Shaheed Bhai Major Singh Shahura

Khalistan Liberation Force

Some years back when the Sikh Freedom Movement was on its peak, the public would regularly talk about the actions of the Khadku Singhs and honour their bravery. The Kavishri Jathas of that time also wrote great inspiring poetry on honour the panthic shaheeds. One Kavisheri Jatha in particular wrote about how the singhs of Guru Gobind Singh Ji punished the evil witch, Indira Gandhi. It is said that Indira Gandhi on the day of her assassination, she had forgotten to put on her bulletproof jacket. The Kavishers picked up on this and made classic poetry that would honour the singhs forever.

“Phul Gi Mein Jacket Pauni,

Goli Na Maari Ve”

The same Kavisheri Jatha that sang the above Shaheedi Vaar, honoured Shaheed Bhai Dalbir Singh Billa Varpal of Khalistan Liberation Force.

“Dhumma Pe Giyaan Ne Ghar Ghar Saray,

Bhai Billay Varpal Diyan.”


Copies of these albums are still sold in large numbers within Punjab and also outside Punjab, but only few people that have love for the Sikh Freedom Movement would know that this Kavisher is no other than Bhai Major Singh Shahura, attain shaheedi in a fake encounter set up by the Punjab police.

Bhai Major Singh Shahura was born in the year of 1967, from the womb of Mata Kashmir Kaur and in the house of Sardar Darshan Singh in the village of Shahura, district Amritsar. Bhai Sahib had 2 brothers, Bhai Joginder Singh, Bhai Gurwinder Singh and 1 sister, Bibi Sukhwinder Kaur. Due to certain circumstances, Bhai Sahib did not go to school. Bhai Sahib was a bright child and learnt to read and write Punjabi at home with the help of his mother. From a very young age, Bhai Sahib enjoyed singing. When farming or even milking the cows, Bhai Sahib would singhs in his high notes and the voice of Bhai Sahib will travel all around the village making the locals, especially his mother feel at peace.

The attack on Sri Harimandir Sahib in June 1984 and the Sikh genocide that followed after the assassination of Indira Gandhi in October 1984 had a deep impact of Bhai Sahib’s life. It was said that Indira Gandhi normally would wear a bulletproof jacket, but on the morning of 31st October 1984, she had forgotten to put on her bulletproof jacket. Bhai Beant Singh and Bhai Satwant Singh assassinated Indira Gandhi in her own home. At that time Bhai Sahib wrote many Shaheedi Vaars regarding the assassination of Indira Gandhi and also in honour of Bhai Dalbir Singh Billa Varpal which were recorded and made into an album named ‘Phul Gi Mein Jacket Pauni’.

The second track on this album was dedicated to the bravery of Shaheed Bhai Dalbir Singh Billa Varpal. The village not far from Varpal held an annual Mela in which thousands of members of public would attend. Bhai Sahib also had relatives in Varpal, which gave him another excuse to attend the Mela. At the Mela, Bhai Sab got onto the stage and started singing Shaheedi Vaaran to honour the singhs of Sikh Freedom Movement. The standing Punjab police were rocked soon as they heard the voice of Bhai Sahib, they had thought that the Khadku Singhs have come to punish someone. That day Bhai Sahib sang much of work in Kavisheri style, meanwhile the Punjab police kept on taking notes on Bhai Sahib.

Three days after the Mela, Punjab police in 5 jeeps entered the village of Shahura and went straight to Bhai Sahib’s house in the early hours of the morning. Bhai Sahib was sleeping, the police officer asked Mata Kashmir Kaur, “Where is Major Singh?” Mata Kashmir Kaur had understood what was going on and answered, “He is not here.” The officer then pointed at the sleeping Bhai Sahib and asked, “Who is this?” Mata Kashmir Kaur replied, “He is our guest.” Officer said, “Where has he come from and what relation is he to you?” Mata Kashmir Kaur quickly made up something and said, “He is my sister’s Brother-In-Law and he is from the village of Chogavaan.” The police left the house but arrested another Major Singh from the village. By now Bhai Sahib had woken up and was told by his mother what had happened. Bhai Sahib felt right in leaving the village and did so by walking past the police force that was stationed around the village.

After this the police regularly started raiding Bhai Sahib’s house and Bhai Sahib himself started staying away from home. From the information gathered, Bhai Sahib was thought to be the member of Bhai Dalbir Singh Billa Varpal’s group, Khalistan Liberation Force. On 14th September 1987, there were more civil clothed police than the actual uniformed police at the Mela of Shahura village. Bhai Sahib fearlessly came to the Mela knowing the heavy presence of the police. Bhai Sahib his eagle alike eye on the undercover police officers, but Bhai Sahib was not aware the some of the singhs wearing Taksali chola and round turbans were in fact black cats. These black cats were tightening the gap on Bhai Sahib and when close enough the black cats pounced on Bhai Sahib as he watched the Kabbadi match. When the general public saw the black cats grab Bhai Sahib, the crowd dispersed for their own safety, later Bhai Sahib was put into a jeep by the police and taken away.

Once the family received the news of Bhai Sahib’s arrest, they did everything in their power to free Bhai Sahib, but the police did not admit arresting Bhai Sahib. Then on the night of 8th October 1987, the Punjab police bought Bhai Sahib to a mud road in between the villages of Shahura and Boparai. At this time Bhai Sahib was in weak condition due to the blind torture he had faced in police custody. The Punjab police did such things in the dark, so no one would see the evil crimes of the police force. But luckily the fake encounter was witnessed by someone who till today is scared to come forward due to the fear of being killed by the Punjab police. The witness told the family that the police untied the hands of Bhai Sahib and said, “Go on run.” Bhai Sahib exactly knew what the police was trying to do and replied, “You might as well do what you bought me here for, but give me my turban, so that after my kes don’t get disrespected.” The cruel police officer did not fulfil this wish of Bhai Sahib and fired dozens of bullets at Bhai Sahib. The police left the body of Bhai Sahib on the mud road and then went back to their stations.

The news spread amongst the public like a fire, but the Punjab police said, “In an intense encounter in between the villages of Boparai and Shahura an unidentified Khadku Singh has been killed.” Even the newspapers reported similar story, but the photo of Bhai Sahib’s shaheedi saroop with his hair scattered, which was printed on the newspaper was not of an unidentified Khadku Singh to the people Shahura and surrounding villages. Mata Kashmir Kaur realised the shaheedi of her son after reading the newspaper on the 9th October 1987. Some days after the fake encounter of Bhai Sahib, the police confirmed that it was Shaheed Bhai Major Singh Shahura that was the unidentified Khadku Singh, the police also said that Bhai Sahib was wanted for 5 murders. Shaheed Bhai Major Singh Shahura may not be with us in his physical form but the voice of Bhai Sahib will forever live on.

Khalsa Fatehnama – July 2010