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Countering Oppression Through Khalsa Principles:
An Analysis Of The Leadership Credence Of Banda Singh Bahadur

by Dr Pargat Singh and Palbinder Singh


This article covers the Sikh response to Mughal oppression - submission or resistance even in a ‘hopeless’ position. Soon after the departure of the last Sikh Guru, Gobind Singh, in 1708, a dispute arose within the Sikh community at the Gurdas Nangal siege of 1715. This dispute centred around whether to follow the socio-political doctrine of the Sikh Gurus (Nankonian philosophy) which entailed living as free men, but with the risk of impending slaughter from the Mughal enemy, or surrender to dhimmi(i) status and live subordinately as non-Muslims in an Islamic state. Guru Gobind Singh’s appointed Commander-in-Chief, Banda Singh Bahadur, tackled this dispute at the Gurdas Nangal siege when he refused to surrender or accept the Mughal offer of reconciliation. This article re-evaluates strategical decisions, from a Khalsa perspective (a fearless, God-centric challenge to tyranny), by examining the similarities between the leadership of Guru Gobind Singh at the Anandpur siege of 1705 with that of Banda Singh at the Gurdas Nangal siege. The analysis of these historical events will explore the flaws and peripheral issues of surrendering to oppression and whether there are any lessons to be learnt from Banda Singh’s leadership credence. There are clear parallels between Banda Singh’s teachings and Burke’s axiom, “All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”(ii), which remains as true today as it was in the 18th Century.


The Guru era spanned the period between 1469 - 1708, during which time all ten Sikh Gurus taught socio-political doctrine(iii) as the essence of human life (Nankonian philosophy(iv)). The Gurus advocated logical, rational and progressive processes(v) to overcome wrongdoing as opposed to myths and false superstitions. This is illustrated by the appointment of Banda Singh Bahadur, who was selected on merit, rather than hereditary right, to become Commander-in-Chief of the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh, in 1708, after he chose to renounce his life as a recluse in favour of the values pertaining to the Khalsa.
Commissioned to fight oppression, Banda Singh successfully uprooted the tyrannical Mughal empire and empowered the people of Punjab in 1710 when he defeated the Governor of Sirhind, thus facilitating the abolition of slavery. However, there exists within Sikh circles a general misunderstanding(vi-vii) of why Banda Singh chose not to escape from the Gurdas Nangal siege of 1715, nor accept the Mughal offer of reconciliation(viii). This article re-evaluates these strategical decisions, from a Khalsa perspective, by examining the similarities between the leadership of Guru Gobind Singh at the Anandpur siege of 1705 with that of Banda Singh at the Gurdas Nangal siege. The analysis of these historical events will explore the flaws(ix) and peripheral issues of surrendering to oppression and will provoke reflection on how Banda Singh’s leadership credence can be applied in the contemporary world.

The Background

The choice of resistance or submission to oppression is influenced by the ideology of the oppressed. Some groups, for instance the Early Christian Church under Roman persecution or the Amish today, have a strong non-violence/passive resistance ethos which can be effective(x). Other groups have different principles, including death rather than submission to injustice. The Early Church experience was remarkable by the readiness of Christians to practice non-violence and face martyrdom – embracing public death in the arena, and elsewhere, which led to the growth of the Church. However, this was before the advent of Islam. Sikhism, on the other hand, originated about one thousand years after the advent of Islam, and Islam affected the entire Guru period. Sikh case studies can be used to explore whether recent Christian groups were wise to subject themselves to dhimmi status in, for example, Raqqa, Syria(xi) and Mosul, Iraq(xii).
It is widely acknowledged that Sikh political doctrine advocates sacrifice instead of surrender. There are numerous scripturalxiii and historical(xiv) authorities that reinforce this widely respected stance. Most notably, in 1705, following the evacuation from the Anandpur siege, Guru Gobind Singh’s young sons refused to be lured into a luxurious Islamic life, offered by the Mughal Governor, even though they knew this refusal would lead to their brutal murder. Additionally, Guru Gobind Singh’s parents and his two teenage sons were killed in the campaign to resist the Mughal onslaught upon the Sikhs. From Guru Gobind Singh’s ordination of the Republic of the Khalsa, in 1699, it became apparent that new, principled and revolutionary systems were being introduced to fight oppression(xv).
A subservient life has always been an anathema to Sikhism. The Sikh Gurus rejected dhimmi laws, and refused to pay taxation levied by the Mughals (jizya). Every form of slavery was rejected by the Gurus, whether it stemmed from cultural or theological roots. The term ‘Khalsa’ - inalienable sovereignty - defies enslavement. Dhimmi status and jizya rejection or acceptance is perhaps the most marked divergence between Sikh and Christian responses to Islamic domination - Sikh refusal to accept dhimmi status and jizya, and Christian ‘acceptance’. Christian response to domination is often rationalised under the concept of, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s”(xvi), although this response is less clear cut when Caesar demands what is God’s, e.g. worship or obedience in evil.

