GURBAKHSH SINGH, BHAI (d. 1764), founder of the Bhai family of Kaithal, was great grandson of Bhai Bhagatu of revered memory. His grandfather, Bhai Bhagatu`s elder son, Gaura, was a brave warrior who became the chief of Virijhu, near Bathinda. His father, Dial Das, on the other hand was known as a saint of wide sanctity. Gurbakhsh Singh himself was an enterprising warrior. He developed friendship with Baba Ala Singh, founder of the princely house of Patiala, and together they made many conquests.

In 1754, Bhai Gurbakhsh Singh led an expedition against SardarJodh Singh of Bathinda, but finding his forces inadequate to reduce the territory he sought Ala Singh`s help. The latter sent a considerable body of troops, but Jodh Singh withstood the attack. Ala Singh summoned help from some of the trans Sutlej Sikh sarddrs. Jodh Singh was defeated and his territories pillaged. The combined force retired leaving the Bhai master of Bathinda and the surrounding district. Two years later Gurbakhsh Singh joined Baba Ala Singh in the latter`s successful expedition against Inayat Khan and Wilayat Khan, Rajput chiefs of Buhai and Buloda.

As a result Bhai Gurbakhsh Singh got possession of the district of Buloda. After his death in 1764, the territories of Bhai Gurbakhsh Singh were divided among his five sons. His second son, Bhai Desu Singh, conquered Kaithal where he established himself as an independent ruler. One of his brothers, Buddha Singh, seized a part of Thanesar which, however, he later lost to Bhariga Singh. Another brother Sukkha Singh established a separate branch of the family at Arnauli, now in Haryana. Other descendants of the family of Bhai Gurbakhsh Singh are living in and around Bhuchcho in Bathinda district.

BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Griffin, Lepel, The Rajas of the Punjab [Reprint). Delhi, 1977 2. Gupta, Hari Ram, Histmy of the Sikha, vol. II. Delhi, 1978 3. Santokh Singh, Bhai, Garb Ganjani Tika. Lahore, 1910 M.G.S. GURBAKHSH SINGH, BHAI (16881764), also known as Gurbakhsh Singh Nihang or Shahid, hailed from the village of Lil, in Amritsar district. According to an old manuscript which was preserved in the Sikh Reference Library, Amritsar, until it perished in the Army action in 1984, and which is quoted by Singh Sahib Giani Kirpal Singh, he was born on Baisakhi vadi 5, 1745 Bk/10 April 1688 (father Bhai Dasaundha, mother Mat Lachchhami).

In 1693, the family shifted to Anandpur where Gurbakhsh Singh took pdhul of the Khalsa on the historic Baisakhi day of 1699. He completed his religious education under Bhai Man! Singh. He later joined the Shahid misi under Baba Dip Singh and, after the latter`s death in 1757, organized his own jathd or fighting band. In the battles against the Durranis and the Mughals in the eighteenth century, his derd or small group usually formed the vanguard carrying the banner, and won renown for its acts of gallantry. When in November 1764 Ahmad Shah Durrani, at the head of 30,000 men, invaded India for the seventh time, Bhai Gurbakhsh Singh happened to be stationed at the holy shrine at Amritsar.

The Durrani advanced up to the town virtually unopposed and entered the partially reconstructed Harimandar, which he had demolished two years earlier. Bhai Gurbakhsh Singh, who had already evacuated from the precincts women, children and the aged, had with him only thirty men. According to Ratan Singh Bhang u, Prachin Panth Prakash, “Bhai Gurbakhsh Singh, with garlands around his neck and sword on his shoulder, dressed himself as a bridegroom, his men forming the marriage party, waiting eagerly to court the bride death.” As soon as they saw the Afghan king and his hordes, they swooped down upon them.

This was an unequal flight thirty pitted against thirty thousand. All thirty Sikhs were killed before Gurbakhsh Singh, though through out in the forefront, also fell. Giving an eyewitness account of the action, Qazi Nur Muhammad, the chronicler who was in the train of the invader, writes in his fangndmah: When the King and his army reached the Chakk (Amritsar), they did not see any [infidel] there. But a few men staying in a fortress were bent upon spilling their blood and they sacrificed themselves for their Guru…. They were only thirty in number. They did not have the least fear of death.

They engaged the Ghazis and spilled their blood in the process. Thus all of them were slaughtered and consigned to the seventh [hell]. This happened on 1 December 1764. Bhai Gurbakhsh Singh was cremated behind Takht Akal Buriga. Later, a lonib was built on the site which is now known as Shahid Ganj. BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Bharigu, Ratan Singh, Prachin Pantli Prukush. Am ri tsar, 1914 2. Gian Singh, Giani, Panlh Prakash [Reprint]. Patiala, 1970 3. Latif, Syad Muhammad, History of the Punjab. Delhi, 1964 4. Prinsep, Henry T., Origin of the Sikh Pmner in the Punjab.Calcutta, 1834 5. Sar, Sardar Singh, Parupkdn Hire. Annitsar, n.d. G.S.N. GURBAKHSH SINGH, BHAI, a holy man attached to the court of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, was often entrusted with diplomatic missions, especially before the rise to power of the more renowned Bhai Ram Singh.

Bhai Gurbakhsh Singh exercised great influence over the soldiery and this accounted for Iris popularity with Maharaja Sher Singh. Prince Pashaura Singh was his ardent disciple and admirer. When he suddenly appeared at Lahore in January 1845 to stake his claim to the throne after the removal of Raja Hira Singh from the scene, he stayed with him (Bhai Gurbakhsh Singh). Ram Jind Kaur used the Bhai`s good offices to prevail upon the Prince to leave Lahore when Iris presence there was proving detrimental to her son`s position on the throne.

References :

1. Sun, Sohan Lal, `Umdat-ut-Twarikh. Lahore, 1885-89
2. Smyth, G. Carmichael, A History of the Reigning Family of Lahore. Patiala, 1970