Bhai Jiwan Singh

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Bhai Jivan Singh
Born (1649-12-13)13 December 1649
Patna, Bihar
Died 22 December 1704(1704-12-22) (aged 55)
Chamkaur, Punjab
Title Bhai
Spouse(s) Raj Kaur
Parents Sada Nand
Mata Premo

Bhai Jiwan Singh (also spelled Jivan) (Bhai Jaita before baptism) (1649–1704) was a Sikh General[1] and a personal accomplice, companion and friend of Guru Gobind Singh the tenth Guru of the Sikhs. As well as his military prowess he was a Poet and a warrior. He eventually became a Sikh Martyr and an icon when he fell during the siege of Chamkaur in 1704 against the Muhammadan and Hindu armies.

Born as Jaita to father Sada Nand and mother Mata Premo at Patna, India in 1649.[2] he lived the start of his young life at Patna where he received training in various weaponry and learnt the art of warfare. In addition he learnt horse riding, swimming, music and Kirtan.[3] He became famous when he cut the head of his own father and remaining body was buried under the home where all family residing and placed on where head of the ninth Guru of the Sikhs Guru Teg Bahadur and then he rescued the severed head of the ninth Guru of the Sikhs Guru Teg Bahadur; who had been executed at Delhi under the orders of Aurangzeb. He inturn received the honour of Rangrette Guru ke Bette for his community from Guru Gobind Singh. However it is as a General and Sikh warrior that he made his name. He became renowned for his boldness, strategic skill, organizing capacity and his handling of weapons.[4]

Bhai Jivan Singh was with the Guru during the evacuation of Anandpur and laid down his life to aid Guru Gobind Singh's safe escape.[5] After his death in 1704 a tomb was erected[6] to honor him which stands there to this day.

Childhood[edit]

Bhai Jaita was born to Bhai Sada Nand and Mata Premo at 1:13 A.M. on the 7th moon day of Poh Bikram Samwat, 1718 i.e. Tuesday, 13 December 1661 CE at Patna Sahib. The Ninth Sikh Guru Guru Tegh Bahadur named the child 'Jaita'.

In December, 1665 CE, Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib set out on his 3rd missionary tour of the eastern parts of India. He took Bhai Sada Nand and his family along with him. He left his wife Mata Gujri and other female members of the family at Patna, under the supervision of Bhai Kirpal Chand, the brother of Mata Gujri.

Guru Tegh Bahadur's only son, Gobind Rai (later Guru Gobind Singh), was born in Patna on 22 December 1666. The next day i.e. 23 December 1666, Bhai Sangata, the second son of Bhai Sada Nand was born. While carrying on his missionary propagation the Guru reached Anandpur Sahib by the middle of 1670. But Mata Gujri and Gobind Rai continued to stay at Patna Sahib.

At Patna during their childhood, Bhai Jaita and his younger brother Bhai Sangata were playmates of Gobind Rai. Once while playing on the bank of the Ganges, their return home was delayed a little. In their hurry Jaita started tying the turban of young Gobind Rai on his own head. Realizing the mistake Bhai Jaita returned the turban to Gobind Rai, whereupon Gobind Rai remarked, "Jaite, the time for you to tie my turban has not yet come. When the time comes I will myself put my turban on your head."

Family background[edit]

The Ninth Master Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib before acceding to the guruship kept meditating in a basement from 1644–1664 A.D., mainly at Baba Bakala, where Bhai Sada Nand was in attendance. The name of Bhai Sada Nand is mentioned in the Hukamnamahs of Guru Tegh Bahadur. This easily ascertains his place in the Guru’s establishment. Bhai Sada Nand was the son of Bhai Jas Bhan, Grand-Son of Bhai Sukh Bhan and Great-Grand-Son of Bhai Kalyana. Bhai Kalyana had founded the village Kathu Nangal. Baba Buddha was also a resident of Kathu Nangal and a contemporary of Bhai Kalyana who was one of the Chiefs of the village. Bhai Kalyana along with Baba Buddha shifted from Kathu Nangal to Gaggo Mahal and later settled at Ramdas in district Amritsar. Bhai Kalyana served the Guru’s establishment from the first Gurus to the sixth Gurus. He participated along with his family in voluntary service (Kar Seva) at Darbar Sahib and under the orders of Guru Arjan Dev. He performed the task of bringing timber from Mandi State. His name is mentioned in the Hukamnamahs of Guru Har Gobind Sahib from which it can be realized what a respectable place this family had in the Guru’s establishment. Bhai Sukh Bhan built Kalyan Ashram in the Mohlla Dilwali of the village Raisinha near Delhi after the name of his father Bhai Kalyana. He established a school of Gurmat Music at this Ashram where hymn-singing of Gurbani was taught. Later on this Ashram was called Bhai Kalyana di Dharamashal which was a centre of Sikh activities. This Dharamshal was also the residence of Bhai Agya Ram, the elder uncle of Bhai Jaita. But some members of this family continued to reside at Kathu Nangal, Gaggo Mahal and Ramdas in District Amritsar in Punjab. Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib often stayed at Bhai Kalyana’s Dharamshal during his visit to Delhi. Bhai Sukh Bhan, Bhai Jas Bhan, Bhai Agya Ram and Bhai Sada Nand continued to serve the Guru’s establishment like their ancestors. They were great scholars, musicians and excellent singers of their time.

