Shaheed Baba Deep Singh Ji was born on January 20, 1682, in the village of Pahuwind, district Amritsar. His father’s name was Bhai Bhagtu Ji. At the age of 12, Baba Deep Singh Ji went with his parents to Anandpur Sahib to meet Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth Sikh Guru.
When his parents were ready to return to their village, Guru Gobind Singh Ji asked Baba Deep Singh Ji to stay with him. He humbly accepted Guru Ji’s command and began serving him.
From Bhai Mani Singh Ji Baba Ji began learning reading and writing Gurmukhi and Gurbani. As well as Gurmukhi, he learnt several other languages. Guru Gobind Singh Ji also taught him horseback riding, hunting and weaponry.
At the age of 18, on the Vaisakhi of 1700, he received the blessing of Amrit from the Panj Piyaare. As an Amritdhari Sikh, Baba Deep Singh Ji took an oath to serve in Akaal Purakh’s Fauj (the Almighty’s army) and that following the way of the Khalsa one is to always help the weak and needy, and to fight for truth and justice.
Baba Deep Singh Ji soon became one of Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s most beloved Sikhs.
In 1709, Baba Ji joined Baba Banda Singh Ji Bahadar in punishing the tyrants of Sadhaura and Sirhind. In 1733 Nawab Kapoor Singh Ji, the commander of the Khalsa forces, appointed Baba Ji as the leader of one of the jathas (groups) of Dal Khalsa (a united and collective body of groups of Khalsa divided and dispersed across Panjab).
On Vaisakhi day of 1748, when Dal Khalsa was reorganized into 12 misls, he was entrusted with the leadership of Shaheedaa(n) di Misl.
In April 1757, Ahmed Shah Abdali, after his fourth invasion, was returning to Kabul from Delhi with precious booty and young men and women as captives. Singhs made a plan to retrieve the valuables and set the prisoners free.
The jatha (squad) of Baba Deep Singh Ji was deployed near Kurkhetar (also called Kurukshetra). His squad freed large number of prisoners and lightened the burden of valuables of Abdali considerably.
While departing from Lahore, Abdali appointed his son Taimur Shah, the Governor of Lahore and told him, “Try to finish the Sikhs”. In Accordance with his orders, Taimur Shah started demolishing Gurdwaré and filling the sarovars (pool tanks) with debris and alcohol.
When Baba Deep Singh Ji came to know of this beadbi (violation of sanctity) and demolition of Sri Harmandar Sahib, he narrated it to the Sangat (congregation) of Takht Sri Damdama Sahib, and said, “Diwali will be celebrated at Amritsar this year.” Five hundred Singhs came forward to go with him. Baba Deep Singh Ji offered an Ardaas (pray) before starting for Amritsar, “May my head fall at Sri Harmandar Sahib.”
Although Baba Deep Singh Ji was 75 years old, he still had the strength of a young warrior. He gathered a large group of Sikhs and advanced towards Sri Harmandar Sahib. By the time they reached the Taran Taaran, about ten miles from Amritsar, the number of Singhs had risen to about 5,000.
At this time, Baba Ji drew a line on the ground with his Khanda (double-edged sword), and asked only those who were willing to fight and die to cross the line. Those willing to die for the Guru and give up their attachment for their homes and families crossed the line eagerly.
At the news of the approach of Singhs, the Governor of Lahore sent one of his generals with an army of twenty thousand to face them. His army took up position six miles north of Amritsar and waited for the Singhs there. Both the armies clashed near Gohalwarh on the 11th November, 1757. Fighting bravely, the Singhs pushed the army back and reached village Chabba where Attal Khan came forward and fierce battle ensued during which Attal Khan inflicted a blow on Baba Deep Singh Ji severing his head from his body.
Baba Deep Singh, more than 75 years of age at that time, started to lose his footing under the impact of the blow, when a Sikh reminded him, “Baba ji, you had resolved to reach the Parkarma of Sri Darbar Sahib.”
On hearing this, a divine energy suddenly took over, and Baba ji placed his head on the palm of one hand and with the other hand moved his 14kg Khanda (double-edged sword) with such ferocity and strength that enemy soldiers started running away in panic. Thus, Baba Deep Singh made his way to the Parkarma of Sri Harmandar Sahib where, due to the severe injury, attained martyrdom.
~ This information was originally published in the SikhNet article “The Life of Baba Deep Singh Ji” by Manvir Singh (January 25, 2021).
Video: Baba Deep Singh and the Guru Gaitri Mantra
In this video Kawal Pal Singh shares the inspiring story of the courageous Baba Deep Singh from Sikh history: