Shaheed Bhai Ajmer Singh Lodhiwal
Shaheed Bhai Ajmer Singh Lodhiwal
Khalistan Liberation Force
During the mid 80s, the movement for a free state for the Khalsa was in its early stages. Scores of Singhs were shot and killed with each passing day. Thousands of bright young men and women came forward to take up arms and fight the Brahmanical oppressors, who were bent on decimating Sikhi forever. The events of 1978 and 1984 had a deep impact on the psyche of every Sikh, this ignited a passion for Sikhi and transformed them into saint-warriors. One such youth was Bhai Ajmer Singh Lodhiwal.
Below is an interview with a Singh who was involved in the movement about the character of his beloved friend and brother Bhai Ajmer Singh Lodhiwal.
Interview with Bhai Gurcharan Singh
“My mother was a deeply religious person, but my father used to be involved in the Naxalite movement. From one aspect the Naxalites were justified, as they were fighting for the downtrodden. But, as they were atheists, I always thought the ideology was incomplete. Without God how could they have achieved any real change? My father used to talk with me and my friends about many things like this.
Bhai Ajmer Singh Ji’s safe house
“As for me, I became involved in the Khalistan movement through my close friend Ajmer Singh Lodhiwal. Another friend of his got martyred in the struggle, and Lodhiwal had to go into hiding. For this, he came to me, and my house was a safe hiding place for him. He used to come to my dormitory room at college, too. Lodhiwal was a deeply devout Sikh, and he had a profound intellect. In conversing with him I learned so much, and I felt the pull of the mission for which he was working.
The Saint soldier
“The biggest attraction for me was that, although Lodhiwal was living through the rigors of a very strenuous underground life, he was a baptized Sikh, and his commitment to Guru was total. His tremendous energy went to Guru and to the movement, both.
“Ajmer Singh Lodhiwal was also a very moral person. One of the things characteristic of him was that he always gave a warning, he openly challenged somebody before punishing him for his misdeeds. One important case involved the station house officer of Bagabarana, who was a Hindu. This SHO had insulted Lodhiwal’s father, he had pulled his beard and humiliated him. So Ajmer challenged him. ‘I’ll kill you,’ he said. That SHO accepted his challenge and retorted, ‘You are my prey; wherever you are I will hunt you down and get you.’ But Ajmer Singh Lodhiwal killed him right in front of the police station, in full view of everybody.
“My friend was very brave. He always gave people a chance to change, if they were behaving in an inappropriate way. He gave them two warnings, three warnings. But when they refused to change, he had the courage to finish them off.
The Morals of Bhai Ajmer Singh
“I will tell you one other story about the high values of Ajmer Singh Lodhiwal. One of his friends had a love affair with a girl from the Untouchable class. It was not genuine love actually, I mean the girl was in love with him but he was just playing around. But Lodhiwal told him, ‘You have no right to fool around with the sentiments of that girl. Either you marry her, or I’ll kill you.’ The friend said, ‘How can I marry her, she is of the lowest class!’ And Lodhiwal said, ‘When you started fooling around with her, was she of the high class then?’ Anyway, the friend did marry that Untouchable girl and Lodhiwal paid all the marriage expenses, the dowry that should have come from her side and all. They are still living happily. Lodhiwal eventually became the lieutenant-general of the Khalistan Liberation Force, under Bhai Avtar Singh Brahma. “Bhai Gurjant Singh Budhsinghwala was a lieutenant-general with him. It was the policy that before anybody went for any action the high command would discuss it among themselves, whether a thing was morally right or not. The only criterion they used was Sikh values. Never was anything that went against Sikh values decided.
For the Good of the Kaum
“Let us do something for the good of the Kaum, the time we are given is very valuable and who knows when we might die.” These are the immortal words that Bhai Ajmer Singh Lodhiwal used to say to his brothers and sisters in arms when they were sat around for a few days doing nothing.
Bhai Kulwant Singh
In the middle of the afternoon Bhai Daljeet Singh and a few other Singhs reached the house of Bhai Ajmer Singh. When they looked at the house they saw Bhai Sahib’s father, Bhai Kulwant Singh Ji, who was sick, lying on a bed. When Bhai Kulwant Singh saw the Singhs walking towards his house he immediately got up and met them with great love.
Bhai Kulwant Singh was very weak due to several illnesses; even now he suffers from a very severe heart condition. But even with all these difficulties and problems he remains in chardikala and not for a second does he regret what his beloved son did. When he spoke to the Singhs about other things his voice was quiet, but as soon as he mentioned some things about his son, Bhai Ajmer Singh, his voice began to get louder and louder. The Singhs who were sat next to Bhai Kulwant Singh began to cry tears of happiness as he narrated Bhai Ajmer Singh’s jeevani.