The Lessons Learned from the Anandpur Siege

The Anandpur siege of 1705 was an example of Khalsa-influenced leadership. Guru Gobind Singh stood firm against the Mughals during this siege, even though the chance of victory was slim. Forty Sikhs, a significant number, deserted him to save their own lives. This desertion was a key factor in the realisation of the importance of the Guru’s principles. The forty Sikhs, sensing that the situation was futile, pleaded with their Guru to vacate Anandpur after Emperor Aurangzeb took solemn Qur’anic oaths not to attack them if they surrendered (a false promise, as it proved). In response, Guru Gobind Singh asked them to create an affidavit to formally emancipate them from his alliance. Once the forty Sikhs had signed this affidavit, they were permitted to return home. However, when their wives learned that their husbands had forsaken their Guru, their disgust, and desire to replace their husbands, forced the deserters to realise their cowardice and they returned to fight with their Guru. They fell by their enemy’s sword, their dying wish being to have the affidavit destroyed as they finally valued the importance of fighting oppression at any cost. Guru Gobind Singh, who survived this siege, immediately honoured their request.
Ten years later, Banda Singh found himself in a similar position at the siege of Gurdas Nangal. Binod Singh, a General in Banda Singh’s army, briefed his Commander-in-Chief that some Sikh soldiers within his regiment held the same view as the deserters from the Anandpur siege, wishing to abandon the conflict (xvii)and accept the surrender terms of the Mughals. Binod Singh advised Banda Singh that he should strongly consider accepting the Mughal offer of mediation to reach a purported peaceful co-existence in a coalition government. Banda Singh, faced with this Mughal modus operandi(xviii), was resolute in his intention not to surrender. However, seizing an opportunity for tactical advantage, he permitted Binod Singh to lead his regiment out of the siege in order to give the impression that the Sikhs’ loyalties were divided. Unlike the Anandpur siege, an affidavit could not be issued as Banda Singh did not have Guru status. Banda Singh’s refusal to leave the siege indicates that he felt it was incumbent upon him to remove the doubts of some prominent Sikhs who did not have full comprehension of the tactical and strategical responses to the Mughal threat(xix).
After the Gurdas Nangal siege collapsed, the treatment of the captured Sikhs was not dissimilar to that afforded to the Sikh Gurus, i.e. torture and death(xx). Furthermore, because the Khalsa soldiers were vastly outnumbered, yet were still able to withstand the Mughal army, the Mughals gathered Sikhs from their homes(xxi) to add to the number captured in order to present a more ‘acceptable’ quota of captives to the Emperor and to save political embarrassment. By imprisoning Sikhs from local villages, alongside those from the siege, the Mughals portrayed the impression that they had captured an entire battalion. Banda Singh’s leadership decisions were instantly vindicated in the eyes of other Sikhs when they saw that these non-combatants were included in the execution.

The Doubt of Banda Singh’s Leadership Credence

The doubt, within the Khalsa ranks, of Banda Singh’s leadership ability arose from the dispute regarding whether or not to accept the Mughal offer of reconciliation when the Sikhs were cornered at Gurdas Nangal. The Mughal offer of ‘forgiveness and alliance’ appealed to General Binod Singh’s regiment who saw dhimmi status as an acceptable solution to the conflict, wishing to pursue it before it was withdrawn(xxii). Banda Singh viewed this offer as a ruse to capture the Sikhs and divide the Khalsa ranks(xxiii). However, he took advantage of this situation when he gave General Binod Singh permission to leave the siege and accept the alliance with the Mughals, knowing this would lead the Mughals into a premature sense of victory.
The Mughals, believing that their offer had created a schism in the Khalsa ranks, facilitated the exit of this Sikh regiment led by General Binod Singh. When Binod Singh’s regiment moved through the Mughal cavalry unmolested, they continued to believe they were right to leave the siege. Because these Sikhs were now safe, this further enforced their view that surrender was the best option. Had Banda Singh died fighting, General Binod Singh’s regiment would have continued, albeit temporarily, to believe their surrender was justified. But as fate allowed his survival on the battlefield, Banda Singh was able to use his capture to demonstrate the implications of someone unwilling to surrender to Mughal might. When Binod Singh’s dissenting Sikhs saw the brutal public execution of Banda Singh and other prisoners by the Mughal government, they were enlightened as to the true, barbaric nature of the Mughals. It was at this point, witnessing Banda Singh’s defiance in the face of death(xiv), that they understood the significance of their leader’s sacrifice - that his vision of remaining loyal to the Guru’s social political doctrine was of paramount importance in the eradication of oppression in the long term. Banda Singh, as Commander-in-Chief, had to fulfil the role of scapegoat to demonstrate that capture by the Mughals would result in cold-blooded death, regardless of their previous offers of reconciliation.

