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Banda Singh Bahadur

Banda Singh Bahadur (born Lachman Dev)[2][1][3] (27 October 1670 – 9 June 1716, Delhi), was a Sikh warrior and a military commander of Khalsa army. At age 15 he left home to become an ascetic, and was given the name ‘’Madho Das’’. He established a monastery at Nānded, on the bank of the river Godāvarī, where in September 1708 he was visited by, and became a disciple of, Guru Gobind Singh, who gave him the new name of Banda Bahadur. He came to Khanda in 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 Khalsa rule in Punjab[4], Banda Singh Bahadur abolished the zamindari 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.

Banda Singh Bahadur
Banda Bahadur the Sikh Warrior ,.JPG
Statue of Baba Banda Bahadur at Chappar Chiri
Birth nameLachman Dev
Other name(s)Lachman Das, Madho Das
Born27 October 1670 (1670-10-27)
Rajauri, Poonch, present-day Jammu and Kashmir, India[1]
Died9 June 1716 (1716-06-10) (aged 45)
Delhi, Mughal Empire
Years of service1708-1716
Children1 (Ajai Singh)
Religious career
TeacherGuru Gobind Singh
Night view of Fateh Burj, Punjab, India

Early lifeEdit

Banda Singh was born to farmer Ram Dev, at Rajouri (now in Jammu and Kashmir). Sources variously describe his father as a Rajput of Bhardwaj clan,[5][6] or a Dogra Rajput.[7][8] Hakim Rai's Ahwāl-i-Lachhmaṇ Dās urf Bandā Sāhib ("Ballad of Banda Bahadur") claims that his family belonged to the Sodhi sub-caste of the Khatris.[1][9] However, this claim appears to have been an attempt to portray him as Guru Gobind's successor, since the preceding Sikh Gurus were Sodhis.[6]

Early conquestsEdit

After a meeting with Guru Gobind Singh, he marched towards Khanda and fight the Mughals with the help of the Sikh army in Battle of Sonipat.[10][11][12]

In 1709 he defeated Mughals in the Battle of Samana and captured the Mughal city of Samana,.[13][14]

Samana minted coins. With this treasury the Sikhs became financially stable. The Sikhs soon took over Mustafabad[1] and Sadhora (near Jagadhri).[15] The Sikhs then captured the Cis-Sutlej areas of Punjab, including Malerkotla and Nahan.[citation needed]

On 12 May 1710 in the Battle of Chappar Chiri the Sikhs killed Wazir Khan, the Governor of Sirhind and Dewan Suchanand, who were responsible for the martyrdom of the two youngest sons of Guru Gobind Singh. Two days later the Sikhs captured Sirhind. Banda Singh was now in control of territory from the Sutlej to the Yamuna and ordered that ownership of the land be given to the farmers, to let them live in dignity and self-respect.[16]

Military InvasionsEdit

Banda Singh Bahadur developed the village of Mukhlisgarh, and made it his capital. He then renamed it to Lohgarh (fortress of steel) where he issued his own mint.[17] 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 the Uttar Pradesh and Sikhs took over Saharanpur, Jalalabad, Muzaffarnagar and other nearby Muslim majority areas. Sikh historians like Karam Singh has clear mention of his atrocities on Muslims. Panth Parkash by Gyani Gyan Singh and S. Karam Singh Ji Di Itheyasak Khoj both have described his ransack of Muslim cities as ruthless and children, women and old men were killed indiscriminately and it is even mentioned that mothers' wombs were torn apart and unborn babies were also killed in show of utter cruelty on Muslims.[18]


Banda Singh Bahadur is known to have halted the Zamindari and Taluqdari system in the time he was active and gave the farmers proprietorship of their own land.[19] It seems that all classes of government officers were addicted to extortion and corruption and the whole system of regulatory and order was subverted.[20]

Local tradition recalls that the people from the neighborhood of Sadaura came to Banda Singh complaining of the iniquities practices by their landlords. 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.[21]

Persecution from the MughalsEdit

The rule of the Sikhs over the entire Punjab east of Lahore obstructed the communication between Delhi and Lahore, the capital of Punjab, and this worried Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah He gave up his plan to subdue rebels in Rajasthan and marched towards Punjab.[22]

The entire Imperial force was organized to defeat and kill Banda Singh Bahadur.[23] 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.[24]

Banda Singh was in Uttar Pradesh when the Moghal army under the orders of Munim Khan[25] 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.[26][27] Gulab Singh dressed himself in the garments of Banda Singh and seated himself in his place.[28]

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 and On 10 December 1710 he ordered that wherever a Sikh was found, he should be murdered.[29] The Emperor became mentally disturbed and died on 18 February 1712.[30]

Banda Singh Bahadur wrote Hukamnamas to the Sikhs to reorganise and join him at once.[31] In 1712, the Sikhs gathered near Kiratpur Sahib and defeated Raja Ajmer Chand,[32] who was responsible for organizing all the Hill Rajas 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's four sons were killing themselves for the throne of the Mughal Emperor,[33] Banda Singh Bahadur recaptured Sadhaura and Lohgarh. Farrukh Siyar, the next Mughal Emperor, appointed Abdus Samad Khan as the governor of Lahore and Zakaria Khan, Abdus Samad Khan's son, the Faujdar of Jammu.[34]

