Bhai Baghel Singh (1730 – 1802) was born in village Jhabal Kalan, Amritsar District of Punjab, around 1730’s, he was the descendant of Chaudhary Bhai Langaha Dhillon, the Sikh chief of 84 villages in the Majha, who along with his younger brother Bhai Pero Shah Dhillon the grandfather of the famous Mai Bhago, had converted to Sikhism, during the time of Guru Arjan Dev Ji, in the 1580s. From humble beginnings he arose to become a formidable force in the area between River Sutlej and River Yamuna. He aligned himself with Karor Singhia misl led by Sardar Karora Singh. After the early demise of Karora Singh, Bhai Baghel Singh succeeded as a leader of Karora Singhia misl in 1765. He is celebrated in Sikh history as the vanquisher of Mughal Delhi. On the 11th of March 1783, the Sikhs entered the Red Fort in Delhi and occupied the Diwan-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience),where the Mughal Emperor, Shah Alam II, made a settlement with them that allowed Baghel Singh to raise Gurdwaras on Sikh historical sites and allowed them to take six annals of each rupee (of all the Octrai duties) and any other taxes collected by the Mughal state (roughly 12.5 %).
Baghel Singh set up camp in the Sabzi Mandi area of Delhi, with 4000 troops, taking charge of the police station in Chandani Chowk. He located seven sites connected with the lives of the Sikh Gurus and had shrines raised on the sites within the space of eight months (April to December 1783). Gurdwara Sis Ganj marked the spot in the main Mughal street of Chandani Chowk where Guru Tegh Bahadur had been executed at the orders of Aurangzeb and Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib, near the modern day Parliament House, where the Guru’s body was cremated. Bangla Sahib and Bala Sahib were dedicated to the memory of the Eight Guru, Guru Har Krishan. Four other Gurdwaras Gurdwara Majnu ka Tilla, Moti Bagh, Telivara and Gurdwara Nanak Piao were also constructed during this period.
Guru Gobind Singh while leaving for Nanded in Southern part of India, divided the Sikhs into 12 misls and broadly allocated their areas of operation. Whereas these [[misl]s operated independently in their own areas under the respective misldars, together they constituted Dal Khalsa under the leadership of Jassa Singh Ahluwalia. Sikhs had been making incursions outside Punjab and restricting the influence of the Mughal leaers. It is narrated that the Sikhs had levied ‘Rakhi’ and ‘Kambli’ taxes as far as Saharanpur, Hardwar and beyond.
Karora Singhia misl had 12,000 fighting men according to Syed Ahmad 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 KarorSinghia misl fought head on with Ahmad Shah Durrani (also known as Abdali), along with other Dal Khalsa Misls near Kup at Malerkotla, where in one day of battle alone 30-40000 of women, children and old Sikhs were martyred. After Durrani’s invasion, Sikhs started consolidating the territories between Yamuna and Indus by incorporating into Misls and misls reporting to Chief of Dal Khalsa, Jassa Singh Ahluwalia about territory won at Akal Takht Amritsar.
Whereas Sukarchakia misal (of Ranjit Singh) won the territory of Gujranwala, and other areas of Ravi and Chenab Doab and Ramgarhia Misal won the areas of Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Bhangi around Lahore and Kasur, Karor Singhia misal declared their ownership of territories now including Ambala, Karnal, Hissar, Rohtak, Chandigarh, etc. Baghel Singh took possession of portions of the Jalandhar Doab and established himself at Hariana, near Hoshiarpur. Soon after the Sikh conquest of Sirhind in 1764, he extended his arms beyond Karnal and occupied number of villages including Chhalaudi which he later made his headquarters.
Then Baghel Singh Dhaliwal turned his attention towards the cis-Yamuna territories. Soon the Sikhs were invading territories beyond Delhi and beyond, including Meerut, Awadh, collecting tribute from the Nawabs of each area.
Baba Baghael Singh Museum tour, Baba Baghael Singh Museum Delhi opens.