Thursday, June 20, 2013

Bhatinda (Bathinda) Chronicles (Part 2)

In my last post, we were revisiting Bhatinda in the time machine.
After the death of Muhammad Ghori, Bhatinda was now a part of Delhi Sultanate.
Mamluks became a powerful military caste in various Muslim societies. Mamluks held political and military power most notably in Egypt, but also in the Levant, Iraq, and India. In 1206, Muhammad Ghori died. He had no child, so after his death, his sultanate was divided into many parts by his slaves (mamluk generals). Qutub-ud-din-Aybak became the sultan of Delhi, and that was the beginning of the Slave dynasty.
Now Bhatinda was an important Bastion of Slave dynasty that lasted from 1206 to 1290. That was the zenith period for Bhatinda Fort.
Aybak rose to power when a Ghorid superior was assassinated. However, his reign as the Sultan of Delhi was short lived as he died in 1210 and his son Aram Shah rose to the throne, only to be assassinated by Iltutmish in 1211.
The fourth Emperor – Iltutmish, on his death-bed chosen his daughter Raziya as his heiress. Raziya became the next and the first Empress of India and was known as Razia Sultana. Her childhood friend named Malik Altunia was now the governor of Bathinda. Malik Altunia along with other provincial governors started a rebellion against Razia Sultana. After a lost battle Razia Sultana was imprisoned at the Bathinda fort in April, 1240. While in prison Razia Sultan was allowed to go to Haji Rattan mosque to offer prayers on Fridays in a special palki. It is said that Razia tried to flee the fort on her horse. Razia’s brother Bahram Shah took over her throne and Razia and Malik ran to Delhi to battle with Bahram Shah but were defeated and routed. They were returning to regain control of Bhatinda but fell in the hands of Jats and were killed.
Bhatinda Fort
Bhatinda Fort

