9 June 1716 – Baba Banda Singh Bahadur

Baba Banda Singh Bahadur A Sikh man, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, stuck out as a heroic revolutionary amid a backdrop of oppression in 18th-century Northern India. He fought for the Punjabi people inspired by his guru and his deep-set beliefs, and met a painfully bloody end for his insurrection. Now he’s hailed as a martyr to the cause and a full-blown hero of the day.

Sikh to the back teeth

Why? Basically, Banda was fighting against Mughal-Muslim rule, which had a habit of executing, by fair means and foul, key gurus, whom the Sikhs revered. Incensed by this ill-treatment, he rose up in arms against his enemies and managed to enlist the help of fellow Sikhs.

He managed to get up the Mughal-Muslims’ noses and it wasn’t long before they declared Jihad on Banda. The problem was that they were way more equipped than Banda’s men. While Banda had the numbers, the troops were made up of townsfolk and so only carried spears, bows and arrows and swords etc.

Khan get no satisfaction

The opposers, while lower in number, had guns, cannons and archers, besides which the army was trained to do the job. Couple that with horses and elephants, and you remember that scene from ‘Lord of the Rings: Return of the King’, when those huge mammoth-like creatures turn up and start taking side-swipes at the heroes? Yep, like that, the odds were grim. Under the helm of Wazir Khan the Mughal-Muslims were a full-on force against the disadvantaged Sikhs.

Nevertheless they clashed and, thanks to superb tactics, the underdogs won the day – they even bumped off Khan and stuck his head on a spear, revelling in the heady victory.

Banda on the run

In a seemingly unstoppable advance, Banda set forth as far as Lahore amassing disgruntled inhabitants and swelling his numbers as he went. But it was there that things started to turn a bit spicy. His antics had caught the attention of the belligerent Emperor Shah, who started passing laws against Sikhs and ordering them to be killed.

This forced Banda up into hiding in the hills where he got married and even had a kid. But the militant in him mobilised and he was off to fight the good fight pretty sharpish. The problem was that he was too outnumbered this time – they held out for about eight months before the sheer force of the opposition caused the Sikhs to buckle.

Banda was captured following a bloodbath. Roughly 740 men were taken prisoner and the near enough the same again were beheaded and their decapitated heads were carted off as proof of the Mughal-Muslims’ successes, while another couple of hundred were stuck on spikes.

As they entered Delhi, each solider had a head stuck on his bayonet, and the executions en mass began. The leaders of the insurrection were given the choice – turn to Islam or face death. They chose death.

Child torture

But the captors saved the worst fate for Banda and his four-year-old son. First they tortured the little boy in front of his dad, then they asked Banda to stab his own child to death. Naturally, Banda wouldn’t have a bar of it so they did it for him, right there in front of him.

They then turned to the man himself and the torture began. They stuck a dagger in his right eye and out popped his eyeball, then the left promptly followed. What happened next is a quote from a number of sources:

“The cruel devil then took his sword and slashed off Banda’s left foot, then both his arms. But Banda’s features were still calm as if he was at peace with his Creator. Finally they tore off his flesh with red-hot pincers, and there being nothing else left in their book of tortures, they cut his body up into a hundred pieces, and were satisfied.”

He was ultimately decapitated, aged around 56 years old, and left to languish in Sikh minds as a hero of the day.

If you can’t get enough of the gory details, check out write-ups from authors such as: Thornton, Elphinstone, Mohammed Harisi, Daneshwar, Khafi Khan to name a few.

Also on this day

9 June 1939 – Ray Anderson

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6 Responses to “9 June 1716 – Baba Banda Singh Bahadur”

  1. RANJAN Says:

    banda bahadur is a nice sikh although he has made some mistake he has not followed guru ji’s instuctions. i love my punjab

  2. justincredible511@gmail.com Says:

    banda singh bahadur was hindu brahmin not sikh

    • Amy Says:

      @justin Banda Singh Bahadur was a sikh not a hindu brahmin. Get your information right.

      • krishnan Says:

        @Amy, I think u should get ur facts right.. Banda was a Kashmiri Brahmin whose real anme was Lakshman Dev BHARADWAJ – this is a Brahmin surname. In fact it was Guru Gobindji who had no choice byt to go to the Hindu Akharas who were guerilla soldiers in large numbers to seek help. So called ‘sikh’ history has been rewritten thanks to the british missionaries & have conveniently left out exactly who Banda was. Read authentic writings by Gian Singh in his writings ‘Chonwein Rattan’.

    • Surjit Says:

      My dear all sikhs came from hindus even I am sikhs and my forefathers were brahims.

  3. Ashish Says:

    to all the losers here……Banda was baptized by Guru Gobind, after Guru met him at his ashram in Maharashtra. After baptization how can he remain a hindu .. he became Sikh, then started his career as a very very very aggressive army general !

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