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Sakhi Bhai Bota Singh Shaheed


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Translation of the Katha of Baba Santa Singh's Panth Parkash Steek.

Bhai Rattan Singh tells us, the story of Shaheed Bhai Bota Singhs I have heard with my own ears from our respected elders. When walking down the street the slander of the Gurus Singhs was heard, the same Singhs who sacrificed their heads, from the beginning the Gurus Singhs always were ready to sacrifice their heads.

There was a singh who was an upholder of virtue, truth, restraint and his own word. He was a servant of the lotus feet of the True Guru and was a warrior from his heart, he was fearless. His name was Bhai Bota Singh Ji, from the Majha area of Taran Taaran.

Allot of Singhs were martyred, four months had passed, no Singhs were seen by anyone’s eyes, nor did anyone’s ears hear about them. People started gossiping amongst themselves that all the Singhs have died and have all been finished off. They were heard saying that the Turks have crushed all the Gurus Singhs, nowhere are Singhs clashing and skirmishing, nor are they engaged in battlefield warfare. For this reason, four months have passed and no one has heard a word of the Khalsa Panth, and people have started saying that the Khalsa have been all killed.

Bota Singh was somewhere separated from his battalion. It was the ambrosial hours of the morning and Bhai Bota Singh was emerging out of the Jungles, people spotted him walking and wandered where he was walking off to and whether he was a Singh or someone else? When they noticed he was a Singh, they were shocked at how has this Singh survived up until now.

Those people who saw Bhai Bota Singh started saying “friends, this must a fake, that is why he is still alive now, the Singhs are not visible anywhere, the Turks have crushed them all”. Others started saying “he must be weak hearted and a coward, those proud singhs have all died fighting, unlike this great fake who is hiding here, a real Khalsa is he who day and night fights battles, waking up he starts fighting with the Turks, a Khalsa is he who sacrifices his head in the name of Dharam.

When walking down the path Bota Singh heard these words, their comments pierced him like the sting of a scorpion, hearing their words Bota Singh brought the following in his heart, “without losing my head nothing will be achieved. By losing my head the name of the Khalsa will arise again, people will be shocked to hear that some Singhs have still survived, they will say that a Singh was seen in this area and he fought greatly. The world will know that the heart of the Gurus Khalsa still beats, if the Khalsa return to warfare and battle. By losing our heads fighting battles against the Turks, we will show them as false in the kingdom of God, how they persecute those who have no enemies, they do not leave anyone alone. When we will lose our heads fighting in the heat of battle and attain martyrdom, talk of the Khalsa Panth will arise again, that they have woken up and stood strong. The Gurus Khalsa ask for kingdoms, we will take our kingdoms back from the Turks, we will snatch it from them.

In Taaran Taran, by Noordeen there was a crossroad, where people would pass through with their carts full of merchandise and goods, on that road the Singh set up his Dera. In the same way young boys play, Bota Singh dug wooden stakes in the ground in four directions [square] and proclaimed “this is the fortress of the Khalsa”. Bota Singh sat in his square and stated that he will impose taxes upon the travellers, without paying they cannot pass. Alongside Bota Singh, a Mazbi Sikh came stood beside him, his name was Mota Singh. Both Singhs made a rukus and chaos, “WAIT WAIT, you must pay the Khalsa before passing”, when the taxes were being paid the travellers would say “but we give money to the government [ruling Turks], how can you take it from us? The Singhs took their Salotars [Heavy tapered wooden clubs] and hit them, “OYE?! Are you going to give us the money or not?!” When the travellers were beaten then they had no choice put to pay, in this way allot of commotion was created surrounding the actions of Bota Singh. In this way, the Singhs caused rukus so that in some way news will reach Lahore that in this area taxes were being imposed upon the travellers by the Khalsa.

Allot of time had passed, and no armies arrived, nor did anyone come to get news of what is happening. Allot of people had paid taxes by this time out of fear. When no success was achieved by their actions, the Singhs themselves sent a letter to the King of Lahore, Khan Bahadur. When the King read the letter, he began to burn with anger. The letter stated “bring your armies quick, do not take your time, this letter is written by Bota Singh, in my hands I hold a heavy club and I stand on the crossroads of Noordeen, those travellers who cross with a donkey loaded with goods I charge them 1 paisa in tax, those who cross with a cart I charge them 1 anna [4 paisey] in tax.

