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Massacre of the Sikhs and Banda Singh at Delhi

From Gurdas Nangal Banda Singh and the other Sikh prisoners were taken to Lahore. Although he had been captured and imprisoned, yet the dread of his supernatural powers was so indelibly impressed upon the minds of his enemies that every moment they were afraid of 'his escape on the road.' A Mughal officer, therefore, offered to be tied together on the same elephant saying: 'if he attempted to escape, I will plunge this dagger into his body.' With fetters on his feet, a ring round his neck, and a chain round his back, all connected by hammer-like pieces of wood, he was thrown into an iron cage, chained to it in four places. Two Mughal officers were tied to him on each side on the same elephant to guard against his escape. His officers and principal men were put in irons and marched in a body, mounted upon lame, worn down, mangy asses and camels, and with paper caps upon their heads. They were preceded by drummers and bandsmen, and by Mughals carrying the heads of Sikhs on spears. Behind the prisoners were the royal Amirs, Faujdars and Hindu Rajas at the head of their respective troops. For miles the Shahi Sarak, or the Royal Road, was lined with eager spectators on both sides, and the bazaars, the streets and the roofs of the adjoining houses presented the spectacle of a surging sea of human heads. With such a cortege of half-dead prisoners and bleeding heads Abd-us-Samad Khan entered the city of Lahore.1

Abd-us-Samad Khan asked for permission to come to Delhi in person with his great prisoner, but he was ordered to remain and attend to the government of his province, sending Banda Singh and other Sikh prisoners in the charge of his son Zakriya Khan, and of Qamr-ud-Din Khan, the son of Muhammad Amin Khan.2

At the time of his departure from Lahore, Zakriya Khan considered the number of two hundred prisoners to be too small to be presented to the Emperor. He, therefore, ordered a general hunt of the Sikhs throughout the country. The Faujdars and the Chaudhris scoured the land in search of them. Numbers of innocent people were arrested from villages and sent over to Zakriya Khan to make up the desired number of prisoners. Thus in a few days thousands of Sikhs, for no fault but that they professed the Sikh faith and belonged to a non-Islamic creed, fell under the executioner's sword to fill seven hundred carts of heads to be dispatched to Delhi.3

'Banda (Singh) and other,' says Cunnigham, 'were marched to Delhi with all the signs of ignominy usual with bigots, and common among barbarous or half-civilized conquerors.' Like their Chief, they were put in irons, and chained in feet, waiste and neck, and were loaded in twos or threes on bullock carts. At Sirhind they were paraded through the streets and exposed to the ridicule of the people who are said to have poured the filthiest language on them. The Sikhs bore these indignities with the greatest patience, singing the sacred hymns of their Gurus.4

On the 15th Rabi-ul-Awwal, 1128 (25th February, 1716, O.S.), the arrival of the prisoners at Agharabad was reported to the Emperor at Delhi. ltmad-ud-Daula Muhammad Amin Khan was at once sent out by him to make necessary arrangements for bringing the Sikh Chief and his followers in procession from Agharabad to the Imperial palace.5

On Thursday, the 17th Rabi-ul-Awwal, 1128 (27th February, 1716, O.S.), Banda Singh and the other Sikh prisoners were conducted, in a procession, to the city of Delhi. The ceremonial on this occasion was copied from that observed after the capture of the Mahratta Chief Sambhaji, son of Shivaji. First of all came the heads of two thousand executed Sikhs, stuffed with straw and mounted on bamboos, their long-hair streaming in the wind like a veil. Along with them was carried, at the end of a pole, the dead body of a cat to show that every living creature in the enclosure of Gurdas Nangal down to the quadrupeds like cats and dogs had been destroyed. Banda Singh himself came next, seated in an iron cage, placed upon an elephant, and dressed, out of mockery, in a gold embroidered red turban and a heavy robe of scarlet brocade embroidered with pomegranate flowers in gold. Behind him stood, with a drawn sword in his hand, a mail-clad officer from amongst the Turani Mughals of Muhammad Amin Khan. After his elephant came the other Sikh prisoners, seven hundred and forty in number, tied two and two upon saddleless camels. Upon their heads were placed high fantastic fool's caps of ridiculous shape, made of sheep-skin and adorned with glass beads. One of their hands was pinned to the neck between two pieces of wood whic:h were held together by iron pins. Some of the principal men, who rode nearest to their Cheif's elephant, were dressed in sheep-skins with the wooly side turned outward, so that the spectators might compare them to bears. At the end of the procession rode the three nobles, Nawab Muhammad Amin Khan Chin Bahadur deputcd by Emperor Farrukh Siyar to bring in the prisoners, his son Qumr-ud-din Khan Bahadur and his son-in-law Zakriya Khan Bahadur, son of Abd-us-Samad Khan. The road from Agharabad to the Lahori gate of the city, a distance of several miles, was lined on both sides with troops, and filled with exultant crowds, who mocked at Banda Singh and laughed at the grotesque appearance of his followers.6

