Akali Baba Hanuman Singh
Akali Baba Hanuman Singh Ji (1755-1845), The 7th leader of the Budha Dal, was born to Baba Garja Singh Ji and Mata Harnam Kaur Ji in November 1755, in the village of Naurang Singh Wala, near Zira in Firozpur district of Punjab. Baba Ji fought in many great battles under the leadership of Akaali Baba Naina Singh Ji and Akaali Baba Phula Singh Ji (the 5th and 6th Jathedars of Budha Dal).
After the Shaheedi of Akaali Phula Singh Ji at Naushera in 1823, Baba Hanuman Singh Ji became the leader of the Akaali Nihangs, as well as the Jathedar of Akaal Takht Sahib at the age of 68 years old.
Akaali Baba Hanuman Singh Ji’s tenure as Jathedar of the Sikh nation came as the Panth was experiencing a very critical time. In 1839 the Maharaja of the Punjab, Ranjit Singh died from stroke complications, his successors were murdered, the treacherous Dogra’s sold out the Lahore Darbar to the British, and the British were planning on annexing the Punjab.
Maharani Jind Kaur, at that time the Empress of the Sikh kingdom of the Punjab, the most, trusted Sikh general Sardar Sham Singh Attarivala came to the holy city of Amritsar and approached Jathedar Hanuman Singh for assistance against the British.
Meeting at the Akaal Takht, Sham Singh said to Baba Hanuman Singh “Baba Ji, I wish to fight against the British, but have no army. I have no more then myself and my sons.”
Baba Ji replied “Oh Singh Ji, who does this Akaali fauj belong to, if not to the Sikh nation.”
During the battle of Sabraon, in 1846 Sardar Sham Singh Ji, Attarivala and many Sikh warriors received martyrdom fighting the British soldiers, inflicting huge losses to the invaders.
Baba Hanuman Singh Ji and the remaining Singhs went to camp out in the Sikh Princely state of Patiala. The King of Patiala, Maharaja Karam Singh (1798-1845) upon receiving word that the knights of the Tenth Sikh Guru, were camped out in his state, out of fear of retribution for his support to the British, Karam Singh informed the British of the whereabouts of the Jathedar and Sikh army.
Baba Ji and the Sikh soldiers were surrounded by the British and their Sikh cohorts, the Sikh Maharajah's’ of Patiala, Jind, Faridkot and other traitors along with the British army and their Patiala, Jind, Faridkot, Sikhs stooges opened up cannon fire on the Sikhs. 15,000 Sikhs attained martyrdom at the spot where the historic Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran of the ninth Sikh Guru, now stands in the city of Patiala. Budha Dal oral tradition states that 32,000 Singhs became shaheed during this battle.
Leader of the Sikh army, Jathedar Baba Hanuman Singh Ji and around 500 Nihang warriors survived this attack, and continued to fight the heavy cannon fire of the British, with swords, bows and arrows, axes and matchlock fire.
Finally after running out of gun powder and watching thousands of Sikh warriors achieve shaheedi, the brave Jathedar of the Guru’s beloved Khalsa, Akaali Baba Hanuman Singh Ji died fighting for the freedom of the people of Punjab at the age of 90, in 1845.
After the martyrdom of Baba Hanuman Singh, Akaali Baba Prehlada Singh Ji became the 8th leader of the Akaali Nihang Singh Khalsa. The British implemented a shoot to kill order on the Nihang Singhs, and Baba Prehlada Singh left for the holy Takht Sahib at Nander to regroup the Akaali army. The few remaining Nihang Singhs, left with Baba Ji towards Hazoor Sahib, or moved camp to the jungles of Punjab and Rajputana to preserve the heritage of the Guru’s army.
Gurdwara Sohana Sahib Ji located in the Mohali district of Punjab, was built on the shaheedi asthan (place of martrydom) of Baba Hanuman Singh Ji, in memory of a brave leader of the Sikh nation.
Baba Ji lived the life of a true Khalsa, and embodied the teachings of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. In the immortal words of Bhagat Kabir Ji:
ਗਗਨ ਦਮਾਮਾ ਬਾਜਿਓ ਪਰਿਓ ਨੀਸਾਨੈ ਘਾਉ ॥ The battle-drum beats in the sky of the mind; aim is taken, and the wound is inflicted.
ਖੇਤ ਜ ਮਾਂਡਿਓ ਸੂਰਮਾ ਅਬ ਜੂਝਨ ਕੋ ਦਾਉ ॥੧॥ The spiritual warriors enter the field of battle; now is the time to fight!
ਸੂਰਾ ਸੋ ਪਹਿਚਾਨੀਝ ਜ ਲਰੈ ਦੀਨ ਕੇ ਹੇਤ ॥ He alone is known as a spiritual hero, who fights in defense of religion.
ਪਰਜਾ ਪਰਜਾ ਕਟਿ ਮਰੈ ਕਬਹੂ ਨ ਛਾਡੈ ਖੇਤ ॥੨॥੨॥ He may be cut apart, piece by piece, but he never leaves the field of battle.
Akali Phula Singh
|Akali Hanuman Singh||Followed by:|
Jathedar Prahlad Singh
|Jathedars of oldest Sikh Regiment: Budha Dal|
Panj Pyare | Baba Binod Singh | Baba Darbara Singh | Nawab Kapur Singh | Jassa Singh Ahluwalia | Baba Naina Singh | Akali Phula Singh | Baba Hanuman Singh | Jathedar Prahlad Singh | Jathedar Gian Singh | Jathedar Baba Teja Singh | Baba Sahib Ji Kaladhari | Jathedar Baba Chet Singh | Jathedar Santa Singh | Jathedar Balbir Singh (Disputed)