7. Sikhs respond

The army pursued the Sikhs hiding near the hills and forced them to cross the rivers and seek safety in the Malwa tract. When Nawab Kapoor Singh reached Patiala, Baba Ala Singh took Amrit and Nawab Ji helped him increase the boundaries of his state. In 1736 the Khalsa attacked Sirhind, where the two younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh were murdered. The army fought frantically to protect the city. However, the advancing tide of the enraged Sikhs could not be checked, and the Khalsa took over the city and the treasury. They established the Gurdwaras at the historical places and withdrew. After this expedition Kapoor Singh returned to Amritsar. These victories of the Sikhs naturally upset the government of Lahore. A huge army was sent to recover the treasury and punish the Sikhs. Khalsa troops were camping near Amritsar when the army attacked them. Kapoor Singh entrusted the treasury to Jassa Singh Ahluwalia and told him to take it to a safe place. He himself had sufficient Sikhs with him to keep the army engaged. When Jassa Singh was out of the reach of the army, the Nawab ordered a strategic retreat, and they reached Taran Taaran without the army being able to do any serious damage to them. To fight the advancing army, the Nawab sent messages to the Taruna Dal to join them in the fight. The Sikhs dug themselves into trenches and waited for the army to attack. When they were within range, the Sikhs showered bullets on them. The fight lasted the entire day without either side gaining the upper hand. Finding the army exhausted and the commanders in low morale by the evening, Kapoor Singh attacked the commanding posts. This swift and daring attack by two hundred Sikhs stunned the enemy. Three generals, along with many officers, were killed. Whereupon the army retreated to Lahore realizing that they were no match for the adventurous and committed Sikhs. Khan called his advisors to plan another strategy to deal with the Sikhs. It was suggested that the Sikhs should not be allowed to visit the Amrit Sarovar, the fountain of their lives and source of their strength. Accordingly, strong contingents were posted around the city and all entries to Harimandar Sahib were checked. The Sikhs, however, risking their lives, continued to pay their respects to the holy place and take a dip in the Sarovar in the dark of night. For some Sikhs, the price of doing so was their lives. One time, when Kapoor Singh went to Amritsar, he had to fight with Kazi Rehman. He had declared that Sikhs, the so-called lions, would not dare to come to Amritsar and face him. In the ensuing fight Kazi was killed. When his son tried to save him, he too lost his life. Later, Massa Rangar took over the control of Amritsar. While smoking and drinking in the Harimandar Sahib, he watched the dances of the nautch girls. The Sikhs who had moved to Bikaner, a desert region, for safety, were outraged to hear of this desecration. Bhai Sukha Singh and Mehtab Singh, went there disguised as revenue collectors. They tied their horses outside, walked straight into the Harimandar Sahib, cut off his head, and took it with them. It was a lesson for the rulers that no tyrant would go unpunished.