Bhai Sahib, Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh Ji (1878 – 1961), whose original name before baptism and initiation into the Khalsa fold was Basant Singh,was born in the village of Narangwal in the Ludhiana District of Punjab on July 7, 1878, to a family of a very noble and devout heritage. His father, S. Natha Singh, was a learned scholar of Punjabi, Urdu, Persian and English, who initially worked as a District Inspector of Schools but later rose to the rank of a Judge in the High Court of the State of Nabha.
Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh ji was one among the first line freedom fighters, revolutionaries and patriots of India. He and his companions were accused of waging war against the British in Second Lahore Conspiracy Case. Some of them were sentenced to death while majority of them were jailed for life along with the confiscation of their properties. Bhai Sahib Randhir was imprisoned, his property confiscated and sent to jail under strict vigilance. While in jail he lived only on parched gram for months on end. He suffered extremely harsh punishments like standing in handcuffs bar fetters (ਬੇੜੀਆਂ) and cross bar in jail, but bore them happily according to God’s sweet will – Tera keea meetha laagay.
At the time of British Rule, Sikh prisoners were not allowed to have turbans on their heads and Kachheras (loin cloths) to wear, which was a requirement for every baptised Sikh. Bhai Sahib went on fast in protest and remained without food and even water for forty days. The cruel jail officials tried to force feed him things like meat which is against the Sikh tenants. Even when one of his tooth were broken he refused to accept food prepared by those who smoked or were clean shaven.
MEETING WITH SHAHEED BHAGAT SINGH
Shaheed Bhagat Singh met him in Central Jail Lahore and was highly impressed with Bhai Sahib, who inturn advised him to face the noose in high spirits (Chardhi Kala). Bhai Sahib passed 16 golden years of his age in different jails of India. He remained resolutely firm in his religious beliefs like puraatan (ancient) sikhs and never surrendered. The incident of the wall of Gurdwara Rakabganj is an example of his courage and sacrifice. He wrote dozens of invaluable books on Sikh religion and philosophy in about 30 years span and enriched the gurmat (guru’s teachings) literature. The reciting of Akhand Kirtan (non-stop recitation of Gurbani) was started by him. He could sit 36 hours at a stretch reciting andlistening to Kirtan
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