AJĪT SIṄGH, SĀHIBZĀDĀ (1687-1705), the eldest son of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh, was born to Mātā Sundarī at Pāoṇṭā on 26 January 1687. The following year, Gurū Gobind Siṅgh returned with the family to Anandpur where Ajīt Siṅgh was brought up in the approved Sikh style. He was taught the religious texts, philosophy and history, and had training in the manly arts such as riding, swordsmanship and archery. He grew up into a handsome young man, strong, intelligent and a natural leader of men. Soon after the creation of the Khālsā on 30 March 1699, he had his first test of skill. A Sikh saṅgat coming from Poṭhohār, northwest Punjab, was attacked and looted on the way by the Raṅghaṛs of Nūh, a short distance from Anandpur across the River Sutlej. Gurū Gobind Siṅgh sent Sāhibzādā Ajīt Siṅgh, barely 12 years of age then, to that village. Ajīt Siṅgh at the head of 100 Sikhs reached there on 23 May 1699, punished the Raṅghaṛs and recovered the looted property. A harder task was entrusted to him the following year when the hill chiefs supported by imperial troops attacked Anandpur. Sāhibzādā Ajīt Siṅgh was made responsible for the defence of Tārāgaṛh Fort which became the first target of attack. This, according to the Bhaṭṭ Vahīs, happened on 29 August 1700. Ajīt Siṅgh assisted by Bhāī Ude Siṅgh, a seasoned soldier, repulsed the attack. He also fought valiantly in the battles of Nirmohgaṛh in October 1700. On 15 March 1701, a saṅgat, column of Sikh devotees, coming from Daṛap area (present Siālkoṭ district) was waylaid by Gujjars and Raṅghaṛs. Sāhibzādā Ajīt Siṅgh led a successful expedition against them. As instructed by Gurū Gobind Siṅgh, he took out (7 March 1703) 100 horsemen to Bassī, near Hoshiārpur, and rescued a young Brāhmaṇ bride forcibly taken away by the local Paṭhān chieftain. In the prolonged siege of Anandpur in 1705, Sāhibzādā Ajīt Siṅgh again displayed his qualities of courage and steadfastness. When, at last, Anandpur was vacated on the night of 5-6 December 1705, he was given command of the rearguard. As the besiegers, violating their solemn promises for a safe conduct to the evacuees, attacked the column, he stoutly engaged them on a hill-feature called Shāhī Ṭibbī until relieved by Bhāī Ude Siṅgh. Ajīt Siṅgh crossed the Sarsā, then in spate, along with his father, his younger brother, Jujhār Siṅgh, and some fifty Sikhs. Further reduced in numbers by casualties at the hands of a pursuing troop from Ropar, the column reached Chamkaur in the evening of 6 December 1705, and took up position in a gaṛhī, high-walled fortified house. The host, since swelled by reinforcements from Mālerkoṭlā and Sirhind and from among the local Raṅghaṛs and Gujjars, soon caught up with them and threw a tight ring around Chamkaur. An unequal but grim battle commenced with the sunrise on 7 December 1705 - in the words of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh's Zafarnāmah, a mere forty defying a million. The besieged, after they had exhausted the meagre stock of ammunition and arrows, made sallies in batches of five each to engage the encircling host with sword and spear. Sāhibzādā Ajīt Siṅgh led one of the sallies and laid down his life fighting in the thick of the battle. Gurdwārā Qatalgaṛh now marks the spot where he fell, followed by Sāhibzādā Jujhār Siṅgh, who led the next sally. An annual fair is held in commemoration of their martyrdoms on the 8th of the Bikramī month of Poh (December-January). The martyrdom of two of the sons of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh in the battle of Chamkaur is substantiated by a contemporary record in the form of an official letter preserved in a MS. , Ahkām-i-Ālamgīrī by Emperor Auraṅgzīb's official letter writer, Mirzā 'Ināyat Ullah Khān Ismi (1653-1725). The relevant extract from the MS. , translated into English, reads :
Received the letter containing miscellaneous matters including the arrival of Gobind, the worshipper of Nānak, to a place 12 kos from Sirhind; the despatch of a force of 700 with artillery and other material; his being besieged and vanquished in thehavelī [i. e. large walled house] of a zamīndār of village Chamkaur and the killing of his two sons and other companions; and the capture of his mother and another son….
Shamsher Siṅgh Ashok