Conquest of Sadhora

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Baba Banda Singh Bahadur
Conquest Of Sadhora

Date: 1709 - 1710
Location : Sadhora
Reason : Prosecution Of Peer Buddhu Shah
Result : Won by Banda Singh Bahadur

Nawab Usman Khan vs. Banda Singh Bahadur

Usman khan and his all aides Killed Few Labana Sikhs and hindus also killed.

Conquest of Sadhora or Sadhaura was a conquest in 1709 by Banda Singh Bahadur of the area around Sadhaura. He fought with Nawab Usman Khan who had tortured and killed Pir Buddhu Shah. Peer Buddhu Shah (13 June 1647 - 21 March 1704), a Muslim divine whose real name was Badr ud Din, was not only an admirer but also a staunch ally of Guru Gobind Singh. During the Battle of Bhangani, Pir Budhu Shah came to the Guru's aid with his seven hundred followers, four sons and two brothers. The Guru had witnessed his dedication and support for the Sikh cause.

Banda Singh Bahadur avenged the Pir's execution in 1709 by storming Sadhaura and killing 'Usman Khan. Ancestral house of Pir Buddhu Shah in Sadhaura was converted into a Gurdwara named after Pir Buddhu Shah. Sikhs of Labana community belonging to nearby Ladhora village played an important role in this conquest.

The Muslim conqueror's surprise

A strange thing happened when the Muslim conquerors reached India. Country after country had fallen to the Arab swords all were swiftly converted to the new religion of Islam including the Persians and the Afghanis. But when the armies of Islam reached India the people refused to convert to Islam.

The Afghani conquerors of India slaughtered thousands and were only able to convert the Hindus by trickery or by defiling them. Forced circumcision, rapes and threat of death won few converts. So savage were the Afghani rulers that Babar was actually invited to conquer Delhi. Babar, while more tolerant than those he replaced, still destroyed thousands of Hindu Mandirs and stopped the building of new ones.

His descendants realized the Indians were not so easily converted and married into the Royal Hindu warrior families (the Rajputs) as a political necessity. People were still however often treated savagely by the corrupt Mughal officials until finally the fratricidal Aurangzeb decided that all Hindus were to be converted, even at threat of death.

The Mughal's conflict with the Sikhs

The Sikhs under Guru Nanak had started out as hard workers who wanted a fight with no one, but the cruel deaths of three of their Gurus had lead to the formation of a knightly order of Saint Soldiers who fought offensive battles for the right of all Indians to live in safety and practice their religions freely.

The last Guru, Guru Gobind Singh lost his father, mother and his four sons during his many battles against the foreign tyrannical rulers. Thousands of brave men and women had died in these battles but never had they attacked first and only engages in battle when they were threatened first.

Only when the Guru knew that it was his time to return to his heavenly abode did he name his most recent brave Sikh, Banda Singh Bahadur, the son of a Rajput plowman, turned Bairagi, turned devoted Sikh into the Commander of the Khalsa. Adding Bahadur to Banda Singh's name he appointed him Jathedar and charged him with raising a Khalsa Army and driving the foreign rulers from the Punjab and India.

Harson writes in his book,"Some Passages in the Life of an Adventurer in Punjab", at page 107 that a Muslim gave the following account:

"Those were the days when the chivalous babar rode through the land, he was not of our race,
but he was a true badshah, then there were Shah jahan and Aurangjeb, patterns of monarchs,
they permitted no idolatorous dogs to pollute this land. An mohamad; my country men the
gallent and brave child of the brides of the cities 'Gazni' the impregnable, the maiden fortress.
You have doubtless heard by muhamad my lord? How he routed the idolators , the unbelievers of the
land. He planted the crescent throughout the bounds of five rivers."

Such were the views of nearly all of the fanatic muslims of Baba Banda Singh's time.

Reasons for the freeing of Sadhora

Sadhora was a beautiful place where many sadhus lived. The word sadhora is a mingling of two words Sadhu (Hindu Holy Mendicant) and Dora (Door in Punjabi means rope). Pir Budhu Shah also lived there and would meditated praying to god LA - I - LA - ILLA (one god creator of all). It was from here that he went to the Battle of Bhangani to fight against the tyrannical and fanatic forces who attacked Guru Gobind Singh at Bhangani. It was due to his participation in this fight that he was prosecuted later on. According to Giani Gian Singh Panth Parkash (Page 370):

Jung Bhangani mein Guru keri, Budhu Shahi Shahi baheri
Is he het sandhore waaran, turkan karyo boora at karan
Molvian to fatwaa lai kae, budhu shah hateo dukh dae kae
Jab hawaal so bandae soneo, badla lewan het mann ganiyae

It was one of the main reasons that Baba Banda Singh found it necessary to punish the nawab. The second reason that Giani singh has written about is:

Hindu Logan taanhi dikhar, Maarat gauaan urad bazaar
hinduan kae ghar pashu beemar, maran laggae ko lehey maar
Kaat baad kar tis he thairon, Beti bahoo nami jo aihon
tae din jabran tahain rakhe hain

