After Banda Singh Bahadur’s last battle in Gurdaspur, he was taken as prisoner along with his companions by Zarkaria Khan in Dec. 1715. They were taken to Lahore first and then they were taken to Delhi. Zarkaria Khan thought that the number of prisoners was too small to be presented to the Emperor. So he caught every Sikh on the way. He entered Delhi with 700 prisoners, in a sort of a _ procession. Banda Singh was in a cage. The cage was placed on the back of an elephant, followed by two thousand heads of Sikhs on spears held high by the soldiers, and seven hundred carts of Sikh heads (App. 35,000 heads). Streets of Delhi were lined by troops and civilian crowds. All were celebrating victories over the Sikhs. A Mohmadan, who saw the whole scene, called it a Tamasha (fun). He wrote ‘The MusImans were dancing with joy. The unfortunate Sikhs were stoic. They were contended with their lot. There was not the slightest sign of sorrow or dejection on their faces. In fact most of them were happy and cheerful. They were merrily singing their sacred Hymns.” Sikhs were kept in the prison. In March 1716, they were tried in open court by Emperor FarrukhSiyar. Each day a batch of 100 Sikhs was brought into the court. They were offered a choice to accept Islam or face death. All of them were beheaded one by one. Among them was a young boy, his widow mother pleaded for his release by saying that her son was not a Sikh.
The executioner called the youth and said, “As you are not a Sikh you are free.” The boy said, “Who says I am not a Sikh?”’ The officer replied, ‘“‘your mother.’’ The boy said, ‘‘She is telling a lie. I am a Sikh. So hurry, so that I may join my brothers.’”’ He was beheaded. Their leader was
sentenced to death 3 months later. FarrukhSiyar declared that he had finished the Sikhs. Gurdwaras (Sikh Shrines) were destroyed and Mosques were built in their places.
The news of Banda’s death, the way they all were tortured to death, reached the Sikhs in Punjab. They started gathering again and went through various ups and downs.”
In March 1783 people of Delhi saw the Sikhs again. But this time they were not prisoners. A large army under the Command of Jassa Singh Ramgarhia along with Baghel Singh Karorsinghia and Rai Singh Bhangi attacked Delhi. On March 8, 1783 they camped near Barari Ghat on the Jammna. They attacked Malika Ganj and Sabzi Mandi. On 9th March 1783 they entered Delhi. Panic prevailed in the city. They attacked the red fort and the Kesri flag was fluttered over the Red Fort.
Delhi court opened negotiations with the Sikh chiefs. They gave 31, lakh rupees in cash to the Sikhs and other conossions. Sikh shrines were built again on those very sites where Mosques had been put up. Because of the death of Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, the Misal Sardar called Jassa Singh Ramgashia back to Punjab. He brought back with him an important stone structure from Red Fort which is preserved in his bunga in Amritsar (at least it was there till June 6, 1984).
Baghel Singh Karorsinghia stayed in Delhi as the head of 4000 troops and supervised the construction of various Gurdwaras. Gurdwaras at Teliwara in memory of Mata Sundari Ji and Sahib Devi were first built. Then Bangla Sahib, RikabGanj and Gurdwara Sisganj were constructed.
In Nov. 84, Public of Delhi watched another “Tamasha’”’ organized by the Gandhi Govt. Victims were again the Sikhs, but they were not prisoners of war, they were innocent civilians caught unawares. They were not given any choice except death. It was not a simple death by executioners but they were tortured to death by their so called Hindu Brothers and most of the Gurdwaras were destroyed. The holy books were also burned, under the watchful eye of the Indian Govt. All those responsible for this massacre have been rewarded by the Govt. by ministerial and other important positions. It seems very unlikely that any one of them will be brought to book because there no more is justice in the Indian courts. Unfortunately the man occupying the Presidential chair in Delhi happens to call himself a Sikh tracing his lineage to Ramgarhia Misal. But what a difference between the Ramgarhia of 18th century, who recaptured the lost Sikh pride and Ramgarhia of the 20th century, who sided with the enemies of the Sikhs! So far he has not uttered a single word against the massacre. Sikhs in 1716 realized that they will be respected only when they have their own country for which they had fought. They finally established a Sikh Empire. As far as Sikhs are concerned the attitude of Delhi Govt. is not any different from that of the Rulers in 1716. We are certain some Jassa Singh will rise again. It won’t take 67 years this time. It is 20th century that moves pretty fast. Sikhs have nothing to lose now, and no fair minded person will blame the Sikhs for waging a struggle to gain for themselves a sovereign state.
Article extracted from this publication >> March 22, 1985