Banda Bahadur was a great Sikh saint from Poonchh (Kashmir) whom Guru Gobind Singh baptised and named Banda Singh Bahadur. He won the fiercest of battles in Punjab, Himachal, and installed the Sikh empire. He was imprisoned and tortured to death in 1715 by Muslim rulers of that time.
Banda Singh Bahadur is the great Sikh soldier and martyr who avenged the death of Guru Gobind Singh’s two younger sons. He was born as Lachhman Das in 1670 at Rajouri in Jammu to Rajput parents.
He spent many years in Hindu monasteries in central India and established an ashram at Nanded in Maharashtra where he lived for fifteen years before meeting Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru. He was given the name “Banda,” meaning slave of the Guru, and became a Khalsa.
When Guru Gobind Singh was in the south at Deccan he sent Banda to Punjab to punish the enemies of the Khalsa. He attacked Samana in 1709 and captured Sirhind in 1710.
The killer of Guru Gobind Singh’s two sons, Wazir Khan, the ruler of Sirhind was also killed. Banda Singh Bahadur became the leader of the Khalsa following the death of Guru Gobind Singh and struck coins in the name of Guru Gobind Singh.
In 1712 Banda conquered the Lohgarh Fort. A huge army of 20,000 men amassed by the Muslim governor of Lahore besieged Banda for eight months at a fort in Gurdaspur in 1715. Banda Singh Bahadur, along with 600 Sikhs, were finally captured and brought to Delhi where they were all tortured to death for refusing to convert to Islam.
~ This information was originally published in the book Living Reality (1994) by Bibiji Inderjit Kaur Khalsa and by Sikhs.org, “Sikh Saints.” Sikhs.org was launched in 1994, and is one of the world’s first Sikh websites. You can read more about them here.