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Banda Singh Bahadur

Banda Singh Bahadur
Depiction of Banda Singh Bahadur, during the Battle of Sirhind (1710), from an illustrated folio of ‘Tawarikh-i Jahandar Shah’, Awadh or Lucknow, ca.1770
Birth nameLachman Dev
Other name(s)Madho Das Bairagi, Banda Bairagi
Born27 October 1670 (1670-10-27)
Rajauri, Poonch, Mughal Empire[1]
(present-day Jammu and Kashmir, India)
Died9 June 1716 (1716-06-10) (aged 45)
Delhi, Mughal Empire
(present-day India)
Years of service1708–1716
Spouse(s)Susheel Kaur
Sahib Kaur[2]
ChildrenAjay Singh
Ranjit Singh[2]
Religious career
TeacherGuru Gobind Singh
Banda Singh Bahadur

Banda Singh Bahadur (born Lachman Dev)[3][1][4] (27 October 1670 – 9 June 1716), was a Sikh warrior and a general of the Khalsa Army. At age 15, he left home to become an ascetic, and was given the name Madho Das Bairagi. He established a monastery at Nānded, on the bank of the river Godāvarī. In 1707, Guru Gobind Singh accepted an invitation to meet Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah I in southern India, he visited Banda Singh Bahadur in 1708. Banda became disciple of Guru Gobind Singh and was given a new name, Gurbaksh Singh (as written in Mahan Kosh[5]), after the baptism ceremony. He is popularly known as Banda Singh Bahadur. He was given five arrows by the Guru as a blessing for the battles ahead. He came to Khanda, Sonipat and assembled a fighting force and led the struggle against the Mughal Empire.

His first major action was the sacking of the Mughal provincial capital, Samana, in November 1709.[1] After establishing his authority and the Sikh Republic in Punjab,[6][page needed] Banda Singh Bahadur abolished the zamindari (feudal) system, and granted property rights to the tillers of the land. Banda Singh was captured by the Mughals and tortured to death in 1715–1716.

Early life

Gilded panel (repoussé plaque) from Takht Hazur Sahib, Nanded. Madho Das declares he is Guru Gobind Singh’s ‘Banda’ slave

Banda Singh Bahadur was born as Lachman Dev in a Hindu family to farmer Ram Dev, at Rajouri (now in Jammu and Kashmir) on 27 October 1670.[7] Sources variously describe his father as a Rajput from the Bhardwaj clan[8][9] or a Dogra Rajput,[10] Hakim Rai's Ahwāl-i-Lachhmaṇ Dās urf Bandā Sāhib ("Ballad of Banda Bahadur") claims that his family belonged to the Sodhi sub-clan of the Khatris.[11][12] However, this claim appears to have been an attempt to portray him as Guru Gobind's successor, since the preceding Sikh Gurus were Sodhis.[9] Banda Singh’s family was quite poor. Not much is known about his early life other than the fact that Banda Singh was fond of hunting and shooting and learned the arts of horseriding, wrestling, archery, and swordsmanship at a young age and quite quickly.[7] According to a tale about Banda Singh’s early life he was once hunting at the age of 15. The sight of the doe dying saddened Banda Singh. He was even deeply hurt when he cut the doe and found 2 of the doe’s babies dying who were not yet born. The event deeply scarred him and led to Banda Singh abandoning worldly affairs and becoming an ascetic. He came into contact of a fellow ascetic named Janaki Prasad. Prasad changed Banda Singh’s name, which at the time was Lachman Dev, into Madho Das. Banda Singh established his own Dera (monastery) and took upon a following of some men.[7]

Meeting Guru Gobind Singh

In 1708 Guru Gobind Singh went to the monastery of Banda Singh, at the time Madho Das. Guru Gobind Singh sat on Banda Singh’s seat where the Banda would sit as a saint. According to some sources Guru Gobind Singh also killed the goats there. Upon hearing what happened Banda Singh was filled with rage. Banda Singh used his "magic" to flip the chair the Guru sat on, but nothing happened. Filled with rage Banda Singh made his way to the Guru. Upon seeing the Guru Banda Singh’s rage melted. After a conversation with the Guru Banda Singh converted and took Amrit becoming a Khalsa. Madho Das was named Banda Singh by the Guru. Banda Singh was taught in Gurbani and Sikh history.[13] Upon learning of the killing of Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh, Banda Singh is said to have cried. Guru Gobind Singh told Banda Singh, "When tyranny had overtaken men, it was the duty off the more sensitive to fight against it and even to lay down their life in the struggle". Banda Singh wanted to do such. Banda Singh wished to fulfil Guru Gobind Singh’s wish of punishing tyrants and saving the commoners.[14]

Military campaigns


Soon after Guru Gobind Singh was stabbed by 2 Pathans sent by Wazir Khan and possibly Bahadur Shah I. This is said to have sent Banda Singh into a fury. Banda Singh begged of the Guru to send him into Punjab so he can get revenge for the crimes done on Sikhs and punish the tyrants. In September 1708 Guru Gobind Singh gave Banda Singh the title of Bahadur and gave his full political and military authority to carry on the struggle. Banda Singh was given the duty of punishing wrong-doers and get revenge for the killing of Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh. He was bestowed with a Nagara (war drum), Nishan Sahib, and 5 arrows of Guru Gobind Singh. He was also given Panj Pyare, Ram Singh, Binod Singh, Kahan Singh, Baj Singh, and Daya Singh to assist him.[15] Banda Singh was also given 20 other Singhs to accompany him. He was told by the Guru to remain honest and pure in heart, to not touch another man’s wife, see himself as a servant of the Khalsa and Guru, do all acts after an Ardas and seeking counsel of the Panj Pyare, not to call himself Guru or form his own sects, and not to get ego from victories nor sadness from losses.[16]

