Shaheed Bhai Pyara Singh
Shaheed Bhai Pyara Singh Ji was born on 2nd February 1954 to Mata Bhago and Sardar Kishan Singh in the village of Bhungruni in Hoshiarpur. He had two sisters and two brothers, one sister is married and the other trained to be a nurse in Africa, and one brother joined the army a month before Bhai Pyara Singh’s Shaheedi.
After passing the 11th class, he joined the airforce on 10th July 1971, passing the course with a lot of hard work and motivation. He was a very sociable and sweet talking person, and so was very much liked by his officers.
Bhai Pyara Singh was transferred to Shabooa in Assam and here he met a Gurmukh, Prithipal Singh Ji, which changed his life. He learnt about Gurmat and started to read Bhai Sahib Bhai Randhir Singh’s books on Gurmat. He then took Amrit from the Panj Pyare at an Akhand Kirtani Jatha Smagam. He would wake up at two am at Amrit Vela, have his Ishnaan and then do two hours of continuous Nam-Abyass.Then he would do Nitnem and visit the Gurdwara Sahib.
In Shabooa, he was given the Sewa of looking after Gurdwara Sahib by the unit and here he used to recite Sukhmani Sahib and Asa Di Vaar. In a short period of time he memorised a lot of Gurbani and could always be found reciting Naam-Bani. He would tell others not to talk too much and instead recite Naam-Bani. He also enjoyed doing Kirtan and he memorised so much Bani that he would do Kirtan all night by memory without becoming tired.
Bhai Pyara Singh was then transferred from Shabooa to Hyderabad and went from there to Madras for training. A colleague of his at the Hyderabad unit wrote the following about him: “I met him for the first time when he came from training in Madras. In my fifteen to sixteen years in the airforce this is the first person I have seen here wearing a Kurtha Pjama and a Kirpan on top. On the 14th April, we read in the papers that there had been a massacre in Amritsar on Vaisakhi, and we were wondering if Bhai Pyara Singh Ji was amongst the killed or injured because he used to often go to these Smagams. This turned out to be true. On the 18th April, we received a telegram from his father informing us that Pyara Singh had passed away on the 13th April. There was nothing else in the telegram. We understood this to mean that he had become Shaheed at Amritsar and an Akhand Path was started for him. At the Bhog, Sangat from far away came. He was a Gursikh possessing many qualities and shared these with others. He encouraged many people to read Gurbani and taught Kirtan.
He had a very gentle manner and would very humbly refer to elders and Bibian as Bhen Ji, Baba Ji or Bhai Sahib and would also refer to young children as Bhen Ji or Bhai Sahib. He also taught many children Punjabi, and all the children are asking ‘when will our Pyara uncle be coming back’. They would call him Pyara Uncle Singh instead of uncle Pyara Singh. With the efforts of Bhai Pyara Singh many Rainsbhai Kirtans took place in Hyderabad. Bhai Pyara Singh would go to units twenty-five to thirty miles away to listen to Kirtan Rainsbhais and would sit cross-legged for the whole night without getting up.
He was also an accomplished Kirtani but he enjoyed listening to Kirtan more than performing it himself. He had a very loud and sweet voice and would always do Kirtan with his eyes closed in a very emotional manner. When going to or returning from the Gurdwara he would never allow anyone to speak a word. He would either recite a Shabad or read some Bani and would advise his fellow Gursikhs to do the same.
If there were an Akhand Paath starting anywhere he would go there and continuously listen to and read the Bani for three days. In his unit he got everybody to start reading Gurbani and would do lectures on the sin of meat and alcohol, which resulted in many people stopping both.”
About his Bebek Rehat, his colleague from the Hyderabad unit writes, “at first he used to eat or drink from other Sikh’s houses. Then he became stricter in his Rehat and would only eat from food made by Amritdharis, and later he became a Sarblohi (eating food in iron utensils). In the Army mess we were able to get free food, but he would spend his own money to buy food and make his own. Because his Bebek Rehat was very difficult, he was happy to get married. Whenever his mother and father would find a suitable match for him he would not be happy with their choice. He would reply that the girl should be Chardi-Kala, who could follow the same path as him. His family members were putting quite a bit of pressure on him. One day, he did Ardas and put two pieces of paper in front of Guru Sahib Ji for him to get married or to stay single. Guru Ji’s Hukkam was ‘no’. He was a bit sad, but he agreed with the Hukam and told his parents in writing that he would remain unmarried for the rest of his life and would do Sewa of the Panth.”
Later one or two Gursikhs tried to persuade him that he should lead a married life and that this was the Sikh way of life. He agreed to do as they told him but reminded them that Guru Ji’s Hukkum was ‘no’. Whenever he did Ardas he would always ask for his life to serve the purpose he was sent here for. He wanted Shaheedi from his heart.
Colleagues from Bhai Pyara Singh’s unit tell us that he would never tell anybody about his inner mystical experiences. During his holidays, he would not go to meet his mother and father but to the Akhand Kirtani Jatha’s Smagams. He would never let anybody know about contributions he made from his Daswand or if he bought any goods for the Gurdwara Sahib. He was always happy doing Sewa of others and because of Naam he was always filled with humbleness. We felt honoured that we were able to do his Darshan, to hear him read Bani and to listen to his Kirtan and gained many qualities from him.
Bhai Pyara Singh was a very dear Gursikh of the Akhand Kirtani Jatha who used to stay hidden in the Sangat. He used to come to the Jatha Smagams with great enthusiasm and remain engrossed in Naam Simran. Nobody who saw him for the first time could say that this beloved of the Guru had so many hidden qualities. He spoke very little at the Kirtan Smagams.
Bhai Pyara Singh had taken two months leave before the Vaisakhi Smagam, but did not go to his village and instead spent a month travelling around various villages with the Kirtani Jatha and from there went to the Vaisakhi Smagam in Amritsar.
He used his Daswand for Gurmat Parchar by subscribing many Gursikhs in his Hyderabad unit and in his village Bhungruni to the monthly religious ‘Sura’ magazine and sent Gurmat books written by Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh to many Sikhs. Only a few people knew that he was an accomplished Kirtani, he remained hidden in the Kirtan Smagams.
The loss of this loved one had such an effect on his parents that they promised to take Amrit like their son during a Panthic gathering in memory of the Shaheeds at the Akal Takht on 23rd April 1978. The Sangat from the village of Bhungruni and the nearby villages also held a large Shaheedi Smagam in memory of the Shaheedi of Bhai Pyara Singh Ji. The historical Gurdwara of Guru Har Rai is built in this area where the Sangat get together. The Shaheedi of Bhai Pyara Singh has brought a new awakening for Gursikhi in the area and filled people with fighting spirit.