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There are many great martyrs in Sikh history. These are the sikhs who thought of humanity and their religion. And they sacrificed their life for their faith. They are the real heros who must be remembered. There are lot of Sikh Martyrs, just mentioning the few here.

Guru Arjan Dev Ji

Guru Arjan Dev Ji was fifth Guru of Sikhs. He made great contributions to strengthen the cult of sikhism. After the death of Akbar the new head of state emperor Jahangir was jealous about Guru’s propagation of Sikhism. Many baseless allegations were leveled against Guru Sahib. Guru Arjan Dev Ji was arrested and brought to Lahore where he was charge-sheeted and implicated in the false cases. Guru Ji was tortured and was made to sit on the hot iron plates and burning sand was poured over his naked body. He was given a dip in boiling water. The Guru was tortured for five long days. When the body was blistered, he was chained and thrown into the river Ravi. Thus Guru Arjan Dev Ji embraced martyrdom in 1606. Thus a magnificent life was brutaly cut short at the hands of tyranny. Guru ji became the first great martyr in Sikh history. He was only forty-three years old at the time of his supreme sacrifice. Sikhs celebrate that great day every year.

Guru Teg Bahadur Ji

Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji was ninth Guru of Sikhs. He had inspirations towards a life of selfless service and sacrifice, with a moral spiritual courage to abide by the will of God. A reign of terror was let loose on Hindus in India by the Muslim theistic state. Aurangzeb wanted people to embrace islam. To achieve this goal as soon as possible, the Hindu Brahmins (the preaching class), were identified for this purpose. They were given an ultimatum either to embrace islam or to be prepared for death. Thousands of Kashmiri Pandits (Brahmins) were massacred and their property was looted. At this juncture, the Brahmins especially the Kashmiri Pandits led by Pandit Kirpa Ram Dutt approached Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji at Anandpur Sahib in 1675. They told their tales and woe to Guru Sahib Ji and requested to protect their honour and faith. Guru Sahib heard their views and agreed to resist the nefarious act of forcible conversions, by peaceful means. Guru Sahib Ji made up his mind to sacrifice himself for the cause of “Righteousness” and the freedom of religion. He told Kashmiri Pandits “Go tell Aurangzeb that if they can convert your Guru then you will all become Muslims”. Kirpa Ram did the same and Aurangzeb issued summons for Guru Ji. On the other hand, before the summons reach Anandpur Sahib, Guru Sahib Ji started his journey towards Delhi after installing his son (Guru) Gobind Singh Ji as the Tenth Nanak in 1675. Bhai Mati Das Ji, Bhai Dayal Das ji and Bhai Sati Das Ji, the devoted sikhs, insisted on going along with Guru Sahib ji. The Aurangzeb asked Guru Ji to show miracles or to embrace islam. The guru replied that showing a miracle was to interfere in the work of God which was wholly improper. As for embracing islam he considered his religion as good as islam, and therefore the change of religion was not necessary. The emperor ordered that the Guru to be put to the several tortures. Bhai Mati Das Ji, Bhai Dyal Das Ji and Bhai Sati Das Ji were brutaly tortured and martyred in front of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji. The Muslim authorities offered three alternatives to Guru Ji i.e to show miracles or to embrace islam or to prepare himself for death. Guru Sahib accepted the last and the authorities ordered the executioner (jallad) to sever the head from the body. The order was implemented. Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib at chandni chowk (Delhi) marks the place where the execution was done. Guru Tegh Bahadur ji is called as ‘Hind Di Chadar’. He sacrificed his life for the cause of religion, truth and betterment of humanity.

Bhai Mati Das Ji

Please refer Guru Tegh Bahadur ji’s Martyrdom history mentioned above. When the soldiers came to arrest Guru Sahib ji, Bhai Mati Das Ji came forward to offer himself to be arrested, first. Guru Tegh Bahadur was asked to embrace islam. Guru Sahib Ji refused for that. In order to intimidate the Guru, the qazis (islamic magistrates) made a plan, to torture to death, the Sikhs arrested with the Guru, before his eyes. They thought that the Guru would embrace islam, out of fear on seeing the Sikhs murdered. The qazis decreed to cut Bhai Mati Das ji with a saw. Hearing the order of the qazis, Bhai Mati Das ji prayed to the Guru, “O True King ! bless me so that i may do my duty by sacrificing myself for the glory of the faith.” Qazis asked Bhai Ji to embrace islam. They told that if he does not embrace islam, his body will be sawn into two. After his refusal, the qazis asked him his last wish, to which he replied,’When i am being cut with the saw, let my face be towards my mentor so that i may behold my Guru till my last breath and he may keep on seeing me so that he may be convinced how happily i reach my last destination.” By the order of the qazis, the executioners sawed Bhai Mati Das Ji in two in 1675, in Chandni Chowk, Delhi.

