Bhai Tharoo Singh Jee was a Rehat-vaan young Gursikh from a Pind called Phoola in the area of Majha.
Nawab Zakariya Khan unleashed an unprecedented reign of terror and slaughter targeting Sikhs towards the end of his life. However he found even with using these brutal tactics he could not defeat the Sikhs. The majority of Sikhs had now left their homes and were living in Jungles/Forests.
The Nawab was questioning how were these Sikhs surviving, “I have stopped the takings at the Gurdwaras, I have stopped all their work, they should be dying of hunger and thirst. I have destroyed all the Pinds were I could find Sikhs, how are they feeding themselves?
Then a Dusht by the name of Har Bhagat Neranjanee gave an answer and said there are still some Sikhs left in the Pinds who are helping the Sikhs living in the Jungles. There are Sikhs out there that are willing to live without food and cloths but can not bare to see their fellows Sikhs in hardship
ਆਪ ਸਹੈਂ ਵੈ ਨੰਗ ਅਰ ਭੁੱਖ I ਦੇਖ ਸਕੈਂ ਨਹਿਂ ਸਿੰਘਨ ਦੁੱਖ I
They will make or earn what little they can and give it to the Sikhs living in the Jungles.
Hearing this, the Nawab said “This is a very hard Panth to kill only Khudha can kill it”
He then however said show me the people that are helping these Sikhs. The Dusht replied by saying there is one family in a Pind called Phoola. They are a family of three, Tharoo Singh his sister and their mother. They are very devout Sikhs, they do not worship Ram Kishan nor go to Ganga or Jamna. Tharoo Singh does farming, they give most of what they have to the Sikhs and survive on very little food
ਆਪ ਖਾਇ ਵਹਿ ਰੂਖੀ ਮਿੱਸੀ I
They travel secretly at night to visit the Sikhs in their hideouts .
The Arrest of Bhai Tharoo Singh
The Nawab sent orders for the arrest of Bhai Tharoo Singh and his family. Bhai Tharoo Singh and sister were arrested and brought to Lahore.
Some prominent members of the public got the sister released. Attempts were also made to release Bhai Tharoo Singh Jee but he refused any help. He said I am not the one who runs away from death
ਅਸੀ ਨ ਮਰਨੋਂ ਨਠਨ ਵਾਰੇ I
Bhai sahib said he will take what ever torture they give and bring about their karams for demise. Only by giving ones head will they be destroyed. Our Gurus have shown the way Guru Tegh Bahadhur Jee gave his head and Guru Gobind Singh Jee sacrificed his family and only then did change occur.
When the Sikhs learnt about the arrest of Bhai Tharoo Singh Jee, they all came together and did ardas for Bhai Sahib and requested Guru Jee keep his Sikhee till his last breath
ਸਿੱਖੀ ਸਾਥ ਨਿਬਾਹੀ ਸਾਸ I੩I
Bhai Tharoo Singh’s Torture
Bhai Tharoo Singh was kept in prison for some days and all kinds of torture was put in front of him but from each of their actions Bhai Sahib was growing in Chardee Kalan
ਜਿਮ ਜਿਮ ਸਿੰਘ ਕੋ ਤੁਰਕ ਸਤਾਵੈਂ I ਤਿਮ ਤਿਮ ਮੁਖ ਸਿੰਘ ਲਾਲੀ ਆਵੇ I
ਜਿਮ ਜਿਮ ਸਿੰਘ ਕਛੁ ਪੀਏ ਨ ਖਾਇ I ਤਿਮ ਤਿਮ ਸਿੰਘ ਸੰਤੋਖ ਹ੍ਵੈ ਆਇ I੫I
ਜੀਵਨ ਤੇ ਸਿੰਘ ਆਸ ਚੁਕਾਈ I ਨਹਿ ਉਸ ਚਿੰਤ ਸੁ ਮਰਨੇ ਕਾਈ I
ਸਤ ਸੰਤੋਖ ਧੀਰ ਮਨ ਤਾਂਕੋ I ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਭਾਣਾ ਸਿਰ ਪਰ ਜਾਂਕੇ I ੬ I
Bhai Tharoo Singh Jee was then presented in front of the Nawab. Bhai Sahib greeted the Nawab with a loud Fateh and a Jaykara of Akaal Akaal
ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਕੀ ਫਤੈ ਬੁਲਾਈ I ਅਕਾਲ ਅਕਾਲ ਕਹਿ ਊਚ ਸੁ ਨਾਈ I
In reaction to this the Nawab ordered the cutting of Bhai Sahib’s finger and placing salt on the wound.
Bhai Tharoo Singh said “ Listen Nawab, I have not harmed you in anyway so why this punishment? I earn an honest living and pay my taxes so why are you punishing me?
The Nawab then said angrily “Become a Muslemaan and I will spare your life”
Bhai Sahib replied “Where can I run to from fear, how can I become a Muslemaan. Do Muslemaans not die, so why give up your faith if you still have to die.”
