Thursday, September 28, 2023



November 13, 2022 09:39 PM
Baba Dip Singh ji (Panting)
Dr Amrit Kaur

 Holding a khanda (double-edged sword) in his right hand and his severed  head in his left hand Baba Dip Singh Ji (1682-1757) sacrified his life fighting against  oppression for the liberation of Sri Harimandar Sahib, Amritsar. He was born on  January 26, 1682 in Pahuwind village, which is 40 kms south-west of Amritsar and  falls in District Tarn Taran of Punjab. His parents Bhai Bhagta Ji and Mata Jiuni Ji  were very religious minded. They nick-named him as ‘Deepa’. His father belonged to  Kharra sub-caste of Jat Sikhs and was a farmer.  

As a small child Dip Singh Ji fell seriously ill and his mother while praying to  God for his recovery prayed that her son should not die of illness and may rather die  as a martyr. Her prayer bore fruit and martyr did he become at the age of 75 years.  His father was a well read person and taught him Gurmukhi. Dip Singh Ji started  reciting Japuji Sahib and soon he started reciting this paath 101 times daily and  continued this practice throughout his life. The recitation of this paath 101 times daily  instilled in him a deep religious fervour and a huge amount of energy. Japuji Sahib is  the opening composition of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs.  Preceded by Mul Mantra which is the basic statement of the Sikh religion, Japuji  Sahib comprises an introductory sloka and 38 stanzas and a concluding sloka. Japuji  Sahib is generally recited early in the morning. One recitation of this paath takes  about 10-15 minutes. 

As a small child Dip Singh Ji fell seriously ill and his mother while praying to God for his recovery prayed that her son should not die of illness and may rather die as a martyr. Her prayer bore fruit and martyr did he become at the age of 75 years.  His father was a well read person and taught him Gurmukhi. Dip Singh Ji started reciting Japuji Sahib and soon he started reciting this paath 101 times daily and continued this practice throughout his life. The recitation of this paath 101 times daily instilled in him a deep religious fervour and a huge amount of energy. 

 On the Baisakhi day of 1699 when Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji established the  initiation ceremony for Sikhs by initiating Panj Piaras and created Khalsa at  Anandpur Sahib in District Ropar of Punjab, Guru Sahib’s message to get initiated  reached all nooks and corners of the country. On the Baisakhi day of the following  year i.e. in 1700, a large number of Sikhs came to Anandpur Sahib from places far 

and near to receive the vows of the Khalsa. As a young boy of 18 years Dip Singh Ji  also reached Anandpur Sahib and received the vows of the Khalsa from Sri Guru  Gobind Singh Ji. He stayed there to study the sacred texts under Bhai Mani Singh Ji and then returned to his village. In 1706, he rejoined Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji at  Talvandi Sabao (Damdama Sahib) 28 kms south-east of Bathinda in District  Bathinda of Punjab.  

Before leaving for Deccan on Oct. 30, 1706, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji  assigned to Dip Singh Ji the duty of teaching the Sikh scriptures, disseminating Sikh  philosophy and training the Sikhs in the martial arts. Thus, Dip Singh Ji stayed  behind at Talvandi Sabo to serve at the Gurdwara Damdama Sahib. At Talvandi  Sabo, as per the directions of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji he spent his time explaining  the teachings of Sri Guru Granth Sahib to Sikh sangat. He also organised a Sikh jatha (fighting group) and trained the members of this jatha in martial arts.  

In 1709, he decided to cooperate with Baba Banda Singh Ji Bahadur whom  Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji had sent from Nanded Sahib, Maharashtra towards Punjab  to counter the tortures being inflicted on the Sikhs by the Mughals. He gave full  cooperation to Baba Banda Singh Ji Bahadur in the battles fought by Baba Banda  Singh Ji Bahadur against the Mughals. When Baba Banda Singh Ji Bahadur  attacked Sadhaura which falls in the District Ambala of Haryana, along with his jatha of brave Sikhs he reached Sadhaura. In this battle Usman Khan was killed who on  March 21, 1704 had tortured to death Pir Buddhu Shah Ji a Muslim Saint for having  helped Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji in the battle at Bhangani in Himachal Pradesh by  taking alongwith him his brother, four sons and 700 followers. 

Taking revenge from Wazir Khan was the top priority of Baba Banda Singh Ji  Bahadur because on December 11, 1705 he had ordered that the two younger sons  - Sahibzada Fateh Singh Ji and Sahibzada Zorawar Singh Ji aged 7 years and 9  years respectively be paved alive in a wall at a place 5 km. from Sirhind. But the wall  being constructed by the mason crumbled and inspite of his best efforts he could not  complete it. On December 12, 1705 as per the orders of Wazir Khan these two  younger sons were executed. On May 12, 1710 when to conquer Sirhind Baba  Banda Singh Ji Bahadur fought the battle near the twin villages of Chapar-Chiri  Large and Chapar Chiri Small Baba Dip Singh Ji played a significant role in it. These  villages fall in the Tehsil Kharar of District Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar, Punjab, they  are 1½ - 2 km. apart and are at a distance of 16 miles from Sirhind in the north eastern direction and 10 miles from Banur in the north-western direction. In this  battle Wazir Khan who was at that time Governor of Sirhind was killed and Baba  Banda Singh Ji Bahadur emerged as victorious. Two days after the battle at Chapar  Chiri, i.e. on May 14, 1710 Baba Banda Singh Ji Bahadur and his army conquered  Sirhind.  