Bhai Dyal Das Ji

Please refer Guru Tegh Bahadur ji’s Martyrdom history mentioned above. After the martyrdom of Bhai Mati Das Ji, Bhai Dyal Das Ji was given martyrdom. The qazis ordered that Bhai Dayal Das Ji be seated in a cauldron of boiling water. On hearing the ruling, Bhai Dyal Das Ji asked the leave of the Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib ji. The Guru said,”Brother, your service has borne fruit due to which your turn has come before mine. Great are you and blessed is your devotion. What pleasure can be greater for me than to see my lifelong devotees sacrificing their lives for the protection of human rights even ahead of me. May God bless you with success.” Before putting Bhai Dayal Das ji in the cauldron of boiling water, the qazis said,”There is still time, embrace islam and save yourself from pains otherwise you will face greater agony than your companion. You have seen how cruely he was sawn.” Bhai Dayal Das Replied,”You could not harass my companion. Did you notice, how calmly he was meditating on the word of his Guru when he was being sawn. Having made mockery of bodily pains, he had diffused into the Supreme Being. Hurry up and let my soul attain unity with the Lord.” On his reply in the negative, the executioners sat him in the cauldron of boling water. He stayed on sitting in the water with an unwavering mind. His flesh separated from his bones and his soul merged into the Supreme Being.

Bhai Sati Das Ji

Please refer Guru Tegh Bahadur ji’s Martyrdom history mentioned above. Bhai Sati Das ji also accompanied Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib Ji, to Delhi. After few days of the martyrdom of his brother, Bhai Mati Das Ji, Bhai Sati Das ji faced martyrdom. The qazis ordered Bhai Sati Das Ji to be wrapped in cotton and burnt. Before being wrapped in cotton, the qazis asked Bhai Sati Das ji,”Save your life by embracing islam and live in pleasure.” Bhai Sati Das Ji replied,”You cannot understand that my pleasure and happiness lie only in obeying the command of my Guru. It does not lie in saving this life which must end one day.” At this reply, the executioners wrapped Bhai Sati Das ji in cotton, poured oil over it and set fire to it. Bhai Sati Das Ji remained calm while burning till his last breath and remained true to his resolve.

Sahibzada Ajit Singh Ji and Sahibzada Jujhar Singh Ji

Sahibzada Ajit Singh Ji and Sahibzada Jujhar Singh ji were sons of tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Guru Sahib Ji and Sahibzadas were in Chamkaur fort. Enemy Aurangzeb sent forces, they encircled the fort in large number. The enemy forces number was in lacs. But Guru Gobind Singh ji had only 42 Sikhs, including his two sons. It was decided by Guru Gobind Singh Ji to send Sikhs outside fort in batches of five to engage the enemy soldiers in hand to hand fight. Imagine 5 Sikhs, daring to take on lakhs enemy soldiers, this proved to the world that how fearless the Sikhs of the Guru were and had love not for their lives, but the orders of their master. Sahibzada Ajit Singh ji sought the permission of his father to allow him to go out and fight. Guru Gobind Singh Ji was immensely pleased at this and embraced his son. Coming out of the fort Sahibzada Ajit Singh Ji, the brave son of the Guru Sahib ji, attacked the enemy soldiers like a lion leaping on a flock of sheep to be cut to pieces. After brave son of the Master exhausted his arrows, he attacked to the enemy with his spear. Sahibzada, then engaged the enemy with his sword. While he was cutting the adversaries to pieces by lightening attacks with his sword, an enemy soldier successfully attacked the brave son with a sharp spear. Thus the brave Sahibzada attained martyrdom. Sahibzada Jujhar Singh Ji, the second son of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, had been keenly observing from the fort Chamkaur, the heroic fight put up by his elder brother. He requested his dear father to grant him permission to repeat the heroic acts of his elder brother. Guru Sahib ji allowed him to go out and fight with the enemy. The young Jujhar Singh Ji fearlessly attacked the enemy soldiers like a lion. He using arrows, spears and finally his sword felled numerous enemy soldiers. Headless bodies of enemy soldiers were piling up arround him. After a long drawn battle, the enemy soldiers attacked the young Sahibzada from all sides in large numbers. Sahibzada put up a brave fight but was ultimately fatally injured and fell martyr on the ground. The two Sahibzadas were aged 18 years and 16 years respectively when they achieved martyrdom at Chamkaur Sahib in 1705.

