Shaheed Bhai Harpal Singh alias Fauja Singh
Shaheed Bhai Harpal Singh alias Fauja Singh
In the long list of singhs and singhnia that attained shaheedi while fighting in the Sikh armed struggle, Shaheed Bhai Harpal Singh Varingh Mahanpur alias Fauja Singh is in that list. Born in the year of 1965, in the house of Sardar Lachman Singh and from the womb of Mata Mahinder Kaur, Bhai Sahib was born in the village Varingh Mahanpur near Chola Sahib, district Tarn Taran. Bhai Sahib was the youngest of 6 children, 3 brothers, Bhai Hardev Singh, Bhai Jagtar Singh, Bhai Mukhtiar Singh and 2 sisters, Bibi Parkash Kaur, Bibi Harjit Kaur.
The whole family had taken amrit from the Jatha of Baba Tara Singh Sarhaliwale in 1977, Bhai Sahib was only 12 years old. In 1981 at Dera Sahib’s government school, Bhai Sahib passed his metric and known as a good player of hockey.
Beginning of 1984 Bhai Sahib gave his arrest via Dharam Yudh Morcha and stayed at Ludhiana jail. As Bhai Sahib was released, he went back home, soon the government of India cut Punjab off from rest of the world and launched an attack at Sri Harimandir Sahib with its army. At this time Bhai Sahib was at the Dera of Baba Tara Singh in Sarhali. After the attack Bhai Sahib devoted his life to doing sewa for the panth. Baba Tara Singh assigned Bhai Sahib to sewa at Dera Karmuwala which was located in the Mand area.
While doing sewa at this Dera, Bhai Sahib came in contact with local Khadku Singhs. Bhai Avtar Singh Bramha was known as the king of Mand, Bhai Sahib and Bhai Bramha had a lot of brotherly love between them. Many Khadku Singhs that passed by the Dera would do darshan here f Guru Granth Sahib Ji and Bhai Sahib would serve the singhs Langar.
Once all of a sudden the Punjab police and CRP surrounded the Mand area to carry out an operation to capture the singhs. In the chilly nights, Bhai Sahib went to the headquarters of Bhai Avtar Singh Bramha and warned the singhs about the Indian security forces surrounding the Mand area. As the news was delivered to Bhai Bramha, Bhai Sahib was thanked by the Khadku Singhs. Thanks to Bhai Sahib’s early warning the singhs managed to escape and once again the Indian security forces had failed.
Bhai Sahib now secretly started doing actions within the Sikh Freedom Movement. In 1985 the police started looking for Bhai Sahib, in connection with the killing of the Shiv Sena leader in Chola Sahib. Bhai Sahib went underground and started doing more panthic actions.
On 10th January 1986, it was the Jor Mela at Gurudwara of Sultanpur Lodhi. Bhai Sahib was also at this Jor Mela with Bhai Wassan Singh Sakheera, Bhai Jagdish Singh Bhola, Bhai Pipal Singh Dholewal and Bhai Lakha Singh Bandala. At this Jor Mela an Akali Dal minister had been making a speech against Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale, everybody was listening and no one had the strength to challenge this Akali minister. Soon a lady got up and started walking out of the sangat, she looked at the sangat and shouted, “There are so many Sikhs here, but no one can stop this minister from talking against the 20th century true Sikh, Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale.” These words went around and into the ears of Bhai Wassan Singh Sakheera and now the focus of the singhs went towards the stage. The singhs walked to the front of the stage, but the minister was still talking against Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale. Upon hearing these insults on Sant Ji’s name, Bhai Wassan Singh Sakheera who was with Bhai Sahib said, “I’m going to kill him here and now for spitting venom against Sant Ji.” But Bhai Lakha Singh Bandala said, “Keep cool, we will definitely punish this minister but let’s get out of here alive first. There is too much CRP here, if we kill him we will not get out of here alive.” But Bhai Wassan Singh Sakheera was angry and replied, “I don’t care what happens, we must kill him now, it’s not the same killing him later.” After the planning amongst the singhs, they came to an agreement of punishing the minister. Bhai Wassan Singh Sakheera got on to the stage and said to the minister, “Is your mind in the right place?” The minister replied, “No, it’s in the wrong place.” Bhai Wassan Singh Sakheera pulled is gun out and shot the minister in the head. The minister’s dead body did many summersaults as it fell of the stage. The crowd started running out of the tent and the guarding CRP started searching for the singhs, but before the CRP could get close to the singhs, CRP found themselves in an all out encounter with the Singhs. Bhai Lakha Singh Bandala attained shaheedi in this encounter, the singhs made an temporary bunker and rained bullets on to the CRP. The singhs faught till their last bullet and when the ammo finished the singhs came out. The police arrested them, while handcuffing the singhs one police officer said, “The singhs were battling like there is no tomorrow.” One of the singhs replied, “Our ammunition has finished, what kind of encounter do you expect? Give us ammunition and we’ll carry on with the encounter.” The singhs including Bhai Sahib knew that after being arrested the police would brutally torture them. The singhs were ready and did not say a single word through all the torture.