The Ruse of Reconciliation

Banda Singh’s reasoning is best understood in the context of the historic Mughal Emperors’ relations with Sikh Gurus(xxv). Previous Mughal Governments had failed to eliminate Sikhism and this led to bloody and despotic repercussions for the Sikh Gurus, including the murder of the fifth Guru, Arjan, in 1606 and of the ninth Guru, TeghBahadur, in 1675. But then Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb was frustrated(xxvi) because he was unable to murder Guru Gobind Singh.
To achieve this, having failed at the Anandpur attack, it is likely that Emperor Aurangzeb’s cunning led him to approach an influential Sikh tribe in the Majha area where he believed the Guru to be residing(xxvii). The Emperor’s plan was to employ the Majha Sikhs as mediators for proposals of reconciliation between the Guru and himself. It was Guru Gobind Singh’s farsighted vision that taught the Sikhs this was a ruse, and that an enemy of this nature has no desire for peaceful co-existence, unless it is a momentary tactic of war(xxviii).
Perhaps with this historical lesson in mind, Banda Singh chose not to submit to the Mughals to illustrate to the Sikhs, again, the point made by Guru Gobind Singh when approached by the Majha inhabitants with an offer of ‘reconciliation’. Being fully aware of the likely consequences, Banda Singh refused to surrender or enter deceptive and insincere negotiations. Upon capture and detention he rejected the offer of embracing Islam at the cost of his and his son’s life.

The Sikh idea of equal opportunity

One of the accusations levelled against Banda Singh was that he was politically naive in enlisting the support of non-Sikhs into his regiment as they turned out to be working for the enemy(xxix). The traitors were the one thousand strong Hindu regiment, led by a Hindu officer, the nephew of Sucha Nand. Upon instruction of the Mughals, the Hindu regiment pre-meditatively deserted the Sikhs at a crucial juncture in the Battle of Sirhind at Chappar-Chiri in 1710(xxx). On the other hand Banda Singh was loyally served by his Muslim soldiers who were fighting against the Mughals(xxxi). This illustrates not only his concept of justice and egalitarian values, but reveals the central message(xxxii) of the first Guru, Nanak, that Sikhs abhor injustice, duality and human rights abuses, regardless of ideology.
Once again, this concept of fairness had to be demonstrated in practical terms to the Sikhs as a constitutional principle, i.e. the recruitment of soldiers on merit regardless of background. This was perfectly framed and reinforced by Banda Singh himself after the Mughal government publicly called for the genocide of Sikhs through an official State proclamation in 1710(xxxiii). Banda Singh responded in the following manner, “We do not oppose Muslims.  We do not oppose Islam.  We only oppose tyranny, and we only oppose the usurpation of political power which belongs to the people and not to privileged individuals or to Mughals."(xxxiv)  This response refutes the accusations against Banda Singh that he was sectarian or that he favoured one community over another.



The public execution of Banda Singh demonstrated his defiance of totalitarianism in favour of the new socio-political doctrine of the Sikh Gurus. Banda Singh was not prepared to discard egalitarian values that would guide future societies towards a model of fairness and justice(xxxv). Thus, the public spectacle of Banda Singh’s martyrdom by the Mughals, in such a barbaric fashion, strengthened his cause. By withstanding torture and death without defying the exalted political principles bestowed onto him by Guru Gobind Singh, Banda Singh was able to inspire and reinforce this resolve in others




