Taken from Pracheen Panth Prakash by Rattan Singh Bhangoo & Sada Ithias by Satbir Singh
Translated by admin www.tapoban.org
Translated by admin www.tapoban.org
Beheading of Jaspat Rai
After the death of Zakriya Khan, his sons were embroiled in a power struggle of the Nawabship of Punjab. Yaheya Khan the oldest Son took control of Lahore and made Lakhpat Rai his minister, they both disliked the Sikhs very much. What made Lakhpat Rai’s hatred for the Sikhs even worse was the beheading of his older brother Jaspat Rai by the Sikhs.
The beheading happened when Jaspat Rai attacked the Sikhs visiting Rorhi Sahib for darshan. The Sikhs told Jaspat Rai that they would only need to buy food and water from the town and then they would leave after having langar.
Jaspat Rai in his hunkaar replied in the most distasteful words towards a Sikh. He said he would cut the hair from their heads and would make ropes of those hairs and tie them back to Lahore.
ਸੀਸ ਮੁੰਨੋ ਤੁਮ ਜਾਟ ਬਨਾਵੋਂ I ਤੁਮਰੇ ਬਾਲ ਮਾਲ ਬਣਾਵੋਂ I
Adding salt to the wounds he was teasing the Singhs by saying he would cut their joints like Bhai Mani Singh.
He then ordered them to leave the Town and the Gurdwara. The Singh’s had been hungry for many days and after hearing his words were in no mood for complying.
Jaspat Rai in anger attacked the Singhs. The Singhs did ardas and came out flying the enemy did not know what hit them. The fool Jaspat Rai had awakened the sleeping lion by placing his hand on the lion’s whiskers.
ਸ਼ੇਰ ਜਗਾਯੋ ਫੜ ਮੁਛਲ ਸੋਤ I
Jaspat Rai was on his elephant commanding his troops when Bhai Nebahoo Singh grabbed the elephants tail and jumped on the elephant and cut of Jaspat Rai’s head.
The soldiers seeing this fled the battle. The Singhs then brought rations from the town and made Langar. The Singh’s then sold the head of Lakpat Rai for 500 rupees.
Lakhpat Rai Vows Revenge
On hearing the news of his elder brother’s death Lakhpat Rai took of his turban and said “He would not put a turban on his head until the day he finishes off the Sikhs. A Khatri(Guru Nanak Dev Jee) started Sikhee and know a Khatri will finish it.” He said he would pass the scissors through the heads of Sikhs and no one will say their name.
To start his campaign he first gathered all the Sikhs in Lahore and they were to be scalped and made Shaheed. He did not listen to any pleas from various religious leaders for the innocent Sikhs. He said I would not even listen to God if he asked for their release.
Yaheya Khan and Lakhpat Rai then went on to make orders for the arrest of any Sikhs, the banning of the words Guru and Granth ( people were told to use Gurrh and pothi instead). Guru Granth Sahib Jees were found and burnt, thrown in the river or in the wells. The Amritsar Sarovar was filled with soil. The order was to stop Naam of WaheGuru.
ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਕੋ ਨਾਮ ਹਟਾਵੋ I ਔਰ ਸਭਨ ਕੋ ਨਾਮ ਜਪਾਵੋ I
The Beginning of the First Ghalooghara
Lakhpat Rai then went towards Amritsar. The Sikhs found they could not reach their destinations due the advancement of the Lahore’s army. So it was decided that the Sikhs should go towards the forests of Kahnoovan where an escape could be planned. The army of Yaheya Khan halted the Sikh’s in their tracks and made them face the river Ravi.
Lakhpat Rai ordered the army to start cutting the forest so targeting the Sikhs could be made easier. They were firing cannons at the Sikhs in their pursuit.
The Sikhs decided it was not right to gain shaheedee while hiding in the forests. The Soormeh were ready to come out but some of the elders said the attack should be done with a hit and run policy as this would achieve more gains.
ਭਜ ਭਜ ਲੜਨੋ ਨਹਿ ਕਿਛ ਪਾਪ I
So the Sikhs would sit quiet until the army would come to the point where artillery and cavalry could not enter and this is when the Sikhs made their fight. This policy carried on for a while then the Sikhs decided to go to Basolee Mountains for sanctuary as the terrain would help them and they thought the Hindus in the area would help them too. However the orders of Lahore had reached the Hindus in the mountains not to help the Sikhs. In Basolee the Sikhs were greeted with bullets and stones. The Sikhs were all cornered off, they had the army facing them in both directions and had the River Ravi and bullets from the mountains on either side. They had no food, no water, no sleep, no cannons, no ammunition, the horses were tired and they had to face the steepness of the climb. The Shasters had become blunt after so much fighting and the arrows had finished.
