Warriors of Faith

Baba Jassa Singh Ahluwalia - Sultan-ul-Kaum

Baba Jassa Singh Ahluwalia was a legend in his own lifetime, who inspired the people of Punjab to fight against the tyranny and injustice of invaders and ruthless rulers. He was an embodiment of courage, bravery and self-sacrifice.

This great son of Punjab was born on May 3, 1718, in Ahlu village, near Lahore in West Punjab. His father, Badar Singh, died in 1723 when he was only five.

Jassa Singh, along with his mother, went to Delhi to live under the care of Mata Sundar Kaur Ji, Wife of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Mata Sundri brought him up affectionately. He studied Gurmat Vidya, Santhya, Shastar vidya from Bhai Sahib Bhai Mani Singh Ji and also Persian, Arabic, Politics and Mathematics at Delhi. He lived there for about eight years. On his departure from Delhi, Mata Sundri blessed him and predicted that he would become a worthy leader of the Sikhs, A Sultan.
On his arrival in Punjab, as per orders of Mata Ji, Jassa Singh joined Nawab Baba Kapur Singh, who was the supreme leader of the Dal Panth. Jassa Singh's personal valour, cool judgment and other qualities created a deep impression on the Sikhs.
Nawab Kapur Singh Ji created Buddha Dal and Tarna Dal in 1734 on advice of Baba Mani Singh Ji and Baba Deep Singh Ji for better military and social functioning of Dal Panth. In 1748, Sikh Forces were divided into 11 Misls of whom 5 remained in Buddha Dal, 5 in Tarna Dal and Nishanawali Misl remained in both Dals.

In January, 1746, a jatha led by Baba Jassa Singh was moving through the Shivalik hills. Diwan Jaspat Rai of Lahore, along with his royal army, chased the jatha members and entrapped them. During this battle, Jaspat Rai was killed by Bhai Nibahoo Singh. Diwan Lakhpat Rai, the brother of Jaspat Rai, pledged to take revenge of his brother's death. Lakhpat Rai, under the orders of Yahya Khan of Lahore, launched a big battle against the Sikhs.

The royal forces of Lahore started a general massacre of the Sikhs in Lahore, and afterwards in Khanuwan village. Thousands of Sikhs were killed. The Sikhs suffered heavy losses. This period is known as the Chhota Ghallughara (the Small Holocaust). Nawab Kapur Singh ji led Dal Panth in this battle and Baba Jassa Singh showed exemplary courage in Battlefield alongwith likes of Baba Sukha Singh Marhi Kambo Ki.

Baba Jassa Singh was declared the head of the Ahluwalia misl and Second-in-Command of the Dal Khalsa. Nawab Kapur Singh, before his death in 1754, appointed him successor, and he was given the title of Nawab. In 1754 itself, Baba Jassa Singh Ahluwalia attacked Lahore and caputred it. He captured Lahore again in 1758 for some time.

In March, 1761, the King of Afghanistan and Persia , Ahmed Shah Abdali was returning to his country victorious after defeating the Maratha power at Panipat. He took along with him 2,200 Hindu women for selling them in Kabul. Nawab Jassa Singh, along with the Dal Khalsa, rescued these women and then escorted them to their families. He was honoured with title of Bandi-Chorh after this action.

In 1761, Jassa Singh and his forces attacked and occupied Lahore one again, this time fully routing Afghan Army. Elated at his success, the Khalsa honoured Jassa Singh with the title of Sultan-ul-Quom.

Ahmad Shah Abdali made nine incursions into India from 1747 to 1769. He destroyed the Mughal Empire and gave a crushing defeat to the Maratha power. During all these invasions, the Dal Khalsa always resisted his attacks on the Sikhs and Punjab, and actually managed to retrieve much of his booty. Abdali was upset with the Dal Khalsa and capture of Lahore and rout of Afghan Army angered him more.

In February, 1762, he came to India to teach a lesson to the Sikhs. He encircled the Sikh army near Kup village and carried out a full-scale massacre. About 25,000 to 30,000 Sikhs were killed. This battle is known in history as the Vadda Ghallughara (the Great Holocaust).

Baba Jassa Singh Ahluwalia sustained 22 wounds on his chest. His assistant , Bhai Gurmukh Singh lashed Baba Jassa Singh's horse so that Horse would run from Battlefield. Baba Jassa Singh reprimanded Bhai Gurmukh Singh saying - ''What would the Panth say ? That the General ran away from Battlefield? This would bring shame to me and my upbringing for ages. It is better to die in Battlefield than run away like cowards Gurmukh Singh ''.  Khalsa army and Vaheer (elders, women and children) were at last guided to safety by Jathedars like Baba Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, Baba Jassa Singh Ramgarhia, Baba Karam Singh Shaheed, Baba Sudha Singh Shaheed and others.

