Shaheed Bhai Surinder Singh alias Bhai Sangram Singh Babbar

Babbar Khalsa

The land of Malwa has witnessed many shahadats of Singhs of Babbar Khalsa who have fought against the oppression of the Indian government. The village of Chak Madrasa, district Mukhatsar in the Malwa area has also witnessed the birth of a 20th century Sikh saint-soldier, Bhai Surinder Singh Babbar.

In the house of Sardar Malkeet Singh there is no gate to enter his house, it shows that the family of this warrior is financially struggling. The local villagers came here to get their clothes sewed, but today the locals remember this village as Shaheed Bhai Surinder Singh alias Shaheed Bhai Sangram Singh Babbar. Bhai Sahib is remembered as DC, Deputy Chief.

Bhai Sahib was born the house of Sardar Malkeet Singh and from the womb of Daljit Kaur. Bhai Sahib had 3 brothers, 2 sisters and was the oldest of all. Bhai Sahib stayed at his Mama Dr Balbir Singh’s house in Faridkot. Here Bhai Sahib studied at Manjit Inderpuna Primary School of village Dogar Basti and later Bhai Sahib passed his 12th class at a school in Lakhewar. His brothers and sisters also studied, but being the eldest son, Bhai Sahib struggled to make ends meet and went to the school of Lakhewar with all the stress. Bhai Sahib would come home after school, have food and then go to work for rest of the day at a local construction site. When Bhai Sahib came back from working at the construction site, he would come home and help his father sew clothes. When friends asked Bhai Sahib, why he works so much, Bhai Sahib would smile and say, “The body is made for work, the more work I do, is still less than what I really can do. Also we have got the human life after 84 lakh lives, we must do as many good deeds as possible, so that we will be remembered after we leave this world.” Bhai Sahib lived up to this, Bhai Sahib is remembered all over the world for his brave panthic sewa. After passing metric, Bhai Sahib did a course of Draftsmen. Bhai Sahib had knowledge in most of fields and found work in the health sector. Now all the financial responsibilities of the house had landed on the shoulders of Bhai Sahib. Bhai Sahib’s father did not get much sewing work as Sardar Malkeet Singh could not keep up with all the new style of suits that had come out. The whole house of Bhai Sahib had been struggling massively. Bhai Sahib respected the Sikh life and rehat maryada he was blessed by Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Bhai Sahib would give his wages to his family after taking dasvandh and giving it to the singhs towards the panthic sewa.

13th April 1978 massacre of 13 Sikhs and more than 150 wounded from the hand of the Nirankari cult, had a deep effect on Bhai Sahib and Bhai Sahib came in contact with the sangat of Akhand Kirtani Jatha. Bhai Sahib always did sehaj paath of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji at home for the wellbeing of the Sikh nation. The killings and injuries of Sikhs caused by the Nirankaris made Bhai Sahib tie up his harmonium which he did kirtan with and put it away, Bhai Sahib said “now kirtan will not save the Sikhs of India, only the Khanda, the double edged sword held by a true Sikh of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji can save the Sikhs.

In 1982 Bhai Sahib went to Sri Harimandir Sahib and met up with Jathedar of Babbar Khalsa, Bhai Sukhdev Singh Babbar. After sharing their thoughts, Bhai Sahib joined Babbar Khalsa under the command of Bhai Sukhdev Singh Babbar. Sometimes Bhai Sahib took days of at work and stayed at Sri Darbar Sahib and did sewa of the singhs by washing and ironing their clothes. Bhai Sahib would cross his legs hours on end and recite the true name of lord and many Sikh prayers. Bhai Sahib was not tall and his body was not well built, people could never have guessed that Bhai Sahib was a Khadku Singh. Bhai Sahib went home from Nanak Niwas to meet his family 8 days before the June 1984 attack.