Banda Singh was also given Hukamnamas from Guru Gobind Singh telling all Sikhs to join him in his war against the Mughal Empire. He was given the position of Jathedar of the Khalsa. Thus Banda Singh was sent to Punjab with a group of 300 cavalry following him in a distance of 8 kilometers.[16]

During the trip to Punjab Guru Gobind Singh died on 7 October 1708. Banda Singh used a disguise to travel for most of the trip and followed the path Guru Gobind Singh took in Maharashtra and Rajputana. Banda Singh traveled at a rate of 16 kilometres a day. It took a year for him to reach Punjab.[17]

Early conquests

Painting of Banda Singh Bahadur being blessed with five arrows by Guru Gobind Singh, by Gian Singh Naqqash, ca.1930

Banda Singh soon reached modern day Haryana and was soon able to win over the local people.[18] Banda Singh advanced towards the region of Bagar and was successful in subduing local dacoits (bandits) and robbers. He distributed what he captured from the thieves amongst the poor.[18] This incident won Banda Singh fame. He was publicly honoured by the locals with a waving of scarf.[19] Banda Singh was able to gain the support of local villagers and initiated people into the Khalsa.[18] Banda Singh then advanced towards the villages of Sehri and Khanda. It was in these villages that Banda Singh sent letters to the Sikh communities in the Majha, Doaba, and Malwa regions of Punjab to join him on his campaign against the Mughal authorities. It was in these letters that Banda Singh reminded the Sikhs of the cruel deaths of Guru Gobind Singh's two younger sons under the orders of Wazir Khan, the Governor of Sirhind.[18][20] As a result of these letters, Banda Singh began to receive support from the Sikh communities of Punjab.[21] Banda Singh was joined by Fateh Singh along with Karam Singh and Dharm Singh.[21]Tilok Singh and Ram Singh Phulkian provided soldiers and financial aid to Banda Singh.[21] Ali Singh and Mali Singh, who were previously under the service of Wazir Khan, also joined Banda Singh.[21]

Conquest of Sonipat and Kaithal

Banda Singh with a force of 500 soldiers lead an attack on Sonipat which war near the imperial capital Delhi. The Faujdar of Sonipat was defeated by the Sikhs resulting in the city being occupied.[22] Banda Singh plundered the imperial treasury and the rich. He distributed the wealth amongst his own men. The conquest on Sonipat so near to Delhi was an open challenge to the Mughals.[23] Banda Singh next set his eyes on Samana. Along the way Banda Singh lead an attack on a Mughal detachment near Kaithal that was carrying imperial treasure headed to Delhi.[22][23] Banda Singh was successful in taking the treasure from the Mughal authorities.[24] The Amil (Governor) of Kaithal was enraged by this and led an attack on the Sikhs. Banda Singh and the Sikhs fought a hard battle, but being mostly footmen compared to the Mughal cavalry were facing losses. Banda Singh executed a plan where the Sikh force ran into the forest full of thorns forcing the Mughal cavalry to abandon their horses. The Sikhs then popped out of the woods and took the horses. The Mughals were slaughtered in the battle with some surrendering. The Amil was captured by Banda Singh, but was released on the condition he would let the Sikhs keep the horses. The loot captured was distributed amongst Banda Singh’s followers.[25]

Campaign in Haryana and east

Banda Singh decided to head east towards Kiratpur in order to liberate Sikhs of Majha and Doaba held up in Malerkotla and Ropar. Along the way Banda Singh conquered Ghurman and Thaska. Ghurman offered minor resistance whereas Thaska surrendered without any resistance. Banda Singh then advanced upon Kunjpura which was the native village of Wazir Khan. Troops and artillery of Wazir Khan was stationed there but they were defeated by the Sikhs. Banda Singh next attacked Shahabad which was inhabited by Muslims known for committing rape. They were destroyed by Banda Singh and the Sikh forces. Banda Singh also ravaged Damala which was the home of the Pathans who abandoned Guru Gobind Singh in the Battle of Bhangani. Banda Singh next marched upon Mustafabad. The Faujdar of Mustafabad sent 2,000 imperial troops with 2 cannons to stop Banda Singh and the Sikhs. Banda Singh and the Sikhs defeated the Mughals with them leaving behind the cannons in their retreat. The town was plundered and the Faujdar was punished for his tyranny and oppression on the population.[26][27][28]

Battle of Kapuri

Banda Singh heard about Kapuri's Zamindar Qadam-ud-din, his reportedly immoral life[29] and persecution of Hindus and Sikhs.[30] He meddled with Hindu marriages and kidnapped young brides and raped them.[31] Banda Singh immediately attacked Kapuri, and killed Qadam-ud-din capturing his fort. This victory also led to a major capture of booty and war material.[32][31][33]

Battle of Sadhaura

Banda Singh’s next sight was Sadhaura. Sadhaura was ruled by Osman Khan, who tortured and executed the Muslim saint Syed Pir Budhu Shah, for helping Guru Gobind Singh in the Battle of Bhagnani. Osman Khan also committed atrocities against Hindus where the cows were slaughtered in front of their homes and forbade Hindus and Sikhs from cremating their dead and performing their religious events. All of this made Sadhaura Banda Singh’s target.[34][35][31][36] As Banda Singh advanced on Sadhaura the locals and peasants joined him in revolt. The angry mob became uncontrollable and destroyed all. The Sayyids and Shaikhs were killed. Osman Khan was hanged to death and Sadhaura was captured.[31][36][37]


