in

their pursuit. Qutb-ud-din tried his best to prevent him, but he did

not care. The Sikhs suddenly came to a halt, and engaged the

Afghans in a fiercely contested battle. Shams Khan was shot dead,

while Qutb-ud-din was seriously wounded. He fell unconscious and

died after three days.2

Kalanaur and Batala

Banda marched upon Batala. Shaikh Muhammad Daim, the faujdar

of Batala opposed the Sikhs. He was defeated and he fled away

to Lahore. Kalanaur and Santokhgarh fell immediately afterwards.3

Two Mugha1 generals, Muhammad Amin Khan and Rustamdil Khan

issued in pursuit of Banda. He at once crossed river Ravi. The

Mughal forces pursued Banda. In the battle of Pasrur the Mughals

were victorious, and Banda fled away towards Jammu.

Muhammad Amin Khan and Rustamdil Khan maintained pursuit

of Banda. In other engagements fought at Parol 24 kms north-west

of Pathankot and at Kathua II kms east of Parol he was again

repulsed. Rustamdil Khan committed terrible atrocities on the

people of Parol-Kathua. He captured young men and women and

brought them to Lahore for sale in the slave market.1

Muhammad Amin Khan advanced to Jammu, fought a battle

with Banda and sent 500 Sikh heads to Lahore.2 Banda penetrated

into the hills and rested on the bank of river Chenab, 75 kms from

Jammu. The place came to be calIed Derah Baba Banda.

Banda recovers Sarhind and Lohgarh, March 1712

On the death of Bahadur Shah a civil war occurred among his

sons at Lahore on March 14-17, 1712. The Mughal governors joined

one side or the other. Eventually the eldest son Jahandar Shah

came out successful.

Banda took advantage of the situation. He appeared into the

plains early in March 1712. Islam Khan, Governor of Lahore, marched

to check Banda’s advance. In a pitched battle Islam Khan

was repulsed and he returned to the capital to participate in the

contest for the throne among princes.

Banda advanced upon Sarhind. Bayazid Khan, the Governor,

opposed him, but he was not successful. After the battle the Governor

retired into his tent. A Sikh entered his tent at night and

severed his head. Sarhind again fell into Banda’s hands. Having

appointed Sikh officers Banda took up his position at Lohgarh.3

Lohgarh besieged

Jahandar Shah ordered Amin Khan to seize Banda. He besieged

Lohgarh, but failed to capture the Sikh leader. When the Emperor

was going to Agra to suppress the revolt of Farrukh Siyar, son of

his younger brother Azim-us-Shan, he called Amin Khan to join

him. Jahandar Shah was defeated and killed on February 11, 1713.

Farrukh Siyar became the Emperor.

The new Emperor immediately turned his attention to suppress


the Sikh revolt. On February 22, 1713 Farrukh Siyar transferred

Abdus Samad Khan Diler Jang from Kashmir to Panjab, while his

youthful son Zakariya Khan was appointed faujdar of Jammu.

Zabardast Khan was given Kashmir. Zain-ud-din Ahmad Khan

was made in charge of Sarhind. Strict orders were issued to all of

them to put an end to the Sikh revolt and capture Banda.1 Abdus

Samad Khan and Zain-ud-din Ahmad Khan encamped at Sadhaura

in April 1713 and commenced fighting with the Sikhs. The Sikhs

fought so ferociously that the Mughal army was almost overpowered.

According to Khafi Khan “They over and over again showed the

greatest daring.” He again repeats that the Sikhs “showed the greatest

boldness and daring, and made nocturnal attacks upon the Imperial

forces.” He further emphasizes that “the enemy exhibited

great courage and daring.”2 Banda held his ground for six months.

When he ran short of supplies of grain and fodder he escaped into

the hills in the beginning of October 1713. This news was recorded

at Delhi on October 9, 1713.3

Banda retired to his Derah on the bank of river Chenab. Zakariya

Khan, the Governor of Jammu, led an expedition against him. A

number of Sikhs lost their lives. Their heads were cut off and sent

to Delhi. They were produced before Farrukh Siyar on December

13, 1713. Zakariya Khan was granted a robe of honour with the

rank of 3,000 Zat and 1,000 Sawars.4

Banda came out in August 1714 near Rupar with 7,000 Sikhs.

Zain-ud-din Ahmad Khan, Faujdar of Sarhind, fought an action

with him on August 26, 1714. He sent 200 Sikh heads to Delhi.6

Banda vanished into the hills.

Schism in Banda’s ranks, October 1714

A determined effort was now made by Farrukh Siyar to suppress

the Sikh rebellion through diplomacy as well as military action. He

was disappointed that the Mughal Empire with all the resources at

its command had failed in capturing the Sikh leader. He formed a

plan to use Mata Sundari widow of Guru Gobind Singh who was

living in Delhi. She was asked to persuade Banda to stop his lawl

less activities, accept jagirs for himself and other Sikh leaders, and

to get his Sikh soldiers recruited in the imperial army. On receiving

Mata Sundari’s communication Banda replied that he had no faith

in Government’s promises. The Emperor imprisoned Mata Sundari

and Mata Sahib Devi. The Emperor knew that the Sikhs would

ma~ submission in order to save the honour of Guru’s widows.

Mata Sundari again wrote to Banda to submit. Banda said that the

ladies must endure all the hardship because his submission implied

annihilation of the Khalsa, and failure of his mission entrusted to

him by the Guru. The Emperor tightened the restrictions imposed

upon the ladies. Mata Sundari ordered Banda immediately to submit

or face excommunication.

Banda replied that “he was merely a Bairagi Faqir and had

neither friend nor foe”l and that “he was merely carrying out the

orders of Guru Gobind Singh in regard to the campaign of vengeance

for the destruction of the tyrant, and the protection of the


Mata Sundari charged Banda with disobedience and non-observance

of Guru Gobind Singh’s instructions. She issued orders ·of

excommunication of Banda to all the Sikh leaders serving under

Banda on the ground that he had married, that he had substituted

Fatah Darsl:an for Wah Guru Ji ka Khalsa, Wah Guru Ji ki Fatah,

and that he wanted to rule over the Singhs as their Guru.

On the receipt of letters of excommunication many Sikh chiefs

immediately decided to separate themselves from Banda. The initiative

was taken by Miri Singh, a young man in early twenties. His

father Kahan Singh and grandfather Binod Singh, Banda’s companions

from Nander as his principal advisers appointed by Guru

Gobind Singh, broke away from .Banda with 5,000 Sikhs. Others

who hesitated pressed Banda to take pahul, begin to eat meat, drink

wine and wear black clothes instead of red clothes, in order to retain

their loyalty. Banda declined to do so. They also fell off and

joined Binod Singh. This party called itself Tatva Khalsa or the

real Khalsa. Those who stuck fast to Banda were called Bandai

Sikhs. They were almost equally divided, each group containing

about 15,000 Sikhs.

The Emperor sent presents of doshalas and arms and other articles

to the Tatva Khalsa. A contingent of 5,000 Sikhs under command

of Kahan Singh, his son Miri Singh, Fatah Singh of Bhagto,

and Sham Singh Naurangwalia was taken into service by the

Governor of Lahore. Each horseman was paid Rs. 30 p.m., a footman

Rs. 15 pm. and a Sardar Rs. 5 daily. The Sikhs who preferred

to stay at Amritsar were paid Rs. 5,000 monthly. The parganah

of Jhabal was granted to meet the expenses of the langar, and grain

and fodder for horses. l

The division in the Sikhs was to be confirmed at the sacred shrine

of Amritsar. Hence the Sikhs were allowed to celebrate the Diwali

at Amritsar in November 1714 without any fear of molestation.

On this occasion the Tatva Khalsa made a formal isolation from

Bandais, and offered their allegiance as well as active service

against the Bandais to the Governor of Lahore.

