Bhai Mani Singh Shaheed
Bhai Mani Singh Shaheed (martyr) (1670 - 9 July 1737), a great Sikh personality of the eighteenth century, occupies a very esteemed position in Sikh history, when he assumed control and steered the course of the Sikhs' destiny at a very critical stage. A great scholar, a devoted Sikh, and a courageous leader, Bhai Mani Singh willingly laid down his life to uphold the dignity of the Sikh religion and the Sikh nation. The nature of his martyrdom has become a part of the daily Sikh Ardas (prayer). He compiled Dasam Granth which includes Banis of Guru Gobind Singh.
The exact date of Bhai Mani Singh's birth is a bit of a mystery. Giani Thakur Singh lists his year of birth as 1672 while some other writers put it at 1670, but according to Sohan Singh Seetal, a well known Sikh historian, Bhai Mani Singh was born in 1664. Principle Satbir Singh listed his year of birth as 1672 in his 1970 edition of his, "Sada Itihaas", but later editions listed his year of birth as 1662. . Dr Santokh Singh also lists the date of Bhai Mani Singh's birth as 1662 . These earlier dates are indirectly based on Giani Giani Singh’s references to Guru Tegh Bahadur’s visit to village Akoi/Malwa in 1665. Based on critical analysis of ancient Sikh writings, it appears that Bhai Mani Singh may have been born no later than 1665.
Error in Identification
According to Shaheed Bilaas Bhai Mani Singh a book edited and published by Giani Garja Singh in 1961, the birth date of Bhai Mani Ram; alias Bhai Mani Singh (Parmar; Rajput) from Village Alipur located in Muzaffargarh, Multan was 1644. His father, Rao Mai Das Ji, was the son of the great Shaheed Rao Ballu Ji, the General of the sixth Guru Nanak, Guru Hargobind Sahib's army. Shaheed Mani Singh Ji Parmar's family comes from a family of powerful kings, in fact he was the 23rd descendent of great legendary Rajput Emperor of India, Vikramaditya.
There are common misconceptions, that Bhai Mani Singh Ji Shaheed, and according to Bhai Kesar Singh ji Chhibbar, his contemporary, of a Kamboj family. Another Giani Gian Singh Dullat [1822-1921], author of the Naveen Panth Parkash, of a Dullat Jatt family of Kamboval village (currently extinct), near Sunam in Sangrur district of the Punjab. However, both of these claims are false.
As mentioned earlier, Shaheed Bhai Mani Singh Ji, belonged to a powerful family of Rajput King's who originated from the legendary Chandarvanshi, Parmar dynasty. In addition to this, his Grandfather Shaheed Rao Ballu, was one of the advisors to great emperor Abu'l-Fath Jalal-ud-din Muhammad 'Akbar' (known as Emperor Akbar). Shaheed Bhai Mani Singh Ji's family were originally from Nahan, Himachal Pradesh, and migrated to Village Alipur, District of Muzaffargarh, Multan, Pakistan in approximately 1582-1600 (B).
Here are a few passages from Sri Gur Partap Sooraj Granth and Gur Padh Prem Prakash Granth:
(ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਤਾਪ ਸੂਰਜ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ, ਰੁਤ ੩, ਅੰਸ਼ੂ ੨੦)
ਪੁਰ ਮੁਲਤਾਨ ਅਲੀਪੁਰ ਨੇਰੇ । ਮਾਈ ਦਾਸ ਰਾਜਪੂਤ ਬਸੇਰੇ । ੨੫ । ਤਿਸ ਕੇ ਮਨੀ ਰਾਮ ਸੁਤ ਹੋਯੋ । ਆਇ ਤਹਾਂ ਗੁਰ ਦਰਸ਼ਨ ਜੋਯੋ । ਪਾਂਚ ਪੁਤ੍ਰ ਲੈ ਆਪਨੇ ਸਾਥ । ਸ਼ਰਨੀ ਪਰਯੋ ਰਹਿਯੋ ਗੁਰ ਨਾਥ । ੨੬ । ਸੋ ਪੰਚਹੁ ਭਰਾਤਾ ਕਰ ਖਰੇ । ਸਿੰਘ ਨਾਮ ਗੁਰ ਤਿਨ ਕੇ ਧਰੇ । ਬਡੇ ਬਚਿਤ੍ਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਭੱਟ ਭਯੋ । ਉਦੇ ਸਿੰਘ ਦੂਸਰ ਬਿਦਤਯੋ । ੨੭ । ਅਨਿਕ ਸਿੰਘ ਅਰ ਅਜਬ ਸਿੰਘ ਪੁਨ । ਪੰਚਮ ਭਯੋ ਅਜਾਇਬ ਸਿੰਘ ਗੁਨ । ਅਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਖੰਡੇ ਕੋ ਤਿਨ ਦੀਨਾ । ਮਾਨਹੁ ਪੰਚ ਪਾਂਡਵ ਬਲ ਪੀਨਾ । ੨੮ । ਰਨ ਮਹਿ ਕਰੇ ਕਰਮ ਜਿਨ ਭਖੀਨ । ਰਿਪੂ ਮਾਰੇ ਜਿਨ ਸ਼ਸਤ੍ਰ ਤੀਖਨ ।
