In the Qilewale Bedi families, Devi Mata Mandir in DBN is spoken of very often. Not many in the present generation of Bedis know the genesis or the holiness of this small temple that lies in the area close to the present anaaj Mandi, behind the old chungi, at the intersection of the Gurdaspur and Batala roads. In the yester years there were orchards in this area and they all belonged to the Qilewale Bedis. Over the years the land has been acquired by the Government and some sold to private owners. The Mandir is on a 800 sq yds plot with a perimeter wall 94′ in length and 76’5″ in width. The Mandir precincts must be protected before this area is also usurped. At present the caretaker of the Mandir is an old man Baba Azad Singh Bedi, a Qilewale Bedi being the grandson of Baba Lachman Singh Bedi, who was the brother of Baba Ram Singh Bedi.
The Mandir has a tharra 40’10” length and 23’5″ width, on which are located two small temples. The right one, as we face, is the Devi Mata Mandir and the left one houses the Samaads of ‘Dada and Pota’ ie of Baba Mulkh Raj and his grandson Baba Ajaib Chand. Initially it was only a samaad of Baba Ajaib Chand. The samaad of Baba Mulkh Raj was added later.
Baba Mulkh Raj (10th Peerhi of the Great Guru), was a wealthy landlord of whom the Shareekas grew jealous and due this family rivalry, Baba Milap Chand, the only son of Baba Mulkh Raj, was murdered in Amritsar in the area of Thandi Khuee in the present day Company Baagh. The Shareekas also killed, by poisoning, Baba Ajaib Chand, the only son of Baba Milap Chand and terminated the lineage of Baba Mulkh Raj. It is believed that the Shareekas who perpetrated these heinous acts got cursed by Devi Mata and even their lineage got terminated as the living heirs in that family died due to drowning.
Who were these Shareekas and who was Devi Mata is an interesting subject to research. In the record of Meherchandia Bedis available with the Sansi Family of Mohalla Ghamiari DBN, one can trace the Qilewale Bedis of 10th, 11th and 12th Peerhi of the Great Guru Nanak. The 10th Peerhi were the four brothers Baba Mool Singh, Baba Mulkh Raj, Baba Dhanrajpat, and Baba Sukh Singh all sons of Baba Deewan Chand of the 9th Peerhi. The 11th Peerhi record indicates Baba Bhagwant Singh as son of Baba Mool Singh, Baba Milap Chand as son of Baba Mulkh Raj, Baba Bagh Singh and Baba Sangat Baksh as sons of Baba Dhanrajpat and no indication of lineage of Baba Sukh Singh. In the 12th Peerhi record, there is mention of Baba Hira Singh, Baba Wazir Singh and Baba Juhangirchand as sons of Baba Bhugwant Singh, Baba Ajaib Chand as son of Baba Milap Chand, Baba Gobind Baksh and Baba Nanak Baksh as sons of Baba Bagh Singh. Again there is no mention of lineage of Baba Sukh Singh. So as per this record, the lineage of Baba Mulkh Raj ended with the murder of his son and grandson, And the lineage of Baba Sukh Singh also ended. The lineage of other two brothers ie Baba Mool Singh and Baba Dhanrajpat continued. It can therefore be deduced that Baba Sukh Singh and family had committed the heinous acts of murdering Baba Milap Chand and Baba Ajaib Chand and due curse by Devi Mata their lineage terminated.