In 1713 the Sikhs left Lohgarh and Sadhaura and went to the remote hills of Jammu and where they built Dera Baba Banda Singh.[35] During this time Sikhs were being persecuted especially by Mughals in the Gurdaspur region.[36] Banda Singh came out and captured Kalanaur and Batala[37] which rebuked Farrukh Siyar to issue Mughal and Hindu officials and chiefs to proceed with their troops to Lahore to reinforce his army.[38]

Siege in Gurdas NangalEdit

In March 1715, the army under the rule of Abdus Samad Khan,[39] the Mughal governor of Lahore, drove Banda Bahadur and the Sikh forces into the village of Gurdas Nangal, Gurdaspur, Punjab and laid siege to the village.[40] The Sikhs defended the small fort for eight months under conditions of great hardship,[41] but on 7 December 1715 the Mughals broke into the starving garrison and captured Banda Singh and his companions.[1][42]


Banda Singh Bahadur was put into an iron cage and the remaining Sikhs were chained.[43] 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 terrorise the population.[44][45] They were put in the Delhi fort and pressured to give up their faith and become Muslims.[46]

The prisoners remained unmoved. On their firm refusal these non-converters were ordered to be executed. Every day a few were brought out of the fort and murdered in public.[47] This continued for approximately seven days.[48] After three months of confinement,[49] on 9 June 1716, Banda Singh's eyes were gouged out, his limbs were severed, his skin removed, and then he was killed.[1][50]

Battles fought by Banda SinghEdit

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indian Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal at the commemorative event to mark the 300th anniversary of the martyrdom of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur.

Baba Banda Singh Bahadur War MemorialEdit

Banda Singh Bahadur Memorial in Khanda, Sonipat.

