Baba Deep Singh Shaheed
Baba Deep Singh has been one of the most revered martyrs of Sikh history. Paintings show him fighting with his head on the left palm, still wielding his sword with the right. He lived his life in the true 'saint-soldierly' spirit and laid down his life to save the sanctity of the Golden Temple. Baba Deep Singh was born in 1682 AD at village Pahuwind about 40 km from Amritsar. He stayed at Anandpur for some time to study the sacred texts under Bhai Mani Singh. He was with Guru Gobind Singh at Damdama Sahib (Talwandi-Sabo) in 1706 AD but stayed on there after the Guru left for the Deccan. He participated in the campaign of Banda Bahadur but left him in 1714 AD when Tatt Khalsa rose against him. He is the founder of the Shahid misl as well as of the Damdami Taksal. Shahid misl had its sphere of influence south of the river Sutlej with headquarters at Damdama Sahib.
When baba Deep Singh came tp know that jahan Khan, a General of Abdali, had violated the sanctity of Sri Darbar Sahib, he set out in that direction immediately accompanied by only eight Singhs. On the way large batches of Singhs joined him. But, at Sangrana, he drew up a line and asked them to cross it over if they were willing to lay down their lives. Everyone jumped over the line without hesitation. Baba Deep Singh had his head cut off in the fight, but he carried it on his hand and fought his way to the periphery of the Darbar Sahib where he finally breathed his last.
During his fourth invasion of India in 1756-57 AD, Ahmad Shah Abdali annexed Punjab to his kingdom, appointed his son, Taimur, the viceroy at Lahore with the veteran general Jahan Khan as his deputy. Jahan Khan ravaged Amritsar in May 1757 AD razing the Sikh fortress Ram Rauni and filling up the holy tank. This sent a shock wave among the Sikhs. Baba Deep Singh felt that it was up to him to atone for the desecration of the Golden Temple. He emerged from his scholastic retirement at Damdama Sahib and proclaimed his intention of rebuilding the complex. As he went from hamlet to hamlet, many villagers joined him. By the time he reached Tarn Taran he had over 5000 followers The first encounter with the forces of Jahan Khan took place at village Gohlvar about 8 km from Amritsar in which the Khalsa had some initial advantage. Jahan Khan got fresh reinforcements and a fierce battle took place near Ramsar. Baba Deep Singh was fatally wounded and was barely able to get to the Golden Temple to keep his tryst with death. Two shrines now commemorate the brave martyr : One on the parikarma of the Golden Temple where he finally fell and the other Shahidganj Baba Deep Singh near Gurdwara Ramsar where his body was cremated.