Bhai Taru Singh, (6 October 1720 – 1st July 1745), a Sikh martyr the son of Shaheed Bhai Jodh Singh and Bibi Dharam Kaur a Sandhu Jatt family of Poohla village, in Amritsar district of the Punjab. He had a younger sister named Bibi Tar Kaur. He was a pious Sikh who following the teachings of the Sikh Gurus, worked hard tilling his land diligently and lived frugally; although not a rich man, he was always happy and did much for his Sikh brothers and sisters.
Whatever he saved went to his Sikh brethren forced into exile by government persecution. He was spied upon by Akil Das (also known as Harbhagat Niranjania) of Jandiala, a government informer and subsequently, Taru Singh was hauled before Zakariya Khan, the governor of Punjab who was based at Lahore.
Born in Punjab during the reign of the Mughal Empire, Bhai Taru Singh was raised as a Sikh by his widowed mother, Bibi Dharam Kaur as his father, Bhai Jodh Singh had died in battle. During this time, Sikh revolutionaries were plotting the overthrow of the Khan and had taken refuge in the jungle. Bhai Taru Singh and his sister, Tar kaur (Taro) Kaur gave food and other aid to these Sikh fighters. Akil Das, having informed the authorities about both of them to Zakaria Khan, the two of them were arrested for treason. Though his sister’s freedom was bought by the villagers, Bhai Taru Singh refused to seek a pardon.
Following the report by Akil Das, Bhai Taru Singh was arrested, imprisoned and tortured. Eventually, when presented before the governor, he defiantly greeted him with the Sikh salutation: Vahiguru ji ka Khalsa, Vahiguru ji ki Fateh. When charged with sedition, he stated : “If we till your land, we pay the revenue. If we engage in commerce, we pay taxes. What is left after our payments to you is for our bellies. What we save from our mouths, we give to our brethren. We take nothing from you. Why then do you punish us?”
The governor was in a rage and pronounced the usual alternatives, Islam or death. To quote again from the Prachin Panth Prakash, Taru Singh calmly asked, “Why must I become a Mussalman (a Muslim person)? Do not the Mussalmans ever die?”
The exact method of his execution is somewhat ambiguous. However, it is believed that after a short period of imprisonment and torture, Bhai Taru Singh ji was brought before the Khan and given the choice of converting to Islam or being executed. As a symbol of his conversion, Bhai Taru Singh ji would have to cut off his Kesh and present it as an offering to the Khan. Upon his refusal, and in a public display, Bhai Taru Singh’s scalp was cut away from his skull with a sharp knife to prevent his hair from ever growing back. This torturous act is believed to be carried out on 9th June 1745.