Mirza Muhammad Harisi, who was then present at Delhi and had gone to see the tamasha, as he calls the procession of the Sikh prisoners, as far as the Salt Market (Mandavi-i­Namak) and had thence accompanied the procession as far as the Qilah-i-Mubarik or the Imperial Fort, has recorded the above as an eye-witness, and continues thus in his Swaneh or the Ibrat Namah:

"On this day I had gone to see the tamasha as far as the Mandavi-i-Namak and had thence accompanied the procession to the Qilah-i-Mubarik. There was hardly anyone in the city who had not come out to see the tamasha or to enjoy the show of the extirpation of the accused ones [Sikhs]. Such a crowd in the bazaars and lanes had been rarely seen. And the Musalman could not contain themselves for joy. But those unfortunate Sikhs, who had been reduced to this last extermity, were quite happy and contented with their fate; not the slightest sign of dejection or humility was seen on their faces. In fact, most of them, as they passed along on their camels, seemed happy and cheerful, joyfully singing the sacred hymns of their Scripture. And, if any one from amongst those in the lanes and bazaars called out to them that their own excesses had reduced them to that condition, they quickly retorted saying that it had been so willed by the Almighty and that their capture and misfortune was in accordance with His Will. And, if any one said:'Now you will be killed,' they shouted: Kill us. When were we afraid of death? Had we been afraid of it, how could we have fought so many battles with you? It was merely through starvation and for want of food that we fell into your hands, otherwise you know already what deeds we are capable of.'7 Sayyed Muhammad, the author of the Tabsirat-un-Nazirin, was also present there on that occasion. 'At that time I addressed one of them by signs,' says he, 'that that was the result of their arrogance and insolence. He put his hand on his forehead to express that it was predestined. The expression of his meaning at that time pleased me very much.8 Not all insults that their enemies had inflicted could rob the brave disciples of Guru Govind Singh of their natural dignity. 'Without any sign of dejection or shame, they rode on, calm and cheerful, even anxious to die the death of Martyrs.'9

On the arrival of the procession at the fort, Banda Singh, Baj Singh, Bhai Fateh Singh and a few other leaders were, by Farrukh Siyar's orders, made over to Ibrahim-ud-Din Khan Mir Atish to be imprisoned at the Tripolia. Banda Singh's wife, his four years old son, Ajai Singh, and the nurse of the child were taken away by Darbar Khan Nazir of the harem, and the remaining 694 Sikhs were handed over to Sarbrah Khan Kotwal for execution.10

Itmad-ud-Daula Muhammad Amin Khan was honoured with six Khillats or dresses of honour, a jeweled diadem and an Arab horse with golden harness, and Qumr-ud-din Khan and Zakriya Khan each with a special dress of honour, a jeweled diadem, a horse and an elephant. Zakriya Khan then went to the fort and delivered to the Tahwildar, or the officer in charge of the royal treasury, the following Sikh arms brought with him from Lahore and valuables that he had brought with him from Lahore:

Swords- 1,000

Shields - 278

Bows and Quivers - 173

Matchlocks - 180

Daggers (Jamdhar) – 114

Long knives (Kard) - 217

Gold Mohars - 23

Rupees a little over - 600

Gold Ornaments - a few.11

'The list of arms taken and money seized,' remarks Irvine, 'does not give a very exalted notion of either the military strength or the wealth of the Sikh leader' in the fortress of Gurdas Nangal, and 'it is really astonishing that with so scanty resources the Sikhs so determinedly resisted the greatest Empire of the day for such a long time.' says Kamwar.