Revolt of Husain Khan Kheshgi of Kasur

To stabilize the bifurcation the Tatva Khalsa gave a practical

proof. Abdus Samad Khan was then busy in suppressing the rebellion

of Husain Khan Kheshgi of Kasur. There was only a small

force at Lahore. Banda marched from Amritsar and encamped near

village Kahali. The next halt was made at village Ghanayeki. He

then advanced upon Lahore. The Lahore army came out to oppose

him. Their advance-guard consisted of the Tatva Khalsa under Miri

Singh. At the sight of his comrades arrayed on the enemy side

Banda felt disgusted. He lost the ground and retired into the hills.2

Husain Khan Kheshgi had revolted against the Panjab Governor.

Khafi Khan says he was inCIted into rebellion by the Sayyid

Brothers who headed the Hindustani party in opposition to the

Turani party at the Mughal court. Abdus Samad was an important

leader of the Turani party. Husain Khan took possession of

IRatan Singh Bhangu, Prachin Pan/Ii Prakasli, Wazir-e-Hind Press, Amritsar,

date of publication not given, pp. 152-58, 1914 edition, pp. 192-99; santokh

Singh, Shri Gllru Prakash SlIra) Grant/I, Uttar Ain Ans XIII, 374; Giani

Gian Singh, Pallih Prakash, II, 4th edition, Amritsar, 30-31;

Religion, original edition, 218-20; Karam Singh, Banda Bahadur Kaun Tha

several places in the neighbourhood of Kasur. He turned out many

Imperial jagirdars and faujdars. Abdus Samad sent an expeditionary

force to punish him. The Mughal commander was killed in

the battIe, and his baggage and treasure were plundered by the


Husain Khan recruited an army of about nine thousand horsemen.

Abdus Samad also raised a force of equal number and marched

against him. Both the armies fought near Chunian, about 30 kms

south of Lahore. It was a long and fiercely contested battle. At

length an arrow struck Husain Khan: His elephant whose driver

had been killed ran about at random. A shower of bullets and

arrows feIl on it. The howdah caught fire. Husain Khan feIl dead.

Many of his Afghans were killed. The rest took to flight. The

Emperor conferred the title of Saif-ud-daulah (Sword of the State)

on Abdus Samad Khan.1

Banda captured alive, December 1715

The fall of Sikh power was now sure and certain. (Is ghar ko iig

lag gai ghar ke c1ziriigh se). Banda still had 14,000 combatants

with him. However, the courageous Banda did not lose heart and

continued to perform his mission of destruction anddevastation.2

Emperor Farrukh Siyar sent a strong force of 20,000 troops

from Delhi,3 under Qamar-ud-din Khan. He was joined by 5,000

troops from Sarhind. Orders were issued to Abdus Samad Khan

and his son Zakariya Khan to seize Banda alive. AIl the three

Turani leaders were related to one another. The mother of Qamarud-

din and wife of Abdus Samad Khan were real sisters. Zakariya

Khan, son of Abdus Samad Khan, was married to the sister of

Qamar-ud-din. Thus the campaign became a family affair of the

Turani party.

Banda was at that time carrying on operations to the north of

Amritsar. Just then the Mughal army appeared on the scene with

the determination of a crusader. Banda retired northward with a

view to take shelter in the fort of Gurdaspur. It had been recently

extended so as to accommodate sixty thousand horse and foot. Large

stores of grain and fodder had also been collected there. The

Mughal army converged upon him from three sides. The Delhi

IKhafi Khan, II,

force of 20.000 men under Qamar-ud-din Khan advanced from the

east. the Lahore troops about 10,000 under Abdus Samad Khan

marched from the south. and the Jammu soldiery nearly 5.000

under Zakariya Khan moved from the north. To the west lay river

Ravi. There was no bridge over it. All the boats had been withdrawn

to the opposite bank which was closely guarded by numerous

local chiefs and government officials. The pursuit was so tight

that Banda could not enter his fort at Gurdaspur. He turned west.

Finding that all the ways of escape had been barred he rushed into

the have/i of Dunichand which had a large open compound with a

wall around it at village Gurdas Nangal, 6 kms to the west of

Gurdaspur. In it Banda accommodated 1,250 men with a small

number of horses. The other Sikhs who could not be lodged therein

tried to flee in all directions. They fell an easy prey to the fury of

the Mugbal army. According to Khafi Khan three or four thousand

of them were massacred. He filled that extensive pain with

blood as if it had been a dish.l Khafi Khan further observes:

“Those who escaped the sword, were sent in collars and chains to

the Emperor. Abdus Samad sent nearly two thousand heads stuffed

with hay and a thousand persons bound with iron chains in charge

of his soo, Zakariya Khan. and others to the Emperor.'”

Banda dug a ditch around the enclosure and filled it with water

from the canal flowing nearby. The imperialists also dug trenches

all around the enclosure. It took place in the beginning of April

  1. This news reached Farrukh Siyar on April 17. 1715.

The siege lasted a little over eight months. The full summer

from April to June, the entire rainy season from July to September,

and half of winter from October to the beginning of December

passed in this condition with frequent sorties and occasional skirmishes.

Banda’s enclosure was closely invested on all sides. On the east

lay the Delhi troops under Qamar-ud-din Khan. On the north was

Zakariya Khan, faujdar of Jammu and Zain-ud-din Ahmad Khan.

Governor of Sarhind. To the south was Abdus Samad Khan of

Lahore. The western side on the river Ravi was guarded by petty

chiefs and jagirdars such as faujdars of Gujrat. Eminabad, Patti,

Kalanaur and R~s of Kaogra and Jasrota.s

Banda was popular in Sarhind province for having abolished the

Zamindari. In the Bari Doab the people did not support him. The

Sikhs offered the most stubborn resistance. Muhamad Qasim who

fought against the Sikhs in this campaign wrote: “The brave and

daring deeds of the infernal Sikhs were wonderful. Twice or thrice

everyday some forty or fifty of the black-faced Sikhs came out oftheir

enclosure to gather grass for their cattle, and, when the combined

forces of the Imperialists went to oppose them, they made an end

of the Mughals with arrows, muskets and small swords, and disappeared.

Such was the terror of the Sikhs and the fear of the

sorceries of the Sikh Chief that the commanders of this army prayed

that God might so ordain things that Banda should seek his safety

in flight from the Garhi.”l

Eventually all supplies of foodstuff and fodder came to a dead

stop. All animals died, and their flesh was eaten. Then their bones

and bark of trees were powdered and eaten. Many Sikhs died of

hunger and the rest were completely famished and reduced to


Seeing that resistance had completely ceased, the Mughal army

on December 7, 1715, ventured into the enclosure. About three

hundred men almost on the verge of death were beheaded. Their

bodies were cut up in search of gold coins which they were believed

to have swallowed. Banda with his 740 followers was captured.

The following articles were recovered from the enclosure:

Swords 1,000

Shields 278

Small kirpans 217

Matchlocks 180

Bows and arrow cases 173

Daggers 114

Rupees 600

Gold mohars 23

Gold ornaments a few

With this beggarly equipment in men, money and material and living

in a small house with an open compound, Banda had defied the

mighty Mughal Empire for over eight months. No better record

than this challenge can be traced anywhere else in world history.

Banda’s scoffing procession in Delhi

In chains and fetters Banda was put in an iron cage which was

hooked up on the back of a tall elephant. The others with ludicrous

paper caps on their heads were fastened on camels, horses and

asses, and later on chained on feet, waist and neck were tied in twos

and threes and were placed in bullock carts. Bandsmen, buglers

and drummers playing loudly went ahead, followed by 300 Sikh

heads stuck up on spears. Qamar-ud-din’s cavalry was in front of

all, while Zakariya Khan’s horsemen were in the rear. Last of all

followed the nobles, faujdars and rajas at the head of their troops.

