Warriors of Faith

Baba Phoola Singh Ji - 2 (Janam and Jeevan)


Satguru Guru Gobind Singh ji Maharaj’s ji is Maali (gardener) of this beautiful garden called Sikhi. Everyday beautiful flowers bloom in this garden who gives out fragrance of Purity, humility, humane values, freedom, equality, Godly Love and Infinity. They live for giving life to others and sacrifice their self for making garland of humanity more beautiful and fragrant. Out of many such flowers was Jathedar Akaali Baba Phoola Singh ji.

Babaji was born in 1761 to Bhai Isher Singh ji and Mata Raj Kaur ji. Bhai Isher Singh ji was from Dal of Jathedar Baba Deep Singh ji Shaheed. Legend has it that when first child was to be born in Bhai Isher Singh’s house, he with his wife went to Babaji and said,’ Babaji, its our wish that this child of ours becomes a Sant, who gives out fragrance of Naam and Baani, so that we are also blessed’. Baba Deep Singh ji smiled and said ‘So it shall be, but you are destined to have two sons, how you wish your second son to be?’ Mata ji was overjoyed, and next moment she replied ‘ Babaji, do ardas to Maharaj that my second son is a brave and fearless soldier, who defends Sikhi and fights for Panth his entire life, and may he die in battlefield as a Shaheed, a Shaheed who has hundred cuts and hundred bullets in his body, and when his blood falls on this earth, may Pita Guru Gobind Singh ji take him in his lap’.

                Tears of Prem and respect fell from eyes of Singhs present when they heard the Ardas of a Sikh mother of that time, and Baba Deep Singh ji’s face turned red, a heavenly glow shone on his face and eyes brightened, and then the holy saint spoke, ‘ Satguru ji has heard your Ardas, A flower will come from his garden to your house, take good care of him. He will be a unique ‘full’(flower), whose legend will be immortal like the title he will hold’.

     First child of Bhai Isher Singh ji was Bhai Sant Singh ji, who was a well respected saint-scholar of Sikh panth. In 1761, second son was born, who, with Maharaj’s Hukam and Baba Deep Singh ji’s words was named ‘ Phoola Singh’. Few months after his birth, Bhai Isher Singh ji attained Shaheedi in Vadda ghallughara, in Feb 1762. Before dying, he gave responsibility of his son to his best friend in Dal, Baba Naina Singh ji.

     Mataji lived with her sons in village Sheeha(n) in Amritsar. When Phoola Singh was 7 years old, her mother took her to Akaal Bunga sahib that time and dedicated his Son in service of Khalsa Panth. Mukhi Singhs of Misal Shaheedan that time, Baba Karam Singh ji, Baba Natha Singh ji, Baba Sadhu Singh ji and others who were at Akaal Takhat Sahib that day, placed child Phoola Singh under guidance of Baba Naina Singh ji. In Jatha of Baba Naina Singh ji, young Phoola Singh learnt Gurbaani Vidya, Shastar Vidya and spent his time in meditation and sewa. In few years time, young Phoola Singh was a well known name in whole Dal Panth. As times changed and Sikhs started ruling over Punjab, Misal Shaheedan also created its independent territory in Shahzadpur (Ambala) and Grihasthi Singhs of Misal settled down and took to farming and other occupations. Bihangam(celibate) Singhs of Misal continued with their Chakkarvarti Jeevan and roamed around countryside, punishing tyrants and oppressors, looking after Gurudwaras, doing Sikhi Parchar and giving Pehra in Khalsai Traditions. With time, Jathedar Baba Naina Singh ji became 5th Jathedar of Misal Shaheedan and Baba Phoola Singh ji became his deputy.

Jathedar of Misal Shaheedan

                Baba Naina Singh ji lived a Chakkarvarti Jeevan, visiting and looking after Damdama Sahib, Anandpur Sahib and other places, but main Chhauni of Misal was at Sri Akaal Takhat Sahib. When Babaji grew old, he gave Chakkarvarti Sewa to Baba Phoola Singh, who was main caretaker of Damdama Sahib and Anandpur Sahib. In 1799, when Babaji, along with 2000 soldiers of Misal was camping on Banks of River Satluj, a Singh informed Babaji about a Cavalry regiment of British Army approaching towards Satluj, to cross in Punjab and conquer certain areas, as Dals had broken and Misals of Sikhs were divided and fighting within them to control areas. Babaji saw it as a threat to hard earned freedom of Punjab and aroused his brave Akaali warriors for ‘Dharamyudh’, to which Singhs responded with battle cries, sounding of trumpets and battle drums. Battle standards were raised and as the British troops approached the Bridge over Satluj, Akali warriors pounced upon them like lions. That was the first time British had seen chivalry, war-spirit and fury of Akali Nihangs. Within hours, whole cavalry was cut down and only people who survived were Commanding Officer and his Lieutenant, who were severely injured in this battle.

