The battle of Bhangani.

Glimpses of Guru Gobind Singh Ji
The 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 by Raja 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. [/FONT]
[FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif]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.[/FONT]
[FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif]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.[/FONT]
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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.
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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.
[FONT=Geneva, Arial, Helvetica, san-serif]Pir Buddhu Shah presents his sons to Guru Gobind Singh Ji.[/FONT]
[FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif]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.[/FONT]

[FONT=Geneva, Arial, Helvetica, san-serif]Guru Ji describes the battle of Bhangani in much detail in the Bachittar Natak :[/FONT]
[FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif]Bhujung prayat chhand. [/FONT]
[FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif]The sounds of trumpets and the beat of drums were echoing. The brave warriors started roaring from both sides and they with the full power of their arms continued to hit with their weapons. In the battle ground, now the shrieks of Chamunda goddess and her attendants dakinis (witches) were heard. How long it can be described; the fierce battle raged all around. Those all who stood firm in the field got killed but thousands of soldiers ran away. (Fateh) Shah riding on horseback ran towards the mountains. That brave one did not even hit a single arrow. Madhukar Shah of Dadval and king Jaswal also ran away with their soldiers. The stubborn Hari Chand catching hold of his spear in his hand stopped Mughals, Chandals, and the Rajputs on the Chandra lineage. He accomplished the duty of being the commander and whosoever struck with that warrior fell on the ground in two pieces. There, only Najabat Khan with his weapons killed Sangram Shah. This Khan killed many with his weapons and Sangram Shah was also sent to his heavenly abode at the hands of this Khan.[/FONT]

Gurdwara at Bhangani.
[FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif]Dohra : Sangoshah killed Najabat Khan and was also killed at his hands. With his demise, cries of distress were heard all around in this world, but in the heavens echoed the sounds of cheers. [/FONT]
[FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif]Bhjung Prayat Chhand : Witnessing the death of Sangram Shah in the battle field, your this lowly creature also caught hold of his bow and with one arrow killed Khan. My arrow hit the enemy in such a way as if he was bitten by a black cobra. So long he fell to the ground , I took over the second arrow and pulling it hit on the face of Bhikan Khan. Bhikan Khan, the killer, in fact escaped and took to his heels but his horse got killed. With (my) third arrow another person got killed. Now Hari Chand came to his senses and catching hold of his arrow he pulled and shot them continuously. Whoever was touched by his arrows could not survive and leaving his body here would go to his heavenly abode. That warrior, pulling two arrows was shooting them at a time and that brave person perished many horses. None could sustain his arrows which pierced the body and came out of it. All the warriers fulfilled their duties of commandership (and fought valiantly). The witches and ghosts were crying in the battlefield and the baitals were laughing and wandering there. The eagles were flying and sounds of kites were also heard. [/FONT]
[FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif]The angered Hari Chand took over his bow and aimed at my horse he shot the first arrow. Second arrow he shot while aiming at me. God saved me and touching my ear the arrow went away. The third arrow he shot at my belt which pierced and went across my belt. Its tip pricked my skin but no wound occurred. The Lord in the form of time saved the life of this humble servant.[/FONT]
[FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif]Rasaval chhand : As soon as the tip pricked me. my anger flared up. Catching the bow in my hand I pulled an arrow and shot it. On the other hand the warriors running here and there and their weapons were moving around. Meanwhile I shot that arrow which killed the powerful youngman (HariChand) Having killed Hari Chand other warriors were also trampled. The death killed Karori Rai also. Seeing this, repudiating the war all took to their heels and (seeing their commander dead) became horrified. Lord I became victorious because of your grace only. ||34||[/FONT]
[FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif]Guru Sahib Ji had enmity towards no one, note how Guru Sahib Ji praises all warriors of all sides.[/FONT]
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On a recent trip to India I was fortunate enough to visit Bhangani Sahib. It is about 6km from Paonta Sahib and is reached by driving through some long narrow dusty roads that lead you through a couple of small villages. Then, in the middle of some green fields stands the magnificent small Gurdwara of Bhangani Sahib. It is being renovated with marble floors being constructed around it. Inside the Darbar Sahib or main hall is also constructed in marble.
[/FONT] [FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif]Although victory is mine, it is O Lord, due to your kindness and grace. Bachittar Natak.[/FONT]
[FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif] This verse is inscribed in the Gurdwara at Bhangani. [/FONT]

[FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif]Surrounding the Gurdwara are fields of lush green crops with a sense of peace and normality which belies the violent past, One looks around the tranquil setting are imagines Guru Gobind Singh Ji seated on his stallion commanding his Sikhs to their first battle, and what a glorious battle it was with Guru Ji and his Sikhs, although heavily outnumbered, came through victorious. [/FONT]
[FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif]After attending to the wounded Guru Ji returned to Poanta Sahib and distributed gifts and rewards to his brave soldiers. Guru Ji consoled Pir Buddhu Shah on the loss of this sons and followers. [/FONT]
[FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif]After the battle Guru Ji stayed at Poanta Sahib for some time. In that year Guru Ji’s first son was born to Mata Sundri Ji. To commemorate the battle Guru Ji named him Ajit Singh.[/FONT]
[FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif]Guru Gobind Singh Ji had no anonymity against the hill chieftains, Guru Ji had no designs to gain territory for himself. Guru Ji was the guiding light in this world, but circumstances presented themselves thus that Guru Ji had no choice but to rebut the hill Raja's attack. [/FONT]
[FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif]Bhai Santokh Singh Ji writes :[/FONT]
[FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif]Just as Krishan, after defeating his enemies in Mathura, went and established the town of Dawarka.; just as Sri Ram Chandra, after subduing Ravana in Lanka, celebrated his victory in Ayudhia; just as the Devtay having killed the demons rehabilitated Dev Loke; similarly Guru Gobind Singh Ji after winning the battle of Paonta returned along with his family to Anandpur Sahib amidst scenes of joy and celebrations. [/FONT]

[FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif]About 10km from Poanta Sahib in a remote area away from the hustle and bustle of the city there is another historical gurdwara linked to the yudh of Bhangani. This is Gurudwara Shaheed Bunga Ogiyan wala(khaara), Paunta Sahib. At this site there took place the atim sanskaar (the final rites, cremation) of some of the Sikhs who were martyred in the yudha of Bhangani, these also included some sehjdhari Sikhs, this was personally organised by Guru Gobind Singh Ji who bestowed great blessings on his brave Sikhs.[/FONT]

[FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif]The sewa of the gurdwara is now performed by Sant Baba Pritam Singh Ji Jhar Sahib from Ludhiana in the Punjab. Baba Pritam Singh Ji were the sewak (disciple) of Sant Baba Piara Singh Ji Jhar Sahib. [/FONT]
[FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif]Baba Pritam Singh Ji and only one other sewadhar and his family stay their the whole time and they do regular Sehaj and Akhand Paths at the Gurdwara, Baba Ji personally tests and quizzes the paathies about their rehat and maryhada.Baba Ji also does regular langar sewa for Hemkund Sahib[/FONT]

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