Sikhs history - Religious Persecution Era
Banda Singh was martyred in 1716. The religious persecution of
the Sikhs started immediately after that. They were outlawed by
the Government. No laws protected their lands or property. They
were attacked and murdered and their houses were looted.
Thousands of Sikhs lost their lives like this. The remaining
Sikhs retreated into the forests. They survived on vegetables,
fruits and even the roots of the trees. But they didn't feel
discouraged. They firmly believed in Guru Gobind Singh Ji's
prophecy that the Sikhs would rule the country one day. Some
time they will come out of the forests to attack the government
forces. The Government was getting more frustrated with them.
Therefore the Government decided to deal with them once and for
all. A proclamation was made that the Sikhs should be wiped out
from the face of earth. It was declared that financial sums will
be given to the people who will kill the Sikhs and will bring
their heads as a proof to the capital. This practice went on for
many years. Everyday money was given to the people who brought
the heads of the Sikhs. Sikh women and children were arrested
and brought to Lahore, the capital. There all children were
killed and their body parts were put into their mothers laps.
The religious persecution went on for about 50 years. But the Government was weakened by the attacks from Ahmad Shah, an afghan king. Ahmad Shah reached all the way to Delhi and killed thousands of people. He imprisoned about 20,000 young Hindu girls and was taking them to Afghanistan to make them slaves. Sikhs attacked his convey and released a good portion of those girls and sent them safely back to their homes. This infuriated Ahmad Shah. The next year, he again attacked India. Sikhs started retreating towards the safer areas. Ahmad Shah followed them and encircled them. There was a fierce fight and 70% of the Sikh community was slaughtered in one single day. This black day is also known as holocaust day in Sikh history. Ahmad Shah also destroyed the Sikhism's holiest place, the Golden Temple.
Sikhs regrouped and got ready to fight the tyrants. Ultimately they became strong enough to defeat the tyrants and started ruling the area around 1760s.