Shaheedi Purab :- Read in English and Punjabi
To break the slavery of the British rule over India, the Sikhs sacrificed more lives than any other faith of India. But only Hindus were given the freedom while all other faiths were treated as second class citizens. Leaders such as Nehru and Gandhi broke their promises that were made to the Sikhs. Many anti-Sikh practices to the people of India to degrade Sikhism. From 1947 till today the government of India has been trying to wash out Sikhism. For the freedom of India, 90% of the sacrifices were made by the Sikh community, but we also must not forget that Sikhs only make the 2% of the Indian population. Even after this huge sacrifice for Indian, the Sikhs were denied their separate Identity. The Sikh nation tolerated this injustice until the 13 Sikhs were brutally killed on 13th April 1978, when they peacefully protested against the beadbi of Guru Granth Sahib Ji, this was when Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale had enough and stood up against the Indian government for denying the Sikhs justice. The whole Indian Sikh population supported Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale in the Dharam Yudh Morcha. Many Sikhs promised to give their lives for the cause of equality and Sikh identity. Babbar Khalsa was also created, under the command of Jathedar Bhai Sukhdev Singh Babbar the singhs started doing actions and serving justice to the Sikh nation as the Indian government had failed to do so. After the Indian government attacked Sri Harimandir Sahib in June 1984, this made every Sikh youth wanting to avenge the killings of thousands of innocent Sikhs and the disrespect of Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Bhai Ghukar Singh Babbar is one many thousands of Sikh warriors that attained shaheedi fighting the oppression of the Indian government after the attack on Sri Harimandir Sahib.
Bhai Ghukar Singh Babbar was born in the year of 1963 from the womb of Mata Sachiar Kaur and in the house of Jathedar Mukhtiar Singh in the village of Heerewal, district Mansa. In total Bhai Sahib were 6 brothers and these brothers had one caring sister. Bhai Sahib was married to Bibi Harpal Kaur and had a son as well as one daughter. Bhai Sahib had taken amrit at a very young age as Jathedar Mukhtiar Singh was well respected figure amongst the Dam Dami Taksal and the Akali Dal. The family had taken part in many campaigns for the chardikala of the panth. Bhai Sahib studied up till 5th class and after started helping his father at the family farms. Then later Bhai Sahib was sent to Rajasthan to do Kar Sewa of a gurudwara being built there, but as Bhai Sahib could not stay away from home and loved ones, Bhai Sahib soon returned home. At this time in Punjab farmers were protesting against the Indian government to implement better standards of the agriculture industry. The government had stopped taking the farmed wheat, sugar canes, etc from the farmers of the Punjab, this had threaten the livelihood of the farmers. Bhai Sahib joined the framers union after the locals of his village requested him to. Bhai Sahib was sent to the village of Hodhla by the farmers union to be the voice of the local farmers there, but at the same time Bhai Sahib was involved in an encounter in this village to along with the singhs of Babbar Khalsa. As Bhai Sahib’s family was connected politically as well as religiously, the Khadku Singhs would come to the family house regularly. Bhai Sahib soon established a good relationship with the Khadku Singh and started secretly doing actions with them. Bhai Sahib remained a secret helper for many actions, but when the police found out of Bhai Sahib’s involvement and started harassing the family, Bhai Sahib went underground and openly picked up his assault rifle to declared war upon the Indian oppressors.
Bhai Sahib joined the Babbar Khalsa International and did many actions under the command of Bhai Balwinder Singh Bhullar Babbar. Bhai Sahib punished many anti-Sikh elements. The police and informants were scared upon hearing his name. The Babbar Khalsa group of Bhai Balwinder Singh Bhullar Babbar’s group did an action with the Indian security forces in the village of Hodhla. In this action Bhai Sahib was battling the Indian security forces alongside Bhai Tarsem Singh Karendhi Babbar, Bhai Amrik Singh Biru Babbar, Bhai Angrej Singh Geja Babbar, Bhai Amrik Singh Ankhi Babbar and Bhai Nihal Singh Barnala Babbar. The singhs successfully completed their mission and managed to escape from there. Later as the police found out that Bhai Sahib was linked to the singhs of Bhullar’s group, they started harassing Bhai Sahib’s family even more, by trashing their house and breaking the furniture. The police also would break the gates of the house so no one could be denied the entry. On 22nd May 1991 the police of Mansa arrested Bhai Bhugar Singh, the brother of Bhai Sahib and his chacha, Sardar Hameer Singh. Both of these singhs were taken to the CIA HQ of Mansa to be brutally tortured. When the police got no information from the singhs, they broke both legs of Bhai Bhugar Singh and boiled Bhai Hameer Singh. After this horrendous torture, both singhs were thrown into their cells to die. Jathedar Mukhtiar Singh along with his political contacts were travelling police station to police station looking for his son and brother. The close friends told Jathedar Mukhtiar Singh to stop looking for his family as the times were bad and the police might arrest him as well, but Jathedar told his friends, “How can I stay away, I don’t know where my son and my brother are, or what condition they are in. What will I do staying alive at the age of 67?” Bhai Sahib’s father searched in many police stations for his family and in the end he found out that Bhai Bhugar Singh and Sardar Hameer Singh had been inhumanly tortured and had attained shaheedi in the custody of the police. Till today the family does not know where their bodies were cremated or if they were cremated. Bhai Sahib knowing what had happened to his family, remained in chardikala and continued his sewa within the Sikh Freedom Movement. The remaining family members had to leave home to save their lives.