When Bhai Sahib worked in Faridkot, the police of Bathinda had raided the house of Bhai Sahib’s family on 26th July 1986 regarding the bombings but the police did not get their hands on Bhai Sahib. After getting this news Bhai Sahib transferred his job to Mukhatsar and moved there. The area of Mukhatsar was nicknamed ‘Babbaran da Bunga’ and after the shaheedi of Bhai Harbhajan Singh Babbar of Mand Falori, Bhai Sahib was given the rank of Deputy Chief of Malwa area. In 1985 elections, Bhai Sahib was well known for his involvement in the car bombings under the command of Bhai Sulakhan Singh Babbar, Bhai Bakhtavar Singh Vakeel Bathinda and Bhai Kulwant Singh Babbar. The singhs of Babbar Khalsa made magnetic timer controlled bombs, which could be put under the car petrol tank, the plan was to explode many cars all over Punjab at the same time. Bhai Sahib did many actions in secrecy with true singhs of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji such as Bhai Jasminder Singh Babbar Ludhian, Bhai Jaswinder Singh Happy Sivia, Bhai Balwinder Singh Babbar Ganga, Bhai Harbhajan Singh Babbar Deliyanwali and many more top Khadku Singhs. In 1990 Bhai Sahib came on to the radar of the Mukhatsar police for some action that may have been done by Bhai Sahib and once again Bhai Sahib left Mukhatsar and moved out. The singhs of Babbar Khalsa gave Bhai Sahib a secret name of Bhai Sangram Singh Babbar. The love and passion of Bhai Sahib towards Sikhi made space for him in the hearts of people around Bhai Sahib. Anyone that met Bhai Sahib once would remember Bhai Sahib for rest of their life.

When SSP Gobind Ram was killed by a bomb, Bhai Sahib was in Mukhatsar Sahib at the Mela of Maagi at Gurudwara Tibi Sahib. There Bhai Sahib made a Kabar of SSP Gobind Ram and stuck a board on it saying, “This is the Kabar of dusht Gobind Ram and the Sikh sangat travelling to Holla Mohalla must stop here and hit this Kabar of the Sikh enemy with shoes and go to Holla Mohalla.” His actions and sewa for the panth has made this warrior to be remembered up till today and beyond.

Due to the security being tightened up for Bhai Sahib in Punjab by the police of Faridkot and Mukhatsar, Bhai Sahib left Punjab. The Family and relatives of Bhai Sahib were harassed by the police continuously, the police torture the younger brother of Bhai Sahib in such a brutal way that even today he is recovering from his injuries.

13th April 1991, Bhai Sahib held a bhog of Sehaj paath of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji for the chardikala of shaheed singhs, Bhai Sahib himself did the ardas and Bhai Balwinder Singh Ganga Babbar had read the Hukamnama. That day the Hukamnama came from ang 923 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. The Hukamnama started with;

raamkalee sadu

Raamkalee, Sadd ~ The Call Of Death:

ik-oNkaar satgur parsaad.

One Universal Creator God. By The Grace Of The True Guru:

and ended with;

har gureh bhaanaa dee-ee vadi-aa-ee Dhur likhi-aa laykh rajaa-ay jee-o.

It pleased the Guru, the Lord, to bestow glorious greatness upon Him; such was the pre-ordained destiny of the Lord`s Will.

kahai sundar sunhu santahu sabh jagat pairee paa-ay jee-o.

Says Sundar, listen, O Saints: all the world fell at His feet.

Bhai Sahib knew that Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji had given him a sign that his life of panthic sewa would came to an end.

SSP Swarn Singh of Faridkot also known as SSP Ghotana, held a meeting in beginning of November 1991 after an informant had given him information Khadku Singhs in Kotakpura. Punjab police and CIA of Faridkot gave the responsibility of catching Bhai Sahib within 8 days to Inspector Bachan Singh, who was known for his ill and brutal treatment of innocent Sikhs. A friend of Bhai Sahib by the name of Baljinder Munchhi of village Thara showed his true colours, when he went to the police and gave the locations where Bhai Sahib had stayed to the Indian authorities. Black cat Baljinder Munchhi told the police that Bhai Sahib would come back to Punjab after Diwali. After Diwali the Indian security forces put their civil clothed officers at Delhi railway station and started to investigate the Nagpur area, where Bhai Sahib was known to be staying, but Bhai Sahib was not found in Nagpur.

10th November 1991, 8am at Delhi railway station, a train from Nagpur arrived and the civil clothed police had surrounded the train. As Bhai Sahib got off the train, he realised something was wrong. Bhai Sahib was wearing dull white turban and was suited and booted and looked as a tradesman who had come to Delhi for business. Bhai Sahib tried to change his appearance but the black cat Baljinder Munchhi recongnised Bhai Sahib and went running towards Bhai Sahib, said fateh and hugged him tight. Baljinder Munchhi did not let Bhai Sahib go, in fact this was a sign to the civil clothed police that this man was Bhai Surinder Singh Babbar. The civil clothed police pounced on Bhai Sahib, Bhai Sahib was still thinking if Baljinder Munchhi was loving him or betraying him. The police arrested Bhai Sahib after strip searching him to see if Bhai Sahib had a Sy-Nyde capsule, as singhs prefer to take the capsule of death rather than being arrested by the police.