The execution of the Sikhs began on the 22nd Rabi-ul­ Awwal, 1128 (5th March, 1716, O.S.), under the supervision of Sarbrah Khan Kotwal, opposite the Chabutra Kotwali or police station on the side of the Tripolia. One hundred of the Sikh prisoners were taken out of their prison every day and were seated in lines in the Qatalgah, or the place. of execution, with blacksmiths kept ready in attendance on the executioners to sharpen their swords. Life was promised to anyone who would renounce his faith, but they would not prove false to their Gurus and 'to the last it has not been found that one apostatized from this new formed religion,' write Surman and Stephenson. The Sikhs welcomed death with undaunted spirit, presented their heads to the executioners with cheerful faces, and, with the words 'Wahiguru! Wahiguru! on their lips, they joyfully gave up their lives amidst the wondering praise of the populace. At the time of execution their constancy was wonderful to look at, and 'Me Deliverer! kill me first!!' was the joyful prayer that constantly rang in the ears of the executioner. 'All observers, Indian and European,' says Irvine, 'unite in remarking on the wonderful patience and resolution with which these men met their fate. Their attachment and devotion to their leader were wonderful to behold. They had no fear of death, and they called the executioner Mukta, or the Deliverer.' 'But what is singular', writes Ghulam Hussain Khan, the author of the Siyar-ul-Mutakherin, 'these people not only behaved firmly during the execution, but they would dispute and wrangle with each other for priority in execution and they made interest with and entreated the executioner for that purpose.' For a whole week the sword of the executioner did its butcher's work and in this manner all the Sikh prisoners were beheaded. After the heads had been severed from the bodies, the bodies were thrown into a heap, and at night-fall they were loaded in carts, taken out of the city and hung up on the trees.12

Mirza Muhammad Harisi, the author of the Ibrat Namah, writes that he had been to the scene of execution on the 23rd Rabi-ul-Awwal, the second day, to see the tamasha-i-qatal (the slaughter show), but he arrived there at a time when slaughter for that day was over and bodies were still lying there in blood and dust in the burning heat of the sun.13

Many wonderful stories of the unshaken constancy and the whole-hearted devotion of the Sikh prisoners to their faith and their leader were then old. Some of them were so wonderful that those who were not eye-witnesses to them were inclined to dismiss them as incredible, says Khafi Khan. But the following is recorded by him in his Muntakhib-ul-Lubab, p. ii. 766. as 'what he saw with his own eyes.'

Among the prisoners sentenced to death was a Sikh youth of tender age. He was the only son of a widowed mother. He had only recently been married and as yet had the Kangan-i-Arusi, the marriage thread, on his wrist. Hearing of the impending doom of her son with the other prisoners, the old mother approached Ratan Chand, Diwan of the Wazir, and through his influential support, pleaded the cause of her son with great feeling and earnestness before the Emperor Farrukh Siyar and Sayyed Abdullah Khan. To avail of the Emperor's general offer to spare the lives of those who renounced the Sikh faith, the old woman, probably as tutored by Diwan Ratan Chand, represented that her son was only a prisoner in the hands of the Sikhs and was not a follower of the Gurus. He was brought here, she said, while in their captivity and now stood innocent among those condemned to death. Farrukh Siyar commiserated the old woman and sent an officer with orders to release the youth. The woman arrived with the order of release just as the executioner was standing with the bloody sword over that young man's head. She presented the order for his release to the Kotwal. He brought out the prisoner and told him he was free. But the boy refused to be released, says Khafi Khan, and loudly cried out: 'My mother is a liar. I am heart and soul a devoted follower of the Gurus. Send me quickly after my companions'. No bewailing cries and tearful entreaties of his old mother and no persuasion of the State officers, writes the author of the Tarikh-i­ Muhammad Shahi, could shake the young Sikh in his devotion to his faith. The spectators were further dumbfounded when the heroic boy retraced his steps back to the place of execution and calmly bowed his head before the executioner to meet his death. In an instant the executioner's sword went aloft and descended on the frail neck of the youth, and he 'was enrolled among the truest of the martyrs produced by the Sikh religion.'14

On the 27th Rabi-ul-Awwal, 1128 (9th March, 1716, O.S.), Sarbrah Khan Kotwal conveyed, under the Emperor's orders, seventeen of Banda Singh's Ahalkars, or principal men, into the fort. For three months after the massacre there was a lull, and Banda Singh and his companions remained confined in the Imperial Fort. The object of this confinement and the three months' delay in the execution of the Sikh Chief and his deputies is explained in the letter, dated Delhi, the 10th March, 1716, from Messrs John Surman and Edward Stephenson, the members of the English Embassy to Emperor Farrukh Siyar, to the Honourable Robert Hedges, President and Governor of Fort William. 'He at present', the ambassadors reported, 'has his life prolonged with most of his Mutsuddys in hope assisted him, when afterwards he will be executed.' And, it was not till June 19th, that he was led out to execution and subjected to a death of torture.15

