SUBEG SIṄGH (d. 1745), an eighteenth century martyr of the Sikh faith, was born to Rāi Bhāgā of the village of Jambar in Lahore district. He learnt Arabic and Persian as a young man and later gained access to the Mughal officials as a government contractor. When in 1733, the Mughal authority decided at the instance of Zakarīyā Khān, the Governor of Lahore, to lift the quarantine enforced upon the Sikhs and make an offer of a grant to them, Subeg Siṅgh was entrusted with the duty of negotiating with them.

        He met the assembly of the Khālsā at Akāl Takht, Amritsar, as the Lahore government's Vakīl, a title which became a permanent adjunct of his name. For having associated himself with the government, Subeg Siṅgh had to expiate before he was allowed to join the assembly. He communicated on behalf of the Mughal governor the offer of a jāgīr and nawābship which Sikhs turned down, in the first instance. But Subeg Siṅgh pleaded hard and was eventually able to bring them round to accepting the offer.

        Towards the close of Zakarīyā Khān's regime, Subeg Siṅgh was appointed kotwal, or police inspector, of the city of Lahore. He was by faith a staunch Sikh and had deep sympathy with his brothers-in-faith. On several occasions, he had had the honour of heads of Sikhs cremated with due ceremony and had monuments setup for them. Yāhīyā Khān, who succeeded his father, Zakarīyā Khān, as the governor of Lahore, turned hostile to Subeg Siṅgh and willingly entertained complaints against him. Subeg Siṅgh was finally charged with acts prejudicial to Islam and to the State. His son Shāhbāz Siṅgh was similarly arraigned. Subeg Siṅgh was offered the choice of embracing Islam to save his life. But he refused to renounce his faith. Even when his son, Shāhbāz Siṅgh was tied to the death wheel, Subeg Siṅgh remained steadfast. Both uttered, "Akāl, Akāl" from their lips as their bodies were broken on the wheel. This was in 1745.


  1. Giān Siṅgh, Giānī, Panth Prakāsh. Delhi, 1880
  2. Bhaṅgū, Ratan Siṅgh Prāchīn Panth Prakāsh. Amritsar, 1912
  3. Harbans Singh, The Heritage of the Sikhs. Delhi, 1983
  4. Lakshman Siṅgh, Bhagat, Sikh Martyrs. Madras, 1928
  5. Gandhi, Surjit Singh Struggle of the Sikhs for Sovereignty. Delhi,1980

Bhagat Siṅgh