For two decades, following Banda Singh’s execution, Sikhs, on the whole, resisted living under Sharia law by resorting to survival in the vast terrains of the Punjab, until around 1723 when they realised that this way of living was unsustainable, and that Banda Singh’s defiance was, in fact, justified and needed to be replicated(xxxvi). Despite being made homeless and suffering repeat massacres, Sikhs continued to fight for their lives and their principles until they eventually proclaimed sovereignty over the Punjab in 1760. After Sikh sovereignty was annexed by the British in 1849, Sikhs maintained Banda Singh’s teachings and aligned themselves with the British to eliminate the tyrannical ideologies that stemmed from the greater evil - the Mughal empire - in the ‘Mutiny of 1857’, and both World Wars. Never again did the Sikhs submit to dhimmi status.
It could be dangerous to establish hard and fast rules of successful political response strategies based on one or two examples. The military successes or failures of the Mughal enemy, the Mughal decisions to act vindictively or humanely, would all impact upon any analysis of the Sikh policy at the time. However, it appears that Banda Singh’s policy, based on that of the Gurus, was deemed correct, proven by Mughal treachery and continued harsh repression, including genocidal policies. Banda Singh paid with his life. His martyrdom and the vindication of his (military) decisions inspired Sikhs to continue the eventually successful resistance.



Banda Singh understood Guru Gobind Singh’s vision and had the ability to implement it. It is also clear that he understood the nature of the external threat the Sikhs faced. He had the magnanimous maturity of mind to endure such a barbaric death in order to reinforce the teachings of the Sikh Gurus to the Sikh people. What appeared as a capture was, in fact, a tactical decision to access the executioner’s court. This manoeuvre helped to facilitate the Sikhs’ witnessing of Banda Singh’s public defiance in the face of death, which, in turn, saved the Khalsa from near annihilation.
Banda Singh’s legacy is a demonstration of the importance for all people in every culture never to concede to oppression, but to resist it with all their might.