Wazir Khan had found out that the Sikhs from Majha had assembled at Kiratpur Sahib to join Banda Singh. When the Sikhs reached Ropar, Sher Mohammad Khan along with Khizar Khan, Nashtar Khan and Wali Mohammad Khan were there to block the Sikhs passage and offer them a battle.[38] The Mughals had better weapons and a superior number of cavalry while the Sikhs had a small army with insufficient weapons.[39] Both sides faced off in a bloody battle. As they were fighting, there came a bad dust storm which forced both parties to withdraw for the night.[40] On the next day, a fresh contingent of Sikhs arrived to reinforce the remaining Sikhs. Immediately a bullet struck Khizar Khan in the head which caused confusion.[41][42] Nashtar and Wali Mohammad Khan tried to retrieve the dead body of Khizar Khan but were killed while doing so. Sher Mohammad Khan fled away due to being seriously wounded.[39] With most of their leaders killed, the remaining force retreated back to Sirhind.[43][32] The Sikh force in Ropar later grouped with Banda Singh Bahadur to prepare for the attack on Sirhind.[44]

Conquest of Sirhind


The Sikhs were planning to wage dharamyudh against the city of Sirhind, its Governor Wazir Khan and Dewan Sucha Nand, to avenge Mughal oppression and the execution of the two young children of Guru Gobind Singh.[45][46] This was the main goal of Banda Singh.[14] B

Before the battle began, Wazir Khan and Sucha Nand sent the latter's nephew with 1,000 men to Baba Banda Singh Bahadur in a plot to deceive the Sikhs, by falsely claiming to have deserted the Mughals and have come joined the Sikhs for their cause.[47][38] Wazir Khan had a large well-armed army, which included ghazis, along with a number of artillery, musketeers, and elephants.[47] Khan's army was larger than 20,000.[48]

On the other hand, Banda Singh's army was ill-equipped with long spears, arrows, swords, without artillery and elephants and insufficient amount of horses.[49][47] According to Ganda Singh, Banda's army consisted of three classes of men where the first class were the devoted Sikhs imbued to crusade against the enemies of their country and religion, the second being the paid recruited soldiers sent by the chieftains of the Phul family, who sympathized with Banda Singh's cause. The third were the irregulars who were professional robbers and dacoits (bandits), eager to seize the opportunity to plunder the city. They were also the most unreliable allies as they would desert when fearing a sign of defeat.[47][50] Hari Ram Gupta writes that Banda's army consisted of three groups, the first being Sikhs fighting purely to punish Wazir Khan, the second being Sikhs intent on plundering and punishing enemies of their faith. The third being Hindu Jats, Gujars and Rajputs intent on plunder alone.[51]


Both sides faced off in Chappar Chiri on 12 May 1710. Upon the firing of artillery by the Mughal Army, the third class of Banda's army, consisting of bandits and irregulars fled, and soon after Sucha Nand's nephew along with his 1,000 men took to flight as well.[47] Baj Singh informed Banda Singh of this. Banda Singh decoded to personally entre the frontlines of the battle leading the charge against the Mughals.[52][47] This motivated the Sikh force who shouted, "Waheguru ji ki Fateh" (Victory belongs to the Wondrous Enlightener) as they charged against the Mughals and their elephants. With only swords two elephants were killed by the Sikhs. The Mughals suffered heavy casualties with the Nawab of Malerkotla, Sher Mohammad Khan, being killed. He was followed by Mughal general Khawaja Ali. Wazir Khan attempted to rally his men as he fired arrows,[53] but was confronted by Baj Singh. Wazir Khan threw a spear at Baj Singh. Both men dueled with Baj Singh injuring Wazir Khan's horse. Wazir Khan shot Baj Singh in the arm with an arrow and reached for his sword to kill him. Fateh Singh charged at Wazir Khan and decapitated Wazir Khan before he could kill Baj Singh.[52] According to Suraj Granth and Maculiffe Wazir Khan was instead killed by Banda Singh who shot him with an arrow from the Guru.[52] As soon as Wazir Khan died the Mughal force fled.[54][47] Wazir Khan's body would later be tied to an animal and dragged around before being hung onto a tree.[55][53][52]

The retreating Mughal force left behind all of their horses, cannons, tents, and ammunition which was all captured by the Sikhs. Sikhs yelled out war cries of "Sat Sri Akaal" (True is the Timeless Lord) as they fell upon Sirhind. Sikhs reached Sirhind by nightfall. The gates had been closed and cannons had been placed to stop the Sikhs. The Sikhs rested for the night. Wazir Khan's family with other Mughal officials had fled to Delhi. On the 13th 500 Sikhs were killed attempting to take Sirhind. By the 14th Sikhs entered Sirhind.[56][57][58]


Filled with rage and revenge Sikhs began to destroy and razed Sirhind to the ground. Sucha Nand was captured and executed. All the booty of Sirhind was captured by Banda Singh.[56] He further abolished the zamindari system (feudal system) and distributed land among the peasants.[59] Banda Singh had ordered that the ownership of the land should be given to the peasants and to let them live in dignity and self-respect.[60][61]

The entire province of Sirhind and its 28 parganas was under the control of Banda Singh. It extended from the Sutlej to the Yamuna and from the Shivalik hills to Kunjpura, Karnal and Kaithal. All of it yielded 3,600,000 rupees annually.[56] He appointed Baj Singh as the new Governor of Sirhind and Ali Singh of Salaudi as his deputy, and struck coins.[62][63][58] Fateh Singh was made Governor of Samana, and Ram Singh Governor of Thanesar.[56]

Banda Singh had become well known at this time as, "The defender of the faith and the champion of the oppressed."[56]

Military Invasions

Banda Singh Bahadur developed the village of Mukhlisgarh and made it his capital. He then renamed it to Lohgarh (Fortress of Iron) where he issued his own mint.[64] The coin described Lohgarh: "Struck in the City of Peace, illustrating the beauty of civic life, and the ornament of the blessed throne".[citation needed]

He briefly established a state in Punjab for half a year. Banda Singh sent Sikhs to Uttar Pradesh and the Sikhs took over Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, and other nearby areas.

