Saga of gallantry: How Mehtab Singh and Sukha Singh took revenge (Part-I)It was 1739. The once powerful Mughal empire became very weak. Nadir Shah, the Sultan of Persia, attacked Delhi and looted the prosperous city. He took away the peacock-throne. He created death and misery in the city.
But, while returning with the booty, the Sultan of Persia had to suffer a lot in the hands of Sikh horsemen at Punjab. They harassed and killed his soldiers with swift guerilla tactics, freed the captured women and re-looted the wealth. Exasperated, Nadir Shah called Zakaria Khan, the Mughal Governor of Lahore, and asked him to take appropriate measures against the Sikh horsemen.
Zakaria Khan started a reign of terror in Lahore, Amritsar and adjacent areas. He kept an award of Rs. 50/- (a major amount at that time) for every Sikh head, an award of Rs. 10/- and a blanket for cutting the hair of a Sikh. Sikhs left Lahore and Amritsar and entered into the nearby jungle. However, they occasionally used to come to the Golden Temple and Harmandir Sahib to pay their obeisance.
Zakaria Khan appointed Massa Rangar, a chieftain of Mandiali near Nakodar, as the Officer-in-charge of Amritsar. Rangars were basically illegitimate children whom neither Hindus nor Muslims used to accept as their own. Massa Rangar established his headquarter just beside Harmandir Sahib with a strong security cordon around the temple complex to protect him.
To insult the Sikhs, Massa Rangar brought nautch girls inside the temple premises, started drinking and smoking inside the sacred place and indulged in various other acts which are not allowed in the religious scriptures of the Sikhs.
An aged Sikh, Bukala Singh, reached the Sikh settlement at Bikaner in Rajasthan with this insulting news of defiling of Harmandir Sahib. Mehtab Singh and Sukha Singh, two simple Sikhs who used to live near Bikaner, immediately took a vow to kill Massa Rangar to avenge the defiling of the sacred place of Golden Temple.
(To be continued at Part-II)