Bhai Taru Singh
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has bowed to Bhai Taru Singh Ji, on the occasion of his 300th birth anniversary.
Who was ‘Bhai Taru Singh’?
- He was a prominent Sikh Martyr known for sacrificing his life for protecting Sikh values, having had his head scalped rather than cutting his hair or converting to Islam.
- He was born in 1720 in Amritsar during the reign of Mughal Empire. He was engaged in agriculture at Poolha, Tehsil Kasur, in the Lahore district during the period when Sikhs were heavily persecuted by the Mughal Empire.
- Upon watching Sikh fighters save a poor girl from the clutches of the Mughal oppressors Bhai Taru Singh decided to become a Sikh and initiated into the Khalsa.
- During this time, Sikh revolutionaries were plotting the overthrow of the Mughal governor of Punjab, Zakaria Khan. Bhai Taru Singh and his sister gave food and other aid to the Gursikhs (Devout Sikhs of the Guru). An informant reported them to Zakaria Khan and the two were arrested for treason. Though his sister’s freedom was bribed for by the villagers, Singh refused to seek a pardon.
Story of valour
- After a period of imprisonment and torture, Bhai Taru Singh was brought before the Khan and asked him where he got his powers from to undergo all of the agony. His reply was through his Keshas (Unshorn Hair) blessed by Guru Gobind Singh. Zakaria Khan then gave him the choice of converting to Islam and having his hair cut off as an offering or being executed.
- Upon his refusal to forsake his religion, Bhai Taru Singh’s scalp was cut away from his skull with a sharp knife to prevent his hair from ever growing back in a public display.
- According to prominent early Sikh historian Ratan Singh Bhangu, in response to having his scalp torn off, Taru Singh cursed Zakaria Khan, saying he would be killed by his shoes.
- According to Sikh sources, after cutting Bhai Taru Singh’s scalp Zakaria Khan was stricken with unbearable pain and the inability to urinate. As a last resort, Khan sent an apology to the Khalsa Panth for his persecution of Sikhs and begged for forgiveness.
- It was suggested that if Khan hit himself with Bhai Taru Singh’s shoes his condition might be lifted. Although hitting himself with Bhai Taru Singh’s shoe did cure the Khan’s condition, he died 22 days later from having hit himself with the shoes, which is what Bhai Taru Singh had predicted.
- Upon hearing the death of Khan and that he had outlived the Khan, Taru Singh died on 1 July 1745.