Guru Arjan (15 April 1563 – 30 May 1606)was the first martyr of the Sikh faith and the fifth of the ten Sikh Gurus, who compiled writings to create the eleventh, the living Guru, Guru Granth Sahib. He was born in Goindval, Punjab the youngest son of Guru Ram Das and Mata Bhani, the daughter of Guru Amar Das.
Guru Arjan lived as the Guru of Sikhism for a quarter of a century. He completed the construction of Amritsar and founded other cities, such as Taran Taran and Kartarpur. The greatest contribution Guru Arjan made to the Sikh faith was to compile all of the past Gurus’ writings, along with selected writings of other saints from different backgrounds which he considered consistent with the teachings of Sikhism into one book, now the holy scripture: the Guru Granth Sahib. It is, perhaps, the only script which still exists in the form first published (a hand-written manuscript) by the Guru.
Guru Arjan introduced the Masands, a group of representatives who taught and spread the teachings of the Gurus and received the Dasvand, a voluntary offering of a Sikh’s income in money, goods or service. Sikhs paid the Dasvand to support the building of gurdwaras and langars (shared communal kitchens). Although the introduction of the langar was started by Guru Nanak, Guru Arjan is credited for laying the foundation of the systematic institution of langars as a religious duty, one that has continued ever since.
Guru Arjan was arrested under the orders of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir and asked to convert to Islam.He refused, was tortured and executed in 1606 CE.Historical records and the Sikh tradition are unclear whether Guru Arjan was executed by drowning or died during torture.His martyrdom is considered a watershed event in the history of Sikhism.