DHARAM SINGH, BHAI (1666-1708), one of the Pan] Piare or the Five Beloved, the forerunners of Khalsa, came of farming stock. He was the son of Bhai Sant Ram and Mai Sabho, of Hastinapur, an ancient town on the right bank of the Ganges, 35 km northeast of Meerut (29°N, 77° 45`E). Dharam Das, as he was originally named, was born around 1666. As a young man, he fell into the company of a Sikh who introduced him to the teachings of the Gurus. He left home at the age of thirty in quest of further instruction. At the Sikh shrine ofNanak Piau, dedicated to Guru Nanak, he was advised to go to Guru Gobind Singh at Anandpur, where he arrived in 1698.

A few months later came the historic Baisakhi congregation at which five Sikhs responding to five successive calls of Guru Gobind Singh offered one after the other to lay down their heads. Dharam Das was one of those five. The Guru blessed them and called them Panj Piare, the five beloved of him. They were anointed as the first five members of the brotherhood of the Khalsa inaugurated on that day. Guru Gobind Singh then begged them to administer to him the vows of initiation.

Dharam Das, who, after initiation, became Dharam Singh, took part in the battles of Anandpur. He was in Guru Gobind Singh *s train when Anandpur and thereafter Chamkaur were evacuated. He accompanied Bhai Daya Singh to the South to deliver Guru Gobind Singh`s letter, the Zafarnamah, to Emperor Aurarigzib. During the war of succession following the death ofAurangzib on 20 February 1707, Guru Gobind Singh took the part of the rightful claimant to the imperial throne, Prince Mua`zzam, and sent for his help Bhai Dharam Singh who with his small band of Sikhs fought in the battle ofJajau (8 June 1707).

He accompanied Guru Gobind Singh to Nanded and was with him at the time of his death on 7 October 1708. Dharam Singh died at Nanded. A gurdwara there preserves the memory jointly of Bhai Dharam Singh and Bhai Daya Singh.

References :

1. Kuir Singh, Gurbifas Patshahi 10. Patiala, 1968
2. Chhibbar, Kesar Singh, Bansavah`nama Dasari Patshahiari Ka. Chandigarh, 1972
3. Santokh Singh, Bhai, Sri Gur Pratap 5uraj Granth. Amritsar 1926-37
4. Macauliffe, Max Arthur, The Sikh Religion. Oxford, 1909
5. Harbans Singh, Guru Gobind Singh. Chandigarh, 1966