Local clans of Sidhu and Brars took advantage of the power vacuum and took over Bhatinda Fort after Razia’s death. Bhatinda was again under the Hindu rulers for short time.
ln 1253, the fort was occupied by Razia’s brother, Sultan Nasiruddin Mahmud. He appointed Malik Sher Khan, the commander of the fort who also renovated and repaired its structure at various places and points. Current day fort manifests those renovations.
Then what happened to Bhatinda in those days?
Genghis Khan was born in (1162 – 1227) in Mongol tribe. His religion was Shamanism. He killed more than 40 million people. His policy was to massacre all old and adults but save beautiful young women for slavery and to repopulate the region through Mongol linage. General population was lined up and their throats slit. Each soldier was assigned to kill at least 400 people every day.
Genghis and his hordes annihilated every community which resisted them, killing or enslaving men, then distributing captured women among themselves and raping them.
“The plundering of enemy territories could begin only when Genghis Khan or one of his generals gave permission,” wrote Russian historian George Vernadsky.
“Once it had started, the commander and the common soldier had equal rights, except that beautiful young women had to be handed over to Genghis Khan.”
Genghis Khan, his princes and chieftains had great appetite for women. His sons and heirs ruled over his empire, and may well have used their position to establish their own large harems, especially if they followed their father’s example. Genghis Khan is considered as a proud great father of thousands of princes. It is well known fact that Genghis Khan fathered more offspring’s than anyone else in the history of mankind.
How could 500 million men, living in an area stretching from China to the Middle East, share the identical genetic footprint of one man? He was Genghis Khan.
The Chagatai Khanate (1225–1687) in Central Asia that comprised the lands ruled by Chagatai Khan, second son of Genghis Khan, and his descendents and successors. Initially it was considered a part of the Mongol Empire, but it later became fully independent. The khanate lasted in one form or another from 1220s until the late 17th century, although the western half of the khanate was lost to Tamerlane in the 1360s. Whole area was full of Genghis Khan’s Descendants princes and princess. Hundreds of princes wanted their own niche so they were exploring new territories to rules. Other nobles or successful military commanders were looking out to marry some Genghis Khan decadent princess to validate their might and right to some kingdom. To validate his authority to rule, Timur Lang married a Changtai descendent and then set out to win the world. He was converted to Islam in 1354. In religion as in other aspects of his life Timur was above all an opportunist; his religion served only to further his aims, but almost never to confine his actions. It was in the justification of the rule and their conquests that Timur and other plunderers like Ghori found Islam most useful and handy.
Present day Afghanistan area was totally emptied by the Genghis Khan & Company so every rookie prince took over that area and then launched his further conquests towards the rich and fertile lands of India. Till the beginning of 20th century human pyramids were discovered all over Afghanistan. It was the practice of Genghis Khan to put people in the circle with their feet tied to a pole and then keep laying people over people to make a 30 feet high pyramid. There was least effort involved because people were ordered to climb themselves and tie their legs otherwise they faced death by torture. When this pyramid was too high, slaves were told to seal it up with mud.
Bhatinda Fort
Bhatinda Fort 2000 years ago
1290 – 1320 Bhatinda’s control was transferred to Khilji Dynasty without any bloodshed.
One after another Mongol invaders were plundering India and massacring people. It became the sole objective of Khilji Dynasty to repel and exterminate Mongols. All people of Mongol linage in Bhatinda were systematically massacred.
At the same time Marco Polo was travelling in Asia.
There were some Mongol descendants in Bhatinda as people of Mongol linage were migrating all over Eastern India. Allaudin Khilji was all out to exterminate everybody who was suspected to be having Mongol link. Mongol people’s heads were cut and then sent to Delhi.
Fort changed hands from Khilji Dynasty to Tuglaqs but it lost its importance as significance.
Timur Lang was very angry about Mongol slaughter by Khilji Dynasty. Bhatinda route was now not much used and not many cities were situated on this route as rivers were drying up and desert was engulfing the reason. Bhatinda route became a favorite route for Timur Lang who had strong Mongol connection and most of his army was mostly made of Mongol descendants. To vent out his anger he killed Hindus and Muslims equally with without any discrimination. He slaughtered Hindus because they were Kafirs, he slaughtered Muslims because they were instrumental in Mongol people extermination. And then Timur Lang completed the process of decline of this route by mass killings, destruction of the cities and villages those came in his way. After sacking Delhi he visited Bhatinda in 1398 and destroyed it completely. His armies slaughtered and destroyed everything on large scale. Every solder had an order to bring at least two heads every day.
The future route to Delhi was to be via Sirhind and Lahore. Bhatinda was again lost in the history.
After the middle of the fourteenth century, the fort gradually fades into void. River Saraswati dried up thousands years ago, Ghaggar River changed its course, populations massacred by one after other Islamist plunderers and imperialists, Thar Desert gradually came around the fort that now stood in the dunes. The encroaching Thar Desert made the route to Multan on which Bathinda was situated, difficult to traverse. Wells dried, shady trees died and sand storms became too often. Bhatinda was reduced to a dejected village under a cluster of Jhand trees. It had become a living fossil.
Bhatinda Fort
Bhatinda now
