Battle of Amritsar

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Battle Of Amritsar

Date: 1628
Location : Gumtala, Amritsar
Reason : Shah Jahan worried over the growing influence of the Sikhs and angered by the loss of a valued Hawk seeks to teach a lesson to Guru Hargobind[1].

Guru Hargobind General Mukhlis Khan

Guru Sahib also suffered a heavy loss of life and property but he won. Mukhlis Khan, the commander and most of his leading lieutenants were killed[1]

The Battle of Amritsar took place between Guru HarGobind Ji and the forces of the Mughal army on June 5, 1628 (22 of Jeth, in Bikrami 1685). Emperor Jahangir had died in 1627 and his son Shah Jahan had become his successor. Adding to Shah Jahan's worries over the increasing influence and power of the Sikhs, those who harboured ill-will against the Sikhs renewed their conspiracies and incited him to turn against Guru Ji.

Reason for Conflict

The Battle of Amritsar followed a series of events starting with the capture of a rare white baaz, or hawk, which had been a gift to Shah Jahan from the Emperor of Persia (the Hawk was at the time one of the royal symbols of authority). A party of Shah Jahan's troops was hunting in a royal private reserve around the village of Gumtala near Amritsar at the same time as some of the Guru's Sikhs. Earlier the Guru's hawk had downed a special, rare white hawk. Unaware that it had been a gift of the Shah of Persia, the Sikhs picked up and tethered the white hawk belonging to the emperor. The Mughal troops, no doubt in a panic, had seen the hawk fall and came looking for the Emperor's prized baaz. The Mughals are said to have used some derogatory language towards the Sikhs who refused to return the hawk and this soon escalated into a small violent conflict between the two parties, with the Mughals leaving the fight. Reports were soon made to the court explaining that the Sikhs were hostile and superior in numbers as well. Soon, officials of the emperor sought the return of their valued gift from the Guru who, it is said, refused to return the hawk. Guru Ji replied that the hawk had come to the Guru on its own wish and because it had chose to come into the protection (sharan) of the Guru, the hawk couldn't be returned. When this news spread, the local people who were hostile to the Guru started backbiting and encouraged Shah Jahan to 'teach' the Guru a lesson.[1]

The Mughal response

Gurudwara Sangrana Sahib: This is where Guru HarGobind won his first battle

Hearing of this incident, the enraged Shah Jahan deputed Mukhlis Khan with a force of 7,000 soldiers, "to teach a lesson" to Sri Guru HarGobind Ji. The Sikhs had 700 soldiers in total, outnumbering them 10-1, and they were about to fight together for the first time. First, the mini fortress of Lohgarh was attacked. The Sikhs stationed there, though small in number, provided stiff resistance. However, the attackers had an upper hand over the Sikhs on the first day of the battle. They looted and plundered all the property and the holy residence of Guru Sahib.

On the next morning, after consolidating their position, the Sikhs struck back, giving a devastating blow to the Mughal force. The general, Mukhlis Khan, had been captured by the Sikhs on two occasions and each time Sri Guru HarGobind Sahib Ji gave orders to free the prisoner. Each time he attacked back with his force. Mukhlis Khan then challenged Guru Ji to a one on one fight, while the other soldiers looked on.

The battle did not last very long. Guru Ji told Muklhis Khan to attack first, just to make sure the Mughal general would have no regrets. Mukhlis Khan made three swings at Guru Ji, and each time, Guru Ji evaded the attack. Finally, Sri Guru HarGobind Sahib Ji decided to finish the job, and in one swing, Guru Ji cut Mukhlis Khan's body cleanly into two pieces, as his army looked in terror. The Mughals retreated and the battle ended in a Sikh victory, resulting in Sri Guru HarGobind Sahib Ji gaining great respect with the local people.

This first armed clash between the Mughals and the Sikhs was the first victory for Guru HarGobind. With the battle over, Guru Ji and his family traveled to Chabal, to solemnize the marriage of his daughter, Bibi Viro Ji[1].


  1. ^ a b c d Kavi Santhok Singh Suraj Granth
Battles By Guru Har Gobind

Battle of Amritsar || Battle Of Hargobindpur || Battle Of Gurusar || Battle Of Kartarpur || Battle Of Kiratpur

Battles By Sikh Gurus

Battle of Amritsar || Battle Of Hargobindpur || Battle Of Gurusar || Battle Of Kartarpur || Battle Of Kiratpur || Battle of Bhangani || Battle of Nadaun || Battle of Anandpur || Battle of Chamkaur || Battle of Muktsar