The fate reserved for Banda Singh is too excruciating to be described. On Sunday, the 29th Jamadi-ul-Akhir, 1128 (19th June, 1716, N.S.), 'when the sun had risen about three spears on the sky', Banda Singh, his son Ajai Singh, Sardar Baj Singh, Ram Singh, Bhai Fateh Singh, Ali Singh, Guiab Singh Bakhshi and others,16 who had been confined in the fort of Delhi, were led out of the fort in procession under the escort of Sarbrah Khan Kotwal, Chief of Police, and Ibrahim-ud-Din Khan Mir Atish, General of Artillery. As on the day of his entry, the Sikh Chief, laden with fetters, was dressed in a gold embroidered red turban and a rope of gold brocade. He was placed on an elephant and, with twenty six other Sikhs in chains marching behind him, was taken through the streets of the old city to the Shrine of Khwaja Qutab­ ud-Din Bakhtiyar Kaki, where the red Qutab Minar lifts its proud head of white marble over the crumbling walls of the old Hindu fortress. Here he was paraded round the tomb of the late Emperor Bahadur Shah.17

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 Govind Singh,' as the Tarikh-i­ Muzaffari calls him, chose to lay down his life like a devoted follower than to abjure his faith for the sake of enjoying a few more years of life. His young son, Ajai 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 the child 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 unmoved like a statue, completely resigned to God's Will.18

It is reported, writes Ghulam Hussain Khan, the author of the Siyar-ul-Mutakherm, seemingly on the authority of Khafi Khan, that Itmad-ud-Daula Muhammad Amin Khan, having had the opportunity to come close and to look at Banda Singh, was surprised at the nobleness of his features, and could not help addressing him. 'It is surprising,' said he, 'that one, who shows so much acuteness in his features and so much of nobility in his conduct, should have been guilty of such horrors.' With the greatest composure, he replied: 'I will tell you. Whenever man becomes so corrupt and wicked as to relinquish the path of equity and to abandon themselves to all kinds of excesses, then the providence never fails to raise up a scourge like me to chastise a race so depraved; but when the measure of punishment is full then he raises up men like you to bring him to punishment.'19 And according to the Mahma Prakash, he is reported to have said: 'What power had any one to kill me? The order of the Sat-Guru [Govind Singh] was contravened by me, and this is the punishment for it.’

His own turn came next. First of all his right eye was removed by the point of a butcher's knife and then his left. His left foot was cut off next, and then his two hands were severed from his body. His flesh was then torn with red-hot pincers, and finally he was decapitated and hacked to pieces limb by limb. Banda Singh remained calm and serene amidst these tortures, completely resigned to the Will of God and the Guru, and died with unshaken constancy, 'glorying,' says Elphinstone, 'in having been raised up by God to be a scourage to the iniquities and oppressions of the age.'20

The other Sikh prisoners shared the same fate and were put to the sword.21 An interesting incident, at this stage, is mentioned in the Mahma Prakash. Emperor Farrukh Siyar is said to have summoned the Sikhs to his presence and said: 'I had heard that a Sikh, Baj Singh by name, is a very brave man and that he was blessed by the Guru.' Baj Singh, thereupon, volunteered and said: 'I am Baj Singh, the humblest servant of Guru.' The Emperor said: 'Oh. You were a brave man. But now you are incapable of doing anything.' Baj Singh retorted, 'If you remove my fetters, I will even now show you some Tamasha.' The Emperor then ordered that his fetters should be removed, and no sooner was Baj Singh free to move than, true to his name, he pounced like a Baz, or a hawk, upon the Emperor's men and killed two or three of them with the handcuffs on his wrists. He then turned towards an Amir, when he was apprehended by the Emperor's attendants and executed.22

Notes and References

  1. Rattan Singh, Prachin Panth Prakash, 185; M’Gregor, History of the Sikhs, i. 109-110; Siyar-ul-Mutakherin, Raymond, 89; Briggs, 79; Miftah-ul-Tawarikh, 398; Latif, History of Punjab, 279.

