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jassa singh ahluwalia rescuing 2200 women


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Guest gurjant

have read that article, thanks anyways

cunningham goes into detail about jassa singh ahluwalia but no mention of the rescue as far as i know. let alone near contemporary source, do books of the 19th century give info about it?

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6 hours ago, Guest gurjant said:

have read that article, thanks anyways

cunningham goes into detail about jassa singh ahluwalia but no mention of the rescue as far as i know. let alone near contemporary source, do books of the 19th century give info about it?

Hari Ram Gupta mentioned in History of Sikhs volume 2 , that sikhs attacked Abdali and released  large number of captives, the sources he mentioned , Ganesh Das Page 199, C.f Ratan Singh 430 , and Gian Singh Shamsheer khalsa 738-42

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Guest gurjant

thanks, already one good source and several interesting footnote sources.

so hari ram does not mention it being maratha booty nor does he specify about women being liberated, which is interesting. hariram says the durranis caravan was 'loaded with the rich booty of Delhi and the Doab'... 

anyone with more info on the incident (historically), please share

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17 minutes ago, Guest gurjant said:

thanks, already one good source and several interesting footnote sources.

so hari ram does not mention it being maratha booty nor does he specify about women being liberated, which is interesting. hariram says the durranis caravan was 'loaded with the rich booty of Delhi and the Doab'... 

anyone with more info on the incident (historically), please share

Have a look at this brother. Pay attention to the red color.

Quote

speech in Lok Sabha[Indian Parliament]
November 17, 1965
Hon Shri Kapur Singh MP
" when this battle was lost [third battle of Panipat, 14th of Jan 1761, when Marathas[Hindus] faced the Afghan invader, Ahmed Shah Addali], it was one of the most unfortunate events in Indian history.About 5,000 Maratha women of the highest Brahmin caste and of princely classess fell into the hands of Abdali. He stayed in Panipat for many weeks and made this special offer that, if proper ransom could be given to rescue those women, he was prepared to let them go.Nobody came forward with ransom. And then these women were taken back to Afghanistan by the invader.When the Sikhs came to know of of it, and although they were not well organised, they fell upon the invader at the river crossing at Govindwal of Beas river and rescued as many as 2,200 young women. The Khalsa (army of Sikhs) horsemen delivered each Maratha sister safely to her home in Maharashtra, thousands of miles awasy.The women rode all the way on their horses while the Sikhs were content to walk alongside.

In European equivalent it means, Germans rescuing Russion women from Saracens in Paris and restoring them in Moscow.

Cunningham, in his history, calls it as "the greatest act of chivalry in the East" perhaps, it is the greatest act of chivalry in the world's history."

Unquote [1]

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/georgepitcher/100026447/a-sikh-joins-the-bnp-and-another-sikh-writes-this/

 

Bhul chuk maaf

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Guest gurjant

1. can anyone find me the passage Hari Ram cites from rattan singhs book? I cant seem to find it

http://sikhinstitute.org/sgpp_ful_vol_2.pdf

2. thanks paapi ji. 

can you help me find it in this book?

https://archive.org/stream/cunninghamshisto00cunnuoft/cunninghamshisto00cunnuoft_djvu.txt

i tried to ctrl+f by putting 'the East' as kapoor singh quotes but found 14 results none talking about the episode

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21 hours ago, Guest gurjant said:

the more i look into it, it seems fishy too

where did kapoor singh get his info from? who mentions 2200 women? 

 

pleas help members

I guess this story has to be a myth. It is clear that over time some stories were exxagerated and others were completely made up. It's funny because the way Sikh history is written in Sikh sources, you'd think that Sikhs completely defeated Mughals and took complete control of all of India. 

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History is seldom unbiased.  Read about any incident, even the ones happening before your eyes, the two sides will present it so drastically differently that you have to wonder if they are even talking about the same incident. 

