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TriCentenary of Banda Singh's First Khalsa Raj




Exactly 300 years ago, Chhapar Chiri, a small village near Chandigarh, Punjab, was witness to a historic battle which laid the foundation of the first Khalsa Raj, founded by the great Sikh warrior - Baba Banda Singh Bahadar.

As festivities for the tricentenary of the victory of Sirhind, fought at Chhapar Chiri, reach a crescendo on Tuesday, May 11, 2010, a massive march  started from Nanded in Maharashtra last month, heading for Lohgarh, the capital of the first Khalsa Raj, now located in Himachal Pradesh.

It is here that a major revival exercise is planned for paying homage to the warrior who avenged the killings of the two children of the Tenth Sikh Master, Guru Gobind Singh, by defeating the formidable army of the Governor of Sirhind, Wazir Khan. The ruler had ordered that the Guru's children be bricked alive for refusing to renounce their Sikh faith for Islam.

The march assumes significance since it is probably the first time that the Sikhs are attempting, in an organised manner, to give due recognition to places associated with the life and times of the ascetic-turned- warrior, who was handpicked by the Guru to lead the Sikhs. These include a gurdwara and a Polytechnic College at his birthplace in Rajouri near Jammu, a memorial at Chhapar Chiri, a Baba Banda Singh Bahadar museum at Fatehgarh Sahib (named so to mark the 'fateh' -victory - at Sirhind) gurdwara and a fort at Lohgarh near Nahan, where the warrior set up the Khalsa Raj capital and ruled from an area called Mehlanwali.

This was also the time when he minted the first Sikh coins and seal named after the First and the Tenth Sikh Masters - Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh. A gurdwara in Mehrauli, near Delhi, where Banda Singh was executed by the Mughals, after his capture from Gurdas Nangal di Garhi in the present day Gurdaspur, Punjab, which is under the control of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, also requires renovations and expansions.

Banda Singh, originally Lachman Dev, was born in Rajouri. He later became a disciple of Guru Gobind Singh and converted to Sikhi.

"While the Jammu & Kashmir government has agreed in principle to provide us land for a polytechnic gurdwara in Rajouri, SGPC would be buying land from the locals to raise a gurdwara there," it was announced by SGPC chief Avtar Singh recentl.y.


[Courtesy: Times of India]

May 11, 2010

Conversation about this article

1: Surinder (Massachusetts, U.S.A.), May 11, 2010, 11:45 AM.

I am glad that Baba Banda Singh Bahadar is finally getting his due. Due to a combination of many reasons, he was ignored by mainstream Sikhi. But his contribution was immense. He was, after all, the choice of Guru Gobind Singh himself to lead the nation, which he did with the utmost dedication and sacrifice. My homage to him; let us keep up his memory alive for all times to come, not ignore him in our yearly celebrations.

2: N. Singh (Canada), May 12, 2010, 12:41 AM.

When I was a little girl, my first introduction to Sikh generals was through Baba Banda Singh Bahadur ... he has and will always hold a special place in my heart. He is the epitome of a Sikh Hero.

3: Roopinder Singh Bains (Surrey, British Columbia, Canada), May 12, 2010, 12:46 AM.

Finally, recognition for the first "Badshah" of the Sikhs. Liberator of the tillers of the land! The Sikh community should never forget the contribution of Banda Gurbaksh Singh Bahadar.

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