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Shaheed Baba Deep Singh

Shaheed Baba Deep Singh (January 26, 1682 – November 13, 1757) is one of the most honoured martyrs in Sikh history. He was the first head of the Damdami Taksal, religious school of the Sikhs, which was founded by Guru Gobind Singh. Baba Deep Singh was tall, strong, and an exceptionally brave Sikh. He was a fearless saint soldier, and very intelligent scholar who mastered several languages. Baba Deep Singh’s 15 Kg Khanda is still preserved at Akal Tahkat Amritsar.

Baba Deep Singh was born into a Jat Sikh Sandhu family in village Pahuvind. When he was 12 years old, he went to Anandpur Sahib with his parents and lived there for 8 years with Guru Gobind Singh. He learned Gurmukhi and other languages from Bhai Mani Singh. He also learned the art of horsemanship, hunting, and use of bow and other weapons. In 1702, he returned to his village to help his parents and also got married. In 1704, he met Guru Gobind Singh at Dandam Sahib in Talwandi Sabho and worked with Bhai Mani Singh and wrote 4 copies of Guru Granth Sahib. These 4 copies were dispersed, a copy each to : Shri Akal Tahkat Sahib, Shri Tehkat Patna Sahib, Shri Tahkat Hazur Sahib, and Shri Tahkat Kesgarh Sahib. In 1706, he was placed in charge of Damdama Sahib and Bhai Mani Singh, Head the Sangat at Harimandar Sahib Amritsar, and Guru Gobind Singh went to South with King Bahadur Shah.

In about 1709, Baba Deep Singh joined Baba Banda Singh Bahadur. They fought together in the battle of Sirhind and defeated and killed Wazir Khan, a Mughal leader. In 1732, he went to the rescue of Sardar Ala Singh of Patiala. In 1733, he joined Sardar Kapur Singh at Amritsar to form a joint force, The Dal Khalsa, which was divided into Buddha Dal and Taran Dal for administrative convenience. Tarna Dal later split into 5 Jathas. Baba Deep Singh was given command of one of these Jathas. In 1748, these Jathas were re-designated Misls and Baba Deep Singh became the leader of the Shaheedi Misl and achieved numerous victories for the Sikhs. This Misl controlled the area south of the Satlej river, with headquarters at Talvandi Sabho.

At the invitation of Mughlani Begun, Ahmed Shah Abdali invaded India for the fourth time during the year 1755-56. On his return journey, Abdali was accompanied by his soldiers who carried enormous stores of gold, silver, and other valuables looted from the towns of Mathra, Bindraban, Agra, and Delhi. In addition, thousands of women and young boys from both Hindu and Muslim communities, were being forcibly taken against their wishes, to serve as maidens, slaves and to be auctioned in the open market. Baba Deep Singh Jatha was assigned duty near river Markhanda ( area of Kurukashatra ). They stormed out of the surrounding jungle and pounced upon Abdali’s caravan. Some of them attacked Abdali’s soldiers, others captured and drove away many bullock carts laden with the women and looted values, taken them to safety of their nearby jungle hideouts. The Sikhs had rescued about 300 women and 100 boys from the clutches of Abdali. The freed women and boys were escorted safely to their homes by the Sikh soldiers.

In May 1757, Taimur Shah, Viceroy of Lahore, razed the Sikh fortress of Ram Nauni and destroyed Harimandar Sahib. Baba Deep Singh gathered Sikhs and advanced towards Amritsar. Baba Deep Singh's army intercepted Jahan Khan’s forces near the Goharwal village ( 5 miles away from Amritsar ). Baba Deep Singh fought with his 15 Kg khanda and achieved victory but during the clash Baba Deep Singh and Jamal Khan both swung their weapons with great force, leaving both of their heads separated from their bodies. The Sikhs recovered their prestige by defeating the Afghan army and the latter were forced to flee. Even today, his life serves as an example for all Sikhs.

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