Rai Abdullah Khan Bhatti Rajput, popularly known as Dulla Bhatti was a famous legendary Rajput hero of the Punjab, who led a rebellion against the Mughal emperor Akbar.
Dulla Bhatti was born as Abdullah Khan Bhatti in a Muslim Rajput family to Ladhi and Rai Farid Khan Bhatti, and grandson of Rai Sandal Khan Bhatti in the area of Sandal Bar in "SandalWal", in modern day Pindi Bhattian, now in Pakistan (Sandal Bar). The people of this area were known to provide stiff opposition to marauders. Mahmud of Ghazni had carried out one special campaign to subdue the warrior Bhatti Rajputs of Sandal Bar.
His grandfather Rai Sandal Khan was a tribal chief and head of all the rajputs of the area, and held 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. Even Babur makes a mention of the resistance offered to him by these chivalrous tribals in his autobiography Baburnama. 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. Many people of this area refused paid any taxes, openly defied the authorities and indulged in looting the royal caravans and treasures. A chief protagonist of such activities was Rai Sandal Khan Bhatti, a Raja and tribal chief of the area. Dulla's family ruled the area of "Sandal Bar" from 1332 A.D, like their ancestors Dulla also continued to do the same and even extended up his state to modern day Bhakkar district,he had complete control over the territory and it was ruled by Bhatti Rajputs under him. 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 husk 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.
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 Mughal 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.
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).
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.
Maulvi Noor Ahmad Chishti narrates an incident about Shah Hussein Lahori in his Tehqiqat-e-Chishtia. Dulla Bhatti never approved of Mughals and remained active against them. Mughal King Akbar got hold of him and ordered to death. Dulla Bhatti was to be hanged publicly near Nela Gumbad or some place around Landa Bazaar in Lahore. Lahore Kotwal (Police Chief) Ali Malik was supervising the execution where Lahorites had flocked in large number. Shah Hussein had affiliations with Dullah Bhatti and argued with the Police Chief. Ali Malik threatened Shah Hussein saying, “I will get you nailed before evening.”
Shah Hussein responded, “You will be nailed before causing any trouble to me.”
Ali Malik had to report to Akbar and tell him last words of Dulla Bhatti after it was over. “Dulla Bhatti kept calling names and abusing you,” Ali Malik reported to Akbar who was infuriated with Ali Malik on repeating every thing exactly. Akbar ordered Ali Malik to be nailed.
Order of the King was implemented the same evening.
Shah Hussain approved Dulla's revolt against Akbar as,
Kahay Hussain Faqeer Sayeen Da
Takht Na Milday Mungay.