Here, at Lahore, Sayyed Ghulam Hussain Khan, has introduced an interesting imaginary story. 'It happened that Bayzid Khan's mother lived in the city,' says he, 'and hearing that had happened, and that her son's murderer was amongst the prisoners, she requested her attendants to point him to her. For, the man having acquired a character amongst his brethren by such a daring action, had been nick-named Baz Singh by them, and had been promoted to a considerable office. The old woman having which she had provided, and being directed by the sound (for she was lady, after this action, said that she would now die satisfied and revenged. But this action having, as a signal, roused the people of the city, and the General conceiving that he might lose all the prisoners through the fury of the mob, ordered them to be conveyed with trappings of elephants and everything that could conceal them from the people's eyes.'(Siyar-ul-Mutakerin, 403; Raymond, 89-90; Briggs, 78-9.)

The above, story, which does not stand the test of historical evidence, is purely an invention of the Sayyed who is not incapable of such a thing. He has likewise given an 'apocryphal story in the Siyar ul-Mutakherin as to the mode of Farrukh Siyar's death, by which the direct animus, as Sayyid and Shia defending other Sayyids and Shias,' says Irvine, 'is sufficiently obvious here as elsewhere.' (Later Mughals, i. 392-3.) In this case too he has done it to defend his co-religionist Baayzid Khan being killed by an infidel, as he calls a Sikh, in the field of battle. In the first instance he has confounded Wazir Khan Fallidar of Sirhind with Bayzid Khan Faujdar of Jammu, but even then his story falls down of itself as Wazir Khan and Bayzid Khan had both been killed fighting against the Sikhs in the field of battle at Chappar-Chiri [Sirhind], and Bahrampur, and none of them was stabbed at prayer by a Sikh as alleged by him [See pages 65 and 163.] Secondly, the mother of none of them could have been at Lahore as Wazir belonged to Kunjpura, a place near Kamal, and Bayzid to Qasur. The most conclusive evidence against the story is that Baj Singh, the target of the old lady's stone, was not 'killed outright' at Lahore, as mentioned therein, but that he received martyrdom at Delhi on the 19th June, 1716 along with Banda Singh. [Kamwar, Tazkirah, 197a; Irvine, i. 317; Mahma Prakash, 615 a-b] Nor can it be easily believed that an old, infirm and blind lady could have thrown, so heavy a stone as could kill so strong a man as Baj Singh, at such a distance in the middle of the bazaar.

  1. Kamwar, Tazkirah, Iravine, i. 315.
  2. Pothi, 294 a; Karam Singh, Banda Bahadur, 180-1.
  3. Prachin Panth Prakash, 186.
  4. Kamwar, Tazkirah. 179 a.
  5. Harisi, Ibrat Namah, 52 a-b. According to the Muntakhib-ul-Lubab and the Siyar-ul-Mutakherin their faces were blackened and wooden caps were put on their heads. The size of a cap, according to the Tabsirat-un­ Nazerin, was such as to contain five seers of earth.
  6. Harisi, Ibrat Namah. 52b-53a.
  7. Sayyed Muhammad, Tabsirat-un-Nazerin, 187 a.
  8. Wilson, Early Annals. p. xliii.
  9. Kamwar, Tazkirah, 179 a-b.
  10. Kamwar, Tazkirah, 179 b; Later Mughals, i. 315.
  11. Harisi, Ibrat Namah, 53 a; Kamwar, Tazkirah, 179 b; Khafi Khan, Muntakhib-ul-Lubab, ii. 765; Khushal Chand, Tarikh-i-Muhammad Shahi, 247 b; Muhammad Saleh Qudrat. Tarikh-i-Ali, 26 b. 'Shiv Das, Manavvar-ul-Kalam, quoted by Irvine, i. 317-318; Browne, India Tract, History of the Rise and Progress of the Sicks, 12; Malcolm, Sketch, 81; Wilson, Early Annals, xliii, 97; Hadiqat-ul-Aqalim, 148; Ganesh Das, Risala Sohib Numa, 197.
  12. Ibrat Namah. 53 a.
  13. Muntakhib-ul-Lubab. ii. 766; Elliot, vii. 458; Bahar-ul-Mawwaj, 228 a; Wilson, Early Annals. xliii; Shiv Das, Manavvar-ul-Kalam; Irvine, i 318, The youth said, writes Shiv Das in the Manavvar-ul-Kalam; "I Know not this woman, what does she want with me? I am a true and loyal follower of the Guru."

According to the Tarikh-i-Muhammad Shahi, the old lady is said to have also brought the bride of the young man along, and he is reported to have replied:

"I know not whose mother she is, where she has brought this bride from, and what she says? My companions have passed off. Now my time is slipping out of my hands, and this delay is causing me much trouble."

