Baba Deep Singh Shaheed (26th January 1682 - 13th November 1757), is one of the most honoured martyrs in Sikh history. Baba Deep Singh was the founder and leader of the famous "Shaheedan Di Misl" among the 12 misls.
Baba Deep Singh was the first head of Damdami Taksal (Damdama school of learning) a 300 years old religious school of the Sikhs which was founded by Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Tall and strong, Baba Deep Singh Ji was an exceptionally brave Sikh.
A bold and fearless saint-soldier Baba Deep Singh was ever ready to risk his life for the Panth. Baba Deep Singh was born on January 26, 1682 (some records register this as January 20) and died fighting at Amritsar in November 1757 when he was about 75 years old. From about 12 years of age, he grew up around the tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.
Baba Deep Singh spent most of his life as a custodian of the Panth (Sikh community). He and Banda Singh Bahadur are recognised as the most honoured martyrs of the Panth who, together set a unique and amazing example for the community to follow for many generations. Not only was Baba Deep Singh a brave and fearless soldier but a very intelligent scholar who had mastered several languages.
From the time when Guru Gobind Singh came to Damdama Sahib, Baba Deep Singh was responsible for the distribution of the Guru Granth Sahib to other parts of the world and was the "head granthi" (head priest) of Damdama Sahib in Bathinda.
Baba Deep Singh was born at this location in the village Pahuwin on 26th January 1682. Baba Deep Singh Ji's parents were Bhai Bagtu Ji and Mata Jeoni Ji. At the age of eighteen, Baba Deep Singh received Amrit from the Panj Pyare at Anandpur Sahib on Vaisakhi day.
Baba Deep Singh took an oath to serve as one of Waheguru's warriors (Akal Purakh di fauj). With his new name, Deep Singh also learned that Sikhs are to always help the weak and needy, and to fight for truth and justice.
After receiving the vows of the Khalsa, he stayed on in Anandpur to continue his studies of the sacred texts under Bhai Mani Singh. Baba Deep Singh soon became one of the Guru's most beloved Sikhs staying in Anandpur for a total of about eight years.
Gurdwara Burj Baba Deep Singh, a 20-metre high tower with a dome at the top adjoining the north-east corner of the Takht Sri Damdama Sahib, was constructed by Baba Deep Singh. Baba Deep Singh Ji had been summoned to Damdama Sahib to work with Bhai Mani Singh Ji preparing the final text of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Guru Gobind Singh Ji recited the entire Granth Sahib to them while they wrote out the text.
After the completion of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Baba Deep Singh Ji continued, for several years, to hand write four additional copies of the holy scriptures. These four copies were dispersed, a copy each to: Sri Akal Takht Sahib, Takht Sri Harmandir Sahib (Patna), Takht Sri Hazur Sahib and Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib. Later the learned scholar inscribed another copy of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib in Arabic script which was sent to the middle east.
In 1706, before Guru Gobind Singh Ji traveled to the Deccan with Bahadur Shah, Guru Ji placed Baba Deep Singh in charge of Damdama Sahib. He sent Bhai Mani Singh to head the Sangat at Sri Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar. Baba Deep Singh spent many years at Damdama Sahib preaching Sikh values and teachings and doing service for the community. He was always ready to serve those in need and to fight for justice. Baba Ji also continued to write gutkas (books of hymns) distributing them to the Sikh community.
Baba Deep Singh remained at Talwandi after Guru Gobind Singh had left to resume his travels. Baba Deep Singh is also credited with the sinking of the well which still supplies drinking water to the complex.
In 1757 the Afghan invader Ahmed Shah Abdali ordered the Harmandir Sahib to be blown up and the sacred pool to be filled with dead cows in order to destroy the source of the Sikh's spiritual strength. Ahmed Abdali appointed his son, Taimur Shah, as the governor of Lahore, and made the veteran general Jahan Khan his general.
Following orders, in 1757, Jahan Khan proceeded to Amritsar with heavy artillery. The Sikh fortress of Ram Rauni was razed to the ground. Many Sikhs died trying to defend Sri Harmandir Sahib but unfortunately the gurdwara and its surrounding buildings were demolished and the sarovar was filled with dirt, dead animals and debris. Sri Harmandir Sahib was then closed to all Sikhs.
At this time, Baba Deep Singh Ji was at Damdama Sahib. When he learned about this disturbing news, he immediately declared his intention of expelling the Afghans and rebuilding the gurdwara. He took a vow not to come back alive without fulfilling this mission. Baba Deep Singh Ji did ardas while promising to get to Sri Harmandir Sahib: "Sir jaave ta jaave, mera Sikhi sidhak na jaave" (If my head goes, it goes... but don't let my Sikhi go)".
Gurdwara Sri Lakeer Sahib is situated at the place where Baba Deep Singh Ji marked a line on the ground, before entering into war against the mughal empire in 1757 for their atrocities. Baba Deep Singh Ji asked only those who were willing to fight and die for Sikhi, and to stop the desecration of Sri Harmandir Sahib, to cross the line.
Gurdwara Sri Tahla Sahib Chabba marks the place where Baba Deep Singh fought the battle against the mughals led by Jahan Khan. Baba Deep Singh Ji fought with his 15kg (about 32 lbs.) khanda (double-edged sword). Each Sikh fought with such great valor and courage that the enemy was almost defeated. During the midst of battle, a large army of reinforcements arrived for Jahan Khan's men, turning the odds against the Sikhs. Yet, the Sikhs with Baba Deep Singh Ji as their head continued fighting and advanced towards Amritsar. Then, a miracle occured, such which had never happened in the world before.
During the clash, one of the mughal commanders, Jamal Khan, attacked Baba Deep Singh Ji. As they fought, both men swung their weapons with great force, leaving both of their heads separated from their bodies. At the place, where Baba Deep Singh was beheaded, there was a very big Tahli (Dalbergia sissoo) tree hence the Gurdwara is known as Gurdwara Sri Tahla Sahib Chabba. After seeing this scene, a young Sikh warrior called out to Baba Ji, "..Baba Ji you had said in ardaas that you should fall martyr within the precincts of Darbar sahib, but you seem to be retiring from the fight here...".
Upon hearing this, Baba Deep Singh Ji immediately stood up, holding his severed head in his left hand and with his right hand he swayed the Khanda with such force that the mughals retreated. Although mortally wounded Baba Deep Singh was able to continue fighting until he was able to make his way to Harmandir Sahib. Baba Deep Singh reached Sri Harmandir Sahib and offered his head.
Baba Deep Singh was able to continue fighting and fulfilled his oath and finally reached Sri Harmandir Sahib - there he bowed and lay his head on the parkarma. Gurdwara Sri Baba Deep Singh Shaheed is located within the Sri Harmandir Sahib complex. This Gurdwara marks the location where Baba Deep Singh finally rejoined with God.
This Gurdwara is located where Antim Sanskar (cremation) of Baba Deep Singh and other Shaheed Singhs was carried out. Sardar Jassa Singh Ramgarhia constructed a memorial to the famed martyr. In the 19th century Akali Phula Singh replaced the memorial platform into a magnificent gurdwara.
For a long time this Gurdwara was under the management of Sardar Karam Singh's descendants (of Shaheedi misl). The Gurdwara was handed over to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee in 1924. The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee enlarged and developed this important gurdwara into the present complex in the early 1920s. The surrounding estate and land owned by the descendants of Jassa Singh Ramgarhia was also later donated to the Gurdwara.
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