While passing through towns and cities people thronged in the

bazars and streets and on house tops and in balconies in crowds.

In the countryside spectators stood on both sides of the road. l

The prisoners were first led to Lahore and then to Delhi. At

Lahore the mother of Bayazid Khan, the deceased Governor of

Sarhind, threw a heavy stone from the balcony of the house on the

Sikh procession and killed a Sikh. The number of Sikh heads went

on increasing by the execution of innocent Sikhs captured on the

way. At Lahore the number of Sikh heads was 700, and in Delhi

2,000. In Muslim towns such as Sarhind, Kamal and Panipat the

people treated the prisoners with utmost insolence, “usual with

bigots and common among barbarous or half-civilized conquerors.”

2 They heaped every indignity upon them. They used filthy

abuses, mocked, whistled, ridiculed, laughed to scorn, scoffed,

jeered, taunted, grinned, sneered at, hissed, hooted, pointed the

finger at, turned up their noses at, snapped their fingers at, and

spat at. The Sikhs drowned this mockery by singing in chorus

hymns from the holy Granth.3

They reached the Shalimar Garden near Delhi on February 25,

  1. Muhammad Amin Khan, father of Qamar-ud-din Khan, came

to receive them and the following morning led them to the Red Fort.

On February 29, 1716, the Hindu festival day of Holi, they were

taken out in a procession. Bands played ahead of all. Then followed

2,000 Sikh heads stuffed with straw fixed on’ spears and

bamboos, their long hair flowing with the wind. After them came

the dead body of a cat mounted on a long pole to show that not

even a cat or dog was left alive in Sikh homes. Behind it was Banda

in an iron cage on a lofty elephant. A red turban with borders

embroidered in gold was placed on his head. On his body was a

crimson robe of brocade wrought in flowers of gold. It was a mockery

of a bridegroom. A stalwart Mughal soldier in a coat of arms

with a shining sword in hand stood behind him The 740 prisoners

were behind Banda’s elephant. To vilify them their faces were made

black in order to have uniformity with their hair. Black sheep-skin

high-coned caps with glass beads sewn on them were placed on their

heads. Some were dressed in sheep-skins, the woolly side being outward.

Their left hands were tied to their necks with two pieces of

wood. They were bound back to back in pairs and two pairs were

mounted on the bare back of a camel. In the rear of the cavalcade

were Amin Khan (later on Prime Minister), his son Qamar-ud-din

Khan (also Prime Minister, and his son-in-law Zakariya Khan later

Viceroy of Panjab). They rode at the head of a strong contingent

of Mughal troops. The road from Shalimar Garden to the Red

Fort 10 kms long was lined on both sides with troops and lakhs of

exultant spectators.

The eye-witness Mirza Muhammad Harsi writes: On this day I

had gone to see the pageant (tamasha) as far as the Mandavi-eNamak.

From there I accompanied the procession to Qila-e-Mubarik.

There was hardly anyone in the city who had not come out to

see the spectacle of the accursed. There was such a crowd in the

bazars and streets as had rarely been seen. The Muslims could not

contain themselves with joy. But those unfortunate fellows who had

been reduced to this misery were thorougly contented with their

fate. Their faces bore not the slightest sign of dejection and humility.

In fact most of them on camels were busy in singing. If any

one of the spectators remarked: ‘Now you will be killed,’ they replied:

“Kill us. When were we afraid of death? Had we been afraid

of it, how could we have fought so many battles with you? It was

through sheer starvation and want of food that we fell into your

hands, otherwise the truth of our bravery is known to yoU.”l

Sayyid Muhammad was another beholder. He wrote: “At that

time I asked one of them by signs why they had committed such

rudeness (gustakhi) and mischief (shokhi). He placed his hand on

his forehead indicating that it was predestined. This expression

pleased me.”2

The procession passed along the 10 kms long road, abused, scoffed

and laughed at throughout. They were brought back to the

Red Fort after demonstration. Kahan Singh son of Binod Singh

was the leader of Tatva Khalsa who had gone over to the Mughals

and fought against Banda at Lahore. He declined to join the imperial

army in the siege of Gurdas Nangal. He was arrested and

sent in the retinue of Banda to Delhi. When the regular slaughter

of the Sikhs began in front of the Kotwali, Mata Sundari planned

to save Kahan Singh’s life. The Mughal officers and guards on

Sikh prisoners were heavily bribed, and Kahan Singh was substituted

by another Sikh.l Baj Singh who was a descendant of Gurll

Amar Das,2 also escaped. 3

714 Sikhs are beheaded at Kotwali

Banda and his twenty-six officials were separated from the rest

by Sarbrah Khan Kotwa!. The remaining Sikhs were divided into

seven groups, each of 100 Sikhs to be beheaded on all the seven

days of the week. The execution began on March S, 1716. The

Sikhs were led in batches to Kotwali and made to stand in rows of

ten in front of the police office where now stands the fountain

(Fuwara). Before execution an offer was made to spare their lives if

they could become Musalman. None volunteered to do so. They

uttered Wah Guru, Wah Guru, and tried to outbid one another in

offering themselves for sacrifice saying, “me, mukta (deliverer)! kill

me first,” was the prayer which constantly rang in the ears of the


All observers, Indian and Europeans, unite in remarking on the

wonderful patience and resolution with which these men met their

fate. Their attachment and devotion to their leader was astonishing

to behold. They had no fear of death, and they called the executioner

Mukta or the Deliverer.’

Among Banda’s followers there was a lad on whose face soft hair

was just appearing. Being the only son of a widow, he was the

centre of all her hopes and ambitions. According to the old custom

he had been recenty married as he wore the wedding thread on his

wrist. He was so deeply touched at the sight of the Sikhs

through his village on their way to Delhi, that he left his home and

joined Banda’s party. His mother and wife entreated him to return

home, but he did not yield. Both the women accompanied him

weeping and crying. They reached Delhi and sought help from

Ratanchand. Diwan of Prime Minister Sayyid Abdullah. They submitted

that the boy was not a Sikh prisoner nor the follower of the

Guru, and that his life should be spared. On the recommendation

of Ratanchand Sayyid Abdullah issued orders for his release. The

mother and wife reached the Kotwali and learnt that he was marked

for execution on that very day. He was found standing in a row

outside the Kotwali.

The further scene was witnessed by Khafi Khan and Khushhal

Chand. Khafi Khan says that when a police official was setting him

free, the boy declined to go. He shouted: “My mother is a liar. 1

am heart and soul a devoted disciple of my leader (Murshid). Finish

me quickly with my companions.”1 Khushhal Chand writes that

the lad declined to recognise his mother and wife saying: “I do not

know whose mother she is and from where she has brought this

girl. 1 do not understand what she talks. My companions have

gone. I have no time to lose. The delay is painful to me.”2

The heart-breaking lamentations of the mother and the bride,

persuasion of officials, and entreaties of bystanders bore no fruit.

He rushed back to his place, put his head before the executioner,

and lay dead in the twinkling of an eye.

The heads and bodies lay in separate heaps the whole day. In

the evening they were taken out of the city in carts and hung upon

trees along the roads.

Some Englishmen as representatives of the British East India

Company were then present in the capital. On March 10,1716, they

submitted a brief report on the “Arrest and Massacre c.f the Sikhs

at Delhi” to the Governor of Fort William, Calcutta, in which they

said about Banda: “He at present has his life prolonged with most

of his mutsuddys in hope to get an account of his treasure in the

several parts of his kingdom and of those that assisted him, when

afterwards he will be executed, for the rest there are 100 each day

beheaded. It is not a little remarkable with what patience they

undergo their fate, and to the last it has not been found that one

apostatised from their new formed Religion.”I

Banda executed near Qutab Minar

Banda’s wife, a princess of Chamba, his 4-year-old son AJai and

child’s nurse had been arrested at Chamba and brought to Delhi.

