Dera Baba Nanak is the traditional home of the Bedi clan some of whom were granted Jagirs by Maharaja Ranjit Singh who had profound respect for the Bedis, particularly Baba Sahib Singh Bedi who had put coronation Tilak on the forehead of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. In the Manakchand Bedi lineup, Baba Sir Khem Singh Bedi of Kallar Rawalpindi attained great fame and was knighted by the British. He is credited with founding of the Singh Sabha.
In the Meherchandia line of Bedis, Baba Mulkh Raj was a wealthy landlord who had inherited large Jagirs. He had a fort (Quila) and was maintaining a force for the ruler. It is because of this Quila, this line of Bedis are known as ‘Quilewale’ Bedis and the ancestral land on which the Quila and the residential Mahal stood is in Mulkh Raj Mohalla. Near the quila precincts was the Mahal, which the elder Bedis had talked so much about. The British had the Quila demolished and in lieu a jagir was granted. There is no trace of the Quila now. The Mahal was the residence of the family. It must have been on a large area and with time, came to be occupied by the extended families. The ruins in the area still have remnants of huge two feet side Walls. This Mahal must have been on an area of over 100 Marlas. In the village area a marla is equal to 25 sq yards. The Mohalla in which the Quila and the Mahal were situated is called Baba Mulkh Raj Mohalla and the Galli of the Mahal is the Galli Quilewale. They still carry the same names.
Baba Ram Singh Bedi, the grand father of the Trustees and members of the Foundation, was the grand son of Baba Bagh Bedi who in turn was the son of Baba Dhan Rajpat, brother of Baba Mulkh Raj. Baba Bagh Singh Bedi was adopted by Baba Mulkh Raj and thus he and later his descendants became the direct beneficiary of the legacy of Baba Mulkh Raj. The Foundation family is therefore rightfully the ‘Quilewale Bedis’.
Baba Mulkh Raj had a son, Baba Milap Singh Chand, and he in turn had a son, Baba Ajaibh Chand. The other Bedis (Sharikas) grew jealous of Baba Mulkh Raj and had his son Baba Milap Chand shot dead in Amritsar at a location near Thandi Khuee. Later they also had the grandson Baba Ajaibh Chand poisoned. Having lost his son and grandson, Baba Mulkh Raj adopted his brother Baba Dhanrajpat’s son Baba Bagh Singh. Though after his death, the estate of Baba Mulkh Raj was divided amongst his brothers, a major portion was inherited by Baba Bagh Singh, grand father of Baba Ram Singh Bedi.
There is a ‘samadh’ at the spot in Amritsar where Baba Milap Chand was shot dead. A large chunk of land surrounding the samadh also belonged to the Bedi family. This land was donated by Bedis to a ‘Mahant’ who had been asked to take care of the land and the ‘samadh’ therein. Over the years the followers of the Mahant and his descendants sold off the land and ultimately that fell into the hands of colonisers who colonised the place. The area is the New Garden Colony near the Company Bagh and quite close to Lawrence Road in Amritsar.
Several years back, Baba Jagjit Singh Bedi of Golf Links sued the present descendant of the Mahant and staked claim to the land. He lost the suit on the ground that land once gifted can not be reclaimed back. At that point in time the samadh was on a 200 sq yds plot and the rest of the land had been thoroughly colonised. Now the situation is that the descendant or the occupier has built a house on the samadh and the samadh is literally in his drawing room. The address is Suraj International Property Dealer, New Garden Colony, Amritsar. During his last visit to DBN in 2012, Baba Pritpal Singh Bedi, accompanied by Brijinder singh Bedi and Rupinder Singh Bedi visited the samadh.
In Dera Baba Nanak, on the outskirts, near the Mandi lies the Devi Mata Mandir which also houses the samadhs of ‘Dada and Pota’ ie the samadhs of Baba Mulkh Raj and his grandson Baba Ajaib Chand. The legend has it that Devi Mata, the wife of the slain Baba Ajaib Chand and daughter in law of Baba Milap Chand, distributed most of her riches and immolated herself on the pyre of her husband. Large fairs are held at this Mandir twice a year. This place having the samadhs of Quilewale Bedis has special significance for them and a large number of them have deep faith in Devi Mata.
|Baba Pritpal Singh and Tikka Brijinder Singh Bedi at Devi Mata Mandir (red door). Next white structure houses the samadhs of Baba Mulkh Raj and Baba Ajaibh Chand Bedi||A resting structure for pilgrims at Devi Mata Mandir got built by Baba Maninder Singh Bedi of Canada. This structure needs to be completed.||Baba Pritpal singh Bedi discussing upkeep of Mandir precincts with Baba Azad Singh Bedi, the caretaker of the place and the grandson of Baba Lachman Singh (Brother of Baba Ram Singh Bedi)|