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.[51]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Ganda Singh. "Banda Singh Bahadur". Encyclopaedia of Sikhism. Punjabi University Patiala. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  2. ^ Rajmohan Gandhi, Revenge and Reconciliation, pp. 117–18
  3. ^ "Banda Singh Bahadur". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  4. ^ Sagoo, Harbans (2001). Banda Singh Bahadur and Sikh Sovereignty. Deep & Deep Publications.
  5. ^ Harbans Kaur Sagoo (2001). Banda Singh Bahadur and Sikh sovereignty. Deep & Deep. p. 112. His father, Ram Dev, was an ordinary ploughman, Rajput of the Bharadwaj clan
  6. ^ a b Rai Jasbir Singh (1997). "Historical analysis of the ballad of Banda Bahadur". Journal of Sikh Studies. Guru Nanak Dev University. 21 (2): 33. The poet wants to assert that Banda was the religious descendant of Guru Gobind Singh and the 11th guru of the Sikhs. For the 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 Sodhis.
  7. ^ Vidya Dhar Mahajan (1965). Muslim Rule in India. S. Chand. p. 231. Banda Bahadur was a Dogra Rajput
  8. ^ H. S. Singha (2005). Sikh Studies. Hemkunt Press. p. 8. ISBN 978-81-7010-258-8. Banda Singh Bahadur was born in 1670 AD at Rajouri in Jammu and Kashmir of Dogra Rajput parents.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ The Sikh Review. Sikh Cultural Centre. 2008.
  11. ^ Sagoo, Harbans Kaur (2001). Banda Singh Bahadur and Sikh Sovereignty. Deep & Deep Publications. ISBN 9788176293006.
  12. ^ Haryana, India Director of Census Operations (1994). Census of India, 1991: Haryana. Govt. of Haryana.
  13. ^ Singh, Teja (1999). A Short History of the Sikhs: 1469-1765. Patiala: Publication Bureau, Punjabi University. p. 79. ISBN 9788173800078.
  14. ^ Dātā, Piārā (2006). Banda Singh Bahadur. National Book Shop. p. 37. ISBN 9788171160495.
  15. ^ Sagoo, Harbans (2001). Banda Singh Bahadur and Sikh Sovereignty. Pennsylvania State University: Deep & Deep Publications. p. 128.
  16. ^ Singh, Gurbaksh (1927). The Khalsa Generals. Canadian Sikh Study & Teaching Society. p. 8. ISBN 0969409249.
  17. ^ Grewal, J.S. (1998). The Sikhs of the Punjab. Cambridge University Press. p. 83. ISBN 9780521637640.
  18. ^ Singh, Karam (1960). S. Karam Singh Historian Di Ithisayak Khoj. Amritsar: Sikh Ithas Resaerch Board S. G. P. C Amritsar.
  19. ^ Jawandha, Nahar (2010). Glimpses of Sikhism. New Delhi: Sanbun Publishers. p. 81. ISBN 9789380213255.
  20. ^ Sagoo, Harbans (2001). Banda Singh Bahadur and Sikh Sovereignty. Deep & Deep Publications. p. 158. ISBN 9788176293006.
  21. ^ Singh, Teja (1999). A Short History of the Sikhs: 1469-1765. Patiala: Publication Bureau, Punjabi University. p. 85. ISBN 9788173800078.
  22. ^ Singha, H.S. (2005). Sikh Studies, Book 6. Hemkunt Press. p. 14. ISBN 9788170102588.
  23. ^ Singh, Harbans (1995). The Encyclopaedia of Sikhism: A-D. Punjabi University. p. 27. ISBN 9788173801006.
  24. ^ Bakshi, S. R. (2005). Early Aryans to Swaraj. Sarup & Sons. p. 25. ISBN 9788176255370.
  25. ^ Sharma, S.R. (1999). Mughal Empire in India: A Systematic Study Including Source Material, Volume 2. Atlantic Publishers & Distributors. p. 627. ISBN 9788171568185.
  26. ^ Jaques, Tony (2007). Dictionary of Battles and Sieges. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 595. ISBN 9780313335389.
  27. ^ Gupta, Hari (1978). History of the Sikhs: Evolution of Sikh confederacies, 1708-1769 (3rd rev. ed.). the University of Virginia: Munshiram Manoharlal. p. 19.
  28. ^ Ralhan, O. P. (1997). The Great Gurus of the Sikhs: Banda Singh Bahadur, Asht Ratnas etc. Anmol Publications Pvt Ltd. p. 17. ISBN 9788174884794.
  29. ^ Singh, Gurbaksh (1927). The Khalsa Generals. Canadian Sikh Study & Teaching Society. p. 10. ISBN 0969409249.
  30. ^ Johar, Surinder (2002). The Sikh Sword to Power. The University of Michigan: Arsee Publishers. p. 27.
  31. ^ Singh, Teja (1999). A Short History of the Sikhs: 1469-1765. Patiala: Publication Bureau, Punjabi University. p. 91. ISBN 9788173800078.
  32. ^ 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.
  33. ^ General Knowledge Digest 2010. Tata McGraw-Hill Education. 2010. p. 2.134. ISBN 9780070699397.
  34. ^ Singh, Teja (1999). A Short History of the Sikhs: 1469-1765. Patiala: Publication Bureau, Punjabi University. p. 93. ISBN 9788173800078.
  35. ^ Singh, Patwant (2007). The Sikhs. Random House Digital, Inc. ISBN 9780307429339.
  36. ^ Sastri, Kallidaikurichi (1978). A Comprehensive History of India: 1712-1772. the University of Michigan: Orient Longmans. p. 243.
  37. ^ Gill, Pritam (1978). History of Sikh nation: foundation, assassination, resurrection. The University of Michigan: New Academic Pub. Co. p. 279.
  38. ^ Singh, Teja (1999). A Short History of the Sikhs: 1469-1765. Patiala: Publication Bureau, Punjabi University. p. 94. ISBN 9788173800078.
  39. ^ Jawandha, Nahar (2010). Glimpses of Sikhism. New Delhi: Sanbun Publishers. p. 82. ISBN 9789380213255.
  40. ^ Pletcher, Kenneth (2010). The History of India. The Rosen Publishing Group. p. 200. ISBN 9781615302017.
  41. ^ Hoiberg, Dale (2000). Students' Britannica India, Volumes 1-5. New Delhi: Popular Prakashan. p. 157. ISBN 9780852297605.
  42. ^ "Banda Singh Bahadar – Bandai or Tatt Khalsa?". Singh Sabha Canada. 2 February 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
  43. ^ Duggal, Kartar (2001). Maharaja Ranjit Singh: The Last to Lay Arms. Abhinav Publications. p. 41. ISBN 9788170174103.
  44. ^ Johar, Surinder (1987). Guru Gobind Singh. The University of Michigan: Enkay Publishers. p. 208. ISBN 9788185148045.
  45. ^ Sastri, Kallidaikurichi (1978). A Comprehensive History of India: 1712-1772. The University of Michigan: Orient Longmans. p. 245.
  46. ^ Singh, Gurbaksh (1927). The Khalsa Generals. Canadian Sikh Study & Teaching Society. p. 12. ISBN 0969409249.
  47. ^ Jawandha, Nahar (2010). Glimpses of Sikhism. Sanbun Publishers. p. 89. ISBN 9789380213255.
  48. ^ Singh, Teja (1999). A Short History of the Sikhs: 1469-1765. Patiala: Publication Bureau, Punjabi University. p. 97. ISBN 9788173800078.
  49. ^ Singh, Ganda (1935). Life of Banda Singh Bahadur: Based on Contemporary and Original Records. Sikh History Research Department. p. 229.
  50. ^ Singh, Kulwant (2006). Sri Gur Panth Prakash: Episodes 1 to 81. Institute of Sikh Studies. p. 415. ISBN 9788185815282.
  51. ^ "Baba Banda Singh Bahadur War Memorial, Fateh Burj in Ajitgarh". 30 November 2011. Retrieved 3 December 2016.