Sahibzada Zorawar Singh Ji, Sahibzada Fateh Singh Ji and Mata Gujri Ji

Sahibzada Zorawar Singh Ji and Sahibzada Fateh Singh ji were younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Mata Gujri Ji were mother of Guru Ji. Sahibzadas and Mata Gujri ji were arrested by the Mughal constables and put in a cold room in the tower at Sirhind. Nawab Wazir Khan asked the Sahibzadas to embrace islam. Sahibzada Zorawar Singh ji spoke fearlessly,”We are fighting against tyranny and injustice. We are the sons of Guru Gobind Singh ji, the grandsons of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji and descendants of Guru Arjan Dev ji. We shall follow their footsteps. We are ready for all sacrifices for the protection of our faith.” The Qazi ordered that they should be bricked up alive in a wall. The sahibzadas reached the tower and gave a report of the proceedings of the court to their grand mother. She embraced her grandsons, patted them on their backs for their courageous and bold stand. Next morning they were taken to the Nawab’s court. Nawab again asked them to embrace islam otherwise he said that they will be bricked alive. Both the Sahibzadas proclaimed fearlessly,”We shall never give our faith, whatever may be the consequences. Death has no meaning for us.” Sahibzadas were bricked alive and they attained martyrdom at the age of 8 years and 6 years respectively, in 1705. As soon as the two Sahibzadas attained martyrdom, Mata Gujri ji, who was sitting in meditation in the tower, breathed her last.

SBaba Banda Singh Bahadur Ji

Baba Banda Singh Bahadur was the first Singh King who established Sikh rule in a large part of Punjab. Guru Gobind Singh ji sent Baba Banada Singh ji on a mission to Punjab to punish the guilty and cruel rulers of the time. Within a short time, Sikh forces, under the leadership of brave Baba Banda singh Ji, put to death many tyrant rulers, including Nawab Wazir Khan who was responsible for putting to death the two younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, in a most inhuman manner. Cruel rulers and their associates were singled out systematically, picked up and punished for their crimes against humanity. Baba Ji captured large part of Punjab and established Sikh rule there. Emperor at Delhi was angered by the defeat of Mughal forces at the hands of Baba ji. He sent a large force from Delhi to defeat and capture Baba ji. The Sikhs fought valiantly under the leadership of Baba ji. But, ultimately, the brave Sikh general Baba Banda Singh Bahadur ji was arrested along with seven hundred sikh soldiers and brought to Delhi, where they were mounted on ponies, insulted and paraded in the bazars of Delhi. The Sikhs were offered amnesty if they accepted conversion to Islam. Not even one of them accepted this offer of lease of life. As such they were tortured down to death. They died in high spirits, sticking to their faiths. Finally before Baba Banda Singh ji was butchered most mercilessly by the tyrant rulers, his four years old son was put to death in front of Baba ji, by cutting open his abdomen. His heart was taken out and thrust into the mouth of Baba ji. But even this most inhuman and cruel act of tyrant rulers failed to break Baba Ji’s resolve and determination. He remained composed as ever. Finally, he was put to death most mercilessly by pinching the flesh from his body, bit by bit, by means of heated pincers. Thus, the great Baba Banda Singh Bahadur ji became a martyr in 1716.

Bhai Taru Singh ji

Bhai Taru Singh ji lived with his mother and younger sister at village Pahoola, in district Amritsar, and did farming for his living. His mother, a devoted Sikh lady, had provided his son Taru Singh, with deep knowledge of Sikh scriptures and Sikh history. As a result of this Bhai Taru Singh Ji had developed full faith in Sikh scriptures and was proud of his religious heritage. He used to feed and help the poor and needy irrespective of caste, creed and religion. He was respected as a noble person. One of the government informers lodged a report against Bhai Ji, that he was a dangerous person who provided boarding and lodging facilities to the terrorists. Without verifying the truth about the complaint against him, Zakaria khan (Governor of Lahore), issued orders for the arrest of Bhai Taru Singh ji. On reaching Lahore, Bhai Taru Singh Ji was locked in a prison cell and was tortured in various ways. The more they tortured him, the more Bhai ji became steadfast in his resolve to protect his faith at all costs. Ultimately Bhai ji was produced before Zakaria khan. Zakaria khan told Bhai ji that he had to choose between conversion to islam or death by torture. Bhai ji refused to get converted to Muslim and he said that he love his faith more than his life and he will defend it at all costs. Zakaria Khan ordered the official cobbler to remove Bhai ji’s scalp together with his hairs (Keshas). Bhai ji’s scalp was removed by the cobbler. Bhai Taru singh ji thanked his Guru ji and God even in the face of such a cruel act of the ruler. After some time, Bhai Taru Singh ji breathed his last and attained martyrdom in 1745.

