Warriors of Faith

Baba Maharaj Singh Naurangabad

Baba Maharaj Singh ji's childhood name was Nihal Singh. Born in year 1734 in Village Rabbon, Distt Ludhiana, He was blessed soul who had darshan of Mahapurakhs like Baba Mani Singh ji, Baba Deep Singh ji and Baba Gurbaksh Singh ji in childhood. He later on joined Jatha of Baba Sahib singh ji Bedi and was instrumental in creation of Khalsa Raaj with Babaji. Baba Sahib Singh Bedi was real mind behind a unified Khalsa Raaj. After Babaji left for sachkhand in 1834, Singhs of Jatha moved to Naurangabad, a village in Amritsar and Baba Bir Singh ji became the Jathedar. This place of Baba Bir Singh ji became a centre of Sikh unrest against Dogra takeover of Khalsa Raaj. Dogras attacked this place in 1844 and Baba Bir Singh ji attained Shaheedi with thousands of other Sikhs.

Baba Maharaj Singh ji was elected next Jathedar.Babaji was held in high esteem by a vast following, including most of the Sikh chiefs and courtiers. He continued to lead Sikhs in battles against British and Dogras. He was a Mukt-Aatma who believed in Freedom of Sikh panth and supremacy of Khalsa Raaj. When Britsh took over Lahore Darbar in 1846, he revolted and didnt accept Firangi raaj.Baba Maharaj Singh's revolutionary career started with the Prema conspiracy case involving him in a plot to murder the British resident, Henly Lawrence, and other pro-British officers of the Lahore Darbar. Baba Maharaj Singh, whose movements were restricted to Naurangab by the British, went underground. The government confiscated his property at Amritsar and announced a reward of Rs 10,000 for his arrest.
Babaji didnt give up. He inspired likes of Raja Sher Singh Atariwala and Raja Chatar Singh to revolt against British empire, which led to second Anglo-Sikh war.In November 1848, he joined Raja Sher Singh's forces at Ramnagar and was seen in the battlefield riding his black mare and exhorting the Sikh soldiers to lay down their lives for the sake of their beloved nation, Punjab. Babaji, at the age of 118 years, fought like lions in battlefields of Gujrat and Chillainwala, which are considered to be the most humiliating defeats of British in South Asia, in which thousands of British officers and soldiers died. Even Viceroy and generals of British army were removed after these battles. But Raja Sher Singh showed weakness and surrendered to British later in March 1849.

Baba Maharaj SIngh ji refused to surrender and carried on the revolt. He escaped to Jammu and made Dev Batala his secret headquarters. In December 1849, he went to Hoshiarpur and visited the Sikh regiments to enlist their support. On morning of 28th December 1849, when Babaji was doing Asa Di Vaar Kirtan with his 25 Gursikh soldiers, He was arrested by a  huge British army from Adampur in Jalandhar.
He was feared by British for his spiritual powers and was known as 'karnivala' by them. ''The Guru is no ordinary man," wrote Dr Vansittart, the Jalandhar deputy commissioner, who had arrested him. He is to the natives what Jesus is to the most zealous of Christians. His miracles were seen by tens of thousands and are more implicitly believed than those worked by the ancient prophets". Vansittart was so greatly impressed by Baba Maharaj Singh's personality that he recommended special treatment to be accorded to him, but the government did not wish to take any risks and as he was a 'Dangerous rebel', He was shifted to Singapore where he was kept in solitary confinement for 6 years and wasnt allowed to meet anyone, except his hazooriya, Bhai Kharak Singh ji. Babaji suffered from many physical complications, but Cruel british empire refused to free him or even let him take a walk in free air. At last, on 5th July 1856, the great Sant-sipahi-freedom fighter Baba Maharaj Singh ji left his body and the Mukt Aatma went to the land of his beloved.

Such was the spirit of Gursikhs of 18th and 19th century, that even at age of 118 years they fought for freedom and Independent Khalsa Raaj, and went through every possible torture, even of separation from Motherland at age of 125 years. Lakh lakh Parnaam to Baba Maharaj Singh ji.

Gurudwara Sahib Silat Road in Singapore stands in memory of Baba Maharaj Singh Ji. Babaji's remains were moved here on 12 September 1966. The National Heritage Board of Singapore has declared this Memorial of Babaji as a ''Historic Site''.
Babaji's spiritual lineage continues with Rarewali Samparda, in which came holy Baba Isher Singh Ji.

Posted by Kamaljeet Singh Shaheedsar on Monday, July 7. 2014

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