Life of Banda Singh Bahadur - Book By Ganda Singh

Publisher: Punjabi-University-Patiala
Authors: Ganda Singh
Page: 184
Format: Hardbound
Language: English
Product Code: ESE132
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Table Of Contents 'Life Of Banda Singh Bahadur' - Book By Ganda Singh

  CONTENTS  
     
I. CHILDHOOD AND ASCETIC LIFE 1
II. AT THE FEET OF THE MASTER 6
III. BANDA SINGH LEAVES FOR THE PUNJAB 15
IV. SAMANA AND SADHAURA 25
V. THE BATTLE OF RUPAR 35
VI. THE BATTLE OF CHAPPAR CHIRI AND THE SACK OF SIRHIND   38
VII. GHUDANI AND MALER KOTLA 51
VIII. AT His CAPITAL 55
IX. INCURSIONS IN THE JAMUNA-GANGA DOAB 62
X. THE RISING IN THE MAJHA AND THE HAIDRI FLAG CRUSADE  69
XI. DISTURBANCES IN THE JULLUNDUR DOAB AND THE BATTLE  
  OF RAHON 77
XII. EMPEROR BAHADUR SHAH'S MARCH AGAINST THE SIKHS 85
XIII. THE BATTLES OF SADHAURA AND LOHGARH 92
XIV. REDUCTION OF THE HILL CHIEFS, THE BATTLES OF BAHRAMPUR AND    
  BATALA, AND OTHER MINOR ENGAGEMENTS 103
XV. EMPEROR BAHADUR SHAH AT LAHORE, HIS DEATH AND AFTER 118
XVI. THE SIEGE OF SADHAURA AND LOHGARH 123
XVII. KIRI PATHAN, RUPAR AND BATALA 129
XVIII. THE SIEGE AND FALL OF GURDAS NANGAL 134
XIX. MASSACRE OF THE SIKHS AND BANDA SINGH AT DELHI 144
XX.  THE MAN AND HIS ACHIEVEMENTS 159
     
  Appendix  
I. Conflict between the Bandei and the other Khalsa 172
II. The Successors of Banda Singh 178
III. Extract from a Statement of Baba Sardul Singh  
  Sodhi of Dera Baba Banda Singh 183
     

Preface To The Book 'Life Of Banda Singh Bahadur' - Book By Ganda Singh

The case of Banda Singh Bahadur presents perhaps, the strangest array of difficulties and paradoxes in the whole range of Sikh biography. No biography of his, written during his life time by any of his admirers or impartial writers, has no far been unearthed to give us first-hand and reliable information on his life and work. No doubt, there are works by Bhangu Rattan Singh Shahid, Bhai Santokh Singh and Bhai Gyan Singh with chapters on him; there are sketches by Daulat Singh, Sohan Singh, and Karam Singh, and there are sections allotted to this subject in almost all the books that deal with the rise of the Sikh nation. But unfortunately no account of Banda Singh so far written by a contemporary or a later writer—Muslim, Hindu, or Sikh— exhibits his true character.

The struggle of the Sikhs, against the intolerance and iniquities of the Mughal rulers has been erroneously interpreted into a religious campaign of the Sikhs against the religion campaign of the Sikhs against the religion of Islam, or into a rebellion of the Kuffaar against the rule of the Momins. The accounts of Persian histories, like the Mimtakhib-ul-Lubab of Khafi Khan, the Siyar-ul-Mutakherin of Ghulam Hussain Khan, etc., are, under this impression, influenced by their pro-Islamic prejudices against the non-Muslims. They have readily accepted false and flimsy rumours as historical truths and have charged ' Banda Singh with the blackest cruelty and barbarism, which 'had infidels been the sufferers and a Mussalman the actor,' says Mills, 'they might not, perhaps, have thought unworthy of applause'. Most of the English writers also have followed these historians and have believed them implicity. But, with all this, it cannot be denied that the historical honesty of the Persian writers too often prevails over other considerations and that their writings present much less difficulty to the discerning eye of a research student. Not only for this, but even otherwise, in the absence of any contemporary Sikh records, we have to depend, for the history of the first half of the eighteenth century, mostly upon the writings and records of Muslim historians, diarists and officials.

