Shaheed Bhai Amrik Singh Khalsa
Shaheed Bhai Amrik Singh Khalsa
Sikh Student Federation
Bhai Amrik Singh was born in 1948, he is the son of Sant Kartar Singh Bhindranwale who was the chief of the Bhindranwale Mehta Jatha. Bhai Sahib had passed his M.A. in Punjabi from Khalsa College at Amritsar. After this he began research work for his PHD.
He was well versed in Gurbani and Sikh literature. He devoted much of his life for Sikh missionary activities. Bhai Amrik Singh was also one of the Sikh community’s most prominent leaders along with Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.
Bhai Sahib was married to Bibi Harmeet Kaur, Bhai Sahib has two daughters and one son, his eldest daughter is Bibi Satwant Kaur who was around 6 years old when Operation Bluestar took place. His second daughter was Paramjit Kaur and she was 3 years old in 1984 and Bhai Sahib’s son Tarlochan Singh was born in August 1984, a few months after Bhai Sahib attained shaheedi. Bhai sahib told his daughters to have a nitnemi and Gursikhi jeevan. Bibi Satwant Kaur was only 4yrs and 6months old when she was given Amrit.
Bhai Sahib’s family knew Sant Ji’s family beforehand they were good family friends. When Sant Kartar Singh Ji passed away many Singh’s wanted Bhai Amrik Singh to take his place, but Bhai Sahib refused and said that there was no other better person to fulfil this role than Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Khalsa Bhindranwale.
In 1978 Bhai Amrik Singh was elected as the President of Sikh Students Federation, originally 5 people had put themselves forward, but then Bhai Bhagwan Singh requested to the Singh’s, that if you want to put life into this movement then elect Bhai Amrik Singh, so all the other Singh’s withdrew their names back and agreed there was no better to fulfil this role than Bhai Sahib. But there was a Singh who wasn’t happy because he had been a senior member of the movement and felt he should have been the president, so when Bhai Sahib was elected, the first thing he done was he went to the Singh and said that we are all equal no one is a leader and we will all work together, Bhai Sahib done Ardas and they walked forward together.
In 1979, he contested the election to the S.G.P.C. from the Beas constituency. The Punjab government used all illegitimate means to defeat him. On April 26, 1982 a campaign was started to get Amritsar, Punjab, status as a holy city. It was while campaigning for this that Bhai Amrik Singh was arrested on July 19, 1982 along with other members of the Damdami Taksal. Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale began the Dharam Yudh Morcha to free Bhai Amrik Singh and other prominent Sikhs. The Dharam Yudh Morcha was also the first collective push to implement the Anandpur Resolution which primarily requested more autonomy for the Sikh people, who were being oppressed and treated unfairly by the Indian government. This morcha was later joined by Shiromani Akali Dal and all other Sikh organizations. Demand of implementation of Anandpur Resolution became goal of this struggle. This struggle was peaceful but government many times tried to outrage Sikhs and gave a violent turn to the morcha.
While Bhai Sahib was in jail, the Singh’s used to go and visit him many times and would hope that maybe Bhai Sahib will be freed but each time they came back empty handed. One day again the Singh’s were going to go meet Bhai Sahib, but Sant Ji told the Singh’s if you’re going to meet Bhai Amrik Singh at the jail then make sure you bring him with you or otherwise don’t bother going at all. A Bus full of Singh’s and Bhai Sahib’s mother and elder daughter went to court but they sat in the bus outside, as soon as the judge announced that the charges against Bhai Sahib are dropped and he is free to go, the Singh’s filled the court room will war cries and didn’t listen to anything else the judge said. Then the Singh’s picked Bhai sahib up and carried him out the court room and took him to Sri Harmandir Sahib complex where Sant Ji and many Singh’s and sangat were waiting to welcome him with a flower garlands.
