Rai Abdullah Khaan Bhatti popularly known as Dulla Bhatti (Punjabi: دًﻻ بھٹى) was a famous legendary Rajput hero of Punjab, who led a rebellion against the famous Mughal emperor Akbar.Such was the level of resistance put by Rai Abdullah Khaan that Akbar had to shift his capital from Delhi to Lahore for nearly 20 years of time and made the Lahore fort his headquarters and Lahore as his capital.Rai Abdullah Khaan's rebellion was the reason that Akbar made the existing basic structure of the Lahore Fort. There is a kind of epic in Punjabi language called Dulle da 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 Rajput 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.According to a version, heard from Ghulam Mohammad Rulia of Taran Taran settled in Faisalabad district after independence, and compiled by Ahmad Saleem for the National Council of the Arts, and Folklore Research Centre, Islamabad, Dulla was against the Mughals, particularly Akbar, who had hanged Dulla’s father and grandfather.
Dulla Bhatti was born, as Rai Abdullah Khaan Bhatti, in a Muslim Rajput family to mother Ladhi and father Rai Farid Khan Bhatti and grandson of Rai Sandal Khaan Bhatti in the area of "Sandal Bar" in "SandalWal" modern day Pindi Bhattian now in Pakistan (Sandal Bar is also related to the legend of Mirza Sahiba). The people of this area were known to provide stiffest opposition to marauders.The Mahmud of Ghaznawi had carried out one special campaign to subdue the burly and bold warrior Bhatti Rajputs of Sandal Bar. His grandfather Rai Sandal Khaan was a tribal chief and head of all the rajputs of the area who holds nearly all the tract of that bar stretching from modern day Hafizabad up to Multan border.His family was directly descended from Rawal Jaisal Singh who founded "The Golden City" of Jaisalmer.He belonged to the warrior like rajput clan of Bhattis. Even Babur makes a mention of the resistance offered to him by these chivalrous tribals in his autobiography 'Baburnama.' From a social point of view these valiant tribesmen had a very secular outlook and their lifestyle was a composite blend of Hindu and Islamic rituals and traditions. In due course of time, the Mughals had consolidated their hold over the entire country but dominance of the region lying between the Chenab and Ravi, eluded them. People of this area never paid any taxes rather they openly defied the authorities and indulged in looting the royal caravans and treasures.Head of all such activities was Rai Sandal Khan Bhatti,the Raja and tribal chief of the area. He(Dulla) following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, waged a guerrilla warfare against the Mughal Empire.According to his mother Laddhi, Dulla was a Lion .He refused to accept the legitimacy of Mughal King Akbar and refused to pay any tax. 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, he was never told of the cause of his father’s and grandfather’s death until he was a young man.
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 sandal 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 as he was the tribal chief and hereditary raja of the rajputs, 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 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.Legendary stories are associated with the brave Dulla Bhatti. He used to rob rich to help the poor and needy. It is believed that Dulla had restored the prestige of an innocent girl whose modesty was outraged by a Mughal general. There are various versions of the actual story. Some traditions say that Dulla had adopted this girl as his daughter and arranged her marriage in the Jungles of Sandal Bar.