BUDDHU SHAH, PIR (1647-1704), a Muslim divine whose real name was Badr udDIn and who was an admirer of Guru Gobind Singh, was born on 13 June 1647 in a prosperous Sayyid family of Sadhaura, in present day Ambala district of Haryana. Because of his simplicity and silent nature during his early childhood he was given the nickname of Buddhu (lit. simpleton) which stuck to him permanently. He was married at the age of 18 to a pious lady, Nasirari, who was the sister of Said Khan, later a high ranking officer in the Mughal army.

It is not certain how Buddhu Shah first became acquainted with Guru Gobind Singh, but it is recorded that he called on him in 1685 at Paonta, on the bank of the Yamuna. At his recommendation, the Guru engaged 500 Pathan soldiers under the command of four leaders, Kale Khan, Bhikhan Khan, Nijabat Khan and Hayat Khan.In 1688, when Guru Gobind Singh was attacked by a combined force of the hill chiefs led by Raja Fateh Shah of Srinagar (Garhval), all the Pathans with the exception of Kale Khan deserted him and joined the hill monarch. The Guru conveyed the news of the treachery to Pir Buddhu Shah, who immediately rushed to Bharigani, the battlefield, with 700 of his followers, including his brother and four sons.

Many of the Pir`s disciples as well as two of his sons, Ashraf and Muhammad Shah, and his brother, Bhure Shah, fell in the action. After the battle Guru Gobind Singh offered rich presents to the Pir which the latter politely declined to accept. However he, as the tradition goes, begged the Guru to bestow upon him the comb from his hair and the turban he was going to tie.The Guru gave him the two articles and a small kirpan or sword which the Pir and his descendants kept in the family as sacred heirlooms until Maharaja Bharpur Singh of Nabha (184063) acquired them in exchange for ajagir or land grant.

The relics are still preserved in the family`s palace at Nabha (in the Punjab). The Rajput chiefs defeated at Bharigani remained hostile towards Guru Gobind Singh, and wished to evict him from Anandpur to where he had returned. To solicit help from the imperial government, they sent to the emperor reports describing the Guru as a dangerous rebel. Complaints also reached the authority against Pir Buddhu Shah who had rendered assistance to the Guru. The Faujdar of Sirhind, under whose jurisdiction the parganah of Sadhaura then fell, directed a local official, `Usman Khan, to chastise the Pir.

The latter marched on Sadhaura, arrested Buddhu Shah and had him executed on 21 March 1704. Banda Singh Bahadur avenged the Pir`s execution in 1709 by storming Sadhaura and killing `Usman Khan. Pir Buddhu Shah`s descendants migrated to Pakistan in 1947. Their ancestral house in Sadhaura has since been converted into a gurdwara named after Pir Buddhu Shah.

References :

1. Suri, V.S., and Gurcharan Singh, Pir Buddhu Shah. Chandigarh, 1971
2. Harbans Singh, Guru Gobind Singh. Chandigarh, 1966
3. Macauliffe, Max Arthur, The Sikh Religion. Oxford, 1909
4. Khushwant Singh, A History of the Sikhs, vol. I, Princeton, 1963