Bhai Sahib’s room was above the langar hall and whenever Bhai Sahib’s family used to come over to visit, they would stay in this room. At night after having langar, the family would head back towards their room. Bhai sahib, Sant Ji and a few other Singh’s, would disguise themselves and walk around the complex. They would check all sides of the complex to see if everything is safe, they would do this during morcha as well. One time during morcha Bibi Satwant Kaur followed her dad and reached to the 2nd floor, but a Singh noticed her and saw that she was tired so he kept her beside himself and from there she saw, each Singh had weapons, ammunition, dry chick peas and some water. Bhai Sahib used to go round to each Singh and ask if they are ok and if they are in chardikala.
Bhai Amrik Singh and Sant Ji had code words, and Bhai sahib never disclosed any secret matters to his family.
All Singh’s who were in the struggle they didn’t give their families huge importance. When Bhai Sahib’s mother used to bring butter or homemade milk chocolate for her son, Bhai Sahib would distribute it within all the Singh’s.
Bhai sahib used to tell his family and his Sikh federation companions that go to Darbar Sahib, first bathe in the sarovar, second do matha tekh, third meet Sant Ji and then come meet me. Bhai Sahib would never turn away from his duties just because his family would come visit him, he always kept his panthic duties first.
At 3am he would play the kirtan from Darbar Sahib and listen to the parkash maryada and then go and do his kesi ishnan everyday under the Dukh-Bhanjani Beri and he always had two Singh’s with him all the time, they stayed with him day and night, regardless of when his family would be staying over he wouldn’t break his routine.
Whenever Singh’s tried to find Bhai Sahib they would find him at any one of two places, Bhai Sahib would either be on top of the langar hall or at Sri Akal Takhat sahib with Sant Ji.
On 3rd June when the shooting got fiercer Bhai Sahib’s wife called the children inside, and ordered them not to go out. They sat with the door open and they seen their dad outside with 2 Singh’s and their mama Ji, they all came and Bibi Satwant Kaur hugged her dad’s leg, they all sat down and Bhai Sahib discussed some family issues with his mother, he then told his mother and wife to take the kids and make their out of the complex. His mother then asked why they should go, Bhai Sahib said that the atmosphere here is going to get even worse. The curfew has been dropped for a few hours so Bhai Sahib wanted his family to get on the bus and get out of Amritsar to somewhere safe and he would send a Singh with them. They were getting as many women and children out of the complex as possible. Bhai Sahib’s mother then agreed and Bhai Sahib asked his wife to leave, when Bibi Harmeet Kaur Ji said what about u? Bhai Sahib said “I am going to attain shaheedi here.” Bibi Harmeet Kaur was shocked. Bhai sahib said “I have been waiting for this time for so long now and it has finally arrived, the Singh’s at Harmandir Sahib said that until we are alive we aren’t going to let the army into the complex. I had always wanted to attain shaheedi in Guru Ram Das Ji’s feet and the day I become shaheed, I want to be shaheed on Guru Ji’s door step and not to be killed on the streets or in an alleyway, and today Guru Ji is going to fulfil my dream and I am going to be shaheed here, take the kids away.” Bibi Harmeet Kaur insisted that she wasn’t going to leave Bhai Sahib in this condition and nor did Bhai Sahib force her to leave. He then told his mother “take the eldest daughter and leave as soon as possible god knows if the curfew will be open again or when it will be open, I’ll send a Singh with you.” Bibi Harmeet Kaur and younger daughter stayed with Bhai Amrik Singh.
After Bhai Sahib’s mother and daughter left he spent 20 minutes talking to his wife and said “regardless of whether I live or die I want to educate my children to a high level. I took a loan from Damdami Taksal to put money towards some land and the first thing you should do is repay that loan to Baba Thakur Ji, this is a debt of Damdami Taksal that is on my head and it’s now your responsibility to repay it. Regardless whether I live or die I want my family to live a life in chardikala and I don’t want my family to cry on my shaheedi because it’s something I have chosen to do and I feel lucky to have this opportunity.” There was an incident one day, when Bhai Sahib was sitting in his meeting room, which was above the langar hall, his youngest daughter wanted 5 rupees, she was being stubborn, and to make her quiet Bhai Sahib tried to distract her with a pen, but when she wouldn’t be quiet then Bhai Sahib put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a 5 rupees note and gave it to her, eventually she fell asleep and when she did Bhai Sahib slowly pulled that note out Of her hand, and put it in his pocket. He then said “this money belongs to the Sikh panth, and I don’t want my children or my family to even live off 1 rupee of the Sikh panth for their own personal use. The money belongs to the Sikh panth and regardless of how my kids cry I am not giving it to them.”
