11. Fifth Battle of
Anandpur Sahib ji
Emperor called on his troops to account for their cowardice. They pleaded
that the Sikhs had taken an unfair advantage of their position in the battle
field. At one point the Emperor asked what sort of person the Guru was and
what force he possessed. A Mohammadan soldier gave highly colored accounts
of the Guru's beauty, sanctity and prowess. He described him as a young
handsome man, a living saint, the father of his people and in war equal to
one hundred twenty-five thousand men.
Emperor was much displeased on hearing this elaborate praise of the Guru and
ordered that he should be brought to his presence. In the meantime Raja
Ajmer Chand made a strong representation to the Emperor for assistance to
bring the Guru to submission. Accordingly the viceroys of Sirhind, Lahore
and Kashmir were ordered to proceed against the Guru.
faithful Sikhs informed the Guru of war preparations as a result of Raja
Ajmer Chand's representationto the Emperor. The Guru made arrangements
accordingly and sent for his followers. The Sikhs of Majha, Malwa and Doaba
and other places thronged to Anandpur.
were delighted at the prospect of battle, and congratulated themselves on
their good fortune in being allowed to die for their Guru and their faith.
The Guru affirmed that the death in the battle-field in the name of religion
was equal to the fruits of many years' devotion, and ensured honor and glory
in the next world.
noteworthy point in this whole episode is that the Guru having won battle
after battle, never captured an inch of territory, never nurtured enmity,
and never attacked anybody as an aggressor. By the creation of the Khalsa he
established equality and brotherhood of mankind.
down-trodden segments of the society which were ever ridiculed by the so
called high caste Brahmans and Khatris, had now become undaunted
saint-soldiers after being baptized by the Guru and joining the brotherhood
of the Khalsa. The Brahmans and the hill chiefs considered all this a threat
to their very existence. They were, therefore, waging a constant war against
the Guru and his Sikhs.
hill chiefs who arrayed themselves against the Guru were Raja Ajmer Chand of
Kahlur, Rajas of Kangra, Kullu, Kionthal, Mandi, Jammu, Nurpur, Chamba,
Guler, Garhwal, Bijharwal, Darauli and Dadhwal. They were joined by the
Gujars and the Ranghars of the area, and all of them formed a formidable
force. The imperial army of the viceroys' of Sirhind, Lahore and Kashmir
came in large number.
chronicler judiciously remarks that the Khalsa must be congratulated
because, though few in number, having the blessings of their Guru they had
confidence in themselves to fight for their religion, and delighted in
anticipation of the approaching conflict. It is recorded that there were ten
thousand Sikhs at Anandpur while the opposing army came as strong as fifteen
to twenty times in number than the Sikhs.
allied forces fell on Anandpur like locust. On seeing this the Guru ordered
his artillery men to discharge their cannon into the hostile army at the
thickest spot. The enemy made a charge to seize the artillery, but were
quickly restrained by the fatal accuracy with which the Sikhs served their
guns. They were supported by the infantry. The city of Anandpur was on a
little higher elevation and the allied forces were in the open and had no
protection, and consequently fell in heaps.
fierce battle was fought for a few days. The Mohammadan gunners were
promised large reward if they killed the Guru but they were unsuccessful in
their mission because their gun fire was either high or too low and could
not hit the target. The allied army finding their guns useless tried hand to
hand fight. On seeing this the Guru began to discharge his arrows with
marvelous effect. The fearful carnage continued, horses fell on horses, men
allied forces rallied a strong effort to conquer, but was so vigorously and
successfully repulsed that they were obliged to uspend hostilities at the
end of each day of warfare. The Mohammadans and the hill chiefs had
different opinions as to the cause of the success of the Sikhs. Some thought
that the Guru had supreme miraculous power and the supernatural forces
fought on his side.
maintained that the Guru's success was owing to the fact that his men were
protected behind their ramparts. While this discussion was going on, the
Mohammadan viceroys decided to storm the fortress where the Guru was
stationed. On seeing this the Sikhs put their two guns called Baghan
(tigress) and Bijai-ghosh (sound of victory) in position. The aims were
taken at the enemy. The tents were blown away and great havoc was caused. On
seeing this the Mohammadan viceroys retreated and the hill armies fled. That
evening the Guru offered thanksgiving, and beat the drum of victory.
failed through dire ct assault, the allied army planned a siege of the city
of Anandpur in such a waythat all entrances and exits for both goods and
persons were completely closed. They completely besieged the city, and the
Guru's supplies were failing. Food position became extremely serious and the
Sikhs were driven to undertake some dangerous expeditions. They went out at
night to snatch provisions from the besiegers. After some time the allies
collected their stores at one place and guarded them day and night.
the enemy learnt about the distressful situation of the Sikhs, they planned
a different strategy to induce the Guru to leave Anandpur. Raja Ajmer Chand
sent his envoy to him saying that if he left Anandpur, their armies would
withdraw and he could afterwards return whenever he pleased. The Guru did
not pay any heed to this proposal. The offer was repeated several times, but
the Guru did not accept it. Having suffered extreme hardships, the Sikhs
besought the Guru to evacuate the fort, but the Guru counselled them
patience for some time more.
Sikhs who heard enemy's proposal, went to the Guru's mother to use her
influence on him. She pleaded with him but in vain. The Guru told her that
the enemy's proposal was hypocritical since they planned to draw out the
Sikhs from within the shelter of the city and attack them. Some of the
Masands and the Sikhs who were influenced by the hill chiefs, insisted that
the proposal of the enemy be accepted and the city be abandoned.
Sikhs became impatient and Dish eartened. The Guru asked them to declare
their allegiance. Forty of them signed a disclaimer saying that the was not
their Guru and they were not his Sikhs. After they signed the disclaimer,
they were allowed by the Guru to go away. He then brought out a scheme to
expose the hypocrisy of the enemy.
