The Liberation of Punjab - Banda Singh Bahadur and Sikh Misls
Recently, we reported on the distortion of Sikh history being taught at schools across no other place than Punjab. But such distortion and propaganda suiting a Hindu-centric vision of India is nothing new. One such other narrative is the arrival of the Marathas in North India. While the Marathas fought the Mughals in their own right, it was the Sikh Khalsa Army that fought and drove out the invaders from Punjab. Sikh historian, researcher and educator (https://twitter.com/73ASB) has written a post summarizing the events leading to and after the liberation of Punjab in the early 18th century. Detailed references are included to substantiate each claim being made. Read this formative piece of history of the Sikhs after the Gurus in this post and also find it here: https://twitter.com/73ASB/status/1505251268457078784 The annual propaganda of Marathas liberating Punjab has emerged again. It's time to clear the air. Before the Marathas arrived from Pune for the short period of 1758-1761, Sikhs had already cleared out East Punjab (Majha, Doaba + northern Malwa) of Mughal & Afghan invaders. The first iteration of Khalsa Raj came in 1709-1715 under Banda Singh Bahadur. Samana, Sadhaura to Sirhind were cleared. A tract of land from the edge of Karnal to the Shalimar Gardens of Lahore was in Sikh control by mid-October 1709. Liberation for a time was complete.
After his execution in June 1716, Sikhs fell into turmoil & roaming bands came as traveling protectors. At a Sarbat Khalsa assembly in 1734 Jathedar Kapur Singh founded the Dal Khalsa, Budha Dal/Tarna Dal. An assembly on Vaisakhi 1748 saw the standardization of the 12 Misls.
Another rival seeking his own power in Doaba was Adina Beg. Then Faujdar of Jalandhar, he played tricks to eventually establish his own rule in Punjab. He told Shah Nawaz Khan to invite Abdali into Punjab yet told Delhi about an oncoming Durrani invasion; from 1747-1750.
Mir Mannu took the Subedari of Lahore after Shah Nawaz fled. On Abdali's 3rd advance in Dec. 1751, Mannu surrendered now under Kabul. Mannu & Adina Beg looked to control the rebelling Sikhs. Agitations occured where Adina knew he had to come to terms w/ the Sarbat Khalsa.
On the death of Mannu on Nov. 3, 1753, Adina Beg assumed full independent authority over the Jalandhar Doab as the connection to Kabul was lost & no connection to Delhi remained. Mannu's widow sought Durrani help & he fled. Kabul took him back as faujdar but he lost allies.
Seeking to rid the Afghans from Punjab he found a common ally with the Sikhs who were doing the same & try to re-establish Punjabi independence. The coalition Adina Beg-Sarbat Khalsa army defeated the Durranis at Mahalpur. From 1755 onwards, Sikh influence began growing.
Khalsa strength grew out of his control. He invited the Marathas, who just plundered Delhi, to enter Punjab & act as another contender. Adina Beg brokered the alliance b/w the Khalsa & Marathas. Neither the Sikhs or Marathas actually requested each others' assistance.
This alliance on the push for Lahore in March 1758 struggled. Marathas & Sikhs constantly agitated each other. Arguing over loot after the Siege of Sirhind, Adina Beg once again had to offer a solution. Remember prior to, the Sikhs & Marathas had 0 contact with each other
coalition forces annexed Lahore on April 20, 1758. Raghunath Rao made Adina Beg Subedar of Lahore & returned to Delhi without recognizing the Sarbat Khalsa. 1½ years later, Abdali returned to Punjab, eliminated Maratha forces & in January 1761 crushed them at Panipat.
In the period of 1758-1761, Maratha assistance recruited by Adina Beg did not help Sikhs. The coalition win at Lahore was a superficial victory. Marathas exercised virtually no authority in Punjab afterwards. Internally, administrative power was with the Sri Akal Takht
After the Durranis destroyed the Marathas at Panipat & loosely re-controlled Punjab, Abdali ran the 2nd Genocide on the Sikhs. 3 months later, without any Maratha assistance seen, the Khalsa rose to demolish Sirhind then defeat Abdali directly at Amritsar.
Modern Indian propaganda now states that the Marathas had donated 100,000 rupees for the reconstruction of the
Harmandir Sahib after Abdali had blown it up in April 1762. Absolutely no record exists of Jathedar Sultan-ul-Qaum Jassa Singh Ahluwalia receiving such a donation.
The Marathas were able to lay suzerainty over Punjab, just like the Afghans & Mughals for 1 reason; no one internationally recognized the Sarbat Khalsa as the actual owners. The Misls led Punjabi liberation as Hindus & Muslims found safety + employment under the Khalsa
This propaganda grew recently during Modi's tenure as he began altering textbooks to falsely advertise Maratha strength. Have respect for the Sikhs & Marathas in their own realms but don't stretch out fake connections to assert false dominance.