Shaheed Bhai Baghel Singh Dheriwal
Shaheed Bhai Baghel Singh Dheriwal alias Bhai Gurdarshan Singh Yodha
Sikh Student Federation/ Babbar Khalsa
In the holiest city of the Sikhs, Amritsar is an area of Taangra in which the village of Dheriwal is situated. A resident of village Dheriwal, Jathedar Bahadur Singh has always took part in all most every protest for the Sikh rights. Jathedar Bahadur Singh and his wife, Bibi Gurpal Singh had six children. Here are their names in order, Bibi Narinder Kaur, Bhai Harbhajan Singh, Bibi Surinderjit Kaur, Bibi Arjinder Kaur, Bibi Balwinder Singh and Bhai Gurdarshan Singh Yodha alias Bhai Baghel Singh.
Bhai Sahib’s family had named their young son Yodha, the family didn’t know that the whole world will be talking about Bhai Sahib’s bravery. Bhai Harminder Singh of Sultanwind also studied With Bhai Sahib and from here both singhs had a very strong friendship. Bhai Sahib and Bhai Harminder Singh Sultanwind would stay at each others house for many days, this friendship remained strong within the Sikh Freedom Movement also.
While studying at Khalsa College, Bhai Sahib became part of the Sikh Student Federation and later came in contact with the 20thcentury Sikh saint soldier, Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale. It is said that Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale named Bhai Sahib, Bhai Baghel Singh. After Bhai Sahib passed his BA, he started working at the ITI College in Patti.
Bhai Sahib was married on 7thFebruary 1984 to Bibi Sukhbir Kaur of village Bhongrha. Bhai Sahib’s family life did not last very long, 4 months after the marriage, the Indian government attacked Sri Harimandir Sahib and forced many Sikhs youth like Bhai Sahib to leave home and fight the oppression. Bhai Sahib, the warrior of Dheriwal started doing panthic actions secretly, under the name of Bhai Baghel Singh.
Bhai Sahib was a great thinker and planned his actions very well. Bhai Sahib didn’t believe in reviling his identity within the Sikh Freedom Movement, instead doing armed actions under a different name from home was what Bhai Sahib did for a very long time. Under the name of Bhai Baghel Singh Khalsa, Bhai Sahib did many armed actions along with Bhai Kanwarjit Singh Sultanwind of Khalistan Liberation Force and also Bhai Sukhjinder Singh Brar of Babbar Khalsa. The police were left in headaches trying to find out who Bhai Baghel Singh Khalsa was and which village he was from.
Once Bhai Sahib was arrested and sent to jail for two months for his involvement in the Sikh Freedom Movement. Even then the police didn’t know that Bhai Gurdarshan Singh Yodha was actually Bhai Baghel Singh Khalsa. After the 2 month sentence, Bhai Sahib was released on bail and again started doing actions in secret under the name of Bhai Baghel Singh Khalsa.
Then on 3rdFebruary 1989, Bhai Sahib and Bhai Harjit Singh Babbar of village Rasool Dhaduanay, were staying at his sister’s house in the village of Sarja, when an informant gave the police this information that Bhai Baghel Singh Khalsa is at a house in village Sarja. The police of Amritsar and Jandiala quickly rushed to their feet to get to the village of Sarja. The Indian security forces surrounded Sarja and started searching for Bhai Sahib. Bhai Harjit Singh Babbar tried to escape the village from the back roads but the police had surrounded the village and when they saw Bhai Harjit Singh Babbar, they shot him and made him one if the shaheeds of Khalistan. After seeing this Bhai Sahib knew that he could not escape and time had now come to make preparations for the torture Bhai Sahib would face by the Indian security forces. The police arrested Bhai Sahib along with his nephews, Bhai Jodhbir Singh and Bhai Jagdev Singh. All 3 singhs were brutally tortured at the BR Modern School in Amritsar. The police officer kept on torturing the singhs and asking the same question, “Which one of you is Baghel Singh?” the 3 singhs of Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s army did not say anything to the police about the movement. The singhs defeated the torture of the police and the police still did not know who Bhai Baghel Singh Khalsa was. The singhs were charged with many fake cases and sent to jail, without any fair trial or evidence.