The rule of the Sikhs over the entire Punjab east of Lahore obstructed the communication between Delhi and Lahore, the capital of Punjab, and this worried Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah I He gave up his plan to subdue rebels in Rajputana and marched towards Punjab.[65]

The entire imperial force was organized to defeat and kill Banda Singh Bahadur.[66] All the generals were directed to join the Emperor's army. To ensure that there were no Sikh agents in the army camps, an order was issued on 29 August 1710 to all Hindus to shave off their beards.[67]

Banda Singh was in Uttar Pradesh when the Mughal Army under the orders of Munim Khan[68] marched to Sirhind and before the return of Banda Singh, they had already taken Sirhind and the areas around it. The Sikhs therefore moved to Lohgarh for their final battle. The Sikhs defeated the army but reinforcements were called and they laid siege on the fort with 60,000 troops.[69][70] Gulab Singh dressed himself in the garments of Banda Singh and seated himself in his place.[71]

Banda Singh left the fort at night and went to a secret place in the hills and Chamba forests. The failure of the army to kill or catch Banda Singh shocked Emperor Bahadur Shah I and on 10 December 1710 he ordered that wherever a Sikh was found, he should be killed.[72][73]

Banda Singh Bahadur wrote Hukamnamas to the Sikhs to reorganize and join him at once.[74] In 1712, the Sikhs gathered near Kiratpur Sahib and defeated Raja Ajmer Chand,[75] who was responsible for organizing all the Hill States against Guru Gobind Singh and instigating battles with him. After Bhim Chand's dead the other Hill Rajas accepted their subordinate status and paid revenues to Banda Singh. While Bahadur Shah I's four sons were killing themselves for the throne of the Mughal Emperor,[76] Banda Singh Bahadur recaptured Sadhaura and Lohgarh. Farrukh Siyar, the 10th Mughal Emperor, appointed Abdus Samad Khan as the Subahdar of the Lahore province and Zakariya Khan, Abdus Samad Khan's son, the Faujdar of Jammu.[77]

In 1713 the Sikhs left Lohgarh and Sadhaura and went to the remote hills of Jammu and where they built Dera Baba Banda Singh.[78][page needed] During this time Sikhs were being persecuted especially by Mughals in the Gurdaspur region.[79] Banda Singh came out and captured Kalanaur and Batala (both places in modern Gurdaspur district[80] which rebuked Farrukh Siyar to issue Mughal and Hindu officials and chiefs to proceed with their troops to Lahore to reinforce his army.[81]

Siege in Gurdas Nangal

In March 1715, the army under the command of Abd al-Samad Khan,[82] the Mughal Governor of Lahore, drove Banda Bahadur and the Sikh forces into the village of Gurdas Nangal, 6 km to the west of Gurdaspur, Punjab and laid siege to the village.[83] The Sikhs defended the small fort for eight months under conditions of great hardship,[84] but on 7 December 1715 the Mughals broke into the starving garrison and captured Banda Singh and his companions.[85]


Sculpture of the execution of Banda Singh Bahadur at Delhi, Mehdiana Sahib, near Jagraon in Ludhiana district, India

Banda Singh Bahadur was put into an iron cage and the remaining Sikhs were chained.[86] The Sikhs were brought to Delhi in a procession with the 780 Sikh prisoners, 2,000 Sikh heads hung on spears, and 700 cartloads of heads of slaughtered Sikhs used to terrorize the population.[87][88] They were put in the Red Fort and pressured to give up their faith and become Muslims.[89]

The prisoners remained unmoved. On their firm refusal these non-converters were ordered to be executed. Every day 100 Sikh soldiers were brought out of the fort and executed in public.[90] This continued for approximately seven days.[91] Banda was told to kill his four-year-old son, Ajai Singh, which he refused to do.[92] So, Ajai was executed, his heart was cut out, and thrust into Banda's mouth. However, his resolution did not break under torture, and so he was martyred. After three months of confinement,[93] on 9 June 1716, Banda's eyes were gouged out, his limbs were severed, his skin removed, and then he was beheaded.[1][94]

The execution of Banda Singh Bahadur and 700 of his followers by the Mughals in the spring of 1716 at Delhi was observed by a European visitor to the city on official business who was a British East India Company diplomat to the Mughal Empire.[95] This European recorded his thoughts on the execution of the Sikhs in a letter he sent to the Governor of Fort William in Calcutta.[95] It is one of the earliest accounts of the Sikhs from the perspective of a Westerner.[95]


Mural fresco of Banda Singh Bahadur (seated right) with his son (seated left). An attendant to the right is waving a fly-whisk. They are adorned with red clothing colours, characteristic of the Bandai Khalsa faction

Banda Singh Bahadur is known to have halted the Zamindari and Taluqdari system in the time he was active and gave the peasants proprietorship of their own land.[96] It seems that all classes of government officers were addicted to extortion and corruption and the whole system of regulatory and order was subverted.[97]

Local tradition recalls that the people from the neighborhood of Sadaura came to Banda Singh complaining of the iniquities practices by their feudal lords. Banda Singh ordered Baj Singh to open fire on them. The people were astonished at the strange reply to their representation and asked him what he meant. He told them that they deserved no better treatment when being thousands in number they still allowed themselves to be cowed down by a handful of Zamindars. He defeated the Sayyids and Shaikhs in the Battle of Sadhaura.[98]

