40. Second Battle of Anandpur
Rajas of Jammu, Nurpur, Mandi, Bhutan, Kullu, Kionthal, Guler, Chamba,
Srinagar, Dadhwal, Handur and others, assembled at Bilaspur to discuss the
newly created situation. Raja Ajmer Chand of Kahlur (son of late Raja Bhim
Chand) addressed them that if they overlooked the growing power of the Guru,
he would one day drive them out from their territories.
the other hand if they were to seek assistance from Delhi again and again,
they might be taken over by the Mughal empire for ever. It was, therefore,
decided that they must defend themselves. If all the hill Rajas contributed
reasonable contingents, they could muster a large army which would be
sufficient to annihilate the Guru and his Sikhs. Thus a simple and feasible
measure was thought out to invest the Guru's capital, Anandpur, and starve
its occupants into submission.
all the Rajas brought their contingents and marched towards Anandpur. On
arriving near thecity they dispatched a letter to the Guru in which they
wrote," The land of Anandpur is ours, we allowed your father to dwell on it
and he never paid any rent. Now you have originated a new religion which is
opposed to our religious system. We have endured all this up to the present,
we can no longer overlook it. You should pay the arrears of rent for the
occupation of our land and promise to pay it regularly for the future. If
you fail to accept these terms, then prepare your departure from Anandpur or
be ready for the consequences."
Guru replied," My father had purchased this land and he paid for it. If you
deprive me of Anandpur, you shall have it with bullets added thereto. Seek
my protection, and you will be happy in both worlds. Also seek the
protection of the Khalsa and abandon pride. Now is the time for a
settlement. I shall act as a mediator between the Khalsa and you. You may
then rule your states without apprehension."
was now clear to the Rajas that the Guru would not surrender. Next morning
they beat the drum of war.As anticipated a large number of Ranghars and
Gujars under the command of Jagatullah flocked to the side of the hill
hundred men from the Majha area arrived under the command of Duni Chand to
join the Guru's forces, and ther reinforcements from other quarters also
arrived at that juncture. There were two main forts, Lohgarh and Fatehgarh.
The Guru ordered his forces not to advance beyond the city but remain as far
as possible on the defensive. Sher Singh and Nahar Singh were appointed as
chiefs to guard Lohgarh, and Fatehgarh was entrusted to Ude Singh. Sahibzada
Ajit Singh, Guru's eldest son, asked his father's permission to join hands
with Ude Singh.
hill Rajas opened fire with large guns on the Guru's fortress. Several brave
Sikhs made a determined stand against the enemy and forced them to retreat.
The allied chiefs then held a brief council of war in which it was decided
to despatch Raja Kesari Chand, the haughty chief of Jaswal, to attack the
right flank and Jagatullah the left flank of the Guru's position while Ajmer
Chand himself and his troops made a front attack on Anandpur.
was shot dead by Sahib Singh and the Sikhs did not retreat to allow the
enemy to remove his body. Raja Ghumand Chand of Kangra rallied his troops
but failed to cause the Sikhs to retreat. The hill chiefs were in great
dismay at the result of the battle and held a council of war during the
Ajmer Chand advised the council for peace with the Guru saying that the Guru
occupied Guru Nanak's spiritual throne and there would be no indignity in
appealing to him as supplicants. Many Rajas agreed to the proposal but
Kesari Chand of Jaswal opposed the reconciliation and promised to fight with
more determination the next day in order to oust the Guru from Anandpur.
morning the allied forces contented themselves with concentrating their
attack on one particular part of the city but the Sikhs again offered
valiant resistance. The allied forces rallied many times but could not
overcome the brave Sikhs and so they decided to siege the city which lasted
for a few weeks. As the blockade prolonged successfully, Raja Kesari Chand
prepared to intoxicate an elephant and direct him against the city.
body of the elephant was encased in steel. A strong spear projected from his
forehead for the purpose of assault. The intoxicated elephant was directed
towards the gate of Lohgarh fort and the allied army followed him. The Guru
blessed his Sikh, Bichitar Singh to combat the elephant. Bichitar Singh took
a lance to meet the furious animal.
raised his lance and drove it through the elephant's head armor. On this the
animal turned around on the hill soldiers, and killed several of them.
Meanwhile Ude Singh continued to advance against Kesari Chand, challenged
him, and then with one blow cut off his head. Mohkam Singh, one of the Five
Beloved Ones, cut off the mad elephant's trunk with one blow of his sword.
What remained of the hill army now fled. In the retreat the Raja of Handur
was severely wounded by Sahib Singh.
the following day Ghumand Chand of Kangra directed the efforts of his troops
against the city. Ghumand Chand's horse was killed by a bullet from the
musket of Alim Singh. The battle lasted with varying success until evening,
when Ghumand Chand, as he was proceeding to his tent in the evening, was
mortally wounded by a chance bullet. All the hill chiefs now became
disheartened and demoralized. Raja Ajmer Chand was the last to leave
Anandpur and marched home in the dead of night. This battle was fought in