This misal derives its name from their commitment to Sikhism for which eight of them made supreme sacrifice and kissed martyrdom i.e. Shahadat.
Lepel H. Griffin writes:The Shahid Misl was one of the smaller Sikh confederacies, and obtained its name (Shahid, martyr) and origin in the following manner:— Guru Govind Singh, flying from his enemies in the time of the Emperor Aurangzeb, took refuge in the little village of Talwandi, in the jungle to the south of Bhattinda. Here he remained 10 days; and, after the Guru’s death, a temple was raised in Talwandi to his memory, and the name changed to Damdama which signifies 'a breathing place'. The first Mahant or priest put in charge of the shrine was Dip Singh, who was (p.46) killed in action with the Governor of Lahore, and became a shahid or martyr. Sadda Singh his chela, or disciple, succeeded him at the shrine. He, however, like his predecessor, was founder of fighting than praying, and attacked the Muhammadan Governor of Jalandhar, and at Adhkola was killed in a skirmish, his head being severed from his body. He is said to have neither fallen from his horse nor to have given up fighting, and he galloped a long distance and cut down many of the enemy before he died. Hence the family, or rather the followers of the Mahant of Damdama took the name of “the martyrs”.
Karm Singh, mentioned in the text, succeeded Sudda Singh, and took possession of the country about Rannia and Damdama, Khari, Jaroli and Faizallapur. He was the real founder of the famly, for he was the first to marry, and left, on his death in 1784, two sons, Gulab Singh and Mehtab Singh, the former of whom succeeded him, and was one of the first Chiefs to offer assistance to the British, as a Sanad of Sir D. Ochterlony dated 4th January 1804, proves. Sirdar Gulab Singh died in 1844, and Shiv Kirpal Singh, then only six years old, succeeded. He has estates worth Ks. 80,000 a year, and is still the guardian of the Damdama shrine, which brings in about Rs. 1,000 a year in offerings. Dharm Singh, the brother of Karam Singh, had a share in the original territory, but he died without issue and his widow was married by his brother.
Eight chiefs of this misal were killed one after an-other while serving the Panth. They helped Guru Gobind Singh and Banda Bahadur whole heartedly against Nawab Jehan Khan. Deep Singh1 Sindhu, Gurubax Singh, Suddha Singh, Buddha Singh, Sher Singh, Durga Singh, Basant Singh and Hira Singh were the chief who laid their lives for the Panth.