Shaheed Bhai Anokh Singh Ubhoke

“No way! When I read the Sikh history, I wish that I was there, but today when history repeats itself, you want me to stay at home. No way, never.” These were the words of a Sikh close to Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale, Bhai Anokh Singh Ubhoke, when a family member asked him to stay at home at the time of Sikh armed struggle. In these words one can see the bravery of a soldier wanting to serve its general, Guru Gobind Singh Ji. The life of Bhai Anokh Singh Ubhoke is full of bravery and courage that Bhai Sahib had shown.

Bhai Anokh Singh Ubhoke was born on 18thDecember 1952, in the house of Sardar Jaswinder Singh Fauji and from the womb of Mata Pritam Kaur in the village of Ubhoke, district Amritsar. Bhai Sahib was the eldest of 1 brother, Bhai Harpal Singh and 1 sister, Bibi Hardeep Kaur. Bhai Sahib did his primary education in the local school of Ubhoke, and then took admission in to a secondary school in village Bhamani Wali. When Bhai Sahib was in the 9thclass, he showed how brave he was.

The family had an old enemy in the village, who had killed the younger brother of Sardar Jaswinder Singh Fauji. The case had been resolved but someone pointed out the killer to Bhai Sahib. The 15 year old, Bhai Anokh Singh Ubhoke got his friends together and equipped with swords, killed the killer of his Chacha in broad daylight. After this revenge, Bhai Sahib was arrested and sent to Amritsar jail for 1 year. As the case was closed Bhai Sahib was released and came back home. Instead of starting to study again, Bhai Sahib helped his father in the farms.

While in Amritsar jail, Bhai Sahib read many books on Sikh history. Bhai Sahib had a haircut as Bhai Sahib saw nothing that pulled him towards Sikhism. After being released Bhai Sahib started to keep licensed guns and was always Tyar Bar Tyar (ready). When the 1978 Visakhi massacre happen in which 13 Gursikhs were killed by the Nirankari cult, Bhai Sahib had a fight with an anti-Sikh man who was from the same village as Bhai Sahib. The police came to arrest Bhai Sahib but Bhai Sahib fired bullets at the police from his licensed gun. The police also fired back and an encounter had started which lasted more than 3 hours. Bhai Sahib was shot in the foot but still managed to get away from the police. Bhai Sahib went straight to the local Akali leader, Major Singh Ubhoke, who got Bhai Sahib treated on his foot. After being treated Major Singh Ubhoke sent Bhai Sahib to Nanak Niwas, Sri Harimandir Sahib, where the 20thcentury Sikh saint soldier, Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale was also staying. The almighty Waheguru had plans for Bhai Sahib that’s why Bhai Sahib ended up being beside Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale. When Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale saw Bhai Sahib he asked, “What happened to your foot?” Bhai Sahib replied, “I was shot.” Then Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale asked, “How?” After telling Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale the full story, Bhai Sahib was patted on to the shoulder by Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale.

From here onwards Bhai Sahib stayed close to Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale. For many hours on end Bhai Sahib would just sit and in take Sikh history from Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale. Bhai Sahib still had a haircut and Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale didn’t ask him to keep his hair. The singhs of Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale’s Jatha started to think, how comes this guy with a haircut sits with Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale for 2-3 hours daily and Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale had not yet asked him to keep his hair, but little the Jatha of the singhs know, Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale had spotted a diamond of the panth and was shaping the diamond. After doing sangat of Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale, Bhai Sahib started to keep his hair and tie a turban. Bhai Sahib soon took amrit from the Panj Pyare of Guru Gobind Singh Ji’ Dam Dami Taksal. Bhai Sahib was given the sewa as a bodyguard of Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale, Bhai Sahib went home and bought all his licensed guns to Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale and told the family,“These guns are not needed here, they are needed at Sri Harimandir Sahib.” The family tried to stop Bhai Sahib but the answer was the sentence that has been written in the beginning of this jeevani.

Under the command of Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale, Bhai Sahib punished many anti-Sikh elements, enemies of the panth such as Bua Das and the Thanedar of Sansi. One of Bhai Sahib’s missions was to punish a police officer, D.R.Bhatti of Mananwal. D.R.Bhatti had done beadbi of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji in Chando Kalan, Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale speaks about this beadbi in one of his speeches. Group of 6 singhs left Amritsar to punish the person who had disrespected the Sikh nation, D.R.Bhatti was always well guarded so the singhs had got top weapons to finish him off. Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale once said in a speech, “When setting off on a mission, do Ardas and people who want to come back, should not go at all.” After doing Ardas Bhai Hardev Singh Rode, Bhai Joginder Singh Rode, Bhai Kashmir Singh Driver, Bhai Jasbir Singh Kuku, Bhai Parsa Singh and Bhai Sahib were on their way to carry out this mission. But a traitor had been giving the police a minute to minute update on the singhs. The police prepared to attack the jeep which was full of singhs when they approached Mananwal. The police had planned to put trucks on the road which would slow the jeep and it would be easy to kill the driver and the jeep would then come to a halt. The police wanted the singhs to surrender and give statement against Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale, so the police can arrest Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale.

