Famous Personalities of India : Banda Singh Bahadur
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BANDA SINGH BAHADUR (1670-1716). An ascetic who chose to become follower (banda) to Gobind Singh, tenth Guru of the Sikhs. The Guru baptized him into the Khalsa and commissioned him to lead its struggle for survival against an increasingly repressive and intolerant Mughal state. Banda and his men spread through the hills and valleys between the Sutlej and the Yamuna (q.v.) rivers leading an agrarian revolt against large landowners and prevailing over the forces of the Mughal Viceroy Wazir Khan.

Briefly, from 1710 to 1715, and in conditions of constant warfare, Banda sustained Sikh rule in areas in and around the Punjab outside the framework of the Mughal state. He attributed his victory to God formally in the coins he struck and the seal he used. Thereafter, the phrase "the Khalsa shall rule" (raj karega khalsa) was incorporated in daily prayers and became both legacy and aspiration for the Sikhs.

In 1711 the Mughal Emperor Farukh Siyar sent out an army which eventually defeated Banda and his followers. They were tortured and executed by methods designed to deter future revolts, which had the opposite effect. Banda and his Sikh followers refused to renounce their faith and became martyrs immortalized in daily recitation of prayers.

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