The scale and specifics of liberation of women may be in dispute but attacks on retreating Abdali forces by the Sikhs are not.  Under these circumstances, Sikhs would have invariably rescued imprisoned women.  The following chronology of events about Sikhs fighting Abdali during his Panipat invasion are consistently documented in a lot of different sources:

  • Sikhs laid siege of Governer Mir Mohammad Khan in the Lahore fort after Abdali had passed through Punjab on his way to Panipat.  The governor capitulated and paid ransom to the Sikhs.
  • Abdali upon reaching Lahore after his victory over Marathas punished Mir Mohammad for not standing up to the Sikhs
  • Sikhs, led by Jassa Singh, relentlessly launched gorilla attacks on Abdali's forces in the region between the rivers Beas and Jehlum while the victorious invaders were returning to Kabul with a huge loot and a large number of women prisoners.  It is in this region where Sikhs took away a lot of Abdali's loot and freed prisoners.
  • Abdali was incensed by this humiliation at the hands of the Sikhs but chose not to divert his army because he was in a hurry to return to Kabul because Balakh, a part of his kingdom,  was invaded by the Chief of Bukhara. 
  • Upon reaching Kabul, Abdali deputed Nurdin to return to Punjab to teach Sikhs a lesson.  Sikhs gathered in Gujarat under the leadership of Charat Singh to face Nurdin.  Nurdin and his Punjabi allies lost a lot of their forces to Charat Singh, and retreated into the Sialkot fort.  Sialkot fell to Sikhs after a 24 day siege but Nurdin managed to escape alive.
  • Next, Abdali asked Khawaja Hamid Khan, the Governor of Punjab to avenge his insult.  Hamid Khan attacked Gujranwala which was under Charat Singh and laid siege to Charat Singh's fort for thirteen days.  Hamid Khan abandoned the siege and some of his heavy equipment and escaped back to Lahore after a large number of Sikhs came to Charat Singh's help.
  • Abdali, with a large army, decided to return himself to finish the Sikhs once in for all.  The big massacre of the Sikhs (known as Wadda Ghallukara) happened during this invasion.

Unless you have already convinced yourself that Sikhs rescuing women is a hoax, I suggest that you dig deeper.  You can find more information about this incident in Giani Gian Singh's Twareekh Guru Khalsa under the chapter 'ਸਿੰਘਾਂ ਨੇ ਬੰਦੀ ਛੁਡਾਏ'.  This incident is also documented in Twareekh Punjab by Kanhayia Lal.

Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh

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Guest gurjant

there is a difference in saying sikhs attacked abdali and snatched his loot, which included women AND some sikh websites claiming 'relatives of the women pleaded sikhs to rescue their women, so sikhs go together and rescued those women' as your first link claims, IJJSIngh

no doubt sikhs rescued some women, but i want more details about them instead of myths like them being maratha women or the number '2200' women and so on. will look into ur sources, thanks

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This is what im talking about, where do they get this information from? Is it just masala added to the actual story? thats my only query.

http://www.sikh-history.com/sikhhist/warriors/liberators.html

When returning home after his fifth invasion, Ahmed Shah Abdali was taking about 2200 Hindu women and girls as captives. They were to be sold into slavery in Afghanistan. On the way they were to be used by the Afghan soldiers to satisfy their lust. The Sikhs heard of this. At that time, they were, about to eat a meal. They abandoned their meal. How could they eat or drink when their countrywomen, their sisters, were in such a plight . Not caring for their lives, they rushed to do their duty as the Guru's saint soldiers. They fell upon the Afghans near Goindwal. The captive women and young girls were all released. Then they were all conducted to their respective homes in comfort and safety.