Bhai Mani Singh Ji

Bhai Mani Singh Ji was appointed Granthi (or Head priest) of the Golden Temple. He was asked to organize the service in the Gurudwara and to manage its affairs. For years the Muslim rulers had carried on a large scale massacre of the sikhs. All efforts was made to prevent the Sikhs from assembling in their favourite shrine, Golden Temple. Therefore, for years the Diwali festival had not been held there. In year 1738, Bhai Mani Singh ji applied to the governor of Lahore for permission to hold the Diwali festival in Gurudwara. Permission was given on condition that Bhai ji should pay to the government 5000 rupees after the fair. Bhai Ji issued the invitation to the Sikhs of all places. The governor and diwan Lakhpat Rai secretly planned to kill the Sikhs coming for the pilgrimage. Bhai Mani Singh ji came to know of their plan in time. He sent messages to Sikhs not to come and so no fair was held. The Governor called Bhai Mani Singh ji to Lahore and demanded the tax money. Bhai ji refused to make the payment because he said no fair was held. He was arrested for his failure to make the payment. He was told that he could save his life by embracing islam. He stoutly and resolutely refused to give up his religion. Orders were given that his body should be cut to pieces, limb by limb. As the executioner started his work, Bhai Mani Singh ji sat calm and serene. He was absorbed in meditating on God and repeating the Guru’s word. Bhai Mani Singh ji was condemned to death by tortures. Thus Bhai ji attained martyrdom in 1738.

Baba Deep Singh Ji Shaheed

Baba Deep Singh ji Shaheed, is one of the most honoured martyrs in Sikh history. He was the founder of the Shahid Misl (group) as well as of Damdami Taksal (Damdama school of learning). Tall and strong he was an exceptionally brave Sikh. A bold and fearless saint-soldier, he was ever ready to risk his life for the Panth (Sikh Community). Barely 20 to 22 of age, Baba Deep Singh ji was a scholar and a valiant soldier. Muslim emperor, Ahmedshah Abdali, ordered to destroy Sikhs and their holy shrines. Jahan khan, commanding a large army raided Amritsar, Baba gurbax Singh and his 30 Sikh companions laid down their lives to protect the sanctity of Golden Temple. Jahan khan after overcoming the resistance of these brave sikhs not only got the building of Golden Temple pulled down but also got the sacred water tank filled with garbage. The news of this flashed to Baba deep Singh ji at Damdama Sahib. Baba ji declared his intention to take revenge for the brutal and unholy act of enemies of Sikh community. Sikhs in large numbers answered this valiant call of Baba ji, by placing their services at his disposal. Baba Deep Singh ji drew a line on the ground and addressed the gathered sikhs, only those should cross this line who are prepared to die but not turn back to the enemy in the battlefield. Five hundred Sikhs crossed the line and started towards Amritsar under his leadership. By the time they reached Tarn Taran Sahib their number had swelled to 5,000. When news of Baba ji’s intentions reached Jahan khan, he immediately mobilized an army of 20,000 men and proceeded towards Tarn Taran Sahib. Baba Deep Singh ji’s army intercepted Jahan khan’s forces near the village of Goharwal, about five miles from Amritsar. Baba ji, at the age of 75, fought with his 18 kg Khanda (double edged sword). Each sikh fought with such great valor and courage that the enemy was almost defeated. While fighting Baba ji’s head got separated from the body. After seeing this scene, a young Sikh warrior called out to Baba ji , reminding him of his vow to reach Golden Temple. He kept his promise by continuing after picking up his head and carrying it on his palm, whilst continuing to fight. Upon seeing the sight of Baba ji’s headless body tearing through their numbers, most of the men in the Mughal army fled away in terror. Baba Deep Singh ji was able to continue fighting and reached the periphery of Golden Temple from where he flung his severed head which came to rest at the parikarma (rectangular walkway around the holy shrine) of this Sacred Gurudwara and lay there as promised. The Sikh Army continued to fight the fleeing Mughals until the victory was achieved. Thus Baba Deep Singh ji fell martyr on the edge of the sacred tank in 1757.

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