Q87. What do you know of Banda Singh?
Banda Singh (1670-1716) was born at Rajouri in Jammu State. He was known as Lachman Dev in his childhood. Soon after a hunt, he turned ascetic: A Bairagi, and took the name of Madho Das. He settled down at Nanded. He became a devotee of the Guru in September 1708 and sought his blessings. Guru Gobind Singh gave him a sword, five arrows, a flag and a battle drum and asked him to follow the five commandments mentioned below:
Remain a celibate: do not marry at all.
Speak the truth and act on it.
Serve and obey the Khalsa Panth.
Do not establish a new sect or have yourself set up as a king.
Be humble and not haughty.
Taking twenty five Sikhs with him, Banda Singh proceeded to the Punjab to punish the enemies of the Khalsa Panth. He attacked Samana in November 1709. Thereafter, Wazir Khan the Nawab of Sarhind was killed in the battle of Chaper Chiri on 12th May, 1710.
Banda Singh was crowned at Lahgarh and struck coins in the name of the Guru. He allowed his Muslim subjects to follow their religious customs and practices. Soon afterwards, he extended his sway over Pathankot.
The Mughal emperor was perturbed by the conquests of Banda Singh and sent a big army to crush him, Banda Singh was besieged at Gurdas Nangal. After an eight-month siege, he and his followers were captured on 7th Dec. 1715.
Banda Singh was tortured to death on 7th June 1716. It is said that Banda Singh confessed that he deserved his fate for transgressing the commands of Guru Gobind Singh.
Banda Singh’s challenge to the Mughal power showed that the Khalsa had broken the reputation of Mughal invincibility. Given another chance, they could perhaps lay the foundations of a Sikh empire. The opportunity came in 1799, when Ranjit Singh established Sikh rule in the Punjab.