Today in Sikh History – 3rd September
Madho Dass Baeragi was baptised and became Banda Singh Bahadur.
Madho Dass Baeragi was adminsitered baptism by Guru Gobind Singh himself to the accompaniment of Bhai Daya Singh and three other Sikhs. He was renamed Gurbakhash Singh. Madho Das was an Udasi Sikh, and he submitted to the protection of the Guru, saying he was his “banda,” devotee. Keeping in view the susceptibilities of Bairagi followers of Gurbakhash Singh, Guru Gobind ordained that henceforth Guru Ka Langar would cater to the people of all faith; only vegetarian food shall be served in Langar. Subsequently, he was sent to Punjab to punish the cruel Mughal Nawabs and came to be known as Banda Bahadur.
==> BABA GURBAKHASH SINGH (BANDA BAHADHUR): born on KatakSudhi 13 sunmat 1727 to Rajput father Ramdev who was a resident of the Rajori village in Jammu. He was named Lashman Dev by his parents. Since childhood, he exhibited extremely fondness for sanskrit literature and hunting. However, he plunged into deep remorse after killing a pregnant deer. As a result he discarded all his hunting tools and became a disciple of Vaesnav JankiPrasad. He shed all his material wealth, started onto the seekers path for enlightenment, and adopted the new name, Madho Dass.
Wondering in search of enlightenment, when he traveled towards south India and reached the banks of Godawari, he fell in love with this beautiful new place. He established his Ashram and started living here. In sunmat 1765, when Guru Gobind Singh Ji reached Nandaedh, he was extremely impressed and influenced by Guru’s preaching. He offered himself as “Satguru Da Banda” (Satguru’s person). Guru Gobind Singh Ji introduced him to Amrit and changed his name to Gurbakash Singh. However, he remained popularly known in our Panth as “Banda”.
To eradicate the prevalent injustices, Guru Gobind Singh sent Baba GurBakhash Singh accompanied by the following five GurSikhs to Punjab:
Baba Binod Singh
Baba Kanh Singh
Baba Bajh Singh
Baba Bijae Singh
Baba Ram Singh
Baba Gurbakhash Singh went to Punjab in sunmat 1765 accompanied with a Hukamnama from Guru Gobind Singh addressed to all the GurSikh. In this Hukamnama, Guru Gobind Singh asked GurSikhs to help Baba Gurbakhash Singh in his efforts. Before departure, Baba Gurbakhash Singh received three arrows from Guru Gobind Singh and the following instructions:
- Remain celibate (“Jatt rakhana”)
- Live, operate, and act under the dictates of Khalsa (“Khalsae dae Anusari hokae rahna”)
- Never consider yourself to be Guru (“Aap nu Guru na manenna”)
- Eat only after serving others (“Vartakae Shakana”)
- Help the orphas, poor, unprotected, helpless, destitute, or disolate. (“Anatha di sahiata karni”)
Upon reaching Punjab, Gurbakash Singh strictly followed Guru Sahib’s instructions and successfully punish all who had previously mistreated the Khalsa Panth. On the 1st Hadh sunmat 1767, after conquering Sirhind, Wajir Khan was punished and eventually killed for the mistreatment of Sahibzadas.
However, Gurbakash Singh became popular among the Khalsa Panth, his self-godliness started awakening. As a result he started adopting and engaging in practices that were against Gurmat. In sunmat 1771, Baba Gurbakhash Singh expressed desires to establish his own Gadhi in Sri Harmindar Sahib and sought his self-worhsip. He started a new slogan of “Sachae Sahib ki Fateh” in contrast to the traditional “Vaaheguru Jee Kee Fateh”. This resulted in a severe split among Khalsa Panth. Those following the principles as laid by Guru Gobind Singh came to known as “TattKhalsa” while the followers of Gurbakash Singh were known as “BandaiKhalsa”. Today there are very few Bandai Sikhs. They do not believe in any other holy scriptures other than Sri Guru Granth Sahib. All their practice are according to Gurmat principles.
Eventually, Baba Gurbakhash Singh was cornered by the pursuing enemy forces at “Gurdaspur de Gadhi”. It is also popularly known as Bhai Duni Chand di Hawaeli. After months of sustained attacks from AbdalSamadKhan and others with a force of over 20,000, Baba Gurbakhash Singh was arrested along with his companions and taken to Delhi. He accepted Shahadat on Chaet Sudhi 1st sunmat 1773.
-Ref. Mahan Kosh
Sardar Bhagat Singh of village Todha Khurad and his two sons, Sardar Tara Singh and Sardar Asa Singh, were badly tortured for suspicion of their sympathic views regarding Guru-Ka-Bagh Morcha. As a result, Sardar Bhagat Singh died on Sep. 4 and Sardar Tara Singh died on Sep. 6, 1922.
==> GURU KA BAGH gurudwara was under the control of Mahant Sundar Dass. He had agreed to serve under a committee of eleven members appointed by the SGPC on August 23, 1921, but the land remained under his possession. The Sikhs used to hew wood from the land for common kitchen and Mahant, under instigation from others, lodged a complaint against the Akalis. The government was on the outlook for opportunities to retrieve its prestige, lost in the Key’s affait. On Aug. 9, 1922, five Akali Sewadars were arrested for cutting wood for Guru Ka Langar from Guru Ka Bagh. Subsequently a morcha was launched to seek the release of the five GurSikhs.
From Aug. 23 until Sept. 13, the government sided with the Mahant and ruthelessly lathi-charged the visiting Jathas. The violent use of force on the non-violent Akalis had great impact in and outside the Punjab. The Government brutality was condemned. The police beat the Akalis with iron-tipped rods and batons, till blodd began to flow and the brave GurSikhs fell unconcious. The insults heaped up on the Akalis were unbearable. They were given inhuman punishments and their religious symbols were desecrated and hair pulled out. The effect of all this on thousands of GurSikhs was tremendous, resulting in deep seated hatred against the British rulers and the Sikhs lost all faith in non-violence. The Babbar Akali movement took its final shape during this Morcha. The courage and persistent of Sikhs became world renouned during this period. From Sept. 13 until Nov. 17, Sikhs courted arrests. Finally, the government gave in and on Nov. 17, 1922, all Sikh demands were accepted and the agitation was successfully concluded. During this agitation 5605 Sikhs courted arrest including 35 members of the SGPC, over a dozen Sikhs accepted shahidi and thousands were injured.
-Ref. “Babbar Akali Movement, A Historical Survey,” by Gurcharan Singh, Aman Publications, 1993.
Fateh Singh declared that Punjabi Suba was more dear to him than India.