 

http://www.indiandefencereview.com/spotlights/the-forgotten-hero-of-punjab-jassa-singh-ahluwalia/

In April 1761, Abdali was returning triumphant having destroyed Maratha power at the third battle of Panipat. His booty included 2200 Hindu women being taken to Afghanistan to be sold into slavery. The Sikhs were at their bi-annual meeting at Amritsar when the relatives of the women pleaded for succor. Jassa Singh left immediately with a volunteer force, caught up with the Afghans at the River Sutlej at Goindwal, rescued the women and had them gallantly escorted to their families. This action wh .. 
 

 

 

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250 years on, Battle of Panipat revisited

January 13, 2011 16:55 IST
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Battle of PanipatColonel (Dr) Anil Athale (retd) recalls how the Battle of Panipat, 250 years ago, changed the history of the Indian subcontinent for the next century and half.

 

The doyen in the field of military history, Dr Srinandan Prasad underscored the importance of this field. According to him, wars are an acid test of the economic, social, technological and moral strength of a nation. On the other hand the result of wars affects all fields of human endeavour. History of nations can well be understood as history of its wars. On this score other than the exception of Shivaji and Ranjit Singh, Indian history is a succession of military defeats.

 

The events of January 1761 were momentous and had its impact for the next century and a half. The freedom that Indians lost was only regained in 1947. It is an event that needs to be studied and remembered even after 250 years since modern India again faces a similar Af-Pak threat.

 

The invasion of Nadir Shah of Iran in 1740 forced the Marathas to consider the strategic importance of Punjab. The Marathas were at the same time also involved in fighting in the south in Karnataka and against the Nizam whose capital then was at Aurangabad. Both these theatres of war were on an average 1,000 miles away from Maharashtra. The 1750s saw them over stretching in fighting in far flung areas.

The discord with the Rajputs meant a loss of potential allies as well as a secure base close to Delhi. The loyalties of various Mughal nobles were always suspect as most of them disliked the overlordship of the Marathas. When the Marathas took on the might of Abdali, the King of Afghanistan, it was a decisive moment in the Indian history. The Marathas not only had the plans to defeat Abdali but also wanted to move on to Bengal to reduce the growing British power there.  

 

The Marathas had committed several policy blunders in the preceding years. Right from the time of Shivaji, friendship with Rajputs was a constant in Maratha policy. But in the 1750s, they got involved in the internal fights of the Rajputs and played one side against the other. Maharaj Surajmal Jat was a staunch Maratha ally. But when he demanded to be made governor of Delhi, the Marathas preferred the Nawab of Awadh, Shuja ud Daulla. His 50,000 strong cavalry was thought to be a greater asset. The fact that he was Shia and wary of Sunni Afghans, made the Marathas rely on him. But in the event Abadali lured him to his side by invoking Islamic solidarity.

The Sikhs under various 'Misals' (fighting groups) were similarly well disposed towards the Marathas. But the overconfident Marathas ignored them. Thus at Panipat, the Marathas who were fighting for India, nearly thousand miles away from their home base, found themselves lonely and friendless. Faulty Maratha diplomacy was largely responsible for this mess and the blame goes directly to the Peshwa or the prime minister of the Marathas.

On 14 April, Sadashivrao Bhau left Poona on his way to Delhi with the bulk of Huzurat or the Peshwa's army. The fighting strength of the army was around 50,000. Nearly three times that number also accompanied as followers. Most of the experienced soldiers like Mehendale, Samsherbahadur, Winchurkar, Pawar, Gaikwar of Baroda and Mankeshwar went with this force.

A major addition was the French-trained infantry of Ibrahim Khan Gardi that had a strength of 8,000 men armed with the latest French-made rifles. Gardi had an artillery park of 200 excellent guns and also war rockets. Many Goans, Portuguese and some western mercenaries manned the artillery. In May and June on reaching Agra, Malharao Holkar and Jankoji Shinde joined the Maratha army with their cavalry. By the time the Marathas reached Delhi the strength of their army had swelled to nearly 2 lakhs.

