THE BIRTH OF THE KHALSA
Guru Gobind Singh (Nanak X) created the Khalsa on the Baisakhi day, March 29, 1699 at Keshgarh Sahib, Anandpur, in Ropar District of Punjab. (Khalsa is a Persio-Turkish administrative term, which means, royal, not subordinate to any one, answerable to none subordinate, Sovereign, directly administered by the Sovereign). Dr. Gokal Chand writes, “Guru Gobind Singh not only tried to make one caste out of four, but he went a step further and at once removed all unevenness of religious privileges and established a theocratic democracy. This meant that the Khalsa formed a brotherhood in which the lowest was equal to the highest.”
Swami Viveka Nanda (1863-1902 AD) in his speech at Lahore in 1897 AD said, “The great Prophet, however, arose in the North, Gobind Singh, the last Guru of the Sikhs, with creative genius, and the result of his spiritual work was followed by the well-known political organization of the Sikhs.”
The Persecution of the Sikhs and Misl Period From (1708 to 1799 A.D.)
Martyrdom of Banda Singh Bahadur (19-6-1716)
Before his passing away on 7-10-1708, Guru Gobind Singh sent Banda Singh Bahadur to Punjab along with trusted Sikhs to fight the tyrannical Mughal rule in the North. According to Khafi Khan, 40,000 Sikhs joined their Commander within two or three months. There was general risings of the Sikhs throughout the eastern and south-eastern Punjab except the city of Lahore. The Sikhs won the battle of Sirhind, defeating the Imperial forces of Wazir Khan who was killed in the battle field. Banda Singh Bahadur established the first Sikh (Khalsa) system in the territories captured and occupied by him in the Punjab and made Mukhlispur (Lohgarh), now in Himachal his Capital in 1710 A.D. Later, the territory occupied by him was got vacated by the forces of Emperor Bahadur Shah. Banda Singh Bahadur was arrested along with his companions at Gurdas Nangal near Gurdaspur and was brought to Delhi with 740 prisoners. He was put to death on 19-6-1716 along with his son Ajai Singh (Aged 4 years) after the most barbarous tortures, in the neighborhood of Dargah of Hazrat Khawaja Qutb-ud-Din Bakhtiyar Kaki near Mehrauli, Delhi. Other Sikh prisoners numbering 740 were also killed.
The Sikhs suffered persecution/martyrdom during the period of later Mughal Emperors, particularly Ferukh Siyar, Muhammad Shah Rangila, Muhammad Ahmad Shah and Shah Alam II.
According to Dr. Hari Ram Gupta, about two lakh Sikhs lost their lives in the Sikh struggle for sovereignty during the 18th century A.D.
Punjab Under Twelve Misals (1768 to 1799 A.D.)
The Sikhs were now the masters of the Punjab and had established a kind of feudal Government. The whole country of Punjab was partitioned among twelve Misals, namely:-
1. The Ahluwalia Misal
2. The Bhangi Misal
3. The Ramgarhia Misal
4. The Faisalpuria or
5. The Kanaihya Misal
6. The Sukarchakia Misal
7. The Dallawalia Misal
8. The Shahid or Nihang
9. The Nakkai Misal
10. The Nishanwalia Misal
11. The Karorsingia Misal
12. The Phulkian Misal
The Monarchical Period (1799 to 1849 A.D.)
After the death of his father, Sardar Mahan Singh, the ruler of Sukarchakia Misal, in 1790, Ranjit Singh ruled over this Misal from 1790 to 1799 A.D.
Ranjit Singh occupied Lahore (now in Pakistan) on July 7, 1799, and laid the foundation of the Sikh Kingdom in the North West of India. He ruled over this Sikh Kingdom for forty years from 1799 to 1839 A.D. with its Capital at Lahore. The territory of his Kingdom stretched from river Sutlej in the East to Khaibar Pass in the North West and Kashmir in the North to Sind in the South. Maharaja Ranjit Singh died at Lahore on June 27, 1839.
The death of this great benevolent ruler of Punjab, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, led to kaleidoscope happening in the polity of his kingdom. The decade following the exit of this great Master of Punjab is the sad narrative of the follies and crimes of the nobles.
Their conspiracies and intrigues culminated in the ghastly murders of Maharaja Kharak Singh, Kanwar Nauihal Singh, Maharani Chand Kaur, Maharaja Sher Singh and others. Maharaja Duleep Singh, who sat on the throne of his father after the assassination of Maharaja Sher Singh on September 16, 1843, at the age of five, was the last hope of the people of Punjab but the first and second Anglo-Sikh Wars made him subservient to the British.
The British won the Second Anglo-Sikh War (1848-49). The Sikh Kingdom of Punjab was annexed and merged into the British India dominions on March 29, 1849. Maharaja Duleep Singh was deposed, deprived of his crown, kingdom, fortune and the most dazzling and peerless gem ‘Koh-i-Noor’ (Mountain of Light). He was finally sent to England in May 1854 to live there in exile and not to return again to Lahore, the place of his birth.
Maharaja Duleep Singh passed away in Paris (France) on October 22, 1893.
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