Bhai Singha Purohit
Mukhlis Khan attacks Amritsar
The growing strength of Guru Hargobind ji and his Sikhs was regarded with alarm by the Mughal Emperor, who wanted to crush the power of the Sikhs forever. So the Moghul army prepared itself for a direct blow at the Sikhs. The Emperor, Shah Jahan, wanted the Guru to stop preaching his faith to the people. He wanted to see the Guru's city of Amritsar destroyed. The Guru and his Sikhs could never allow this to happen. Both sides were preparing for a showdown. A large army of Moghuls set out for Amritsar under Mukhlis Khan's command.
Guru leaves Amritsar
Guru Hargobind instructed his Sikhs to leave Amritsar complex and decided to fight Mukhlis Khan outside of Amritsar complex. He wanted to minimize casualties for the battle and not disrespect by starting battle within the complex of Amritsar.
Bibi Viro Missing
When Guru’s family reached Ramsar Sahib, they came to know that Bibi Viro, the daughter of Guru Hargobind Sahib was missing. She was just a child at that time. When the family was leaving the city, she was playing with dolls and other toys. In such haste, no one could know that she did not sit on any carts, which were being used to take the family members out of the city. Meanwhile, the Mughal Army had entered in the city. Mughal army men were roaming here and there. In such a dangerous situation, Bibi Viro was all-alone there in the complex.
Guru Hargobind sends Bhai Singha with Bhai Babak Rababi
It was a very difficult situation. Guru Hargobind Sahib thought that any reliable warrior should go there and bring Bibi to Ramsar Sahib safely. Guru needed a person, who was a fearless warrior, reliable, and above all, known to Bibi Viro . It was obvious that Bibi would not go with an unknown person. In such a critical time, Guru selected his ‘Purohit’ for this challenging job. Bhai Singha Purohit was a great warrior. He was a mighty commander of Sikh Army. Above all, he was like a family member to Guru and Bibi Viro knew him very well. He originally belonged to Brahmin Purohit family, so he is mentioned as ‘Singha Purohit’ in few Sikh history books.
Guru asked Bhai Singha Purohit to bring back Bibi Viro safely. He sent Bhai Babak Rababi to accompany him. Bhai Baabak Rababi was not only a great Ragi of Guru's court but a Sikh of great courage. As per Guru’s instructions, both the warriors disguised themselves as Mughal Army soldiers. They carried Gun given by Guru Hargobind in case they needed to face enemies.
The Army of Moghuls had reached Amritsar city and they were looking for Guru Hargobind and Sikhs throughout the city. There were no Sikhs left in the city besides Bhai Singha Purohit, Bhai Babak Rababi who were there to save Bibi Viro and to take her back safely.
Bhai Singha finds Bibi Viro
Both the brave Sikhs reached in front of Guru’s palace. Bhai Singha Purohit called Bibi Viro . Bibi Viro opened the window and saw Bhai Singha out there. Bibi Viro came out of the palace and sat behind Bhai Singha on his horse.
Bhai Singha leaves with Bibi Viro
Bhai Singha said to Bhai Baabak , “Let us go without any delay”. They prayed to almighty and Guru and left from there. A Mughal chief was on guard duty in the front of ‘Darshani Deodi’ (entrance door of Darbar Sahib) along with other soldiers. He had a spear in his hand. When Bhai Singha and Bhai Baabak reached near him, he said, “Who are you? Where are you going?”
Bhai Baabak replied, “All are our brothers. Be careful. Everybody is looking for the Guru. Have you not seen the Guru yet?”
When Bhai Singha ran his horse, Bibi Viro ’s shoe fell down. Some small bells were attached to that shoe, which ringled. Mughal chief heard this and yelled very loud. Bhai Singha and Bhai Baabak did not waste their time and ran away on their horses. Bibi Viro ,as said earlier, was with Bhai Singha. Mughal army men started to chase them. They were shouting, “Enemies are running. They are carrying Guru’s family. Catch them, catch them”.
Bhai Singha asks Bhai Babak to shoot
Moghuls saw Bhai Singha and Bhai Babak running on their horses and they tried to chase them. When Bhai Singha saw enemies coming near he asked Bhai Babak to shoot and kill enemies. Bhai Babak followed the instructions and shot and killed.
Bhai Singha brings back Bibi Viro safely
With happy minds, both the warriors reached in front of Guru Hargobind Sahib and touched the holy feet of warrior Guru. Bibi Viro was in her family now. Guru was very pleased with the service of both of the brave Sikhs.
Bibi Viro was saved. She was saved so that she could give birth to five warriors to fight in the battle of Bhangani, for their cousin Guru, the tenth holy King, Guru Gobind Singh . She was saved by Bhai Singha , whose grand-son was to fight in the battle of Bhangani for his Guru, Guru Gobind Singh. Wow! Wonderful Guru history!
While this rescue was going on, the battle outside of the city of Amritsar had already started. Sikhs were fighting bravely in the dark of night. Many Sikhs were martyred in the battlefield. Guru Hargobind called Bhai Singha Purohit when he saw Bhai Bhanu, a Sikh warrior martyred in the battle. Guru Hargobind asked him to go to the battle because other Sikh warriors were being martyred by the Mughal Army.
Bhai Singha leaves with 500 Sikhs
Brave Bhai Singha bowed his head before Guru and started to make arrangements for a memorable battle. He was waiting for the early morning. In the early morning, Guru Sahib himself sent him to the battle. Five hundred warrior Sikhs were under the command of Bhai Singha Purohit .
