Battle of Bhangani

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At the age of twenty Guru Gobind Singh Ji fought his first battle. The battle of Bhangani took place in October 1686 six miles north of the town Poanta, This was the culmination of the jealousies of the hill chieftains led byRaja Bhim Chand and the perceived threat of the Guru. Raja Bhim Chand Kaluria was becoming inimical towards Guru Ji, he wanted him to live in his territory as his subject and pay tribute to him, he could not tolerate his growing popularity and strength.

Raja Bhim Chand had his eye on a beautiful ‘Kabli’ canopy that had been presented to the Guru by a devote as well as a ‘Parsadi’ elephant and a huge war drum named Ranjit Nagara in the possession of the Guru. As he was to wed his son to the daughter of Raja Fateh Shah, Bhim Chand took this opportunity to ask to borrow these for the wedding. Guru Ji knowing the Rajas intentions said that since these were offerings by his devotees he was unable to hand them over to the Raja. This annoyed the Raja all the more. On the other hand Raja Fateh Shah had become a devotee of Guru Gobind Singh Ji and he desired that Guru Ji accompany him to the wedding celebrations. Guru Ji in his wisdom sent his representatives Bhai Nanad Chand and Bhai Daya Ram instead. They was accompanied by 500 horsemen to guard the one and quarter lakh rupees send for the bride on behalf of the Guru.

Bhim Chand could not tolerate the friendship of Fateh Shah and Guru Ji and threatened to break off the marriage unless he sent back the presents and stopped his friendship with Guru Ji. Fateh Shah fearing for his daughter did as he was told and agreed to wage war against Guru Gobind Singh Ji. The Gurus representatives were send home. On the way back they were joined by a horse trader who had valuable horses for the Guru. This was also an eyesore for Bhim Chand. The hill rajas conspired together to attack Guru Ji’s returning party with the intention of looting and killing them. Guru Ji’s horsemen were attacked and they defended themselves bravely. Upon reaching Paonta Sahib Bhai Nand Chand told Guru Ji what had happened. Guru Ji knew that the combined forces of the hill rajas would soon attack him and he told his Sikhs to prepare for war.

In October 1686 the hill chieftains collected a force of 30,000 men and under the leadership of Raja Bhim Chand and Fateh Shah they rode towards Paonta Sahib. Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s army consisted of around 4,000 Sikhs only besides a number of Udasis and Pathans. Except for Mahant Kirpa Das and a few others most of the Udasis had deserted the Guru. The Pathans who had taken up employment under Guru Ji on the recommendation of Pir Buddhu Shah were all bought over by Bhim Chand. They were promised free share of the loot at Paonta Sahib. Guru Ji informed Pir Buddhu Shah about the unfaithful behavior of the Pathans and he himself led his Sikhs to a place six miles outside Paonta Sahib, called Bhangani.

On hearing about the unreliable Pathans, Pir Buddhu Shah was greatly perturbed. Immediately he called his sons , and along with between 500 to 700 of his followers he rushed to Guru Ji’s side. Mahant Kirpal Das was using a heavy stick called a Kutka to fight, he killed Hayat Khan, the chief of the Pathans now finghting on the opposing side. Pir Buddhu Shah also fought bravely as did his sons and followers in this bloody of battles which Guru Ji describes in martial verses in his autobiography, Bachittar Natak (wondrous drama) . Besides several hundred Sikhs, the two sons of Pir Buddhu Shah and a large number of his followers died in the fighting. Guru Ji’s general Sangho Shah, after killing the brave Najabat Khan also fell in battle, so did his brother Jeet Mal thus reviving the glory of their maternal grandfather, Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji.

Raja Hari Chand one of the hill chieftains shot a volley of arrows at Guru Gobind Singh Ji, one hitting the horse and one hitting his waistband. It was then Guru Ji’s turn and his arrows spelled havoc in all directions killing numerous enemy soldiers including Raja Hari Chand. With his fall the enemy lost courage and before darkness fell they fled the battle field vanquished.

Source: Info-Sikh

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