Historical Intervention

Renowned historian Dr Harjinder Singh Dilgeer says that Banda Singh Bahadur was a great miracle on this earth. He was not a mythological figure; he was a human being who lived, acted as his role, changed the history of the sub-continent and embraced martyrdom. The credit to establish the first (and real) Sikh rule goes to this hero. He also deserves the honour of bringing an end to the foreign rule and the seven hundred years’ long slavery of the people of the sub-continent; hence the credit of freeing the people from the yoke of the Mughals goes to this great hero.

The historians have not done justice to Banda Singh Bahadur. Not only Banda Singh but even the biggest Fort of Lohgarh has met injustice at the hands of the partial and prejudiced historians. These historians have narrated that this was a small Fort, which existed before Banda Singh ‘occupied’ it. It is amazing to know how powerful this Fort was, and, it belonged to the Sikhs. Banda Singh did not capture it; in fact, he chose to have this Sikh Fort as his capital.

Again, these historians have tried to misrepresent the events of November-December 1710 by saying that the Mughal army captured it in just one day. What a great gossip! This book proves that no one could have captured this Fort even in 5-6 years. Only Muhammed Qasim Aurangabadi had accepted this as Fort was almost invincible.

Lohgarh Fort, which should have been a matter of pride for history, remained concealed due to the injustice done to it by Persian historians. They did not want to present its glory because, by doing so, they would have to show that the mighty Mughal army was, in fact, not mighty at all.

Lohgarh came into limelight when the Haryana government held a state-level function to celebrate the 300th martyrdom of Banda Singh Bahadur last year. Gagandeep Singh DDPO Yamuna Nagar, explored all relevant literatures pertaining to Lohgarh Fort which gave an indication that it exist at the boundary of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh on a small hill. Where mammoth Mughal army attacked in early 18th century to suppress Sikh rebellion and war continued here more than three years. A general feeling arose in mind, how a Sikh army from a small Fort can withstand against powerful Mughal troops. To unveil the facts, intensive survey of the forest area at this location conducted with a view that Fort area may be more from as given in literature. On the request of Deputy Commissioner, Yamuna Nagar, higher administration of Himachal Pradesh extended its support and appointed forest Officer (T) for assistance to explore forest area around Lohgarh Fort. Initially it was expected that Fort may be spread over 500 to 600 acres of land, but to our great surprise, remnants of Fort found in more than 7000 acres of forest land on number of hills. This fact brought to the notice of local Sikh Sangat and trust was formed under the chairmanship of S. Gurvinder Singh Karnal, who is also the co-author of this book. A dynamic Sikh activist named S. Jarnail Singh extensively worked with S. Gagandeep Singh in all activities of explorations of Fort area and collected number of evidences of Fort. The MOUs were signed with professional agency, which endorsed the facts that the remnants of Fort are spread in vast area. There after a Lohgarh Trust was formed to make research on Sikh state capital. The trust has roped in a Delhi-based heritage revival company, the Indian Trust for Rural Heritage and Development (ITRHD).

The ITRHD research about Lohgarh has revealed that the Lohgarh Fort included Fort walls, bastions, rooms, soldier barracks, watch towers, pottery, grindstone, hand milers to mill floor and big clay drums for the storage of food grains. Many carved stones are also found. “The Fort walls are made of dressed stones and lime. Mortar mixed with brick powder has been used as the binding materials. The bricks used in the Fort walls are of five different sizes,” says SK Mishra, ITRHD chairman. Archeological studies have thrown up astonishing facts. Lohgarh was declared Khalsa Rajdhani  by Baba Banda Singh Bahadur in 1710 and the epicenter of its Fort was spread across 7,000 acres, making it of one the largest Forts in the world.

When we (myself and Gagandeep Singh)  expressed our wish to unveiling truth in context of Lohgarh, Dr Harjinder Singh Dilgeer was very much pleased  and he immediately gave all his material to us and asked us to take up this project. We are very happy that we could fulfil our duty to bring the truth to the people. Now, the historians and the researchers shall have to change their perception about Banda Singh Bahadur and Lohgarh; and, they shall also be disillusioned about the ‘might’ of the Mughal army.

For this project, S. Jarnail Singh, a retired army official, also spent several months exploring the Lohgarh Fort zone by actually visiting hundreds of hills. All material about the structure and geographical location of Lohgarh Fort has done solely by Gagandeep Singh. Similarly, most of the material about the battles of Lohgarh, the Vanjaras and the Sikligars, background of Sadhura, life of Pir Budhu Shah too has been written by Gagandeep Singh. All the pictures, which have been published in this book, were taken by Gagandeep Singh, Gurvinder Singh and Jarnail Singh. Without these pictures, the book would have been incomplete.

We are thankful to Baba Sukh Singh, Diljeet Singh, Prithi Pal Singh, Harjinder Singh, Parmjeet Singh, Manmohan Singh, Gurvinder Singh, Gurbhax Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Harjeet Singh, Narinder Singh, Shiv Shankar Pahwa, Hardev Singh, Charan Singh  Arvinder Pal Singh, JS Mirpur, Rishi Pal Singh ,Sukvinder Singh, Gobind Singh, Joginder Singh, Satinder Singh all associated with Lohgarh Trust, Yamuna Nagar, who made noteworthy contribution in unveiling facts pertaining to Lohgarh-Khalsa Rajdhani. A special thanks to Adarshdeep Singh, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Govt. of Haryana, for providing the necessary support during the survey of Fort Lohgarh. We are also thankful to the concerned Sarpanches, Gram Sachivs, Patwaris and the staff of DDPO office, Yamuna Nagar, who helped in compiling the important information in context of Lohgarh.

Our sincere thanks to Shri Manohar Lal Khattar Ji, the honourable Chief Minister of Haryana, for writing kind words for our research work.