They were admitted into the harem of Darbar Khan Nazir. Banda

and his 26 officials were tortured for three months and a half to disclose

places of their hidden treasure. When all attempts had failed,

it was decided to execute Banda on June 9, 1716, and his officials

the following day.

The same old golden turban and cloak were put on Banda. Fettered

and chained all over he was placed in an iron cage which was

fastened on the back of an elephant. His companions were put on

the bare back of camels. They were preceded by Sarbrah Khan

Kotwal at the head of his police force. In the rear was Ibrahim-uddin,

Head of Artillery. The procession passed through the main

streets of Delhi. They were taken to the tomb of Khwaja Qutabud-

din Bakhtiyar Kaki near Qutab Minar in Mehrauli 16 kms distant

from the Red Fort. They were led around the tomb of the late

Emperor Bahadur Shah who had failed in suppressing Banda’s rebellion

so as to give satisfaction to his soul. The leading nobles had

already gathered there.

Banda was taken out of the cage and seated on the ground. As

usual he was offered life on his embracing Islam. The proposal was

rejected. Though heavily chained his right hand was freed. His son,

Ajai, was placed in his lap, and a dagger put in his right hand to

kill the child. Banda did not stir. Thereupon the dagger was thrust

into the body of the child, and his heart and entrails were thrust

into Banda’s mouth. He shut his mouth and he remained absolutely

unmoved.- Muhammad Amin Khan, later on Prime Minister, was

standing nearby. He came closer and intensely looked into the eyes

of Banda. He was deeply impressed with his noble features. He

remarked: “It is surprising that one, who shows so much acuteness

in hL. features, and so much of nobility in his conduct, should have

been guilty of such horrors.”

In complete composure and tranquillity Banda replied, “I will

II.T. Wheeler, Early Records of British lndia. Whenever men become so corrupt and wicked as to relinquish

the sence of equity and to abandon themselves to all kinds of

excesses, then the providence never fails to raise up a scourage like

me to chastise a race so depraved; but when the measure of punishment

is full then He raises up men like you to bring him to punishment.”


After this Banda’s right eye was dug out with a sharp pointed

dagger. Then the left eye was removed in a similar manner. With a

pause his left foot was chopped off. A little while afterwards both of

his arms were lopped off. Then with red-hot pincers his flesh was

cut off bit by bit. Later his legs, ears and nose were removed from

his body. His brain was blown out with a hammer. Last of aU his

remaining body was hacked to pieces.

This horrid savagery lasted the whole day. Banda displayed heavenly

calm, no tears, no cries, no groaning, no expression of grief,

no jerk in the body, and no sign of pain. Throughout he remained

composed and collected, serene and steady, unruflled and unstirred.

A curious creature was he, this Banda Bahadur. He had a power

of concentrating his mind on something away from his body and

his surroundings with such intensity as if he were in a trance.

This abominable scene was staged before the very eyes of Banda’s

officials who included among themselves Fatah Singh, Ali Singh and

Gulab Singh Bakhshi who had remained in the Lohgarh fort after

Banda’s escape.2 They were beheaded on June 10,1716, at the same


Banda did not die in vain. This tragic event changed the course

of not only Sikh history but also of the history of Panjab. Banda

had shown to the Sikhs the difference between those who were in

power and those who were out of it. The lesson of power once

practically taught could not be forgotten by a militant community.

They continuously worked to regain what they had lost and in half

a century became undisputed masters of the Land of Five Rivers.

Banda’s place in history

Banda was a Rajput. The blood of a Kshatriya flowed in his

veins. Thus he inherited the spirit of bravery, heroism, love of

independence &r.d self.sfcrifice from his race. This spirit was further

strengthened by his long residence in Maharashtra where he

had seen with his own eyes how Shambhuji, son of Shivaji, his

step-brother Rajaram and his widow, Tara Bai, had carried on a life

and death struggle against Aurangzeb who was personally leatiing a_

campaign of annihilation against the Marathas. His dormant spirit

of nationalism was awakened and put into its practical application

by Guru Gobind Singh. His national enthusiasm was further aroused

by the Guru’s sufferings and sacrifices and ultimately by his

death as a result of the Mughal trickery.

Curiously, Banda had a great resemblance in looks with Guru

Gobind Singh. He possessed the same medium height and bulk of

the body and colour of the face. Under his bushy beard and moustaches

and long hair on head, the facial features also looked alike.

Further both spoke the same language which was a mixture of Hindi

and Panjabi. Both were fond of covering themselves with arms capa-

pie. Both were in possession of a commanding voice and manner

which resulted in implicit obedience from their followers. Both

could arouse the zeal for supreme sacrifice of their devotees.

Banda aimed at national awakening and liberation of the country

from the oppressive government of the Mughals. Guru Hargobind

and Guru Gobind Singh had transformed the Sikhs from a peaceful

people into a class of warriors. They fought against the government

in self-defence. They never took any offensive. They did not

acquire territory, did not take prisoners, and did not seize enemy’s

property and wealth. The two Gurus never tried to establish their

own rule in their own territory. They believed it belonged to the

Government. The government rules were obeyed, and government

coins were used.

Banda, on the other hand, always took offensive. He fought battles,

took prisoners and killed them, seized the enemy’s property

and lands, and set up his own government. He issued his own coins,

had his own official seal and gave orders which had the force of

firmans of the Mughal Emperors. He did not want to weaken the

Mughal power, but to destroy its root and branch, and to establish

in its place national rule or self-government.

Banda was the first man who laid down the foundation of political

sovereignty of the Sikhs. He made Sikhism popular with the

people of Panjab, not by force or persuasion, but by his bravery

and generosity. In about a year, more than one lakh of persons

embraced Sikhism and became the Khalsa of Guru Gobind Singh.

Those who had not heard the names of the Gurus, were attracted

towards Sikhism by Banda’s victories. Banda had shown what selfgovernment

meant. After his fall the lesson was not lost on the

Sikhs. He had brought about a revolution in the minds of the peo~

pie. A will was created in the masses. Heads could be cut off, but

the ideas remained, leading ultimately to ‘iuccess.

Banda was a great reformer. He broke down the barriers of caste,

creed and religion. He appointed sweepers and cobblers as big

officers before whom high caste Hindus, Brahmins and Kshatriyas

stood with folded hands awaiting their orders. He believed in socialism.

He distributed all his riches among his folowers. He abolished

the zamindari system and established peasant-proprietorship

making the actual tillers of the soil its masters. He was opposed to

the use of intoxicant drugs. He prohibited drinking of bhang and

wine and smoking of tobacco or charas.

He knew the real cause of the weakness of Hindus. The spirit of

mercy, compassion, sympathy, tenderness, forbearance and their

melting mood inculcated in them by religion (Daya Dharam ka mul

hai), had been responsible for the slavery of the Hindus by people

from the north-west. He showed that the only way to meet the eternal

foe was to adopt the policy of paying them in their own coin, a

tooth for a tooth and an eye for an eye, and to payoff old scores.

The Sikhs learnt this lesson from Banda and admirably succeeded

in establishing their own rule in their homeland.

Banda possessed the high ideal of life, sincerity, honesty, indomitable

spirit, unbounded enthusiasm, rare daring, single-minded devotion

to his cause, dare-devilry of the highest type and nobility of

character. It was for this reason that none of his 740 followers renounced

his faith to save his life. Even a young lad who had been

pardoned by the Prime Minister refused to leave Banda in the face

of death.

Banda seems to have destroyed about haif a lakh of Muslims.

This brutality cannot be approved in any age by any people. But

some justification can be offered from the condition of the times.

