Wazir Khan - Tyrant of Sarhind

Wazir Khan was resident of Kunjpura, near Karnal. the faujdar of Sirhind under the Mughals in the opening years of the eighteenth century. The hill chiefs who held territories in the Sivalik ranges often sought his help against Guru Gobind Singh, then living in their midst at Anandpur. In August of 1700 they invested Anandpur, but founded that defences were impregnable, Guru Gobind Singh moved to a site 4 km south of Kiratpur By this time a contingent of troops sent hy Wazir Khan from Sirhind at the rajas' request joined their forces. A fresh attack was mounted. The encounter that enstled is known as the battle of Nirmohgarh. It lasted a whole week and Wazir Khan's troops used even cannon fire. On 14 October 1700, however, Guru Gobind Singh and his Sikhs broke the cordon and crossed the Sutlej into Basoli, a small friendly state. The imperial troops retired to Sirhind.

Guru Gobind Singh soon returned to Anandpur and spent the next few years in comparative peace. In the winter of 1704, Ajmer Chand of Kahlur waited upon Emperor Aurungzib in the Decann and secured from him orders for his deputies at Lahore and Sirhird to launch an expedition against Guru Gobind Singh. Wazir Khan advanced from Sirhind and Zabardast Khan came from Lahore, the two meeting at Ropar, where they were joined by the Hill rajas. A direct assault on Anandpur proving ineffective, they laid siege on the town and its protective fortress, but were unable to force surrender. Wazir Khan had a recourse to a ruse. He sent messenger to Guru Gobind Singh, assuring him on solemn oath of Quran, safe conduct if he would evacuate town. But no sooner had the Guru left Anandpur, during the night of 5-6 December 1705, than Wazir Khan set out in hot pursuit. Severe fighting took place on the bank of the rivulet Sarsa, which was unexpectedly in spate.

The Guru succecded in crossing the river, and, accompanied by his two elder sons and forty Sikhs, reached Chamkaur where he stopped in a large vacant house. Wazir Khan, receiving reinforcements from Malerkotla, encircled Chamkaur. In the battle that raged throughout the following day, 7 December 1705, most of the Sikhs along with the Guru's two sons were killed. The remaining five entreatd the Guru to withdraw to be able to reassemble the survivors of Sarsa and other followers. Guru Gobind Singh escaped through the be sieging host into the interior of the semi-desert region of Malva.

Wazir Khan returned to Sirhind where he ordered the execution of Guru Gobind Singh's two younger sons, aged nine and seven, who had been betrayed into his hands by an old servant of the Guru. He gave chase to Guru Gobind Singh and overtook him at Khidrana, modern day muktsar, in Faridkot district. But before he could attack him, he was confronted by a small hand of forty Sikhs. The forty fell fighting to a wall. Wazir Khan's troops, worn out by long marches through a waterless tract, retreated.

Wazir Khan felt especially perturbed when he learnt that Emperor Aurangzib's son and successor, Bahadur Shah, had turned friendly towards Guru Gobind Singh and that the two were travelling together towards the South. Alarmed at this developmcnt, he hired two Pathans, one of them named Jamshaid Khan, secretly to finish off the Guru. The assassins got their chance at Nanded where, finding Guru Gobind Singh alone in his camp, one of them stabbed him twice in the abdomen. The Guru attained martyrdom of the wounds On 8 October 1708, but he had already despatched to the Punjab Banda Singh Bahadur, newly converted to the Sikh faith, to chastise the persecutors.

Banda Singh Bahadur, joined shortly after his arrival in the southern Punjab by armed Sikhs from far and near, ransacked Samana, Ghuram and Cllllat-Ballun. His next target was Sirhind. Wazir Khan, on his part, proclaimed jihad, and mustered a strong force. fierce action took place at Chappar Chiri., near present-day Chandigarh, on 12 May 1710 In the day-long battle, Wazir Khan was killed and his army completely routed by Khalsa.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

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