After spending some time in jail, Bhai Sahib was released on bail and straight away started doing panthic actions again. Bhai Sahib was still doing actions from home secretly but now the police also kept a close eye on Bhai Sahib. Soon the police was always around him and after Bhai Sahib noticed this, it was hard for Bhai Sahib to carry on doing major panthic actions while still staying at home. The SHO Suri from the Jandiala police had hatred in him for Sikhs. SHO Suri once came to Bhai Sahib’s house to arrest him, but before the SHO could get to Bhai Sahib’s house, Bhai Sahib quickly escaped from the back of the house. Bhai Sahib had made his mind up on arming himself and contributing his life to the Sikh armed struggle. SHO Suri tried to catch up to Bhai Sahib and also fired shots towards Bhai Sahib but like a very skilful soldier Bhai Sahib escaped. Now Bhai Sahib was forced to go underground and do actions bigger than before.
As Bhai Sahib was experienced in guerrilla warfare, he was also good with his pen. Bhai Sahib wrote many poems in the Khalistani magazines of that time and there was always something to learn from the poems of Bhai Sahib. As well as explaining to the general public about the Sikh armed struggle through his poems, Bhai Sahib also the principles of gurmat that every singh or singhni should follow within the Sikh Freedom Movement. February 1991, Bhai Sahib wrote an open letter to then prime minister of India, Chandar Shekkar and this letter was very much talked about in the media.
When Dr Sohan Singh became the member of Panthic Committee, Bhai Sahib was also chosen as one of the members of Panthic Committee. Bhai Sahib did not accept the membership and made it clear that he would like to carry on doing actions with the Khadku Singhs. Bhai Sahib gave his invitation of Panthic Committee to Bhai Harminder Singh Sultanwind. Bhai Sahib tried so much to bring many freedom fighting groups into one, which was working incredibly well and the police noticed the Khadkus getting stronger due to this unity.
Now even the nephews of Bhai Sahib, Bhai Jagdev Singh Sarja and Bhai Balwant Singh had made their minds up on contributing their lives to the Sikh Freedom Movement and had gone left home to go underground. When Bhai Sahib found about this, he called his both of his nephews and told them going underground is not right as they can do much panthic sewa from home. Hearing this Bhai Balwant Singh asked his uncle, Bhai Sahib a question, “I will listen to you, but can you answer my question? Can a Sikh go back on the Ardas he has done?” Bhai Sahib answered, “No.” Bhai Balwant Singh answered, “Well, we have done Ardas of going underground and helping our fellow brothers in the Sikh armed struggle.” Bhai Sahib was left speechless and after some time said, “If you have done Ardas then go on do the sewa, but remember not to mistreat anyone, guard the principles of Sikh Freedom Movement, don’t forcefully take money from the public and don’t kill anyone without proof.” Bhai Jagdev Singh Sarja and Bhai Balwant Singh agreed to Bhai Sahib’s instructions and did great sewa within the Sikh Freedom Movement while remaining underground.
Once Bhai Jagdev Singh Sarja and Dr Jaswinder Singh Maniala were relaxing in the Kanpani Park in Amritsar, when all of sudden the police surrounded both of the singhs and in a fierce encounter both Singh of the Sikh Freedom Movement attained shaheedi. Bhai Jagdev Singh Sarja was cremated in his village of Sarja. At the cremation Bhai Balwant Singh and his group gave a farewell to his cousin, Shaheed Bhai Jagdev Singh Sarja by firing bullets into the air from their assault rifles. The news of this farewell was printed in all of the papers and was the most talked about within the media as well. The parliament of India was shocked about this farewell and wanted the police to do something about it as it was embarrassing.
To save their reputation the police surrounded the village of Dheriwal where Bhai Balwant Singh and his group were staying. The police gave a chance to the singhs to give up their assault rifles and surrender. The singhs replied y firing their assault rifles towards the police. The police then did another announcement, “Put your hands up and come out or we will throw a bomb and blow you up into pieces.” But the singhs again replied by firing bullets towards the police and killed many police officers. After an intense encounter all six singhs including Bhai Balwant Singh attained shaheedi but only after killing many more police officers.
Bhai Sahib felt the pain of the loss of his both nephews shaheedi but this setback did not stop Bhai Sahib from continuing the panthic actions. Then one day of December 1991, in Bihar state’s police of Jamshedar area arrested Bhai Sahib along with Baba Balkar Singh. As soon as the family got the news of Bhai Sahib’s arrest, his older brother, Bhai Harbhajan Singh went to Bihar to meet Bhai Sahib in the police station. Bhai Sahib told his brother, “The police are not going to let me free now, so you try and free Baba Balkar Singh somehow.” Upon hearing this, the eyes of Bhai Harbhajan Singh, who had looked after Bhai Sahib since childhood, filled with tears. As Bhai Sahib saw the tears coming down the eyes of Bhai Harbhajan Singh, he said, “Bhau, don’t worry and don’t cry. Stay strong.”