Whilst narrating Bhai Sahib’s jeevani, Bhai Kulwant Singh also began to praise some Police officers. He said that some Police officers would come to their home and say, “Baba Ji send your family somewhere else.”Don’t leave your second son over here, don’t leave him at home. If you do the security forces will come and arrest him and then kill him in a fake encounter in place of Ajmer.’
Mata Kuldeep Kaur
After Bhai Ajmer Singh Ji left home and began to live his life not for himself or for his family, but for the sake of the Sikh Kaum, his mother and the rest of his brothers and sisters left their home and went to stay in Gwalior.
Even though this was where she was born and where she grew up Mata Kuldeep Kaur missed her home. As a result of this she used to come back very often to visit. They used to have many animals but when they found out they had to leave they distributed all of their cows etc amongst their relatives. Even the fields where they used to grow their crops began dry as no one took care of them. When Mata Ji would return home she used to think a lot about Bhai Ajmer Singh.
After the Shaheedi of Bhai Jarnail Singh Halwara the police then began to focus their attention on Bhai Ajmer Singh Lodhiwal. They used to come to Bhai Sahib’s house many times. The police began to get very frustrated that they couldn’t catch this beloved Singh of Dhan Dhan Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj. One time when they came to Bhai Sahib’s house they found his father there. They began to interrogate Bhai Kulwant Singh Ji and when he didn’t reveal any information they arrested him and kept him in detention for one and a half years.
A few days after Bhai Ajmer Singh Ji left his home for good the police came and began to ask Mata Ji about the last time that she had seen him. Mata Ji told the police that she had seen Bhai Ajmer Singh a week ago. When she saw him he had a bag on his shoulder and after that he never returned home. She had sent him to study and as Mata Ji said this tears began to fall and she stopped speaking.
There was one police officer called Manjit ‘Singh’ who used to come to Bhai Sahib’s house many times. When he walked into their home he used to shout at Bhai Kulwant Singh Ji and he used to ask Bhai Sahib where his son was. Bhai Kulwant Singh Ji used to plead with this officer, and he used to tell him that Bhai Ajmer Singh had done nothing wrong. Bhai Kulwant Singh Ji used to repeatedly tell this police officer that, “Bhai Ajmer Singh has left us to go and study and do sewa, please don’t ruin his life”. But this shameless Police officer instead of listening to Bhai Sahib’s father began to hurl insults at him before slapping him in front of the whole village. “You will reap what you saw” When news of what had happened was flashed to Bhai Ajmer Singh Ji he immediately got up and lifting his AK-47 in the air he declared before all the Singhs who were with him, “Now I’m not going to leave Manjit alone!” After it came in the newspaper that the ‘brave’ Manjit ‘Singh’ had been shot dead in an encounter with ‘terrorists’, people in the village Lodhiwal who had witnessed what Manjit ‘Singh’ had done to Bhai Kulwant Singh Ji began to say, “you reap what you sow”. As soon as Bhai Ajmer Singh Ji had sent Manjit ‘Singh’ to face Dharam Raj in broad daylight, a big load was lifted of his head.
After this incident no more news was heard about Bhai Ajmer Singh Ji for a while. The Police under the head of one, Kufiar Thudher took it on themselves to find out who the next dusht Bhai Sahib’s AK-47 was pointed at. During this time the legend of Bhai Ajmer Singh began to spread and soon his name began to echo in all the corners of Punjab. People used to say that there was nothing that Bhai Ajmer Singh Ji couldn’t do. In an attempt to catch this lion of Guru Sahib the police sent out many agents across Punjab. These agents used to send reports back to their head quarters every time they would learn something new about Bhai Sahib. It is said that upon reading these reports the whole Punjab Police began to shiver.
Bhai Sahib at College
Before Bhai Ajmer Singh Lodhiwal began to walk on this path of truth and justice he used to go to Akaal Degree College in Mastuana where he was studying for a BSC. Bhai Sahib was over six foot tall. When he was at college he used to do bhangra on the stage. Bhai Sahib was liked by all those who would meet him but no one would have ever thought that one day this Singh would walk through the fields of Punjab with an Ak-47 on his shoulder.
The College that Bhai Sahib used to attend was built in memory of Sant Baba Attar Singh Mastuanawale. Near this college was a Gurudwara Sahib which students used to go to when they were free. There were many people in that college who used to hate Sikhs. As a consequence of this one day they got together and under the cover of darkness they sprayed graffiti which contained some very hurtful comments about Sikhi and Guru Sahib on the walls of the Gurudwara Sahib and the College.
