Chaudhary Langah or Bhai Langah, a well known figure in early Sikh history, from a Dhillon Jat family, the family was originally of the Hindu faith, But Chaudhary Langah’s father, became a follower of Sakhi Sarwar, a Mystic Pir. His father took the name Abu-al-Khair and later converted to Islam, Chaudhary Langah Belonging to the village of Jhabal Kalan, in the present Amritsar district of the Punjab, he was one of the three chaudharis or revenue officials of the parganah of Patti who, between them, were responsible for collecting, on behalf of the Governor of Lahore, a revenue of Rs 900,000 from villages under their jurisdiction.
Chaudhary Langah alone had 84 villages under him. It is said that once Langah was afflicted with a serious illness. Neither medicine nor prayer to the patron saint of his seel, Sakhi Sarwar, proved of any avail. He met a Sikh who counselled him to pray to God Almighty and to Guru Nanak. Langah soon recovered and chose to become a Sikh, he along with his younger brother Pero Shah became Sikhs, during the 1580s, the time When Guru Arjan Dev Ji (1563-1606), had just become the Guru, House of Guru Nanak had saved them. He lovingly contributed the labour of his hands as well as money for the excavation of the Amritsar (sacred pool, lit. pool of nectar) and the construction of the Harimandar Sahib at Amritsar.
His devotion and earnestness was applauded by Guru Arjan, who appointed him as a masand (officiant) in his own area. He was one of the Sikhs who was privileged to be included in the marriage party of Guru Hargobind in 1604. Langah, as well, was one of the five Sikhs chosen to accompany Guru Arjan on his last earthly journey — his journey to martyrdom at Lahore. He witnessed the torturous scenes leading to the Guru’s martyrdom and helped to cremate his earthly remains.
He continued to enjoy the confidence of the next Guru, Guru Hargobind. Known for his fighting skills as well as for his religious faith and piety, Bhai Langah was appointed one of the commanders of Guru Hargobind’s newly trained force. Later, when the Guru visited Lahore and had a small shrine constructed on the spot where Guru Arjan’s body had been cremated, Chaudhary Langah was appointed to look after it. He served in this capacity for many year.
Bhai Langah died at Dhilvan at a ripe age, on the bank of the River Beas, in Kapurthala District of Punjab.
Among Chaudhary Langah’s descendants was the Sikh general, Baghel Singh Dhaliwal of Karorsingha misl, who triumphantly entered Delhi in 1770 and had several Sikh shrines erected to mark the historical sites in the capital. Mata Bhaag Kaur (aka Mai Bhago) who, dressed as a male, fought with the Majha contingent in the battle of Khidrana (presentday Muktsar) and was largely responsible for inspiring the Chali Mukte to return to the Sikh fold, was the grandaughter of Chaudhary Langah’s younger brother, Piro Shah.
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