Sahibzada Baba Ajit Singh ji – Eldest son of Guru Gobind Singh ji

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Sahibzada Ajit Singh was the eldest of the four sons of Guru Gobind Singh. Sahibzada Ajit Singh was born at Paonta Sahib on  Feb 11, 1687.  Guru Gobind Singh returned with the family to Anandpur Sahib in 1688. Sahibzada Ajit Singh was brought up at this location. He was taught the religious texts, philosophy and history. He was also given training in riding, swordsmanship and archery.  He grew up into a handsome young man. He was strong and intelligent.

Sahebzada Ajit Singh during the Battle of Nirmohgarh
Sahibzada Ajit Singh during the Battle of Nirmohgarh

Soon after the birth of the Khalsa in 1699, he had to undergo the first test of his fighting skills. A Sikh sangat was coming from Pothohar (Northwest Punjab). It was attacked and looted by the Ranghars of Nuh at a place, which was located at a short distance across the River Sutlej from Anandpur Sahib.    Guru Gobind Singh decided to send Sahibzada Ajit Singh (who was barely 12 year old at that time) to that location. Sahibzada Ajit Singh, Bhai Ude Singh and about 100 Sikhs left Anandpur Sahib on May 23, 1699. They reached the particular location, punished the Ranghars and recovered the looted articles.

The hill chiefs supported by imperial troops attacked Anandpur Sahib in August 1700.  Sahibzada Ajit Singh was made responsible to defend the Fort of Taragarh, which was located at the first line of defense of Anandpur Sahib. Sahibzada Ajit Singh was assisted by Bhai Udai Singh. The attack was repulsed successfully.

Sahibzada Ajit Singh fought valiantly during the battle of Nirmohgarh in October 1700.

Battle with Gujjars and Rangars

Sangat (column of Sikh devotees) coming from Darap area (present Sialkot district) was robbed by Gujjars and Ranghars.  Sahibzada Ajit Singh led a successful operation against those bad elements.

Guru Gobind Singh instructed Sahibzada Ajit Singh to go with 100 horsemen to Bassi, near Hoshiarpur on March 7, 1703 to rescue a young Brahmin bride, who was forcibly taken away by the local Pathan chieftain. He arrested the Pathan Chieftan, brought them to Anandpur Sahib and got him suitably punished. Brahmin bride was rescued and returned to her family with full respect.

Sahibzada Ajit Singh saying farewell to his father, Guru Gobind Singh

Baba Ajit Singh now went before Guru Sahib and said, “Pita ji (dear father), permit me to go and fight on the battleground and grace me with the opportunity to make my life fruitful and worthy in service of the panth.”
Guru Gobind Singh hugged his beloved son and gave him a Shastr (weapon). Little beard or moustache had yet not grown on Baba Ajit Singh ‘s face, showing how young he was. Every father wants to see their child get married, but this was the time of fighting the enemy and defending the path of righteousness. Death was waiting and today Baba Ajit Singh would be marrying death.

The sun was about to rise. Guru saw that Nawab Wazir Khan wanted to take hold of the fort of Chamkaur in one attempt. The Nawab surrounded the fort with his armies. At this time the Singhs did a benti (request) to Guru Sahib that since there was no means of escaping the siege, he should escape with the Sahibzade. However Guru Sahib told them that there is no difference between the Singhs and the Sahibzade. “You are all mine! We will be victorious and we will all be free.”

Baba Ajit Singh boldly and valiantly came out of fort, accompanied with 5 other Singhs. Guru watched the battle scene from the top of the fort. There was silence on all four sides. As they came into the battleground they roared Jaikarey, which sounded everywhere like the roar of a lion. Today the 5 Singhs felt proud that under the leadership of Baba Ajit Singh , they had been blessed with an opportunity to fight on the side of the truth and the correct path of Guru Nanak. Baba Ajit Singh with the five Sikhs advanced swiftly on to the battlefield displaying weaponry skills, great courage and bravery. The enemy was immediately repulsed back and many of the treacherous and deceitful soldiers in the Mughal and Hill forces were slaughtered. Such was the fury of the Sikh contingent and the dedicated, continuous and precise support from the mud-fort that this small Sikh party of 6 brave bahadurs of the Khalsa force eliminated hundreds of brave enemy soldiers.

The enemy in one section was completely paralysed and disabled by the enormous strength and sudden impact of the Khalsa unit. With protection fire from the fort, which kept the surrounding army units in check and blocked their involvement in the battle on the ground. After killing many hundreds of the enemy, the group began to take casualties. Slowly the impact of the unit began to diminished and after almost an hour, the enemy began surrounding the Sahibzada from all four sides. Baba Ajit Singh called out, “Come nearer if you have courage.” The soldiers ran away frightened. Slowly, they began coming back in a larger group as not a single one of them had the courage to individually fight Baba Ajit Singh ji.

The Singhs’ weaponry skill on the battlefield reminded the Mughal soldiers of Allah, and they feared for their lives. While fighting, Baba Ajit Singh’s kirpan (sword) broke. He then began to fight with a Neja (spear). However, while killing one Mughal chief, it became stuck in his chest. Even then, Baba Ajit Singh remained in bliss and peace. While fighting, however, one by one the 5 Singhs were overcome and lost their life and became Shaheed (martyrs) of the Guru. One Mughal chief injured Baba ‘s horse.

As a result, Baba ji fought from the ground with his talwar (sword). With each blow of the sword, he split the enemy into two. When he struck the enemy twice with his sword, they got cut up into four pieces. Now as the army surrounded the sahibzada, Guru watched with keen interest to see how bravely his son would live his last few minutes of life. When Baba attained Shaheedi, Guru Sahib roared a Jaikara of “Sat Siri Akal” full of emotions and courage – a salutation to the Almighty for the blessing of such a brave son.

Sahibzada Jujhar Singh watches his brother Ajit Singh in action with their father, Guru Gobind Singh