The Sun had not yet risen when Bhai Singha gathered his ‘Jatha’ (group) of 500 Sikh warriors. Riding on horse’s back, Bhai Singha reached the battlefield. As soon as he reached there with his jatha, guns started to fire all around them. The enemy attacked like a full flowing river. There was great noise on the both sides.
Mohammed Ali was leading the enemy’s army. Bhai Singha Purohit deployed his soldiers in a trench. When he saw the enemy shouting near the holy city, Bhai Singha said to his warriors, “Fire at once at these ‘Malechh’ people you are looking at. Kill all of them”.
Bhai sahib orders to fire
As soon as Bhai Singha ordered to fire, Sikhs started to fire their guns. Many Mughal Army men were killed in great numbers instantly.
With the guns now unloaded, it was time to use swords, the common weapon of those days. Bhai Singha advanced towards the enemy. Other Sikh warriors followed him. The limbs of the warriors were being cut into pieces.
After sometime, Bhai Singha noticed that Sikhs were being killed in the battlefield. This made him very angry. Guru Pratap Suraj text written by Kavi Santokh Singh mentions this in the following lines.
Im Mare Maar Singhe Nihaar. Lalkaar Paryo Jeh Bal Udaar. Bal Bipra Guru Prodha Subhat. Tab Bhayo Samukh Maare Ulat. (Raas 6, Ansu 10, Page 2827).
ਇਮ ਮਾਰੇ ਮਾਰ ਸਿੰਘੇ ਨਿਹਾਰ. ਲਲਕਾਰ ਪਰਯੋ ਜੇਹ ਬਲ ਉਦਾਰ. ਬਲ ਬਿਪਰਾ ਗਰੂ ਪਰੋਧਾ ਸਭਾਤ. ਤਬ ਭਯੋ ਸਮਖ ਮਾਰੇ ਉਲਾਤ.
Meaning When he saw Sikhs being killed there, he, who had too much power, started to challenge (the enemy). Then, the powerful Brahmin, who was Guru’s Purohit and a warrior, came in front (of the enemy) and killed them.
Bhai Singha started to shot his arrows towards enemies. Wherever he shots his arrows, they would cross the bodies of enemies. Hissing like snakes, Bhai Singha’s arrows were flying here and there. Bhai Singha Purohit killed whoever came in his way.
The enemy take flight
The fight by Bhai Singha created tumult (commotion and disturbance) in the enemy’s camp. The enemies could not face the bloodthirsty arrows of Bhai Singha Sahib. At last, the enemies had to run away.
Mohammed Ali, the enemy’s chief, gathered his army again and thus Mughal army men again came in the battlefield. Until now, Mohammed Ali had understood that it was Bhai Singha Purohit, who was creating trouble for Mughals. In anger, he came in front of Bhai Singha and started to fire his gun. Bhai Singha jumped from his horse many times and escaped from Mohammed Ali’s bullets.
However, Bhai Singha was a target of many guns, he continued to shot his arrows and was killing the enemies continuously. This made Mohammad Ali very mad. Now, he fired at Bhai Singha Purohit’s horse. Bhai Singha ’s horse was shot and Singha ’s fell down on the ground. Bhai Singha was now without horse among the hundreds of enemy horsemen. Obviously, enemies felt happy now.
Enemy surround Bhai Singha
Hundreds of Mughal horsemen surrounded Bhai Singha , who was fighting all alone there. He was very alert; he continued to shot his arrows towards enemies. Whoever came near to him, Singha donated him an arrow and sent him to the other world.
A single man was killing many Mughal soldiers. This made Mohammed Ali very angry. He ordered to fire at Bhai Singha from all the directions. It was not possible for Bhai Singha to save him from bullets. He was all alone there in the battlefield fighting against the hundreds of Mughal horsemen. Some bullets injured him. Even then, Bhai Singha Purohit continued to transfer enemies to the other world.
However, Mohammed Ali did not hesitate to kill the horse of Bhai Singha, but Bhai Singha did not kill Ali’s horse. This is a good point to understand the character of this brave warrior of Guru Hargobind Sahib .
Mohammed Ali is killed
Mohammed Ali was jumping his horse here and there. Sometime he would shout on his soldiers, sometime he would fire on Bhai Singha. Absent-mindedly Mohammed Ali came near to Bhai Singha. It was a good chance for badly injured Bhai Singha. Bhai Singha was not there to miss such a chance.
He shot an arrow, which struck into Mohammed Ali’s forehead. The gun fell down from Ali’s hand. Now, Bhai Singha shot another arrow, which gave salvation to Mohammed Ali. Ali died there and his horse ran away.
Bhai Singha departs as well
Bhai Singha Purohit shot all of his arrows. Now he was without arrows. The enemies came forwarded towards Bhai and fired at once. Bhai Singha fell down. Even then, enemy’s soldiers continued to attack him using swords. His limbs were cut to small pieces. According to ‘ Gur Prataap Sooraj Granth’: -
‘Huye Khand-Khand Mil Gayo Khet’. (ਹੂਝ ਖੰਡ ਖੰਡ ਮਿਲ ਗਯੋ ਖੇਤ ) (Raas 6, Ansu 11, page 2828).
"Cut to small pieces, he was intermixed into the earth."
Thus, a wonderful warrior received a wonderful death. His martyrdom in the battlefield caused Guru’s participation in the battle. When Guru heard that Bhai Singha Purohit had been martyred, he himself came in the battlefield and won the battle.
Bhai Singha Purohit fought on the side of Guru Hargobind Sahib. Time will write another beautiful episode of the great history of the Sikh Gurus, when the grandson of Bhai Singha Purohit will fight on the side of the grandson of Guru Hargobind Sahib. Yes, Amritsar to Bhangani, the journey is not too long.