Baba Deep Singh
|Baba Deep Singh|
Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar
Baba Deep Singh (Punjabi: ਬਾਬਾ ਦੀਪਸਿੰਘ ਸ਼ਹੀਦ Hindi: बाबा दीप सिंह जी शहीद ) (1682–1757) is revered among Sikhs as one of the most hallowed martyrs in Sikhism and as a highly religious person. He is remembered for his sacrifice and devotion to the teachings of the Sikh Gurus.
He was the first jathedar(Head) of Damdami Taksal a 300 years old religious school of the Sikhs which was allegedly founded by last Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh(although no research or historical document supports this was founded by Guru Gobind Singh ).
However, some scholars, such as Harjot Oberoi, assert that there is no firm evidence to support this claim. According to Dr Harjinder Singh Dilgeer (Sikh Twareekh, vols 2 and 5) the term Damdami Taksal never existed before 1977.
He went to Anandpur on the day of Vaisakhi in 1699, where he was baptized as Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh. Deep Singh took Khande di Pahul or Amrit Sanchar (ceremonial initiation into Khalsa). As a youth, he spent considerable time in close companionship of Guru Gobind Singh. He started learning weaponry, riding and other martial skills. From Bhai Mani Singh, he began learning, reading and writing Gurmukhi and the interpretation of the Gurus' words. After spending two years at Anandpur, he returned to his village in 1702 and married and settled down. He was summoned by Guru Gobind Singh at Talwandi Sabo in 1705, where he helped Bhai Mani Singh in making copies of the Guru Granth Sahib. Before departing for Deccan, Guru Gobind Singh installed him as the caretaker of Gurdwara Damdama Sahib.
In 1709, Baba Deep Singh joined Banda Bahadur during the assaults on the towns of Sadhaura and Sirhind. In 1733, Nawab Kapur Singh appointed him a leader of an armed squad(jatha). On the Vaisakhi of 1748, at the meeting of the Sarbat Khalsa in Amritsar, the 65 jathas of the Dal Khalsa were reorganized into twelve Misls. Baba Deep Singh was entrusted with the Leadership of the Shaheedan Misl.
The Demolition of the Harimandir Sahib
In April 1757, Ahmad Shah Durrani raided Northern India for the fourth time. While he was on his way back to Kabul from Delhi with precious booty and young men and women as captives, the Sikhs made a plan to relieve him of the valuables and free the captives. The squad of baba Deep Singh was deployed near Kurukshetra. His squad freed a large number of prisoners and raided Durrani's considerable treasury. On his arrival in Lahore, Durrani, embittered by his loss, ordered the demolition of the Harimandir Sahib. The shrine was blown up and the sacred pool filled with the entrails of slaughtered cows. Durrani assigned the Punjab region to his son, Prince Timur Shah, and left him a force of ten thousand men under General Jahan Khan.
Baba Deep Singh, aged 75-years old, felt that it was up to him to atone for the sin of having let the Afghans desecrate the shrine. He emerged from scholastic retirement (he had been making copies of the Guru Granth Sahib), and declared to a congregation at Damdama Sahib that he intended to rebuild the temple. Five hundred men came forward to go with him. Deep Singh offered prayers before starting for Amritsar: "May my head fall at the Darbar Sahib." As he went from hamlet to hamlet, many villagers joined him. By the time baba Deep Singh reached Tarn Taran Sahib, ten miles from Amritsar, over five thousand peasants armed with hatchets, swords, and spears accompanied him.
Martyrdom - Two Versions
According to the Sikh legend, Baba Deep Singh had vowed to avenge the desecration of the Golden Temple by the Afghan army. In 1757, he led an army to defend the Golden Temple. The Sikhs and the Afghans clashed, in the battle of Amritsar, at the village of Gohalwar on November 11, 1757, and in the ensuing conflict Baba Deep Singh was decapitated.
The first version has it that Deep Singh continued to fight after having been decapitated, slaying his enemies with his head in one hand and his sword in the other. In this version, only upon reaching the sacred city of Amritsar did he stop and finally die.
On being mortally wounded with a severe gash to his head, a Sikh reminded Baba Deep Singh, "You had resolved to reach the periphery of the pool." On hearing the talk of the Sikh, he supported his head with his left hand and removing the enemies from his way with the strokes of his double-edged sword with his right hand, reached the periphery of Harmindar Sahib where he breathed his last. The Singhs celebrated the Bandhi-Sor Divas of 1757 A.D. in Harminder Sahib".
The Sikhs recovered their prestige by defeating the Afghan army and the latter were forced to flee.
The spot where the legend Baba Deep Singh's head fell is marked in the Golden Temple complex, and Sikhs from around the world pay their respects there. Baba Deep Singh's 30 kgKhanda (double-edged sword), which he used in his final battle, is still preserved at Takht Sri Hazur Sahib, one of the five centers of temporal Sikh authority.
- Daily Excelsior.com
- Bhagata, Siṅgha (1993). A History of the Sikh Misals. Publication Bureau, Punjabi University. p. 241. "He was born in A.D. 1682...father...Bhagata...mother...Jioni...devoted Sikhs."
- Bhagata, Siṅgha (1993). A History of the Sikh Misals. Publication Bureau, Punjabi University. p. 241. "Deep Singh Shahid, a Sandhu Jat and resident of the village of Pohuwind of the pargana of Amritsar..."
- History of the Sikhs, Volume I" by Khushwant Singh.
- Deol, Harnik (2000). Religion and Nationalism in India. London and New York: Routledge. The case of Punjab; 189. ISBN 9780415201087.
- Brosius, Christiane. Empowering Visions: The Politics of Representation in Hindu Nationalism. 2005, page 40.
- "Shaheed Baba Deep Singh". Santokh Singh Jagdev - Bed Time Stories-7. Archived from the original on 2 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-16.
- Mahajan, Vidya Dhar (1970). Muslim Rule in India. New delhi: S.Chand. Rise and Growth of Sikh Power;240.