There was a saintly pious Muslim named Peer Buddhu Shah of Sadhora. though he was a sayyed by caste (decendants of the Rasul who are well known for their fanaticism). Yet he held Guru Gobind Singh in greatest esteem. In the Battle of Bhagani, He fought on the side of Guru ji against the fanatic attackers. His two sons and many of his followers became martyrs in the battle, as well. When Guru Gobind Singh had to leave Anandpur Sahib the cruel Nawab of Sadhora prosecuted Peer Buddhu Shah. The writer of Twarikh Khasa writes that:

Nawab usman Khan of Sadhora was so cruel and fanatical that he used to have
cows slaughtered and uneatable parts of cows he would have them thrown into the
Hindus' homes. He never allowed them to cremate their dead and forcibly matched
Hindu brides to Musalmen. The Jazia was collected in most humiliating ways so that they
might be more easily converted to Islam.

The Labanas role in the Conquest

At the distance of 5 Kms from Sadhora there was a Labana village Ladhora, who did not tolerate such cruel treatment to Hindu and so they were always at logger heads with Nawab Usman Khan. Moreover, these were Bapitized sikhs and this pinched to nawab. When Baba Banda Singh Bahadur was surrounding this area, five Labana Sikhs had gone to Sadhora. They saw some butchers taking cows for slaughter.

They forced the butchers to release the cows. The butchers went straight to the Nawab who sent a detachment to arrest the men. In the skirmish, that ensued two Labanas and many soldiers of the Nawab were killed. Seeing this sacrifice the Hindus of the area also started sympathising with the Khalsa. When Baba Banda Singh Bahadur came to know about the heroic deed of the Labanas he marched towards Sadhora and on the way he wanted to contact Labanas of village of Dilaur which was near to Kapuri and enroute to Sadhora. Dr. Ganda Singh in his book Banda Singh Bahadur wrote on page 26:

"Mufatfabdon rah wich barade dee sadak utae sadhoreyon 4 meel utae Dallaur pind hai| Banda Sinmgh :nae raat ithey katti tan ithey dae labanean pason lorindi wakfe prapat kar lai jaave| Din charde :saar singh kapoori upar tut pae|

The Labana of village Dillaur showed great hospitality towards Baba Banda Singh Bahadur and his followers and gave him not only all required information but also a great number of spirited young Labana Sikhs who accompanied him and fought against the fanatic Nawab of Kapuri. After Kapuri fell next came Sadhora's turn.

The Battle at Sadhora

After the fall of Kapuri, on advice and guidance of the Labanas of these villages, Baba Banda Singh's followers attacked Sadhora. According to Giani Gian Singh (page 14):

Hoon jadd bandae bahadur nae labane Sikhan de slah tae hin duan di kurlat sun kae sadhore nu jaa ghereyaa

Nawab Usman Khan collected his army and resources when he heard about Banda's advance. In the battle, Bhai Nihanga Singh also joined Banda Singh along with Labana forces. Bhai Nihanga Singh was the reputed son of Bhai Lakhi Shah who had helped his father in removing Guru Tegh Bahadur's headless body from Chandani chownk. The Hindus also joined the Khalsa army as they thought that this was a God sent opportunity to liberate themselves from the butchers and tyrants.

In the fight that ensued both sides fought bravely, but the tyrants didn't have a chance against the Sikhs and their allies so ably guided by the Jathedar Baba Banda Singh Bahadur. As the fight raged God also helped with a timely storm of wind and rain. The cruel Nawab and his aides were all killed in the battle. The fallen warriors of both sides were honourably cremated or buried according to their religions.

Baba Banda Singh Bahadur appointed one of his followers as the new governor of Sadhora.

After the Battle

Many of followers of Nawab of Sadhora begged to be pardoned and promised to remain faithful to Baba Banda Singh Bahadur. But on that same night they held a confidential meeting and sent a message to Nawab Wazir Khan of Sirhind asking for help. It was hidden in a piece of bamboo and sent by a messenger to Sirhind. On his way the messenger came upon a vanjara who was grazing his camels. Just then one of his camels went too near a planted field and the vanjara grabbed the pole from the messenger to beat the camel. Seeing the letter fall from pole the vanjara passed the information to Baba Banda Singh Bahadur and Labana Naik. The officials who breached the trust of the victors were severely reprimanded.

The Conquest Of Sadhora greatly raised the morale of the followers of Baba Banda Singh and equally increased the worries of Nawab Wazir Khan of Sirhind. He was, after all, the man whose false oaths sworn on the Qur'an had weighted heavily on the heart of his Emperor who died shortly after hearing of his treachery in the Guru's last letter to him (the Zafarnama). And it was his tricks and cruelty and attack on the Guru by his Pathan assassins which had lead to the ever growing forces of the Khalsa who were soon to be at the outskirts of Sirhind.