Possible rivalry with Tat Khalsa and legacy

Mural of Banda Singh Bahadur with his son with both being served by fly-whisk attendants

In 1714, a resolute effort was envisaged by Farrukh Siyar to suppress Banda's rebellion, who was evading capture despite significant Mughal endeavors and investment of resources. At first, Mata Sundari (Guru Gobind's widow) was asked to persuade Banda to stop his lawlessness and expedition against the Mughals in exchange for jagirs and recruitment for Sikh soldiers into the imperial army. Banda declined on account of his lack of trust in the government. The Emperor had then imprisoned both of Gobind's widows, prompting Sundari to write to Banda again to get him to submit. Banda had again declined, leading the Emperor to tighten the restrictions on the widows, culminating in the excommunication of Banda Singh Bahadur by Mata Sundari for refusing to submit to the Emperor as per her demands. She further accused him of reigning over the Sikhs as their "Guru", and reprimanded his followers in a hukam-nama. This dispute led to two separate factions of the contemporary Sikh community, the Tat Khalsa; who were allied to Mata Sundari, and the Bandais; who were allied to Banda Singh Bahadur.[99][100][101][102] Mata Sundari's intervention led to half of Banda's followers (approximately fifteen thousand) abandoning him prior to the siege of Gurdas Nangal.[103][104][105] Disputes between the Tat Khalsa and the Bandais primarily included topics including Banda's abandonment of the traditional blue robes in favor of red ones, his insistence on vegetarianism, his observance of caste rituals, and his replacement of the prescribed Sikh slogan with "Fateh Darshan", as well as concerns over excesses committed by Banda's troops during their campaign of retribution against the Mughals. Banda's excommunication impeded his ability to counter the Mughals and contributed to his eventual capture and execution.[106][107][108][109]

Modern Sikh tradition speaks of at least two different Khalsas; the Tat Khalsa adhering to the polity and injunctions of Guru Gobind Singh, and the Bandais; those who adopted the principles of Banda Singh Bahadur.[110][111]

However the authenticity of the excommunication of Banda Singh Bahadur by Mata Sundari has been questioned by historian Ganda Singh who mentions that there is no contemporary or near contemporary writers or sources that make any mention of Banda Singh Bahadur being excommunicated, or that Farrukh Siyar had come into negotiations with Mata Sundari.[112] Historian Surjit Singh Gandhi also claims that there is no contemporary sources that make any mention of an excommunication occurring between Banda Singh and Mata Sundari.[113] Historian Sukhdial Singh further notes that there is no hukam-nama issued by Mata Sundari that addresses Banda Singh.[114] According to Dr. Nazer Singh, Banda Singh was regarded with contempt by the Akalis and the larger Sikh community for two centuries after his death, to counter Banda's exclusion from the Sikh community, Dr. Ganda Singh wrote an exculpatory book on him in 1935, proclaiming him to be a "perfect Sikh".[115] Modern scholarship has also cast doubt on Ganda Singh's explication of Banda Singh Bahadur's life and adherence to the Khalsa doctrine; his citing of Banda's phrases in hukam-namas, which he interpreted as Banda deferring to the Guru's authority and strictures ("This is the order of the Sacha Sahiba" and "He who lives according to the Rehat of the Khalsa shall be saved by the Guru") were equivocal and could also be taken as Banda conferring guruship upon himself. Ganda Singh also concurred that Banda invented his own salutation and prohibited the consumption of meat, likely motivated by his Bairagi background as opposed to the customs of the Khalsa.[116] According to Purnima Dhavan's When Sparrows Became Hawks: The Making of the Sikh Warrior Tradition, 1699-1799, while Banda did reiterate support of the Khalsa rahit in his hukam-namas, he also revered the values of vegetarianism and customs associated with the Hindu elite, made appeals to a collective Hindu and Sikh religion, and omitted prior orthodox Sikh sentiments and apprehensions about the Khalsa's interactions with other groups.[117]

Baba Banda Singh Bahadur War Memorial

Night view of Fateh Burj, Chappar Chiri, Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar, Punjab, India.

A war memorial was built where Battle of Chappar Chiri was fought, to glorify heroic Sikh soldiers. The 328 feet tall Fateh Burj was dedicated to Banda Singh Bahadur who led the army and defeated the Mughal forces. The Fateh Burj is taller than Qutab Minar and is an octagonal structure. There is a dome at the top of the tower with Khanda made of stainless steel.[118]

In popular culture

  • Sarbans Dani Guru Gobind Singh, a 1998 Indian Punjabi-language drama film directed by Ram Maheshwari. The film follows the Guru and Banda Singh Bahadur's struggle against the Mughal Empire.[119]
  • Rise of Khalsa, a 2006 Indian animated historical drama film by Vismaad Mediatech.
  • Chaar Sahibzaade: Rise of Banda Singh Bahadur, a 2016 Indian computer-animated film by Harry Baweja. A sequel to Chaar Sahibzaade, it follows Banda Singh Bahadur's fight against the Mughals under the guidance of Guru Gobind Singh.
  • Guru Da Banda, a 2018 Indian animated historical drama film by Jassi Chana.

