ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂਜੀਕਾਖ਼ਾਲਸਾ ॥ ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂਜੀਕੀਫ਼ਤਹਿ ॥
I hope you are all enjoying summer, well done to everyone for making it through the year! A special congratulations to those who have graduated.
A reminder that we are having a social at Top Golf Watford on the 23rd of July, message to get further details.
On the first day of Savan, we remember the Shaheedi of Bhai Taru Singh. We commemorate Bhai Taru Singh in Ardaas everyday when we say
“ ਜਿਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਸਿੰਘਾਂ ਸਿੰਘਣੀਆਂ ਨੇ ਧਰਮ ਹੇਤ ਸੀਸ ਦਿੱਤੇ
Jinaa Singhaa Singhneeaa nai Dharam Haith Sees Ditai
In this section of Ardaas, we remember the Sikhs who sacrificed their lives for the religious and spiritual freedom of all people.
…..ਖੋਪਰੀਆਂ ਲੁਹਾਈਆਂ ”
The line above translates to “those who had their scalps removed”, an ode to Bhai Taru Singh.
On the 16th of July 1705, Bhai Sahib was tortured by Zakharia Khan, the governor of Lahore, by having his scalp removed. Bhai Sahib was born to Bhai Jodh Singh Ji and Bibi Dharam Kaur. He had a sister named Taro. His father lost his life in battle whilst Bhai Taru Singh was still young.
Bhai Taru Singh devoted his life to helping his fellow Sikhs, who were being hunted down by the spies of Zakharia Khan. He would provide them with food and clothes, something his family did for anyone that would visit their home. As a result, it was often referred to as the house of Guru Nanak.
For their Seva, the family gained influence and respect in the village. This was brought to the attention of Zakharia Khan via his spies, who sought to end Bhai Taru Singh’s influence permanently.
The arrest and torture
Bhai Taru Singh and his sister were arrested. After the villagers bargained for her release, his sister was released. Bhai Taru Singh refused the same treatment. He was bought in front of Zakharia Khan. He enraged Zakharia Khan by greeting him with a Fateh. As with other Gursikhs before him, Bhai Sahib was given the choice of conversion to Islam or death. Bhai Taru Singh refused and was not tempted by the rewards Zakharia Khan was offering him if he converted.
Zakariya ordered that his hair should be cut by force. Bhai Taru Singh was no less determined and would not budge. Bhai Taru Singh said, “My hair is inseparable from my scalp.” Zakariya Khan called a cobbler and ordered him to cut the scalp of Bhai Taru Singh with his cobbler’s chisel. Amidst the torture of scalping, Bhai Sahib could only be heard reciting Japji Sahib. He was then taken to Lahore Fort, imprisoned and tortured again to die a slow death. Bhai Sahib attained shaheedhi on the 1st of July 1745.
What can we learn?
Bhai Taru Singhs shaheedhi highlights the importance of Kesh (uncut hair) in Sikhi. Kesh is a huge part of Sikh identity, as it is one of the 5ks. Whilst it is often referred to as a gift from the Guru, Kesh has a philosophical purpose in our lives as well.
Bhagat Kabeer illustrates this by saying:
“ਭਵਰ ਗਏ ਬਗ ਬੈਠੇ ਆਇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
Bhavar ge bag baithe aai ||1|| rahaau ||
My dark hairs, like bumble bees, have gone away, and grey hairs, like cranes, have settled upon my head. ||1||Pause||
Our hair tells us that we are ageing and hence closer to death. Therefore, it reminds us that our ultimate purpose in life is to connect to Vaheguru, instead of remaining stuck in the Maya (illusion) of this world.
Bhai Taru Singh Shaheedi in detail (https://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Bhai_Taru_Singh)
Martyrdom in Sikhi (https://www.thesikhencyclopedia.com/philosophy-spirituality-and-ethics/philosophy/martyrdom)