Banda was a contemporary of Aurangzeb. He had killed all the

Satnamis even to a man, woman or child, numbering about 50,000.

The same number if not more of the Jats of Bharatpur-Agra-Dclbi

region were destroyed. Rajputs and Marathas must share between

themselves a loss of about 50,000 men each. The total number was

death was in addition. There was almost wholesale destruction of

Hindu temples and other religious institutions in northern India.

Banda had travelled from north to south and back again, and he

had seen all this destruction, rape and rapine with his own eyes.

The Rajput spirit was throbbing in him. It was lying dormant

under an ashes-smeared skin. This spirit was aroused by Guru

Gobind Singh, and retaliation was a natural consequence. Latif

says that Guru Gobind Singh had selected Banda for “avenging

the death of his father and two sons, for which purpose he could not have singled out a better instrument than this ruthless bloodsucker.”

After his conquest of Sarhind Banda considerably mellowed down in his fury against the Muslim population. He placed no restrictions on their Azan and Nimaz. At Kalanaur in April 1711 he recruited 5,000 Muslims in his army.2 To sum up, Banda was a demon in the eyes of Muslims, a great national hero for Hindus, and for the Sikhs their first empire builder.

In Indian history he occupies the place of a genius spiritual,political and military, consecrated or perverted as one might think.

In world history he should rank not less than Alexander the Great,Halaku, Chingiz Khan, Nadir Shah, Ahmad Shah Abdali or Napoleon Bonaparte.

(Courtesy:- History of the Sikhs  volume 2- Hari Ram Gupta)

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Here I am quoting verbatim a paragraph from Los Angeles Times dated Sept. 3, 1916. “In a videotaped January 1992 meeting with the staff at Scripps Clinic in San Diego, where she had been treated for pneumonia, she boasted of baptising as many as 29000 people who had died at Nimal Hriday since 1952. ”
That was the real face of Mother Teresa. She thought that by converting people on their deathbeds she was doing service to them, because when they go to the biased God He will favour them for coming to Him as Christians.What a crazy idea !
Or perhaps, on the Judgement Day when Christians will arise from their graves, she herself will get special treatment for swelling the flock of Christ. Again a crazy idea.

Hira Lal Kandhari
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धर्मवीर हकीकत राय

वीर हकीकत राय का जन्म 1720 में सियालकोट में लाला बागमल पूरी के यहाँ हुया।इनकी माता का नाम कोरा था।लाला बागमल सियालकोट के तब के प्रसिद्ध सम्पन हिन्दू व्यपारी थे।वीर हकीकत राय उनकी एकलौती सन्तान थी।उस समय देश में बाल विवाह प्रथा प्रचलित थी,क्योकि हिन्दुओ को भय रहता था कि कहि मुसलमान उनकी बेटियो को उठा कर न ले जाये।जैसे आज भी पाकिस्तान और बांग्लादेश से समाचार आते रहते है।इसी कारण से वीर हकीकत राय का विवाह बटाला के निवासी क्रिशन सिंह की बेटी लक्ष्मी देवीसे बारहा वर्ष की आयु में क्र दिया गया था।

उस समय देश में मुसलमानो का राज था।जिन्होंने देश के सभी राजनितिक और प्रशासिनक कार्यो के लिये फ़ारसी भाषा लागु कर रखी थे।देश में सभी काम फ़ारसी में होते थे।इसी से यह कहावत भी बन गई कि ,” हाथ कंगन को आरसी क्या,और पढ़े लिखे को फ़ारसी क्या”। इसी कारण से बागमल पूरी ने अपने पुत्र को फ़ारसी सिखने के लिये मोलवी के पास उसके मदरसे में पढ़ने के लिये भेजा।कहते है और जो बाद में सिद्ध भी हो गया कि वो पढ़ाई में अपने अन्य सहपाठियों से अधिक तेज था, जिससे वो मुसलमान बालक हकीकत राय से घृणा करने लगे।

  एक बार हकीकत राय का अपने मुसलमान सहपाठियों के साथ झगड़ा हो गया।उन्होंने माता दुर्गा के प्रति अप्सब्द कहे,जिसका हकीकत ने विरोध करते हुए कहा,”क्या यह आप को अच्छा लगेगा यदि यही शब्द मै आपकी बीबी फातिमा (मोहम्द की पुत्री) के सम्बन्ध में कहु।इसलिये आप को भी अन्य के प्रति ऐसे शब्द नही कहने चाहिये।”इस पर मुस्लिम बच्चों ने शोर मचा दिया की इसने बीबी फातिमा को गालिया निकाल कर इस्लाम और मोहम्द का अपमान किया है।साथ ही उन्होंने हकीकत को मारना पीटना शुरू क्र दिया।मदरसे के मोलवी ने भी मुस्लिम बच्चों का ही पक्ष लिया।शीघ्र ही यह बात सारे स्यालकोट में फैल गई।लोगोने हकीकत को पकड़ कर मारते-पिटते स्थानीय हाकिम आदिल बेग के समक्ष पेश किया।वो समझ गया की यह बच्चों का झगड़ा है,मगर मुस्लिम लोग उसे मृत्यु-दण्ड की मांग करने लगे।हकीकत राए के माता पिता ने भी दया की याचना की।तब आदिल बेग ने कहा,”मै मजबूर हूँ।परन्तु यदि हकीकत इस्लाम कबूल कर ले तो उसकी जान बख्श दी जायेगी।” किन्तु वो 14 वर्ष का बालक हकीकत राय ने धर्म परिवर्तन से इंकार कर दिया।अब तो काजी ,मोलवी और सारे मुसलमान उसे मारने को तैयार हो गए।ऐसे में बागमल के मित्रो ने कहा कि स्याकोट का वातावरण बहुत बिगड़ा हुआ है,यहाँ हकीकत के बचने की कोई आशा नही है।ऐसे में तुम्हे पंजाब के नवाब ज़करिया खान के पास लाहौर में फरियाद करनी चाहिये।बागमल ने रिश्वत देकर अपने बेटे का मुकदमा लाहौर भेजने की फरियाद की जो मंजूर कर ली गई।स्यालकोट से मुगल घुड़सवार हकीकत को लेकर लाहौर के लिये रवाना हो गये।हकीकत रे को यह सारी यात्रा पैदल चल कर पूरी करनी थी।उसके साथ बागमल अपनी पत्नी कोरा और एनी मित्रो के संग पैदल चल पड़ा।उसने हकीकत की पत्नी को बटाला उसके पिता के पास भिजवा दिया।कहते है कि लक्ष्मी से यह सारी बाते गुप्त रखी गई थी।परन्तु मार्ग में उसकी डोली और बन्दी बने हकीकत का मेल हो गया।जिससे लक्ष्मी को सारे घटनाक्रम का पता चला।फिर। भी उसे समझा-बुझा कर बटाला भेज दिया गया।IMG_20160206_152909

दूसरी तरफ स्यालकोट के मुसमन भी स्थानीय मौलवियो और काजियों को लेकर हकीकत को सजा दिलाने हेतु दल बना कर पीछे पीछे चल पड़े।सारे रास्ते वो हकीकत राय को डराते धमकाते,तरह तरह के लालच देते और गालिया निकलते चलते रहे।अगर किसी हिन्दू ने उसे सवारी या घोड़े पर बिठाना चाहा भी तो साथ चल रहे सैनिको ने मना कर दिया।मार्ग में जहाँ से भी हकीकत रे गुजरा, लोग साथ होते गये।

