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Sikh History Timeline

Today in Sikh History :7th May


7th May


1665 Guru Tegh Bahadhur visited Kiratpur.
1845 Baba Bir Singh of Naurangabad was assassinated at the hands of the treacherous dogra Raja Hira Singh. He was a great Sikh saint of Khalsa Raj period.

==> BHAI BIR SINGH was born on Saun Sudhi 3 Sunmat 1825, in village Gugobuha (near Amritsar) to father Sewa Singh and mother Matta Dharam Kaur. During his youth, he served in the forces of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Bhai Bir Singh was spiritually influenced by the sangat of Baba Bhag Singh of Kuri and Baba Sahib Singh of Unni. He was so influenced by their sangat that he was regularly seen continuously reciting Vaaheguru’s jaap. Later he came to be recognized as the most influential Saint Sikh during Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s period.

Dasodha Singh of Naurangabad, impressed by the dedication, love and sewa of Baba Bir Singh, brought him to his village where an institution was established for Naam Simaran and langar. Many lives in the Maza region was directly influenced by Baba Bir Singh’s preachings. Daily langer was prepared and humbly served to thousands without regard to their caste, religion, or region.

Once during Sunmat 1901, when Baba Bir Singh was visiting Harikae Patter along with six thousand Sikhs, Sardar Atar Singh Sandhawalia sought refuge with Babaji after running away from the Lahore affairs. Learning of this, Raja Hira Singh Dogra sent his forces to bring Sardar Atar Singh. However, Baba Bir Singh refused to arrest and return Sardar Atar Singh, saying "he would not return anyone taking refuge in Gurughar". This angered Raja Hira Singh Dogra, who ordered the immediate arrest of both Baba Bir Singh and Sardar Atar Singh by force.

Despite the appeals of Sikhs to match and demonstrate their strength against attacks from Hira Singh Dogra’s forces, Baba Bir Singh preached restraint, saying "we do not fight our own brothers, even when they are clearly wrong. Because doing so would be going against the teachings of our Gurus" Further, he ordered those unable to sit in peace with him to return to their respective homes.

Raja Hira Singh Dogra’s forces attack the Sikh Sangat with tanks and other heavy artillery. Baba Bir Singh’s right knee was shattered by a tank shell. His body littered with bullets and thousands of Sikhs were killed.

On 27 Vaisakh 1901, Baba Bir Singh bullet ridden body was placed on a Palang and disposed in the flowing river. However, Babaji’s Palang came ashore at Muthiawalae Pind where Ganda Singh Ramgariha recovered and respectfully cremated the body. Babaji’s ashes were later taken to Naurangabad where a samaad was erected. Even today, Baba Bir Singh’s dehra is active in Naurangabad where Katha, keertan, and langar is in daily progress.

-Ref. Mahan Kosh (pp. 879)

Here are some facts related to the incident that led to the assassination of Baba Bir Singh Ji.:

Maharaja Kharak Singh (son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and ruler of Punjab after Ranjit Singh) died on 3 November 1840. His son Nau Nihal Singh was murdered by Raja Dhian Singh Dogra on 5 November 1840.

Sher Singh (another son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh ) was proclaimed Maharaja on 9 November 1840 and Raja Dhian Singh Dogra along with Attar Singh Sandhawalia became his ministers. This was opposed by Maharani Chand Kaur (wife of Kharak Singh and mother of Nau Nihal Singh) who asserted that if a son was born to the wife of Nau Nihal Singh, he should become Maharaja (she was pregnant at the time of Nau Nihal's death).

Sher Singh occupied the Lahore fort by force with the help of Dhian Singh Dogra. Fort was defended by Gulab Singh Dogra who supported Chand Kaur. In this way two Dogra brothers were fighting on either side by having the Sikhs do the fighting for them.

Sandhawalis Attar Singh and Lehna Singh along with their nephews Ajit Singh and Kehar Singh were on the side of the Sher Singh but they did not like Dhian Singh Dogra. Dhian Singh Dogra convinced Sher Singh that Sandhawalis were a threat along with Chand Kaur (mother of Nau Nihal Singh) and wife of Nau Nihal Singh. Shere Singh had both Chand Kaur and her daughter-in-law murdered (she was pregnant with the child of Nau Nihal Singh).

