VĀR HAQĪQAT RĀI, by Aggrā or Aggar Siṅgh, is a versified account of the life and martyrdom of Haqīqat Rāi. No biographical details are available about Aggrā, except that he was a contemporary of Haqīqat Rāi and that he came of a Seṭhī Khatrī family. Haqīqat Rāi was the son of Bāgh Mall and the grandson, on the mother's side, of Bhāī Kanhaiyā, a devout Sikh of the time of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh. The Vār was completed in 1841 Bk/AD 1784, and it comprises 212 stanzas. Each stanza is preceded by a dohirā or couplet and a chhand or lyric. Beginning with an invocation to Gaṇesa, a Hindu god, the goddess Durgā and the Supreme Lord, the creator of all gods and goddesses, the poet panegyrizes Gurū Nānak and other Gurūs who made mankind remember God and who saved the janeū (sacred thread), the religious symbol of the Hindus (5). According to Aggrā, Haqīqat Rāi was born on Kārtik vadī 2/ October (7), but he does not mention the year he, however puts Haqīqat Rāi's age at the time of his martyrdom in 1791 Bk/AD 1734 at 12 years which brings the year of his birth to 1779 Bk/ AD 1722.

        Haqīqat Rāi started his informal education with a Mullah at the age of seven (20), and was betrothed at eight (25) and married when ten (26). His formal schooling began at the age of 12 when he was sent to a mosque (51). It was here that some Muslim students in the mosque spoke ill of the goddess Bhavānī which provoked Haqīqat Rāi into a polemic with his fellow students. He was charged with having slandered Prophet Muhammad (58) and taken prisoner to the court of Nawāb Zakarīyā Khān at Lahore. The Nawāb felt like pardoning the innocent child (121), but the qādī threatened to take up the matter with the Delhi court. Thereupon the Nawāb tried to lure Haqīqat into Islam, failing which he was threatened with death (136). Haqīqat Rāi turned down the temptations offered by the Nawāb and the request of his mother to give up his faith to save his life. He was tortured and finally executed (196). He was cremated at Lahore on the banks of the River Rāvī.

        Aggrā's Vār is very significant from historical and sociological viewpoints. It is perhaps the only contemporary work relating to Haqīqat Rāi in any language. It describes, in fair detail, the ceremonies and rituals observed in the eighteenth century Punjab at the time of birth and marriage. The language is simple Punjabi, with no literary pretensions.



  1. Giān Siṅgh, Giānī, Srī Gurū Panth Prakāsh. [Reprint]. Patiala, 1970
  2. Padam, Piārā Siṅgh, Pañjābi Vārāṅ. Patiala, 1980
  3. Nijjar, Bakhshish Siṅgh, Vār Haqīqat Rāi. Patiala, 1975
  4. Lakshman Siṅgh, Bhagat, Sikh Martyrs. Madras, 1928

Dharam Siṅgh