आखिर दो दिनों की यात्रा के बाद हकीकत राय को बन्दी बनाकर लानेवाले सेनिक लाहौर पहुंचे।अगले दिन उसे पंजाब के तत्कालिक सूबेदार ज़करिया खान के समक्ष पेश किया गया।यहाँ भी हकीकत के स्यालकोट से आयेमुस्लिम सहपाठियों,मुल्लाओं और काजियों ने हकीकत राय को मोत की सजा देने की मांग की।उन्हें लाहोर के मुस्लिम उलिमा कभी समर्थन मिल गया।नवाब ज़करिया खान समझ तो गया की यह बच्चों का झगड़ा है, मगर मुस्लिम उलमा हकीकत की मृतयु या मुसलमान बनने से कम पर तैयार न थे।वास्तव में यह इस्लाम फेलाने का एक ढंग था।सीखो के पांचवे गुरु श्री गुरु अर्जुनदेव और नोवै गुरु श्री गुरु तेगबहादुर जी को भी इस्लाम कबूलने अथवा शहीदी देने की शर्त रखी गयी थी।

परन्तु यहाँ भी हकीकत राय ने अपना धर्म छोड़ने से मना क्र दिया।उसने पूछा,”क्या यदि मै मुसलमान बन जाऊ तो मुझे मौत नही आएगी?क्या मुसलमानो को मौत नही आती?” तो उलिमयो ने कहा,”मौत तो सभी को आती है।” तब हकीकत राय ने कहा,” तो फिर मै अपना धर्म क्यों छोड़ू ,जो सभी को ईश्वर की सन्तान मानता है और क्यों इस्लाम कबुलु जो मेरे मुसलमान सहपाठियों के मेरी माता भगवती को कहे अपशब्दों को सही ठहराता है ,मगर मेरे न कहने पर भी उन्ही शब्दों के लिये मुझसे जीवित रहने का भी अधिकार छिन लेता है।जो दीन दूसरे धर्म के लोगो को गालिया निकलना,उन्हें लूटना,उन्हें मारना और उन्हें पग पग पर अपमानित करना अल्ला का हुक्म मानता हो,मै ऐसे धर्म को दूर से ही सलाम करता हूं।”

इस प्रकार सारा दिन लाहौर दरबार में शास्त्रार्थ होता रहा,मगर हकीकत राय इसल कबूलने को तैयार ना हुआ।जैसे जैसे हकीकत की विद्वता ,साहस और बुद्धिमता प्रगट होती रही,वैसे वैसे। मुसलमानो में उसे दिन मनाने का उतसाह भी बढ़ता रहा।परन्तु कोई स्वार्थ,कोई लालच और न ही कोई भय उस 14 वर्ष के बालक हकीकत को डिगाने में सफल रहा।

आखिरकार हकीकत राय के माता पिता ने एक दिन का समय माँगा,जिससे वो हकीकत राय को समझा सके।उन्हें समय दे दिया गया।रात को हकीकत राय के माता पिता उसे जेल में मिलने गए।उन्होंने भी हकीकत राय को मुसलमान बन जाने के लिये तरह तरह से समझाया।माँ ने अपने बाल नोचे,रोइ,दूध का वास्ता दिया।मगर हकीकत ने कहा,”माँ! यह तुम क्या कर रही हो।तुम्हारी ही दी शिक्षया ने तो मुझे ये सब सहन करने की शक्ति दी है।मै कैसे तेरी दी शिक्षाओं का अपमान करू।आप ही ने सिखाया था कि धर्म से बढ़ के इस संसार में कुछ भी नही है।आत्मा अम्र है।”

अगले दिन वीर बालक हकीकत राय को दोबारा लाहौर के सूबेदार के समक्ष पेश किया गया।सभी को विश्वास था कि हकीकत आज अवश्य इस्लाम कबूल कर लेगा।उससे आखरी बार पूछा गया कि क्या वो मुसलमान बनने को तैयार है।परन्तु हकीकत ने तुरन्त इससे इंकार कर दिया।अब मुलिम उलमा हकीकत के लिये सजाये मौत मांगने लगे।ज़करिया खान ने इस पर कहा,” मै इसे मरतुयु दण्ड कैसे दे सकता हु।यह राष्ट्रद्रोही नही है और ना ही इसने हकुमत का कोई कानून तोड़ा है?” तब लाहौर के काजियों ने कहा कि यह इस्लाम का मुजरिम है।इसे आप हमे सौंप दे।हम इसे इस्लामिक कानून(शरिया) के मुताबिक सजा देगें।दरबार में मौजूद दरबारियों ने भी काजी की हाँ में हाँ मिला दी।अतह नवाब ने हकीकत राय को काजियों को सौंप दिया कि उनका निर्णय ही आगे मान्य होगा।

अब लाहौर के उल्मायो न मुस्लिम शरिया के मुताबिक े हकीकत की सजा तय करने के लिये बैठक की।इस्लाम के मुताबिक कोई भी व्यक्ति इस्लाम ,उसके पैगम्बर और कुरान की सर्वोच्चता को चुनोती नही दे सकता।और यदि कोई ऐसा करता है तो वो ‘शैतान’ है।शैतान के लिये इस्लाम में एक ही सजा है कि उसे पत्थर मार मार क्र मार दिया जाये।आज भी जो मुसलमान हज पर जाते है,उनका हज तब तक पूरा नही माना जाता जब तक कि वो वहाँ शैतान के प्रतीकों को पत्थर नही मारते।कई मुस्लिम देशो में आज भी यह प्रथा प्रचलित है।लाहौर के मुस्लिम उलिमियो ने हकीकत राय के लिये भी यही सजा घोषित क्र दी।

1849 में गणेशदास रचित पुस्तक,’चार-बागे पंजाब’ के मुताबिक इसकेलिय लाहोर में बकायदा मुनादी करवाई गई कि अगले दिन हकीकत नाम के शैतान को (संग-सार) अर्थात पत्थरो से मारा जायेगा और जो जो मुसलमान इस मौके पर सबाब(पूण्य) कमाना चाहे आ जाये।IMG_20160206_152756

अगले दिन बसन्त पंचमी का दिन था जो तब भी और आज भी लाहौर में भी भरी धूमधाम से मनाया जाता है।वीर हकीकत राय को लाहौर की कोतवाली से निकल कर उसके सामने ही गड्डा खोद कर कमर तक उसमे गाड़ दिया गया।लाहौर के मुसलमान शैतान को पत्थर मारने का पूण्य कमाने हेतु उसे चारो तरफ से घेर कर खड़े हो गए।हकीकत राय से अंतिम बार मुसलमान बनने के बारे में पूछा गया।हकीकत ने अपना निर्णय दोहरा दिया कि मुझे मरणा कबूल है पर इस्लाम नही।इस ने लाहौर के काजियों ने हकीकत राय को संग-सार करने का आदेश सुना दिया।आदेश मिलते ही उस 14 वर्ष केरीती बालक पर हर तरफ से पत्थरो की बारिश होने लगी।हजारो लोग उस बालक पर पत्थर बरसा रहे थे,जबकि हकीकत ‘राम-राम’ का जाप क्र रहा था।शीघ्र ही उसका सारा शरीर पत्थरो की मार से लहूलुहान हो गया और वो बेहोश हो गया।अब पास खड़े जल्लाद को उस बालक पर दया आ गयी की कब तक यह बालक यु पत्थर खाता रहेगा।इससे यही उचित है की मै ही इसे मार दू।इतना सोच कर उसने अपनी तलवार से हकीकत राय का सिर काट दिया।रक्त की धराये बह निकली और वीर हकीकत राय 1734 में बसन्त पंचमी के दिन अपने धर्म पर बलिदान हो गया।

