Shaheed Bhai Harnek Singh Fatehgarh
Shaheed Bhai Harnek Singh Fatehgarh
Khalistan Liberation Army
Village by the name of Fatehgarh in the Moga district, is the birthplace of a Sikh warrior, born on 3rd April 1966 in the house of Gursikh farmers, Sardar Janda Singh and from the womb of Mata Naseeb Kaur, a warrior came on to this planet and was named Bhai Harnek Singh. Bhai Sahib had 1 older brother, Bhai Atma Singh and 1 younger sister, Bibi Surjit Kaur. All the children were bought up in great Sikh atmosphere. Bhai Sahib and Bibi Surjit Kaur were very close, but both did not get on very well with the older brother. Bhai Sahib was a year and half older then Bibi Surjit Kaur, both studied at the same local school of the village. Bhai Sahib was one year ahead of his younger sister, when the Bhai Sahib finished school he went one year back, so Bhai Sahib could finish at the same time as his young sister.
Bhai Sahib would slap boys at school who’d harass girls or did wrong things. A teacher at school, Master Lala was known to hit children with sticks if they had messed about in his class. Bhai Sahib wrote a song on Master Lala and at breaks would sing it to the children. The words of the song were like this:
# Ballaya Dhori Dhori Oi Lala
Choohi Aakker Pai
Sohri Aakker Pai
Naalay Mayrian Bori Paaray
Naalay Mishri Khavay
Jad Mein Soti Le Ke Jana
Ghur Ghur Daraavay
Sohri Aaker Pai
Dhori Dhori Oi #
Upon hearing this, the teachers and the students were in stiches laughing so much. The children that studied with Bhai Sahib said, “Tomorrow only god can save you, Master Lala will beat you with his stick.” But the following day, Master Lala asked Bhai Sahib to sing the same song again, for which Bhai Sahib was rewarded with 2 rupees.
Bhai Sahib and Bibi Surjit Kaur were very mischievous and would break stuff around the house. Sometimes Bhai Sahib made Bibi Surjit Kaur cry, the Surjit will go to the father and tell of Bhai Sahib. But Sardar Atma Singh would say, “Don’t talk to Harnek for 2 days as he makes you cry.” But the innocent sister would say, “I can’t live without Harnek, even if he makes me cry.” This pair of brother and sister couldn’t live without each other, but time will come when Bhai Sahib would have to leave his sister.
13th April 1978, may Bhai Sahib be only 12 years old, but the massacre of 13 singhs changed Bhai Sahib’s thinking. Bhai Sahib would always ask question on the 1978 Visakhi massacre. In March 1984 after passing his metric in 1st division at a high school of Jalalabad, Bhai Sahib joined his father in farming. At this time Delhi government was planning the mass killing of Sikhs in Punjab.
In June 1984, the attack on Sri Harimandir Sahib by the Indian government took place and the fun loving character of Bhai Sahib was forever lost. Bhai Sahib never shared his pain with anybody, not even with his loving sister. When the curfew was lifted, the family went to Sri Harimandir Sahib and when Bhai Sahib saw the destruction of Sri Akaal Takht Sahib, his quietness went even quieter.
Some days later in Fatehgarh, Bibi Surjit Kaur was taking food to the farms for Bhai Sahib, she saw Bhai Sahib lost in deep thoughts. When Bibi Surjit Kaur asked Bhai Sahib to have the food she had bought for him, Bhai Sahib remained quiet. Bibi Surjit Kaur started looking at Bhai Sahib, trying to persuade him to answer. After this what Bhai Sahib will always be remembered by Bibi Surjit Kaur, Bhai Sahib said, “Surjit, now you should start getting on with our older brother.” Bibi Surjit Kaur did not understand the depth of these words as she was still young, she asked, “Why?” Bhai Sahib replied, “I am going to leave.” Bibi Surjit Kaur asked, “Where are you going to go?” Now Bhai Sahib started to get emotional and said, “How can we call ourselves Sikhs, they destroyed our Sri Harimandir Sahib.” The very innocent Bibi Surjit Kaur now understood what Bhai Sahib was talking about, Bibi Surjit Kaur tried to make Bhai Sahib to promise her not to leave home. Bibi Surjit Kaur said the family would get Bhai Sahib a job in the government sector, but Bhai Sahib had already made his mind up on not working for the cruel and unfair government. Some days after the family tried to get Bhai Sahib married but Bhai Sahib clearly said, “I know who I am going to get married to, you don’t have to worry about that.”