After charging the singhs with murder and firearms they were sent to Kapurthala jail, then to Amritsar jail and then in the end were kept at the high security jail of Nabha. Till 1989, Bhai Sahib stayed in Nabha jail. In jail Bhai Sahib met many Khadku Singhs of Sikh Freedom Movement, later that year Bhai Resham Singh Babbar had many singhs bailed out of jail. After coming out Bhai Sahib met the singhs of Babbar Khalsa, such as Bhai Sukhdev Singh Chabba and Bhai Mahinder Singh Peod.
To keep Bhai Sahib at home, the family married Bhai Sahib to Bibi Kulwant Kaur daughter of Sardar Charan Singh of village Khara. The Babbars also advised Bhai Sahib to secretly help the movement from home. The evening of his wedding day, the Sarhali police came to the family house and took Bhai Sahib. The family and the villagers told the police that they are trying to keep Bhai Sahib at home but the police are trying to push him into the Sikh armed struggle. The police did not care and the first night of Bhai Sahib’s marriage was spent in Sarhali police station. The next day Bhai Sahib’s family paid a lot of money to bail Bhai Sahib out.
Some days later the Vhiroval police came to arrest Bhai Sahib. It was afternoon time, the police asked Bhai Sahib to come with them to the police station. Bhai Sahib knew that the police will not stop harassing him at the family house. Bhai Sahib told the police to have a cup of tea while he quickly has a bath. The police said ok and while having a cup of tea, the police was looking at Bhai Sahib’s wedding album. As Bhai Sahib went in to the bathroom, Bhai Sahib ran away from the back side of the house. The police tried to catch Bhai Sahib but could not catch him. The police took Bhai Sahib’s elderly parents, his newly wedded wife, Bhai Sahib’s brother, Bhai Mukhtiar Singh’s family including his 2 months old daughter to the police station. The generals of Babbar Khalsa advised Bhai Sahib to go back home and after negotiating with the police inspector Mohammed Mustafa, Bhai Sahib turned himself in to the police and the family was released. Some days later the family was also able to bail Bhai Sahib once again.
After being bailed Bhai Sahib stayed at home and did some crucial sewa of the movement from home secretly. Soon Bibi Kulwant Singh gave birth to Bhai Sahib’s daughter, Prabhjot Kaur. The couple had a baby boy, Buta Singh.
November 1990, one black cat had Bhai Sahib arrested and at the police station Bhai Sahib was questioned, but Bhai Sahib did not admit to nothing. The Thanedar told Bhai Sahib to go home. The black cat did not like this and went to the senior officer to the Thanedar and told him that the Thanedar has released a Sikh militant. The Thanedar was cautioned and a warrant was released to have Bhai Sahib arrested, but now Bhai Sahib started staying away from home. The police arrested Bhai Sahib as he was on his way to Amritsar, on this day Bhai Sahib was unarmed.
Bhai Sahib was blindly tortured but Bhai Sahib did not open his mouth. In the end 3rd November 1990, in the night near Sultanwind river Bhai Sahib was killed in a fake encounter. Bhai Sahib did not let the police get to the singhs of Babbar Khalsa. There are many things to learn from this Sikh warriors great life.
Purja Purja Kay Maray – Baljit Singh Khalsa