When Bhai Ajmer Singh Ji and his friends saw this, they immediately began to look for those who had dared to defile the house of God. In addition to this they all joined the Sikh Student Federation. Eventually Bhai Sahib and his Singhs managed to set up a cell at their college. During the 80s and early 90s this cell produced many soldiers who took up arms and who eventually sacrificed themselves for the good of the Kaum.
The Lion’s Den
In Patiala two IPS officers who had committed crimes against the Sikh Kaum had been shot dead by Singhs in the Khalistan Liberation Force under the command of Bhai Ajmer Singh Ji. This action was a very brave one undertaken by the Jhujaroo Singhs. After this incident other IPS security officials began to fear for their lives. They used to talk amongst themselves that if you were given a posting in Punjab as a security official it was like being sent into a lion’s den to meet death itself. As a consequence of the daring actions of the Khalsa the security forces began to send many messages to their commanding officers in Delhi. In these messages they always used to say that if Delhi does not give the Sikhs what they want there will be no peace and tens of thousands of security officials would continue to die at the hands of the Khalsa.
A New Home
The Police in Jagraon had kept Bhai Ajmer Singh Ji’s father in jail for one and a half years. They never thought of raiding Bhai Sahib’s house, as they knew that he would not come back, such was his determination and commitment to Khalistan. This was an amazing testament to the iron character of Bhai Sahib who had now made his home and place of refuge in the caring hands of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
Bhai Ajmer Singh had simply got up one day and picked up his sword in defence of the Kaum. Once he had done this he never looked back but only marched forward towards his Guru. As a Jhujaroo Singh not much was written about Bhai Sahib in the newspapers. This was because most of the sewa Bhai Sahib did was kept very secret and only known by the Singhs who were very close to him. The police simply could not figure out whom the lion was who was striking so daringly and devastatingly in the heart of the Punjab Police.
On the 28th of February 1989, Bhai Ajmer Singh, Bhai Bakthar Singh and Bhai Jagdeep Singh Vakeel were close to Ludhiana Railway Station. These three Singhs were waiting at an agreed meeting point for Bhai Sher Singh. As Bhai Sher Singh was making his way towards this place the police spotted him. An encounter then began and during this exchange of fire Bhai Ajmer Singh Lodhiwal drank the nectar of martyrdom.
Bhai Sahib’s Shaheedi was a big loss to the movement, as Singhs like him aren’t born every day. Bhai Sahib was a complete Gursikh who walked on this path with his head held high. He never lowered it before anyone apart from his beloved Guru. There is no doubt in my mind that even though he may have been forgotten in this shameful world, Guru Gobind Singh Ji embraces him now, just as Guru Sahib does for all shaheeds who broke their bodies and who spilt their blood to keep the Kesri Nishan Sahib flying.
After Bhai Sahib took his place at the feet of Guru Nanak Dev Ji the village Lodhiwal used to celebrate his shaheedi divas with great love and many Akhand Paths were held in remembrance of this brave soldier. Nowadays things have changed. Both Bhai Sahib’s parents, Bhai Kulwant Singh Ji and Mata Kuldeep Kaur have become very ill and find it hard to organise the same celebrations, which were conducted year after year in memory of the Shaheeds of Khalistan.
Even though this family has faced so many difficulties due to their son’s actions, and due to the indifferent attitude of the current leaders of our panth, they still remain happy and proud that they could give their son to the same Kaum who today has forgotten about them. They happily accept everything as the sweet will of Akaal Purakh but a mother’s love is a mother’s love and sometimes Mata Ji looks at Bhai Ajmer Singh Ji’s picture and begins to cry as she remembers her beautiful son smiling and embracing her.
Despite no help coming for the Sikh Kaum, Bhai Kulwant Singh and Mata Kuldeep Kaur don’t ask for anything. They don’t want any money or any other materialistic things. Bhai Kulwant Singh Ji even today says that Guru Sahib has already blessed his family with so much, he is the father of a Shaheed, of a rare jewel of the Panth, what more could he ask Waheguru for? The only request these two beautiful souls put at the feet of today’s Sikhs is that they remember and reflect, on the blood, which was given, on the sacrifice that was made, and on the love that inspired their older brothers and sisters to wake up and walk on this path with an Ak-47 strapped across their shoulders.
Information given by the family of Shaheed Bhai Ajmer Singh Lodhiwal