JĪVAN SIṄGH, BHĀĪ (1649-1705), Bhāī Jaitā before he had received the rites of initiation at the hands of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh in 1699, was a Sikh belonging to the scavenger caste who was given by Gurū Gobind Siṅgh the epithet of 'Raṅghareṭā Gurū Kā Beṭā' (the young man of the Raṅghaṛ caste is the Gurū's own son) when he brought the severed head of Gurū Tegh Bahādur from Delhi where he was executed under the orders of the emperor. Bhāī Jaitā was born on 30 November 1649 to mother Karmo and father Sadā Chand. At the time of his birth, he was named Jāg Chand, shortened to Jāgū or Jotā. He and his younger brother Bhāg Chand, also called Bhāgū, were the disciples of Gurū Har Rāi, Nānak VII. From Kīratpur, in the Śivālik hills, where the Gurū then resided, they shifted, along with their parents, to the village of Jhaṇḍā Rāmdās where they stayed with Bhāī Gurdittā (1625-1675), the great-great-grandson of Bhāī Buḍḍhā. As Bhāī Gurdittā was detained in Delhi following the arrest of Gurū Tegh Bahādur, Jaitā was sent by the family to bring news of him. He was in Delhi when Gurū Tegh Bahādur was beheaded in a public thoroughfare (11 November 1675), and as no one came forward to claim the bodily remains for fear of reprisals, he succeeded in evading the guards and escaping with the severed head to Anandpur where he was received with much honour by Gurū Gobind Siṅgh. He thereafter lived at Anandpur, becoming the first nagārchī or beater of drum when the Gurū set up the Raṇjīt Nagārā.

         In 1691, he was married to Rāj Kaur daughter of Sujān Siṅgh of the village of Riāṛ, near Amritsar, and had four sons born of him. He received the rites of initiation when Gurū Gobind Siṅgh inaugurated the Khālsā on 30 March 1699. Jaitā was now renamed Jīvan Siṅgh. He became famous as a marksman and trained the two elder sons of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh in the art of warfare. He himself took part in all of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh's battles against the hill chiefs and the Mughals.

         Bhāī Jīvan Siṅgh fell a martyr in the battle of Chamkaur on 7 December 1705. A burj or a tower stands on the site as a monument to his memory.


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  3. Santokh Siṅgh, Bhāī, Srī Gur Pratāp Sūraj Granth. Amritsar, 1927-33
  4. Gurmukh Siṅgh, Bhāī Jaitā: Jīvan te Rachnā. Ludhiana, 1994
  5. A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab. Patiala, 1970
  6. Harbans Singh, Guru Tegh Bahadur. Delhi, 1982

A. C. Banerjee