The works of Sikh writers on the subject—particularly of Bhai Gyan Singh though they are of great value in supplying us with details, are sometimes tarnished by their love for poetic exaggeration. Not merely do they sometimes adopt a partisan attitude, but they allow their judgement of men and matters to be clouded by sectarian partiality. The life-history of Banda Singh has suffered the most at their hands under wrong notions. He has been slandered for and accused of things of which he was never guilty. Bhangu Rattan Singh is a Sikh writer of integrity and is generally reliable, though his account of Banda Singh is faulty on certain points. He was the grandson of Bhai Mehtab Singh of Mirankot, who had either been personally through the unpleasant conflict between the Bandei and the other Khalsa, after the death of Banda Singh, in 1721 or had heard accounts of it from his father and others. He is the first writer to introduce the subject of negotiations between Farrukh Siyar and Mata Sundri which appear to have been based on hearsay and wrong information. In writing on Banda Singh, Bhai Santokh Singh, the author of the unparalleled scholarly work, the Suraj Parkash, in the absence of any contemporary records at his disposal, has not been able to penetrate beyond the crust of the then prevalent accounts. He considered all the previous Punjabi works on the subject, from the Mahma Prakash, both in prose and in poetry, to the Sau Sakhi and other similar works, as equally authentic. Bhai Gian Singh in his Panth Prakash and the Shamsher Khalsa has accepted the popular stories and could scarcely make any distinction between him, who related events at which he had himself been present, and him who about two hundred years later composed a fictitious novel. He is an off-hand writer and is sometimes fanciful and imaginative. Precious elements, in his works, are sometimes mixed up with baser one in such a manner that to separate them is a task of the utmost difficulty. The late Sardar Karam Singh attempted a scientific biography of Banda Bahadur in 1707. He studied all the Persian writings, that he could then find, along with the Punjabi sources, and made local enquiries on his subject. But with all this some errors unavoidably crept into his work. He was an honest historian and when the truth dawned upon him after more extensive study of over twenty years he frankly acknowledged and rectified his mistakes. His Banda Kaun tha, published in 1921, is a testimony to it. Unfortunately he was soon snatched away by the cruel hand of death and the unrecorded results of his life-long researches in Sikh history of the eighteenth century were lost to us for ever.

The Banda Bahadur of Lala Daulat Rai, though an honest attempt, is not free from the errors of its sources, the Panth Prakash and the Shams her Khalsa of Gyan Singh and the Banda Bahadur of Karam Singh. The Bir Bairagi of Bhai Parmanand is anything but history. There is hardly any statement in it that could be supported by documentary evidence.

In view of these defects and imperfections in the attempts made so far by different writers, I felt myself justified in undertaking the present work. I began it quite afresh, and I have attempted to pierce through the gloom that veiled the life-history of this great hero and martyr of the early eighteenth century. Subjecting every fact to scrutiny and criticism in the light of contemporary and original works—mostly unpublished Persian manuscripts—I have undertaken an impartial investigation of the whole subject, and have dealt with it on scientific lines, regardless of the opinions and prejudices of the previous writers. I have followed the Later Mughals of William Irvine as a model of historical method, and have, like him, gone to the contemporary and original sources for the materials for my book. For the events of Banda Singh's life, after his arrival in the Punjab, I have depended exclusively upon the writings of those who had either personally witnessed, or had first-hand knowledge of the events that they have narrated, supplemented by other original and later authorities.

I do not profess to be an artist, nor do I consider historical narrative a fine art. It is, therefore, that in rendering the Persian and Gurmukhi accounts of my authorities, I have been strictly literal, sometimes sacrificing language and style at the altar of historical accuracy. I have paid more attention to the accuracy of facts than to the picturesque play upon words. The work is only a volume of hard facts of simple and plain facts—with no mixture of sensation and sentiment divorced from knowledge.

In the completion of this work I owe a deep debt of gratitude to Sardar Bahadur Sardar Bishen Singh, B. A., I. E. S. (Retd.), Principal, Khalsa College, Amritsar, and Bhai Sahib Bhai Vir Singh, who have been a source of inspiration and solace to me, and without whose constant encouragement and help it could not, I am afraid, have been possible to bring it out at this time. Bhai Sahib Bhai Vir Singh, in spite of his multifarious engagement, has also been kind enough to spare some of his most valuable time in going through the manuscript and making some very useful suggestions and writing the foreword. The keen and loving interest taken by Bhagat Lakshman Singh, P. E. S. (Retd.), in my research work I can feel better than describe. He has also been kind enough to go through the manuscript very carefully. My sincerest thanks are due to my learned friend Prof Teja Singh, M. A., who has been ever ready to lend me a helping hand whenever I stood in need of it. He has taken great pains in going through the manuscript and making some valuable suggestion, and has also seen the final proofs of the book. I have, also, to acknowledge the encouragement I have received from Prof. Jodh Singh, M. A., whose sound and sincere advice has greatly helped me in this enterprise. He has also been kind enough to go through the final proofs. I shall be failing in my duty if I omit to acknowledge the ready assistance given to me by the authorities of the Imperial Library of Calcutta and the Khuda Baksh Oriental Public Library of Bankipur during my researches on the subject.

Khalsa College, Amritsar                                                                                                                                    Ganda Singh
17th April, 1935

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