Battle of PanipatIt was a confident Maratha army that embarked on this venture. The Maratha war aims were to re-establish their domination in Delhi and deal with the Afghan threat. In addition the Peshwa had also instructed Bhau that after settling Delhi, he was to proceed to Bengal to reduce the British power there.

The Marathas were treaty-bound to come to the aid of Mughal Emperor. In Delhi itself however the Marathas had very few friends. Most Mughal courtiers resented the Maratha domination and some like Najib Khan were instrumental in inviting Abdali.

In a similar way, in 1739, it was the Mughlal politicians that had invited Nadir Shah of Iran. Nadir Shah made no distinction between the Hindus and Muslims in looting and walked away with the Mughal Emperor's peacock throne and the Kohinoor diamond besides other goods worth Rs 100 crore. Despite this past, the hatred of Marathas proved stronger than common sense.

Abdali had invaded India not merely for loot but dreamt of establishing Afghan supremacy in place of the Mughals in Delhi. In this the Rohillas, people of Afghan descent living north of Delhi were fully on his side. The local support to Abdali was to prove crucial in the end.

On August 2, 1761, the Marathas entered Delhi and captured it after only slight resistance.

Between August and October 1760 negotiations continued between Abdali and the Marathas. Abdali wanted control over Punjab right upto Sirhind. The Marathas were not prepared to concede the rich province to him. All this while the Afghan army remained across Jamuna while the Marathas remained at Delhi. In October the Marathas marched north of Delhi and reduced the fort at Kunjpura to dust. Qutub Shah, the Afghan general defending the fort was killed so were nearly 10,000 Afghans. Qutub Shah's severed head was paraded by the Marathas in vengeance for the death of Dattaji Scindia.

Abdali was shaken up by the loss of Kunjpura and the bitterness generated by Qutub Shah's death made peace virtually impossible. While Bhau was thus engaged in the north, on October 25, Abdali crossed the Jamuna near Bhagpat and located himself between the Marathas at Kunjpura and their rear in Delhi.

Bhau had initially planned to advance further north and get in touch with the Sikhs. But the move of the Afghans caught him by surprise and he turned back towards Delhi. On reaching the plains of Panipat, he found his path to Delhi blocked by Abdali camped to his south. The opportunity to attack the Afghan army while it crossed the river had already passed. The Maratha army entrenched near Panipat, blocking the road to Afghanistan. Govindpant Bundele, a Maratha general with long experience in the north, was allotted the task of cutting off the supplies of Abdali.

The two armies entrenched themselves in the vicinity of Panipat, the Marathas blocking Abdali's route to Afghanistan and he in turn blocked the Maratha route to Delhi and down south. A war now became inevitable. In the initial period the Marathas were successful in cutting off supplies to the Afghan army and appeared to be in a better position.

 

On December 17, Govindpant Bundele, the experienced general in charge of procuring supplies to the Maratha army, was killed in an encounter. After this the Maratha supply position deteriorated rapidly. All the valuables in the camp were collected and sold to get food. The countryside around Panipat was dominated by Muslims of Afghan descent further complicated the problem of supplies for the Marathas. Soon the horses of the famed Maratha cavalry began dying of starvation. Bhau's essentially sound strategy of waiting for Abdali to attack his entrenched position and then destroy him with his artillery failed due to the problem of logistics.

The Marathas were unwise to carry a large number of non-combatants including wives along with them. This proved a severe handicap as it not only slowed down the movement of the army but also put extra burden on the supplies. A large part of the fighting strength had to be diverted to protecting the camp. The Maratha morale was however still very high and an attack in December offered the best hope. This was not to be and Bhau waited till January 14, 1761. Finally he was forced to battle as the Marathas could take the starvation no more and begged him to finish the agony once and for all. It was this army weakened by starvation that fought the decisive battle of Panipat.