दोपहर बाद हिन्दुओ को हकीकत राय के शव के वेदिक रीती से संस्कार की अनुमति मिल गई।हकीकत राय के धड़ को गड्ढे से निकाला गया।उसके शव को गंगाजल से नहलाया गया।उसकी शव यात्रा में सरे लाहौर के हिन्दू आ जुटे।सरे रास्ते उस के शव पर फुलो की वर्ष होती रही।इतिहास की पुस्तको में दर्ज है कि लाहौर में ऐसा कोई फूल नही बचा था जो हिन्दुओ ने खरीद कर उस धर्म-वीर के शव पर न चढ़ाया हो।कहते है कि किसी माली की टोकरी में एक ही फूलो का हार बचा था जो वो स्वयं चढ़ाना चाहता था, मगर भीढ़ में से एक औरत अपने कान का गहना नोच कर उसकी टोकरी में डाल के हार झपट कर ले गई।1 पाई में बिकने वाला वो हार उस दिन 15 रुपये में बिका ।यह उस आभूषण का मूल्य था।हकीकत राय का अंतिम संस्कार रावी नदी के तट पर क्र दिया गया।

जब हकीकत के शव का लाहौर में संस्कार हो रहा था,ठीक उसी समय। बटाला में उसकी 12 वर्ष की पत्नी लक्ष्मी देवी अपने मायके बटाला (अमृतसर से 45 किलोमीटर दूर)में थी।हकीकत राय के बलिदान के पश्चात उसने अपने पति की याद में कुँआIMG_20160206_153044खुदवेाया यय और अपना समस्त जीवन इसी

कुएं पर लोगों को जल पिलाते हुये गुजार दिया।बटाला में लक्ष्मी देवी की समाधि और कुँआ आज भी मौजूद है।यहाँ हर वर्ष बसन्त पंचमी  को मेला लगता है और दोनों के बलिदान को नमन किया जाता है।लाहौर  में हकीकत राय की दो समाधिया बनाई गई।पहली जहाँ उन्हें शहीद किया गया एयर दूसरी जहाँ उनका संस्कार किया गया।महाराजा रणजीत सिंह के समय से ही हकीकत राय की समाधियों पर बसन्त पंचमी पर मेलेIMG_20160206_153211

लगते रहे जो 1947 के विभाजन तक मनाया जाता रहा।1947 में हकीकत राय की मुख्य समाधि नष्ट कर दी गई।रावी नदी के तट पर जहाँ हकीकत राय का संस्कार हुआ था,वहाँ लाहौर निवासी कालूराम ने रणजीत सिंह के समय में पुंरूदार करवाया था।इससे वो कालूराम के मन्दिर से ही जाने जाना लगा।इसी से वो बच गया और आज भी लाहौर में वो समाधि मौजूद हैIMG_20160206_152344

हकीकत राय के गृहनगर स्यालकोट में उसके घर में भी उसकी याद में समाधि बनाई गई, वो भी 1947 में नष्ट कर दी गई।IMG_20160206_152440

इस धर्म वीर के माता पिता अपने पुत्र की अस्थिया लेकर हरिद्वार गए,मगर फिर कभी लोट के नही आये।

वीर हकीकत राय के बारे में पंजाब में वीर गाथाये लिखी और गायी जाती रही।सर्वप्रथम अगरे ने 1772 में हकीकत की गाथा काव्य शैली में लिखी।इसके अतिरिक्त सोहन लाल सूरी,गणेशदास वढेरा,गोकुलचन्द नारंग,स्वामी श्रदां नंद,गण्डा सिंह और अन्य सिख इतिहासकारो ने भी हकीकत राय पर लिखा है।

हकीकत राय के बलिदान का पभाव

हकीकत राय का बलिदान से पंजाब में एक नए युग का सूत्रपात हुया।इस बलिदान से हिंदुयों और सिखों में रोष फैल गया। सिखों ने सियालकोट  पर आक्रमण कर इसके8 इट से ईंट बजा दी।उन्होंने सारे स्यालकोट को जला कर राख कर डाला।1738 में जम्मू के राजा रंजीतदेव ने इसे अपने अधिकार में ले लिया।परन्तु इसके बाद भी यह शहर न बस स्का।1849 में अंग्रेजी राज्य स्थापित होने पर हीस्यालकोट पनह बसना आरम्भ हुया।पुराने समय की स्यालकोट में केवल हकीकत राय की समाधि ही शेष थी।शेष सारा नगर दोबारा बसाया गया।

वीर हकीकत राय ने भले ही लम्भी आयु न भोगी।छोटी आयु में ही उसका बलिदान हो गया, परन्तु उसका बलिदानी रक्त आज तक भी प्रति वर्ष बसन्त के पवित्र पर्व पर हिदू जाति में अमृत्व की भावना का संचार कर रही है और युगों युगों तक करती रहेगी। बसन्तपंचमि के शुभ अवसर पर इस धर्म वीर अमर बलिदानी वीर हकीकत राय और उनकी पत्नी श्री लक्ष्मी देवी को उनके बलिदान दिवस पर शत शत नमन करते है।हमारा सभी का यह परम कर्तव्य है कि हम बाल हकीकत के जीवन चरित्र को अधिक से अधिक लोगो तक पहुंचाए,जिससे हम अभय होकर आगे बड़े।जीवन भले ही छोटा हो ,परन्तु हकीकत के जीवन सायशस्वी हो।

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The massacres at Ajnala

During the days of Mutiny, the British officers mercilessly suppressed even the slightest signs of unrest in the Punjab, They perpetrated gruesome cruelties on the people and made an indiscriminate murder of guilty and innocent alike. Fredrick Cooper’s action at Ajnala against the disband Hindustani soldiers is one of those ghastly incidents which he himself described in his book,”the Crisis in the Punjab”.

The Indian soldiers of the 26th Native Infantry, after being disarmed by Robert Montgomery, became a problem for the government .They could neither be left to themselves nor allowed to go.They were like birds which strive an outlet through the bars.On 30th July ,they decided to escape from their barracks with the intention of ultimately reaching Delhi. But Delhi was for off. When The British officers came to know of their intention , they went to their barracks to asses the situation.The Sepoy became restive and attacked their officer Major Spenser and put him to death.The Seargent Major who tried to intervene also met the same fate. The disarmed Sepoywith no better weapons than hatchets and knives fled away from Mian Mir.An unexpected dust storm provided them with the much wanted cover and it was not known at first in which direction they had gone.On 31th July, a large body of them appeared on left side of the Ravi near Balaghat asking for information as to the fords.The villagers of Ajnala reported their presence to the Tehsildar of Ajnala . The latter quickly brought down every available policemen and attacked the Sepoy. An encounter followed in which 150 sepoys were killed.https://voiceofpunjab.wordpress.c

At this juncture ,Fedrick Cooper , the Deputy Commissioner ,Amritsar arrived at the scene with a party of 80 horsemen . He found Indian sepoys ,” crouching like a flock of wild fowl” taking shelter in an Island midstream.Boats were procured,and zealous villagers brought the capatives ashore with their hands tightly pinioned. About fifty prisoners plunged into thr river in despair who were drowned or shot dead while trying to swim away. The rest numbering 280 were marched off to Ajnala, where they reached at night. Their execution was delayed till morning.About 220 were lodged in the local police station and the rest of them were locked up in a small dungeon of a newly built house meant for the Tehsil office.

The massacres at Ajnala

The Deputy Commissioner had ordered for a large number of ropes to hang the culprits. In his eyes, the prisoners were all murderers, so he decided that,”that should all die”. But the ropes were in short supply, and were not sufficient to hang all ofthem. So it was decided to blow them with guns in small batches.

