The story of Bhai Subeg Singh and Bhai Shahbaz Singh is a unique chapter from Sikh history. Bhai Subeg Singh was a denizen of village Jambar which was a few miles away from Lahore. Bhai Sahib was a true Gursikh who possessed a very high moral character and had high Sikh values. He was an elite scholar of Farsi.
He was a government official at the time of Khan Bahadur Zakaria Khan. He was a highly respected official as he possessed a very high moral character and was adept at his work. He was respected by the residents of Lahore and by the Governor Zakaria Khan.
Bhai Sahib made great efforts to unite the atrocious rulers of that time and the Singhs who were revolting against them. He tried hard to make their relations cordial. At many other instances also Bhai Sahib had done great favors to Zakaria Khan.
Bhai Sahib had a very obedient and very capable son, Shahbaz Singh. He was a very good looking and charming young man. He was taking the education of Farsi from a Qazi in a madrasa (school). Qazi Sahib was very impressed with the intellect and the very high moral character Shahbaz Singh possessed. Qazi wanted to convert Shahbaz Singh into a muslim and he had intentions of marrying his daughter to him. To accomplish his mission Qazi started inspiring him towards Islam by telling him the attributes of Islam but Shahbaz Singh was very proud of his Sikh faith and it’s rich heritage and history.
When Qazi was unsuccessful in his motives of converting him to a muslim even after trying for a long time he started threatening Shahbaz Singh. When Shahbaz Singh was not intimidated by his threatenings he complained to Zakaria Khan that he had used derogatory words for the muslim prophet Hazrat Mohammed Sahib and he also find faults in the religion of Islam. He instigated Zakaria Khan against Bhai Subeg Singh and Bhai Shahbaz Singh. Zakaria Khan forgot all the favors done by Bhai Subeg Singh and ordered the arrest of Bhai Subeg Singh and Bhai Shahbaz Singh.
Both were kept in different jails and were asked to abandon Sikhism and accept Islam. They were told if they do not accept Islam they will be given a very torturous death. Both father and son said we love Sikhi more than our lives. We can tolerate tortures but cannot part with our Sikh faith. The royal Qazi gave Fatwa that both father and son should be killed in front of each other and on opposite wheels. They were tied tightly on opposite wheels. The wheels were rotated. The sharp knives tied to the wheels pierced the bodies of both Singhs and tore them apart. The blood started oozing from the bodies of the Singhs. The wheels were stopped in between and they were asked again if they accept Islam and their answer was we will never abandon our Sikhi and we will never accept Islam. The wheels were rotated again. Both Singhs kept on reciting Gurbani and their consciousness was immersed in their Guru. They faced the hour of great adversity and torture with great courage. They happily accepted martyrdom for their Sikh faith with great valor. Their life is an impeccable example of their immense and profound love and respect for their Guru and their Sikh faith. Their love for Sikhi was above and beyond this world. They lived for Sikhi and died for Sikhi. Such is the life and the precious treasure trove of Gursikhs.
Author: Dr. Ramneet Kaur