Bhai Taru Singh was born on October 6, 1720 at the village of Phoola in Amritsar district of Punjab. Bahia Taru’s father went to battle and lost his life while fighting. He was brought up with Sikh values by his widowed mother.
Bhai Taru Singh lived with his mother and younger sister at his native village Pahoola, Amritsar, Punjab. He was a farmer by profession.
Bhai Taru Singh took amritpan (initiation to Khalsa) from Bhai Mani Singh. Therefore, he was influenced by that great personality. He was soft spoken and was ever ready to extend all possible help if someone approached him in the time of need. One day, Rahim Bakhsh, a Muslim fisherman informed Bhai Taru Singh that the Commander of Patti had forcibly abducted his daughter. He also informed that he complained the issue to the Governor of Lahore. It was of no use, he was thrown out of the court and no one listened to the complaint of the poor fellow. Bhai Taru Singh assured him, that his complaint might have been turned down by the Governor, but, it would certainly be heard in the house of Guru Nanak. He also assured him that his daughter would reach his house within a short time.
During that time, Sikh revolutionaries were plotting the overthrow of the Zakaria Khan, Governor of Lahore, a merciless killer of the Sikhs and Hindus. Bhai Taru Singh gave food and extended all possible help to those Gursikhs (revolutionaries).
After few days, a squad of Sikhs passed that way. Bhai Taru Singh informed them about the problem of Rahim Bakhsh. That squad raided Patti, rescued the girl and handed her over to the father. The Commander of Patti was killed in that raid.
Khushala, the headman of village Pahoola, informed Zakaria Khan, the Governor, about the role of Taru Singh in this incident. The Governor sent his soldiers to arrest Bhai Taru Singh. Bhai Taru Singh told the soldiers that they had come to arrest him on the orders of their master. He informed them that he was also bound by the orders of his Master and would not let the go without taking meals. The soldiers acceded to his request and took meal, arrested him and presented him to the Governor.
Hoping that Bhai Taru Singh will help in arresting other revolutionary Sikhs, the Governor told him that his all acts of helping revolutionary Sikhs would be pardoned if he embraced Islam and gave information about the revolutionary Sikhs. Bhai Taru Singh replied that he would prefer to keep his faith and will not provide any information. The Governor got annoyed with the reply of Bhahi Taru Singh. He ordered a cobbler to scalp the hair of Bhai Taru Singh along with skull skin. During the torture, Bhai Sahab was heard reciting Japji Sahib (One of the Sikhs routine prayers). After the scalping, Bhai Taru Singh was thrown in a ditch. Before leaving, Bhai Taru Singh told that the Governor would pay for the inhuman act by the beating of his shoes. This incident took place on June 9, 1745. Immediately after Bhai Sahib was scalped, Zakaria Khan felt unbearable pain and the inability to pass urine. When the efforts of the physicians failed, he consulted his advisers about the sudden illness. He was told that the illness was due to his ill treatment of Bhai Taru Singh. Due to the unbearable pain and as a last resort, he sent Bhai Subeg Singh to Bhai Taru Singh to seek pardon on his behalf. Bhai Subeg Singh returned and informed that the Governor would pass urine if he was hit on the head with the shoe of Bhai Taru Singh. The agony of the Governor was so grave that he took the shoe of Bhai Taru Singh and struck it on his head. Governor was surprised that he was able to pass urine without a problem. This process continued for 22 days and the Governor died. After hearing the news about the death of the Governor, Bhai Taru Singh left for the heavenly abode. He was barely 25 years of age at that time.
Today, Bhai Taru Singh is viewed as a martyr and a symbol of the importance of Kesh (hair). A Gurdwara Shaheed Ganj was erected in memory of Bhai Taru Singh in the Naulakha Bazaar of Lahore (now in Pakistan). It marks the place where his scalp along with hair was removed. This place has become a pilgrimage for the Sikhs.
Gurdwara Mehdiana Sahib, Ludhiana, Punjab displays the suffering of the great Sikh martyrs through sculptures. A life size sculpture shows the glorious deed of Bhai Taru Singh.