In the morning, those locked up in the Thana ( Police station) were brought out in batches of ten. Confronting them was a firing party and when the unfortunate victims were at point-black range, the trigger clicked and every one of the batch of ten day dead. The next batch followed to meet the same fate and this continued till all the men locked up in a small dungeon of the new building. When the door of the room was opend to drag the captives out, of the 66 locked up only 11 came out to be executed. The remaining had already died of suffocation and nothing remained but to pull their bodies out. Fedrick Cooper, the author of the ghasty carnage himself writes,”The doors were opened and behold Unconsciously, the tragedy of Holwell’s Black Hole had been re-enacted. No cries had been heard during the night. Forty five bodies dead from fright, exhaustion, fatigue and heat and partial suffocation, were dragged into light, and consigned in common with all others bodies, into one pit(a well at Ajnala) by the hands of the village sweepers”. His description of his own exploits,”reveals a fiendish mentality which is rare perhaps even among the brutalized military officers of these days.” About 47 Hindustani sepoys were subsequently captured and were sent back to lahore. After a sentence of Court Martial, they were blown from guns in the presence of a whole brigade.

Cooper, justifying his action, wrote that the position of the British was very critical and it was necessary to give aweful punishment to the mutineers. He tells that his righteous act was incomplete in the opinion of the assembled native to whom the crime was fully explained. According to him, “they marvelled at the clemency and justice of the British for not killing the rabble of men, women and children who bad joined the mutineers”.

The Government approves of Cooper’s action.

Cooper’s action met with immediate official approval. Lawrence wrote ,”I congratulate you on your success against the 26th Native Infantry. You and your police acted with much energy and spirit, and deserve well of state. I trust the fate of these sepoys will operate as a warning to others. Every effort should be exerted to glean up all who are at large.” His act was equally commended by Robert Montgomery who wrote, “All honour to you for what you have done, and right well you did it…it will be a feather to your cap as long as you live”

Cooper congratulated

that,”within forty eight hours of the date of the crime,there fell by the law nearly 500 men”.”What crime ? What law ?”. asked Montgomery Martin,”demanded the extermination of a helpless multitude?” Referring to such criticism of Cooper’s action a British historian T.R. Holmes, feels sorry that for his ‘splendid work’.Cooper was “assailed by the hysterical cries of ignorant humanitarians “.The sacrifice of five hundred villainous lives for the murder of two English is a retribution that will be remembered”. At this Thompson apathy observes,”Yes it is one of the memories OF India, as Cawanpur is of England.”. Cooper’s narration of the Ajnala massacres reached its climax in these words,”There is a well an Cawnpur , but there is also in Ajnala”. Majumdar remarks,”Here Cooper has blurted out a great truth which no one , particularly no Englishman should forget”. Thompson again rightly says,”I see no reason why he (Cooper) should be denied the immortality he craved so earnestly. Let his name be remembered with Nana Sahib’s”.

The gruesome incident of Ajnala was by no means an exception . Everywhere in the Punjab and Northern India, the English officers made an indiscriminate massacre of guilty and innocent alike to overawe the people and ti bring them to submission. Historically the importance of such atrocites as remarks Dr. Ishwar Prasad,” consisted in the creation of that racial hatred which disfigured our social life in post-mutiny India”.

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Nelson Mandela & Mahatma Gandhi

Nelson Mandela, Man of the century ,great freedom fighter ,he ever be remember.
even Mahatma Gandhi also could learn TOO many things from this  great  BLACK MAN with GODEN HEART.

THEY both know for their non-violence(philanthropist) ideology. both have  many similarities.both face  racism, inequality, and fostering racial reconciliation. Where, first half of last century belong to Mahatma Gandhi. Second, defiantly a Nelson Mandela’s era.

But both have known for some separate reason also.When we compare their successes Gandhi not stood near Nelson Mandela. where Mahatma Gandhi becme India & its people  a   libtory  for his political , religious , sexual & social experiments which of mostly proved disaster & nation paid it with its own blood. Where  Gandhi failed to stop riots, killings, rape of women before &after part ion  of India. Even after 65 year of Independence riots, different law s  for different peoples, unequally & poverty.     IN Indian Government’s ECNOMICLE POLICES , no space for Gandhi’s ideology. even for Jawahar Lal Nehru who become India’s first prime Minster  without public & party support .& only with Gandhi’s own desire never took his ideology seriously .In 1924 FOR Multan (punjab) riots Gandhi totally blame Arya Samaj & Hindus. He even took fast in Delhi with demand that Hindus took back all their cases against Muslims.In 1927 He criticizes Swami Shardhnand for his support for  shudhicaran of Muslims.   Mahatma Gandhi never give importance secular Jinah  ,but communal Jinah became like a prophet for him  But later  Jinah & Muslim League know Gandhi’s this weekness & ashamefully but stongly use it for making Paksthan.

In the 1946 election for the Congress presidency, Patel stepped down in favour of Nehru at the request of Gandhi. The election’s importance stemmed from the fact that the elected President would lead free India’s first Government. Gandhi asked all 16 states representatives and Congress to elect the right person and Sardar Patel’s name was proposed by 13 states representatives out of 16, but Patel respected Gandhi’s request to not be the first prime minister. As the first Home Minister, Patel played a key role in integration of many princely states into the Indian federation.

On other Hand, Nelson Mandela  never compromise  on unity & equality of his nation & its people. Mandela’s administration inherited a country with a huge disparity in wealth and services between white and black communities. Of a population of 40 million, around 23 million lacked electricity or adequate sanitation, 12 million lacked clean water supplies, with 2 million children not in school and a third of the population illiterate. There was 33% unemployment, and just under half of the population lived below the poverty line. Government financial reserves were nearly depleted, with a fifth of the national budget being spent on debt repayment, meaning that the extent of the promised Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) was scaled back, with none of the proposed nationalisation or job creation. Instead, the government adopted liberal economic policies designed to promote foreign investment, adhering to the “Washington consensus” advocated by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Under Mandela’s presidency, welfare spending increased by 13% in 1996/97, 13% in 1997/98, and 7% in 1998/99. The government introduced parity in grants for communities, including disability grants, child maintenance grants, and old-age pensions, which had previously been set at different levels for South Africa’s different racial groups. In 1994, free healthcare was introduced for children under six and pregnant women, a provision extended to all those using primary level public sector health care services in 1996. By the 1999 election, the ANC could boast that due to their policies, 3 million people were connected to telephone lines, 1.5 million children were brought into the education system, 500 clinics were upgraded or constructed, 2 million people were connected to the electricity grid, water access was extended to 3 million people, and 750,000 houses were constructed, housing nearly 3 million people.

The Land Restitution Act of 1994 enabled people who had lost their property as a result of the Natives Land Act, 1913 to claim back their land, leading to the settlement of tens of thousands of land claims. The Land Reform Act 3 of 1996 safeguarded the rights of labour tenants who live and grow crops or graze livestock on farms. This legislation ensured that such tenants could not be evicted without a court order or if they were over the age of sixty-five. The Skills Development Act of 1998 provided for the establishment of mechanisms to finance and promote skills development at the workplace. The Labour Relations Act of 1995 promoted workplace democracy, orderly collective bargaining, and the effective resolution of labour disputes. The Basic Conditions of Employment Act of 1997 improved enforcement mechanisms while extending a “floor” of rights to all workers, while the Employment Equity Act of 1998 was passed to put an end to unfair discrimination and ensure the implementation of affirmative action in the workplace.

Many domestic problems however remained. Critics like Edwin Cameron accused Mandela’s government of doing little to stem the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the country; by 1999, 10% of South Africa’s population were HIV positive. Mandela later admitted that he had personally neglected the issue, leaving it for Mbeki to deal with. Mandela also received criticism for failing to sufficiently combat crime, South Africa having one of the world’s highest crime rates; this was a key reason cited by the 750,000 whites who emigrated in the late 1990s.

Mandela stepped down as ANC President at the December 1997 conference, and although hoping that Ramaphosa would replace him, the ANC elected Mbeki to the position; Mandela admitted that by then, Mbeki had become “de facto President of the country”.

From all of this you itself  find where both stood as a national or international equality ,peace & brotherhood .

 Rajiv Kumar

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