Sahibzada Ajit Singh

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Sahibzada Ajit Singh Ji (1687–1705) was the eldest of Guru Gobind Singh's four sons. His younger brothers were Sahibzada Jujhar Singh, Sahibzada Zorawar Singh and Sahibzada Fateh Singh. With his three brothers, Sahibzada Ajit Singh Ji carried on a family tradition: that of attaining the status of one of the most hallowed martyrs in Sikh history. Before him and his brothers, their grandfather, the Ninth Sikh Guru Ji, Guru Tegh Bahadur and his great-great grandfather, the Fifth Sikh Guru Ji, Guru Arjan Dev had also been executed by the Mughals.

Early life[edit]

Sahibzada Ajit Singh Ji was born to Mata Sundari[1] and Guru Gobind Singh Ji at Paonta Sahib on 3 January 1687. The following year, Guru Gobind Singh Ji returned with the family to Anandpur where Sahibzada Ajit Singh Ji was brought up in the approved Sikh style. He was taught religious texts, philosophy and history, and had training in the manly arts such as riding, swordsmanship and archery. He grew up into a handsome young man; strong, intelligent and a natural leader of men.

Battles[edit]

The Ranghars of Nuh[edit]

Soon after the creation of the Khalsa on 13 April 1699, he had his first test of skill. A Sikh Congregation ('Sangat') coming from the Pothohar region of northwest Punjab, was attacked and looted on the way by the Ranghars (a Muslim tribe) of Nuh, a short distance from Anandpur across the River Satluj. Guru Gobind Singh Ji sent Sahibzada Ajit Singh Ji, then barely 12 years old, to that village. Sahibzada Ajit Singh Ji along with a 100 men reached the spot on 23 May 1699, punished the Ranghars and recovered the looted property.

Taragarh and Nirmohgarh[edit]

A harder task was entrusted to Sahibzada Ajit the following year when the hill chiefs supported by imperial Mughal troops from Lahore and Sirhind attacked Anandpur. Sahibzada Ajit Singh was made responsible for the defence of the Taragarh Fort, which became the first target of attack on 29 August 1700. Ajit Singh, assisted by Bhai Udai Singh, a seasoned soldier, repulsed the attack. He also fought valiantly in the battle of Nirmohgarh in October 1700. On 15 March 1701, a Sikh Sangat coming from the Darap area (near Sialkot) was waylaid by Gujjars and Ranghars. Sahibzada Ajit Singh led a successful expedition against them.

Restoring a Brahmin's wife[edit]

In March 1703, Dewki Das, a Brahmin came to Anandpur and requested the Guru to help him in getting back his wife whom Chowdhry Jabar Khan, the chief of Dera Bassi, had taken away forcibly; the Guru asked Sahibzada Ajit Singh and Bhai Udey Singh to help the Brahmin. On the 7th of March 1703, both of them, joined by about one hundred Sikhs, went to Bassi Kalan; they put siege to the village and sent a message to Jabar Khan to return the Brahmin's wife; but Jabar Khan, instead of returning the Brahmin’s wife, asked his soldiers to attack the Sikhs; it was followed by a full-fledged battle, in which Jabar Khan was killed; the Brahmin's wife was restored to him. When this news reached the people, they praised the Sikhs for their role.[2]

The birth of Sahibzada Jujhar Singh[edit]

In 1691, Mata Sundari gave birth to another boy who was named Jujhar Singh. Sahibzada Jujhar Singh was four years younger than Ajit Singh. Sahibzada Ajit Singh became a model for him. Jujhar Singh also was entrusted with several engagements around Anandpur and on hills. Both Ajit Singh and Jujhar Singh led hundreds of successful expeditions, helping the needy who would come to Guru Gobind Singh asking to get them justice.

Chamkaur, Sahibzada Ajit Singh's Final Battle[edit]

When Mughal forces besieged Anandpur in 1704, Sahibzada Ajit Singh again displayed his qualities of courage and steadfastness. After a long stalemate, the Mughal Faujdar gave his assurances that he only wanted the fort of Anandpur and would let the population of the town go unharmed. Anandpur was vacated on the night of 5th and 6 December 1704. Sahibzada Ajit Singh was given the command of the rearguard. As the besiegers, violating their solemn promises, attacked the column, he stoutly engaged them on a hill-feature called Shahi Tibbi until he was relieved by Bhai Udai Singh. Ajit Singh crossed the Sarsa rivulet, then in spate, along with his father, younger brother, Jujhar Singh, and some others. Further reduced in numbers by casualties at the hands of pursuing troops from Ropar, the column reached Kotla Nihanga and then proceeded to Chamkaur on the night between 6th and 7 December 1704. There they rested for some hours in the fortress of Budhi Chand Rawat.[3] But, in the afternoon the Muslim soldiers from Malerkotla and Sirhind reached there, surrounded the fortress, and threw a tight ring around it. The Sikhs too took up position. An unequal but grim battle began. The Sikhs had exhausted the meagre stock of ammunitions and arrows, hence they made sallies in batches of five each to engage the encircling host with sword and spear.

Sahibzada Ajit Singh led one of the sallies and laid down his life fighting in the thick of the battle. Gurdwara Katalgarh now marks the spot where he fell, followed by Sahibzada Jhujhar Singh who led the next sally. An annual fair is held in the commemoration of their martyrdoms in December - January.

Commemoration[edit]

Ajitgarh, one of the largest cities in Punjab lying adjacent to its capital Chandigarh, has been named in the memory of Sahibzada Ajit Singh, Ajitgarh ('Home of Ajit'). It is located in the district of the state which is also named after him Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar District.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Sahibzada_Ajit_Singh
  2. ^ Dr Harjinder Singh Dilgeer, THE SIKH REFERENCE BOOK, The Sikh University Press, 1997
  3. ^ Harjinder Singh Dilgeer, Sikh History in 10 Volumes, vol. 1
  4. ^ "Mohali is now Ajitgarh". Retrieved 2012-08-09.