21. The Second Battle: Battle of Hargobindpur
Battle of Hargobindpur
The Battle of Hargobindpur was, the second battle in which Guru Hargobind and his Sikh Risaldari (comrades), fought the forces of Abdullah Khan the Mughal governor, (Subedar) of Jalandhar. This historic war happened in September 1629 (according to some chronicles 1628). The battle was fought near the village of Ruhela where Guru Hargobind and his warriors defeated the Mughal force commanded by Turkish chieftains and the governor Abdullah Khan. After the victory the area in which the battle was fought became the town of Sri Hargobindpur.
Reason for the Conflict
Establishment of a Village
Much earlier a new village called Hargobindpur had been established near the village of Ruhela, on the bank of the Beas river by Guru Arjan Dev. The fifth Guru named this new village in honour of his young son Hargobind. However, after the arrest, torture and martyrdom of Guru Arjun Dev, the area fell under the control of Diwan Chandu Lal (an influential Hindu banker and chief minister of Emperor Jahangir. Jahangir took control of the whole area, but it was neglected and soon fell into ruin (Veerana). With the young (18 years old) Guru's attention focused on the intrigues that resulted in his father's death and the growing dangers to the Sikhs, his attention turned to efforts to train a force of Sikhs as he raised, armed and prepared a standing force of professional soldiers to defend himself and his devotees from attacks.
Bhagwan Das Ghirarh
Bhagwan Das Ghirarh, was a Khatri, the traditional caste of Hindu warriors who in the distant past governed and protected Hindu kingdoms. With the coming of the Mughals, the Hindu armies had subdued and defeated. Many of the Hindu kingdoms had become allies with the Mughal rulers and had even arranged marriages between their daughters and the Mughal rulers so that Jahangir mother was a Hindu Princess. The Hindus were quick students and learned the mastery of Persian language of the new conquerors which enabled rapid opportunity 'for advancement' within the Mughal hierarchy. Bhagwan Das Ghirarh often used torture as a means to his ends. He was friend of Abdullah Khan and was a relative of Chandu Shah (who many blame for the horrific tortures that lead to the Martyrdom of Guru Arjun Dev).
Guru Hargobind's Visit
During the rainy season, Guru Hargobind ji left Kartarpur and camped at the village, Gobindpur, that his father had started on the second Thursday of Sawan. He decided to rebuild and enlarge the town, on the open space on the bank of the river, which still had ruins and brick from the village begun by his father .
Death of Bhagvan Das
When Guru Hargobind Ji was setting up his camp, learning of the Guru's presence and intentions Bhagvan Das arrived at the Gurus camp to voice his objection and challenged Guru Hargobind asking him to vacate the site. Bhagwan Das stressing his right of ownership to the land hired some ruffians who forcibly attempted to dislodge the sikhs, who were already busy raising the new township. During this attempt to expel the Sikhs he hurled insults at the Guru, using some undignified words in his anger. The Sikhs got angry at such language being pointed in their Guru's direction, and were about to attack Bhagwan Das, when guru sahib ordered them to stop, but Bhagwan Das again spoke undignified words and the Sikhs (doubtless this was more than they could bare) and in the ensuing clash, most of the hired ruffians were killed along with Bhagwan Das.
In his anger Ratan Chand, Bhagwan's son, approached Abdulah Khan
After this incident, people told Ratan Chand about the death of his father. Ratan lost no time in going to Jalandhar, to meet with his relative Karam Chand, the son of Chandu Shah. Together they went to Ali Beg (Abdullah Khan), the subedar of Jalandhar and complained about Guru Hargobind. They played on the fears of Abdulla Khan, telling him that the Guru was constructing a fort at Sri Hargobindpur to raise an army to seek revenge on the Moghuls for the death of his father. Guru Hargobind had been advised by his father to raise and train a force to defend against against attacks on the Sikhs, but the young Guru had no intentions of building a fort or attacking anyone, his forces were strictly to be used in defense, but such were the fears (and doubtless the guilt of the Mughals concerning the death of the Saintly Guru Arjan)> No Doubt the the heat of his anger over his father's death and his warning of the Sikhs preparing for an attack, Abdulla Khan was quickly persuaded to dispatch a more than adequate force of ten thousand soldiers to help the plotters expel Guru sahib and the community of Sikhs.
