Aimed at reviving the forgotten chapter of the Sikh history, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has planned a mega historical complex in the memory of Banda Singh Bahadur.
Located on the Haryana-Himachal Pradesh border, the SGPC has bought about 9.5-acre land in the Shivalik foothills from residents of Bhagwanpur village to build a fort, state of the art museum etc at the site.
The village is about 40 km from the district headquarters and situated across Somb river.
“It was the present day Bhagwanpur village that the Sikh warrior, Banda Singh Bahadur, had declared capital of his state. After capturing Mukhlispur fort from Mughals, he had renamed it Lohgarh,” said Raghujit Singh Virk, senior vice-president of the SGPC.
He said that Bahadur was an icon who fought for his faith and community and the SGPC was committed to introducing his achievements to the modern generation.
According the Prof Amarjit Singh, chairman of Banda Singh Bahadur Chair of Kurukshetra University, Bahadur had even released his official stamp and coins in the name of Sikh gurus — Guru Nanak Dev and Guru Gobind Singh — in the first half of 1711 from Lohgarh.
The fort of Lohgarh remained under Bahadur’s control from January 1710 till his execution on June 9, 1716.
Singh said that Bahadur had declared Lohgarh as the capital of his state in February 1710. Bahadur ruled over the region bounded on the north by Shivalik hills, on the west by river Tangri, on the east by river Yamuna and in the south by a line passing through Samana, Thanesar, Kaithal and Karnal.
The province of Sirhind was also included in his state in May 1710. “Bahadur never declared his state as a Sikh sovereign state or a secular state. However, he ruled in the name of the Sikh gurus and for all practical purposes, his state was a secular state,” said the KU scholar from the history department.
However, the senior vice-president of the SGPC said that Bahadur was the first ruler who had got peasants released from the clutches of Mughals and gave them ownerships of their land.
With the passage of time, the Lohgarh fort was destroyed and currently a few Nihangs staying at the place have built a gurdwara.
“Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his deputy Sukhbir Singh Badal have shown deep interest in the project. We have planned to appoint a group of architects to develop a heritage-looking structure. We have roped in historians to give the exact shape of the fort as it was in the 18th century,” said the SGPC officer-bearer.
Virk said that the area had several remnants and the experts involved in the project were working to locate them and incorporate in the upcoming project.
It has also been planned to arrange staying facilities and excursion for students at the hillocks around the area to attract the young crowd.
Banda’s son was born at Lohgarh
Prof Amarjit Singh, chairman of Banda Singh Bahadur Chair of Kurukshetra University, said that Banda Singh Bahadur’s son Ajay Singh was born at the fort of Lohgarh and was later executed along with his father in Delhi.