Babur (1483 – 1530) was a direct descendant of Timur and also a descendant of Genghis Khan. he was also out to make his own niche in the world, he succeeded his father as ruler of Farghana, (present-day Uzbekistan). His uncles were always busy relentless in their attempts to dislodge him from his small kingdom. In 1497, he besieged the city of Samarkand for seven months before eventually gaining control of it. Meanwhile, a rebellion back home approximately 350 kilometers (220 mi) away robbed him of Farghana. As he was marching to recover it, Babur’s troops deserted in Samarkand, leaving him with neither Samarkand nor Fergana. He was a stateless King. He followed the example of other plunderers and raised a small band of followers and captured Kabul.
Around the same time Americas were discovered by Columbus in 1492. 20 May 1498 Vasco Da Gama Discovered India.
He arrived in India through Lahore and Sirhind. Then came first battle of Panipat and Mughals were in India for good. Bhatinda route was now devoid of people and resources and it stayed forgotten till railway lines arrived.
Then more invaders came to India but everybody chose Sirhind route and more battles were fought around Panipat that was a gateway to Delhi.
In 1558, Akbar’s regent Bairam Khan when dismissed from Wazarat, took option to rebellion against the Mughal empire. lt was in the Bathinda fort that he lodged his family before marching towards Jalandhar. However, he was defeated by the royal army at Gunachaur, near Rahon.
Dutch East India company was founded in 1602, this event was to change the history of India.
At 22 December 1666 a Godly child was born in Patna (Bihar) who was to change the history of India as well Punjab. His name was Gobind Rai. Later on he was known as Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Guru of Sikhs. This man miraculously united all scattered and suppressed Hindu Clans and brought them all under the banner of Khalsa Panth. Sikhs created a stiff resistance and blocked the ways for further Islamists invasions from West.
In 1705 Guru Gobind Singh visited Bhatinda and initiated large number of people into Khalsa Panth. It was Bhatinda area where Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru, prepared the full version of the Sikh scriptures called Sri Guru Granth Sahib in 1705.
The Takht Sri Darbar Sahib Damdama Sahib, one of the five Takhts or Seat of Temporal Authority of Sikhism, Takht Sri Damdama Sahib is in Bathinda, Punjab. The other four Takhts are the Akal Takht, Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib, Takht Sri Patna Sahib and Takht Sri Hazur Sahib.
During the Third Battle of Panipat between Marathas and Ahmad Shah, The Sikhs did not support either side and decided to sit-back and see what would happen. The exception was Ala Singh of Patiala, who sided with the Afghans and was actually being granted and crowned the first Sikh Maharajah at the Sikh holy temple. Ala Singh was the first Maharaja of Patiala.
Bhatinda Fort
Modern Bhatinda
The victory at Panipat was the high point of Ahmad Shah’s and Afghan power, this situation was not to last long; the empire soon began to unravel.
Baba Ala Singh the head of the of Phulkian Misl, became the first ruling chief of Patiala, was born in 1691 at Phul, Bathinda.
His grandfather, Baba Phul, was blessed by Guru Hargobind, 6th Guru of Sikhs. Ala Singh’s father and his uncle, Tilok Singh, had both received initiation at the hands of Guru Gobind Singh.
Blessed by the gurus
Phul along with his brother Sandali became orphans in 1618 AD. Both were being raised by their uncle Chaudhary Kala who founded Mehraj (Bhatinda). They both visited Guru Hargobind as youngsters, It was apparent to the Guru that they both very poor and often sleep hungry. The guru blessed Phul and is said to have told him that he would make a king. When Shah Jehan’s army attacked the guru in 1635 at Lehra near Mehraj (Bhatinda), Kala along with his clan fought for him. The guru ended victorious. A happy Guru Har Gobind asked Kala to take as much land he wanted to. By evening, Kala had marked twenty-two villages and put his markings into the ground. The Bhullar Jats, who considered they to be the original owners of this area removed his markings. When Kala brought this to the guru’s notice, he remarked: “Bhai Kala, your roots have reached to the other world.”
Kala founded a village and named it as Mehraj, that village became a foundation for the Kingdom of Patiala in which Bhatinda was situated.
In the middle of September 1708, the Guru Gobind Singh conferred the title of Bahadur on Banda and invested him with full political and military authority as his deputy to carry on the fight with Islamists against forced conversions and against the vicious atrocities done by Wazir Khan of Sarhind and his supporters. Banda Bahadur came to Punjab and assembled an army of Sikhs and followers. He sacked the Mughal provincial capital, Sirhind and executed Wazir Khan. Banda Bahadur’s sacking of Sirhind was a critical event in the history of India. Sikhs became so powerful and now were repelling ceaseless invasions form Afghanistan those were taking place for the last more than a thousand years. Nadir Shah was the last invader from Afghanistan and Sikhs made his life a hell, by resorting to gorilla warfare tactics and looted his convoys. (Eventually Ranjit Singh captured Lahore in 1799 and establishing the Sikh Kingdom of the Punjab.)
Ala Singh’s career of conquest began soon after the execution of Banda Singh Bahadur in 1716. Ala Singh was living at phul about 40 km from Bathinda. He gathered around him a band of dashing and daring young men and set out on a winning spree.
In 1754, Bhatinda was conquered by Ala Singh, the King of Patiala. Now Bhatinda was in the hands of Sikhs. At the end of 1760, Ala Singh possessed a vast territory of Punjab. At the same time Robert Clive was hammering final nails on the Mogul empire’s coffin which was mortally weakened by Sikhs and Marathas.
Since 1754 Bhatinda followed the history of the princely state of Patiala. In 1880 Patiala State laid railway line from Patiala to Bhatinda because Maharajas used to visit Bhatinda to hunt lions and tigers.
