Creation of Jathas

 

 

Baba Kapoor Singh ji was born in 1696 to Bhai Dalip Singh and took Amrit at hands of Panj Piare at Damdama Sahib. He stayed with Jatha of Baba Deep Singh ji, taking his Vidya from Taksal of Damdama Sahib, living life of a Bhujang Singh, always immersed in Sewa and Simran and forever ready to lay down his life for Khalsa Panth. In 1734, Jathedar Baba Darbara Singh ji left for Sachkhand and upon his demise, Panth gathered at Sri Akaal Bunga (now called Sri Akaal Takhat).Those were the peaceful times as Panth had authority over Sri Amritsar Sahib and 30 villages around it. Bhujangi Nawab Kapoor Singh was chosen as the Jathedar of Khalsa Panth by the Panj Piare. During this time numbers of Singhs living in Amritsar and around had increased considerably as there had been no battles with Mughals from last one year. Singhs had taken up farming in villages and Khalsa Panth was in Charhdi kala. Baba Mani Singh ji and Baba Kapoor Singh ji decided to divide the Bhujang Singhs(Warrior Singhs who were tyar bar tyar for Jang and Sewa) into Five jathas and separate the Langars as it was difficult to hold Langar at one place with limited resources. Entire Khalsa Army numbered around 12,000, so it was decided by Mukhi Singhs to divide Panth in Five Jathas or battalions. Five Nishan Sahib and Five Nagare(battle drums) were brought in front of Sri Akaal Bunga. After Ardas, Baba Kapoor Singh ji, with his authority as Jathedar of Khalsa Panth declared the Five Jathas and handed over Nishan Sahibs to Jathedars.
First Nishan and Nagara was given to Shaheeds (or Nihangs as they were called). Bhai Ratan Singh Bhangu writes in Pracheen panth Parkash


ਪ੍ਰਿਥਮ ਸ਼ਹੀਦਨ ਔ ਨਿਹੰਗਨ ਫੜਾਯੋ
ਦੀਪ ਸਿੰਘ, ਸਿੰਘ ਕਰਮ ਸੁ ਗਾਯੋ।।


This was their reputation, their respect in Panth. They were seen as Shiromani Singhs who were always tyar bar tyar for Guru and Panth's Sewa. Baba Deep Singh ji was Jathedar of this Jatha Shaheedan, and he was handed over First Nishan Sahib and Nagara.


Second Nishan was given to Bhai Karam Singh-Dharam Singh (Jatha Amritsariya).These were the Singhs who lived in and around Amritsar to defend Sri Darbar Sahib.


Third Nishan  was given to Baba Binod Singh and Baba Kahan Singh (Jatha Sahibzadeya) who were descendants of Guru Angad dev ji and Guru Amar dass ji respectively.


Fourth Nishan  was handed over to Bhai Dasaundha Singh ji, whose responsibility was to carry Nishan and Nagare in Battlefield.


Fifth Nishan was given to Bhai Beer Singh Rangreta and was Jathedar of Rangrete Singhs.
This way entire Khalsa Army was divided in Five Jathas and were allotted Five different locations in Sri Amritsar to set up their cantonments.


After Mughals arrested Baba Mani Singh ji and martyred him by cutting him to pieces on 12th December 1737, Khalsa Panth took to path of resistance once again and gave up truce with Mughals. There were everyday battles in Punjab once again and Singhs had to face difficult times in Majha area of Punjab. Amritsar sahib being close to Lahore and in centre of Majha was prone to everyday attacks and massacres. Singhs moved to safety in other areas of Punjab. During this time, senior Singhs of all Jathas formed small squads which would go out in countryside, fight the enemies, punish the guilty and do Sikhi parchar. These squads totalled around 60. Baba Ala Singh, who was descendant of Bhai Ram Singh from Foolkiyas, went to Damdama Sahib and carried out vichar with Baba Deep Singh ji of creating a Sikh territory where Singhs could live and prosper safely and securely. With this intention, Baba Deep Singh ji and Baba Ala Singh ji launched a campaign against Mughal commanders of Barnala area and after a 6 month long battle, took over the Area. It was decided to build a city where Sikhs would rule and prosper. A safe location was marked and work started on it. The place was named 'Aale di patti' (Area of Ala Singh) which we today know was Patiala. Baba Ala Singh was made first king of Patiala by Panth and he ruled an area up to Bathinda along with his brothers.


