Shaheed Baba Deep Singh Ji
Baba Deep Singh (1682–1757) is revered among Sikhs as one of the most hallowed martyrs in Sikhism and as a highly religious person. He is remembered for his sacrifice and devotion to the teachings of the Sikh Gurus.
He was the first jathedar(Head) of Damdami Taksal a 300 years old religious school of the Sikhs which was allegedly founded by last Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.
In April 1757, Ahmad Shah Durrani raided Northern India for the fourth time. While he was on his way back to Kabul from Delhi with precious booty and young men and women as captives, the Sikhs made a plan to relieve him of the valuables and free the captives. The squad of baba Deep Singh was deployed near Kurukshetra. His squad freed a large number of prisoners and raided Durrani’s considerable treasury. On his arrival in Lahore, Durrani, embittered by his loss, ordered the demolition of the Harimandir Sahib. The shrine was blown up and the sacred pool filled with the entrails of slaughtered cows. Durrani assigned the Punjab region to his son, Prince Timur Shah, and left him a force of ten thousand men under General Jahan Khan.
Baba Deep Singh, aged 75-years old, felt that it was up to him to atone for the sin of having let the Afghans desecrate the shrine. He emerged from scholastic retirement (he had been making copies of the Guru Granth Sahib), and declared to a congregation at Damdama Sahib that he intended to rebuild the temple. Five hundred men came forward to go with him. Deep Singh offered prayers before starting for Amritsar: “May my head fall at the Darbar Sahib.” As he went from hamlet to hamlet, many villagers joined him. By the time baba Deep Singh reached Tarn Taran Sahib, ten miles from Amritsar, over five thousand peasants armed with hatchets, swords, and spears accompanied him.
According to the Sikh legend, Baba Deep Singh had vowed to avenge the desecration of the Golden Temple by the Afghan army. In 1757, he led an army to defend the Golden Temple. The Sikhs and the Afghans clashed, in the battle of Amritsar, at the village of Gohalwar on November 11, 1757 and in the ensuing conflict Baba Deep Singh was decapitated, Baba Deep Singh continued to fight after having been decapitated, slaying his enemies with his head in one hand and his sword in the other, only upon reaching the sacred city of Amritsar did he stop and finally die.
The spot where the legend Baba Deep Singh’s head fell is marked in the Golden Temple complex, and Sikhs from around the world pay their respects there. Baba Deep Singh’s 30 kg Khanda (double-edged sword), which he used in his final battle, is still preserved at Takht Sri Hazur Sahib, one of the five centers of temporal Sikh authority.