Battles fought by Banda Singh

  1. Battle of Sonipat
  2. Battle of Samana
  3. Battle of Kapuri
  4. Battle of Sadhaura[120]
  5. Battle of Ropar (1710)
  6. Battle of Chappar Chiri
  7. Battle of Sirhind
  8. Battle of Saharanpur
  9. Battle of Nanautu
  10. Siege of Jalalabad (1710)
  11. Battle of Thanesar
  12. Siege of Kotla Begum (1710)
  13. Battle of Bhilowal
  14. Battle of Rahon (1710)
  15. First Battle of Lohgarh
  16. Battle of Bilaspur (1711)
  17. Battle of Jammu (1712)
  18. Second Battle of Lohgarh
  19. Battle of Kiri Pathan (1714)
  20. Battle of Gurdas Nangal or Siege of Gurdaspur


See also


  1. ^ a b c d Ganda Singh. "Banda Singh Bahadur". Encyclopaedia of Sikhism. Punjabi University Patiala. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  2. ^ a b Sagoo 2001, p. 213.
  3. ^ Rajmohan Gandhi (1999), Revenge and Reconciliation, Penguin Books India, pp. 117–18, ISBN 9780140290455
  4. ^ "Banda Singh Bahadur". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  5. ^ RATNAKAR, GUR SHABAD. Mahan kosh (in Punjabi). Bhai Baljinder Singh. pp. visit website of Rara Sahib
  6. ^ Sagoo 2001.
  7. ^ a b c Sagoo 2001, pp. 112–113.
  8. ^ Sagoo 2001, p. 112.
  9. ^ a b Rai Jasbir Singh (1997). "Historical analysis of the ballad of Banda Bahadur". Journal of Sikh Studies. 21 (2). Guru Nanak Dev University: 33. The poet wants to assert that Banda was the religious descendant of Guru Gobind Singh and the 11th guru of the Sikhs. For this purpose, he acclaimed that Banda was a Sodhi Khatri. Actually, Banda was Bhardwaj Rajput. The poet knows that only the Sodhi Khatri could be the guru of the Sikhs. He seems, to be aware of the Sikh tradition that the guruship would remain within the limit of the Sodhi's.
  10. ^ Vidya Dhar Mahajan (1965). Muslim Rule in India. S. Chand. p. 231. Banda Bahadur was a Dogra Rajput
  11. ^ Ganda Singh. "Banda Singh Bahadur". Encyclopaedia of Sikhism. Punjabi University Patiala. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  12. ^ Ganda Singh (1975). "Banda Singh Bahadur, His Achievements and the Place of His Execution". The Panjab Past and Present. Department of Punjab Historical Studies, Punjabi University. p. 441. According to Hakim Rai's Ahwal Lachhman Das urf Banda Sahib Chela Guru Singh Sahib, he originally belonged to the Sodhi clan of the Khatris, while another account records him as a Panjabi Khatri (Kapur or Khana) of the Sialkot District.
  13. ^ Sagoo 2001, pp. 115–117.
  14. ^ a b Singh, Raj Pal (1998). Banda Bahadur and His Times. Harman Publishing House. ISBN 978-81-86622-25-4.
  15. ^ Singh 1990, p. 25.
  16. ^ a b Sagoo 2001, pp. 118–119.
  17. ^ Sagoo 2001, p. 120.
  18. ^ a b c d Singh 1935, pp. 27–31.
  19. ^ Sagoo 2001, p. 121.
  20. ^ Sagoo 2001, p. 122.
  21. ^ a b c d Singh 1935, pp. 32–34.
  22. ^ a b Singh 1935, pp. 35–39.
  23. ^ a b Sagoo 2001, p. 124.
  24. ^ Singh 1935, p. 35-39.
  25. ^ Sagoo 2001, pp. 124–125.
  26. ^ Singh, Dr. Sukhdial. Banda Singh Bahadur On The Canvas Of History.
  27. ^ Singh 1990, pp. 42–44.
  28. ^ Sagoo 2001, p. 126; Singh 1998, p. 18.
  29. ^ Dr Sukhdial Singh (2015). textsBanda Singh Bahadur On The Canvas Of History. p. 97.
  30. ^ Singh 1995, p. 273.
  31. ^ a b c d Sagoo 2001, p. 127.
  32. ^ a b Singh 2000, p. 72.
  33. ^ Gandhi 1999, p. 28.
  34. ^ Singh 2007, pp. 68, 69.
  35. ^ Gandhi 1999, p. 29.
  36. ^ a b Singh 1990, pp. 46–49.
  37. ^ Singh 2004, p. 6.
  38. ^ a b Sagoo 2001, p. 129.
  39. ^ a b D.S Saggu VSM (2018). Battle Tactics And War Manoeuvres of the Sikhs. Notion Press. ISBN 9781642490060.
  40. ^ Dhillon, Harish (May 2013). First Raj of the Sikhs. Hay House. ISBN 9789381398395.
  41. ^ Sampath, Vikram (26 October 2022). Bravehearts of Bharat. Penguin Random House India Private Limited. ISBN 9789354928284.
  42. ^ Nijjar, Bakhshish Singh (1972). Panjab Under the Later Mughals, 1707-1759. New Academic Publishing Company. p. 47.
  43. ^ Institute of Sikh Studies (1997). Sikhism - Its Philosophy And History. Institute of Sikh Studies. p. 434. ISBN 9788185815039.
  44. ^ Dhillon, Harish (May 2013). First Raj of the Sikhs. Hay House. ISBN 9789381398395.
  45. ^ Singh, Khushwant (2004b). A History of the Sikhs: 1469–1838. Oxford University Press. p. 105. ISBN 9780195673081.
  46. ^ Gupta, Hari Ram (1944). Studies in Later Mughal History of the Panjab. The Minerva Book Shop. p. 47.
  47. ^ a b c d e f g Singh 1990, pp. 55–66.
  48. ^ Singh 1935, pp. 59–60.
  49. ^ Sagoo 2001, p. 126.
  50. ^ Sagoo 2001, p. 139.
  51. ^ Gupta 1978, p. 12.
  52. ^ a b c d Sagoo 2001, p. 130–131.
  53. ^ a b Bengal, Royal Asiatic Society of (1895). Journal and Proceedings.