On January 14, the Maratha army in a huge square formation began slowly moving south towards Delhi. The aim of the Marathas was to fight through the Afghan army to Delhi and safety. The Marathas battle array perforce had to keep a sizeable number of troops to guard the rear. The Marathas had formed a rough sphere with guns in front defended by infantry and cavalry. The aim of this formation was to keep the guns free to engage the enemy.

While Ibrahim Khan and his trained Gardis were familiar with these tactics the cavalry oriented Maratha armies of other generals were not. The ferocity of the Maratha attack in the early phase was such that the Afghans reeled under it and began running away. The Maratha artillery and rockets took a heavy toll of the enemy. It was at this juncture around mid-day that confusion occurred when the dismounted Maratha cavalry troopers left their position and masked the fire of guns. This proved fatal and Afghans regained their footing.

At this time a bullet hit Vishwasrao, the eldest son of the Peshwa. Bhau at this stage lost his cool and left his elephant and joined hand to hand combat. Rumours of leader's death set panic wave in the Marathas. At this crucial moment, Abdali unleashed his reserves of 12,000 chosen cavalry that attacked and broke the centre of the Maratha army.

A near victory now turned into a rout and Marathas began running in the direction of Delhi. A fearful slaughter took place and the Marathas were completely routed. The Afghan casualties were also very heavy and soon after the battle Abdali quickly left for Afghanistan.

On his way his army suffered heavily due to the attacks by Sikhs. In battle of Govindwal the Sikhs rescued many Maratha prisoners who were being carried off to Afghanistan as slaves. Many widows never came back and instead married Sikh soldiers. Many Marathas instead of coming back to Maharashtra went to the hills of north and settled there. In all the Maratha losses were put at 22 generals and nearly 1 lakh soldiers. The estimated population of Maharashtra at that time was around 80 lakh and it was indeed a heavy blow and flower of the youth of one whole generation perished at Panipat.

There was scarcely a home in Maharashtra that did not lose at least one member of its family at Panipat.

The battle of Panipat was a turning point in the history of not only Marathas but whole of India. A British historian writing about this battle has opined that but for this defeat' whole of India would have been 'Marathaised'.

Panipat was the first major battle that Marathas fought with reliance on artillery and fire-arms based infantry. The defeat at Panipat discredited this form of war and Maratha armies again reverted back to cavalry mode of fighting. The Maratha faith in efficacy of guns was shaken up so thoroughly that in many future battles with the British, they never hesitated to abandon the guns.

The Maratha defeat at Panipat can be primarily attributed to their failure to harmonise the cavalry mode of warfare with the drilled infantry and artillery based set piece battles. This problem was to plague the Marathas for long time to come.

Politically the Maratha loss was not felt for very long as they soon recovered and re-established themselves at Delhi. The Marathas however never again attempted to control Punjab and their western frontier remained on the Sutlej river for a long time. The Sikhs were other beneficiaries of the battle of Panipat. The weakened Afghans could no longer hold Punjab and soon a powerful Sikh state came up and ruled from Lahore.

The Marathas fought at Panipat for a national cause. Their failure to defend India left a deep psychological impact on them. The ideal of Hindavi Swarajya and aim to dominate the entire country was given up.

Panipat inculcated a kind of diffidence in the Maratha psyche that brought in defeatist mentality when it came to a really great contest. The tendency now on was to retreat in good time rather than risk everything on an uncertain prospect. This caution that can be seen in many later day battles can be directly traced back to the happenings at Panipat. Panipat was a major national trauma and never again were the Marathas to repeat the daring feat of Bajirao the first and his dash to Delhi. Most post Panipat wars fought by the Marathas were defensive wars. The offensive spirit of the Marathas was the biggest casualty at Panipat.

The disaster of Panipat took place mainly due to bad politics on part of the Marathas.  The lessons from Shivaji's time were forgotten and Marathas fought simultaneously both in the south as well as in the north. Half the Maratha army was in south when the life and death struggle was being fought at Panipat. The Rajputs were alienated, the Jats spurned and Sikhs underestimated. With even one of these as allies, Panipat would never have taken place.

