Bhai Haqiqat Rai was born at Sialkot in 1724 A.D. His father was Bhai Bhag Mall Khatri. His maternal grandparents were Sikhs and he was married at a young age to Durgi the daughter of Sardar Kishan Singh. Bhai Haqiqat Rai became a Sikh early in his life due to influence of his mother. During Mughal rule, children used to go to mosques to study Persian from Maulvis (Muslim priests). Bhai Haqiqat Rai was also learning Persian from a maulvi. He was the only Hindu while all his other class-mates were Muslims. One day, the maulvi had gone out. Bhai Haqiqat Rai-had a quarrel with a boy. In order to tease Bhai Haqiqat Rai, he called bad names to mother goddess. In anger, Bhai Haqiqat Rai called name to Bibi Fatima in retaliation. When the Muslim boys heard him calling name, all of them gave him a sound thrashing. He returned home weeping.
In the evening, the Muslim boys got together, went to the maulvi and said, "Today, when we said to Haqiqat Rai that their gods and goddesses are made of clay and all are false, he said Bibi Fatima to be false and called her names." The maulvi said, "Did that infidel call Bibi Fatima names ?" The boys exaggerated the event and said, "When we said to him that we would complain to the maulvi, he replied that he was not afraid of him. His maternal uncles and inlaws are Sikhs. He will get the maulvi eliminated through them." The maulvi was greatly enraged on hearing this. He said to the boys, "Call that infidel and bring him to me."
At the message from the boys, Bhai Haqiqat Rai and his father went to the maulvi. As soon as they arrived, the maulvi caught hold of Bhai Haqiqat Rai and started beating him The maulvi beat him to unconsciousness but his anger did not subside. He arrested Bhai Haqiqat Rai and sent him to Amir Beg, the administrator of Sialkot. The next day the qazi said to Bhai Haqiqat Rai in the court, "You have hurt the feelings of believers by calling names to Bibi Fatima for which you should be given severe punishment. For this sin you can be burnt alive after pouring oil on you. you can be torn apart alive from dogs. But your sin may be pardoned if you embrace Islam." Bhai Haqiqat Rai refused to become a Muslim. By order of Amir Beg, Bhai Haqiqat Rai was hanged feet up from a tree and beaten but he did not agree to embrace Islam.
Amir Beg sent Bhai Haqiqat Rai to Zakria Khan, the Governor of Lahore. Mother Goran said to Bhai Haqiqat Rai, "Son ! No doubt I shall lose a son by your death but if you give up your faith I shall be called the mother of a deserter and faithless son. I pray to God to bestow on you the will to keep your faith even if you have to sacrifice your life." When Bhai Haqiqat Rai did not agree to embrace Islam even after further torture, he was martyred by the orders of the Governor in January, 1735 A.D.
Excerpts taken from these books.
Bed Time Stories Written by Santok Singh Jagdev.
Published by SGPC