As Bhai Harbhajan Singh tried to get Bhai Sahib and Baba Balkar Singh bailed, the police threatened him. Then in January 1992, the Punjab police brought Bhai Sahib back to Punjab in a plane from Bihar. Bhai Sahib knew that the Punjab police will now brutally torture him to death. Many panthic groups highlighted the case of Bhai Sahib in the media so the police don’t kill Bhai Sahib with torture or in a fake encounter.
On 11thJanuary 1992, the newspapers printed the messages to Indian government from, Justice Ajit Singh Bains, Human Rights Group, Pegham Group, Gurmeet Singh, Navdeep Singh Bittu, Mann Dal, Badal Dal, Babbar Akali Dal and many more groups, gave the message of producing Bhai Sahib in the court. The police did not want to face more problems by allowing Bhai Sahib to live, even in the jail.
Before the arrest of Bhai Sahib, he had written another open letter to prime minster, Narsima Rao. This letter was printed in the national newspapers in February 1992, the letter stated:
“We are from the family of warriors. We are the children of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Our name is Khalsa. Fighting with our head on our palm, being boiled alive, being sawed apart, having our scalps removed and being killed in many inhuman torture tactics, why? All because we are loyal to our country and religion.”
Bhai Sahib walked the talk he had done. The police put red hot iron rods through Bhai Sahib’s body and burnt majority of Bhai Sahib’s body. During this brutal torture, Bhai Sahib remained in chardikala and showed the police butchers, a true Sikh. This information came from the circle of police officers, after being blindly tortured for 6 days Bhai Sahib said to the police, “You will yourself say, shaheeds like Bhai Taru Singh Ji and Bhai Mani Singh Ji are alive today on this earth.”
Like this Bhai Sahib took the torture of the Indian government and on 20thJanuary 1992 Bhai Sahib attained shaheedi due to the torture. The police started in the newspapers, as Bhai Baghel Singh Khalsa tried to escape, a loaded truck his Bhai Sahib in the village of Gagrabhane and soon after died due to the accident.
The Indian Government may have killed a top Khadku general, Bhai Baghel Singh Khalsa, but the poems of Bhai Sahib will always remain with us.
This is the context from Bhai Sahib’s last letter, which was sent to prime minster Narsima Rao and after Bhai Sahib’s shaheedi was printed in the national newspapers in February 1992.
Which country is ours? Where a religion is in command, the poor and the weak are looked after. Where everyone, young and old gets justice. That is our country, the one that the government of Delhi has snatched from us. That is our country, the one Maharaja Ranjit Singh ruled until traitors like Dhian Dogra betrayed the Sikhs in 1848 and gave the powers to the British. In 1947, when India was freed, the crafty Hindu leaders and some of our stupid leaders called for unity amongst Sikhs and Hindus, which then the power was given to Delhi government.
Our religion in short is to understand the pains of humans, look after the poor and to punish the evil in this world. For the country and the religion we gave our lives following the words of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, “Panth Vasay Mein Ujraan, Maan Chao Khanera.” Our religion does not accept defeat to injustice. Our religion is the one that shares and fights with our heads on our palms. Our religion has faught against the injustice of Naddarshahi and Ahmedshahi from 1739 to 1839. Our religion has saved thousands of Hindu girls and in the process sacrificed out lives. Our religion did not let the looted Indian heritage reach the fortress of Kabul, instead we united the 12 misls and under Maharaj Ranjit Singh, the Khalsa raj was established from Peshawar all the way up to Delhi. No matter how hard the Afghan Pathans tried but the Sikhs did not let them reach Delhi.
Khalsa is that breed, the one that freed India with 80-90% of shahadats, even though the Khalsa is a minority of India. The Khalsa pushed the British out of India. But the Khalsa is still fighting for its freedom. The government of Delhi has given no rights to the Khalsa and labelled the Khalsa, a terrorist. The Delhi government has cremated many saroops of Guru Granth Sahib Ji and destroyed historical gurudwaras. This is a sign of war against the Khalsa. This is a sign to the Khalsa to live as slaves in India. The Khalsa will never tolerate this.
After Operation Bluestar, the Indian government looked at every Sikh as a terrorist. Delhi has destroyed many happy homes of the Sikhs, by killing thousands of innocent Sikh youths, by rapping thousands of Sikh females. The once happy Punjab was completely hit with bloodshed and sadness which made us think, that the brutal Indian government will not let us live freely and we, the Sikhs cannot live as slaves. Only option we, the Sikhs have is to take our freedom as we deserve it.
Purja Purja Kat Maray – Baljit Singh Khalsa