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Akali Baba Nawab Kapoor Singh Ji

Jathedar Akali Baba Nawab Kapoor Singh Ji

Jathedar Akali Baba Nawab Kapoor Singh Ji served as the third Jathedar of the Budha Dal. Born in Kaloka, Sheikhpur in 1697, Baba Ji became a member of the Budha Dal in 1726. His valor and leadership led to the conquest of Faizalpur in 1733, which he renamed Singhpur and was bestowed the title of Nawab. Baba Ji played a crucial role in the reorganization of the Khalsa Fauj, dividing it into two factions, the Budha Dal and the Tarna Dal. Renowned for his revolutionary spirit and remarkable command, Baba Nawab Kapoor Singh Ji led numerous battles. He eventually passed away and ascended to Sachkhand in 1753.

During his youth, Baba Nawab Kapur Singh Ji emerged as a prominent figure. He engaged in numerous confrontations with the Mughals, earning a distinctive scar on his face. The Prachin Panth Parkash records:

At that moment, S. Kapoor Singh was present among the congregation, gracefully fanning the air with quick strokes of his hand fan.

Having courageously endured the strike of an enemy's sword on his face, he bore a scar that remained as vivid and fresh as the mark on the face of the moon (Reference 42).

With this visible symbol of his sacrifice still raw and prominent, he had captivated the hearts of the entire Khalsa Panth. It was as if a collective thought spontaneously arose within the congregation, as if the moment held a special significance for everyone present (Reference 43).

(SGPP, Episode 90, Vol. II, pp. 225, 227)

Following the Mughals' offer of Nawabi to the Khalsa Panth, the decision was made by the Khalsa Panth Guru Sangat that a Sikh with unwavering strength and exceptional discipline should assume the role, considering its potential to improve the political situation for the contemporary Sikhs, especially in light of Akali Baba Darbara Singh Ji's previous refusal of the Nawabi. What unfolded next would have a profound impact on the trajectory of Sikh history:

Dohra: In that very moment, a devout Singh beloved by the Guru recited the following verse from Gurbani: "The honor of serving the Guru's devotees is bestowed upon those who are worthy of the grace of the Guru's saints." (44)

Chaupai: While S. Kapoor Singh was diligently fanning the congregation, he became the focal point of their benevolent gaze. As the congregation listened to the sacred verse from the Divine Guru, a unanimous agreement emerged to embrace the message conveyed through the Gurbani line. (45)

Recognizing that the one engaged in service deserved to be honored, S. Kapoor Singh was chosen to receive the offered robes. As instructed by the Khalsa Panth, S. Kapoor Singh humbly bowed down to accept the gracious offer from the Khalsa Panth. (46)

(SGPP, Episode 90, Vol. II, pp. 225, 227)

Afterward, Akali Baba Nawab Kapur Singh Ji made significant decisions to bring organization to the Khalsa Panth by creating orderly factions. Baba Nawab Kapur Singh Ji established the 12 Sikh Misls, and it is more than justified to assert that the foundation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Ji's empire was laid by Baba Nawab Kapur Singh Ji in the auspicious year of 1734. It was during this time that the Khalsa armies were formally divided into the Budha Dal and Tarna Dal. The Prachin Panth Parkash, regarded as one of the most historically accurate accounts of Sikh history, records these events:

Dohra: Consequently, the entire Khalsa Panth was organized into five contingents, each distinguished by a unique emblem.

These five standards, representing each contingent, were firmly planted in the vicinity of Akal Takht. (26)

Chaupai: The first emblem was assigned to the martyred Nihang Singhs, who were epitomized by Baba Deep Singh and Karam Singh. The second contingent, comprised of Kshatriya Singhs hailing from Amritsar, was led by Karam Singh Dharam Singh. (27)

The third contingent was represented by two esteemed Singhs from ancient lineages, tracing their heritage back to the Trehan-Bhalla clans of the great Gurus.

Heading the fourth contingent was S. Dasondha Singh, a proud Gill Jat Sikh from the village of Kot Buddha. (28)

The fifth contingent, consisting of thirteen hundred horse-mounted Singhs, was placed under the command of Bir Singh Ranghreta.

This well-defined command and control structure was established, as narrated by Rattan Singh, the author who personally heard of these arrangements. (29)

(SGPP, Episode 90, Vol. II, p. 91)

Thus, as mentioned in the above excerpt, Akali Baba Nawab Kapur Singh Ji successfully organized the Khalsa forces into a formidable fighting unit that would eventually gain control over the entire Punjab region, encompassing present-day East and West Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and Haryana.

In the foreword of the Prachin Panth Parkash, translated by the esteemed Professor Kulwant Singh from the Institute of Sikh Studies in Chandigarh, the following passage is written:

"As time went on, these contingents and misls grew in strength, but the principles of command and control introduced by Kapoor Singh continued to guide the Khalsa forces. During his time in Malwa, he initiated Baba Ala Singh, the chief of Patiala, into the Khalsa Panth and provided him with support to expand his territory. Subsequently, before the Diwali festival, he oversaw the renovation of Darbar Sahib, and the Malwa Singhs generously contributed horses and provisions for his journey. On the way, under Kapoor Singh's command and inspiring leadership, the Khalsa contingents looted and dispossessed Nader Shah, the Afghan invader who was returning to Kandahar after plundering the most valuable treasures in Delhi and slaughtering seventy thousand defenseless inhabitants of India. The dialogue between the defeated and stripped Nader Shah and Nawab Khan Bahadur of Lahore, as recorded in this epic work, bears witness to the unwavering determination and physical bravery of the Khalsa soldiers under the command of Nawab Kapoor Singh."

Chaupai: Upon his return to Lahore, he inquired from Khan Bahadur about the identity of those who had looted his war spoils. He vehemently declared that he would reduce their homeland to ashes and dust. (3)

In response to his query, Khan Bahadur calmly stated that the plunderers did not belong to any particular country. They could sustain themselves and find rest while on the move, as they had no fixed abode. (4)

They had no preference for delicacies when it came to their meals, nor did they experience pain when subjected to torture. They did not require abundant water in the scorching heat of summer, nor did they seek warmth in the harshest winter. (5)

While they paid little attention to grinding their staple grains, they fought in battle with remarkable agility. Each one of them could take on a hundred adversaries fearlessly, as they had no fear of death. (6)

 

(SGPP, Episode 95, Vol. II, pp.129, 131)

The Sikhs of bygone eras never sought luxurious indulgences. They were disciplined warriors driven by a singular purpose: the glory of the Guru. These remarkable warriors fought for the Guru's cause, and their names are eternally woven into the fabric of history as the pioneers of the Khalsa Raj.

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