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Famous Sikhs

Baba Bota Singh Baba Garja Singh

By | Famous Sikhs
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Shaheed Baba Bota Singh Baba Garja Singh ji

After the death of Qazi Abdul Razak and Mufti Abdul Rehman at the hands of the Singhs in 1738 A.D., Zakriya Khan, the Governor of Lahore put Abdul Samad Khan Yusufi at the head of an army patrol. Wherever that patrol came across a Singh, they killed him there and then. One day, Abdul Samad Khan fell into the hands of Nawab Kapoor Singh. He tied him head down, behind a horse and ran the horse at a gallop which caused his death. After that, the Governor began rewarding those coming with the heads of Singhs. A large number of Singhs left Lahore and went to other provinces. .

Zakariya Khan had taken vows to destroy the Sikhs, root and branch. Orders were given that all Sikhs-men, women, and children were to be put to death. It was declared lawful to plunder their homes and seize their property. Their houses were to be looted and plundered. They were to be haunted down like wild beasts. Not only government officials, but even notable Hindus and Muhammadans, vied with one another in this cruel campaign of loot, arson and murder. Special rewards were offered for the capture and destruction of the Sikhs. It was announced, ‘Any parson giving information which leads to the arrest of a Sikh, will get ten gold coins. Fifty coins will be rewarded to him who brings the head of a Sikh. Eighty coins will be given to him who captures and brings a Sikh alive.’ It has to be borne in mind that eighty coins in those days would be equal to a few thousand dollars today. So, the rewards were tempting indeed. The whole machinery of the government was put into motion to crush the Sikhs. Even non-official Zamindars were made to lend a hand in this campaign of ruthless genocide. Some Zamindars used to send cartloads of heads to Lahore. This campaign was the most virulent in the Majha tract.

As a result of this fierce persecution, most of the Sikhs left the plains. They took shelter in places away from human habitations. These places were the Shivalik Hills, the Lakhi jungle, and the sandy deserts of Rajputana. The few who still chose to remain in the Majha, had to press their days in bushes and forests, here and there. Sometimes, some persecutors and evil wishers of their would boast that the Sikhs were afraid to appear in the plains. Such taunts would cause some daring Sikhs to come out of their hiding places, and make their presence known and felt. One such daring Sikh was Bhai Bota Singh. He was a GurSikh of Bharana, now in Pakistan. He had a companion named Bhai Garja Singh. They used to come occasionally to Amritsar at night in order to bathe in the sacred tank. They spent the rest of the day in the bushes near Taran Taaran. Bhai Bota Singh was a deeply religious man. He passed his life in reciting the Guru’s sacred hymns and meditating on God. By nature, he was a peace loving saint. But, at the same time, he could be a mighty soldier, if necessary.

It was toward the end of 1739, when one day, a party of wayfarers noticed Bhai Bota Singh and his companion near Nurdi. The two were returning from a secret pilgrimage to the darbar Sahib at Amritsar. ‘Look There’ said one of the wayfarers, ‘there goes the pair of Sikhs’. ‘O , no’, said another. ‘They can’t be Sikhs. there is no Sikh left anywhere in the neighborhood. All of them have been either killed or driven away. Zakriya Khan has proudly proclaimed that he has exterminated the Sikhs that no Sikh exists in the Punjab.’ But, said the first man, ‘I am sure that they are Sikhs.’ ‘In that case,’ said the other, ‘they must be a pair of cowards, jackals, hiding about to save their skins. The Sikhs are not subject to such fears.’ These taunting remarks stung Bhai Bota Singh. A Singh of Guru Gobind Singh was, to him, as brave as a lion. That a Singh or lion should be called jackal was more than he could stand. The Guru’s Khalsa, he felt, could not be exterminated. Zakriya Khan must be made to realize that his boast was empty, that the Khalsa was in existence and would ever continue to exist, in spite of all that he and his ilk might do. Indeed, the taunt awoke the soldier in that saint. He decided to come out into the open, make his presence felt, by Zakriya Khan and his government, and to maintain the prestige of the Khalsa. His companion was of the same view.

