Shaheed Bhai Joginder Singh Nangal Kalan

Martyr of June 1984


Bhai Joginder Singh was born in the year 1934 from the blessed womb of mother Mata Gurnam Kaur and father Jathedar Sardar Dharam Singh, in the village of Nangal Kalan, near Mehalpur, Hoshiarpur. Bhai Joginder Singh was the middle child of three siblings, an elder brother Bhai Darshan Singh and younger brother Bhai Mohinder Singh. From a young age Bhai Joginder Singh lived with his father at a religious spiritual centre in the village of Thathian, near Baba Bakala and studied up to eighth grade here. The entire family was fully devoted to their faith and all members were baptised and had been blessed with Amrit. This was due to their close association and following of the Damdami Taksal.


Bhai Joginder Singh and both his brothers had received full education and training in the recital of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj.  Soon after Bhai Joginder Singh was appointed a Granthi Singh (revered Sikh priest) by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), at Sri Harmandir Sahib Amritsar, where he would regularly recite the full reading of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj.


In the year 1971, Bhai Joginder Singh came back to his home village of Nangal Kalan, where he continued his priest service at the local Gurdwara Sahib. In parallel, he had also become the village Sarpanch (council leader) and contributed in serving his community too. His marriage, Anand Karaj was arranged with Bibi Gurmeet Kaur. They were blessed with five children – Gurgian Singh, Kuldip Kaur, Harjit Kaur, Kulwinder Kaur and Dalwinder Singh. Bhai Joginder Singh’s elder brother Bhai Mohinder Singh was also a qualified Granthi Singh (Sikh Priest). His younger brother never returned home from the spiritual centre of the Damdami Taksal. He remained there and continued his service.


In 1982, Bhai Joginder Singh again, returned to Sri Harmandir Sahib to serve as a Granthi Sahib (Sikh Priest). His main duty was reciting the continuous readings of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj, known as Sri Akhand Paath Sahib, on the upper section of the Darbar Sahib, Har Ki Pauri. It was during these days that the fight for the right of Sikhs and Punjab were in full swing, spearheaded by the Damdami Taksal and Shiromani Akali Dal, known as the Dharam Yudh Morcha (The battle for the freedom of religious rights). This movement was led by no other than the great Sant Giani Jarnail Singh Ji Khalsa Bhindranwale. Bhai Joginder Singh was positively influenced by the speeches and sermons by Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Khalsa Bhindranwale and Bhai Joginder Singh would often get the privilege to meet him in person.


In May 1984, Bhai Joginder Singh made an unexpected trip back to his family home for approximately a week and then returned back to Amritsar on 28th May 1984. By this time, it was apparent that preparations were underway by the Indian State Government to forge its attack on the Sikhs most holiest and sacred place, Sri Harmandir Sahib. The Indian Government announced its army law and order around Punjab and Amritsar.


On 3rd June 1984, the martyrdom remembrance day of the fifth Guru of the Sikhs, Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji Maharaj, mass Sikhs had travelled to Amritsar to pay homage at the Sri Harmandir Sahib. In turn connivingly, the Indian Government had the army impose a curfew. The city had now been surrounded by up to 100,000 army personnel and the local civilians were shocked at what was going on and brewing.


Bhai Joginder Singh’s fellow priest spoke out and requested Bhai Joginder Singh that the situation is worsening and that they should find a way out and escape. Bhai Joginder Singh proclaimed, “No my fellow Singhs, we cannot dishonour or break the continuous reading of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj, it will be blasphemous. We must not stop reciting. We must stand in solidarity with the great Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Khalsa Bhindranwale. If the army will come upon us then we too will give our lives in sacrifice and never would we turn our back on our beloved Guru.”

‘Kabir, Muhe Marne Ka Chao Hai Maro Te Har Ke Dwaar’

O’Kabir, Should I take on the desire of death, let it be in the house of my beloved God.


The Indian army surged their way onto the complex like a heinous evil monster. They began firing showers of bullets towards Sri Harmandir Sahib and the Sri Akaal Takht Sahib. In retaliation, the Jhujaru Singhs defended and fought back with tremendous bravery and courage. The battle had just begun.


On 4th June 1984, Bhai Joginder Singh was appointed the duty of reciting the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj in the Parikarma, outside Sri Akaal Takht Sahib. Bhai Joginder Singh began his duty at approximately 5am. As he was lovingly reading the Gurbani, heavy military firing could be heard all round the complex. At this very moment, a bullet struck Bhai Joginder Singh exactly to his forehead, where he met his last moment and stayed true to his word sacrificing his life for the Guru.


On 28th May 1990, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, in remembrance of Shaheed Bhai Joginder Singh honoured his family in front of the congregation. At the time of Bhai Joginder Singh’s martyrdom, his eldest son was only 10 years of age with the youngest child a mere 1 year old. Bhai Joginder Singh’s wife unfortunately was left to struggle financially and experienced many hardships in raising her family. To this day the family work day on day to make ends meet financially. It is our duty as a Sikh nation to look after the families of these great Shaheeds and souls. Let’s do our utmost to contribute financially and honour these families with a better life which they deserve.


Information given by Shaheed Bhai Joginder Singh Nangal Kalan