Shaheed Bhai Balwinder Singh Ganga

Babbar Khalsa

Bhai Balwinder Singh Babbar Ganga alias Dr Harnek Singh Babbar was born on 1th October 1960 from the womb of Mata Gurdial Kaur and in the house of Shaheed Sardar Hazara Singh in the village of Ganga, district Bathinda. Bhai Sahib had 3 sisters and 2 brothers. After completing the studies at college, Bhai Sahib did a medical course and later started doing work experience at a doctor’s practice.

While Bhai Sahib was studying at college, the Sikh massacre of 1978 happened, where 13 singhs were killed and more than 150 Sikhs wounded when the Narakhdharis opened fire on the unarmed Sikhs that were peacefully protesting against the beadbi of Guru Granth Sahib Ji. This massacre of Sikhs shook Bhai Sahib and changed his life. When the news of the cremation of the 13 sings was printed on the front page of the local newspaper, it had photo of Shaheed Bhai Fauja Singh in the middle with the photos of other 12 singhs in circle as if it was a necklace of diamonds. Bhai Sahib bought 4-5 the same newspapers and one of the front pages Bhai Sahib stuck on the wall of his house. Bhai Sahib had read that singhs and singhnia of Akhand Kirtani Jatha were always meditating Gurbani and stayed within the Sikh code of conduct. Bhai Sahib always looked for a chance to meet such Sikhs.

After Narakhdhari Gurbachana was killed by the singhs in Delhi, the Narakhdharis were been punished continuously. The police started harassing the singhs Akhand Kirtani Jatha. The Indian government released a list of 11 singhs from the Akhand Kirtani Jatha and put a reward on their heads for their capture. This list was advertised all over Indian media, from television to newspapers and magazines. These ads were also stuck up at bus stations, railway stations and other public places. Amongst these 11 names were Sikh warriors such as, Jathedar Bhai Sukhdev Singh Babbar, Bhai Anokh Babbar, Bhai Sulakhan Singh Babbar, Bhai Talwinder Singh Babbar, Bhai Tarsem Singh Kala Singhia, Bhai Wadhawa Singh Babbar, Bhai Amarjit Singh Daheru and Bhai Surjit Singh Babbar. These posters were also stuck up at the railway station of Bathinda. Once when Bhai Sahib was waiting to catch a train from here, his eye caught the glimpse of the poster. Bhai Sahib went to the poster and started starring at it. Bhai Sahib bowed his head down to the singhs photo on the poster and said, “Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh.”

The following day Bhai Sahib took a nail and flower beaded necklace from and went to the railway station at night. At the railway station Bhai Sahib looked around to see if anyone was watching him, but the train station was not very much busy due to it being night time. Bhai Sahib picked up a rock and hammered the nail on top of the posters and hung the flower beaded necklace to honour the singhs who were wanted for the killings of the Narakhdharis. Bhai Sahib quickly tried to get out of the railway station but another young singh was watching all this from far. As Bhai Sahib walked out of the railway station this singh stopped Bhai Sahib and both singhs started talking. As the singhs walked out of the railway station, the singh told Bhai Sahib, “I was here to take all the posters off, but you done something better than that better honouring the eleven singhs.” The singh also said, “When you come Sri Darbar Sahib, come to Akaal Rest House and I will introduce you to these singhs.” This singh who met Bhai Sahib at the railway station was, Bhai Gurpal Singh Babbar of Bucho Mandi.

Bhai Sahib now started coming to Sri Harimandir Sahib regularly. Here Bhai Sahib met the chardikala singhs, on whose poster Bhai Sahib had honoured with flowers. These singhs were Jathedar Bhai Sukhdev Singh, Bhai Sulakhan Singh Babbar, Bhai Anokh Singh Babbar and more from the 11 singhs listed on the wanted poster. Bhai Sahib also met the warrior of Malwa and his close friend from school, Bhai Harbhajan Singh Deliyanwali. When these two warriors met in the room 61 of the Akaal Rest House, Bhai Sahib were surprised and said, “Baba Harbhajan Singh how comes you are here?” Bhai Harbhajan Singh Deliyanwali answered, “Balwinder Singh, I’m here for the same reason you’re here for. “ Bhai Sahib and Bhai Harbhajan Singh Deliyanwali then together started walking on the path to free the Sikh nation. Babbar Khalsa told both singhs to carry out missions in their area.

