RĀM KUṄVAR, BHĀĪ (1672-1761), also referred to as Rām Kaur in some Sikh chronicles, was a prominent Sikh of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh's time. He was a direct descendant of Bābā Buḍḍhā, blessed by Gurū Nānak himself. He was only three years old when his father, Bhāī Gurdittā, died in Delhi in 1675, following the martyrdom of Gurū Tegh Bahādur. In conformity with the long-established custom, he as the scion of Bābā Buḍḍhā's celebrated house, put the saffron mark on the forehead of the nine-year old Gobind Rāi anointing him Gurū. He was married to Rāj Devī of the village of Bhaknā in Amritsar district. He was at Pāoṇṭā at the time of the birth of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh's eldest son Ajīt Siṅgh, who was given the name by him. He also fought in the battle of Nadauṅ in 1691.
Rām Kuṅvar grew up to be a learned man, a musician of merit and an accomplished expounder of the sacred texts. Spending most of his time in the company of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh, he through his intelligent questions imbibed a vast knowledge of the history of the preceding Gurūs and of the tenets of the Sikh faith. When the Khālsā was manifested by Gurū Gobind Siṅgh on the Baisākhī day of 1699, Rām Kunvar received the rites of initiation and was renamed Gurbakhsh Siṅgh.
Bhāī Gurbakhsh Siṅgh, formerly Rām Kuṅvar, survived Gurū Gobind Siṅgh for over half a century. During this period he, first at his ancestral village, Jhaṇḍā Ramdās, and later at Naiṇe dā Koṭ, preached the Sikh faith and made many converts. It is said that when Nādir Shāh plundered the village of Ramdās, he was arrested along with his 500 companions, but was released as his captors recognized his miraculous powers. He narrated anecdotes from the lives of the Gurūs to one Sāhib Siṅgh, who later compiled them into a book Ratan Māl commonly known as Sau Sākhī. Bhāī Santokh Siṅgh utilized these anecdotes in his monumental Srī Gur Pratāp Sūraj Granth.
Bhāī Gurbakhsh Siṅgh died at Naiṇe dā Koṭ (now in Pakistan) on 21 Sāvan 1818 Bk/ 2 August 1761.
Major Gurmukh Siṅgh (Retd.)