(ਗੁਰ ਪਦ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਪ੍ਰਕਾਸ਼, ਸਫ਼ਾ ੧੬੨)
ਭਯੋ ਆਲਿਮ ਸਿੰਘ ਨਚਨਾ ਸਿਆਲ ਕੋਟ ਰਾਜਪੂਤ । ਫੇਰ ਮਾਈ ਦਾਸ ਸੁਤ ਰਾਜਪੂਤ ਅੱਤ ਮਜਬੂਤ । ਨਿਕਟ ਹੈ ਮੁਲਤਾਨ ਕੇ ਇਨ ਅਲੀ ਗਢ ਅਸਥਾਨ । ਤਾਂਹਿ ਕੇ ਸੁਤ ਪਾਂਚ ਪਾਂਚੋ ਭਏ ਸਿੰਘ ਸੁਜਾਨ । ੭ । ਉਦੇ ਸਿੰਘ ਬਚਿਤ੍ਰ ਸਿੰਘ, ਅਨਿਕ ਸਿੰਘ ਸੁ ਬੀਰ । ਅਜਬ ਸਿੰਘ ਸੁਮਤ ਅਜਾਇਬ ਸਿੰਘ ਰਣਧੀਰ ।
From these passages, the origin and family of Shaheed Bhai Mani Singh Ji now becomes clear, that they belong to a powerful ancestral Parmar, Rajput family.
Here is the line of Shaheed Bhai Mani Singh:
- 23rd great grand father of Bhai Mani Singh from line of Samrat Vikramaditya sat on throne in 911 AD
- Raja Santal
- Raja Magh ( Sat on throne in 950 AD )
- Raja Munja ( Sat on throne in 974 AD )
- Raja Bhoja ( great polymath king of India ) ( Sat on throne in 1018 AD )
- Raja Jai Singh( Sat on throne in 1060 AD )
- Raja Sapta mukat ( Sat on throne in 1108 AD )
- Raja Chatra mukat ( Sat on throne in 1152 AD )
- Raja Udaydeep ( referred to as very learned man as well ) ( Sat on throne in 1198 AD )
- Raja Randhawal ( Sat on throne in 1230 AD )
- Raja Udhar ( Sat on throne in 1256 AD )
- Raja Amb Charan ( Sat on throne in 1297 AD )
- Raja Loyia ji ( Sat on throne in 1339 AD )
- Raja Shah ( Sat on throne in 1400 AD )
- Raja Som ( Sat on throne in 1434 AD )
- Raja Dharna ( Sat on throne in 1438 AD )
- Raja Des Rai ( Sat on throne in 1445 AD )
- Raja Radha ( Sat on throne in 1457 AD )
- Raja Kal Rai ( Sat on throne in 1482 AD )
- Raja Aasal ( Sat on throne in 1502 AD )
- Raja Jalha ( Sat on throne in 1541 AD )
- Raja Nar Singh ( Sat on throne in 1553 AD ) ( Lost Kingdom to Mughals after a fierce resistance )
- Rao Haafa
- Rao Chaahad
- Rao Boodha
- Rao Moola
- Rao Ballu
- Rao Mai Das
Bhai Mani Singh spent a considerable part of his life in service at Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar. He was one of the 12 sons of Mai Das. His grandfather was Rao Ballu was a reputable warrior, who was a general in Guru Hargobind's army who took part in all the battles fought by Guru Hargobind Sahib against the Mughal attackers and killed Murtaza Khan ( governor of Lahore ) who ordered Guru Arjun Devji's death & torture . Bhai Mani Singh, his grandfather, eleven brothers and seven of his ten sons died in battles fought on behalf of the Guru.
The following seven sons of the Rao Mai Das were from his wife Madri Bai Ji : Bhai Jetha Singh, martyred at Alowal in 1711. Bhai Dial Das, accompanied Guru Teg Bahadur to Delhi where he was martyred in 1675. Bhai Mani Singh, martyred in Lahore in 1734. Bhai Dan Singh, killed in the battle of Chamkaur 1705. Bhai Man Singh, killed in the battle of Chittorgarh in 1708. Bhai Amar Chand, died in infancy. Bhai Roop Singh, killed with his elder brother Jetha Singh in Alowal in 1711. The following five sons of Rao Mai Das were from his wife Ladiki Bai Ji : Bhai Jagat Singh, martyred together with Bhai Mani Singh in Lahore in 1734. Bhai Sohan Chand, killed in the Battle of Nadaun in 1691. Bhai Lehna Ji, killed in the Battle of Guler in 1696. Bhai Rai Singh, killed in the battle of Muktsar in 1705. Bhai Hati Chand, killed in the battle of Bhangani in 1688.
