Bara Singh, Bhai
One of the Nankana Sahib Martyrs (1894-1921)
Was the son of Bhai Pala Singh and Mai Man Kaur of Bandala village in Amritsar district. Some time after his birth on 8 Kattak 1960 Bk/23 October 1903, the family migrated to Chakk No. 71 Bandala Bachan Singhvala in the newly developed canal district of Lyallpur, now Faislabad in Pakistan.
Bara Singh received his preliminary education in the village gurdwara and joined, at the age of 13, Khalsa Pracharak Vidyala at Tarn Taran, where besides scripture-reading and study of Sikh lore he attained proficiency in kirtan (Sikh music).
He was deeply affected by the incident, at Tarn Taran, of 26 January 1921 in which the priests of Darbarr Sahib Tarn Taran treacherously attacked a band of Akali reformers led by the Jathedar of Sri Akal Takht who had come for a negotiated settlement with them.
Several Akalis were seriously wounded and two of them succumbed to the injuries later. The young and sensitive Bara Singh, disgusted with the acts of the priests within the precincts of the holy shrine, left off his studies and went home.
He found the atmosphere in the village charged with commotion at the outrage. Already in that part of the country there had been a lot of resentment at the mismanagement of Gurdwara Janam Asthan at Nankana Sahib in general and the unsavoury personal reputation of its mahant, or custodian, Narain Das.
The happenings at Tarn Taran quickened the tempo of the Akalis’ agitation for the removal of the mahant . Two of the six brothers of Bara Singh – Pritam Singh and Samma Singh – had already registered themselves as volunteers in the jatha of Bhai Lachhman Singh of Dharovalii, a local Akali leader.
It so happened that when an urgent call came on 19 February 1921 for them to report for active duty, Pritam Singh was away visiting some relatives. Bara Singh at once decided to take his place and immediately left with Samma Singh for Dharovali. Both were brutally done to death along with the rest of the jatha after their entry into Gurdwara Janam Asthan on the morning of 20 February 1921.