WAZĪR KHĀN, NAWĀB (d.1710), a resident of Kuñjpurā, near Karnāl, now in Haryāṇā, was the faujdār of Sirhind under the Mughals in the opening years of the eighteenth century. The hill chiefs who held territories in the Śivālik ranges often sought his help against Gurū Gobind Siṅgh, then living in their midst at Anandpur. In August of 1700 they invested Anandpur, but found the defences impregnable. Later, Gurū Gobind Siṅgh moved to a site 4 km south of Kīratpur. By this time a contingent of troops sent by Wazīr Khān from Sirhind at the rājās' request joined their forces. A fresh attack was mounted. The encounter that ensued is known as the battle of Nirmohgaṛh. It lasted a whole week and Wazīr Khān's troops used even cannon fire. On 14 October 1700, however, Gurū Gobind Siṅgh and his Sikhs broke the cordon and crossed the Sutlej into Basolī, a small friendly state. The imperial troops retired to Sirhind.

        Gurū Gobind Siṅgh soon returned to Anandpur and spent the next few years in comparative peace. In the winter of 1704, Ajmer Chand of Kahlūr waited upon Emperor Auraṅgzīb in the Deccan and secured from him orders for his deputies at Lahore and Sirhind to launch an expedition against Gurū Gobind Siṅgh. Wazīr Khān advanced from Sirhind and Zabardast Khān came from Lahore, the two meeting at Ropaṛ, where they were joined by the hill rājās. A direct assault on Anandpur proving ineffective, they laid siege to the town and its protective fortresses, but were not able to force surrender. Wazīr Khān had recourse to a ruse. He sent messengers to Gurū Gobind Siṅgh, assuring him, on solemn oath, safe conduct if he would evacuate the town. But no sooner had the Gurū left Anandpur, during the night of 5-6 December 1705, than Wazīr Khān set out in hot pursuit. Severe fighting took place on the bank of the rivulet Sarsā, which was unexpectedly in spate. The Gurū succeeded in crossing the river, and, accompanied by his two elder sons and forty Sikhs, reached Chamkaur where he stopped in a large vacant house. Wazīr Khān, receiving reinforcements from Mālerkoṭlā, closely encircled Chamkaur. In the battle that raged throughout the following day, 7 December 1705, most of the Sikhs along with the Gurū's two sons were killed. The remaining five entreated the Gurū to withdraw to be able to reassemble the survivors of Sarsā and other followers. Gurū Gobind Siṅgh escaped through the besieging host into the interior of the semi-desert region of Mālvā. Wazīr Khān returned to Sirhind where he ordered the execution of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh's two younger sons, aged nine and seven, who had been betrayed into his hands by an old servant of the Gurū. He gave chase to Gurū Gobind Siṅgh and overtook him at Khidrāṇā, modern Muktsar, in Farīdkoṭ district. But before he could attack him, he was confronted by a small hand of forty Sikhs. The forty fell fighting to a man. Wazīr Khān's troops, worn out by long marches through a waterless tract, retreated.

        Wazīr Khān felt especially perturbed when he learnt that Emperor Auraṅgzīb's son and successor, Bahādur Shāh, had turned friendly towards Gurū Gobind Siṅgh and that the two were travelling together towards the South. Alarmed at this development, he hired two Paṭhāns, one of them named Jamshaid Khān, secretly to finish off the Gurū. The assassins got their chance at Nāndeḍ where, finding Gurū Gobind Siṅgh alone in his camp, one of them stabbed him twice in the abdomen. The Gurū died of the wounds on 7 October 1708, but he had already despatched to the Punjab Bandā Siṅgh Bahādur, newly converted to the Sikh faith, to chastise the persecutors.

        Bandā Siṅgh Bahādur joined shortly after his arrival in the southern Punjab by armed Sikhs from far and near, ransacked Samāṇā, Ghuṛām and Chhat-Banūṛ. His next target was Sirhind. Wazīr Khān, on his part, proclaimed jihād, and mustered a strong force. A fierce action took place at Chappar Chiṛī, near present-day Chaṇḍīgaṛh, on 12 May 1710. In the day-long battle, Wazīr Khān was killed and his army completely routed.


  1. Bhaṅgū, Ratan Siṅgh, Prāchīn Panth Prakāsh. Amritsar, 1914
  2. Giān Siṅgh, Giānī, Twārīkh Gurū Khālsā. [Reprint]. Patiala,1970
  3. Gupta, Hari Ram, History of Sikh Gurus. Delhi, 1973
  4. Harbans Singh, Guru Gobind Singh. Chandigarh, 1966

Kartār Siṅgh