Shaheed Akali Nihang Baba Tara Singh Ji Van Part 1 (1687-1726) Prachin Panth Parkash Vol II, Episode 84.

November 22, 2018 Posted by admin

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh Hai!

Whilst many have forgotten the sacrifices of the Shaheed Singhs in the 18th Century due to the historical accounts not exhibited on a wider scale, Budha Dal Misl Nehkalank have endeavoured to spread the Ithihaas (history) of these Shaheed Singhs who gave their lives for the Panth.

The first post that is to be compiled is that of the legendary martyr, Shaheed Akali Nihang Baba Tara Singh Ji, a fearless warrior of the Tat Khalsa Budha Dal who hailed from the village of Van, Amritsar (Punjab, India). Baba Ji was known to be of great stature and with the blessings of the Guru, his love for the Guru meant that he would not tolerate harm coming to other Sikhs.

Bhai Rattan Singh Ji Bhangu writes:

Chhappai Chhand : Leading a morally upright, clean and highly disciplined life, He donned (the Khalsa’s) blue robes and battle ready armour. Reposing his (full) faith in Gurbani and the Sikh Gurus, He always kept his word as that kept by a Sati3 . Deserving to be placed at the top among the fearless/fighters, He would even fight for a cause that concerned others. (2)

 

Baba Tara Singh Ji was born in 1687 in the village of Van, Amritsar, to Bhai Gurdas Ji, a pious Sikh from the time of Guru Gobind Singh Ji who had attained martyrdom whilst accompanying Baba Banda Singh Ji Bahadur to Sirhind to avenge the Shaheedi of the Chhote Sahibzade (Younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh Ji Patshah).

It had come to a point in the Mughal controlled Punjab of 1726 where Sikhs were regularly tormented by Mughal officials, and Baba Tara Singh Ji Van heard of a Sahib Rai Chaudary from Naushera that shaved a Sikh’s head to make a leash for his horse. Whilst we have introduced this great Shaheed Singh, it is only befitting for the original story to be shared, the one that Shaheed Akali Bhai Rattan Singh Ji Bhangu wrote in his Prachin Panth Parkash. It is to note that Shaheed Bhai Rattan Singh Ji Bhangu was the grandson of Akali Baba Mehtab Singh Ji who decapitated Massa Rangarh for his heinous acts committed in the precincts of Sri Harimandir Sahib.

 

Episode 84 Episode About Tara Singh1 – The Sikh Martyr (How can we desist from fighting, as fighting is systemic in our Being)
Dohra : (Now) my dear enlightened, wise Gursikh readers, Listen to the episode of Tara Singh (the great Sikh martyr). He belonged to a village known as Bain-Dal2 , Which had a majority of Buttar Jat Sikh residents. (1)
Chhappai Chhand : Leading a morally upright, clean and highly disciplined life, He donned (the Khalsa’s) blue robes and battle ready armour. Reposing his (full) faith in Gurbani and the Sikh Gurus, He always kept his word as that kept by a Sati3 . Deserving to be placed at the top among the fearless/fighters, He would even fight for a cause that concerned others. (2)

Dohra : Being ever ready for a fight (for a cause), He never hesitated from sacrificing his life. Being ready to pick up a fight on the slightest pretext, Such was the stuff that he was made of. (3)
When Banda Singh Bahadur was alive (and powerful), He had defeated all the (ruling) Mughal forces. The Mughals then kept the Singhs in good humour, In order to remain in power in the whole country. (4)
They maintained good cordial relations with the Singhs, In order to tide over the emergent moment of crisis, But once they had eliminated Banda Singh Bahadur, They killed (many) Singhs without any offence. (5)
Chaupai : The Mughals had made Tara Singh a custodian over an area, Where this brave warrior had raised a small mansion. Tara Singh, taking no notice of the changed times, Continued with his same violent, aggressive stance. (6)
Refusing to budge from his earlier violent behaviour, He kept indulging in acts of violence and rioting. Picking up a fight even for the stranger’s cause, He kept on commanding a small battery of violent fighters. (7)
Whosoever approached him with any kind of complaint, He would eagerly take upon himself to redress that issue. Having no fear of being killed in any violent encounter, He kept on indulging in violent acts compulsively. (8)
Even if a contentious issue concerned others (unknown to him), He would get himself involved unnecessarily into it. Having become such a compulsive addict to violence, He refused to abide by the Mughal’s sovereign writ. (9)
Dohra : He boasted that he would never desist from fight, Since fighting was systemically built in the Khalsa’s body. They had been ordained to be violent (for a cause), By the express Will of the great Guru (Guru Gogind Singh). (10)
Chaupai : (The Khalsa) would attain sovereignty through fighting, And fight alone would prod them to make sacrifices. Since nobody bothered about their cause without violence, They would indulge in violence myriad times. (11)

