The past history of a country reveals the true state of affairs thus shedding light on vrious aspects of the period concerned. It provides guide-lines for the future course of for the nation so that we can draw appropriate lessons the past failings of our ancestors. The glorious past of a munity or country inspires future generations and infuses new spirit of regeneration and an intese desire to march· forward in order to attain progress.
The Sikh Community can take pride in its past history. The Sikh Gurus, Generals, Jathedars and Sikh soldiers shed their blood for sustaining the community and. thus laid firm foundations for its survival. The martyrdoms of Guru Arjan Dev, Guru Tegh Bahadur, the sacrifices of the four brave young sons of Guru Gobind Singh, Banda Singh Bahadur, Bhai Mani Singh, Bhai Tara Singh, Bhai Subeg Singh, Bhai Shahbaz Singh and the contributions of the Sikh Misls, Maharaja Ranjit Singh and a host of other leaders had organised and consolidated the Sikh community. This paved the way for the later Akali movement. The active participation of the Sikhs in the various phases of freedom struggle and independence movement in the twentieth centruy once gain put them into the fore front for the liberation of the country from the foreign yoke. Their unparalleled sacrifics for the noble cause won the admiration of everyone in India and abroad.
There is no parallel in the history of any country to the glorious past of the Sikh community but one shudders to think of the way we have torn to shreds the past glory and brought · our own downfall. There is urgent need to learn from our past blunders and stem the tide of disintegration that has engulfed the Sikh community at the present time. We must draw a lesson from our failings and so shape the future of the valiant Sikh community that the succeeding generations can feel justly proud of their heritage.
The ignorance of the Sikh youth of, the past deeds of valour and invincible bravery displayed by their ancestors is deplorable. The educated leaders of the Sikh community are not free from blame in this respect. The students of Khalsa schools and colleges are well-acquainted with four centuries of British history but are not conversant with the recent history of their own community. We must take effective measures to overcome these shortcomings in our educational system, so that the growing youngsters can enrich themselves with the knowledge of the part played by their forefathers in the building, sustenance and survival of their own community.
An effort has been made in the succeeding pages to record faithfully the history of the period of Sikh rule starting from the time of Banda Bahadur to the end of the Sikh kindgdom with the deportation of the young Maharaja Duleep Singh and the annexation of Punjab by the British. This historical account is based on the study of a good number of books on history by contemporary historians of the period in ~ various languages and of the later historians who made an extensive study of that period for which the author is deeply indebited to them.
Publication Date: 15th April 2021