(i) ‘The Status of Non-Muslim Minorities Under Islamic Rule’, [Online]. Available at: (Accessed 14 March 2014)‘Dhimmitude: the Islamic system of governing populations conquered by jihad wars, encompassing all of the demographic, ethnic, and religious aspects of the political system. The word "dhimmitude" as a historical concept, was coined by Bat Ye'or in 1983 to describe the legal and social conditions of Jews and Christians subjected to Islamic rule. The word "dhimmitude" comes from dhimmi, an Arabic word meaning "protected". Dhimmi was the name applied by the Arab-Muslim conquerors to indigenous non-Muslim populations who surrendered by a treaty (dhimma) to Muslim domination. Islamic conquests expanded over vast territories in Africa, Europe and Asia, for over a millennium (638-1683). The Muslim empire incorporated numerous varied peoples which had their own religion, culture, language and civilization. For centuries, these indigenous, pre-Islamic peoples constituted the great majority of the population of the Islamic lands. Although these populations differed, they were ruled by the same type of laws, based on the shari’a.’
(ii)Burke, Edmund. ’Thoughts on the Cause of Present Discontents’. (Original work published 1770). [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 16 September 2014)
(iii)Singh, Kapur. (2006: 130-131) Sikhism for Modern Man, 5th Edition, Guru Nanak Dev University Amritsar. ‘This discipline of the Name, a new synthesized and integrated yoga, is to be practised in the context of socio-political life in which man does not turn his back on the society and does not renounce the world.’
(iv)Chahal, Devinder. S. (2002) 'Nanakian Philosophy - The Term Defined’, Institute For Understanding Sikhism [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 11 November 2013). "I would like to quote another example, Dr Pargat Singh and Palbinder Singh [11] have used another very similar term, Nanakonianism, for Gurmat. They have also used another similar term as ‘Nanakonian mission’ and ‘Nanakonian thought’ in 1999 in his article published in the Sikh Review, Calcutta, which is widely read journal in the world. The authors of this article claimed that this term, ‘Nanakonianism’ was coined by Dr Dharam Anant Singh in his historic work, ‘Plato and the True Enlightener of Soul’, in 1912, i.e. about a century ago."
(v)Chahal, Devinder. S. (2008: 44) Nanakian Philosophy, 1st Edition, Institute for Understanding Sikhism, Canada. ‘The critical analysis of Bani (The Word) of Guru Nanak (1469-1539CE) enshrined in the Aad Guru Granth Sahib (AGGS) clearly shows that he (Guru Nanak) has promulgated a unique philosophy during the 15th and 16th centuries, which includes all the above described facets of philosophy but the esoteric, ancient theosophical works, and lore have been used only allegorically to explain certain principles of his philosophy. This fact makes him a great philosopher and a great scientist of the Period of Renaissance (14th - 16th centuries). The irony is that many Sikh theologians and writers have portrayed him in the past and are still doing so only as a spiritual and mystic Guru and are not ready to accept him as a philosopher and a scientist of the Period of Renaissance.’
(vi)Mehboob, Harinder. S. (2000: 1000) Sehje Rachiyo Khalsa, [The Divine Creation of the Organic Khalsa], 2nd edition, Singh Brothers, Amritsar. Mehboob claims ‘Banda dol gia’ from the 1st December 1710 onwards. This is translated as a ‘fall from grace’, in which Mehboob claims that Banda Singh opted to be sacrificed in order to regain his lost Gurus honour, in other words to be exonerated for his alleged mistakes.
(vii)Singh, Kulwant. (2006: 339-347) Sri Gur Panth Prakash (Rattan Singh Bhangoo), Volume 1. (English translation). Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh. (Original work published 1841). ‘After Banda Singh won a victory over the Mughal forces, Nobody else could dare wage a war against him. Then the slanderers incited [Emperor] Farrukhsiar, They accused the Guru mother of not prohibiting Banda Singh’ . And, ‘As Banda Singh became highly puffed up with arrogance and pride, His nemesis seemed to be catching up with him very soon. The solemn promises that he had made in the Guru’s presence, He was now on the verge of breaking those solemn vows... But (Banda Singh) did not visualise the moments of scarcity, Nor did he have any knowledge of the art of diplomacy. Without identifying the strategies suitable for moments of crisis and scarcity, He was going to launch a separate religious order.’
(viii)Singh, Ganda. (1990: vii) Life of Banda Singh Bahadur. Punjabi University Patiala ‘He [Bhangu Rattan Singh] is the first writer to introduce the subject of negotiations between Farrukh Siyar and Mata Sundri which appear to have been based on hearsay and wrong information. In writing on Banda Singh, Bhai Santokh Singh, the author of the unparalleled scholarly work, the Suraj Parkash, in the absence of any contemporary records at his disposal, has not been able to penetrate beyond the crust of the then prevalent accounts’.