After the attack on Sri Harimandir Sahib by the Indian government in June 1984, Bhai Sahib was at the verge of losing full courage to continue the struggle as all of the Babbar Khalsa had split up. Bhai Sahib tried to do things around the house, such as farming and feeding the buffaloes, but Bhai Sahib’s heart did not agree with this. When finally Bhai Sahib’s grandmother said to Bhai Sahib, “Son Balwinder, there is an educated girl from your aunties village, shall we talk to her family about your marriage?” Bhai Sahib answered, “Grandmother, sons of Guru Gobind Singh Ji never got married so why are you stressing me about marriage.” His grandmother took the answer as denial to marriage and stayed quiet.

After the attack in June 1984, Bhai Sahib went to do darshan of Sri Harimandir Sahib. Here Bhai Sahib saw the destruction of Sri Akaal Takht Sahib, Bhai Sahib collected the rubble from the floor of Sri Akaal Takht Sahib and bought it back home. Bhai Sahib tied this rubble in a Rumalla and kept it next to the Gutkas from which the family did their Nitnem. Every morning Bhai Sahib looked at this rubble and thought about what made Sri Akaal Takht Sahib come to the floor.

One night Bhai Gurpal Singh Babbar Bucho Mandi and Bhai Sulakhan Singh Babbar knocked on Bhai Sahib’s door. When Bhai Sahib opened the door, he couldn’t believe his eyes, Bhai Sahib hugged both of the singhs in happiness. Bhai Sahib was now excited to restart Babbar Khalsa again. Bhai Sahib was once again given the command of the Malwa area and start doing actions.

One day Bhai Sahib and Bhai Harbhajan Singh Deliyanwali met up at the local gurudwara of Ganga village and discussed certain things about the movement amongst themselves. Both singhs then recited five prayers of the Nitnem together and later Ardas was done by Bhai Harbhajan Singh Deliyanwali followed by Hukamnama which was read by Bhai Sahib himself. Bhai Sahib and Bhai Harbhajan Singh Deliyanwali swore not to return home, either they will win this battle and or they will die for the panth. That day Bhai Sahib and Bhai Harbhajan Singh Deliyanwali donated a Manji Sahib to that gurudwara for Guru Granth Sahib Ji, this Manji Sahib is still at the local gurudwara of Ganga village. The singhs paid their last respects to the gurudwara of Ganga and made their way out of their village. Bhai Sahib and Bhai Harbhajan Singh Deliyanwali now stepped into the battlefield as the Babbar Khalsa Jathedar of Bathinda and Bhai Harbhajan Singh Deliyanwali was made the Jathedar of Faridkot.

If we call him saint then we will not be making naïve mistake, as Bhai Sahib recited a lot of Gurbani. When Bhai Sahib went on any actions, a full investigation would be carried out with a report and planning of the action. Bhai Sahib would do Ardas to Waheguru saying, “Hey Satguru, if this person is innocent the please stop us from committing sin and if this person is guilty then please help us punish him.” After doing this Ardas Bhai Sahib would set out on his mission.

Once Bhai Sahib was given the full report of the Narakhdhari of the Mansa area, who had been doing beadbi of gurudwaras. Bhai Sahib and his group went to this Narakhdharis house to kidnap him, but Bhai Sahib saw the condition of the Narakhdharis house, it was poor and he only had daughters. This Narakhdhari had been paid a small sum of money by the Narakhdharis to talk against gurudwaras, Bhai Sahib told his group of singhs not to say anything to this Narakhdhari. Then Bhai Sahib explained to the Narakhdhari that what he was doing is wrong and next time the singhs might not feel pity on him. Since, this family of Narakhdhari have got into Sikhi and do sewa at the gurudwara.

