Bhai Taru Singh (1720 to 1745)

Image from SikhiWiki.

Bhai Taru Singh was a Sikh martyr, the son of Shaheed Bhai Jodh Singh and Bibi Dharam Kaur, a Sandhu Jatt family of Poohla village, in Amritsar district of the Punjab. Born in Punjab during the reign of the Mughal Empire, Bhai Taru Singh was raised as a Sikh by his widowed mother, Bibi Dharam Kaur, as his father, Bhai Jodh Singh, had died in battle.

He had a younger sister named Bibi Tar Kaur. He was a pious Sikh who, following the teachings of the Sikh Gurus, worked hard tilling his land diligently and lived frugally. Although not a rich man, he was always happy and did much for his Sikh brothers and sisters.

Whatever he saved went to his Sikh brethren forced into exile by government persecution. He was spied upon by Akil Das (also known as Harbhagat Niranjania) of Jandiala, a government informer, and subsequently Taru Singh was hauled before Zakariya Khan, the governor of Punjab who was based at Lahore.

During this time, Sikh revolutionaries were plotting the overthrow of the Khan and had taken refuge in the jungle. Bhai Taru Singh and his sister, Tar Kaur (Taro) Kaur gave food and other aid to these Sikh fighters.

Akil Das informed the authorities about both of them to Governor Khan, and the two of them were arrested for treason. Though his sister’s freedom was bought by the villagers, Bhai Taru Singh refused to seek a pardon.

The exact method of his execution is somewhat ambiguous. However, it is believed that after a short period of imprisonment and torture, Bhai Taru Singh was brought before the Khan and given the choice of converting to Islam or being executed.

As a symbol of his conversion, he would have to cut off his Kesh and present it as an offering to the Khan. Upon his refusal, and in a public display, Bhai Taru Singh’s scalp was cut away from his skull with a sharp knife to prevent his hair from ever growing back. This torturous act is believed to be carried out on June 9, 1745.

Taru Singh was barely 25 years of age. His dead body was cremated outside Delhi Gate at Lahore, where a “Shahidganj”, or martyrs’ memorial, was later constructed. It has become a place of pilgrimage for the Sikhs.


~ This information was originally published by SikhiWiki, on the page “Bhai Taru Singh.”