CHAUPA SINGH (d. 1724), earlier name Chaupati Rai, was a prominent Sikh in the retinue of Guru Tegh Bahadur (1621-75) and then of Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708). He was born in a Chhibbar (Brahman) family of Kariala, a village in Jehlum district, now in Pakistan. His grandfather, Gautam, had accepted the Sikh faith and was followed in this allegiance by his two sons Paira and Praga. The former was Chaupati Rai`s father; in the lineage of the latter, known for his martial skill during the time of Guru Hargobind (1595-1644), were Dargah Malt, Dharam Chand, Gurbakhsh Singh and Kesar Singh.
Chaupati Rai remained attached to the Gurus` household from the time of Guru Har Rai to whose service he had been piously assigned by his parents. According to Kesar Singh Chhibbar, Bansavalinama, he accompanied Guru Tegh Bahadur to Patna where during the infancy and early childhood of (Guru) Gobind Singh he acted as his khidava or attendant. He also taught the child Gurmukhi and Takri letters. When Guru Gobind Singh inaugurated the Khalsa in 1699, Chaupati Rai also received the initiatory rites and became Chaupa Singh.
Chaupa Singh`s title to permanent fame stems from the association of his name with a Sikh manual Hazuri Rahitnama, popularly called Rahitnama Chaupa Singh. The family tradition as recorded in the Bansavalinama affirms that Chaupa Singh was selected by Guru Gobind Singh to produce the first rahitnama, code of conduct, and as he humbly pleaded insufficient competence for so weighty a responsibility, he was reassured by the promise that the Guru himself would inspire and direct the words which he uttered. Further, that a copy was made in the hand of a Sikh, Sital Singh Bahrupia, and taken to the Guru for his imprimatur. The colophon of the extant text is, however, vague about its authorship and some of the injunctions in it conflict with the accepted Sikh code.
Chaupa Singh remained with the Guru until 1705 when at the time of evacuation of Anandpur he proceeded to Delhi in the entourage of the ladies of the Guru`s family. He remained in Delhi until his death by execution in 1724, except for a brief sojourn in Talvandi Sabo sometime in 1706 when with Mata Sundari and Mata Sahib Devan he went there to see the Guru. He was one of the band of the followers of Ajit Singh, adopted son of Mata Sundari, later discarded, which became involved in a public fracas resulting in the death of a Muslim faqir. In consequence, sixty of them were arrested and executed on Magh Sudi 4, 1780 Bk / 18 January 1724. Chaupa Singh was one of them.
1. McLeod, W.H., The Chaupa Singh Rahitnama. Dunedin, 1987
2. Chhibbar, Kesar Singh, Bansavalinama Dasan Patshahian Ka. Chandigarh, 1972