Raja of Patiala entered into a treaty with the British against Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1808, thus becoming collaborator in the grand empire building process by the British in India.
George Washington was elected First President of America at April 30th 1789, after defeating the British.
India was now a British colony.
In 1860 one after another railway lines were laid, Bhatinda became one of a major railway town in the world with 6 lines emerging from here. A visit to Fort offers a spectacular view of railway lines and station. Then in 1882, Sirhind canal came and deserts were again repelled at far away to Rajasthan.
Bhatinda Fort
Modern Bhatinda
People like Ganghis Khan, Tuglaq, Ghori and Timur were crooks, criminals and scoundrels. They brought nothing in India anything that was worthy and they took nothing worthy form India. Back in their own lands they pretended that they are very learned people; they established make believe libraries and built monuments. But lands from where they came are still warring among each other. Brothers are killing brothers the way they slaughtered populations. They made brother kill brother or both faced death by torture. There were incidences that they killed hundreds of thousand people in one second. People were lined up and then their throats were slit at one flash of the mirror. Ganghis Khan, Tuglaq, Ghori and Timur are considered heroes in their still troubled lands. The young man who bombed in Boston that killed and maimed even small children was name Timur by his parents because Timur is considered a hero in Chechnya. Pakistan has named its ballistic missiles and other weaponry after these murderers and looters (i.e. Abdali, Ghaznavid, Ghorid etc.) Soul of the nation is sold out to violence and violents or may be nothing else they got as inheritance.
British also came and colonized India but they were not dumb like these above mentioned scoundrels. They didn’t believe in mass killings or genocides. People were fortune for them; they harvested people’s labor and efforts. They created a permanent rich land they came from. They brought something of worth in India and they took something of worth from India. In their own sense and virtue they were wiser enough to seize even the lands of above mentioned murderers and looters and took away their looted wealth to their England – their motherland.
Some words about Bhatinda Fort from:
The fort was rechristened Govindgarh. And most of the structure of the fort as it survives now, date back from its occupation by the Patiala rulers. They held it till the merger of their territory with the Indian Union in 1956.
Bhatinda Fort
Praveen Wadhwa in Bhatinda
Before visiting the fort, one must bear in mind that it was not a palace- fort like the Red Fort at Delhi or Agra. So one is not to expect buildings like Diwan-i-Aam or Diwan-i-Khas here. It was purely a military post.
Architecturally, the fort is a formidable structure built on a roughly rectangular plan, each side extending up to 200 meters. The extraordinarily thick curtain wall of the fort soars up to 30 meters, dwarfing everything in its vicinity. Each corner of the structure is , marked by a massive and strong bastion whereas there are eight supplementary bastions on each side, lending it additional robustness and strength.
The only access to the fort interior is through a monumental gateway set at the north-eastern corner. The defense of the Passage through this gateway was by a strong iron-clad, two-leaved door, armored on the outside with line upon line of sharp and stout iron spikes to protect the door from being butted into and forced upon by elephants.
The left leaf of the door has wicket gate. The door was secured when closed, perhaps by a heavy timber: which was drawn across the opening, in the usual manner, out of a socket in one side, with the end inserted into a socket into the other. Opening out of the walls above are three tiers of loopholes through which fire-arms, spears and arrows might beparted on an attacking enemy.
Bhatinda Fort
Praveen Wadhwa in Bhatinda
Anyhow, if the enemy succeeded in penetrating this doorway, the passage was again defended by strong guards who were posted in the recesses located on either side. The gateway with its arched entrance is obviously a Muhammadan structure of some later date.
From this gateway, a steep ramp, after taking two right-angle turns, communicates to the top of the curtain cell. An other access to it is by a double flight of steps contained in an arched entrance towards the middle of each side on the interior. At each corner of the wall is a baradari-like (twelve door) pavilion, used perhaps as a watch-tower. ln ancient times, the fort was defended by a ditch which was filled with water from a Ghaggar channel. Later, this ditch was ordered to be filled up with the refuge and debris of the town by Mahmud Ghazni. Also there was a large tank within the fort which was indispensable for storing water as a siege could extend upto months and even years and those inside the fort had to depend for water entirely on its internal supply.
A broad rampart was thrown up around the fort, perhaps by the Patiala rulers. lt has vanished long since. Two of its bastions crumbled in 1958. The bastion on which stood the Gurudwara dedicated to the tenth Guru Gobind Singh, also crumbled during recent years. A new Gurudwara was built near the main gate.
Jand or Jhand or Jandi tree
Prosopis cineraria is a species of flowering tree in the pea family, Fabaceae, that is native to arid portions Thar Desert in India. It can be grown anywhere.
Common names include Ghaf (Arabic); Khejri (Rajasthan); Jand or Jandi (Punjabi); Kandi (Sindh); Banni (Kannada); Vanni (Tamil); Jammi (Telugu); Sami, Shami (Marathi)and (Hindi);Sumri (Gujarat).
It is the state tree of Rajasthan (India) and state tree of the Sindh (Pakistan). In Bahrain it is called Tree of Life in Bahrain. Hundreds of years old these trees can be seen in the villages of Rajasthan. Trees those witnessed the arrival of Mohammad Ghori and Timur Lane. Its roots go deeper and deeper to touch water table, that could be around 1 kilometer deep.
These trees are worshiped in the villages as they are the symbol of survival and preservance.