The Nawab offered Lands and Women as bribes but the only thing Bhai Sahib asked for was “I will be grateful if you could present me a way where I can keep my uncut hair till my last breath.”
The Nawab then lost all his patience and said angrily in derogatory way “Remove his hair with shoes”
Bhai sahib responded “The shoes will fall upon you” and said the following
ਜੋ ਸਿਖ ਪੂਰੇ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਤਿਨ ਸਿਰ ਕੇਸ ਨਿਬਾਹਿਂ I
The hair of a Sikh of the Poora SatGur will remain intact to the end
The Nawab ordered the cutting of his hair with a blade but when they tried to cut Bhai Sahib’s hair the blade would become blunt. The hands of the cutters froze and started to shake. Guru Jee kept the Laaj of his Gursikh and the sangat’s ardas and none of Bhai Sahib’s hair could be cut.
The Nawab thought this was some sort of sorcery, so he thought of a way around Bhai Sahib’s Bachan. He ordered that Bhai Sahib’s scalp be removed with his hair intact.
Bhai Tharoo Singh was delighted that his hair was not to be cut and thanked Guru Jee for keeping his honour.
Bhai Sahib’s scalp was removed from his forehead right through to his ears. He didn’t express any pain and was doing Jaap of Naam
ਗੁਰੂ ਗੁਰੂ ਮੁਖ ਤੇ ਸੋ ਰਰੈ I
There was so much blood that it looked as though Bhai Sahib was doing ishnaan in blood.
The Nawab gets struck with illness
As soon as Bhai Sahib’s scalp was removed the Nawab was inflicted with roug, he was unable to urinate. He began to cry out in pain. He called out for all the mualas and Kazises to help. They began to say their Kalma but the pain did not go. The Nawab then saw Shaheed Singhs in blue Bana with shaster they made all the pirs run off and made sure the Nawab suffered.
The Nawab sought to seek help from the Sikhs, he released Bhai Subheg Singh and said the Shaheed Singhs don’t let me go, help me. I will stop the killing of Sikhs if you help me. Subheg Singh explained that you can not turn the Bachan of a Sant. He repeated lines from Sukhmanee sahib
.......ਸੰਤਦੋਖੀਕਾਥਾਉਕੋਨਾਹਿ ॥ .....
Subheg Singh reluctantly went and met Bhai Tharoo Singh and told him everything. Bhai Tharoo Singh said that even if his skin can be of any use to the Sikhs he would feel privileged to give it. Only the Sikh Sangat can change events I can not do anything.
Subheg Singh was then sent to meet the Khalsa Sangat and the first thing they asked was what happened to Bhai Tharoo Singh Jee. Subheg Singh told them everything, all you could hear was Dhan Dhan Tharoo Singh, Dhan Maath Pith, Dhan Ous Bhai.
Hearing this some in the Sangat said it was time to attack Lahore and behead the Nawab even if we are outnumbered, some said only a few should go in disguise and carry out the mission others had other suggestions. However Subheg Singh convinced them that it was not worth attacking Lahore as the Nawab was close to death and there would be an internal dispute as to who will succeed.
The Sangat decided to make out some conditions for the Nawab to meet and if done then their ardas would work. Five Singhs got up and did ardas that if the Nawab hits the shoes of Bhai Tharoo Singh on his head then he should be able to urinate.
Subheg Singh went back and told the Nawab of the instructions from the Khalsa. The hitting of Bhai Tharoo Singh’s shoes worked.
The Nawab was able to live a further 22 days and then died. Bhai Tharoo Singh also passed away at around the same time.
Bhai Tharoo Singh’s Sanskar
Some Singhs turned up suddenly in Lahore at the Charayee time of Bhai Tharoo Singh Jee. They made arrangements for wood and brought water from Amritsar. They did ishnaan of Bhai Tharoo Singh Jee’s body, made Karah Prashad, recited Shabads and then did Ardas after Anand Sahib. All Singh were in Kushee and were saying
ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪੈਜ ਖਾਲਸੇ ਰਾਖੀ I ਰਹੈ ਜਗਤ ਮੈਂ ਜੁਗ ਜੁਗ ਸਾਖੀ I੩I
That Guru Sahib has kept Pehaj of Khalsa and this Sakhee of Bhai Tharoo Singh will live on for generations and generations.
Ratan Singh then writes that Shaheed Singhs came and took Bhai Tharoo Singh Jee while singing Gurbanee in a royal carriage led by a grand horses. While the Nawab was taken away by Jaams hitting him with shoes as they took him.
Guru Gobind Singh Jee was waiting with the other Shaheed Singhs in anticipation of Bhai Sahibs arrival, he was seated on the left hand of Guru Jee while Bhai Manee Singh Jee was sitting on the right. Bhai Tharoo Singh Jee was made a Shaheedan Sirh Shaheed.