ਜਿਨ ਜਿਨ ਧਰਮ ਹੇਤ ਸਿਰ ਦੀਏ। ਜੋਗ ਧੰਨਯਤਾ ਸੋਈ ਥੀਏ।
jina jina dharama hēta sira dī'ē. Jōga dhanayatā sō'ī thī'ē.
This line of Giani Gian Singh expresses devotion and respect to all those Singhs who sacrificed their lives in the path of Dharam but did not allow the teachings and message of Guru Sahibs to be negated in life. Sikhism is replete with the sacrifices of many martyrs Singhs and Singhnies who endured unbearable and unspeakable torture and steadfastly adhered to the Gurmat Marg. However, the entire area from Delhi to Kabul is covered with memorials of Sikh martyrs.The methods used to martyr the Sikhs are mentioned in many Sikh sources. In Shaheed Bilas, the martyrdom of Bhai Mani Singh and his companions is described as follows:
ਪਹਿਲੋਂ ਮਨੀ ਸਿੰਘ ਕੇ ਤਾਈ। ਕਾਜੀ ਫਤਵਾ ਦੀਯੋ ਸੁਣਾਈ। ਤੇਸੇ ਗੈਲ ਜਲਾਦੈ ਆਇ। ਬੰਦ ਬੰਦ ਦੀਯੇ ਜੁਦਾ ਕਰਾਇ। ਪੀਛੇ ਸਿੰਘ ਗੁਰਜਾਰੇ ਕੇਰੀ। ਪੁੱਠੀ ਖਲ ਲਾਹੀ ਬਿਨ ਦੇਰੀ। ਭੂਪਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਕੀ ਆਂਖ ਕਢਾਇ। ਫੇਰ ਚਰਖੜੀ ਦੀਯੋ ਚਢਾਇ।
Pahilāṁ manī singh kē tā'ī. Kājī phatavā dīyō suṇā'ī. Tēsē gaila jalādai ā'i. Bada bada dīyē judā karā'i. Pīchē sigha gurajārē kērī. Puṭhī khala lāhī bina dērī. Bhūpata sigha kī āṅkha kaḍhā'i. Phēra carakhaṛī dīyō caḍhā'i.
The purpose of such atrocities was to instill fear in the minds of the people so that no one would dare to rise up against the government. The place to be punished was chosen where as many people as possible could gather and those who raised their heads against the government in front of them could be punished.
Punishment was also meted out in such a heinous and cruel manner that the onlookers could not lift their eyes and did not have the courage to revolt against the government. Considering Muslims superior, followers of other religions were being forced to submit to them.
At that time only Sikhs were the ones who came forward to live with dignity and self-respect regardless of the orders of the government.
Every Sikh was given a chance to become a Muslim to avoid martyrdom, which he did not accept and gave martyrdom. Although they had to pay a heavy price for maintaining their independence, they were steadfast in their path. At that time they had only the support of the Guru on the strength of which they were fighting a powerful government. The only goal for the government too was to eradicate the Sikhs.
Nakhas Chowk in Lahore bears witness to Sikh martyrdom. When the Sikhs became powerful, they built Gurdwara Shaheed Ganj Bhai Taru Singh Ji on this site. The soul trembles at the records of the historical events associated with this place, the memories of the oppression, cruelty and torture inflicted on the Sikhs by the government of the day are refreshed.
Among the martyrs and heroes who were martyred at this chowk was Bhai Taroo Singh who bravely and courageously, he upheld the religious values established by the Gurus through martyrdom in the face of oppression and tyranny. Their lives will forever be a source of inspiration for those who follow the path of religion.
Niranjanis were instrumental in the martyrdom of Bhai Taru Singh.The origin of this sect can be traced back to Handal, a resident of Jandiala village in Amritsar district. Handal, a priest of Sakhi Sarwari, became a disciple of Guru Amar Das and began to serve the Guru's house.
When many people started coming to the Guru's house through him, ego arose in his mind and he began to consider himself a Guru. He began to call himself a priest of Niranjan, from which his followers came to be called Niranjanis. His son was Bidhi Chand who used the name of Guru Nanak to unite the Sikhs with him but the Sikhs separated from him. He turned his attention to anti-Panth instead of Panth-followers and forged ties with the government. In the eighteenth century, when the Sikhs were forced to wander in the forests, mountains and deserts, these Jandiala informants began to reward the government by informing the Sikhs.
When Zakariya Khan became governor of Lahore in 1726, atrocities on the Sikhs became even more strict. Due to this strictness, the Sikhs stopped going to the Gurudwaras. If it was reported that a resident of the village had helped a Sikh, he would be killed along with his family. The informants were working exclusively to get the reward set by the government for catching the Sikhs. Despite such austerity, the Sikhs would come from the mountains, forests or deserts to the villages or towns and make their presence known to the government of the day. Zakariya Khan was worried about why Sikhs were visible despite such strictures.
