LANGAH, BHAI, a wellknown figure in early Sikh history, was originally a follower of Sultan Sakhi Sarwar. Son of Abu-ul-Khair, a Dhillon Jatt with a Muslim name, belonging to the village of Jhabal, in the present Amritsar district of the Punjab, he was one of the three chaudharis or revenue officials of the parganah of Palli, who between them were responsible for collecting, on behalf of the Governor of Lahore, a revenue of Rs 900,000 from villages under their jurisdiction. Langah alone had 84 villages under him. It is said that once Langah was afflicted with a serious illness. Neither medicine nor prayer to the patron saint of his seel, Sakhi Sarwar, proved of any avail. He met a Sikh who counselled him to pray to God Almighty and to Guru Nanak. Langah soon recovered and was converted a Sikh. He lovingly contributed the labour of his hands as well as money for the excavation of the sacred pool and the construction of the Harimandar Sahib at Amritsar. His devotion and earnestness was applauded by Guru Arjan, who appointed him a masand (officiant) in his own area. He was one of the privileged Sikhs who were included in the marriage party of Guru Hargobind in 1604. Langah, again, was one of the five Sikhs chosen to accompany Guru Arjan on his last journey to Lahore. He witnessed the torturous scenes leading to the Guru's martyrdom and helped to cremate his earthly remains.
He continued to enjoy the confidence of the next Guru, Guru Hargobind. Known for his fighting skills as well as for his religious faith and piety, Bhai Langah was appointed one of the commanders of Guru Hargobind's newly trained force. Later, when the Guru visited Lahore and had a small shrine constructed on the spot where Guru Arjan's body had been cremated, Bhai Langah was appointed to look after it. He served in this capacity for many a long year. Bhai Langah died at Dhilvari, on the bank of the River Beas.
Among Bhai Langah's descendants was the Sikh general, Baghcl Sihgh of Karorsingh Ta misi, who triumphantly entered Delhi in 1770 and had several Sikh shrines erected to mark the historical sites in the capital. Mai Bhago, who fought with the Majha contingent in the battle of Khidrana (presentday Muktsar), was the granddaughter of Bhai Langah's younger brother, Piro Shah.
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