Abdullah Khan's plan
Abdullah Khan first sent 4000 soldiers to Hargobindpur and ordered the local chieftains Bairam Khan, Muhomad Khan, Balwand KHan, Imam Baksh, Nabi Baksh, Chirag Din, Akbar Khan and Sher Muhommad to ready their forces they were to be his main pawns in his plan. He then divided these forces, sending them to eight different locations around the Sikhs. Guru Hargobind gave command of his army to Bhai Jattu and selected one jathedar (leader) for each jatha (group). Bhai Kalyana, Those selected to lead the jaths were Bhai Piraga, Bhai Mathra Bhat (son of Baba Bhikha), Bhai Jagan Nath, Bhai Jagna, Bhai Saktu, Bhai Jati Mall, Bhai Paras Ram, Bhai Malooka. The Guru kept the jatha of Bhai Bidhi Chand in reserve so that they could add support wherever it was needed.
Historians have written that the warriors of the Guru flared out like peacocks and their enemies hid themselves like cowering snakes. On the first day of battle, Bhai Jattu directly challenged Muhommad Khan. Muhommad Khan killed Bhai Jattu's horse with his first arrow. Bhai Jattu then fired a shot at Muhomad Khan just as he let go a second arrow, both men were killed. Abdullah Khan now gave command to Bairam Khan and on the opposite side it was Bhai Mathura Kaman, in place of Bhai Jattu. Bhai Mathura ji first fell down Bairam Khan's horse and then jumped on him, the body of Bairam Khan was fully covered with "Sanjoh" (protective garments; Warrior's iron dress) so he was thinking that he was invincible. Bhai Mathura ji drew his Kata (Sword) from his scabbard striking his adversary on his face, killing Khan immediately. Balvand Khan was the next sent out, with one troop of Ali Baksh. Both Dasta stampede in Sikh Army, but Bhai Kalyana shot bullet towards Balvand Khan and he was killed. When Ali Baksh saw this he attacked Bhai Kalyana. Bhai Kalyana let all his arrows fly and then he started fighting with his sword, but he was completely surrounded and could not escape. He got martyred in the ensuing attack. Then Ali Baksh moved toward Guru Hargobind, watching this Bhai Nanu moved forward and stopped Ali Baksh, Ali Baksh tried to shoot Bhai Nanu but before Bhai Nanu's arrow launched second before killed Ali Baksh. After Ali Baksh, Imam Baksh moved forward, Bhai Nanu cut his arm off but he attacked on Bhai Nanu ji with other arm and killed Bhai Nanu. After Bhai Nanu, Sikh Army began to go down but Bhai Bidhi Chand's took control of the situation. Bhai Kishna and Bhai Paraga moved forward and clashed with Imam Baksh. In evening both Armies went to their "Tikanas" (bases).
On second day of battle, in morning, Guru sahib mentioned about the bravery of Bhai Nanu and promote the army to fight with bravery. Bhai Paraga, Bhai Jagna, Bhai Saktu, Bhai Pirana and Bhai Bholan take command of different jathas (groups). Bhai Bidhi Chand took the command of a defensive jatha. Abdullah Khan also established his command for the enemy. Sikhs attacked bravely and furiously and enemies were surprised watching all this. Abdullah Khan was thinking that these Sikhs are just common barbers, farmers, craftsmen (Chibas and Baroots) but they have turned out to be strong warriors as well. Abdulah Khan sent his eldest son Nabi Bakhsh into the battlefield and also asked Karam Chand to stop Bhai Bidhi Chand. Karam Chand fired an arrow towards Bhai Bidhi Chand. The arrow struck Bhai Bidhi Chand's body; however, Bhai Bidhi Chand pulled out the arrow and fired it back at Karam Chand. Karam Chand escaped but his horse fell down. When he fell from his horse, Bhai Bidhi Chand put "Kamand" sling around him and started to drag him with his horse and threw him before Guru Hargobind and asked permission to finish him off. Guru sahib denied permission saying that the enemy fighter was without a weapon. Karam Chand ran back to Abdullah Khan and told him that there are only a few Sikhs with the Guru. Abdullah Khan then planned a strong attack and with Nabi Baksh they attacked the Sikh soldiers. Bhai Paras Ram's jatha stopped Nabi Baksh but he was injured by an arrow from Nabi Baksh, Bhai Saktu supported injured Bhai Paras Ram and took his sword and hit Nabi Baksh. His strike with the sword was so forcefull that he killed him instantly. Watching this the Mughal army attacked Bhai Saktu and Bhai Paras Ram and they were martyred.
