Great Gursikh Warrior : Shaheed Bhai Tara Singh Vaan (Part 3 of 3)
Source: Translated by Bhai Kulbir Singh Ji from 'Panth Parkash'
HUMAN BODY GETS PURIFIED WITH WOUNDS FROM WEAPONS
A Singh too reached Bhai Tara Singh jee and pleaded with him to leave. He said that he was only concerned about one thing. He said that he did not care dying or living but he had one wish in his mind. He said that Bhai Tara Singh jee had done too much seva of Singhs living with him and that it was now Singhs’ turn to do seva of Bhai Tara Singh jee. He said that many Singhs wanted to do seva of Bhai Tara Singh jee and this way be purified.
Singh jee whose face was so bright that day that it was hard to even look at it, did a very precious bachan (saying). He declared that the bodies of Singhs and warriors get pure and sacred when they are cut by the weapons in the battlefield. In Panth Parkash, it is quoted as follows:
TAU SINGH JEE, UNN KAHEE SUNAAYE||
DEH PAVITTER HOYE, SHASTER LAGAAYE||
He further said that when the weapons cut the body of a Singh in the battlefield, the sins of the Singhs are washed away as a result of this.
SINGHS BEAT THE NAGAARA TO DECLARE WAR
After hearing Bhai Tara Singh jee, all Singhs shouted a huge jaikara as they beat the Nagara [large war drum]. Their jaikara was so loud that it reached the Turks who were quite away from there. Many of the Turks felt their senses failing them after hearing the jaikara of the Singhs. Many wanted to leave as they did not want to lose their lives fighting off the Singhs. The conscience of many soldiers was pricking them for killing innocent Singhs for no reason.
On the othe side, Singh jee ordered the Singhs to leave the bunga and stand in the battlefield, ready to face the Turks. From both sides the warriors got ready to fight to death.
HAND TO HAND COMBAT BEGINS
First of all, Bhai Bulaka Singh moved forward to stop the advancing army. He fought very valiantly and killed many. Finally he was killed by a arrow to the chest.
The Singhs now stood behind their first defense line and as the Turks moved forward, the Singhs pushed them back. It was still midnight and it was hard to see clearly and this went in the favour of the Singhs. Then the Turks decided to move forward using their cavalry. They moved forward with full force and destroyed the first defense of the Singhs but the Singhs still fought them back and came to the second defense. Many Turks died in this first attack. All Singhs except for Bulaka Singh were still alive.
The imperial army was extremely hesitant to move forward and engage in hand to hand combat. They started shooting from afar and some Singhs became shaheed this way.
A WARRIOR CHALLENGES SINGH JEE
Moman Khan was getting increasingly impatient at the foot-dragging of his army. A very brave officer under Moman Khan sensed Moman Khan’s impatience and moved his horse forward. He loudly challenged Singh jee to come out and fight him alone. He moved his horse forward fearlessly. Singh jee asked his Singhs not to attack him and loudly asked him to come forward and that he would meet him soon.
As he was moving forward, he saw Singh jee. He took out his bow and shot an arrow aiming Singh jee’s Domalla. However, Singh jee was too fast for the warrior. He came forward like a lightening bolt and caught hold of the horse’s reins. He noticed that the officers’ body could not be seen as it was completely covered with armour all. The only thing that was without cover was a small part of his face. Singh jee hit his mouth area with his sword and managed to give it a deep cut there. The officer fled back to his line.
“TARA SINGH IS GIVING OUT FREE PAANS”
When Moman Khan saw his officer’s mouth red with blood, he jokingly said, “Are you eating paan.”. Paan is a leaf that non-Sikhs eat. It makes one’s mouth red and one spits out the red residue of Paan. It is a very popular candy for non-Sikhs. When others heard this remark they all started laughing.
The officer felt insulted and shot back at Moman Khan saying, “Yes I am eating Paan. Tara Singh is giving out free paans and if you want one, you too should move forward to get it. Why are you talking standing so far from the battlefield?” He said it in such a hilarious way that the whole imperial army started laughing. This dialogue became so famous in Punjab that to date it is remembered by all Punjabis, particularly the people of Majha zone (around Amritsar, Lahore).
SINGHS BATTLE THE TURK ON ELEPHANT
Another one of the officers who rode an elephant, thought of moving forward and killing the Singhs by crushing them under the elephant. He and another warrior got on the elephant and moved it forward swiftly.
When the Singhs saw the elephant coming towards them, they got excited at getting an opportunity to fight it. The Turks on the elephant were shooting arrows at the Singhs. Bhima Singh moved forward like a lion moving to hunt. Bhima Singh was so strong that he caught hold of the elephant by his ear and made him sit right there. Then with his sword he killed the driver (mahavat) of the elephant. The driver too hit back Bhima Singh before dying and the latter became unconscious with the blow. The Singhs pulled him back to the Bunga.
The elephant got up again and moved towards the Singhs. Now Singh jee said to Bhai Lakhmir Singh, “Do you not remember those days when we both used to herd cows and buffalo’s together? You used to jump across lining up two buffalo’s. How big is this elephant anyways? Why don’t you jump up on the elephant and kill the Turks sitting on it”.
Bhai Lakhmir Singh responded, “This exactly what I was thinking Singh jee. If you look at me with an eye of grace, I will do just what you have said”.
Saying this Bhai Lakhmir Singh jee jumped on the elephant and killed the two turks sitting on it. The elephant got scared and ran back towards to imperial army. When Moman Khand saw the elephant without the turks, he knew what had happened.
MOMAN KHAN CALLS IN POORBIYE (RESIDENTS OF BIHAR, UP)
Moman Khan decided to test his Poorbiye soldiers who were known for their valour. Their names were Mansha Ram and Daiya Ram and their titles were “ikk Hazaari” (officer to whom one thousand soldiers report). They both moved forward along with a group of selected soldiers to fight off the Singhs. Three Singhs came out to combat them. These three Singhs killed both Mansha Ram and Daiya Ram and the army that came with them subsequently fled.
SHAHEEDI OF BHAI TARA SINGH JEE AND OTHER SINGHS
After the fall of Mansha Ram and Daiya Ram, the soldiers of the imperial army got depressed and did not want to fight. Moman Khan could not go back empty handed. By now, the sun had risen and thus there was more light.
The Turks now could see the Singhs more clearly and they decided not to move forward but to shoot the Singhs from afar. Most of the 22 Singhs by now had become shaheed. The remaining Singhs decided to attack the imperial army voluntarily.
When Bhai Tara Singh jee entered the imperial army, he created a storm. He killed countless before he was shot from a distance. Yet, he still would not fall and kept fighting and slicing the soldiers. It was felt as if he was accompanied by thousands more hands. He sent several to Dharam Rai before finally attaining shaheedi there.
The shaheedi of Bhai Tara Singh jee rejuvenated the dejected Sikhs after the shaheedi of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur jee and many thus came into the fold of Khalsa and regrouped again to fight off the foreign rule in Punjab. Bhai Tara Singh jee will always be remembered by the Khalsa and a memorial in village Vaan has been erected in his sweet memory.