Unfortunately this lesson was never learnt and even in the fight against the British the Marathas fought alone except in 1804 when Holkar took the help of Jats of Bharatpore and defeated the British.

Colonel (Dr.) Anil Athale studied Maratha history as first Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses fellow in military history between 1991 -1996.

 

Colonel (Dr) Anil Athale (retd)

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Guest gurjant

these seem to be modern myths, so posting recent articles doesnt prove anything

anything historical? from the 1700s 1800s ? any language source?

i am not hell bent upon denying the existence of such an event, but want to be sure of its historical veracity

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4 hours ago, Guest gurjant said:

these seem to be modern myths, so posting recent articles doesnt prove anything

anything historical? from the 1700s 1800s ? any language source?

i am not hell bent upon denying the existence of such an event, but want to be sure of its historical veracity

Dr. Ganda Singh cites a book called ‘Tarikh a Punjab' as one of the sources that mentions this inccident.  The book is written before 1880.

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oh yes that one... not available online .. anyone on this forum who has it and can check for the relevant passages please?

and btw, is the article you're referring to by dr ganda singh available online?

thanks

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Some stories in history do not add up.  However, the rescue of women by Sikhs from Abdali is not one such story.  Looking at the overall circumstances, I believe that the narrative in above links is definitely plausible.  Lets look at the main points of this narrative:

  1. Why would a deputation of relatives go begging for help?:  Think of people whose family members have been slaughtered and whose women have been kidnapped and are about to be sold as sex-slaves into a life of misery.  These desperate survivors would have ran and begged for help wherever they could get.
  2. Why go to Sikhs for help, why not go to somebody else?: In the battle of Panipat, none of the other local powers (Jats and Rajputs) chose to fight Abdali, and Marathas were totally decimated.  Sikhs had a history of attacking Abdali, and were the only power in North India who were willing and capable of engaging Abdali.  If you were in Punjab/Hariana, where else could you have gone for help?
  3. When families of relatives pleaded, Jassa Singh immediately left for rescue with a force of volunteers:  Based on the track-record from the previous Abdali invasions, Sikhs were probably already planning on attacking Abdali.  Cries of help from relatives would have immediately galvanized the initiative.  Sikhs had a history of chivalry and rescuing kidnapped women going back to Guru Gobind Singh ji's period (e.g.  Attack on Hakum of Bassi under the leadership of Sahibjada Ajit Singh).  Ignoring to help these poor people would have been most un-Sikh like.
  4. How many people were rescued? There is no doubt that prisoners were rescued.  An estimate of 2,200 is widely quoted.  If you consider that the number of prisoners was between 20,000 and 30,000, rescue of 2,200 is not unreasonable.  Our task is to find old sources to corroborate this number.

Excerpts below from Twareekh Guru Khalsa, Volume 2 page 172 by Giani Gian Singh (first version published in 1889), and a quote from Twareekh-I-Punjab By Kanahiya Lal (Published in Urdu around 1877) taken from Sikh Twareekh, Volume 2, Page 552 by Dilgeer.

 

 

 

GianSingh.jpg

dilgeer.jpg

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good references. is the 2200 in brackets of dilgeers book part of the original or added by dilgeer? 

does anyone have kanhaiya lals book to confirm?

earliest sources from 1700s 1800s don't confirm the women part but general attack on durrani returning, but the latter sources as shown by ijjsingh do indeed confirm the story.

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Guest gurjant

good references. is the 2200 in brackets of dilgeers book part of the original or added by dilgeer? 

does anyone have kanhaiya lals book to confirm?

earliest sources from 1700s 1800s don't confirm the women part but general attack on durrani returning, but the latter sources as shown by ijjsingh do confirm the women part.

 

@paapiman did you manage to find the Cunningham reference in the book link (the kapur singh ias quote)? the whole book is available on that link

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