Abdullah Khan was very hurt and mourned the death of his son. His second son Karim Baksh moved forward to attack Guru sahib but Bhai Bidhi Chand stopped him. Karim Baksh started attacking Bhai Bidhi Chand forcefully with his sword. Some of his strikes were wasted but one strike was so powerful that Bhai Bidhi Chand's sword broke into two. Bhai Bidhi Chand took the sword of one of the other Sikhs and attacked Karim Baksh and killed him. Karam Chand and Ratan Chand ran away when they saw Karim Baksh counting his last breaths. Abdullah Khan now thought that by attacking with one or two commanders it would be difficult to fight with Sikhs. So he ordered his whole army to attack together. Abdullah Khan was so disturbed with death of his sons that he fought with extreme power and retaliation that he soon reached the location of the Sikh Guru sahib. At that time Guru Sahib had a "Lakhae Nagarachi" (a spear like weapon) and a Khachar full of arrows" and two Sikhs with him. The Khan blindly attacked Guru Sahib. Karam Chand and Ratan Chand also reached there to help the Khan. The three Mughal fighters started a attack together with arrows. The Guru had an iron shield which he used very brilliantly to deflect the arrows. However, the horses were dying due to shower of arrows. Karam Chand went near the Guru and tried to attack Guru sahib; Guru ji hit him the sheild which he had with him and he fell unconscious. Then the Guru attacked and killed Ratan Chand with his sword. Abdullah Khan tired attacking again and again but Guru sahib hit him with his []Khanda (double edged sword) and he fall down onto the earth. Karam Chand regained conciousness and attacked Guru sahib again. Guru ji threw away his shield and fought just with his sword. Karam Chand's sword broke into two; he took another sword and fought again but the second sword also broke into two; simultaneously the Guru's sword also broke. Guru sahib hadn't used the sword of Piri and had hand on hand fight and killed Ratan Chand. Guru ji uttered Jaikara Jai hoyi Satguru Nanak Dev ji ki (Victory be to the true Guru Nanak). The whole battleground was under the control of the Guru.
Guru Hargobind Sahib rested after the battle and removed his waist Sash,(place present day Damdama). During Evening guru ji went somewhere alone. The whole congregation was tensed, where guru sahib went, and they were not able to found guru in dark, so a Sikh Chaudhary Shia from village send Mashaals(Fire on Wood top) and now they were able to see guru.
Both Ratan Chand and Karam Chand were killed along with Abdullah Khan, his two sons and five of his commanders. On the Guru sahib's side, Mathura Bhat Ji (son of Baba Bhikha Ji), Bhai Nanu Ji, Bhai Saktu Ji, Bhai Jattu Ji, Bhai Pirana Ji, Bhai Paras Ram Ji, Bhai Jagannath Ji and Bhai Kalyana Ji were martyred. Guru Sahib made Grave's for Muslims and Drown the Corpse of sikhs in Beas. Abdullah Khan, his two sons and his 5 Senapatis had one grave. After this fight the Sikhi spread in whole doab. The courage of people came out and they became Sikhs and became member of gurus army. The people of Doaba region were thankful for the riddance of the tyranny of the evil minded Abdulah Khan. The local population was thankful for the riddance of the tyranny of the evil minded Chaudhry and Mughals. They helped the Guru in the construction work of the town which came to be called after the sixth Guru as Sri Hargobindpur.
Reaction of the Mughal Emporer
At the time, Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor, was at Agra. When he heard about the embarrasing defeat of the Moghuls at the hands of the smaler force of Sikhs he ordered his troops to destroy Sri Hargobindpur. But when his son Dara Shikoh and Wazir Khan narrated the true version of the whole story to the emperor, Shah Jahan said that Abdullah Khan had fought this war without any justification and, even worse, without his permission. He then ordered his men to take possession of the property of Abdullah khan. Wazir Khan also told Shah Jahan that Guru Hargobind had ordered his Sikhs to build a mosque in Hargobindpur, as the Muslims of the village were not able to afford one themselves. Shah Jahan was pleased to hear that.
There is a historical Gurdwara called Gurdwara Damdama Sahib. At this place Guru HarGobind Sahib rested after the battle and removed his waist band. Four shrines commemorate Guru Hargobind's stay at Ruhela. He built a Ram Temple for Hindus, a Mausque called Guru ki Maseet for Muslims.