BAHILO, BHAI (1553-1643), a Siddhu Jatt of the village of Phaphre, in present day Bathinda district of the Punjab, and a prominent Sikh of his time. He was originally a follower of Sultan Sakhi Sarwar and a local priest of that semi Muslim sect of Sultanias or Sarwarias. In 1583, he visited Amritsar at the invitation of GuruArjan. Bahilowas converted the moment he saw the Guru. He cast away the symbols of his former faith and received the rites of initiation at the hands of Guru Arjan. His devotion was now addressed to Akal, the Timeless One.
He dedicated the labour of his hands to the excavation of the holy tank and construction of the Harimandar, then in progress at Amritsar. He supervised the baking of bricks in a kiln and carried on his head basketfuls of earth dug from the site. However heavy the load upon his head, Bhai Bahilo\’s eyes, says Bhai Santokh Singh, Sri Gur Pratap Suraj Granth, always remained fixed on the Guru. Bhai Bahilo\’s piety and self abnegating service were lauded by the Guru as well as by Sikhs. Bhai Bahilo\’s descendants continue to live in Phaphre. They are known as Bhaike, i.e. of or belonging to the Bhai.
Even the village is commonly known as Bhaike Phaphre. There are some relicsa few garments, a gold coin and a dagger which the family claims to have been bestowed by Guru Gobind Singh upon one of their ancestors, Bhai Des Raj. Bhai Bahilo was a considerable poet. At least eight old manuscripts containing verse attributed to him are still extant. Most of them are transcriptions made in 1850 by one Panjab Singh, a descendant of Bhai Bahilo.
1. Santokh Singh, Bhai, Sri Gur Pratap Suraj Granth. Amritsar, 1926-37
2. Gian Singh, Giani, Twarikh Guru Khalsa [Reprint]. Patiala, 1970
3. Satibir Singh, Partakhu Hari. Jalandhar, 1982
4. Harbans Singh, The Heritage of the Sikhs. Delhi, 1983