Bhai Bota Singh and his companion came out from the bushes. They took their position on the then Grand Trunk Road near Nurdi, a few miles west of Taran Taaran. In those days, this road connected Delhi and Lahore. As mere bravado and show of courage, Bhai Bota Singh began to collect toll tax of one anna per cart and one pice per donkey load. None dared to refuse his demand. All paid it readily and quietly. Nobody dared make a report to the government. Their weapons were big sticks cut from kikkar trees. This went for some time. Bhai Bota Singh’s presence was, no doubt, felt by those who used the Grand Trunk road. But it had not yet been felt by the government. Bhai Bota Singh did not like it. He had not taken this position merely for collecting toll. His object was only to prove to the fanatical rulers that, in spite for their all-out effort to exterminate the Sikhs, the Sikhs were still very much in existence. Therefore, he wrote direct to the governor, Zakriya Khan, at Lahore, announcing himself and the tax he was levying on travelers. He gave it to the traveler bound for Lahore and asked him to do deliver it to the governor there. The traveler undertook to do so. The letter was, of course, in Punjabi. Its words were as follows:

“Chithi likhi Singh Bota,

Hath hai sota, Vich rah khalota,

Anna laya gadde noo, Paisa laya khota,

Akho Bhabi Khano nun, Eeun akhe Singh Bota”

In English the words would read:

“Thus writes Bota Singh a letter,

With a big stick in hand, on the road I stand,

Levying an anna for a cart, And pice for a donkey load.

Tell sister-in-law Khano,

That this is a message from Bota Singh.”

The letter was a clear and daring challenge to the governor. He was red with rage. Immediately he, sent a detachment of on hundred fully armed horsemen under the command of Jalal Din, to arrest Bhai Bota Singh. On approaching Nurdi, they saw the two Sikhs standing on the road. They held big kikar sticks in their hands. They had no other weapon; no axe, no lance, and no sword. Approaching them, Jalal Din called upon them to surrender. Bhai Bota Singh replied, ‘Sikhs know no surrender. We are not used to that sort of act. You would certainly like very much to take us alive to your governor and earn his good opinion. He would like very much to see me cut into pieces, limb by limb, like Bhai Mani Singh. But we refuse to oblige you and your governor. We shall give up our lives, but we shall charge a heavy price for them. We shall die fighting. But we shall kill many before we die. Come on, and taste our big sticks. Send four of your best strongest swordsmen against us two big-stick wielders. Come on ! “Sat Sri Akal”.

Jalal Din sent four his bravest and strongest soldiers. He said to them, ‘Fall on these beasts, and fell them with your sharp swords.’ They advanced, crying, ‘Ya Ali’. Bhai Bota Singh and Garja Singh struck them repeated blows with their big sticks. Thus thrashed, the four Mughals soldiers were fell to the ground. Another batch of four met the same fate. Then Jalal Ding ordered all his soldiers to make a joint attack. Bhai Bota Singh and Garja Singh were surrounded by shouting swordsmen. The unequal fight could not last long. The brave Sikhs fell martyrs at last; but only after over a dozen Mughal soldiers had been dispatched by them to hell. Thus did they make their presence felt by the government of Zakriya Khan. Thus did they demonstrate that they were not cowards, but bold and daring saint soldiers of Guru Gobind Singh; that they were not jackals, but lions. Thus did they show Zakriya Khan that his boast of having exterminated the Khalsa was altogether empty; that the Khalsa was very much in existence, and would continue to exist, in spite of all that he and his ilk might do.  This happened in the year 1739.

Source : Sikh History Book 5 by Kartar Singh.

