According to Sri Jassa Singh Binod Granth, a manuscript written by the Braj poet Ram Sukh Rao detailing the life and career of Sultan-ul-Qaum Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, his diet consisted of 1 ser (900 grams) of ghee (clarified butter) and 4 ser (4kg) of brown sugar for breakfast and a whole goat. He weighed 8 maunds (300kg). Although this is an apparent poetic exaggeration, it still attests to Jassa Singh Ahluwalia’s extraordinary physique.
The physical stature of Jassa Singh Ahluwalia is also alluded to by Qazi Nur Muhammad, a Baluchi Muslim who accompanied Ahmad Shah Abdali in 1764 to fight the Sikhs. Even with the thousands of soldiers in the battlefield, Jassa Singh stood out amongst all.
In his memoir, the Qazi writes:
“From the other side, the dogs (the Sikhs) were also coming forward with their well-arrayed army, with Jassa [Singh] Kalal like a mountain in the middle.”
Above all, it is the religious devotion of the Ahluwalia Sardar that gave him a lasting legacy in the memory of the Panth.
Ram Sukh Rao in “Sri Fateh Singh Pratap Prabhakar” states the extensive efforts carried out by Jassa Singh in rebuilding Darbar Sahib by first buying back the land from Desraj, who was given Amritsar by Ahmad Shah Abdali following his invasion. The Sardar then invited his fellow Misldars to build places of stay (‘bungas’) in the city and around the Harimandir. After getting both the Darbar Sahib and the Akal Takht repaired, Sardar Jassa Singh then appointed the granthis to look after the affairs of the shrine.
In summarising his immense achievements, Giani Gian Singh writes:
ਗੁਰੁਦੁਆਰਾ ਸੁਧਾਸਰ ਗੋਯੋ ਥਾ ਦੁਰਾਨੀ ਹਰ,
As the Harmandir Sahib was blown to pieces by the Durranis.
ਜੱਸਾ ਸਿੰਘ ਚੰਦਾ ਕਰਿ ਸੋਊ ਬਨਵਾਯੋ ਹੈ ।
So Jassa Singh had it rebuilt again.
ਫ਼ਾਨੀ ਕੀਨੇ ਮਾਰ ਕੈ ਦੁਰਾਨੀ ਦੇਸ਼ ਤੈ ਨਿਕਾਰੇ ,
Destroying the Afghans, he threw them out from Punjab.
ਹਿੰਦ ਨਰ ਨਾਰ ਸਰਸ ਬੀਸਕ ਛੁਡਾਯੋ ਹੈ ।
Countless captive men and women, he freed.
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