Sikh Missionary Society U.K. (Regd)
10, Featherstone Road. Southall, Middx, U.K. UB2 5AA
Tel: +44 020 8574 1902
Fax: +44 020 8574 1912
Reg Charity No: 262404
The Hair and the Sikh Sacrifices
From 1720 to 1762 alone, nearly 30,000 Sikhs, including women and children, were put to death by the tyrants.
The brave Sikhs sang the following couplet which has since become a popular Punjabi saying -
"Mannun* is our sickle and we are a crop for him to mow, The more he cuts us, the more we grow'."Many others were brought to Lahore and tortured and beheaded in the market place. This place is in Landa Bazar Lahore and is now known as Shahid Ganj (the place of the martyrs). It was once more in 1734 that Bhai Mani Singh, on his refusal to embrace Islam,was cut to pieces limb by limb. Then during the rule of Zakriya Khan in the Punjab, a price was put on the heads of the Sikhs. He who sheared off the hair of a Sikh, received blankets and bedding, he who supplied information about a Sikh was given ten rupees and he who caught or killed a Sikh was rewarded with fifty rupees from the coffers of the state. But none of this dampened the spirits of the Sikhs and they resolutely stuck to their faith and form. In 1742, Bhai Taru Singh was offered the usual choice of Islam or death. His only crime was that he was a Sikh. He bravely chose death. His executioners wanted his hair to be cut off first. Bhai Taru Singh strongly protested and gladly agreed to let his scalp be scrapped off with his hair intact on it. He bore this brutal punishment bravely, continuing to recite the Japji (The Sikh morning Prayer), and thus gave away his scalp for the protection of his uncut hair. In February 1762, after the second great holocaust in Sikh history, Baba Alia Singh, the saintly figure and the ancestor of the rulers of Patiala state (Punjab), was arrested by Ahmed Shah Abdali. He was given the choice of accepting Islam and having his hair cut off or of paying 125,000 rupees. Baba naturally elected to pay the fine. These and other great sacrifices made by the rank and file of the Sikhs have never been in vain. Their example and the slogans, "SIR JAYE TAN JAYE, MERA SIKHI SIDQ NA JA YE" (I would sooner accept death than renounce my faith), is a source of great inspiration for all time to come.
* Mir Mannun was a Moghul Governor of Lahore from March 1748 to Nov. 1753, and a sworn enemy of Sikhs.
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