[baba Santa Singh states, Bota Singh was also of the same village of Nawab Kapoor Singh, look at how the water of that village was, the types of Singhs that were born there. They say that the reason why Bota Singh stood against the King is because Khan Bahadurs sister, Farjooleh Khan was married in that same village, Bota Singh had a score to settle with him, Farjooleh Khan is said to have caused allot of pain to the Khalsa, that is why Bota Singh stated to Khan Bahadur that ‘your brother in law is standing in the shade of Noordeen and has imposed tax upon everyone.’ After reading the letter heavy armies were sent in the direction of Bota Singh and Mota Singh.

The armies arrived at Noordeen at the crossroads and Bota Singh and Mota Singh had left their position to go to urinate. On their return they saw the armies had descended upon the crossroad. Both Singhs roared the Gurus Victory [Vaheguroo Ji Ki Fateh!!] and loudly challenged the armies, “COME HERE!! WHERE ARE YOU GOING? YOU CANNOT GO WITHOUT FULFILLING YOUR TAXES!” The Singhs tied on their heavy Kamarkasey [waist sashes loaded with weapons] and stood readier than readier to wage war. Bota Singh had a sword slung around his body, and in their hands they carried heavy wooden clubs. In the hands of the other Singh on post was a Neja spear. The Singhs stepped out of their “fortress” and stood strong in order to challenge the armies.

The Singhs ordered the armies to pay their taxes, then the Turks responded in a loud voice, “Singhs, do not fight against us and die, come with us to Lahore, we will allow you to meet with the King, the King has spared your life that is why I will let you go”. In this way the Turk army was speaking sweetly. The Singhs responded “When did we request our life be spared? We wish to fight you, you say to us that you have spared our lives, we ourselves are ready to die, and we ourselves wait anxiously for the arrival of our deaths. Do not make up such words, get off your horses and quickly begin battling with us so that we may attain martyrdom. You keep your swords in your hands and we will hit you with our clubs, running running we will smash you with our clubs. You are witness to our weaponry, with these we will be able to survive against you. We will find out in battle how much courage you have and you will find out how much courage we have when we fight with you.

The Turk chief responded, “Bota Singh! What is the need of such words? Come with us to Lahore, in the Courts I will allow you to speak with Khan Bahadur.” Bota Singh replied “What words are left between you and us? Is there any space for reasoning and settlement? We have no union with you, we will meet in the Court of the Lord, and we have nothing to ask for in the Court of Khan Bahadur. Our only union is the meeting of our weapons, let us join together!

The Singhs were eager to attain martyrdom, they proclaimed “Will you respond or not because we are coming towards you, do not say that we didn’t warn you, we are coming make yourselves strong!” Bota Singh charged and pounced upon the armies like a lion, charging in he began to strike the soldiers. The Turks were mounted upon horses and they retreated and galloped far away, in this way the Turks were away from the hands of the Singhs. The Singhs picked up bricks and threw them in the direction of the Turks and the Turks retreated further away. The Turks wished to save their lives, whilst the Singhs were eager to die, they thought to themselves “these Singhs stand here fearless with the wish to die, one says ‘kill me’, and the other says ‘no kill me’”. The Singhs had no desire to save their lives; they wished to die in the process of battle.

The Turks unleashed arrows and gunshots towards the Singhs, Bota Singh charged forward dodging the arrows and bullets and ran towards the direction of the Turks, descending upon them he begins hitting them again with his weapons. Other Turks shoot arrows and gunfire at the Singhs, they deflect the arrows with their clubs and move through the projectiles like waves. The arrows which hit the Singhs they rejoice and laugh about. In places they use small and big footwork in order to avoid the weapons of the Turks, the Turks make their horses leap and go up on their back legs in order to make the Singhs fall over, however when knocked over the Singhs get up straight away. When the horses are made to charge at the Singhs, the Singhs used weapons to strike against them.

