DHARAM SIṄGH, BHĀĪ (1666-1708), one of the Pañj Piāre or the Five Beloved, the forerunners of Khālsā, came of farming stock. He was the son of Bhāī Sant Rām and Māī Sābho, of Hastināpur, an ancient town on the right bank of the Ganges, 35 km northeast of Meerut (29ºN, 77º-45'E). Dharam Dās, as he was originally named, was born around 1666. As a young man, he fell into the company of a Sikh who introduced him to the teachings of the Gurūs. He left home at the age of thirty in quest of further instruction. At the Sikh shrine of Nānak Piāū, dedicated to Gurū Nānak, he was advised to go to Gurū Gobind Siṅgh at Anandpur, where he arrived in 1698. A few months later came the historic Baisākhī congregation at which five Sikhs responding to five successive calls of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh offered one after the other to lay down their heads. Dharam Dās was one of those five. The Gurū blessed them and called them Pañj Piāre, the five beloved of him. They were anointed as the first five members of the brotherhood of the Khālsā inaugurated on that day. Gurū Gobind Siṅgh then begged them to administer to him the vows of initiation. Dharam Dās, who, after initiation, became Dharam Siṅgh, took part in the battles of Anandpur. He was in Gurū Gobind Siṅgh's ṭrain when Anandpur and thereafter Chamkaur were evacuated. He accompanied Bhāī Dayā Siṅgh to the South to deliver Gurū Gobind Siṅgh's letter, the Zafarnāmah, to Emperor Auraṅgzīb.
During the war of succession following the death of Auraṅgzīb on 20 February 1707, Gurū Gobind Siṅgh took the part of the rightful claimant to the imperial throne, Prince Mua'zzam, and sent for his help Bhāī Dharam Siṅgh who with his small band of Sikhs fought in the battle of Jājaū (8 June 1707). He accompanied Gurū Gobind Siṅgh to Nāndeḍ and was with him at the time of his death on 7 October 1708. Dharam Siṅgh died at Nānded. A gurdwārā there preserves the memory jointly of Bhāī Dharam Siṅgh and Bhāī Dayā Siṅgh.
Shamsher Siṅgh Ashok