Bhai Mati Das Ji

By | Famous Sikhs
bhai mati das ji

Bhai Mati Das Ji

Bhai Mati Das came from a Brahman family of village Kariala in the district of Jhelum (Pakistan). He was the eldest son of Bhai Praga. His grandfather, Mahatma Gautam Das, used to be a deeply religious man of noble, saintly character. He was loved and respected by all, Hindus and Muslims alike. Bhai Praga was a strong stalwart. He had the body and the strength of a giant. He embraced the Sikh faith during Guru Har Gobind’s time. He lived the life of a true Sikh. His life was a model for others. He was a prominent saint-soldier of Guru Har Gobind’s. He took a hero’s part in Guru Har Gobind’s battle. He had four sons: Bhai Mati Das, Sati Das, Jati Das and Sakhi Das. Bhai Mati Das was a strongly built as his father, Bhai Praga. He was a dear, devout disciple of Guru Tegh Bahadur. He actually practiced what he believed and professed. Guru Tegh Bahadur made him his diwan. He had to look after the income and expenditure of the Guru’s darbar.
Along with the Guru, Bhai Mati Das was also arrested, chained and imprisoned. Under Emperor Aurangzeb’s orders, Guru Tegh Bahadur was to be beheaded. The qazis decided to torture and kill the Guru’s companions before his eyes. They thought, ‘The sight of their suffering and fate might shake his resolve. He might be inclined to save himself be agreeing to our proposal. He might embrace Islam.’ So they picked out Bhai Mati Das first of all. He was led out in chains to Chandani Chowk under a heavy guard. He was calm. His face beamed with glory. His gait was a mighty hero’s swagger. He walked like a superior among inferiors. His whole bearing showed wonderful self-confidence and self-satisfaction. A large crowd had gathered already in Chandani Chowk. Bhai Mati Das was brought there under a heavy guard. A number of qazis accompanied him. They were apparently saying something to him. But he neither listened nor heard. His mind was wholly fixed on God. He was eager to meet him. No eyes were dry. All observers were filled with reverence and admiration for that tall, strong, calm, and holy man of God. They shuddered at the thought of what was about to happen to him.
The spot fixed for his execution was reached. The guard and the qazis halted, with Bhai Mati Das in their midst. The chief Qazi then said to Bhai Mati Das, ‘O brave young man, be wise. This is my last appeal to your common-sense. Why throw away your youthful life and all the joys it may bring ? Accept Islam, and be one of the ruling class. You will have wealth and high position. You will enjoy a life of peace, plenty and pleasure. When you die, prophet Mohammad will receive you among the faithful. You will be led into Paradise. You will live there forever among pleasure of all kinds. If you refuse to accept all these good things of this world and the next, you will be killed with torture. So be wise. Make a wise choice.’ Bhai Mati Das replied, ‘Why waste your time and breath ? I prefer dying to giving up my faith. Be quick.’ The Qazi said, ‘All right, let it be as you desire. But have you any last wish which you would like to be fulfilled before you are killed ?’
Bhai Mati Das said, ‘Yes. Stand me with my face toward my Guru. In that way I shall behold him to the last moments of my life here.’ His wish was granted. He was made to stand with his face toward the Guru. He was tightly tied between two erect flat logs of wood. A saw was placed on his head. Each end of it was held by a fierce looking Pathan. The saw began to move to and fro. Blood began to flow down Bhai Mati Das’s face and neck. He did not utter any cry of pain. His face showed no sign of suffering. He was calmly repeating Japji. His body was sawn into two. His devout, brave soul reached the bosom of the kind and loving Father of all. Bhai Mati Das has not died. He still lives in the hearts of those who worship goodness, who admire nobility. He lives in the minds of those who lead a spiritual life. He is the inspiration of those who prefer the soul to the body; who, in order to save their soul, to keep in pure and unsullied, would gladly sacrifice the body and all its pleasures. He is the motivation of those who place duty before self. He is the hero of all who work for noble objectives, not for rewards or recognition.

Bhai Mani Singh Ji

By | Famous Sikhs
Bhai Mani Singh Ji

Bhai Mani Singh Ji

Bhai Mani Singh Ji was a great Sikh personality of eighteenth century. He holds a very high position in our rich history. Bhai Mani Singh Ji was one of the Gursikhs personally chosen by the tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, to hand write Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji as Guru Gobind Singh Ji dictated.