After these victories Baba Dip Singh Ji along with his jatha left for Talwandi  Sabo via Anandpur Sahib and on the way he stopped for one day at Solkhian which  falls in District Ropar and on the Chandigarh-Ropar road is at a distance of 10-11  kms. from Ropar.  

As per folk memory, after these battles Baba Dip Singh Ji helped in dressing  the wounds of the injured Sikhs. He also helped in conducting the injured Sikhs to their respective homes. The soldiers who succumbed to their injuries were cremated  by him at Solkhian. At this place now stands Gurudwara Yaadgaar Shriman Dhan  Dhan Baba Deep Singh Ji Shaheed, where Akhand Paths are being recited  continuously. 

Baba Dip Singh Ji helped Baba Banda Singh Ji Bahadur in the campaigns  against the Mughals until 1714. After that he went to his headquarter at Talvandi  Sabo. A very unique contribution which Baba Dip Singh Ji made during his stay at  Talvandi Sabo is that in 1726 he made four hand written copies of Sri Guru Granth  Sahib from the recension prepared by Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji with the assistance  of Bhai Mani Singh Ji and Dip Singh Ji during his stay at Talvandi Sabo. These  copies were sent to the four Takhts (seats of reverence) (i) Sri Akal Takht Sahib,   Amritsar, Punjab (ii) Takht Sri Patna Sahib, Bihar (iii) Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib,   Anandpur Sahib, District Ropar, Punjab (iv) Takht Sri Hazur Sahib, Abchal Nagar,   Nanded, Maharastra. It is worth mentioning here that Sri Guru Granth Sahib which  consists 1430 pages is treated by the Sikhs as their last Guru and is held in great  veneration by them. The recitation of this holy book once continuously without any  interruption takes about 48 hours.  

In 1732 when Manjh and Bhatti Rajputs in collaboration with the faujdar of  Jallandher and Nawab of Malerkotla had besieged S. Ala Singh at Barnala, Baba Dip  Singh Ji went to Barnala to rescue him. 

 In 1733, the Mughal Governor of Lahore realizing that it was a tough job to  tackle with the brave Sikh forces who stood in his way of spreading Islam decided to  end his warring attitude and lure the Sikhs by offering them nawabships and jagirs.  But considering the offers of the Mughal governor only as an eye-wash Dip Singh Ji  along with his jatha came to Amritsar and joined Nawab Kapur Singh to from a joint  Sikh force called the 'Dal Khalsa'. For administrative reasons this force was sub 

divided into two groups - Buddha Dal (the army of elders) and Taruna Dal (the army  of youngers). Taruna Dal was further split-up into five jathas (fighting bands) and Dip  Singh Ji was given the command of one of these five jathas. By this time, because of  reverence for him he came to be called ‘Baba Dip Singh Ji’.  

On March 29, 1748 which was the day of Baisakhi, the Sikhs chose S. Jassa  Singh Ahluwalia as the supreme commander of the Dal Khalsa. In 1748, these jathas were redesignated as misls and these misls took charge of ensuring peace,   providing protection to the people from oppression and providing security in the area  relegated under their authority. For providing these services, the misls collected a  specific portion of the revenue. Baba Dip Singh Ji was founder of Shahid Misl as well  as the Damdami Taksal i.e. Damdama School of Sikh Learning. Shahid Misl was  incharge of the area falling south of river Sutlej but Baba Dip Singh Ji remained 

stationed at Talvandi Sabo. 

At Talvandi Sabo, the underground burj which he got constructed and in  which he lived and prayed during this period is still intact and is known as Burj Baba  Dip Singh Shahid. It is a 20 meter high tower with a dome which at the top adjoins the north-easten corner of Takht Sri Damdama Sahib, which is one of the five  Takhts, i.e. seats of reverence for the Sikhs. Baba Dip Singh Ji got a well sunk near  this place which still supplies drinking water to the complex. Thousands of Sikh  pilgrims visit this tower daily to pay homage to Baba Dip Singh Ji. A darshan (holy  glimpse) of this tower is a revealing experience in itself. The fittings and articles  inside the tower, alcove for putting divas (earthern lamps) for light give a glimpse of  the possible prayer postures of Baba Dip Singh Ji, his seating and bedding  arrangement etc. The pilgrims claim that mere entry into this tower instils in them a  deep feeling of tranquility. 