            When news of this bravery reached Akali Baba Naina Singh ji, he was pleased so much that he chose Baba Phoola Singh ji as 6th Jathedar of Misal Shaheedan.
( All the historical sources like ‘ Itihasik Khoj’ by Karam Singh Historian( 1901), ‘ Akali Phoola Singh’ by Baba Prem Singh Hoti Mardan (1903) and Mahan Kosh by Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha (1930) provide historical evidence of the fact that Akali Baba Phoola Singh ji was Jathedar of Misal Shaheedan, and not ‘any other' Jathebandi or Dal).

    In 1800, Baba Phoola Singh ji started his Sewa of Akaal Takhat Sahib and other Takhats. With him remained 2200 tyar bar tyar Akali Nihang Singh Soldiers of Misal Shaheedan who were loyal only to Guru Granth Sahib ji and Charhdi Kala of Khalsa Panth. Maharaja Ranjeet Singh recognized this power, charisma and bravery of Akali Singhs and requested Baba Phoola Singh ji to assist him in creation of Khalsa Raaj. It was due to will of Singhs like Babaji and Baba Sahib Singh ji that Kingdom of Punjab was known as ‘Sarkar Khalsa’(Government of Khalsa).

Babaji’s Military Expeditions

    After his glorious victory against British Army (a battle mischievously hidden by British sources), Sikhs developed a great amount of respect and honour for Babaji. Sikh Sardars irrespective of Misal Politics respected him and He was seen as supreme Leader due to his selfless Jeevan and Sewa. In 1802, Maharaja Ranjeet Singh moved with his army to conquer Holy City of Amritsar, which was under control of Bhangi Misal. Sardars of Bhangi Misal fortified their defences, but they were weak against superior military power of Maharaja. When Babaji came to know about this, he mediated between two Misals and impressed upon Maharaja Ranjeet Singh that it would be a ‘sin’ to fire canons on Guru Nagri and it would be bigger sin for both Misals if a Sikh killed a Sikh in Holy City. At Babaji’s persuasion, Bhangi Sardars agreed to give control of Sri Amritsar to Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, who in turn gave them a big ‘Jagir’( royal property) in Multan Area and assured protection and goodwill for generations.

 In 1807, Khalsa Fauj marched towards Kasoor to take control of the city from its Muslim Governor Kutub-ud-din and after a bloody battle in which Babaji led Khalsa Army from front, Governor was killed and Kasoor became part of Khalsa Raaj.

In 1814, Multan was attacked for first time and Governor of Multan accepted Khalsa Supremacy and promised to pay tax to Lahore Darbar.

 In 1818, Ruler of Multan revolted against Khalsa Raaj and Maharaj Ranjeet Singh, assisted by Akali Baba Phoola Singh ji and Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa attacked Multan, to merge it in Khalsa Raaj. The Main Battle Gun, ZamZam, was stationed towards Southern wall of Multan fort to break the wall so that Khalsa Army could enter the fort and conquer the enemies. As the battle raged, one wheel of ZamZam Canon broke down and it became useless, but without ZamZam, it was virtually impossible to break the wall. Akaali Baba Phoola Singh ji exhorted his Akaali Nihang Warriors to place their shoulder in place of Gun. It was sure death, as the aftershock of fired bomb was sure to break neck and shoulder bone of anyone who placed their shoulder in place of wheel, but the fearless and brave Akali warriors chose death at call of their beloved Jathedar. One by one, Singhs jumped in front to place their shoulder, and with each shot fired, one Singh kept falling, but that didn’t stop and one by one, 23 singhs placed their shoulders under the wheel of Canon ZamZam. As the 23rd shot was fired and Singh fell, Wall of Multan fort came crashing down. Akali Nihang Warriors of Misal Shaheedan jumped in the fort and within minutes, enemies were annihilated and Khalsai Nishan Sahib raised on Multan Fort. It was exemplary bravery of Akali Baba Phoola Singh ji and his Singhs which helped conquer Multan, the second state of Khalsa Raaj.

 1819- Khalsa Army moved to Kashmir and after war which continued for 3 months, in which many battles took place, Kashmir became third state of Khala Raaj. Maharaja Ranjeet Singh offered Baba Phoola Singh ji with governorship of Kashmir, which Baba ji refused and Sham Singh Attariwala was appointed first governor of Kashmir.

  These were some of the glorious battles fought for creation, expansion and defence of Khalsa Raaj which will be remembered forever, especially for the bravery shown by selfless saint-soldier, Akali Baba Phoola Singh ji and His Dal.

Posted by Kamaljeet Singh Shaheedsar on Sunday, March 13. 2011

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