Dohra : There is a big town known as Naushehra4 (Pannuan), Which is inhabited by Pannu Jat Sikh clan. There was one feudal lord known as Sahib Rai Chaudhary5 , Who was also a resident of the self same town. (12)
Chaupai : He possessed a couple of two high-pedigree horses, Which he let lose to graze the people’s crops. The crops which the two Singh farmers had raised, Were these lapped off by the Chaudary’s horses. (13)
Then the two Singhs approached Sahib Rai (Chaudhary) and appealed, That their crops could be saved only if the latter kept his horses under leash. The feudal chief (feeling incensed at their audacity) threatened, That he intended to shave off their hair to make a leash for his horses. (14)
The Singhs, though feeling outraged at such a provocation, Remarked that they were desperately helpless to deal with him. They had large families to feed and support in the village, Otherwise they would have beaten him to death instantly. (15)
So these aggrieved Singhs proceeded to a village Bhusa6 , Which inhabited two Singhs named Baghel Singh and Amar Singh Dhillon. Inviting these two Snghs, the aggrieved Singhs got the Chaudhary’s horses lifted, Who dispatched the stolen horses further to village Ghariala7 . (16)
Dohra : From there Lakhmir Singh Sandhu8 got the custody of those horses, And sold these to somebody in the forested region of (Malwa). He offered all the proceeds from the sale of the horses, To the free community kitchen run by Tara Singh at ‘Wan’. (17)
Chaupai : Sahib Rai’s detectives, picking up the trail of stolen horses, Also reached the spot where the horses had been kept, As detectives held the two Dhillon Singhs responsible for the horses’ theft, The latter were at their wits’ ends to find a place to take refuge. (18)
Being desperate, they ran and found refuge at Tara Singh’s ‘Bunga’, The (brave) Tara Singh who had shed all fears of death. (Following their trail), Sahib Rai also reached Tara Singh’s place, And addressed Tara Singh (to heed his warning). (19)
He threatened that either Tara Singh should handover the two cattle lifters, Or he would get them arrested by the authorities at Lahore. He warned Tara Singh to keep the thieves under his custody, Lest they should escape and put him into trouble. (20)

Tara Singh retorted that the two Singhs were not thieves at all, Instead he (Sahib Rai) was a criminal who destroyed others’ crops. They had rather done justice by stealing his horses, And he cared a fig for the Nawab at Lahore. (21)
Dohra : Tara Singh declared that he had made a resolution, That he would sacrifice his life while fighting the Mughals. That he would never seek any refuge to save his life, And shed his mortal frame after killing so many others. (22)
Chaupai : Thus, a little incident flared up into a conflagration, As it proved to be an inauspicious moment for the Singhs, The Jat chief went and complained to the authorities at Patti9 , That they were living safely in the safety of their houses. (23)
He informed that since the Singhs were making collections forcibly, The people could pay their revenue to only one authority. The ruler of Patti felt so outraged at the insinuation, As if a sleeping lion was provoked out of its sleep. (24)
When the Patti ruler asked Sahib Rai about the Singhs’ location, He informed that they were picketing at a village Wan10 of Buttar Jats. There the (Tat Khalsa) Tara Singh had constructed his Mansion, And had spread his terror all around the place. (25)
Then, the Patti ruler asked him for further information, As to how much force he had managed together there. The Chaudhary Jat informed him that Tara had no fort of his own, But a couple of two storeyed rooms for his shelter had he. (26)
He kept a force of ten to twenty Singhs regularly, While Singhs, in small batches, kept visiting his place. Some of these Singhs were armed with swords and spears, While some others stayed there without any weapons. (27)
Hearing this, the Patti ruler advanced (towards Tara Singh’s seat), With Sahib Rai leading this force from the front. This whole force, consisting of five horse riders and eighty foot soldiers, Launched on an expedition enthused with high spirits. (28)
Dohra : This force rushed post haste (from their headquarters), Lest the Singh should escape (before their arrival). They intended to surround the place before day break, And dispatch the Singhs to Lahore (after capturing them). (29)

Chaupai : Here, S. Baghel Singh concluding his Gurbani recitation, Proceeded to answer the call of nature after a morning prayer. He spotted a battery of the Mughal forces marching forward, As the Singhs had already an inkling of their impending attack. (30)
With a spear in one hand and sword slung across a shoulder, He carried a bowl of water for making morning ablutions. Spotting out the Mughal force, he made up his mind, That he should not run back to inform the Singhs. (31)
Singhs would regard his going back as an act of cowardice, Although they considered him to be the main cause of the present strife. He decided that they would themselves get informed, When they heard the din and noise raised by the fight. (32)
So he challenged the advancing Mughal force loudly, That they should proceed further after dealing with him. Sahib Rai (Chaudhry) identifying S. Baghel Singh immediately, Signaled the Patti ruler never to allow Baghel Singh to escape. (33)
He told that since S. Baghel Singh was the most dreadful among the Singhs, His capture would mean half the battle had been won. He was the one who had lifted his two horses, And he alone was the most wild among the Singhs. (34)
Dohra : So the Patti ruler launched an attack, So that S. Baghel Singh might not make good his escape. As S. Baghel Singh also jumped into the fray, There raged a fierce battle (between one and many). (35)
Chaupai : As the Mughal soldiers started firing at him, He rushed forward and got mingled among them. Their own weapons started hitting them, As they lost their wits in the darkness of the night. (36)
Hitting one with his spear and another with a sword, He would tumble down a soldier from his horse’s back. There was a nephew of the Patti ruler in this contingent, Who got killed in this din and noise of the fight. (37)
Nobody knew whose weapon had hit him, But the credit for this success went to S. Baghel Singh. Then a battery of foot soldiers fell upon him, And wounded him fatally on the thighs with bullets. (38)