Battles[edit]

Baba Jiwan Singh had stood by Guru ji and showed the feats of his bravery in the following battles:

  1. Battle of Bhangani
  2. Battle of Nadaun
  3. Battle of Anandpur Sahib
  4. Battle of Bajrur
  5. Battle of Nirmohgarh
  6. First Battle of Anandpur
  7. Sudden Attack on Anandpur Sahib
  8. Second Battle of Anandpur
  9. Third Battle of Anandpur Sahib
  10. Fourth Battle of Anandpur Sahib
  11. The Battle of Bansali/Kalmot
  12. Sudden Attack-A Battle near Chamkaur Sahib
  13. Freeing a Brahman Woman at Bassi Kalan
  14. The Battle of Sirsa
  15. Battle of Chamkaur

While fighting the battle of Sirsa, Sahibzada Ajit Singh was caught in the siege of the enemies. Baba Jiwan Singh rode his horse, holding swords in both hands, held the reins of his horse in his mouth, made a short work of many enemies and succeeded in extricating Sahibzada Ajit Singh safe and sound from the circle of the enemy.

There can hardly be any fighter in the world who may ride his horse, holding the reins in mouth and wield two swords with his right and left hand at the same time. Similarly, no match to Baba Jiwan Singh has been so far born in the world who may make sure shots with two rifles at the same time. That is why during the warfare he always kept his two guns Nagni and Baghni with him. The Guru introduced the war-drum (Ranjit Nagara) to inject heroism in his soldiers during the war, the second of which could be heard over a long distance. The drum was beaten under the supervision of Baba Jiwan Singh because he was the Chief Drummer, and the fighting was always started with the beat of the drum. He possessed special expertise in guerilla warfare. In addition to this Guru had appointed him the Chief of the Intelligence Department. According to historical research he was also the tutor of the two elder sons (Sahibzada Ajit Singh & Sahibzada Jujhar Singh) of the Guru in military training.

Sri Gur Katha[edit]

He was not only a great fighter, but he was also an excellent poet. His work "Sri Gur Katha" is a great contribution to the Sikh religion. This book contains a first hand account of Guru’s battles.

The praises of Guru sung in a devoted and emotional manner in this book make Baba Jiwan Singh a poet of the rank of Bhatt Poets in Guru Granth Sahib. The picture of the personality of Satguru is matchless and unique. He has also recounted in this book all the incidents in relation to Amrit captivation, the mode of preparing Amrit, the importance of five symbols in Sikhism, Sikh conduct and conventions, martyrdoms of Guru Teg Bahadur and Bhai Sada Nand (The Father of Bhai Jiwan Singh) in detail. To express his thoughts and emotions Baba Jiwan Singh has used various like Kabitt, Swaiyya, Dohira, Sarkhandi, Kundlia, Rala, Bisham Padi (Shabad), Chopayee, Sortha etc. To express his meaning, Baba Jiwan Singh has used various literary techniques such as Alliteration, Simile, Metaphor, Proverbs, Examples, Weepsa Alankar, Utparokhia Alankar and Ulek Alankar. His writing is dominated by thoughts founded on devotion, on which account essence of solace is supreme, but he has also made use of Pathos, Vir Ras and Vibh Ras.

The style is the image of a writer’s personality. Love of the Guru in his heart, courage, devotion, faith, forbearance, humility, enthusiasm etc. all have contributed to making his style distinctive.

Martyrdom at Chamkaur Sahib di Garhi[edit]

Guru Gobind Singh along with 40 Singhs, including two of his older sons, and the five Panj Piyare, the original "Beloved Five" reached Chamkaur di Garhi, after leaving Anandpur on the night of 22/23 December, 1704A.D., crossing the flooded Sarsa rivulet, and resting at Kotla Nihang Khan near Ropar. They asked permission of the city Rajput chief for shelter to rest for the night in their garhi or haveli.

The Battle Of Chamkaur Sahib was a battle fought between Khalsa led by Guru Gobind Singh against the Mughal forces led by Wazir Khan of Sirhind City and other Mughal Generals.