This outraged Sandhawalis. Attar Singh and Ajit Singh escaped to the British side but Lehna Singh and Kehar Singh were arrested and put behind bars. The British with the help of Gulab Singh Dogra and Dhian Singh Dogra persuaded Maharaja Sher Singh to pardon Sandhawalis.

After there return to Lahore Lehna Singh and Ajit Singh murdered Maharaja Sher Singh and his son Partap Singh on 15 September 1843. They also murdered Dhian Singh Dogra. The real intentions of the Sandhawalias was to install Dalip Singh (youngest son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh) as the Maharaja of Punjab. This was to perpetuate their indirect control over the affairs of the state.

Hira Singh Dogra (son of murdered Dhian Singh Dogra) was able to win over the Army. Lehna Singh and Ajit Singh were killed by Hira Singh in a battle and Hira Singh Dogra occupied the fort. Hira Singh Dogra also tried to kill Pashaura Singh and Kashira Singh (other two remaining sons of Maharaja Ranjit Singh) with the help of Gulab Singh Dogra.

Seeing this bloodshed in Lahore, Attar Singh Sandhawalia escaped into British area. He returned to visit Baba Bir Singh Naurangabad near Tarn Taran. Hira Singh Dogra saw this an opportunity to kill the other Sandhawalia and finish any resistance to his rule. He attacked Baba Bir Singh's dera killing Baba Ji and Attar Singh. Soon after this battle Hira Singh Dogra Killed his uncle Suchet Singh Dogra.

This whole incident outraged the population. Hira Singh Dogra tried to escape but was killed by Sikh soldiers let by Sham Singh Atariwala killed Hira Singh, his advisor Pandit Jalla and Sohan Singh Dogra son of Gulab Singh Dogra.

Of the 4 Dogra Brothers who were employed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh and they were responsible for the down fall of Sikh Kingdom, only Gulab Singh survived along with his on son left to succeed him.

Karan Siingh (who was recently Indian ambassador to the US ) is a great-great grandson of Gulab Singh.

1923 Maharaja Ripudaman Singh of Nabha deposed by the British.

==> Maharaja RIPUDAMAN SINGH was born on Mar. 4, 1883 in Nabha to father Maharaja Sir Hira Singh and mother Jasmaer Kaur (daughter of Sardar Anokh Singh Longowalia). On 29th Jaeth sunmat 1958, he married Bibi Jagdhish Kaur (daughter of Sardar Gur Dayal Singh Mann) and a daughter was born on Oct. 8, 1907, named Bibi Amrit Kaur who later married Raja Sahib Kalsiya Ravisher Singh on Feb. 16, 1925.

Ripudaman Singh was an additional member to the Governor’s legislative Council from 1906 to 1908. In 1910, he went on European travels. He was present at the Westminister Abbey during the throning ceremony of King H.M. George on June 22, 1911. Maharaja Hira Singh passed away while Ripudaman Singh was on these travels.

He assumed the Nabha rule on Jan. 24th, 1912. In 1914’s world war, he offered his forces to fight with the British. Though this offer was not immediately accepted, his forces were later employed in Mesopotamia where they exhibited exemplary performance under the command of Col. Bachan Singh. Maharaja donated several lakh ruppees under several funds for the war efforts during 1917-8. His forces fought with the British in Balochistan and Iran.

On Oct. 10, 1918, he married SarojanDevi (daughter of Sardar Prem Singh Raipuria) and a son Pratap Singh was born on Sept. 21, 1919.

Due to several reasons, including internal dissension, bad influence, bad company, and numerous mistakes, Maharaja’s had to relinquish his rule in June 9, 1923 to a British administrator. In return, he received Rs. 3 lakh annually for his maintenance.

On Feb. 6, 1927, Maharaja Ripudaman Singh partook Amrit at Abichal Nagar and was named Gurcharan Singh.

On Feb. 19, 1928, government announced that Maharaja Ripudaman had violated the agreement under which he had to relinquish his rule. As a result, his stipend was reduced from Rs. 3 lakhs to Rs. 120,000. Further his title of Maharaja was taken away and he was put under house arrest at Kadia-Kunal in Madras where he died on this day. On Feb. 23, 1928, the governor general appointed Pratap Singh as the Maharaja of Nabha.

-Ref. Mahan Kosh (pp. 696)



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