How Did Sikhs Organize Themselves Into Dals in the 1700s?

sikh misals
Organization of Dals: This gave a little breathing time to the
Sikhs, who began to reinhabit their original homes. Their numbers
also increased. But this spell ofpeace was not to last long. In giving
them a jagir the government had expected that the Sikhs would ..
beat their swords into ploughshares and live as peaceful and lawabiding
citizens. But the Sikhs were not made ofsuch pi iable stuff.
They had tasted of political liberty, and were only waiting for an
opportunity to wrest power. They showed this by gathering under
leaders and strengthening their organization. There were two main
divisions: one consisting ofthe veterans, many ofwhom had seen
the days of Guru Gobind Singh.

 

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They were called the Budha Dal.
the Army of Elders, and were led by Nawab Kapur Singh, with
Sham Singh ofNaroke, Gurbakhsh Singh Roranwala, Bagh Singh
Hallowalia and Bhamma Singh, as prominent members. The other,
consisting ofjunior men, was called the Taruna Dal, or the Army
ofthe Young. It was soon found, especially after the death ofDiwan
Darbara Singh in July 1734, that the Young Khalsa were difficult to
control in one place. So five centres were established for them at
Ramsar, Bibek-sar, Lachhman-sar, Kaul-sar and Samokh-sar, in
the different parts of Amritsar, and they were asked to join any
centre they liked. The following were choosen as leaders:
Jatha I led by Deep Singh.
Jatha II led by Karam Singh and Dharam Singh ofArnritsar.
Jatha III led by Kahan Singh and Binod Singh ofGoindvaI.
Jatha IV led by Da~unda Singh of Kot Budha.
Jatha V led by Viru Singh and Jiwan Singh Ranghretas.
Each Jatha had its own drum and banner, and was composed
of 1300 to 2000 men. All had a common mess and a common store
for clothing and other necessaries. Nobody could go home without
leave. Whatever was brought from outside was deposited in the
common treasury. 1 Both the Dais were supervised and kept together
by Nawab Kapur Singh, who was highly respected, both as a secular
and spiritual leader. It was considered very meritorious to receive
baptism at his hands. Any word fallen casually from his lips was
taken up with the reverence due to superior being. Jassa Singh
Ahluwalia once brought a complaint to him, saying that the Sikhs in
his camp ridiculed his manner of speech. Having spent his earlier
days in Delhi he had acquired the habit of mixing Urdu words with
his Punjabi. The Sikhs ragged him for this, and called him ‘Ham-ko
tum-ko’. Kapur Singh tried to console him with the words: ‘Why
should you mind what the Khalsa say? They got for me a Nawabship,
and might make you a Patshah.’ The Sikhs at once caught up the
words as a prophecy, and began to call Jassa Singh a Patshah. 2
This incident shows how the Sikhs’ imagination was running on
sovereignty, and whatever they might do or say the thought ofmaking
themselves rulers was not far from their minds.
The people of the Budha Dal were comparatively more
stationary, but those of the Taruna Dal were always on the move.
They spread themselves out not only into the Bari Doab. but went further
afield up to Hansi and Hissar. This renewed energy ofthe
Dal alarmed the government and led to the confiscation ofthe jagir
in 1735.

Source: Sikh History by Teja Singh and Ganda Singh

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