The Sikhs then decided to divide into three groups. One would go up the hills, the second will cross the river Ravi and the third group under the command of Sukha Singh will go and attack Lakhpat Rai. The second group then had to divide again as the River Ravi had become dangerous to cross due the water level. So it was decided anyone on foot would go towards the mountains and the others on horses would go face the enemy.
The Fight of Lions
The Sikhs that were left decided to fight the enemy face on and remembered the Bachan of Guru Sahib that the SanMukh Sikh who fights face on, will have the power of Sava Lakh.
ਸਿਧੋ ਮੁਖ ਕਰ ਮਰੈ ਜੁ ਸੂਰਾ I ਸਵਾ ਲਾਖ ਮੈਂ ਲੇਉਗ ਪੂਰਾ I
The Sikhs formed into a round circle and created their human fortress. The Matta was passed and every Sikh said whoever survives would go and create the Raaj of Khalsa and who shall die will go to GurPurh.
ਜੋ ਨਿਕਸੁ ਜੈਹੈ ਰਾਜ ਲੈਹੈ ਮਰੈ ਗੁਰਪੁਰਿ ਜਾਇ I੫੮I
They then went for it straight into the fight like lions they roared. The Singhs were thirsting for Shaheedee where as the enemy wanted to save their lives.
ਸਿੰਘ ਸ਼ਹੀਦ ਚਹੈ ਸਭ ਹੋਵਨ ਤੁਰਕ ਲਰੈ ਨਿਜ ਜਾਨ ਬਚਾਈ I
Navab Kapoor Singh was leading the Sikhs, Sardar Jassa Singh was looking after one side. Sardar Sukha Singh was fighting ahead breaking the enemies’ front line. Sukha Singh came close to killing Lakhpat Rai when a cannon hit his horse and his leg was fatally wounded. He held back and his leg was cut off and replaced by a plank of wood. Sardar Jasa Singh received a bullet wound in is thigh but carried on fighting after bandaging his thigh. Navab Kapoor Singh received a straight wound but with Guru Jee’s Kirpa he survived.
ਮੁੜ ਮੁੜ ਲੜੋ ਔ ਤੁਰਦੇ ਜਾਵੋ I In this way fighting and moving foward a few thousand Sikhs escaped in a number of directions but such great was the loss that Sons could not see their fathers and brothers could not see their brothers.
ਬੇਟਾ ਮਿਲਯੋ ਨ ਬਾਪ ਕੋ ਭਾਈ ਮਿਲਯੋ ਨ ਭਾਈ I
The survivors went onto regroup and kept their bachan to the Shaheed Singhs that fell and the rest is as they say is History.
The numbers of Shaheeds from this Ghalughara are not really known but the loss was huge. Historians have given a figure of around 7,000 to 10,000 Shaheed in this Ghulughara.
Rattan Singh Bhangoo has written that
ਕੋਊ ਕਹੈ ‘ਮੋਏ ਚਾਲੀ ਹਜ਼ਾਰ’ I ਕੋਊ ਕਹੈ ‘ਸਿੰਘ ਬਹੁ ਭਏ ਮਾਰ’ I
ਕੋਊ ਕਹੈ ‘ਸਿੰਘ ਚਾਲੀ ਸਾਰੇ I ਤਿਨ ਮੇਂ ਬਚੇ ਛੇ ਸਤ ਕੁ ਸਾਰੇ I੫I
ਕੋਊ ਕਹੈ ‘ਦਲ ਆਹਿ ਪਚਾਸ I ਤਿਨ ਮੇਂ ਭਯੋ ਚਾਲੀ ਕੋ ਨਾਸ’ I
ਕੋਊ ਕਹੈ ‘ਸਿੰਘ ਹੋਤੇ ਘਨੇ I ਪਰਤ ਨਹੀਂ ਜੇ ਮੂਏ ਗਨੇ’ I੬I
“Some say out of 40,000 only 6 or 7,000 survived. Some say out of 85,000 there was 40,000 Shaheed”. He then goes on to say “There can not be any accurate count of the total numbers lost, my guess is around 10,000”.