The Turks held in their hands battlefield weaponry, however the Singhs were not scared of them, they held no fear of losing their lives, the Singhs thought in their mind, we do not have such weapons and the Turks are not scared of us, and we are not scared of them, in this way both in the minds of the Turks and Singhs, the desire to attain martyrdom had increased greatly. They saw the Singhs without weapons and their eagerness to cut off their heads had also greatly increased. When the swords cut the flesh and skin of the Singhs, they did not feel any pain, we live in the jungles and our skin is thick like that of animals, our bodies are like shields, those cuts that went into their skin we do not even flinch from. Only if the cut reaches the bone does our strength decline. When the arrows of the Turks entered the bodies of the Singhs, they ripped them out with their hands and threw them on the floor. Staring the Turks in the eyes, the Singhs ripped the arrows out from their bodies and proclaimed “useless are your arrows! Your arrows cannot pierce through our skin”.

The Turks unsheathed their swords from their cases and began to strike blows upon the Singhs, the Singhs countered the strikes by deflecting their blades with the shaft of their clubs. Bota Singh and Mota Singh joined their backs together and stood back to back, the Turks charged their horses upon the Singhs and the two twisted the faces of their horses by smashing them in the heads. By smashing the faces of the horses they couldn’t stand, so the Turks came on foot and engaged the Singhs. The Turks tried to stop the club strikes of the Singhs with their heavy shields, but the Singhs hit them so hard repeatedly that they broke the shields into pieces. None of the Turks could stand against the Singhs; their strength was being wasted in trying. Those Turks who could not put a hand on Bota Singh and Mota Singh took guns in their hands, they shot heavy bullets into the bodies of the Singhs, where the bullet hit their bones were broken. Whichever hand the Singhs held their clubs, the Turks targeting that hand and shot it. The clubs which were held in the right hand, when the right hand was broken they took the club in their left hand. The Turks shot from a distance and fired bullets into the thighs of the Singhs, making them into cripples. The firing continued and the Turks shot into every limb, they said “now join your hands together and beg for forgiveness that you have made a mistake, we will spare your life and not kill you, join your hands together and stand up, we will keep you and look after you, but only as Muslims” such was their words towards the Singhs.

In the same way that a child puts his weight on one leg to play games, the Singhs gathered strength and stood on one leg in the battlefield ready to fight more. Whichever soldier charged forward to fight with the Singhs, the chief gave no order to fire bullets, instead he said “each of them have one leg each and one hand each, when they come forward grapple them to the floor”, when the Turks and Singhs engaged, the Singhs smashed the Turks faces, heads and noses so hard that rivers of blood began gushing out of their mouths and nostrils. After beating the challengers, the Singhs fell on the floor once again and the Turks once again retreated. Bota Singh and Mota Singh put their weight on their elbows and knees and began to crawl towards the Turks; staring in their eyes the Singhs did not their faces away.

Bhai Rattan Singh Bhangoo states, in the same way that I have heard the story I have recalled it, the Singhs did not even blink in front of the Turks, only those who would turn their eyes away are those who have fear, do not even have a doubt over this. Those who have lost all attachment to their worldly life, those who have accepted that we are going to die regardless, why would they turn their eyes away? The way these two warriors fought tells us this, when warriors descend upon the battlefield, both eyes are focussed upon the eyes of the opponents, when two warriors fight they always look into the eyes of each other. Their muscles quiver with aggression, facing their enemy they deflect the strikes of their swords.

The number of Turks was high, the Turks made pieces of the Singhs, they were scared that these Singhs may stand up once again, if they do they will surely kill some more of us. In this way these two brave Singhs attained martyrdom. Blessed Blessed are the Mother and Father of such Singh Warriors, who gave birth to them in this world, Blessed are their brothers! Attaining such martyrdom these Singhs gained entry into the house of the Shaheed Singhs, where their presence and guard resides. These Singhs were surrounded by the Shaheeds and were taken to the Dera of Martyrs. In this way, Bota Singh attained such a heavy martyrdom. Bhai Rattan Singh states, in the way that I have heard this story from our respected elders I have written it so. Here is the story of the martyrdom of Bhai Bota Singh Shaheed.

Parcheen Panth Parkash – Shaheed Bhai Rattan Singh Bhangoo – Bhaag Dooja pg 112-120.

Teekakar: Singh Sahib Baba Santa Singh Ji Akali, Jathedhar 96 Crori Budha Dal Panjwa Takht.

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