Bhai sahib asked his wife one more time whether she wanted to stay or if she had changed her mind, and her reply was the same, she insisted that she wanted to stay so Bhai Sahib then said “ok, if god wishes then we shall meet again if not then Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!” And then he left, this was the last time Bibi Harmeet Kaur Ji spoke to Bhai Sahib.
Bibi Ji started to get scared when there was shooting, Bibi Ji’s brother came with bread, water bottles and dry chick peas and other essentials, the water and electricity supply had been cut off. Bibi Ji asked who sent all this and her brother replied it was Bhai Sahib, Bibi Ji then said well this is too much for me what am I going to do with so much food, her brother replied it’s not just for you it’s also for the kids and women who are sitting in the langar hall. Bibi Ji was told to go to the langar hall because she was sitting all alone in her room and it wasn’t too safe there. Due to all the shooting there was so much noise so all the women put wool in their ears and in the ears of all the children to try and block out the noise to some extent.
4thJune, Bhai Sahib was on the roof of the langar hall but then he went to Sri Akal Takhat Sahib where Sant Ji was.
It was said that when the helicopter was hovering above the Langar hall and when the Russian trained commandos were coming down via the ropes, Bhai Sahib damaged the helicopter heavily with his 7.62 machine gun, eventually the C.R.P had to fly their helicopter away.
Just before the C.R.P entered the Parikarma Bibi Harmeet Kaur and many other Singhniya and kids managed to escape out of the Sri Harmandir Sahib complex.
The head Granth of Amritsar states that on the 6th of June, Bhai Amrik Singh told a Singh that Sant Ji wants us to go out and fight and attain shaheedi at 7am but it’s now been post-poned to 9am.
Mukh Granthi of Amritsar, Bhai Mukhtar Singh Ragi said, Sant Ji put his teer with the puratan shashters and did Ardas and it was no ordinary Ardas. In the Ardas Bhai Sahib said “hey Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji the enemies are attacking your Takhat, I hope that today I can become shaheed to defend your Takhat, a normal person asks never to come back into this world, but I pray that until the panth isn’t free from slavery, may I be reborn and keep on dying for fighting against oppression.” After this Ardas it was that night that Bhai Sahib, Sant Ji and General Shabeg Singh Ji attained shaheedi.
After Ardas Bhai Sahib was walking down the stairs near the Miri Piri Nishan Sahib and war cries were being shouted, as soon as they reached the bottom of the stairs they quickly prepared themselves and started fighting. The army was coming forward from the baggage room side, it had become a killing ground, and the army were finding it very difficult to come forward. Bhai Sahib used the pillars of the Nishan Sahib and kept fighting on but now the tanks were coming in to destroy Sri Akal Takhat, with the blast from the rockets fired by the tank the Sri Akal Takhat Sahib was on fire. As Bhai sahib seen that more and more army officers were coming, Bhai Sahib made the attempt to try and move forward, while he was moving forward and fighting there was a burst of bullets that hit Bhai Sahib in the chest, the bullets also hit Bhai Sahib’s right shoulder which caused Bhai Sahib’s right arm to stop working. Bhai Sahib had also injured his foot because he had twisted his ankle and it was swollen, Bhai Sahib couldn’t keep his balance, he fell down and attained shaheedi. Waheguru. The Sikh panth will always remember this true Sant Sipahi, and do ardas for the chardikala of Shaheed Bhai Amrik Ji family.
Information gathered from family Interviews Shaheed Bhai Amrik Singh