Bhai Sahib started attending Sikh smagams and secretly did sewa with local Khadku Singhs. When Bhai Sahib went to a smagam at Fatehgarh Sahib, he took amrit from the Panj Pyare and came home. At home Bhai Sahib told his family, “Today everything I have is Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s, whenever the Guru ask for it, I will happily give myself to him.”
Bhai Sahib’s height was 6foot 2inches. For a long time Bhai Sahib did actions while still staying at home. Soon the police was on to Bhai Sahib and had surrounded the whole village to arrest Bhai Sahib. As soon as Bhai Sahib realised , he said “Fateh” to his family and breaking the police curfew, Bhai Sahib managed to escape the village unharmed. Bhai Sahib had been chosen as the area commando of Khalistan Liberation Army.
Even though the family of Bhai Sahib knew that their young son will soon leave the house do to his sewa for the panth, Bibi Surjit Kaur could not stay away from her loving brother, Bhai Sahib arranged to meet his sister and when they met, Bibi Surjit Kaur hugged Bhai Sahib and said, “Either you take me with you or just kill me here.” Bhai Sahib gave his sister the courage to accept the reality. Perhaps no one could understand the relationship of this brother and sister. At the end Bhai Sahib got Bibi Surjit Kaur to agree on to stay with Bhai Sahib when she got married, as her husband would think she is with the family and the family would think she is with her husband.
Then the Bibi Surjit Kaur looked around and saw the singhs carrying assault rifles, she asked why the singhs were carrying guns, Bhai Sahib answered, “Villagers say, if the such and such Khadku Singh had a gun or ammunition, he would not have died and carried on fighting against the Indian security forces. I don’t want to the villagers to talk about me like that, I rather die fighting.”
The 6foot tall Bhai Harnek Singh was as brave as he was tall. Once when Bhai Sahib attacked a police station, his group looted all the weapons but Bhai Sahib took the whole wireless set which the police had used to communicate. This wireless set came to good use many times by Bhai Sahib, the singhs knew every move of the police. The police once surrounded one of the generals of Sikh Freedom Movement, Bhai Sarabjit Singh Uppal. Bhai Sahib found out about this via the wireless set. On the wireless set the police officer said, “We have surrounded Bhai Sarabjit Singh Uppal, send more forces.” Upon hearing this Bhai Sahib got ready, Bhai Sahib wanted to help Bhai Sarabjit Singh Uppal but Bhai Sahib was also alone their hideout. Bhai Sahib could not even send a message to any of the singhs from his group. Bhai Sahib got his gun and jumped on to a tractor to go to the location of the encounter. The police was not yet in big numbers. Bhai Sahib parked his tractor on the side of a farm and started firing bullets towards the police. The police thought more singhs have come to help Bhai Sarabjit Singh Uppal escape and the police got nervous. Taking the advantage of Bhai Sahib’s cover fire, Bhai Sarabjit Singh Uppal made his way to Bhai Sahib. The singhs shouted war cries as they fired bullets towards the police, they mounted back on to the tractor and made their escape out of the area. The bravery was praised throughout the freedom fighting groups till today.
Under the command of Makhan Jalal, the police once surrounded Bhai Sahib in the village of Bal. Bhai Sahib came into the farms to start the encounter as he didn’t want to cause any harm to the villagers. Bhai Sahib openly challenged Makhan Jalal to come into the battle himself, but the cowardly Makhan Jalal did not accept the challenge, instead he got his constables to fire at Bhai Sahib. As Bhai Sahib moved forward, the police shot Bhai Sahib in the thigh with a bullet from a machine gun. This made Bhai Sahib stay in one place and continue the encounter. Now the single lion was surrounded by the police, but Bhai Sahib carried on battling till his very last breath and later attained shaheedi. The days when Bhai Sahib attained shahadat, his loving sister, Bibi Surjit Kaur was preparing to be married. As the police prepared to cremate Bhai Sahib, the family of Bhai Sahib was preparing for the wedding of Bibi Surjit Kaur. Bhai Sahib will always be remembered for his bravery but most importantly the love he had for Sikhi, always.
Purja Purja Kat Maray – Baljit Singh Khalsa