(ix)Singh, Sangat. (2010) ‘The Matchless Heroism of Banda Bahadur’, The Sikh Review, May 2010 [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 24 November 2013) ‘Banda Singh, thereafter, had no positive achievement till his surrender at Gurdas Nanal in end-1715. He even failed to accept Binod Singh’s sound advice to cut through the beseiging forces and pursue guerrilla instead of conventional warfare. Banda Singh Bahadur’s successes were shortlived because of his lack of appreciation of the forces arraigned against him. If he were face to face with the oppressive forces in the Punjab only, he was and would have been a success. But the Mughal resources were vast - the whole of the empire. Banda Singh should have, firstly, confined merely to destruction of the oppressive forces and not tried to organize an alternative administration which made him overextend his meager resources. In other words, he should have continued to operate as a guerilla leader rather than as a conventional military which led to his defeat. Secondly, he violated Guru Gobind Singh’s instructions regarding corporate leadership of the Khalsa, provided by the council of panj piaras, five beloved ones, named by him to aid and advise him. By appointing Baj Singh as Governor of Sirhind and Binod Singh and others to a miscellany of positions, he struck at the root of corporate leadership, and emerged as the sole and absolute leader’.
(x)The Impact of Persecution on Amish Culture. [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 16 September 2014)
(xi)Yates, Brian. (2014) ‘Dhimmi Law Saves Christian Community’. [Online]. Available at: (Accessed 5 March 2014)
(xii)The Jerusalem Post. “Can This Really Be Happening in the Modern World?” [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 16 September 2014)
(xiii)Guru Granth Sahib. 2002 (reprint). Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Amritsar. Kabir, p.1105. [Verse 2.2]. ਸੂਰਾ ਸੋ ਪਹਿਚਾਨੀਐ ਜੁ ਲਰੈ ਦੀਨ ਕੇ ਹੇਤ ॥ਪੁਰਜਾ ਪੁਰਜਾ ਕਟਿ ਮਰੈ ਕਬਹੂ ਨ ਛਾਡੈ ਖੇਤੁ ॥੨॥੨॥ 'The true hero is the one who fights in defence of the humble, irrespective of the severe consequences he never deserts his mission’.
(xiv)Singh, Kapur. (1992: 20) Guru Arjun And His Sukhmani, 1st Edition, Guru Nanak Dev University Amritsar. Professor Kapur Singh’s chapter on Guru Arjun - ‘Martyred by Shamanistic Law’.
(xv)Singh, Kapur. (1989: 6) Parasaraprasna. Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. ‘These five [Khalsa] ideas are: (1) the absorption of the individual soul into or its contiguity with the Infinite Soul, as the ultimate aim and summum bonum of human life, and, as a corollary, religion and religious activity being the activity par excellence, worthy of serious minds; (2) an equalitarian and global fraternity in which this activity must be grounded and into which this ideal must permeate; (3) acceptance of new principles of politics, subordinated to those of ethics, resulting in the universal acceptance of the tradition of open diplomacy; (4) organisation into the Order of the Khalsa of those who agree to dedicate their lives to and are competent for the furtherance of these ideas; and (5) the vision of a new and regenerated humanity, heralded by the Baisakhi of March 30, 1699, and symbolised by the day of Baisakhi’.
(xvi)Bible hub [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 16 September 2014)
(xvii)Criticism of Banda Singh Bahadur (2013) Wikipedia. [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 24 November 2013) ‘His act of surrendering is considered as blot to Sikh history. When Binod Singh Khalsa left Gurdas Nangal fort, there were 700+ armymen with Banda. None of them fought against Mughals and got surrendered by raising hands empty and open above one's head. Mughal Government order that they will not quarter captured soldeirs and all were executed at Delhi for being traitor’.
(xviii)Guide to Understanding Islam (2013) The Religion of [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 3 December 2013) ‘There are two forms of lying to non-believers that are permitted under certain circumstances, taqiyya and kitman.  These circumstances are typically those that advance the cause Islam - in some cases by gaining the trust of non-believers in order to draw out their vulnerability and defeat them.’
(xix)Banda Singh Bahadur (1670 - 1716) (2013) [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 24 November 2013) ‘Towards the end, an unfortunate dispute arose between Banda Singh and one of his most trusted advisers Baba Binod Singh. This man along with Baaj Singh and three others made up the war council that Banda was supposed to consult in any difficult situation. Binod Singh advised the evacuation of the fortress, but for some reasons of his own, Banda wished to fight it out there. Binod Singh was senior in age, and when this difference of views flared up into an open quarrel, Banda agreed to let Baba Binod Singh take his men out of the Fortress. Binod Singh and his supporters then charged out of the fortress and escaped’.
(xx)Letter from Fort St. George, 10th June 1716, quoted from, Singh, Ganda. (1990: 189) Life of Banda Singh Bahadur. Punjabi University Patiala. ‘...for the rest there are 100 each day beheaded. It is not a little remarkable with what patience they undergo their fate, and to the last it has not been found that one apostatised from this new formed Religion’.
(xxi)Karam Singh, quoted from, Sagoo, Harbans. K. (2001: 221) Banda Singh Bahadur and Sikh Sovereignty. Deep & Deep Publications, Delhi. ‘Zakariya Khan then thought that 200 Sikhs were too small a number to be presented to the Emperor. Thus a general order for the hunt of the Sikhs was issued by him and innocent Sikhs were arrested and their number reached about a thousand in a few days’.
