Dulla Bhatti da kissa – Epic story of Dullah Bhatti
Dulla Bhatti was a famous legendary Rajput hero of Punjab, who led a rebellion against the famous Mughal king Akbar. There is a kind of epic in Punjabi language called Dulle di var, which narrates the battle events of Dulla Bhatti. Still there is a famous region in Punjab, Pakistan, called Dulle Di Bar means the forest of Dulla Bhatti. This legendary Punjabi hero is buried at Miani Sahib Qabristan (Graveyard) in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. There is a town Dullewala (Bhakkar District) in the name of legendary Dulla Bhatti where he had a stay with his allies.
Dulla Bhatti was born in a Punjabi family to mother Ladhi and father Farid Khan in the area of Sandal Baar, near Faisalabad now in Pakistan (Sandal Bar is also related to the legend of Mirza Sahiba). He belonged to the warrior like rajput clan of Bhattis.He following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, waged a guerrilla warfare against the Mughal Empire.He refused to accept the legitimacy of Mughal King Akbar and refused to pay any tax.Such was the level of resistance put up by the rebels that Akbar had to shift his Imperial Capital to Lahore for nearly 20 years. When Akbar came to Lahore, he ordered the execution of the rebels.Legend has it that to instill fear into the hearts of the common man, Akbar got their skins stuffed with wheat hay (toori) and hung the dead-bodies on the main door.
Dulla wasn’t even born yet. For some reason, huirre was never told of the cause of his father’s and grandfather’s death until he was a young man. One theory has it that Dulla was born at the same time as Akbar’s son Salim (who would later become Emperor Jahangir); but Salim was a weakling and on doctors’ suggestions Akbar brought in Ladhi (Dulla’s mother and a strong rajput woman) to his palace in Delhi and made her to breast feed Salim. So both Dulla and Salim were practically brought up by Ladhi. As adolescents, these two had a good friendship. Dulla and his mother went back to their homeland.
The story of Dulla has been poetically treated by many, and has been written in style known as Saddaan (similar to Mirza by Peelu and Bhagwan Singh). The above incident is thus narrated:
Tera saandal dada maareya, ditta bhore vich paa, Mughlaan puthhiyaan khallaan laah ke bhariyaan naal hawaa.
In the Chardah (East) Punjab-now India-during the Lohri bonfires that mark the end of the deep winter and the start of spring (Capricorn Constellation-Makar appears over the horizon) all the Sikh and Hindu families mark Dulla Bhatti’s social and humanitarian contribution made to rescue and then reintegrate the abducted children and girls from the Moghul forces. The Lohri Song is sung upon the birth of a baby boy- for the agricultural community this marks continuation of the family land occupation.
The version of Lohri Song that best describes this contribution of Bhatti and the immense respect with which this rebel is held in the eyes of all Punjabis is:
Sunder mundriye hoe!
Tera kaun wicahara hoe!
Dullah bhatti walla hoe!
Dullahe di dhee vyayae hoe!
Ser shakkar payee hoe!
Kudi da laal pachaka hoe!
Kudi da saalu paatta hoe!
Salu kaun samete!
Mamhe choori kutti! zamidara lutti!
bade bhole aaye!
Ek bhola reh gaya!
Sipahee pakad ke lai gaya!
Sipahee ne mari eet!
Sanoo de de lohri te teri jeeve jodi! (Cry or howl!)
Paheenve ro te phannve pit! ”
(Rhyming: beautiful one like a ringlet one!)
Who will save you poor one (to a rescued girl)
Dullah Bhatti is here for you (He rescued the girls who were abandoned and rejected after kidnap!)
The Duallah married off his daughter (the rescued girls were adopted by him as his daughters)
He gave a measure (sher about a kilo)of sugar!
The girl is wearing bridal red dress!
But her shawl is torn (poor and soiled-girl has been raped?)!
Who will stitch her shawl(repair her reputation)?!
The maternal uncle made sweet ghee bread (choori)! (maternal uncles were responsible to vouch for chastity of the girl)
The landlords ravished it (meaning the girl kidnapped by rich moghul landlords!)!
He made the landlords eat a lot!
Lots of innocent guys came (poor grooms)
One innocent boy got left behind (the poorest of poor!)
The soldiers arrested him! (Indicated that he was in collusion with Bhatti the rebel)
The soldiers hit him with a brick! (tortured him)
Cry or howl!
Give us lohri (gifts) ..long live you couple!”
Rise of Dulla
As Dulla grew up he became a real fighter and warrior learning the art with his keen eye from here and there, unknowingly in the foot-steps of his father and grandfather. When he was young enough, his mother told him the about the past and from then on Dulla pledged that his only purpose in life was to defeat Akbar and kill him. In the meantime, Salim had a fall out with Akbar over Salim’s love affair with Anarkali. Salim rebelled and came up North-west and met up with Dulla. Salim instigated Dulla further to achieve his own motive as well. With Salim’s support, Dulla built up a small army of dacoits which made loots from the imperial treasure and merchants in the area of Sandal Bar. The famous loots among them being stealing horses from a merchant who was supposed to be working for the Akbar, then robbing Akbar’s gifts sent from the Middle East. His loots were distributed among the poor and this made him a popular and a heroic rebel. His compassion for the poor and his help in getting poor girls married is still remembered, especially during the times of celebrating the festival of Lohri (mostly falls on 13 January). Although different versions of the festive song are sung in different regions, it sounds something like:
Tera kaun vichaara
Dulla bhatti waala
Dulle ne dhii vehaayi
Ser shakkar paayi
Kudi da saalu paata
Kudi da jeeve chacha
Kudi de maame aaye
Gin gin paule laaye
Ikk paula khus geya
Te zimiindaar russ geya
Aayiin aayiin chachi
Tera putt chadhu ga haathi
Haathi de kann vich jaun
Ni tere putt hon ge nau
Nau(h)aan di kamaayi
Ni tere dar dar chadh di aayi
Seeing so much support for his nephew, Dulla’s uncle Jalaludin, got envious and complained to Akbar against the mischievous Dulla.
In the meantime, Dulla kidnapped two of Akbar’s wives who were going for the Haj pilgrimage. This infuriated Akbar and he ordered immediate capture or killing of Dulla and the safe release of his queens. A huge army was sent for the task, and Dulla would not binge. People of that area wanted to save Dulla and tried to distract the army; so much so that one girl tried to lure the army chief.
Anyway, Dulla fought bravely and for once the Mughal Army had to call for reinforcements because the rebels and the public support were too hot to handle. Dulla’s son was killed in the war. Dulla was deceitfully captured and brought to emperor’s court in Delhi. He was hanged to death.