Second Battle of Anandpur 1704
Part of Mughal-Sikh Wars
Date1704[1]
Location
Result Sikh victory.[1][2]
Belligerents
Sikhs (Khalsa)
Kings of Shivalik hills
Commanders and leaders

Sher Singh
Nahar Singh
Bhai Udai Singh

Bhai Bachitter Singh

Jagatullah
Kesari Chand 

Ghumand Chand  [1][2]

The Second Battle of Anandpur was fought at Anandpur, between Sikhs and Rajas of the Sivalik Hills.

Cause

The hill Rajas were concerned about Guru Gobind Singh's rising power and influence in their region. Even the Mughal generals had failed to subdue the Guru in the First Battle of Anandpur. Consequently, the Rajas of several hill states (including Jammu, Nurpur, Mandi, Kullu, Guler, Chamba, Srinagar, Dadhwal, and Hindur) assembled at Bilaspur to discuss the situation. The son of Bhim Chand, Raja Ajmer Chand of Kahlur, suggested forming an alliance to curb the Guru's rising power. Accordingly, the Rajas formed an alliance, and marched towards Anandpur.

They sent a letter to the Guru, asking him to pay the arrears of rent for Anandpur (which lied in Ajmer Chand's territory), and leave the city. The Guru insisted that the land was bought by his father, and is therefore, his own property.

A large number of Ranghars and Gujjars, under the command of Jagatullah, joined the hill Rajas. Duni Chand led five hundred men from Majha region to assist the Guru. Reinforcements from other areas also arrived to help the Guru.

The battle

Lohgarh and Fatehgarh were the two main forts under Guru Gobind Singh's control. Sher Singh and Nahar Singh were asked to guard Lohgarh, and Ude Singh was appointed as chief to guard Fatehgarh.

The hill Rajas attacked the Guru's forces, but had to retreat. They held a brief council, and decided to launch a three-sided attack. Raja Kesari Chand of Jaswal launched an attack from the right flank, Jagatullah attacked from the left flank, and Ajmer Chand led his troops to make a front attack on Anandpur.

In the ensuing battle, Jagatullah was killed by Bhai Sahib Singh. Raja Ghumand Chand of Kangra rallied his troops but failed to defeat the Guru's forces. The Rajas again held a council, in which Ajmer Chand proposed reconciliation with the Guru. Many Rajas agreed, but Raja Kesari Chand of Jaswal opposed the proposal, and suggested a more determined fight next day, to oust the Guru from Anandpur.

A depiction of Bhai Bachitter Singh killing the drunk elephant set by Mughal forces on the Sikh forces in the battlefield with Nagni Barcha (snake spear) given by Guru Gobind Singh Ji. This photo was taken by outside the Sikh History museum on way from Mohali to Sirhind
A depiction of Bhai Bachitter Singh killing the drunk elephant set by Mughal forces on the Sikh forces in the battlefield with Nagni Barcha (snake spear) given by Guru Gobind Singh Ji. This photo was taken by outside the Sikh History museum on way from Mohali to Sirhind

Next day, the Rajas' forces launched another attack and besieged the city. The Guru's men defended themselves successfully for weeks. Raja Kesari Chand then decided to send an intoxicated elephant to break the gate of Lohgarh fort. The body of the elephant was encased in steel, and a spear was projected from its forehead to break the gate. Guru's disciple, Vicihitar Singh (or Bachittar Singh) successfully chased away the elephant with his spear Nagni barchha.[3] Bhai Mohkam Singh cut its trunk with his sword. The wounded elephant went back in the Rajas' camp, trampling several men under its feet.[4]

Uday Singh dashed forward and attacked Kesari Chand with a long spear. He pierced his neck with his spear and threw him off his horse. Then Uday Singh jumped from his horse and, with one stroke of his sword, slashed Kesari Chand's head off. Poising the fallen head on his spear, Uday Singh galloped his horse towards the Anandpur fort
Uday Singh dashed forward and attacked Kesari Chand with a long spear. He pierced his neck with his spear and threw him off his horse. Then Uday Singh jumped from his horse and, with one stroke of his sword, slashed Kesari Chand's head off. Poising the fallen head on his spear, Uday Singh galloped his horse towards the Anandpur fort


Uday Singh joined the battle and continued to advance towards Kesari Chand. He reached him and challenged, "Kesari Chand! You are a great jackal; why are you fleeing like a coward from the battlefield. I won't let you run away. Come face to face with me"

Kesari Chand was killed by Uday Singh, and the Raja of Handur was severely wounded in a conflict with Bhai Sahib Singh. The Rajas' army had to retreat.

Uday Singh poising the head of Kesri Chand on his spear, gallops towards the Anandpur Fort to get the blessing of Guru Gobind Singh Ji
Uday Singh poising the head of Kesri Chand on his spear, gallops towards the Anandpur Fort to get the blessing of Guru Gobind Singh Ji


After the fall of their leader, the hill chiefs' allied army, now leaderless, became disorganised. The Sikh warriors fell upon them and devastated them in hand to hand combat. In this retreat, Raja Bhup Chand of Handur, a hill chief, was severely wounded by the brave Sahib Singh.

On the following day, Ghumand Chand directed the efforts of his troops against Anandpur, but the Sikhs were fully prepared, and a fierce battle was fought. At the end of the day, Ghumand Chand, who was withdrawing from the battlefield towards his tent, was mortally wounded by a bullet. All the hill chiefs became disheartened and demoralized upon the death of Ghumand Chand. After the massacre of so many of their men, they abandoned much equip-ment and took to their heels in the dead of night.

On the following day, the troops of Ghumand Chand of Kangra attacked Anandpur. The battle lasted till evening, and resulted in death of Ghumand Chand at the hands of Bhai Himmat Singh.

The hill chiefs, who had bragged boastfully that they would defeat and kill Guru Gobind Singh Ji and his Sikhs, had tasted the steel of the Khalsa.


Aftermath

Sometime after the battle, the hill Rajas negotiated a peace agreement with Gobind Singh, asking him to leave Anandpur temporarily. Accordingly, the Guru left for Nirmoh village (Nirmohgarh).[5] There, he was attacked by the Rajas' army, leading to the Battle of Nirmohgarh.

References

  1. ^ a b c Jacques, Tony (2007). Dictionary of Battles and Sieges. Greenwood Press. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-313-33536-5.
  2. ^ a b Jacques, p. 48
  3. ^ Johar, Surinder Singh (1998). Holy Sikh shrines. New Delhi: M D Publications. p. 46. ISBN 978-81-7533-073-3. OCLC 44703461.
  4. ^ Singh, Bhagat Lakshman (1995). Short Sketch of the Life and Work of Guru Govind Singh, The Tenth and Last Guru. Laurier Books Ltd. /AES. p. 96. ISBN 978-81-206-0576-3. OCLC 55854929.
  5. ^ Singh, Dalip (1992). Guru Gobind Singh and Khalsa Discipline. Amritsar: Singh Bros. p. 256. ISBN 978-81-7205-071-9. OCLC 28583123.