Endowed with the Plume and Raiment[edit]

The Battle of Chamkaur Sahib was fought, in which Guru’s two Sahibzade (sons) and 27 Singhs (followers) embraced martyrdom. The surviving 11 Singhs in the fortress appointed five loved sons ones out of themselves, who commanded Guru to quit the fortress. Taking it for a divine command Guru accepted this decision. Consequently, before quitting he had to take a decision to assign his plume, weapons, dress and appearance. All this was to be bestowed upon some great individual who might have served the Guru’s establishment with faith, loyalty and devotion. His Name was "Baba Jiwan Singh (Bhai Jaita)". The Guru graced him "Ranghreta Guru Ka Beta",

Martyrdom[edit]

Guru left the Garhi of Chamkaur after gracing Baba Jiwan Singh "Guru Ka Beta". The Mogul force invaded the Garhi of Chamkaur on the morning on 23 Dec 1704 A.D. There were only Seven Singhs and Baba Jiwan Singh in the Havelli. Seven Singh soldiers came out on horses for fighting except for Baba Jiwan Singh Ji. Baba Jiwan Singh stayed inside the Garhi or Havelli and he fired with the two guns Nagni and Baghni and with the arrows which were given to Baba by Guru Gobind Singh when Guru left Chamkaur Sahib. He fired from the top of the Garhi. Moguls considered that Guru was still inside because the Kalgi (Plume) of Guru Gobind Singh was shined on the head of Baba Jiwan Singh Ji. Moguls were deceived. Baba continued firing with guns and arrows and beat the Nagaraa. Seven soldiers were fighting with bravery. The shouts of 'Nagaraa', and sounds of swords, horses and men made the battlefield horrible. Just seven Singh soldiers were fighting with ten Lac Mogul soldiers. They showed their skill and did stunts in the battlefield. Moguls were stunned at their bravery. They were martyred separately. Now, Baba still fought alone. Bullets and arrows were finished inside the Garhi. Baba Jiwan Singh came down from the top of the Garhi or Hawelli. Baba held swords in both hands. Baba broke out on the Moguls, who thought that only Guru Gobind Singh was alone inside and now Guru was fighting after he came out from the Garhi because the Kalgi of Guru was shining on the forehead of Baba Jiwan Singh Ji. Poshaka (Dress) made the false thought true of the enemies. The Mogul force wanted to catch Guru alive so that they could get rewards and high positions in the Mugal Royal Darbar. But the son of Guru (Ranghreta Guru Ka Beta) did not make their wish true. Baba Jiwan Singh fought against them and showed his bravery. He held two swords in both of his hands and broke out at enemies. At last, the enemies were unable to catch Baba alive. So, they fired arrows and guns at Baba Jiwan Singh Ji. The fountain of blood burst from the body. At last, Baba Jiwan Singh was martyred at Chamkaur Sahib on 23 December 1704 as Guru said, "Sawa Lakh Se Ek Lraaun". He was the last martyr of Chamkaur Sahib who fought against 10 lac of Mogul forces. When Baba fell down the Mogul force seemed very happy. Wajid Khan and all the Mogul warriors were very happy that they killed Guru Gobind Singh Ji. They separated the head from the body and presented it to the Mogul Emperor at Delhi. But after investigation it proved that this was not the head of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. The head was that of Baba Jiwan Singh Ji. This fact was found out by Zebunissa, the daughter of Aurangzeb the Emperor of Mugal.

The responsibility of holding the funeral for the bodies of Shaheed Singhs was given to Mata Sharan Kaur by Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Guru said to Mata that she should hold a funeral for all the Singh’s bodies and the body of his elder son was given a funeral separate from the others. Bibi asked, 'How can I recognize your elder son?' Guru replied, 'His body had no head and he wore my poshaka.'

In the battle of Chamkaur Sahib, the father in law Bhai Khajan Singh, younger brother Bhai Sangat Singh and two sons Bhai Sukha Singh and Bhai Seva Singh of Baba Jiwan Singh was also martyred.

Gurudwara Shaheed Burj Sahib[edit]

At the place where Baba Jiwan Singh was martyred, Gurudawar Burj Sahib was situated. This Gurudwara Sahib was situated in the memory of Baba Jiwan Singh Ji. Bibi Sharan Kaur gave a funeral for Baba Jiwan Singh at this place. There is a historical well there, where Guru Ji, two Sahibzadas and other Singh soldiers drank water from this well.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rose, H.A. (1997 reprint) A glossary of the tribes and castes of the Punjab and North-West frontier province: L.-Z, Volume 3. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. p76 ISBN 8185297703
  2. ^ All About Sikhism site[dead link]
  3. ^ Gandhi, S.S. (2007) History of Sikh Gurus Retold: 1606-1708 C.E. Atlantic Publishers & Dist p1109 ISBN 8126908580
  4. ^ Gandhi, S.S. (2007) History of Sikh Gurus Retold: 1606-1708 C.E. Atlantic Publishers & Dist p1109 ISBN 8126908580
  5. ^ Gandhi, S.S. (2007) History of Sikh Gurus Retold: 1606-1708 C.E. Atlantic Publishers & Dist p1109 ISBN 8126908580
  6. ^ Rose, H.A. (1997 reprint) A glossary of the tribes and castes of the Punjab and North-West frontier province: L.-Z, Volume 3. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. p76 ISBN 8185297703