Bhai Sahib believed that his share from the family land was the property of the panth and Bhai Sahib also would ask his father to send the Dasvandh to him for the movement. Bhai Sahib’s family had one rule which was not to use the money of the panth for their personal reasons. The whole family believed in honest living.

The Babbar Khalsa of Bathinda was feared as far as Delhi. In many encounters of Bhai Sahib, the Indian security forces were scared to move forward towards Bhai Sahib. Also in these encounters the local villagers helped Bhai Sahib in their thousands. Many singhs from Bhai Sahib’s group attained shaheedi fighting the oppressing army of India. Even today we can hear the stories of these encounters and warriors can be heard from the locals of Bhai Sahib’s village.

Bhai Sukhdev Singh of village Gholiay was arrested by the police for allowing Bhai Sahib to stay at his house. The police tortured Bhai Sukhdev Singh brutally at the police staff centre in Jagravan and he was in a very bad state. The police soon had to release Bhai Sukhdev Singh. Bhai Sahib changed his appearance to a panchayat member and went to Jagravan to bring Bhai Sukhdev Singh back home. In a disguise Bhai Sahib was caring for him at his house but unfortunately some days after his release Bhai Sukhdev Singh passed away. In a sad state Bhai Sahib said, “Because of me this family if in such state, how will I ever repay you?”

IG Bakshi, in one of his press conferences stated that the Babbar Khalsa group under the command of Bhai Sahib was one of the most dangerous and carried out actions according to Sikh values. One day when IG Bakshi surrounded the village of Ganga to try and capture Bhai Sahib, when IG Bakshi went inside the house of Bhai Sahib, he sat on the broken manji in the porch of the unmaintained house and said, “This is not the house of a terrorist, this is the house of true Sikhs. It’s all false that the Khadku Singhs make money.”

If we talk about Bhai Sahib then we will never finish. Once Bhai Sahib dressed as police officer under the rank of a SI and went to Sadar police station to have a singh from his group, Bhai Karam Singh released. After fooling the police and having released Bhai Karam Singh, Bhai Sahib himself quickly got out of the area. Bhai Sahib walked into the Sadar police station like it was his back yard. The police found an hour after that they had been tricked by a Babbar.

Bhai Sahib’s family had an enmity with another local of Ganga village. Bhai Sahib told his family not to use his name to threaten anyone and Bhai Sahib also told the singhs from his group not to get involved into family or village personal matters. The Khadku Singhs are here fighting the Indian government not the citizens. The black cats were given the duty to defame the Khadku Singhs by the Indian government. The black cats got some naive Khadku Singhs and killed to innocent villagers. The police pointed a finger at Bhai Sahib, even though Bhai Sahib had not played a single part in these killings of innocent villagers. The locals also started to think that Bhai Sahib was behind this cowardly action. When Bhai Sahib found out about this he said, “The dogs have wrecked all the sewa did do.” Bhai Sahib wanted to keep the black cats away but now the black cats had infiltrated his group and already succeeded in partly defaming him. In this murder case the police arrested Bhai Sahib’s father, Sardar Hazara Singh and took him to the police station. For the whole day Sardar Hazara Singh was tortured and in the evening he was released and told by the police, “Old man. Stay at home, don’t go out.” That night when Sardar Hazara Singh went home and went to sleep, the black cats came to Ganga village on motorcycles and gypsies. The black cats parked their vehicles outside the village and then walked to Bhai Sahib’s house, the black cats entered Bhai Sahib’s house by jumping the walls. The plan was to eliminate the whole family of Bhai Sahib but only Sardar Hazara Singh was at home, the black cats got this elderly man and fired bullets at him in the porch of Bhai Sahib’s house. Bibi Harjinder Kaur the daughter of Bhai Sahib’s brother, Bhai Shaminder Singh was also in the house but she remained hidden behind a wall and survived.

