The present work is the proceedings of a two-da National Seminar on "Revisiting Banda Sing Bahadur and His Times" organized by Bab. Banda Singh Bahadur Chair, Kurukshetr. University, Kurukshetra in April, 2013. Attempt has been made in this work to study and re-examine the historical geography of Banda Sing Bahadur on the basis of the contemporary and near contemporary sources. The later writings of Banda Singh Bahadur have been examined i the light of the contemporary sources. Th - scholars whose research papers have been included in this work have attempted to assess the Persian, Sikh and British historiography on Banda Singh Bahadur and His times. The present work also includes two distinguished research papers on the Rajasthani Sources on the study of Banda Singh Bahadur. The commissioning of Banda Singh Bahadur by Guru Gobind Singh for the cause of the Khalsa Sovereignty and struggle against the oppressive State system, military activities of Banda Singh Bahadur, establishment of the first Khalsa Sovereign State and the events leading to his martyrdom have been well presented by these scholars whose papers have been compiled in the present volume.
The present work is a humble attempt to study Banda Singh Bahadur in the context of the Sikh history and the history of the early eighteenth century India. It has been suggested in this work that the military genius of Banda Singh Bahadur and his heroic war activities, his liberal attitude towards the non-sikh population, his social and agrarian reformist zeal and his understanding of the sovereignty of the Khalsa are some of the commendable issues which have profoundly influenced the history of his times and have also shaped the future courses of events and the Sikh history. It has also been highlighted in this work that never in the history any disciple had fulfilled the ideas and aspirations of his master as was the case with Banda Singh Bahadur who in a true sense had implemented the orders of his master, i.e,. Guru Gobind Singh and had successfully established the first Khalsa Sovereign State. For the convenience of the readers a detailed bibliography has also been added in this work.
Amarjit Singh is a Professor of Modern History at the Department of History, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra. His areas of interest are Colonialism and Nationalism in India, partition of India and Punjab Studies. He has published a number of research papers in the reputed national and international research journals and has also attended a number of national/ international Seminar /Conferences. Amarjit Singh was appointed as Professor of South Asian Studies by the Ministry of Education, Government of Eritira (N.E. Africa) in the year 2007 and he has been credited with the introduction of a two-year Post-Graduate Teaching Course of South Asian Studies at the Department of History, Kurukshetra University. He has delivered a number of Extension/ Public/Key-Note and Valedictory Addresses at the different academic platforms. Amarjit Singh was Chairman, Department of History, Kurukshetra University from June, 2012 to June 2015 and at present is holding the position of the Director, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Chair, Kurukshetra University. His major publications include Punjab Divided : Politics of the Muslim League and Partition 1935-1947, New Delhi, 2001, Jinnah and Punjab : Shamsul Hasan Collection and other Documents 1944-1947, New Delhi, 2007 and Gandhi and the Muslim of India ; Selection From the Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, New Delhi, 2015.
The proud nation is celebrating the tri-centenary year of the martyrdom of Banda Singh Bahadur from 9th June, 2015 to 9 June, 2016. It is a matter of immense pleasure that Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Chair, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra is publishing its first research work during the tri-centenary year of the martyrdom of this heroic personality of the 18th century history of India. This work is the proceedings of a two - day National Seminar on, Revisiting Baba Banda Singh Bahadur and His Times, organized by this prestigious Chair on 2"'1-3''' April, 2013. This national Seminar was graced with the presence of Sh. Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the then Chief Minister, Haryana and Baba Jitenderpal Singh Ji Sodhi, 10th Descendent, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur. Lt. Gen (Dr.) D.D.S. Sandhu, the then Vice-Chancellor, Kurukshetra University, Kurkshetra delivered the Welcome-Address whereas Professor J,S. Grewal, an eminent historian with international reputation and former Vice-Chancellor, G.N.D. University, Amritsar, delivered the Key-Note Address. This work also includes the proceedings of the One-day academic programme organized by the Chair in October, 2014 to commemorate the 344'h Birth-Anniversary of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur.
Banda Singh Bahadur indeed practiced the ideals and philosophy of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and Guru Gobind Singh Ji and dedicated and sacrifiaced his life for the cause of the religion and the nation. Banda Singh Bahadur was infact a visionary who was marching ahead for atleast two hundred years of his own times and who had practiced and implemented the ideas of secular and progressive state and society. His military genius, skillful commandership, heroic war activities, liberal attitude towards the non-sikh. population, social and agrarian reformist zeal and his idea about the sovereignty of the people i.e. sovereignty of the Khalsa are some of the commendable issues which have profoundly influenced the history of his times and have also shaped the future courses of events and the Sikh history. After being commissioned by Guru Govind Singh Ji against the oppressive Mugal State in North India, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur indeed fully realized the social, religious, economic and political aspirations of the people of his own religion as well as of his times and was successful enough to provide a shape to these aspirations by adopting a course of military struggle against the oppressive and tyrannical Mughal State. The struggle of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur by no account, can be considered a fanatical religious war against the Islam but on the other hand his struggle was against those who were perpetuating massive oppressions in the name of the religion. The sacrifice and martyrdom of Banda Singh Bahadur had simply added one more chapter in the tradition of the Sikh hisory and it was simply unparallel in the history of mankind. Never in the history any disciple had fulfilled the ideals and aspirations of his master as was the case with Banda Singh Bahadur who in a true sense had completed the farmans of his master i.e.,. Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
The historians and scholars have written extensively on the different aspects of the life, activities, achievements, martyrdom and legacy of Banda Singh Bahadur. These writings are of lasting historical significance. To being with, there were the contemporary court historians and chroniclers who recorded the events related to the life and times of Banda Singh Bahadur which is generally termed as Persian historiography of the 18th century India. However, these historians were to a large extent biased against Banda Singh Bahadur and they have depicted his struggle in the form of religious war. These historians have presented Banda Singh Bahadur in a very had shape by attributing every kind of misdeeds against his struggle and against his rule and in the concluding parts of their works these historians have charged Banda Bahadur with all kind of cruelty, barbarism and inhumanness. Prominent among these historians are Khafi Khan, Ghulam Hussain Khan, Ghulam Mohy-ud-din, Muhammad Qasim, Mirza Muhammad Harsi, Muhammad Shafi Warid and Muhammad Qalandar Yar. However in the near absence of any other contemporary sources the factual parts of these Persian sources are of much significance for the reconstruc-tion of the history of Banda Singh Bahadur. One has to be very carefully scrutinize the accounts presented by these Persian historians.
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