Shaheed Bhai Surinder Singh Nagoke

Nagoke Jatha


Bhai Surinder Singh Nagoke was a resident of village Suba Singh Varingh, which is in Amritsar. Bhai Sahib’s father was Sardar Ganda Singh and their mother Bibi Kesar Kaur. Bhai Sahib’s wife was Bibi Ajit Kaur and he has three children, including two sons and one daughter. Bhai Sahib had one brother. Bhai Sahib worked in the agriculture industry and spiritually was dedicated to doing Sewa with the Akhand Kirtani Jatha International group. However, during the build up to the Battle of Amritsar in June 1984, Bhai Sahib and his nephew, Bhai Balwinder Singh Nagoke went to join Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Khalsa Bhindranwale at Sri Harimandir Sahib, Amritsar. Bhai Balwinder Singh (Bhai Sahib’s nephew) was an expert in Sikh martial arts.


Once, as Bhai Balwinder Singh Nagoke was returning from college on a rickshaw, a group of local group of Hindu fascists thought it would be funny to try and take off Bhai Balwinder Singh’s turban and mock him. This group of Hindu goons overpowered a single Sikh and took of his turban and ran away. When Sant Baba Jarnail Singh Khalsa Bhindranwale got the news about this, he gave an ultimatum that if these Hindi fascists do not return the turban of Bhai Balwinder Singh Nagoke before 5pm the same day, all of the people involved in this will be killed by the Jhujaru Singhs. Upon hearing the ultimatum, the group of Hindu fascists returned the turban of Bhai Balwinder Singh Nagoke. Witnessing this, we can see the love and respect that existed between the Jhujaru Singhs of Babbar Khalsa and Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Khalsa Bhindranwale.


Before June 1984 and the attack on Sri Harmandir Sahib, the Jatha of Nagoke always came forward when it came down to fighting for the basic human rights of minorities. Even the Majha area of Punjab praised the Jhujaru Singhs of Nagoke village and soon this group known in every household as defenders of faith. The village of Nagoke was amongst one of the most valued villages in Punjab. Bhai Kulwant Singh Nagoke was a great Sikh martyr who also hailed from the village of Nagoke. When Babbar Khalsa was established, Bhai Surinder Singh Nagoke was called upon by Jhujaru Singhs to take the leadership of this Jhujaru group. But Bhai Sahib politely declined this duty as he was staying with the Jhujaru Singhs from the Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Khalsa Bhindranwale’s group. Bhai Surinder Singh Nagoke was the Jathedar of the Singhs of Nagoke Jatha. Following are some of the Jhujaru Singhs of this group, Bhai Ohan Singh, Bhai Jassa Singh, Bhai Kulwant Singh Nagoke and Bhai Lakha Singh, all these Singhs were together as a brotherhood. No matter if the Jhujaru Singhs were part of different groups but Bhai Surinder Singh Nagoke, Bhai Anokh Singh Babbar, Bhai Sulakhan Singh Babbar, Bhai Madha Singh Babbar, Bhai Gurnam Singh Hawaldar Babbar, Bhai Lakhvir Singh and many other Jhujaru Singhs had a lot of love and respect towards each other. During that time, Bhai Surinder Singh Nagoke had done many Jhujaru actions in secret, as taking responsibilities for Jhujaru actions at that time wasn’t a big deal.


The exchange between the Sikhs and the fascist government of India was getting intense as June 1984 was approaching. The cruel Indian government had sent their army forces to Punjab and seal the whole state completely. Sikhs with turbans could not even ride a bike in Punjab without being harassed by the Indian security forces. Then as the month of June started, Sri Harmandir Sahib and more than 40 other Gurdwara Sahibs were attacked by the Indian security forces under the orders of Indian Gandhi, the prime minister of India. It was a very tough time for the people of Punjab, as they had been isolated from rest of the world. As the assault the throne of Sikhs had started, the armed forces of the Indian government had surrounded Sri Harmandir Sahib and the close by premises. The water tank was also destroyed by the forces, the electricity and telephone line were cut off. The supply of fresh milk and vegetables were all stopped as well. Since it was the martyrdom day of the fifth Guru, Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji Maharaj, it was expected that a lot of Sikh congregations would come to Sri Harmandir Sahib to pay their respects. The attack carried out by the Indian army, by using tanks and cannons to destroy Sri Akaal Takht Sahib and Sri Harmandir Sahib, left a wound on the hearts of the Sikh community. Countless innocent Sikhs, including children, women, old and young were brutally murdered by the Indian army.


Some Jhujaru Singh’s who were defending the complex had the thought that if they were going to attain martyrdom, then they would attain it at Sri Harmandir Sahib. Then there were some Jhujaru Singh’s who had decided to escape the Sri Harmandir Sahib complex and start the fight for freedom (Khalistan) outside the 4 walls of the complex, and there were also some Sikh politicians, mainly the leaders of Akali Dal, who fearing for their lives decided to surrender to the Indian army and turn their backs on the Sikh struggle.


By 5th June 1984, there were many Jhujaru Singhs from the Babbar Khalsa and Damdami Taksal, who wanted to escape the complex to fight a much stronger and wider fight for Khalistan on the outside. Many Jhujaru Singhs were successful in escaping from the Langar Hall side and from the backside of Sri Akaal Takht Sahib building. As the Indian tanks and its uniformed soldiers approached Sri Akaal Takht Sahib, Jhujaru Singhs under the command of Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Khalsa Bhindranwale were getting ready to come out of Sri Akaal Takht Sahib to take the last stand against the Indian attackers. Bhai Surinder Singh Nagoke and his nephew, Bhai Balwinder Singh Nagoke were both with Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Khalsa Bhindranwale. Some of the Jhujaru Singhs of the Nagoke Jatha managed to escape from the complex who later on attained martyrdom fighting under the command of Khalistan Commando Force.


On the night of 5th June 1984, the situation got intense and dangerous Jhujaru Singhs to escape. The government had started to keep an eye on those who wanted to escape. Bhai Surinder Singh Nagoke and Bhai Balwinder Singh Nagoke came out in the open to take part in an open battle on the grounds in front of the Sri Akaal Takht Sahib and under the Miri Piri Nishan Sahibs. Seeing their fellow Jhujaru Singhs attain martyrdom around the Parikarma, and as their ammunition had finished, Bhai Surinder Singh Nagoke and his nephew decided to escape from behind Sri Akaal Takht Sahib to join other Jhujaru Singhs that had escaped and fight the battle for freedom from the outside. As both of the Jhujaru Singhs were moving for their escape, the Indian army spotted them and fired bullets towards them. Both, Bhai Surinder Singh Nagoke and Bhai Balwinder Singh Nagoke attained martyrdom beside the Sarovar of Sri Harimandir Sahib.


Information given by the family of Shaheed Bhai Surinder Singh Nagoke