Birth And Family
Bhai Kanwarjit Singh Sultanwind was born in the house of Sardar Jasbir Singh and from the womb of Mata Bhagwant Kaur in the village of Sultanwind, district Amritsar. The family was known as Zameendars with wealth and a lot of land. Operation Bluestar had woken up families that had forgotten Sikhi and its principals, but in Bhai Sahib’s family Sikhi had remained from the start.
June 1984, government of India attacked Sri Harimandir Sahib and killed countless innocent Sikhs. When the Indian government put out a curfew all over Punjab, the Sikh youth were forced to stay inside their homes, but the Sikh youth of village Sultanwind, just outside Amritsar came on to the streets and didn’t worry about the army or their bullets. The Sikh youth burnt the shops that had celebrated the attack on Sri Darbar Sahib. The shopkeepers made a list of Sikh youth that had burnt their shops and gave it to the police. On this list Bhai Sahib’s name was at the top. Within 2 hours the army arrested Bhai Sahib from his family house and after charging Bhai Sahib with many cases, mostly fake, he was sent jail. Sometime later Bhai Sahib was bailed out by the family after paying a bug sum of money.
Torture of the army
The racist Hindus of Bhai Sahib’s area did not like the fact Bhai Sahib was freed from jail without any torture. These racist people stressed the police to do something to teach Bhai Sahib a lesson. For this reason, when Bhai Sahib was released and came home at 10 o’clock at night, the very next morning the army raided Bhai Sahib’s home and arrested him.
The family tried to find out what was happening to Bhai Sahib but no information was given to the family. For three months the family connected many police stations and many family members that were in police and army. Then after three months a member of the family, who was a major in the army found out where Bhai Sahib was. When the family was told about Bhai Sahib they could not believe the news as they had thought that Bhai Sahib may have been killed by the Indian government. Bhai Sahib had been tortured so much that he could not talk neither make any movements. The army major got asked Bhai Sahib to write a letter to his family stating that he is still alive. With the help of a fellow inmate Bhai Sahib few words on a paper and gave to the major to give to the family. The letter read, “I am okay. Kanwarjit”. and when the family got the letter, they believed that their son was still alive. In the days of Bhai Sahib’s torture, many Sikh youth attained shaheedi by the brutal torture of Indian security forces.
As the family tried so much to bail Bhai Sahib out, the army finally charged him with many fake cases and sent Bhai Sahib to jail. After a month in jail the family managed to bail Bhai Sahib out. A day after Bhai Sahib being bailed, as Bhai Sahib travelled to his farms on a tractor, the police stopped him near the bridge of the Sultanwind river. The police grabbed Bhai Sahib off the tractor and once again arrested him. Bhai Sahib was charged with firearms theft act and sent to jail again.
This time the police did not give the money to the hungry police officers. Bhai Sahib stayed in jail for a long time and met many singhs of the Sikh Freedom Movement. In his time in jail, through some singhs, Bhai Sahib came in contact with Bhai Manbir Singh Chaheru and gained Bhai Chaheru’s trust. As Bhai Sahib was reaching the end of his sentence, the police again charged him with more fake cases and extended his sentence.
The police was planning on killing 19-20 Sikh youth from the Jalandhar jail in a fake encounter. The fake encounter was to take place at the Atari border, but the news of this cowardly act reached out in to the Sikh nation and to the family of Bhai Sahib. The family members started questioning the police and ministers about this encounter. The local Sikhs of Amritsar put heavy pressure on the police. The police made their way to the Atari border without Bhai Sahib and killed rest of the Sikh youth in a fake encounter. This was a devastating shock to Bhai Sahib.
Breaking out of police custody
Bhai Sahib had now made his mind up on joining the Sikh Freedom Movement and jumping into the battlefield against the racist Indian government. In April 1987, Bhai Harjinder Singh Jinda, Bhai Sukhdev Singh Sukha, Bhai Ajitpal Singh, Bhai Balwinder Singh Baba and Bhai Manbir Singh Chaheru attacked the police at Bhai Sahib’s court date in Amritsar and freed Bhai Sahib. Now Bhai Sahib had become the sewadar of Khalistan Commando Force under the command of Bhai Manbir Singh Chaheru.