Guru sent for Raja Ajmer Chand's envoy and told him that he would evacuate
Anandpur if the allied armies would first allow the removal of his treasure
and property. The Hindus swore on the Salgram (their idol) and the
Mohammadans on the holy Quran, that they would not deceive or molest his
servants departing with his property.
Guru then immediately ordered a number of cartloads of useless articles. To
the bullocks' horns were attached torches and at the dead of night, the
caravan of bullocks with their loads, started along with some Sikhs
accompanying them. When the caravan reached the enemy lines they forgot all
their pledges and fell upon the small company of the Sikhs to loot the
treasure. Their disappointment was great when they found out that the
treasure was made up of rubbish articles.
this way the Guru exposed the treachery of the enemy and told his Sikhs that
everything they had endured had been by the Will of God, and he quoted Guru
Nanak- "Happiness is a disease, the remedy for which is unhappiness".
last came an autographed letter from the Emperor to the Guru- "I have sworn
on the Quran not to harm. You. If I do, may I not find a place in God's
court hereafter! Cease warfare and come to me. If you do notdesire to come
hither, then go whithersoever you please." The Emperor's envoy added that
the Emperor promised that he would not harm the Guru. The hill Rajas also
swore by the cow and called their idols to witness, that they would allow
safe passage to the Guru. The Guru told the enemy," You are all liars, and
therefore all your empire and your glory shall depart. You all took oaths
before and then perjured yourselves."
Sikhs went again to the Guru's mother to complain of his refusal to listen
to reason. He, however, felt that their pleading was not reasonable but it
was not appropriate to accept the terms of the enemy and leave the fort. The
Sikhs stricken with hunger, supported the envoy's representation.
Guru comforted them," My brethren, waver not, I only desire your welfare.
You know not that these people are deceivers and design to do us evil. If
you hold a little longer, you shall have food to your heart's content." When
the Sikhs refused to wait any longer, he asked them to wait only a few days
more when the great God would send them relief. The Sikhs, however, refused
to wait even for a day. The Guru repeated his request saying that the enemy
would then retire and they would all be happy. He also warned the Sikhs," O
dear Khalsa, you are rushing to your destruction, while I am endeavoring to
Sikhs were so much hunger stricken that they refused to stay even for a day.
The Guru's mother was also in favor of evacuating the fort. The allied
armies sent a Saiyid (a Mohammadan priest) and a Brahman, both of whom were
to swear, on behalf of the allied armies, solemn oaths of safe conduct for
the Guru should he evacuate Anandpur.
seeing this the Sikhs began to waver in their allegiance to the Guru, and in
the end only forty Sikhs decided to remain with him and share his fortunes.
He told them that they too might desert him. They refused and said that they
would either remain within the fort or force their way out as the Guru
directed. He knew that the seed of his religion would flourish. He then
finally decided to leave Anandpur and gave orders to his men that they all
were to march at night. Anandpur was finally evacuated on 6-7 Poh, Sambat
1762 (20-21 December, 1705).
Daya Singh and Ude Singh walked in front of the Guru, Mohkam Singh and Sahib
Singh on his right, the second batch of baptized Sikhs on his left. His sons
Ajit Singh and Jujhar Singh followed with bows and arrows. Then came Bhai
Himmat Singh carrying ammunition and matchlocks. Gulab Rai, Sham Singh and
other Sikhs and relations accompanied him. The rest of the followers brought
up the rear, about five hundred in all.
moment the enemy got the news of Guru's departure, they again forgot all
about their pledges and set out in hot pursuit immediately. Skirmishes
started from Kiratpur onwards. Realizing the impending danger the Guru
charged Ude Singh with the responsibility to check the advance of the enemy.
Bhai Ude Singh fought a bloody battle at Shahi Tibbi. The enemy surrounded
and killed the dauntless and the bravest of the Guru's brave warriors, Ude
the battle of Shahi Tibbi was in progress, the Guru had reached the bank of
Sarsa river. At that time a news came that a contingent of enemy troops was
fast approaching. Bhai Jiwan Singh, a Rangretta Sikh, was given a band of
one hundred warriors to encounter the pursuers. With the rest of his people
the Guru plunged into the flooded waters of the Sarsa river. The flood was
so strong that many were drowned and many were scattered in different
directions including the Guru's mother with two younger sons, Zorawar Singh
and Fateh Singh. Besides, there was a heavy loss of valuable literature and
Guru accompanying his two eldest sons and some veteran Sikhs reached the
village Ghanaula on the other side of Sarsa river. Apprehending that the
route ahead might be beset with danger, the Guru gave Bhai Bachitar Singh a
band of one hundred Sikhs and instructed him to march by the direct route to
Rupar, whereas he with some veteran Sikhs preferred to take a longer route
and reached Kotla Nihang near Rupar to stay with Pathan Nihang Khan who was
an old and sincere devotee of the Sikh Gurus.
Bachitar Singh and his men had to fight their way through a cordon of the
Ranghars of Malikpur, a village near Rupar, and the Pathans of Rupar. During
the fierce fighting that took place on this occasion, majority of the Sikhs
fell dead and Bachitar Singh was mortally wounded.
Guru did not stay long at Kotla Nihang. It seems that he was to proceed to
Machhiwara and Rai Kot. Accompanied by his two eldest sons and forty Sikhs,
the Guru halted at Bur Majra after Kotla Nihang. A news was received that a
large body of Sirhind troops was chasing them. Immediately the Guru decided
to face the enemy from within the Garhi of Chamkaur and he hurried towards
it. He was well aware of the importance of this Garhi (mud fortress) as he
had, on a previous occasion, fought a battle at this place.