As the Singhs, heard the noise of musket-fire, They came out to chase away the Mughal soldiers. As this Mughal contingent was compelled to get back, Patti ruler’s two nephews, sons of his two brothers, got killed. (39)
Dohra : This fleeing Patti ruler (running from Tara Singh’s village), Put up his camp at a village known as Kamboki11 . From this camp, he intended to proceed to Lahore, To make an appeal for reinforcements from the Nawab. (40)
Chaupai : So thePatti ruler proceeded to show his miserable plight, To Khan Bahadur12, the then Nawab of Lahore. Hearing this development, the Singhs felt concerned, And approached Tara Singh to share their concern. (41)
They remarked that since the Singhs had won the first bout, They should now go underground for the time being. Since the Singhs could never conquer the Mughals in a straight fight, Why should they die in vain (in an unequal fight. (42)
Thereupon S. Tara Singh addressed these Singhs in such a vein, That he did not care to hold on to his mortal frame. He would rather prefer to follow the Guru’s injunction, As the great Guru had ordained (in the time of an ordeal). (43)
He alone was the Singh who engaged himself in daily fight, He alone was the Singh who feared not to die (for a cause). So he would fight to the finish at his own place, Nor would he desert his place to save his life. (44)
The (Tat Khalsa) Singhs who were present at his place, He told all of them in clear cut terms: Only those who wished to sacrifice should stay along, While others should desert (before the fight started). (45)
That was the only day for those who wished to desert, Next day, they might not find an opportunity to escape. Hearing this, some of his colleagues took to their heels, While some of them stayed put to sacrifice their lives. (46)
Dohra : Those, not fully indoctrinated into Khalsa ideology, deserted, While those, fully committed to the Khalsa’s cause, stayed. The latter were those who were fully motivated and committed, And to whom Guru’s cause was too dear to forsake. (47)

Chaupai : Then S. Tara Singh contemplated (sadly) in his mind, That the deserters had failed in their promise to sacrifice. They were those who had been very dear to him, Who had promised to make sacrifices along with him. (48)
He must also inform rest of them (about the impending fight), And leave the rest to their own sweet will. After all, they had been making promises (to sacrifice), When they had been partaking food from the same bowl. (49)
Dohra : There were two Buttar brothers, Tara Singh’s own collaterals, Who used to stay with Tara Singh at his Bunga. They were great warriors and highly devout Sikhs, Who fully subscribed to and followed Guru’s ideology. (50)
Chaupai : There were two Singhs named S. Wasawa Singh and Koer Singh, Who were Brahmins by caste and residents of village Jhalli13 . There were two others S. Samund Singh and S. Jhabar Singh, Who were S. Tara Singh’s colleagues from the city of Multan. (51)
S. Sura Singh, a carpenter, came to join from Khalra14, After receiving S. Tara Singh’s edict and resolving to offer sacrifice. S. Lakhmir Singh, son of Sandhu Jats, came from Ghariala, And offered himself for sacrifice at Tara Singh’s command. (52)
Two more Singhs of Sandhu caste joined from Bharana15 , Whose good names were S. Maali Singh and S. Gurbax Singh. S. Bhim Singh and S. Badal Singh arrived from Rattoke16, Immediately after receiving an appeal (from S. Tara Singh). (53)
So Megh Singh, of Gill caste, arrived from Madra17 , As well as S. Hata Singh, of Jill caste, from Chungha18. S. Bulaka Singh, of Sekhon caste, reached from Sanghana19 , As well as S. Jodh Singh Bajwa, came from Narowal20.
Dohra : There were two more Singhs known as S. Bhogar Singh and Rasal Singh, Who belonged to a very distant area of Peshawar. They, too, had been comrades-in-arms of S. Tara Singh, Both of whom had vowed to make a sacrifice. (55)
Chaupai : There were two other Singhs, of Karbath caste, from Karbath21 , Who arrived fully armed and dressed as martyrs. S. Amar Singh Dhillon (brother of late S. Baghel Singh) from Bhusowal22 , Also arrived to join the ranks of S. Tara Singh. (56)

All these Singhs (who volunteered to fight) were twenty two in strength, Some of whom came earlier while others joined later. Neither any fort nor a boundary wall they had for protection, Except that they were too keen to make sacrifice in battle. (57)
So they chiselled out a (wooden) pillar (out of a Tree Trunk), And planted it firmly on a plain level ground. Then, skinning a tender lamb after slaughtering it, They prepared a war drum with its dried skin. (58)
(Soon after) they declared it with the beat of drum, That the Khalsa was out to defy the (Mughal rulers), Lest the invading Mughal force should return incognito, They must launch an attack on (the waiting) Singhs. (59)

To be contd…

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