THE SECOND SIKH HOLOCAUST (Wadda Ghalughara)
Adbali invaded India in early 1761 when the famous battle of Panipat took place between him & the Marathas. There were very heavy losses on both sides. Thousands of soldiers died. The Sikhs remained aloof & let both of the claimants to Punjab wear themselves out, leaving the Sikhs to be the masters of their lands.
Abdali won the battle & ravaged Delhi after his victory. When returning, the exhausted Afghan soldiers loaded with booty, found it impossible to withstand the lightning attack of the Sikhs. They appeared from nowhere, attacked the guards like hawks, took away the looted wealth, & vanished as quickly as they had come. The Khalsa not only liberated some 2000 women prisoners, but also took away much of the treasures, which Abdali had obtained from Delhi. Harassed & bothered by the Sikhs, he left Punjab dejected & extremely angered. After suffering severe damages & heavy losses of men at the hands of the Marathas, he was returning empty handed to his country. Before leaving Punjab, he resolved in his mind to come back with enough force to destroy the Sikhs from the face of the earth.
In 1761, after Diwali, the Sikhs occupied Lahore. Jassa Singh Ahluwalia was given the title of "Sultanul Kaum", or the King of the Sikh nation.
Abdali returned with a large organized force in February 1762. Knowing this, the Sikhs vacated Lahore. About 60,000 Sikh men, women & children were moving to safety in Malwa. Abdali decided to make a lightning to march. He crossed two rivers & covered a distance of more than 150 kilometers in just two days. The cavalry took the slow moving Sikhs by surprise when they were near the village of Kup, about forty kilometers of south Ludhiana. The Sikhs were with their families & hence, were slaughtered by the objective.
This massacre was the heaviest single blow that the Sikhs had to withstand in their history. It is called Wada Ghalughara, or the Great Holocaust. Abdali also blew up the Harimandar Sahib & filled the Sarovar with refuse & dead cows to destroy the holy place, which he thought was the source of Sikh power. In May 1762, Sikhs took over Sirhind & in October 1762, on Diwali day, pushed Abdali out of Amritsar.
Sikhs died heroic deaths in order to create conditions in which their fellow men could live with honor and self-respect.