  54. ^ Gupta, Hari Ram (1999) [1937]. History of the Sikhs: Evolution of Sikh Confederacies (1708-69) (PDF). Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers. pp. 12, 13. ISBN 9788121502481.
  55. ^ History Of The Sikhs Vol. II Evolution Of Sikh Confederacies (1707-69).
  56. ^ a b c d e Sagoo 2001, pp. 132–134.
  57. ^ Macauliffe, Max Arthur (28 March 2013) [1909]. The Sikh Religion: Its Gurus, Sacred Writings and Authors. Cambridge University Press. p. 248. ISBN 978-1-108-05547-5.
  58. ^ a b Singh, Ganda (1989) [1950]. A Short History of the Sikhs. Publication Bureau, Punjabi University. p. 84.
  59. ^ Kaur, Madanjit (2007). Guru Gobind Singh: Historical and Ideological Perspective. Unistar Books. p. 241. ISBN 9788189899554.
  60. ^ Singh 1927, p. 8.
  61. ^ Dhavan 2011, p. 51.
  62. ^ Singha 2005, p. 9.
  63. ^ Gupta 1999, p. 14.
  64. ^ Grewal, J.S. (1998). The Sikhs of the Punjab. Cambridge University Press. p. 83. ISBN 9780521637640.
  65. ^ Singha 2005, p. 14.
  66. ^ Singh 1995, p. 27.
  67. ^ Bakshi, S. R. (2005). Early Aryans to Swaraj. Sarup & Sons. p. 25. ISBN 9788176255370.
  68. ^ Sharma, S.R. (1999). Mughal Empire in India: A Systematic Study Including Source Material, Volume 2. Atlantic Publishers & Distributors. p. 627. ISBN 9788171568185.
  69. ^ Jaques, Tony (2007). Dictionary of Battles and Sieges. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 595. ISBN 9780313335389.
  70. ^ Gupta 1978, p. 19.
  71. ^ Ralhan, O. P. (1997). The Great Gurus of the Sikhs: Banda Singh Bahadur, Asht Ratnas etc. Anmol Publications Pvt Ltd. p. 17. ISBN 9788174884794.
  72. ^ Singh 1927, p. 10.
  73. ^ Johar, Surinder (2002). The Sikh Sword to Power. The University of Michigan: Arsee Publishers. p. 27.
  74. ^ Singh 1999, p. 91.
  75. ^ Kapoor, Sukhbir (1988). The Ideal Man: The Concept of Guru Gobind Singh, the Tenth Prophet of the Sikhs. The University of Virginia: Khalsa College London Press. p. 177.
  76. ^ General Knowledge Digest 2010. Tata McGraw-Hill Education. 2010. p. 2.134. ISBN 9780070699397.
  77. ^ Singh 1999, p. 93.
  78. ^ Singh 2007.
  79. ^ Sastri, Kallidaikurichi (1978). A Comprehensive History of India: 1712–1772. the University of Michigan: Orient Longmans. p. 243.
  80. ^ Gill, Pritam (1978). History of Sikh nation: foundation, assassination, resurrection. The University of Michigan: New Academic Pub. Co. p. 279.
  81. ^ Singh 1999, p. 94.
  82. ^ Jawandha, Nahar (2010). Glimpses of Sikhism. New Delhi: Sanbun Publishers. p. 82. ISBN 9789380213255.
  83. ^ Pletcher, Kenneth (2010). The History of India. The Rosen Publishing Group. p. 200. ISBN 9781615302017.
  84. ^ Hoiberg, Dale (2000). Students' Britannica India, Volumes 1-5. New Delhi: Popular Prakashan. p. 157. ISBN 9780852297605.
  85. ^ "Banda Singh Bahadar – Bandai or Tatt Khalsa?". Singh Sabha Canada. 2 February 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
  86. ^ Duggal, Kartar (2001). Maharaja Ranjit Singh: The Last to Lay Arms. Abhinav Publications. p. 41. ISBN 9788170174103.
  87. ^ Johar, Surinder (1987). Guru Gobind Singh. The University of Michigan: Enkay Publishers. p. 208. ISBN 9788185148045.
  88. ^ Sastri, Kallidaikurichi (1978). A Comprehensive History of India: 1712–1772. The University of Michigan: Orient Longmans. p. 245.
  89. ^ Singh 1927, p. 12.
  90. ^ Jawandha, Nahar (2010). Glimpses of Sikhism. Sanbun Publishers. p. 89. ISBN 9789380213255.
  91. ^ Singh 1999, p. 97.
  92. ^ Social Studies history and civics, class 10. PSEB. p. 72.
  93. ^ Singh 1935, p. 229.
  94. ^ Singh, Kulwant (2006). Sri Gur Panth Prakash: Episodes 1 to 81. Institute of Sikh Studies. p. 415. ISBN 9788185815282.
  95. ^ a b c Mandair, Arvind-pal Singh; Singh, Sunit (2017). "Orientalism (Sikhism)". Sikhism: with 64 figures. Encyclopedia of Indian Religions. Dordrecht: Springer. p. 290. ISBN 978-94-024-0845-4. Based on the best available compendiums of English records, the first occasion that an EIC officer had to observe Sikhs close at hand apparently arose in the spring of 1716 at Delhi, where an EIC mission in the Mughal capital witnessed the publicly held exe- cutions of 700 Sikh rebels as well as their chief Banda Bahadur. "It is not a little remarkable," wrote the head of the mission in a letter to the Governor of Fort William, the resolve with which the rebels "undergo their fate" without apostasy in the name of their "new formed religion."
  96. ^ Jawandha, Nahar (2010). Glimpses of Sikhism. New Delhi: Sanbun Publishers. p. 81. ISBN 9789380213255.
  97. ^ Sagoo 2001, p. 158.
  98. ^ Singh 1999, p. 85.
  99. ^ Ballantyne, Tony (2010). Textures of the Sikh Past: New Historical Perspectives. Oxford University Press. pp. 80–84. ISBN 9780195686630.
  100. ^ Gupta 1978, pp. 24–26.