One of the descendants of Handal was Haribhagat who called himself Niranjania. He told Zakariya Khan that there were still Sikhs who, although themselves hungry, subsisted on minimal clothing but tried their best to feed their religious brethren and meet their every need. They work for wages and sacrifice their earnings for the Sikhs. Ratan Singh Bhangu explains:
ਆਪ ਸਹੈਂ ਵੈ ਨੰਗ ਅਰ ਭੁੱਖ। ਦੇਖ ਸਕੈਂ ਨਹਿਂ ਸਿੰਘਨ ਦੁੱਖ। ਆਪ ਗੁਜ਼ਾਰੈਂ ਅਗਨੀ ਨਾਲ। ਸਿੰਘਨ ਘਲੈਂ ਪੁਸ਼ਾਕ ਸਿਵਾਲ॥ ਕਈ ਪੀਸਨਾ ਪੀਸ ਕਮਾਵੈਂ। ਵੈ ਭੀ ਸਿੰਘਨ ਪਾਸ ਪੁਚਾਵੈਂ। ਬਾਣ ਬੱਟ ਕਈ ਕਰੈਂ ਮਜੂਰੀ। ਭੇਜੈਂ ਸਿੰਘਨ ਪਾਸ ਜ਼ਰੂਰੀ॥ ਦੂਰ ਜਾਇ ਜੋ ਚਾਕਰੀ ਕਰਿਹੀ। ਆਇ ਸਿੰਘਨ ਕੇ ਆਗੈ ਧਰਿਹੀਂ। ਸਿੰਘ ਜੋਊ ਪਰਦੇਸ਼ ਸਿਧਾਰੇ। ਭੇਜੇ ਸਿੰਘਨ ਓਇ ਗੁਰੂ ਪਯਾਰੇ॥
Apa sahaim vai naga ara bhuka Dēkha sakaiṁ nahiṁ sighana dukha. Āpa guzāraiṁ aganī nāla. Sighana ghalaiṁ puśāka sivāla. Ka'ī pīsanā pīsa kamāvaiṁ. Vai bhī sighana pāsa pucāvaiṁ. Bāṇa baṭa ka'ī karaiṁ majūrī. Bhējaiṁ sighana pāsa zarūrī. Dūra jā'i jō cākarī karihī. Ā'i sighana kē āgai dharihīṁ. Sigha jō'ū paradēśa sidhārē. Bhējē sighana ō'i gurū payārē
Zakariya Khan now turned his attention to the Sikhs who in one way or another helped their brethren. Haribhagat Niranjani told Zakariya Khan about Bhai Taru Singh, a resident of Poohle village in Amritsar district, who helped the Sikhs. He grabbed it and presented it to Zakariya Bhai Taru Singh said, "I have not committed any crime like theft, fraud etc. Then why do you want to kill me innocently?" Zakariya Khan said that if you"Either youn become a Muslim or you can die".
Bhai Taru Singh said, "Don't Muslims die?" If I have to die even after becoming a Muslim, then why should I give up my religion? '
Hearing Bhai Taru Singh's words, Zakariya Khan became angry and ordered BhaiTaru Singh's hairs to cut down, (to be executed).
Rabindranath Tagore, the famous poet of India, in his poem on Bhai Taroo Singh says that when Zakariya Khan asked Bhai Taru Singh to donate his hair, Bhai Taru Singh told Zakariya he will give more than what he requested in donation.
Eventually, Bhai Taru Singh hairs along with skull skin was removed, beheaded and martyred. The 25-year-old was martyred while holding dharma fast to Sikhism.
Although Bhai Mani Singh, Haqiqat Rai, Mehtab Singh Mirankotia, Shubeg Singh, Shahbaz Singh and thousands of other Sikhs were martyred at Chowk Nakhas, Bhai Taroo Singh is mainly associated with this place and his memory. Gurdwara Shaheed Ganj Bhai Taru Singh Ji is adorned here.
Nobal prize winner poet Rabindranath Tagore write poem on him
When the Pathans brought them chained All in calm they remained The captive Sikhs – though at Sahidgunj town With their comrades’ blood the soil was brown. Says the Nawab, “Look Taru Singh – I want to forgive you without misgiving.” Says Taru, “Why for me so much slight?” Nawab says, “A great warrior you are That you proved in your fight; So, to you I bear no anger; Only I beg of you the gift of your Beni* And you will be spared harm any.” Taru replied, “I owe you as your mercy’s nominee; So offer a bit more, my head with my Beni(judda)