Bhai Mani Singh was blessed with Amrit by the hands of Guru Gobind Singh Ji on the day of the creation of the Khalsa.

For nine months and nine days, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji dictated Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji from start to finish, from memory and asked Bhai Mani Singh Ji to be the scribe and write down the Bani as Guru Gobind Singh Ji recited. Bhai Mani Singh Ji shared this duty with Baba Deep Singh Ji (Shaheed).

Upon performing this great Seva with Baba Deep Singh Ji and 40 other Singhs, Guru Gobind Singh Ji told Bhai Mani Singh to return to Amritsar and take on the duties of Head Granthi of Sri Harmandar Sahib. Guru Sahib also told Bhai Sahib that there would be a day when Bhai Sahib will need to sacrifice each limb in protection of the Panth.

In 1737, while Bhai Mani Singh Ji was performing his duties as Head Granthi of Darbar Sahib, the mughal government of Lahore (then Panjab) had strictly prohibited the Sikhs to visit Amritsar and bathe in the sarovar around Harmandar Sahib. To overcome this restriction, Bhai Mani Singh Ji applied to Governor Zakariya Khan for permission to hold the Bandhi Shorr festival at the Harmandar Sahib; The permission was granted for a fee of Rs.5,000. Bhai Mani Singh was certain that he would be able to pay the sum out of the offerings that would be made by the Sikhs who were invited to come. When realising a large number of Sikhs would be gathered at Harmandar Sahib, Zakhriya Khan decided to launch an attack on Harmandar Sahib and flush out the Sikhs. Bhai Mani Singh Ji realised Khan’s plan and sent an immediate message out to the Sikh Panth, telling them not to come.

Martyrdom

After Bandhi Shorr, Bhai Mani Singh Ji was arrested for not paying the tax imposed on him by the
Governor. Bhai Sahib refused to pay the tax as no Sikhs attended the celebration event. He was asked by the Qazi to embrace Islam or face death. Bhai Mani Singh Ji refused to convert and boldly opted for death. By orders of Zakariya Khan, Bhai Mani Singh Ji was executed in Lahore in December, 1737 BC.

This was a gruesome execution in which Bhai Mani Singh Ji’s executioner was ordered to chop Bhai Mani Singh’s body to pieces, joint by joint. The irony of the execution was that Bhai Mani Singh Ji had the last word. When the executioner started to cut into Bhai Mani Singh’s wrist, Bhai Mani Singh gestured to his finger tips telling the executioner that he should follow the orders of his commander with strictness and not be lenient. Very puzzled by the interruption, the executioner and guards asked Bhai Sahib what he meant. Bhai Mani Singh replied, “you have been ordered to execute me by chopping my joints, have you forgotten that my joints start with my finger tips.” The executioner began to cry in adoration of Bhai Sahib’s faith and belief in Sikhi. As the execution took place Bhai Sahib simply smiled and recited Sri Jap Ji Sahib, as the last of Bhai Sahibs joints were cut the Jap Ji Sahib Paath finished.

So great was the faith and sacrifice of Bhai Mani Singh Ji, that to this day Sikhs all over the world remember the love and faith they had and pay homage to their sacrifice in our daily Ardaas

Bhai Taru Singh Ji

By | Famous Sikhs
Bhai Taru Singh

Bhai Taru Singh Ji

Born in Amritsar Punjab during the reign of the Mughal Empire, Bhai Taru Singh was raised as a Sikh by his widowed mother. During this time, Sikh revolutionaries were plotting the overthrow of the Mughal governor of Punjab, Zakaria Khan. Bhai Taru Singh and his sister gave food and other aid to the Gursikhs. An informant reported them to Zakaria Khan, the governor of Punjab, and the two were arrested for treason. Though his sister’s freedom was bribed for by the villagers, Bhai Taru Singh refused to seek a pardon. Bhai Taru Singh Jee had partaken amrit from Bhai Mani Singh Jee and was much influenced by him. When he was caught along with his sister. many Sikhs offered to rescue him as they were famous to attack in the midnight in those days. Bhai Taru Singh However said that he wanted to show Mughals that Sikhs are not afraid of death. However at much convincing he allowed his sister to be rescued. Sikhs and villagers paid bribes and got his sister rescued.

