Bhai Baghel Singh Ji

Baghel Singh was born in village Jhabal, District Amritsar around 1730. From humble beginnings he rose to become a formidable force in Satluj to Jamuna area. He aligned himself with Karora Singhia misl led by Sardar Karora Singh and suceeded as a leader of Karora Singhia misl in 1765 after early demise of Karora Singh. Karora Singhia misl had 12,000 fighting men according to Syed Muhammad Latif, a muslim historian.

As well as being a good soldier, Baghel Singh was a very good political negotiator and was able to win over many an adversary to his side. The Mughals, the Ruhilas, the Marathas and British sought his friendship. In the wake of decay of Mughal authority in the Punjab owing to Ahmad Shah Durrani's successive invasions during the latter half of the eighteenth century, the Sikhs began extending their influence. Baghel Singh's Karora Singhia misl fought head on with Ahmad Shah Durrani(also known as Abdali), alongwith other Dal Khalsa Misls near Kup at Malerkotla, where in one day of battle alone 30000 to 40000 of Sikh men, women and children lost their lives.

After Durrani's invasion, Sikhs started consolidating the territories between Jamuna and Indus by incorporating into Misls. And misls reported to Chief of Dal Khalsa, Jassa Singh Ahluwalia about territory won, at Akal Takht Amritsar. Whereas Sukarchakia misl (of Ranjit Singh) won the territory of Gujranwala, and other areas of Ravi and Chenab Doab and Ramgarhia misl won the areas of Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Bhangi around Lahore and Kasur, Karora Singhia misl declared their ownership of territories now including Ambala, Karnal, Hissar, Rohtak, etc. Soon after the Sikh conquest of Sarhind in 1764, he extended his arms beyond Karnal and occupied number of villages including Chhalaudi which he later made his headquarters.

Then Baghel Singh turned towards cis-Jamuna territories and Sikhs were soon invading territories beyond Delhi and into areas like Meerut, Awadh, and collecting tribute from these Nawabs.

In February 1764, Sikhs in a body of 40,000 under the Command of Baghel Singh and other leading warriors crossed Jamuna and captured Saharanpur. They overran the territory of Najib-ud-Daulah, the Ruhila Chief, realizing from him a tribute of eleven Lakh of rupees.

In April 1775, Baghel Singh with two other Sardars, Rai Singh Bhangi and Tara Singh Ghaiba, crossed the Jamuna to occupy that country, then ruled by Zabita Khan, son and successor of Najib-ud-Daulah.

Zabita Khan in desperation offered Baghel Singh large sums of money and proposed alliance jointly to plunder the crown-lands. In March 1776, Baghel Singh's forces defeated Imperial Mughal Army near Muzaffarnagar.The whole of Jamuna-Gangetic Doab was now at their mercy.

In April 1781, Mirza Shafi, a close relative of Prime minister of Mughals, captured the Sikh military post at Indri, 10km south of Badavi. Baghel Singh retaliated by attacking Khalil Beg Khan of Shahabad who surrendered with 300 horse, 800 foot and 2 pieces of cannon.

On 11 March 1783 Sikhs entered Red fort in Delhi and occupied the Diwan-i-Aam, the Mughal Emperor, Shah Alam II, made a settlement with them agreeing to allow Baghel Singh to raise Gurdwaras on Sikh historical sites and realize six annas in a rupee of all the Octrai duties and tax collected by state (37.5 %). Baghel Singh stayed in Sabzi Mandi area of Delhi with 4000 troops, and took charge of the police station in Chandani Chowk. He located seven sites connected with the lives of the Gurus and had shrines raised thereon within the space of eight months, from April to November 1783.

Gurdwara Sis Ganj marked the spot in the main Mughal street of Chandani Chowk where Guru Tegh Bahadur had been executed under the fiat of the emperor. Gurdwara Rakabganj, near modern day Parliament House, marks the spot where the body was cremated. Bangla Sahib and Bala Sahib commemorate the Eighth Guru, Guru Harkrishan. Three other Gurdwaras were built at Majnu ka Tila, Moti Bagh, and Teliwara. Baghel Singh died in 1802, at Hariana, a town in present day Hoshiarpur district. A Gurdwara enshrining the memory of one of the more committed Misl Sardars still stands in the town.

 

 

 

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