GULĀB SIṄGH BAKHSHĪ (d. 1716), originally a tobacco-seller Bāṇīā known by the name of Gulābū, impressed with Bandā Siṅgh's armed victories, converted a Sikh, joined him as a soldier and rose to be paymaster of his army. He took part in various battles under his command. In the siege of Lohgaṛh in December 1710, Gulāb Siṅgh decided to sacrifice his life to save the life of Bandā Siṅgh. Since he had a striking physical resemblance with him, he dressed himself in his fine garments and seated himself in his place. Bandā Siṅgh made his way through the imperial camp in the disguise of a Mughal soldier and fled towards Nāhan in the mountains. When on the morning of 11 December the royal troops entered the fortress, they took Gulāb Siṅgh for Bandā Siṅgh and made him a prisoner. There were great rejoicings, but soon it was discovered that the real Bandā Siṅgh had in fact escaped. In the words of Khāfī Khān, "the hawk had flown and an owl had been caught." Gulāb Siṅgh was put in an iron cage and sent to Delhi where after several years of incarceration he was executed on 9 June 1716 along with Bandā Siṅgh and the last batch of his men captured at Gurdās-Naṅgal.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  1. Deol, G.S., Banda Bahadur. Jalandhar, 1972
  2. Ganda Singh, Life of Banda Singh Bahadur. Amritsar, 1935

Gurdev Siṅgh Deol