Bhai Ratan Singh Bhangu describes valour of Baba Jassa Singh Ahluwalia in Pracheen Panth Parkash with these words -

ਜੱਸਾ ਸਿੰਘ ਕੋ ਪਾਲਕੋ ਗੁਰਮੁਖ ਸਿੰਘ ਜਿਹ ਨਾਮ। 
ਤਿਨ ਸਿੰਘ ਜੋ ਆਖਿਓ , ਅਬ ਈਹਾਂ ਖੜਨ ਨਹਿ ਕਾਮ। 

ਈਹਾਂ ਖੜੇ ਹਮ ਬਚਤੇ ਨਾਹੀਂ।
ਤੁਮ ਹਮਰੀ ਇਮ ਜਾਨ ਗਵਾਹੀ। 
ਤੌ ਸਿੰਘ ਜੀ ਫਿਰ ਇਮ ਫੁਰਮਾਵੇੰ। 
ਹਮਰੋ ਘੋੜੋ ਅਗੈ ਨਾ ਧਾਵੈ।

ਤਬ ਗੁਰਮੁਖ ਸਿੰਘ ਚਾਬਕ ਉਠਾਯਾ। 
ਚਾਹਤ ਘੋੜੇ ਤਨ ਕੋ ਲਾਯਾ। 
ਤਬ ਸਿੰਘ ਜੀ ਨਿਜ ਦੇਖ ਹਟਾਯੋ।
ਚਹੈਂ ਹਮਕੋ ਤੂੰ ਚਟਕ ਲਗਾਯੋ। 

ਪੰਥ ਸੁਣੈ ਹਮ ਕੋ ਕਰੈ  ਠੱਠਾ।
ਘੋੜ ਕੁਟਾਏ ਜੱਸਾ ਸਿੰਘ ਨੱਠਾ।
ਕ੍ਯਾ ਮੁਖ ਲੈ ਮੈਂ ਬਹੋਂ ਦੀਵਾਨ।
ਕਰੈਂ ਮਸਕਰੀ ਹਮ ਕੋ ਆਨ।

ਮੈਂ ਖਾਲਸੈ ਪਾਤਿਸ਼ਾਹੁ ਕਹਾਯੋ।
ਤੁਮ ਚਾਹਤ ਹਮ ਗੀਦੀ ਬਨਾਯੋ।
ਇਸ ਜੀਵਨ ਤੇ ਮਰਨੋ ਬੇਸ਼। 
ਰਹੈ ਜਸ ਇਸ ਜੱਗ ਮੈਂ ਲੇਸ਼। 

ਜੱਸਾ ਸਿੰਘ ਖਾਏ ਬਾਈ ਘਾਇ।
ਤੌ ਭੀ ਸਿੰਘ ਜੀ ਲੜਤੋ ਜਾਇ।

ਪ੍ਰਾਚੀਨ ਪੰਥ ਪ੍ਰਕਾਸ਼ - ਭਾਈ ਰਤਨ ਸਿੰਘ ਭੰਗੂ

In 1764, he, along with other Sikh sardars, marched to Sirhind. Jain Khan, Governor of Sirhind, was killed. Jain Khan had played an important role in massacre of Sikhs in Vadda Ghallughaara. The Dal Khalsa razed Sirhind as per orders of Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj.  Baba Jassa Singh got Rs 9,00,000 cash as his share of the Sirhind treasury, and promptly donated the entire amount for the kar seva of Darbar Sahib. The kar seva was carried out under his supervision. The gurdwara of Fatehgarh Sahib was also built by him.

Baba Jassa Singh never took undue advantage of his high position, and was not greedy. In 1774, He wrested Kapurthala from Rai Ibrahim and became the founder of the Kingdom of Kapurthala.

The Dal Khalsa, under the leadership of Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, inflicted humiliating defeats on Nadir Shah, Mir Mannu, Adena Beg, Zakria Khan, Salabat Khan and Jahan Khan.

The Sikh leader was a fearless military general, a wise politician and a patriot. He did more than any contemporary Sikh to consolidate the power of the Khalsa. He helped the Sikhs in the formation of independent Sikh states.

Baba Jassa Singh Ahluwalia died in 1783, and his body was cremated in Amritsar near Samadh of Baba Atal Rai. In spite of his supreme sacrifices for over 40 years, he did not claim any privileged status for himself. He lived, fought and died for his Panth and His beloved country, Punjab.

Sri Akaal Ji Sahai

Posted by Kamaljeet Singh Shaheedsar on Saturday, May 3. 2014 in History

Add Comment

Submitted comments will be subject to moderation before being displayed.

Enclosing asterisks marks text as bold (*word*), underscore are made via _word_.
Standard emoticons like :-) and ;-) are converted to images.

To prevent automated Bots from commentspamming, please enter the string you see in the image below in the appropriate input box. Your comment will only be submitted if the strings match. Please ensure that your browser supports and accepts cookies, or your comment cannot be verified correctly.


Search for an entry in Jatha Shaheedan:

Did not find what you were looking for? Post a comment for an entry or contact us via email!