(xxii)Singh, Gurtej. (2011) ‘Banda Bahadur’s understanding and interpretation of the concept of sovereignty’. [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 24 November 2013) ‘They [Sikh historians] chose the easy path of blaming him although the blame lay squarely at the door of those who deserted him at the crucial time. It went unnoticed that the dissenting Sikh leaders had cast away the collective success of the Sikhs in exchange for dreams of personal fulfilment, hoping to pass off desertion as better strategy.’
(xxiii)Singh, Kulwant. (2006: 371) Sri Gur Panth Prakash (Rattan Singh Bhangoo), Volume 1.(English translation). Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh. (Original work published 1841). ‘If anybody posed this question (to the author), That Banda Singh, being an omniscient person, How could he not see through the game, That the Moghuls were playing a fraud on him?’
(xxiv)Khafi Khan Muntakhib-ul-Lubab 766-7, as translated and quoted from, Singh, Ganda. (1990: 191) Life of Banda Singh Bahadur. Punjabi University Patiala ‘The executioner then hacked the child to pieces joint by joint with a long knife, dragged out his quivering heart and thrust it into the mouth of his father [Banda Singh], who stood unmoved like a statue, completely resigned to God’s Will’.
(xxv)Singh, Pargat. & Singh, Palbinder. (2013) ‘The Legacy of the Mughals from a Sikh Perspective - A Sikh critique of Historical Bias at the British Library’, Salisbury Review, Autumn Edition [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 1 November 2013).
(xxvi)Singh, Gurtej. (2011) ‘Banda Bahadur’s understanding and interpretation of the concept of sovereignty’. [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 1 December 2013) ‘Banda’s supposed deviation from the path of the Guru, also appears to be a fall-out of the sustained propaganda of the Mughal state. The strategy appears to have been finalised by Aurangzeb who assigned a pacifist role to the earlier Gurus. He is already on record as having asked Guru Gobind Singh to adopt the pacifist ways of the elders of his faith, He asked Wazir Khan to remind the Guru to avoid the trappings of political power and to shun deviation from the path of “other recluses and his own ancestors.”’
(xxvii)Singh, Giani. Gian. (undated: 611-613) Dasam Guru Chamatkar by Bhai Santokh Singh, Tawarikh Guru Khalsa - Part 3. [The complete life history of Guru Gobind Singh by Santokh Singh], Chattar Singh & Jiwan Singh, Amritsar. Giani Gian Singh claims that a group of Sikhs from Majha united with a group (of Sikhs) from Lahore, at Guru Gobind Singh’s visit to Kot-Kapura and advocated Emperor Aurangzeb’s policy of submission of Guru Gobind Singh to the Emperor, then pacifist Sikhi would be granted exemption to co-exist in Mughal India.
(xxviii)Sookhdeo, Patrick. (2008: 406) Global Jihad: The Future in the Face of Militant Islam. McLean: Isaac Publishing ‘As we have seen, the traditional Islamic doctrine of war has much to say about when and how Muslims are permitted to make peace with the enemy. This suggests the possibility of the non-Muslim world making some kind of formal peace with the Muslim community worldwide. However, there are a number of serious difficulties with this, not least the fact that peace treaties in classical Islam are supposed to be only temporary, in effect, merely truces. Another problem is that there is no single Islamic authority accepted by all Muslims with whom to negotiate. Thirdly, there are sections of the Muslim community who believe that Muslims may freely break any agreement made with non-Muslims’.
(xxix)Singh, Gopal ‘History of the Sikh People 1469-1978’ quoted from, Sagoo, Harbans. K. (2001: 129) Banda Singh Bahadur and Sikh Sovereignty. Deep & Deep Publications, Delhi. ‘...the Nawab of Sarhind caused the nephew of his Hindu Wazir, Sucha Nand to force his way along with a thousand trained men into Banda Singh’s camp pretending loyalty to him but to put him to death at the earliest possible opportunity. Banda Singh, a man of simple faith, put trust in his word and accepted him and his force’.
(xxx)Deol, G. S. ‘Banda Bahadur’ New Academic Publishing Co, Jullandhar (1972: 33), quoted from, Singh, Surinder. (2009: 75) Baba Banda Singh Bahadur - Battle Strategy against Mughal Forces. Har-Anand Publications PVT Ltd, Delhi. ‘Shortly after the start of the battle, these men were noticed to be shifting towards the enemy side. They were suitable punished along with the rest of the Mughal army’.
(xxxi)Singh, Sangat. (2010) ‘The Matchless Heroism of Banda Bahadur’, The Sikh Review, May 2010 [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 24 November 2013) ‘Banda Singh’s proclamation calling upon all those who had suffered at the hands of oppressive Zamindars, or were tormented by anti-social elements, bullies, and despots, to join him to get justice, opened up a pandora’s box. It evoked an overwhelming response from people of all faiths, including Hindus and Muslims - to create vistas for a people’s revolution’.
