BABA BANDA SINGH: An unsung hero of the 18th century with little mention in the history books

It is easy to say “I love my country”, “I am patriotic”, so on and so forth. But, proving how much one loves his country requires courage and determination. Determination to do anything for the country, come what may. There are heroes whose names are well carved in the Indian tale towards freedom from the British. Prior to British Raj, when the Mughal dynasty had set its roots firmly in the Indian soil, our country bore a worthy son of the motherland, by the name of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur.

Banda Singh’s story is no less than a modern day horrifying movie, where the hero goes through the most brutal assaults, both mentally and physically, only to come out on top but ultimately losing life.

The Mughals invaded Punjab in the early 1770s, which saw ruthless killings and demonization of the Sikh community. Baba Banda Singh, the then Army general under Guru Gobind Singh, succeeded in liberating most areas of Punjab from the clutches of the Mughal sultanate by 1714. Scared of losing its grip, the Mughals, under the leadership of Zakria Khan, captured Banda Singh and 800 of his aides in December 1715. His capture was only the beginning of a series of harrowing torturous events to come. Farakh Seyer, the ruler of Delhi, was not satisfied with his capture and he passed orders to behead every Sikh crossing their path from Lahore to Delhi. Banda Singh had to march to Delhi in a procession along with 760 chained prisoners and 200 severed heads on spears.

With failed attempts to compel Banda Singh to divulge his army’s secrets and strategies, 700 of his men were beheaded in front of him at the Delhi Gate at Khuni Darwaja and26 of his closest associates later at Qutub Minar. Banda Singh’s will stayed unfazed. His determination was about to be tested in the cruelest manner when his son was brought to be executed in front of his eyes. The Mughals murdered his son in cold blood by carving out his heart through the chest and thrusting it into Baba Banda Singh’s mouth.

After spending his life in hellas a Mughal prisoner, he was killed in a manner no less horrific than his son’s untimely demise. The Mughals inflicted unbearable pain on him, till he succumbed to his injuries. Later, as luck would have it, Farakh Seyer, the ruler who was responsible for the torture, was murdered in a similar fashion by his own men in a revolt.

Termed as the most inhumane act by the Mughals during their 300-year rule, Baba Banda Singh showed grit and determination to never disclose his army’s strategies even in the face of grueling adversity.

Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, stayed a true patriot his entire life and is indeed a martyr in the truest sense of the term.

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