RĀM SIṄGH BEDĪ, BĀBĀ (d. 1797), a Nihaṅg warrior, was the son of Bhāī Faqīr Chand, of the village of Koṭlā Faqīr Chanṭ, in Siālkoṭ district, now in Pakistan. The family claimed direct descent from Gurū Nānak. Rām Siṅgh took khaṇḍe dī pāhul or vows by the double-edged sword, thus entering the fold of the Khālsā. Tall and hefty of build and trained in the martial art as well as in sacred learning, and always carrying on his person a quintet of weapons, he became a legendary heroin the region.

         At the end of November 1796, Shāh Zamān, grandson of Ahmad Shāh Durrānī, invaded India at the head of a host of 80,000 men—his third incursion into the country. The Sikh chiefs, following their time tested strategy of avoiding pitched battles against numerically superior forces, retired towards Amritsar allowing the Shāh to advance unopposed to Lahore, which he entered on 3 January 1797. Soon after, however, the news of the rebellion in Herāt by his brother, Prince Mahmūd, compelled him to go back, leaving a force of 12,000 under his general, Ahmad Khān Bārakzaī, better known as Shahāñchī Khān, to keep the Punjab under occupation. The Sikh sardārs resorted to their usual tactics and kept preying upon the retreating Afghān columns right into the territory across the River Jehlum. Rām Siṅgh, at the head of a small band of irregulars, took part in these operations. Shahāñchī Khān, planning to surprise the returning Sikhs, advanced from Lahore, intercepted some of the troops under the young Sukkarchakkīā chief, Raṇjīt Siṅgh, at Rāmnagar and besieged them. The Sikhs fighting back desperately forced Shahāñchī Khān to raise the siege and retire towards Gujrāt. Rām Siṅgh and his band of warriors overtook his column on the way. In the skirmish that ensued Bābā Rām Siṅgh Bedī fell fighting near the village of Paṛopī, where a memorial was later raised in his honour. Shahāñchī Khān was also killed soon after in the main battle that took place a few kilometres east of Gujrāt.


    Giān Siṅgh, Giānī, Srī Gurū Panth Prakāsh [Reprint]. Patiala, 1970

Kuldīp Siṅgh Dhīr