Punjab after the Gurus

Table of Contents

1 Banda Singh Bahadur

Born 1670 in Punchh, Kashmir
Real name Lachhman Dev
Turning point sight of a pregnant dying doe killed by his arrow, became Bairagi Madho Das, established his own Dera in Nanded
2nd Turning point Guru Gobind Singh appointed him military lieutenant against Mughal rule

1.1 Meeting with Guru Gobind Singh

Guru Gobing Singh visited his Dera and appointed him as military lieutenant to campaign again Mughal ruler, especially Wazir Khan (Governor of Sirhind). The Guru gave him 5 arrows from him quiver and an advisory council of 5 as a symbol of authority bestowed upon him, and renamed him as Banda Singh.

1.2 Campaign

Banda Bahadur captured Sirhind, Samana, Ghurham, Thaska, Shahbad, Mustafabad and Kapuri.

Captured Sadhaura by killing Usman Khan (who had tortured Sayid Buddhu Shah to death).

Battle of Chhapar Chiri: Wazir Khan, the Governor of Sirhind was defeated and killed, Sirhind captured; with this, Banda Bahadur became the ruler of territories between Satluj and Yamuna.

  • Renamed the Fort at Mukhlispur as 'Lohgarh' (iron city) and made it his capital.
  • new calendar, new seal, coins struck in the name of Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh
  • retained Persian as the court language
  • abolished zamindari system

Banda Singh Bahadur was captured and brutally tortured to death on the orders of Mughal Emperor Farukhsiyar in 1715-16. His 4 year son Ajai Singh also met the same fate.

2 Dal Khalsa and the founding of the Misls

The death of Banda Singh Bahadur left the sikhs leaderless and with no other stronghold than Amritsar. Bhai Mani Singh was appointed the head granthi of Golden Temple.

In the absence of any central authority, a convention became prevalent in which the Sikhs would gather at Amritsar on Baisakhi and Diwali to decide pressing issues. It came to be known as Sarbat Khalsa. It appointed jathedars who were responsible for protection of villages falling under them. It became the an important forum and institution for religious and political matters.

In 1733, Zakarya Khan, the Mughal governor of Lahore failed to suppress the Sikhs and instead decided to offer an olive branch. He offered a jagir and the title of Nawab on the leader of Sikhs. The Sarbat Khalsa chose Kapur Singh of Singhpuria/Faizalpuria misl as the leader of sikhs who became Nawab Kapur Singh.

On the orders of Nawab Kapur Singh the sikh army was bifurcated into two groups: the Budhha Dal consisting of veterans and tasked with protection of Gurudwaras and Sikh strongholds, and the Taruna Dal comprising young soldiers trained to act as combat troops.

In 1735, the peace between sikhs and Mughals broke down and Sarbat Khalsa was outlawed. Bhai Mani Singh was executed.

In 1738, Nadir Shah invaded India.

In 1746, the Chhota Ghallughara took place.

In 1748, Ahmad Shah Abdali invaded India and was defeated by Mughar commanded Mir Mannu outside Delhi. Taking advantage of the political scenario, the Khalsa reorganised the army into a single body called Dal Khalsa under the command of Jassa Singh Ahluwalia. It was divided into 11 units called misls. A 12 misl called the Phoolkian misl was not a part of Dal Khalsa and sometimes acted against the common interests of the rest.

2.1 Ghallugharas

Name Enemy Location Year Casualty
Chhota Ghallughara Lakhpat Rai, Yahya Khan Kahnuwan (distt. Gurdaspur) 1746 7000 dead, 3000 captured then beheaded
Wadda Ghallughara Ahmad Shah Abdali Kup Ruhira (Malerkotla, distt. Sangrur) 1762 20,000 to 50,000 sikhs including women and children

Following the Wadda Ghallughara in 1762, the Dal Khalsa defeated Ahmad Shah Abdali's governors at Sirhind and later Ahmad Shah himself at Amritsar and established control from Indus to Yamuna.

The death of Jassa Singh marked the end of Dal Khalsa and a brief interlude followed where there were 12 misls without any single power.

3 The Misldari System

The misldari system was a system of confederation of sikh rulers, each in his own small area of operation who were collectively opposed to Mughal oppression. At the same time, there was a fair amount of infighting between the misldars.

There were 12 misls, which could muster from a few hundred to a few thousand soldiers in time of need. The collective strength of these 12 misls is estimated to be around 70,000 soldiers.

Name of the Misl Founder Mnemonic
Singhpuria/Faizalpuria Nawab Kapoor Singh  
Nishanwalia Dasaundha Singh  
Shaheedan Baba Deep Singh  
Bhangi Hari Singh Dhillon  
Kanhaiya Jai Singh Jai Kanhaiya Lal ki
Shukarchakiya Buddha Singh  
Karor Singhia Karor Singh  
Nikai Hira Singh Nikai Dahlia Gulab
Dallewalia Gulab Singh Dallewalia  
Phulkian Chaurdhri Phul  
Ramgarhia Jassa Singh Ramgarhia  
Ahluwalia Jassa Singh Ahluwalia  

Author: likeaflower

Created: 2018-06-23 Sat 17:30

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