Ahmed Shah Abdali also known as Ahmed Shah Durrani who invaded India  nine times between 1747 and 1769, during his fourth invasion which took place in  the winter of 1756-57 he reached Lahore on November 30, 1756 and after staying at  Lahore upto January 10, 1757 he reached Delhi on January 28, 1757. After attacking  some other cities his army plundered Delhi for one month in a very systematic way  not sparing any mohalla. He left Delhi on April 2, 1757. When he was returning after  this invasion he was taking with him 28, 000 elephants, camels, mules, bullocks and  carts loaded with gold, silver and other precious articles and 80, 000 cavalry loaded  with booty. He was also taking with him 17 widows from the harem of emperor  Mohammad Shah and 400 maid servants. When this carvan was passing through  Sanaur in District Patiala, Baba Ala Singh Ji and his forces attacked this caravan and  rescued these women from the clutches of the enemy. Another caravan which was  under the command of Jahan Khan was also looted by the Sikh jathas. Under the  leadership of  S. Charhat Singh who became the grand-father of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Sikh  jathas closely followed Abdali from Lahore to Indus river and harassed his forces.  Before returning to his homeland Abdali installed his son Taimur Shah as Viceroy of  Punjab and appointed Jahan Khan as his deputy general. As a vengeance for the  harassment done to him by the Sikhs Abdali directed Taimur and Jahan Khan to  exterminate all Sikhs, destroy Amritsar, the holy city of Sikhs and fill in the sarovar (sacred pool) at Harimandar Sahib with debris. In May 1757, Jahan Khan reached  Amritsar and started acting as per the directions of Abdali. He razed to the ground  the Sikh fortress at Ram Rauni and filled up the sacred sarovar with debris. The  Shahid Misl under the leadership of S. Gurbaksh Singh Ji tried to defend the holy  premises but were not very successful. When the news of the desecration of holy  places reached Baba Dip Singh Ji at Talvandi Sabo, who was at that time incharge  of Gurdwara Damdama Sahb he immediately set out with his jatha towards  Amritsar. On his way, many Sikhs joined him and by the time he reached Tarn Taran  Sahib which is 24 kms south of Amritsar, he had mustered a force of 5000 soldiers.  At Tarn Taran Sahib, Baba Dip Singh Ji drew a line on the ground with his khanda and said that those Sikhs who were willing to fight until death should cross that line  and join him. All of the Sikhs who were present crossed the line and joined him. At  this place where he had drawn the line Gurdwara Lakeer Sahib has been  established. 

On November 11, 1757 on learning about the march of the Sikh forces  towards Amritsar Jahan Khan set out with his army to give them a tough battle and  reached near the village Gohlvar, which falls in District Tarn Taran and on the Tarn  Taran - Amritsar road comes 14-15 kms before Amritsar. At this place he barred the  way of Baba Dip Singh Ji’s troops as a result of which a fierce battle ensued at this  place. In the meantime Haji Atai Khan joined the Mughal forces alongwith his 20, 000  soldiers. Baba Dip Singh Ji continued to push back the Mughal troops towards  Amritsar and reached village Chabba which is at a distance of 7 kms from Amritsar  on the Tarn Taran - Amritsar road and falls in District Amritsar. At this place the  Mughal Commandar, a young man challenged Baba Dip Singh Ji, a 75 year old  stalwart commander that if he considered himself to be a very brave warrior he  should fight with him alone. Baba Dip Singh Ji accepted the challenge. Both the  Generals alighted from their horses and started fighting. In a fierce battle which  ensued both of them struck each other simultaneonsly in which Mughal Commandar got killed and Baba Deep Singh Ji’s sacred head got severed from his sacred body.  But to the astonishment of all present Baba Dip Singh Ji took hold of his severed  head in his left hand and continued to march towards Sri Harimandar Sahib fighting  with his khanda weighing approximately 37 pounds held in his right hand. Most of the  soldiers in the Mughal army got awe stricken and fled away. Thus fighting Baba Dip  Singh Ji reached the precincts of the holy shrine, the circumambulatory terrace of Sri  Harimandar Sahib and fulfilled his pledge to liberate Sri Harimandar Sahib from the  clutches of the enemy. To commemorate his commitment and bravery, at the exact place where he breathed his last in the parikarma i.e. circumambulatory terrace of  the sarovar surrounding Sri Harimandar Sahib Saheed Bunga Baba Dip Singh Ji  has been constructed. 

In the village Chabba Gurdwara Sri Tahla Sahib has been established at the  place where the sacred head of this brave warrior got separated from his sacred  body. At the place where his sacred body was cremated Gurdwara Shahid Ganj  Sahib Baba Dip Singh Ji has been established. This place is close to Sri  Harimandar Sahib and Gurdwara Ramsar Sahib. On this site S. Jassa Singh Ji 

(d.1803) of Ramgarhia misl had raised a memorial platform which was later on  developed into a Gurdwara by Akali Phula Singh Ji (d. 1823).  

This year on November 15 the Sikh Community all over the world will pay  homage to Baba Dip Singh Ji Shahid on his 265th martyrdom day.  

The sacrifice of Baba Dip Singh Ji Shahid made for the liberation of  religious places will shine perenially in the Sikh history and he will be  remembered for all times to come for his steadfastness and valour. 


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