After a period of imprisonment and torture, Bhai Taru Singh was brought before the Khan and asked him where he got his powers from to undergo all of the agony. His reply was through his Keshas given by Guru Gobind Singh. Zakaria Khan then gave him the choice of converting to Islam or having his hair cut off. In reply, Bhai sahab asked him if by converting to Islam could he guarantee that he would never ever die?. If the answer was no, then its better to die serving his Guru. In response to having his hair cut off, Bhai Taru Singh said that Zakaria Khan would be killed by Bhai Taru Singh’s shoe. Angered, Khan called barbers to cut Bhai Taru Singh’s hair but they were scared to go near him, so Zakaria Khan called an executioner to cut off his scalp. Amidst the torture bhai sahab could only be heard reciting Japji Sahib.

The exact method of his execution is somewhat ambiguous. Sikhs believe that once Bhai Sahib had been returned to prison to await a slow death . Holy water(Jal) from Amritsar was brought after 22 days and put on his head to begin his last rites. Zakaria Khan was stricken with unbearable pain and the inability to urinate[citation needed]. As a last resort, Zakaria Khan sent an apology to the Khalsa Panth for his persecution of the Sikhs and begged for their forgiveness. It was suggested that if Zakaria Khan hit himself with Bhai Taru Singh’s shoes, his condition might be lifted. Although the shoe cured the Khan’s condition, he died 22 days later from hitting himself with the shoes. Upon hearing that he had miraculously outlived the Khan, Bhai Taru Singh left his body.

A more elaborate version of this narrative includes attempts by the Khan’s barber and cobbler to forcibly cut off Singh’s hair and, failing that, his scalp. God prevented them from touching him with their tools, and finally a carpenter was brought in to cut off his head with an adze. In other variations of the story, the top of the skull was removed with the hair and scalp.

Martyrdom

In 1762 A.D., the Bhangi Sikh Sardar army conquered Lahore and took over the public square where Bhai Taru Singh was scalped. The Abdullah Khan Mosque adjacent to the square was also occupied and converted into Shaheed Ganj Gurdwara.  Today Bhai Taru Singh is viewed by Sikhs as a martyr and a symbol of the importance of Kesh and of steadfast faith. A gurdwara in the Naulakha Bazaar in Lahore marks the place where his scalp and hair was removed

“Martyrs do not underrate the body, they allow it to be elevated on the cross. In this they are at one with their antagonists.”

golden temple

Baba Deep Singh Ji

By | Famous Sikhs, Featured
Anoke Amar Shaheed Baba Deep Singh Ji

Baba Deep Singh Ji

Shaheed Baba Deep Singh ji is one of most honoured martyrs in Sikh history and the founder of the Shahid misl (group) and Damdami Taksal (Damdama school of learning). He was a great Scholar and fearless saint Soldier always ready to give his life for sake of humanity.

He was known as Deepaa in his childhood Born at Paahuwind, Amritsar and the only son of bhai bhagtu ji and Maataa Jeeodee ji born after 15yrs of their marriage .

Guru Gobind Singh gave a new shape to the Khalsa Panth . That year many people went to Annadpur Sahib to take amrit. Deepaa, along with his parents too joined them. There, he also with his parents took Amrit at the age of eighteen from the Panj Pyare at Anandpur Sahib in the presence of Guru Gobind Singh Ji and became(Baba) Deep Singh Ji . He was very impressed with guruji’s amry. When his parents were ready to return to their village, Guru Gobind Singh Ji asked Baba Deep Singh Ji to stay with him. He humbly accepted Guru Ji’s command and began serving him.Thereafter he spent his years for his training of horse riding, archery as well as other arms training including gurmukhi from Bhai Mani singh jee .He was very interested and expert in hunting.

