Rare British Account of Baba Banda Singh’s Martyrdom

Born Lakshman Das, the man who would become Banda Singh Bahadur went on a spiritual wandering jag as a young man and chanced to be plucked out of hermitage by Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

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After arrest of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur British diplomats making nice with the Mughal court at the time recorded the scene.

“The great rebel Guru (Bandu, the Sikh) who has been for these twenty years so troublesome in the province of Lahore, is at length taken with all his family and attendance by the Subahdar, or Viceroy, of that province. Some days ago they entered the city laden with fetters, his whole attendants which were left alive being about 780,* all severally mounted on camels, which were sent out of the city for that purpose, besides about 2,000 heads stuck upon poles, being those who died by the sword inb attle. He was carried into the presence of the King, and from thence to a close prison. He at present has his life prolonged with most of his officers, in hopes to get an account of his treasure in several parts of his kingdom, and of those that assisted him, when afterwards he will be executed for the rest. There are one hundred 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 has apostatised from the new formed religion.”

An extract from a letter gives an eye-witness account of how Baba ji was brought to dehli:

…..The great rebel Gooroo (Guru) who has been for these twenty years so troublesome Subaship (Subah) of Lahore is at length taken with all his family and attendants by Abd-us-Samad Cawn the Suba (Subedar that is Governor) of that province. Some days ago they entered the city laden with fetters, his sole attendants which were left alive being about 780, all severally mounted on camels which were sent out of the city for that purpose, besides about 2,000 heads struck on poles, being those who died by the sword in battle….

And then an account on Baba Ji’s execution:

…….After Banda Singh had been dismounted and seated on the ground, he was offered the usual choice between Islam and death. But the ‘chosen disciple of Guru Gobind Singh, as the Tarikh-i-Muzaffari calls him, chose to lay down his life like a devoted follower thatn to abjure his faith for the sake of enjoying a few more years of life. His young son Ajay Singh, about four years, was then placed in his arms and he was told to take the boy’s life. But can a father kill his own child? He refused. The executioner then hacked to pieces joint by joint with a long knife, dragged out his quivering heart and thrust it into the mouth of his father, who stood completely resigned to God’s will…….

John Surman, Edward Stephenson.

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