Now who was Devi Mata? Was she the widow of Baba Milap Chand as some feel or was she the widow of Baba Ajaib Chand and daughter in law of Baba Milap Chand. In the record of Saansi Mohan Lal there appears the name of Mata Khem Kaur near the entry of Baba Mulkh Raj. When questioned, he said that this entry was got written by some Qilewale Bedi of present generation. This entry should not be construed as Mata Khem Kaur being the Devi Mata. There are reasons to support this argument. There is a document of Jageer Sunnad signed on 01Jan 1854 by the then British Government in which the two widows of Baba Milap Chand, grandson of Baba Deewan Chand, are also the beneficiaries. These widows are named as Masoomat Khem Kaur age 35 and Masoomat Sobhadevi age 30. The other beneficiaries of this Jageer are Baba Dhanrajpat (age 78 years, son of Baba Deewan Chand), and three sons of Baba Bhagwant Singh (grandson of Baba Deewan Chand) ie Baba Hira Singh age 38 years, Baba Wazir Singh age 33 years and Baba Juhangirchand age 27 years. From this Jageer document it can be inferred that the Jageer was conferred upon the survivor heirs of Baba Deewan Chand (9th Peerhi) family. His older son Baba Mool Singh and his son Baba Bhagwant Singh were probably no more and therefore the sons of Baba Bhagwant Singh all of ages 27 to 38 years were included in the Jageer Sunnad. The second son of Baba Deewan Chand ie Baba Mulkh Raj had probably also died, his son Baba Milap Chand and his grandson Baba Ajaib Chand had been mudered and probably there were also no spouses left except widows of Baba Milap Chand and so only they were included in the Jageer. The third son of Baba Deewan Chand ie Baba Dhanrajpat was alive and then 78 years old. Accordingly he was included in the Jageer and there is also mention of his son Baba Bagh Singh in the Jageer. Lastly the fourth son of Baba Deewan Chand ie Baba Sukh Singh finds no mention in the Jageer. He was probably no more and his lineage would probably have finished due to the curse of Devi Mata.
It is well known within the Qilewale Bedis that upon hearing of the murders in the family, the Devi Mata had cursed the perpetrators that they would also meet their end and that she walked from the Mahal in Qilewale Galli to the area of the Mandir where the pyre of her slain husband was prepared and that while she walked she kept distributing her jewellery as it was for money that her husband had been slain by his own close ones. When questioned by immediate family members of her reckless distribution, she is said to have told them that she has left sufficient for generations to live on. Having reached the funeral ground, she left this unholy world with her husband, on his pyre. It is on that spot, the Devi Mata Mandir exists today. Devi Mata is said to have had immense spiritual powers. Over the years some of the QilewaleBedi family ladies have experienced the presence of Devi Mata in their dreams and have had spiritual experiences.
The Jageer document proves that Mata Khem Kaur and Mata Sobhadevi, the widows of Baba Milap Chand were alive to receive the Jageer. Either of them could not have been the Devi Mata who left the world on her husband’s pyre. The Jageer document puts the age of Mata Khem Kaur as 35 and of Masoomat Sobhadevi as 30. In all probability, Baba Ajaib Chand may have been the son of Baba Milap Chand and Mata Khem Kaur. Due young age marriages, he may have been around 20 years old and with a young bride, who gave up her life on her slain husbands pyre. She is the revered Devi Mata. So in all probability, the widow of Baba Ajaib Chand was the Devi Mata. The Mandir has the samaad of her husband and of the grand father (Baba Mulkh Raj) of her husband. The samaad of her husband’s father ie her father in law, Baba Milap Chand is in Amritsar in the present day New Garden Colony. Refer details in the relevant section on Baba Mulkh Raj Mohalla in “About Us” in Bedi Foundation site.
The Devi Mata Mandir is being improved and presently the Sewa is being done by Tikka Baba Brijinder Singh Bedi and his aunt Mrs Parshottam Kaur Bedi. Earlier some Qilewale Bedis had got a shelter constructed for pilgrims. This three side covered shelter is on the right side within the plot and measures 48’6″ X 18’6″. There is also a room next to the shelter and that measures 14’6″ X 18’6″. The present improvement work shall cover the plastering of the shelter, the room, and the perimeter wall from both sides as also the flooring work all over in the Mandir premises. This Mandir of Qilewale Bedis must be taken care of , visited by the Bedis, and protected from the usurpers. The sanctity of the place has also to be maintained. The Mandir also houses the samaads of some later Qilewale Bedis, one amongst them being Risaldar Dalip Singh of XIth Lancers.