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  Opinion   Oped  19 Dec 2019  Mystic Mantra: Bhai Mani Singh - A martyr for Sikh faith

Mystic Mantra: Bhai Mani Singh - A martyr for Sikh faith

Kulbir Kaur teaches sociology at Shyama Prasad Mukherji College, Delhi University
Published : Dec 19, 2019, 5:00 am IST
Updated : Dec 19, 2019, 5:00 am IST

Bhai Mani Singh, born in a village near Sunam in Sangrur district of Punjab, came to Anandpur Sahib when he was just a child.

 Bhai Mani Singh, a great warrior, was an efficient leader who guided the panth whenever any crisis arose.  (Photo: Representational Image/AP)
  Bhai Mani Singh, a great warrior, was an efficient leader who guided the panth whenever any crisis arose. (Photo: Representational Image/AP)

Sikhism, with its core values of humanity and justice, regards martyrdom as an integral part of the faith. It is a duty of the Sikh to fight for the right cause and protect the oppressed. The list of such Sikhs, true martyrs who laid down their lives for truth, is long. Bhai Mani Singh, a contemporary of Guru Gobind Singh, was such martyr.

Bhai Mani Singh, executed at Nakhas, Lahore in December 1737, was a rare example of perfect saint-soldier. It was a time of test and struggle for the Sikh community. The Sikhs were persecuted and were not even allowed to celebrate their festivals. Bhai Mani Singh was arrested for non-payment of a stipulated sum and for his refusal to forsake his Sikh faith, he was awarded a death sentence. The martyr’s executioner was ordered to chop Bhai Mani Singh’s body to pieces, joint by joint, starting from the smallest part. When the executioner started with Bhai Mani Singh’s wrist, Bhai Mani Singh gestured to his fingers, telling the executioner that he should follow the orders of his commander with strictness. The executioner had a puzzled look on his face and hence asked Bhai Mani Singh to explain what he meant. Bhai Mani Singh replied, “You have been ordered to execute me by chopping my joints. Have you forgotten that my joints start with my fingers?” And with his words he upheld the spirit of sacrifice and right conduct.

The Guru ordains: “Let man through sacrifice sail in the ship of glory, and thereby swim across the ocean of the world: His body the home of spiritual poise, his mind aglow like a lamp lit; with the light of God-realisation. Should he sweep away the dust-heap of cowardice”.

Bhai Mani Singh, born in a village near Sunam in Sangrur district of Punjab, came to Anandpur Sahib when he was just a child. Under the care and protection of Guru Tegh Bahadur, Bhai Mani Singh grew up with Guru Gobind Singh, receiving the same education, sacred as well as secular. He was not only a childhood friend of the Guru but a devoted Sikh as well. During the creation of the Khalsa, Bhai Mani Singh, in addition to the Panj Piyaras (Five Beloved), had also received amrit (baptism) at the hands of Guru Gobind Singh. He even accompanied the Guru to Paonta Sahib which can truly be called a journey of creation. Bhai Mani Singh was a witness to three years of literary work composed by Guru Gobind Singh and 52 poets.

Bhai Mani Singh was also a distinguished scholar. He was only 14 when he acted as a scribe and inscribed the Guru Granth Sahib as dictated by Guru Gobind Singh. He also collected the Bani of Guru Gobind Singh and compiled it. Bhai Mani Singh is also known for his works like Gyan Ratnavali and Sikhian di Bhagat Mala. He was the one who included the sacrifices and deeds of Sikhs in Ardas, along with the Gurus. It was in tandem with the tradition of acknowledging the sacrifices of the Sikh sangat as the Guru resides in the sangat.

Bhai Mani Singh, a great warrior, was an efficient leader who guided the panth whenever any crisis arose. He attained martyrdom as a true hero and will always remain a great Sikh role model. Gurdwara Shaheed Ganj is built on the site of his martyrdom, now in Lahore.

Tags: mystic mantra, bhai mani singh