  101. ^ McLeod, W.H. (2003). Sikhs of the Khalsa: A History of the Khalsa Rahit. Oxford University Press. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-19-567221-3.
  102. ^ Alam, Muzaffar (1986). The Crisis of Empire in Mughal North India: Awadh and the Punjab 1707-1748. Oxford University Press. p. 175.
  103. ^ Kaur, Madanjit (2000). Guru Gobind Singh and Creation of Khalsa. Guru Nanak Dev University. pp. 83–84. The truth is that fifteen thousand Sikhs left Banda's force because of the intervention of Mata Sundri, the widow of Guru Gobind Singh. She admonished Banda Singh Bahadur for breaches of the Khalsa code of conduct. Banda started calling himself a Guru, required his followers to address him as Sacha Sahib and changed the Khalsa greeting, Wahe Guru ji ka Khalsa, Wahe Guru ji ki Fateh into Fateh Darshan. For these and other misdeeds Banda was excommunicated from the Khalsa Panth by Mata Sundri.....The result of Mata Sundri's intervention was that half of Banda's followers sided with Mata Sundri, left Banda's force and started calling themselves Tatva Khalsa.
  104. ^ Grewal, J. S.; Chattopadhyaya, Debi Prasad (2005). The State and Society in Medieval India. Oxford University Press. p. 350. ISBN 978-0-19-566720-2. According to Ratan Singh Bhangu , the earliest historian of the Khalsa , the veteran followers of Guru Gobind Singh ( Tat - khālsa ) charged Banda with having assumed ' rulership ' whereas he had been only assigned ' service '. They maintained that the Tenth Guru had bestowed sovereignty upon the Khalsa Panth. They charged Banda with deviation from Khalsa practices by adopting the salutation 'fateh darshan', by insisting upon vegetarianism, and by preferring red dress over the traditional blue of the Singhs. His observance of chauka (plastered squared space) militated against the practice of collective dinning. Therefore, the staunch Khalsa dissociated themselves from Banda before the final siege in 1715. Mata Sundri, the widow of Guru Gobind Singh, is believed to have lent her moral support to the Tat - Khālsa in their tussle first against Banda and then against his followers ( Bandais ).
  105. ^ Banga, Indu; Indian History Congress (2002). Banerjee, Himadri (ed.). The Khalsa and the Punjab: Studies in Sikh History, to the Nineteenth Century. Tulika Books. pp. 103–104. ISBN 978-81-85229-71-3. His observance of ritual purities seemed to militate against the casteless order created by the baptism (sarbangi reet) created by the baptism of the double-edged sword. The old Khalsa also regarded it unsuitable for a state of warfare. Therefore, they are said to have disassociated from Banda before the siege of Gurdas Nangal and gone to Amristar.
  106. ^ Louis E. Fenech; W.H. McLeod (2014). Historical Dictionary of Sikhism. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 59, 296. ISBN 9781442236011.
  107. ^ Mandair, Arvind-Pal Singh (6 June 2013). Sikhism: A Guide for the Perplexed. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 70. ISBN 978-1-4411-5366-1.
  108. ^ Fenech, Louis E. (14 January 2021). The Cherished Five in Sikh History. Oxford University Press. p. 91. ISBN 978-0-19-753285-0. He nevertheless soon fell out of their favour, even drawing the ire of the Tenth Guru's widow Mata Sundari and actually managing to divide the Khalsa in its loyalties, between those who remained attached to the memory of the Tenth Guru (the Akalpurakhia) and those committed to Banda (Bandai), whom Mughal sources often refer to as the 'accursed guru' or confuse with Guru Gobind Singh.
  109. ^ Sarkar, Jagdish Narayan (1976). A Study of Eighteenth Century India. Saraswat Library. p. 311. According to Sikh tradition, one of Guru Gobind's wives, Mata Sundari, wrote to Banda to stop his 'career of carnage and spoliation' as he had 'accomplished the mission imposed on him by the Guru'.
  110. ^ Singh & Fenech 2014, p. 242.
  111. ^ Irschick, Eugene F. (3 September 2018). A History of the New India: Past and Present. Routledge. p. 121. ISBN 978-1-317-43617-1.
  112. ^ Singh 1990, pp. 246–250.
  113. ^ Gandhi 1999, p. 61.
  114. ^ Singh, Sukhdial (2005). Banda Singh Bahadur On The Canvas Of History. Patiala: Gurmat Prakashan. p. 6.
  115. ^ Singh, Dr Nazer (15 September 2021). Golden Temple and the Punjab Historiography. K.K. Publicatons. p. 198.
  116. ^ Dhavan 2011, p. 196.
  117. ^ Dhavan 2011, p. 53.
  118. ^ "Baba Banda Singh Bahadur War Memorial, Fateh Burj in Ajitgarh". 30 November 2011. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  119. ^ Singh & Fenech 2014, p. 478.
  120. ^ William Irvine (1904). Later Mughals. Atlantic Publishers & Distri.


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Banda Singh Bahadur
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