The police could not reach Bhai Sahib and for that reason they killed Bhai Sahib’s father, Sardar Hazara Singh, an elderly man in his house. Bhai Sahib wasn’t as hurt upon hearing the news of his father’s murder then he was when he heard about the murder of innocent villagers. Soon the black cat that had killed Sardar Hazara Singh was killed Bhai Jugraj Singh Rasheen Babbar at the bus station, Bhai Jugraj Singh Rasheen Babbar was from Bhai Sahib’s group. Accepting everything as the doing of Waheguru, Bhai Sahib continued doing his panthic actions, such actions of Bhai Sahib was remembered with respect even till today by the Sikh nation. The police of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi had put 40 lakh rupees on Bhai Sahib’s capture.

On the morning of 28th February 1993, the Barnala police was informed about Bhai Sahib by an informant by the name Bege. Bhai Sahib was travelling on a scooter with another singh to Barnala from Verokian. As Bhai Sahib did not reach his destination and the news went out amongst Sikhs that Bhai Sahib had been arrested.  The Barnala police wanted to be praised for catching Bhai Sahib alive, as they were scared to kill Bhai Sahib. The IG of Barnala police handed the custody of Bhai Sahib to the CIA of Faridkot at the bus station of Barnala on Chahal Road. The CRP had fully surrounded the area in case Khadku Singhs came to break Bhai Sahib out. A team under the command of Butcher Beanta the in charge of Faridkot’s CIA bought Bhai Sahib to Faridkot.

Bhai Sahib was now sitting in front of death. Bhai Sahib was brutally tortured but did not give any information to the cruel police and remained in chardikala. Bhai Sahib thought of the Ardas he had done with Bhai Harbhajan Singh Deliyanwali to not stand down to the oppressors and the torture of the oppressors. This was the reason why Bhai Sahib did not take the Sy-Nyde capsule, Bhai Sahib wanted to die like a puratan singh and take on all the pain that enemy gave. Bhai Sahib remained in deep meditation as he was inhumanly tortured. The police broke both of Bhai Sahib’s leg, the police of three districts had been torturing Bhai Sahib. The police would put petrol on to Bhai Sahib and set it alight, then after the police would put water on Bhai Sahib to put out the water. This torture tactic was repeated three times on Bhai Sahib but Bhai Sahib did not stop reciting simran.

The police of Faridkot was so scared that they had CRP officials deployed all over the surrounding areas of Faridkot. Bhai Sahib was continuously tortured up until the evening of 28th February 1993 and in the evening Bhai Sahib was handed over to the police of Jeto. At Jeto police station the SSP of Bathinda kicked Bhai Sahib and said, “How are you, Babbar Balwinder.” But Bhai Sahib was in deep meditation. After the even more torture Bhai Balwinder Singh Babbar of Ganga village attained shaheedi, the police took Bhai Sahib’s body to Dabrikhane and fired bullets into Bhai Sahib body to make and fake encounter. Even today the killers of Bhai Sahib get scared when they hear the name of Shaheed Bhai Balwinder Singh Ganga Babbar. One of the longest serving singhs of Babbar Khalsa was Bhai Balwinder Singh Ganga Babbar attained shaheedi on the night of 1st March 1993.

The house of this warrior is still in poor condition, the walls are weak while the roof is made from wood and leaks water, the porch is still unpaved with many potholes. Mata Gurdial Kaur, the mother of Shaheed Bhai Balwinder Singh Ganga Babbar tells us, even after all the harassment and loss of family is in chardikala. The barsi of Bhai Sahib was done in quiet for many years but for the last two years the locals have held major shaheedi smagams to honour Shaheed Bhai Balwinder Singh Ganga Babbar. The state of Shaheed Bhai Balwinder Singh Ganga Babbar’s house leaves us with many questions.

Tavareekh Babbar Khalsa – Karamjit Singh Sikhanwala