Following this plan, the jeep of singhs was slowed down due to many trucks parked up. As soon as the jeep slowed down the police rained bullets on to what they thought was the driver, but the jeep was a foreign jeep the drive steering was on the left hand side instead of being on the right hand side. The police had killed the front seat passenger, Bhai Hardev Singh Rode with their LMG. 1000s of bullets had shredded Bhai Hardev Singh Rode as he fell out of the jeep and on to the road. As many bullets were fired upon the jeep, the driver, Bhai Kashmir Singh Driver was also shot and wounded. Bhai Sahib was one of the passengers in the back and was wounded due to being shot in the right arm, chest and the face but still showing bravery, Bhai Sahib quickly grabbed the body of Bhai Hardev Singh Rode and pulled it back into the jeep. The plan of the Indian security forces was now in shambles, as the police realised their stupidity, they fired even more bullets, but this time all over the jeep. The tyres of the jeep had blown up, but the singhs of Guru Gobind Singh Ji were not born to give up until they die. Bhai Kashmir Singh Driver drove the jeep straight through the bunkers of the police. The singhs got out of sight of the police and with the blessings of Waheguru somehow made it to Sri Harimandir Sahib, Amritsar where Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale was staying.

At this time the family of Bhai Sahib was also at Sri Harimandir Sahib with Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale. When Sardar Jaswinder Singh Fauji saw his son wounded with bullets, his heart cried and said to Bhai Sahib, “My son, you are same as being dead.” Upon hearing these words of devastated father Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale said, “Oh, old man. What did you say?” Sardar Jaswinder Singh Fauji kept quiet, then Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale said, “Go on, tell your son to get up and wash his face.” But Bhai Sahib’s father once again kept quiet, Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale repeated himself twice but the father of the wounded soldier couldn’t find the courage to answer. Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale said, “Now in 15 days, Bhai Anokh Singh Ubhoke will get up himself, but if you had told him to get up then he would’ve got up now.” The doctors had treated all other singhs that survived from this surprise attack, but when Bhai Sahib’s turn came to be treated the doctors only bandaged his wounds and told Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale that Bhai Sahib might not survive. But Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale replied, “Nothing will happen to this singh of Guru Gobind Singh Ji.” Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale himself set beside Bhai Sahib and recited Gurbani and later gave the singhs a duty to continually recite Gurbani beside Bhai Sahib. Within 15 days Bhai Sahib was on his feet, thanks to Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale’s strong belief in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Even though Bhai Sahib had a healing wound on his face, Bhai Sahib was on the battlefield punishing the anti-Sikh elements.

June 1984, when the cowardly government of India attacked Sri Harimandir Sahib on the day of 5thNanak, Guru Arjan Dev Ji’s Shaheedi Purab. Bhai Sahib was placed to defend the complex from the bunkers of Sri Tharra Sahib. Bhai Sahib faught against the Indian army until 6thJune 1984, but after the ammunition had finished, the singhs from Tharra Sahib made their escape from the complex through Kathianwala Bazaar. Bhai Sahib managed to get to the village of Kotwali, here the army stopped Bhai Sahib. The army asked Bhai Sahib, “What are you doing here?” Bhai Sahib replied calmly, “I had a stall of peanuts outside Sri Darbar Sahib and lived nearby. My house has been burnt down.” Then the army officer asked which village Bhai Sahib was from, Bhai Sahib replied by naming a village of Uttar Pardesh and telling the officer that he had come to Punjab at a young age. Then the army asked of Bhai Sahib’s family, Bhai Sahib said, “My parents have passed away and have no family.” The army officer looked at the scar on Bhai Sahib’s face, Bhai Sahib said, “It is birthmark.” Then the army asked about the scar on his arm, Bhai Sahib replied, “I got this from cutting the crops in the farms.” A long and a very intense questioning was done. Bhai Sahib stuck to his story but out of the singhs that had been arrested earlier by the army, one identified Bhai Sahib as Bhai Anokh Singh Ubhoke, a close singh to Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale. Bhai Sahib was instantly arrested and blindly tortured but Bhai Sahib did not say a single word. Then Bhai Sahib was sent Amritsar jail, Ludhiana jail, Nabha jail and finally ended up in Jodhpur jail.

Before going to Nabha jail, in Ludhiana jail Bhai Sahib had a fight with a jail officer, who had been mistreating Sikhs in the jail. Bhai Sahib broke the officer’s nose and made it bleed. Bhai Sahib was taken away for merciless torture, but the inmates thought Bhai Sahib had been killed and went on a hunger strike. The police gave into the unity of the prisoners and showed the wounded Bhai Sahib to the inmates. After seeing Bhai Sahib alive the prisoner calmed down. In Jodhpur jail an Akali leader came to give Bhai Sahib desi ghee (butter). Bhai Sahib returned the butter and said, “Either bring every singh in here butter, or don’t bring anything at all.” After 5 years in jail Bhai Sahib was released and went home.

Khadku Singhs started to visit Bhai Sahib at his family house but the police also started the harassment of Bhai Sahib’s family. Bhai Sahib left home and joined the armed Sikh struggle. Bhai Sahib started a freedom fighter group under the name of, Fauj-e-Khalsa of Khalistan. Now the game of hide and seek had started again between Bhai Sahib and the police.

Within the Sikh Freedom Movement Bhai Sahib did many actions and punished many anti-Sikh elements. Whenever Bhai Sahib met his family, it was when Bhai Sahib was out and about. When Bhai Sahib’s younger brother had a baby son, Bhai Sahib went to Govindwal to see the new born edition to the family of his younger brother.

The police was also informed about Bhai Sahib coming to Govindwal and police had surrounded the house Bhai Sahib was in. Due to Bhai Sahib being unarmed, he was arrested and was once again brutally tortured. Bhai Sahib did not give any information which could have led to other Khadku Singhs being arrested. In the end, on 24thDecember 1992 the police killed Bhai Sahib in a fake encounter. From the very beginning, Bhai Sahib was fearless and loved shastars (weapons). For this reason Bhai Sahib carried out some of the biggest actions within the Sikh Freedom Movement.

Purja Purja Kat Maray – Baljit Singh Khalsa