Jandi/Jand/Jhand tree (prosopis cineraria)
Following part is From:
The wonders of the ‘wonder tree’
H.C. Gera
The jand tree is worshiped in an elaborate way
BEHIND the Kiran theater and near the boundary wall of Veterinary Hospital in Sector 22, Chandigarh, is a tree which is worshiped by a large number of people.
The tree (prosopis cineraria) is known as jand in Hindi and Punjabi, jandi in Haryanvi, khejri in Rajasthani, and sami or samri in Gujarati. Referred to as the golden tree of Indian deserts, it plays a vital role in preserving the ecosystem of arid and semi-arid areas.
Basically jand tree is a symbol of socio-economic development of the arid regions. Since all the parts of the tree are useful, it is called kalp taru. It is also known as the ‘king of desert’, and the ‘wonder tree’.
People down the ages have held this tree sacred. In June, 1661, two women of Bishnoi community from Jodhpur district laid down their lives in protest against the cutting of khejri trees. Again in July, 1787, more than 300 people, including women and children, sacrificed their lives to save khejri trees from the King of Jodhpur.
During Vedic times, khejri wood was used to kindle the sacred fire for performing a yajana.
In Hindu epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, mention the usefulness and significance of this tree. Lord Rama worshipped khejri tree, which represents the goddess of power, before he led his army to kill Ravana. The worshipping of this tree is referred to as samipuja. Pandavas also worshipped this tree and hid their weapons in it during their agyatavasa.
Mainly men and married women worship jand tree, in an elaborate way. First of all oil lamps are lit and placed at the base of the trunk. Then incense sticks are lighted and vermilion is applied on the tree. This is followed by tying of the sacred thread (mauli) around the trunk. The head of the family and other male members circumbulate around the tree thrice or seven times. Then prasad prepared from home is offered and joint prayers are held. Finally, the head of the family applies tilak to all male members. Sometimes, the married women also perform the same ritual. Some families, belonging to Chandigarh or the adjoining areas of Punjab and Haryana, have been performing religious ceremonies under the tree for the past many years. Many people offer prayers at this sacred spot to mark the birth of a child or a marriage in the family.
While worshipping this tree, the devotees have to keep two precautions in mind. Firstly, the entire prasad brought from home has to be either distributed or consumed at the revered site. Secondly, the tilak applied on the forehead of the members of family has to be wiped off before they leave this venerated place. To go home with the prasad and tilak is considered inauspicious.

Jandi/Jand/Jhand tree (prosopis cineraria)
Khejri tree provides shelter and protection to animals and birds in desert areas. This tree is home to many large birds like kites, hawks and vultures.
Many Rajasthani families use the green and unripe pods (known as sangri) in preparation of curries and pickles. The importance of the medicinal value of sami tree has been highlighted in our ancient literature. The bark of the tree provides immediate relief to a person bitten by snake or scorpion. Its leaves and fruits are used in preparing medicines for curing nervous disorders. The medicines prepared from its bark are also used for treating diarrhea, dysentery, piles, worm infestations and other skin problems. The bark is also used to cure leprosy, bronchitis, asthma, tumour of muscles and to improve concentration. The gum of the tree is nutritive and good in taste and is used by pregnant woman at the time of delivery. Almost all the parts of this tree are used for the benefit of mankind, thus justifying its name kalp taru.

1 comment:

  1. Kya baat hai Praveen... history at finger tips and so accurate.

    You must write books now so that people after many centuries know you and the truth from your writings


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