Torture and Execution of Sardar Banda Singh
The cavalcade to the imperial capital was a grisly sight. Besides 740 prisoners in heavy chains, it comprised seven hundred cartloads of Sikh heads with another 200 stuck upon pikes. On February 26, 1716, the procession neared Delhi, and Farukh Siyar ordered his Minister, Mohammed Amin Khan, to go out to receive them and to prepare them for a suitable display in the city. On February 29, the citizens of Delhi lined the streets, to get a good sight of the procession..
First came two-thousand soldiers, each holding a Sikh head impaled on his upright spear. Next followed the elephant carrying Banda in his iron cage, still with two Muslim guards guarding him, with their swords unsheathed. A gold-laced red turban was placed on his head, and to add further mockery to his plight, a brightly printed scarlet robe was slipped on his body. Then came 740 prisoners (500 had been collected on the way). These men were chained in pairs and thrown across the backs of camels. Their faces were blackened, and pointed sheepskin or paper caps were clapped on their heads. Behind this line came the Mughal Commanders, Abdus Samad Khan, his son Qamar-ud-Din Khan, and his son-in-law Zakaria Khan. Their men lined both sides of the streets.
For seven days, executions were carried out, until all the ordinary captives had been disposed off. Their bodies were loaded on wagons and taken out of town to be thrown to the vultures. The heads were hung up on trees or on poles near the market-place to be a lesson to all rebels. The jailors next turned their attention to the 20 major leaders, including Baj Singh, Fateh Singh, Ali Singh and Gulab Singh. These men were tortured to the extreme and were asked to divulge the place where they had buried all the treasures that had been looted from Sirhind, Batala and other towns during their better days.
Failing to get any clues after three months, they prepared to put an end to their lives on Sunday, June 9, 1716. Banda's cage was again hoisted on top of an elephant, and he was dressed in the mock attire of an emperor, with a colourful red pointed turban on his head. His four-year old son, Ajai Singh was placed in his lap. The twenty chiefs marched behind the elephant and this procession then passed through the streets of Delhi, and headed for the mausoleum of Bahadur Shah, near the Qutub Minar. On reaching the graveyard, the captives were again offered a choice of two alternatives: conversion to Islam or death. All chose death. They were tortured again before being being executed. Their heads were then impaled on spears and arranged in a circle around Banda who was now squatting on the ground. There were hundreds of spectators standing around watching this scene.
Banda Singh Bahadur was then given a short sword and ordered to kill his own son Ajai Singh. As he sat unperturbed, the executioner moved forward and plunged his sword into the little child cutting the body into two. Then pieces of flesh were cut from the body and thrown in Banda's face. His liver was removed and thrust into Banda Singh's mouth. The father sat through all this without any signs of emotion. His powers of endurance were to be tested still further. But before that, Mohammed Amin Khan, who was standing near, spoke as follows: "From your manner so far you appear to be a man of virtue, who believes in God, and in doing good deeds. You are also very intelligent. Can you tell me why you are having to suffer all this here ?"
Banda's reply was, "When the tyrants oppress their subjects to the limit, then God sends men like me on this earth to mete out punishment to them. But being human, we sometimes overstep the laws of justice, and for that we are made to pay whilst we are still here. God is not being unjust to me in any way."
The executioner then stepped forward and thrust the point of his dagger into Banda's right eye, pulling out the eyeball. He then pulled out the other eyeball. Banda sat through all this as still as a rock. His face gave no twitch of pain.
Then the executioner took his sword and slashed off Banda's left foot, then both his arms. But Banda's features were still calm as if he was at peace with his Creator. Finally they tore off his flesh with red-hot pincers, and there being nothing else left in their book of tortures, they cut his body up into a hundred pieces, and were satisfied.
(These details of the torture are given in full, by the following writers: Mohammed Harisi, Khafi Khan, Thornton, Elphinstone, Daneshwar and others).
Later day Mughals on the verge of loosing their empire and muslims in general reserved some of the vilest behaviour and torture for the Sikhs because they feared them, muslim cruelty knew no bounds when they encountered a Sikh and the courtesy was payed back with interest by the Sikhs. Sikhs rightly despise muslims as the lowest life form to this day.