“When You are with me, why should I look to anyone else? You gave me everything ever since I became Your Banda.”
– Guru Arjun Dev ji (Guru Granth Sahib, 1096)
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This painting depicts that epic moment when Baba Banda Singh ji Bahadur captures Wazir Khan with a group of Singhs. In order to bring Wazir Khan to justice, Baba ji punishes him for executing the Chotte Sahibzadey, the innocent children of Guru Gobind Singh ji.
In the foreground, we see the innocent Chotte Sahibzadey fallen amongst cold bricks, cruelly murdered at sunset. Behind them, we see Banda Singh Bahadur and his Singhs surrounding the cruel Wazir Khan, with spears in hand. Wazir Khan’s horse is slain and falls to the ground, representing the fall of Sirhind, and he is forced to defend himself as he collapses to the hard ground. In the background, Baba ji’s army is returning back home after conquering the city of Sirhind and punishing Wazir Khan for his actions.
In this painting, I depicted these two events that took place several years apart – martyrdom of Chotta Sahibzade and Banda Singh Bahadur’s attack on Sirhind – together into a single painting to connect them and tie them together to give context of the story to new viewers and future generations.
A Closer Look
The Chotte Sahibzadey, Sahibzada Zorawar Singh ji and Sahibzada Fateh Singh ji, were only around 6 and 9 years old when they were bricked alive. During wartime, they had been separated from their father, Guru Gobind Singh ji, at the Sirsa River and had been travelling with their Grandmother, Mata Gujri ji, to a safe location. On their way, they were reported to the Mughal government, to Wazir Khan, and were captured by his police.
Wazir Khan was the Nawab of Sirhind. He wanted Sher Muhammad Khan to punish Guru’s children. Even though Sher Muhammad’s brother had been killed by Guru Sahib, in battle, he sternly refused at the offer and criticized it for its cruelty. He did not deem it humane to punish children for the crime of the father. Wazir Khan however, had lost all his humanity. The next day he ordered that the Sahibzadey be bricked alive, and they were killed that evening.
Several years later when Baba Banda Singh ji Bahadur heard of this cruel deed, he set out to punish Wazir Khan in Sirhind. Baba ji was a generous man, an enlightened soul and very powerful, he possessed ridhiyan sidhiyan. He was a bairagi at heart and did not care for wordly possessions. Anything he looted on his conquests, he just gave away to his soldiers and generals. Guru Gobind Singh ji had given him leadership of his sikhs for a reason. So along with Guru’s sikhs, he amassed a huge army on the way to Sirhind and captured the city. There he captured Wazir Khan and the Singhs punished Wazir Khan for his actions.