5. Banda in Haryana, 1709
arrived at Narnaul. There he saw the complete destruction of Satnamis with
his own eyes. His blood boiled on learning that entire sect of Satnamis,
men, women and children, one and all had been wiped out of existence. It was
here that Banda suppressed some dacoits and robbers. (this is mentioned in
Shri Guru Panth Parkash of Giani Gian Singh, 345-46, 4th edition).
He was well received by
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 poor and needy.
Banda issued letters to Malwa Sikhs to join him in his crusade against
Wazir Khan of
perhaps in the history of
Punjab did the circumstances of the time
offered so fair a field to the ambition of a leader, conscious of great
talents, and called to the command of a warlike people, only too eager to
support him in any enterprise he might undertake. Banda directed his
attention to the east towards
wanted to leave
Mata Sahib Kaur in Delhi and plunder the
Government officials of the fertile area of Haryana. From Kharkhauda about
50 kms north-west of Delhi, Mata Sahib was sent to Delhi under proper
escort, to join
Mata Sundari, who was now acting as the
head of the
Khalsa. She might have resented Banda's
ignoring her for not having visited her at the capital before starting on
Sonepat, 50 Kms north of Delhi, early in November 1709 Banda commanded about
500 followers. He attacked 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
Kaithal, about 100 kms further 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.
50 kms farther north was the native place of Jalal-ud-did Jallad, the
professional executioner, who had beheaded
Guru Tegh Bahadur, while his son had
beheaded two younger sons of
Guru Gobind Singh. Ali Hussain who by false
promises had lured Guru Gobind Singh to evacuate
Anandpur also belonged to Samana. It was a
cursed place in the eyes of Sikhs.
entire peasantry of the neighborhood was now up in arms due to their ill
treatment by the Mughal administration. Banda's following had risen to
several thousands. Banda fell upon the town on November 26, 1709. The
inhabitants were no match to the Khalsa army and they were massacred and
town thoroughly squeezed. Samana was the district town and had nine
Parganahs attached to it. It was placed under the charge of Fateh Singh.
Samana was the first territorial conquest and the first administrative unit
Kunjpura, Ghuram, and Thaska inhabited by Mughal Ranghars notirious for rape
and rapine were destroyed. People who were born out of
Muslim father and
Hindu mother were called Ranghars. Damla
was the village of
Pathans who had deserted
Guru Gobind Singh in the
battle of Bhangani. It was ravaged. Shahbad
Markanda also fell to Banda.
Conquest of Sadhora
Khan , the chief of Sadhaura
25 kms distant, had persecuted Sayyid
Budhu Shah for helping Guru Gobind singh ji
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
known as Katal Garhi. Banda attacked the town and destroyed it.
contemporary historian Khafi Khan wrote: "In two or three months time four
to five thousands 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. Numerous villages were laid waste
and he appointed his own police officers (thanedars) and collectors of
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 military resources of Sarhind. He was anxious to see what
steps government will take against him. He therefore established his
headquarters, in the beginning of February 1710, at Mukhlispur situated in
lower Shiwalik hills south of Nahan, about 20 KM from Sadhaura.
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 defense.
All the money, gold and costly material acquired in these expeditions were
deposited here. He struck coins and issued orders under his seal. The name
of Mukhlispur was changed to Lohgarh, and it became the capital of first
ruled over the region bounded on the north by 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 Karnal. He abolished the
Zamindari System of land prevailing under the Mughals and declared the
actual cultivators as the owners of land.
he established the peasant proprietorship, and won 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." So Guru Gobind singh's dream of political
sovereignty was realized within a year of his death.
name struck terror into the hearts of lawless people, and thefts and dacoity
became a thing of the past. "In all the paraganahs occupied by the Sikhs,"
writes Irvine, "The reversal of 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 and his order
of appointment in his hand.
soon as he set foot within the boundaries the wealthy and well-born went out
to greet him and with joined palms awaited his orders. Not a soul could
disobey an order, and men who had often risked themselves in battlefields,
became so cowed down that they were afraid even to remonstrate.