(xxxii)Guru Granth Sahib. 2002 (reprint). Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Amritsar. M1, p.1088.[Verse 6]. ਤਖਤਿ ਰਾਜਾ ਸੋ ਬਹੈ ਜਿ ਤਖਤੈ ਲਾਇਕ ਹੋਈ ॥ ਜਿਨੀ ਸਚੁ ਪਛਾਣਿਆ ਸਚੁ ਰਾਜੇ ਸੇਈ ॥ ਏਹਿ ਭੂਪਤਿ ਰਾਜੇ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਹਿ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ਦੁਖੁ ਹੋਈ ॥ ਕੀਤਾ ਕਿਆ ਸਾਲਾਹੀਐ ਜਿਸੁ ਜਾਦੇ ਬਿਲਮ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥ ਨਿਹਚਲੁ ਸਚਾ ਏਕੁ ਹੈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬੂਝੈ ਸੁ ਨਿਹਚਲੁ ਹੋਈ ॥੬॥ ‘That king should only occupy the throne, who is worthy and fit for sovereignty. They who realize the True Lords creation, alone are the true kings. Other earthly rulers are not really kings; through love of another they come to grief. Humans should not praise earthly rulers, who are mortal and transient. Eternal is the True Lord, the person who realizes God by the Gurus guidance, becomes equally eternal’.
(xxxiii)Shan, Harnam. S. (Undated) ‘Sikhism, An Original Distinct Revealed and Complete Religion’, p.24-25. [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 17 November 2013) ‘That royal proclamation, outlawing the Sikhs and seeking their complete annihilation, was repeated by Emperor Farrukh Siyar and it remained in force for three long years in all parts of the Mughal Empire. According to it, every Sikh or Nanakpanthi wherever seen was to be immediately arrested. He was to be offered only one alternative, either Islam or sword. He was to be executed there and then without any hesitation or loss of time....The Emperor’s orders were strictly obeyed. The Governors of Sarhind, Lahore and Jammu tried to surpass one another in persecution of the Sikhs in order to win the goodwill of Farrukh Siyar’.
(xxxiv)Singh, Kapur. (2013). ‘Banda Singh Bahadur – the founder of the first Sikh republic’. [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 18 November 2013)
(xxxv)Singh, Kapur. (2013). ‘Banda Singh Bahadur – the founder of the first Sikh republic’. [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 18 November 2013) ‘In 1711, they set-up a republic in the heartland of the Moghul Empire in India, wherein they gave land to the tillers in a feudal society, proclaimed equality of all men as citizens of a state, and declared that power emanated from and justly belonged to the people and not to a hereditary privilegentsia. This republic was set up by Banda Singh Bahadur. These remarkable and most modern principles, which were not only avowed but which were put into practice, although for a very short while, are historical phenomena with which not many people in the West or even the East were then acquainted with; but which, if properly understood and appreciated, would make men marvel as to how it was that in a conservative, tranquil, progressive-and-struggle-avoiding East, such revolutionary and remarkably dynamic ideas not only could spring-up but could be put into practice and could be applied to the actual polity of a state which was founded, but which, unfortunately, did not last.’
(xxxvi)Singh, Kapur. (1995: 118-119) Some Insights Into Sikhism. Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. ‘After Guru Gobind Singh the Sikhs created a sovereign state and after five or six years that state fell and then the Sikhs had to pass through the valley of death. And a stage came when the government reports showed that Sikhs did not exist, they had become extinct. There was no Sikh to be seen. Then the Sikhs who were sent back to their homes after the collapse of the Sikh Republic which was founded around Sirhind, were engaged in peaceful activities of agriculture. For about twenty years they were subjected to great persecutions, the parallel of which is not to be found in the history of any religion. During that period, round about 1723 or 1724, when Bhai Mani Singh, the first Granthi (priest) of the Siri Harimander Sahib, was arrested and hacked to pieces, it was at that time that wherever the Sikhs happened to be they were persecuted by the state. It is recorded in Giani Gian Singh’s Panth Parkash that about 50 to 66 Sikhs collected at Amritsar on the occasion of Baishakhi, and at night time after reciting ‘Rahiraas’, they held a meeting. One Sikh stood and said, "We had, under the directions of the Guru, established the sovereign republic. Our next step was to establish our political hegemony in the whole world of India, and then to go forward. But we have failed, and now, knowing that we have no power left, we have retired back to our original homes, and engaged ourselves as humble agriculturists. But even as labourers and humble agriculturists, we are not allowed to live in peace. Look, what has happened. We have been harassed, we have been persecuted, each one of us, and now has come the turn of the saint martyr, the unique intellectual amongst the Sikhs. A most learned man, Bhai Mani Singh, has been cruelly hacked to pieces. Now we must do something." And they asked, "What can we do? We are so few, and the state power is so strong and so well-entrenched, we are simply helpless." And then a man whose name we do not know but whose words are recorded said, “Sires of the Khalsa, as far as I can see, there is no way out for us except for us to turn our faces once again toward the Guru." He was asked to explain himself. He said, "The Guru has conferred upon us the sovereignty of the earth. And we have become humble slaves and citizens. Let us rise and take what belongs to us, the sovereignty. Let us lay our claim to sovereignty, to full sovereignty, and to total sovereignty. Either the throne or the scaffold should be our objective. Liberty or death. No third alternative." And there was a shout, an instinctive shout of “Sat-Siri-Akal".'