BHĀGO, MĀĪ, the sole survivor of the battle of Khidrāṇā, i. e. Muktsar (29 December 1705), was a descendant of Pero Shāh, the younger brother of Bhāī Laṅgāh, a Ḍhillon Jaṭṭ who had converted a Sikh during the time of Gurū Arjan. Born at her ancestral village of Jhabāl in present-day Amritsar district of the Punjab, she was married to Nidhān Siṅgh Vāṛāich of Paṭṭī. A staunch Sikh by birth and upbringing, she was distressed to hear in 1705 that some of the Sikhs of her neighbourhood who had gone to Anandpur to fight for Gurū Gobind Siṅgh had deserted him under adverse conditions. She rallied the deserters persuading them to meet the Gurū and apologize to him. She set off along with them and some other Sikhs to seek out the Gurū, then travelling across the Mālvā region. Maī Bhāgo and the men she was leading stopped near the ḍhāb or pool of Khidrāṇā where an imperial army in pursuit of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh had almost overtaken him. They challenged the pursuing host and fought furiously forcing it to retreat. Gurū Gobind Siṅgh, who had supported them with a shower of arrows from a nearby high ground, found all the men except one, Mahāṅ Siṅgh, killed when he visited the battlefield. Mahāṅ Siṅgh, who had been seriously wounded, also died as the Gurū took him into his lap. Gurū Gobind Siṅgh blessed those forty dead as the Forty Liberated Ones. He took into his care Māī Bhāgo who had also suffered injury in the battle. She thereafter stayed on with Gurū Gobind Siṅgh as one of his bodyguard, in male attire. After the death of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh at Nāndeḍ in 1708, she retired further south. She settled down at Jinvāṛā, 11 km from Bidar in Karnāṭaka where, immersed in meditation, she lived to attain a ripe old age. Her hut in Jinvāṛā has now been converted into Gurdwārā Tap Asthān Māī Bhāgo. At Nāndeḍ, too, a hall within the compound of Takht Sachkhaṇḍ Srī Hazūr Sāhib marking the site of her residence is known as Buṅgā Māī Bhāgo.
Piārā Siṅgh Padam