Baba Darbara Singh Akhara

Descending from the Khatri warrior caste, Baba Darbara's family had been intimately connected with the Guru's house for several generations. His great-grandfather Akali Nihang Baba Kalyana had fought in the 'Akal Sena' under Guru Hargobind. His father, Nanu Rai would be involved in the rescue of the head of the martyred Guru Tegh Bahadur from Delhi. Nanu Rai also having served Guru Gobind Singh (1661-1708), would be initiated into the new Sikh martial order in 1699 � the 'Singh Khalsa'. Renamed, Nanu Singh, he attained martyrdom at the battle of Chamkaur in 1705. Baba Darbara Singh's younger brother, Gharbara Singh was destined to die fighting in the battle of Agampura (near Anandpur) in 1700.

18th December 1661 would see the birth of Gobind Das in Patna, son of Guru Tegh Bahadur and his wife, Mata Gujri (d.1705). When news of the birth reached the Guru, he sent the young Darbara to Patna and instructed him to return to the Punjab in order to inform the congregation on the way of the auspicious news. Darbara had served the Guru from childhood and did not desire to leave his Guru. Although he did not mind going to Patna ahead of his Master, his desire was to return to the Guru, or wait for him in Patna. The Guru was adamant that his young disciple return to the Punjab as the congregation there also needed to know of the good news.

It was during this time that the Guru inaugurated Darbara by having a turban brought and placed it upon his head. Darbara was instructed to return to Punjab, and establish his own Shastar Vidiya Akhara with the aim of training up as many young men as possible to prepare for the war-laden years that lay ahead. Guru Tegh Bahadur turned to his entourage and predicted that his very own Sanatan Shastar Vidiya 'Shagird' (student) Darbara would someday become a great leader of the Sikh people.

Darbara established his Akhara in 1661 in Punjab, and soon gathered a number of intrepid young men around him who began training in the battle arts. In 1670, Guru Tegh Bahadur and his family returned to the Punjab where Darbara and his students moved and settled in Anandpur. In accordance with the ninth Guru's wishes, he was anointed as the second head of the foremost martial order of the Sikhs - the 'Buddha Dal', and therefore, the head of the Sikh nation.

A more extensive account of the illustrious history of Sanatan Shastar Vidiya and the Shiv Akhara will be revealed in forthcoming books.