The evil tactics of the Punjab police did not distract Bhai Sahib from his sewa, but the police still didn’t stop their harassment on Bhai Sahib’s family. Bhai Sahib’s father had now moved to a village named Baher and started farming under different name, but an informant had informed the police of these changes and on 18th May 1991, Inspector Jarnail Singh arrested Jathedar Mukhtiar Singh and another son, Bhai Tikka Singh from their farms. The rest of the family felt helpless by not being able to stop the police from taking another two members of the family. Once the police took them, no one knew what happened to these two singhs or what kind torture they had faced. The family could not do anything but pray for their safety. Information gained from a police insider, Bhai Tikka Singh was brutally tortured in front his father, then the drunken police officers tortured both the father and son. The drunken Thanedar told Bhai Sahib’s father, “Old man, your brother and son died due to the torture, now you will also die with your other son here”. Jathedar Mukhtiar Singh replied, “I’m going to die one day anyway, if it’s not here then it’ll be elsewhere”. The Thanedar was now even angrier with the brave answer from Bhai Sahib’s father. On 27th-28th July 1991, the police took Bhai Sahib’s father and brother to the fields and killed them in a fake encounter. Now Bhai Sahib had lost 4 members of his family to the torture of the evil police force of India, but still remained in chardikala and continued his actions with the singhs of Babbar Khalsa. The reason why Bhai Sahib remained in chardikala was because the singhs of Babbar Khalsa such as, Bhai Balwinder Singh Bullet, Bhai Balwinder Singh Ganga, Bhai Gurmail Singh Raipur, Bhai Angrej Singh Geja, Bhai Nihal Singh Barnala, Bhai Amrik Singh Biru and Bhai Tarsem Singh Karendhi gave Bhai Sahib the courage to carry on.
Bhai Sahib use to say, “I will be shaheed one day, but I hope no one’s house gets destroyed. I want to be shaheed in a battlefield”. Bhai Sahib’s wish soon came true, in the farms of Raipur and encounter started with the Indian security forces. In this encounter Bhai Sahib was badly wounded, the fellow singhs tried to pick Bhai Sahib up and get him out of the area. Bhai Angrej Singh Geja lifted Bhai Sahib on his shoulders and managed to take Bhai Sahib quiet far, but Bhai Sahib knew he wasn’t going to make it and told the singhs, “While I take my last breath, i want to battle against these dogs of Delhi. Leave me here and you escape while I keep the dogs busy”. The singhs did not want to leave a soldier of the Sikh nation behind but the brave words of Bhai Sahib and his brave wish to be a shaheed in a battle made Bhai Balwinder Singh Bullet, Bhai Amrik Singh Biru, Bhai Angrej Singh Geja, Bhai Nihal Singh Barnala and Bhai Tarsem Singh Karendhi accept his wish and the singhs escaped. Bhai Sahib attained shaheedi fighting the Indian security forces till his very last breath on 3rd August 1993. The whole area was surrounded with the dark clouds of sadness after Bhai Sahib’s shaheedi. The locals tried to stop their tears but they were unstoppable, as Bhai Sahib had stayed in Raipur many times. We knew this as many Sri Akhand Paath Sahibs were held in the village of Raipur for his shaheedi. Since the shaheedi of Bhai Sahib, a salana barsi is held every year on 3rd August in the village of Heerewal.
After the shaheedi, the police inspector Budh Singh arrested and heavily tortured Bhai Sahib’s remaining brother, Bhai Bhala Singh. Even after the brutal treatment of the police, the family of Bhai Sahib still remained the supporters of the Sikh Freedom Movement. When we met Bhai Sahib’s family they were so happy, as if they had got Bhai Ghukar Singh back. The families of the shaheeds in the area keep a very strong relationship, they are always there to share each others sadness and happiness. When we were in Bhai Sahib’s house a phone came, it was the family of Shaheed Bhai Bashir Mohammed inviting the family to his salana barsi at a Gurudwara Sulisar, Bhai Sahib’s family also took us with them. At the barsi, we experienced the same courage and bravery as what Bhai Sahib. The Sikh nation will always hail these warriors that gave their shahadat for our future.
Tavareekh Babbar Khalsa – Karamjit Singh Sikhanwala via 1984tribute