The police took Bhai Sahib to the CIA Headquarters of Faridkot, now the Indian government had started to torture yet another Sikh soldier. From 11th November -23rd November 1991 the Indian authorities had blindly tortured Bhai Sahib.

As well as having Bhai Sahib in custody, the Faridkot police had Bhai Avtar Singh Ladoo of village Rajoana and Bhai Shamsher Singh of village Bhullar were also in custody. These 2 singhs were arrested in Ganga Nagar’s Dana Mandi by the Rajasthani police. Both singhs were sent to Sangrur jail from Rajasthan and then moved to the Faridkot jail with Bhai Sahib.

Bhai Avtar Singh Ladoo did simran loudly, the officers of the prison use to put fingers into their ears, but no one dare tell the singhs to stop doing simran. Meanwhile Bhai Sahib had broken bones from the torture of the police and Bhai Sahib could not move. The night of 23rd November 1991 was the last night of these Babbars. Bhai Sahib, Bhai Avtar Singh Ladoo of village Rajoana and Bhai Shamsher Singh of village Bhullar were killed in fake encounter in the village of Bajekhane. In the jail the inmates could see the blood drenched blanket of Bhai Sahib and realised that the police have taken the singhs to finish them off. After killing all 3 singhs, the body of Shaheed Bhai Avtar Singh Ladoo was thrown into a river near Faridkot and the bodies of Shaheed Bhai Surinder Singh Babbar and Shaheed Bhai Shamsher Singh Bhullar was cremated at Raj Baagh in Faridkot. The reason behind throwing Shaheed Bhai Avtar Singh Ladoo body into the river was, when the singhs were transferred from Rajasthan to Sangrur jail and SSP of Sangrur Satish Sharma released a press statement stating that Bhai Avtar Singh Ladoo had jumped of the gypsy into the flowing river in an attempt to escape and his body is still being searched for.

The families of these shaheeds tried to see their sons and husbands but after seeing the faces of the cowardly police the families realised that the singhs have left this earth and are sitting at the feet of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. This photo of Bhai Sahib is from his Anand Karaj ceremony with Bibi Hardeep Kaur in November 1988 in the area of Moga, this marriage took place in the sangat of Akhand Kirtani Jatha. After the shaheedi of Bhai Sahib, Bibi Hardeep Kaur left home to go stay with her own family, Bhai Sahib had no children.

When we met the family of Bhai Sahib, we asked the mother of Bhai Sahib if there was any belonging of Bhai Sahib in the house. Mata Ji replied that the police had taken all his belongings. The family could not even do the Sri Akhand Paath Sahib for the shaheedi of Bhai Sahib in fear of the police. Mata Ji said that her son Surinder was a gifted child and no one can call her son a terrorist. Mata Ji also pointed out that after the shahadat of Bhai Sahib the family was forgotten and no one came to help.

Local villagers said a Sri Akhand Paath Sahib took place at a secret location by some singhs of Babbar Khalsa and Akhand Kirtani Jatha. When Bhai Sahib attained shaheedi, 2 singhs of Babbar Khalsa came to the family house to present the family with a gold medal, a sword with the stamp of Babbar Khalsa International and a Saropa was presented to Mata Ji, but the following day police came to the house and took the sword and gold medal. Every singh shaheed of Babbar Khalsa was honoured with a gold medal, sword and a Saropa. On 29th November 1991 it was announced in all Punjabi papers that and Sri Akhand Paath Sahib was held at a secret location for the shaheed singhs and requested the Sikh nation to recite the prayer of Benti Choupai, these ads were funded by Babbar Khalsa.

The Family of Bhai Sahib can’t forget their son, as Bhai Sahib was the eldest and looked after the family. Bhai Sahib made his family and relative proud of his sewa for the family and for the panth. The police may have destroyed all his belongings but the memories of Bhai Sahib are still alive in the hearts of the family. Now the question is, have we, the Sikh nation forgotten this fallen soldier?

Tavareekh Babbar Khalsa – Karamjit Singh Sikhiwala