Marriages and children
At the age of 15, Mani Singh was married to Seeto Bai Ji , daughter of Lakhi Rai yadovanshi Rao of Khairpur . After his marriage Mani Singh spent some time with his family in his village Alipur. List of Bhai Mani Singh's sons:
- Chitar Singh, martyred with Mani Singh in Lahore in 1734.
- Bachitar Singh, martyred in the battle of Nihan near Anandpur Sahib in 1704.
- Udai Singh, martyred in Sahi Tibi near Anandpur Sahib in 1704.
- Anaik Singh, killed in the battle of Chamkaur in 1704.
- Ajab Singh, killed in the battle of Chamkaur in 1704.
- Ajaib Singh, killed in the battle of Chamkaur in 1704.
- Gurbaksh Singh, martyred with Mani Singh in Lahore in 1734.
- Bhagwan Singh
- Balram Singh
- Desa Singh – the author of the Rahetnama (Code of conduct) of the Khalsa.
Seven of Mani Singh's sons were from his first wife, Seeto Bai Ji and the remainder from his second wife Khemi Bai Ji .
His cousin, includes Sardar Bhagwant Singh Bangeshwar was a rajput ruler of Aurangzeb time . Bhai Mani Singh was from a distinguished family of Sikh warriors. His brother, Bhai Dayala who attained martyrdom at Dehli with Guru Tegh Bahadur. Eleven brothers of Bhai Mani Singh and 7 out of 10 children attained martyrdom.
Bhai Mani Singh being executed by dismemberment
in 1737 ca., Bhai Mani Singh asked to Governor of Lahore, Zakaria Khan, for permission to hold the Diwali festival to celebrate Bandi Chhor Divas at the Harmandir Sahib. The permission was granted for a tribute of Rs. 5,000. He hoped that he would be able to pay the sum out of the offerings to be made by the Sikhs who were invited to come. He issued initiations to the Sikhs of all places. The Governor alongside Diwan Lakhpat Rai had different intentions and he sent secret orders to his forces to make a surprise attack on the Sikhs during the festival. Bhai Mani Singh came to know of this plan and sent messages to tell the Sikhs not to come. The Sikhs that did come had to leave because of the presence of an unnecessary big military force and suspicious movement of the officers. Thus no money could be collected or paid to the government and Bhai Mani Singh was ordered to be executed.
Bhai Mani Singh was taken to Lahore in chains. When Bhai Mani Singh could not pay the fine the dues he had agreed to pay the Mughals (to legally hold the event) he was ordered to convert to Islam. Refusing to give up his beliefs he was ordered death by dismemberment. When the executioner started to begin with his wrists, Bhai Mani Singh sincerely reminded the executioner of the sentence, reminding the executioner of his punishment and to start at the joints in his hands.
Bhai Mani Singh acted as scribe when at the age of 14 Guru Gobind Singh Ji - the then Guru of the Sikhs - dictated Sri Guru Granth Sahib. He also transcribed many copies of the sacred Sikh scriptures which were sent to different preaching centers in India. He also taught the reading of Gurbani and its philosophy to the Sikhs.
Bhai Sahib was responsible for collecting the Gurbani of Guru Gobind Singh Ji and compiling it in the form of Dasam Granth (Book of the Tenth Guru). Besides this, Bhai Sahib also authored Japji Sahib Da Garb Ganjni Teeka (teeka means translation and explanation of a work). He expanded the first of Bhai GurDas's Vaars into a life of Guru Nanak which is called Gyan Ratanawali. Mani Singh wrote another work, the Bhagat Ralanawali, an expansion of Bhai GurDas's eleventh Vaar, which contains a list of famous Sikhs up to the time of Guru Har Gobind.
In his capacity as a Granthi of the Darbar Sahib at Harmandar Sahib, Bhai Singh is also stated to have composed the Ardaas (Supplication) in its current format; he also started the tradition of mentioning deeds of various Gursikhs with the supplication.
- Bhai Mani Ram
- Bhai Mani Singh Chauhan
- Bhai Mani Singh’s Janam-sakhi
- Shahid Ganj Bhai Mani Singh
- Gurdwara Bhai Mani Singh
Books and articles
* Shahid Bilas (Bhai Mani Singh) - Ed. Giani Garja Singh
- Ancient Bansawalinama, Charan 10, 13, 14, Bhai Kesar Singh ji Chhibber.
- Panth Parkash, Giani Gian Singh ji.
- Prachin Panth Parkash, (ed) Bhai Vir Singh, New D