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300 Years Ago: First Khalsa Victory

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Jun 1, 2004
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There is a need to understand the real mission of the Khalsa army led by Banda Singh Bahadur as we celebrate the first Khalsa victory 300 years ago on 26 November, 1709.

To quote Dr Sangat Singh, writing about the Khalsa victory at Samana, “In his first major action, he [Banda Singh Bahadur] stormed Samana on November 26, 1709, leaving 10,000 dead, and followed up by routing the Faujdars of Kapuri and Mustafabad.” (“The Sikhs in History” p. 89)

In the following year in 1710, as part fulfilment of the Khalsa political objective set by Guru Gobind Singh Ji, he struck coins in the names of Guru Nanak Sahib and Guru Gobind Singh. The couplet starting “Raj karega Khalsa….” is attributed to Guru Gobind Singh in Bhai Nand Lal’s Tankhah Nama (Code of Conduct). Once this objective was set by Guru Sahib, it became part of the Khalsa Ardaas (litany) after Guru Gobind Singh ji, so that this continuing miri (temporal & political) aim of the Khalsa, interpreted in accordance with the changing socio-political environments the Sikhs live in, is always remembered by the Sikhs. Ultimately, the Khalsa ideal is a just egalitarian human society in a “halemi raj” in which no one inflicts pain on another.

Baba Banda Singh Bahadur had received a clear mandate from Guru Gobind Singh Ji to lead the Khalsa towards a certain political goal. The question is, what was that goal? Was it limited to the punishment of the Nawab of Sirhind responsible for the martyrdom of the younger Sahibzadas; or was it more in line Khalsa political ideology (miri), an objective set during the time of Guru Gobind Singh ji ?

Based on contemporary evidence, Padam Shree historian, Dr J S Grewal has shown that “Raj karega Khalsa” was the clear objective of the Khalsa of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. (see last week’s Spectrum article “Raj Karega Khalsa”.) Referring to one such contemporary source, writes Dr Grewal, "Sainapat has no hesitation in referring to the activity of the Khalsa as political. Towards the end of his work, he refers to the rehabilitation of Anandgarh in terms suggestive of political power. It can be argued that Sainapat is reiterating the prophecy of "raj karega khalsa" which had become current in the time of Guru Gobind Singh." And he concludes, "Before his death, Guru Gobind Singh declared that Guruship henceforth was vested in Shabad-Bani and the Khalsa. The Khalsa were meant to be sovereign."

Baba Banda Singh Bahadur was given command of the Khalsa army and directed to fulfil the “Khalsa Raj” objective. The shahidees of the younger Sahibzadas had clearly demonstrated to the public at large that the Mughal regime was cruel and unjust. All sections of society would support the Khalsa mission and the Khalsa would increase in numbers, so that,
Mil sewak Singh anek sabhai kar rang turang nachavehgay....Pirtthee patt bhoopat shah sabhai shhab dekh maha(n) darr pawehgay. Taj des sures nares badday darr key sabh hi bhaj jawehgay…Bhal bhaag bhia tum tahi kaho GARH ANAND pher basawehngay.” (Sr Gursobha Chapter 19).
It is clear from a general interpretation of the above that the prediction during Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s time was that the Khalsa riders would assemble in large numbers and drive away the evil regimes, to establish Khalsa Raj and to rehabilitate Anandpur Sahib.

How should we interpret the Khalsa “miri” objective today? On a worldwide Sikh network (GLZ), Prof. Nirmal Singh of USA has suggested a progressive approach for the Sikhs in the diaspora (“jaha(n) jaha(n) Khalsa Panth”). To quote, “What is needed now is fresh thinking where through education, pursuit of excellence and wider political engagement Sikhs place themselves in a position to influence political direction and decisions at various levels.” That should be the Sikh miri objective in the countries the Sikhs live in.

The Khalsa victory at Samana on 26 November, 1709, was the first significant step towards realisation of the political objective of the Khalsa of Guru Gobind Singh ji in the 18th century. Let us celebrate 3rd centennial anniversary of that milestone achievement, this year.

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Gurmukh Singh
 

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Shabad Vichaar by SPN'ers

ਗਉੜੀ ਮਹੱਲਾ ॥੫॥ Raag Gauri | Guru Granth Sahib 199

ਗਰੀਬਾ ਊਪਰਿ ਜਿ ਖਿੰਜੈ ਦਾੜੀ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਸ ਅਗਨਿ ਮਹਿ ਸਾੜੀ ॥੧॥ ਪੂਰਾ ਨਿਆਉ ਕਰੇ ਕਰਤਾਰੁ ਅਪੁਨੇ ਦਾਸ ਕਉ ਰਾਖਨਹਾਰ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥

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