  1. Kamwar, Tazkirah 179 b. As the letter of the English ambassadors, referred to above, is an important document on the subject, bearing on the 'Arrest and Massacre of the Sikhs at Delhi,' we quote here the relevant portion in full:


The Honourable Robert Hedges Esq.,

President & Governor of Fort William, & Council in Bengal Honourable Sir etc.,

We wrote your Honour on the 7th ultimo since which we have received no letters…….

The great Rebel Gooroo [Guru) who has been for these 20 years so troublesome in the S.ubaship [Subah] of Lahore is at length taken with all his family and attendance by Abd-us-Samad Cawn the Suba [Subehdar i.e. Governor] of that province. Some days ago they entered the city laden with fetters, his whole attendants which were left alive being about seven hundred and eighty all severally mounted on camels which were sent out of the City for that purpose, besides about two thousand heads stuck upon poles, being those who died by the sword in battle. He was carried into the presence of the King, and from most of his mutsuddys [Mutasaddis] in hope to get an account of his treasure in the several parts of his Kingdom and of those that assisted him, when afterwards he will be executed, for the rest there are 100 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 apostatized from this new formed Religion.

March the 10th, 1715-16

Dilly,  We are.

Honourable Sir & Sirs,

Your most obedient Humble Servants,

John Surman, Edward Stephenson.

This letter was read at a consultation at Fort St. George on Tuesday, 5th June. 1716, and is to be found in the Madras Diary and Consultation Book for 1715 to 1719, No. 87. Range 239, in the India office; also in J. T. Wheeler's Early Records of British India, P. 180, and in C.R. Wilson's

The Early Annals of the English in Bengal, p. 96-8.

  1. Some writers have included the name of Kahan Singh also among those executed with Banda Singh, but, according to the author of the Mahma Parkash, he was rescued from the massacre by sending in another man in his place. (614b-616b.)
  2. Harisi, lbrat Namah, 62b; Kamwar, Tazkirah, 180 a; Khafi Khan, ii. 765- 6; Tabsirat-un-Nazirin, 187 a, Karam Singh, Banda Bahadur, 187.
  3. Muntakhib-ul-Lubab, 76607, Elliot, vii. 45; Siyar-ul-Mutakherin, Raymond, i. 91, Briggs, 79-80.
  4. Siyar-ul-Mutakherin, 403; Raymond, i. 91, Briggs, 79-80.
  5. Harisi, Ibrat Namah, 62 b; Kamwar, Tazkirah, 180 a; Khafi Khan, ii. 765-6; Tabsirat-un-Nazerin, 187 a; Farrukh Siyar Namah, and Shiv Das, Mannavar-ul-Kalam, quoted by Irvine, i. 318-9; Thornton, History of the Punjab, 180-1; Elphinstone, History of India, 670; Danishwar, Miflah-ul­ Tawarikh, 398; Siyar-ul-Mutakherin, 403, Raymond, 91, Briggs, 79-80.

From amongst the Sikh writers, Sarup Dass, the author of the Mahma Parkash, and the author of the Pothi, written in 1833-1836 Bikrami ( 1776-1779), also acknowledged that Banda Singh was executed at Delhi. Bhai Santokh Singh the author of the Suraj Prakash also supports the Mahma Prakash in clear words 'Banda. was taken out and executed,' 'Banda was executed in a moment'. [p. 6333-6336].

Bhangu Rattan Singh for the first time gives a different version that Banda Singh was dragged behind a horse and was then thrown away in an unconscious state from which he recovered and disappeared. [Prachin Panth Prakash, 188-9). But the imagination of Bhai Gian Singh has converted the 'hearsay' of Rattan Singh was dragged behind an elephant and re-appeared at Jammu, having at first been removed to Bhucho ke Thakkar in the Sharaqpur Tehsil of the Lahore district. From Jammu he is said to have moved to the village of Bhabbar in the parganah of Riasi, where he died in 1741. [Panth Prakash 2nd edition, 352; 5th edition, 455-6, Tawarikh Guru Khalsa, Karam Singh, Banda Bahadur, 191-3.)

The imaginary stories of Banda Singh having been dragged behind a horse or an elephant, his resuscitation and re-appearance may be dismissed as incredible in the face of the clear accounts of eye-witnesses and contemporaries, who all unanimously declare that he was executed at Delhi, having been subject to untold tortures and hacked to pieces limb by limb.

  1. Acceding to the Mahma Prakash, 614b, the companions of Banda Singh Bahadur were executed on the following day.
  2. Mahma Prakash, 615 a-b.