As the Khalsa Panth moved to Malwa Area and in deserts of Bikaner and Ganganagar, a Muslim landlord Massa rangarh took over Sri Darbar Sahib Amritsar and desecrated the Holy Darbar of Gurus with Liquor, meat, tobacco, dances of prostitutes and other derogatory acts. One Singh who saw all this moved to Malwa in search of some Jatha of Warrior Sikhs. After days of journey he reached Buddha Johar in Ganganagar,where a large group of Singhs had encamped. This group was led by Jathedar Bhai Buddha Singh ji, who were from Shaheeda Jatha. The Singh informed the Sangat about the beadbi happening in Darbar sahib which enraged Sikhs. Jathedar Buddha Singh called upon two Singhs who would go and punish the dusht, upon which, Bhai Sukha Singh and Bhai Mehtab Singh took up the sewa. Both these Gursikhs punished the Dusht, cut off his head and presented it before Khalsa Panth.

 


 

Creation of Misals

 
As the Khalsa Panth's Holy War continued, there were thousands and thousands of Shaheediya and Singhs used to lay down their lives everyday for Dharam and Freedom. After the death of Zakriya Khan in 1745, Yahya khan became governor of Lahore. He along with his minister Lakhpat rai started a full scale campaign against Sikhs. Earlier, Mughals killed only Singhs who were fighting against them, but now even innocents' villagers and city dwellers were also arrested and killed. Towers of their heads and bodies were erected in Lahore city. This campaign reached its peak with the Holocaust of 1748 (Chota ghallughara) in Jungles of Kahnuwan, near Gurdaspur on banks of River Ravi, where 20,000 Singhs attained Shaheedi after being surrounded by a 300,000 strong Mughal and Hindu Army. At that time total strength of Khalsa Army was around 45, 000, remianing Sikhs moved to Malwa area of punjab.

At Panthic gathering in Damdama Sahib in 1748, it was decided to reorganize the Khalsa Army, for better movement, operations and administration. The 60 squads which had been formed were merged again and 11 jathas were created out of them. These Jathas later came to be known as Misals.

These were:
• Misal Shaheedan
• Misal Singhpuria
• Misal Ahluwalia
• Misal Shukarchakiya
• Misala Ramgarhia
• Misal Kanahiya
• Misal Bhangi
• Misal Dallewaliya
• Misal Nakai
• Misal Nishanawali
• Misal Karoriya


(12th Misal which we know as Foolkiya Misal was created later, but it was never a part of joint Khalsa Army as its area of operations and approach towards Panthic struggle was entirely different.)

It was here that these 11 misals were divided into two separate Fighting Squads named Buddha Dal and Tarna Dal. The Elders of Panth were in Buddha Dal and Young brigade was known as Tarna Dal.


Misals which formed Buddha dal were:

• Misal Shaheedan
• Misal Singhpuria
• Misal Ahluwalia
• Misal Karoriya
• Misal Dallewaliya



Misals of Tarna Dal were:

• Misal Bhangi
• Misal Shukarchakiya
• Misal Nakai
• Misal Ramgarhia
• Misal Kanhaiya
 

Nishanawali Misal was the one which carried Nishan Sahibs (Battle standards) and Nagare( Battle drums) in Battlefield. These were the Singhs who were there in every battle, carrying Khalsa Nishan high and keeping morale of fighting Singhs in Charhdi kala. Singhs of this Misal were there in both the Dals.

Jathedar Nawab Kapoor Singh ji, who led Singhpuria misal was Jathedar of Buddha Dal and Jathedar Baba Bhoma Singh from Bhangi Misal was leader of Tarna Dal. Jathedar Nawab Kapoor Singh ji retained his title of Jathedar of Khalsa Panth with blessings of whole Panth.