After 8 years of serving he returned to his village to help his parents. But when he heard news of Guru Gobind Singh’s family separation and Sahidi of Sahibzadas, after Guru Saahib left Anandpur Sahib . Baba Deep Singh Jee immediately left Pahuwind and began a search for the Guru Sahib. He finally met up with Guru Gobind Singh Jee at Sabu ki Talwandi ( Damdama Sahib ).Their Guru Sahib ordered him and Bhai Manee Singh to finish copying the GURU GRANTH SAHIB JEE . Baba Deep Singh Ji had been summoned to Damdama Sahib to work with Bhai Mani Singh Ji to prepare the final text of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Guru Gobind Singh Ji recited the entire Granth Sahib to them while they wrote the text. On its completion, Baba Deep Singh Ji hand wrote five more copies of the holy scriptures. Four copies were sent to Sri Akal Takht Sahib, Sri Takht Patna Sahib, Sri Takht Hazur Sahib, and Sri Takht Anandpur Sahib. Another copy was prepared by Baba Deep Singh Ji in Arabic script and sent to the Middle East. Between the years 1715 and 1728, they copied and distributed several copies of Guru Granth Sahib. After the Guru sahib left for Delhi, Bhai Mani Singh jee became the head priest ofDarbar Sahib , Amritsar, and Baba Deep Singh jee was given up the service of looking after Gurudwara Damdama sahib. There Baba Ji also continued to write gutkas (books of hymns) and distributed them to the Sikh community.

Although when Baba Deep Singh Ji was seventy-five years old, he still had the strength of a young warrior. When Baba Deep singh came to know of the demolition of Harminder Sahib he offered prayers before starting for Amritsar, “My head may fall at Harminder Sahib.”

” Sir jaave ta jaave, mera Sikhi sidhak na jaave “

And then he promised “Diwali will be celebrated at Amritsar this year” . He gathered a large group of Sikhs and advanced towards Sir Harimander Sahib . By the time they reached the village of Taran Taaran, about ten miles from Amritsar, their numbers had risen to about five thousand. At this time, Baba Ji drew a line on the ground with his khanda , and asked only those who were willing to fight and die to cross the line. Baba Deep Singh Ji then recited :

” Jo to praym khaylan ka chaao, sir dhar talee galee mayree aao. ” (Those who wish to play the game of love (follow Sikhism), come to me with your head in your palm.)  

” It maarag pair dhareejai, sir deejai kaan na keejai. ” (If you wish your feet to travel this path, don’t delay in accepting to give your head.)

All of the Sikhs there crossed the line eagerly.

When news of Baba Deep Singh Ji’s plans reached Jahan Khan, he immediately mobilized an army of 20,000 men and proceeded towards Taran Taaran Baba Deep Singh Ji’s army intercepted Jahan Khan’s forces near the village of Goharwal , about five miles from Amritsar . At this point, there was a clash between both sides. Baba Deep Singh Ji fought with his 18- ser khanda (weighing about 32 lbs.). Each Sikh fought with such great valor and courage that the enemy was almost defeated. They continued fighting and advancing towards Amritsar.

During the clash, one of the Mugal commanders, Jamal Khan, attacked Baba Deep Singh Ji. As they fought, both men swung their weapons with great force, leaving both of their heads separated from their bodies. After seeing this scene, a young Sikh warrior called out to Baba Ji, reminding him of his vow to reach Sri Harimander Sahib. Upon hearing this, Baba Deep Singh Ji immediately stood up, holding his head on his left palm while holding his khanda upright in his right hand. He then continued fighting and moving towards Sri Harimander Sahib. Upon seeing the sight of Baba Deep Singh Ji, most of the men in the Mugal army fled away in terror. Baba Deep Singh Ji was able to continue fighting and reached Sri Harimander Sahib. He bowed his head at the prakarma of Sri Harimander Sahib and laid there as a martyr where he breathed his last. The Singhs celebrated the Diwali of 1757 A.D. in Harminder Sahib.

He worked out till his last moment for sake of humanity

“Janam maran dove meh naahi ,Jan parupakri aaye “ .