The Greater Holocaust
Ahmad Shah Abdali during his fifth invasion defeated Marathas in the battle
of Panipat on the 13th January, 1761A.D., and plundered Delhi at will. He started
back on 22nd March, 1761 A.D., with his booty and thousands of young men
and women as captives. When he crossed river Sutlej in April 176! A.D., the
Singhs started looting him and setting the prisoners free and sending them back
to their homes. After reaching Lahore, Abdali sent army to arrest the Singhs but
there was no success. Abdali left Lahore for Kabul in May 1761 A.D. The Singhs
again started looting him and freeing the captives. Before he reached river Attak,
the Singhs were able to free all the captives and snatch much of the booty.
On their way back from river Attak, the Singhs looted Gujrat, Sialkot, Sirhind
and Malerkotla turn by turn. All the Sikh chiefs met at Amritsar on the occasion
of Diwali on the 22nd October, 1761A.D. They passed a resolution and besieged
Lahore under the leadership of Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia. Governor Ubaid
Khan took shelter in the fort. The Singhs occupied the city. Aqil Dass of Jandiala,
an enemy of the Sikhs, sent his horseman to Abdali with a request for attack.
For the purpose of leaving their families in safe area before the arrival of Abdali,
the Sikhs proceeded with them towards Malwa.
Getting the message of Aqil Dass, Abdali reached Lahore on the 3rd
February, 1762 A.D. He sent messages to the Commanders of Sirhind and
Malerkotla to block the passage of the Sikhs. On the 5th February, Abdali
mounted an attack on the Sikhs near village Kup. The Commander of Sirhind,
Kasam Khan blocked the passage of the Sikhs. When the Sikhs gave a befitting
reply, he ran towards Malerkotla. The Sikhs had hardly advanced three miles
when Jain Khan, the Governor of Sirhind and Shah Wali Khan came forward.
With that raid, the Sikhs were uprooted. Their wall of safety around the families
was broken due to which a large number of families were killed. Inspite of these
losses, the Singhs did not lose courage. They continued to march towards Barnala
with the caravan. By evening, they reached village Kutabe Bahmani, there the
Sikhs started to quench their thirst from the pool. When the army tried to reach
the pool to drink water, the Singhs stood in their way. They did not allow the
army to pass until the whole of the caravan had quenched their thirst and moved
forward. After the Sikhs had gone, the army was able to reach the pool. During
the time, Abdali’s army was drinking water from the pool, the Sikhs had gone
far away. Due to the night-fall, Abdali abandoned to pursue the Sikhs. Moving
ahead even during the night, the Sikhs went towards Kotkapura and Faridkot.
In this greater holocaust, ten to twelve thousand Singhs attained martyrdom
and about twenty thousand women and children were murdered. Every Singh
had suffered some injury that day.
Source: Copyright © Santokh Singh Jagdev “Bed Time Stories. “
The Greater Holocaust