Whenever Bhai Sahib travelled, he did so, on foot or a cycle. Normally Bhai Sahib would travel from one place to another at night and reach his destination in the morning. Bhai Sahib did not like disturbing the Sikh families at night, but if Bhai Sahib did reach the destination at night, Bhai Sahib would not disturb the family any further by say no to food, “I’ve eaten when I left to come here”. But if the family found out that Bhai Sahib is just saying that to not give hassle to the family then the family will force him to have food, the Bhai Sahib would say, “If the food has already been made then give it to me or please don’t make it fresh”.
The singhs would praise you for giving up the easy and wealthy life at home and facing many struggles being underground.
Bhai Sahib was against the blind killing of people. Bhai Sahib used to say, “Instead of Khalistan (land of pure), we’ll have Khalistan (empty land) by killing innocent people”. Bhai Sahib knew of the racist Hindus who had named him as a ringleader at the protest in June 1984, but Bhai Sahib never dealt with them personally, for this reason Bhai Sahib at times took refuge in the houses of Hindus.
Within days Bhai Sahib became a class A Khadku Singh. Bhai Sahib had a hand in breaking General Labh Singh out of the custody of police in the Jalandhar courts. When the waters were released from the Paakhar Dame by General Kumar, Bhai Sahib punished him also. For many cases in which Bhai Sahib was involved, the police started a hunt on Bhai Sahib. Bhai Sahib never encouraged the Sikh youth to take part in the Sikh armed struggle. The Sikh youth that wanted to do sewa within the armed struggle, Bhai Sahib would say to them, “Get educated for the panth that is the sewa that needs to be done. We are the soldiers of Khalistan and we need educated Sikhs who would run Khalistan”.
Once Bhai Sahib’s nephew, Bhai Jaskaran Singh took admission into a weak school, Bhai Sahib met Bhai Jaskaran Singh and said, “We are giving our lives up, so you can study to the highest level. But if you don’t study properly what will happen to Khalistan? Next year take admission into a batter school”.
Bhai Sahib was quiet well educated himself, before Bhai Sahib escaped from the jail, Bhai Sahib had filled in forms to take exams from jail. Bhai Sahib kept an eye on looters and would get the looted valuables from the looters after punishing them and give it back to the families. Also if singhs made mistakes within the Sikh Freedom Movement, Bhai Sahib would Bhai Sahib would take the matters seriously. Bhai Sahib regularly said, “We will not get Khalistan by killing villagers”.
At the time of Operation Black Thunder, Bhai Sahib sent a letter to the Khadku Singhs in Sri Harimandir Sahib asking them to come out and do sewa outside Sri Darbar Sahib.
In love with the battlefield
Once Bhai Sahib and Bhai Avtar Singh were staying at the house Khadku Singh’s sister, the police soon surrounded the house. The singhs only had a revolver. With the revolver the singhs came out of the house and on to the road. Bhai Sahib and Bhai Avtar Singh started firing bullets towards the police and tried to escape. But as Bhai Avtar Singh could not jump the high wall, the police shot and he attained shaheedi while Bhai Sahib jumped the wall but in the process, he was also shot in the leg with more than 20 bullets of the police, but Bhai Sahib still managed to jump roof to roof to escape the police.
After the treatment of Bhai Sahib’s leg his wounds had healed but Bhai Sahib could not run. Even with this setback, Bhai Sahib carried on doing the big panthic actions. Bhai Sahib’s sister was married to a singh in Canada and told Bhai Sahib to come to for the full treatment but Bhai Sahib said no. Bhai Sahib’s sister also told Bhai Sahib, “Make your way to Pakistan and from there, we will get you to Canada. After the treatment you can come back to Punjab”. But Bhai Sahib’s answer was, “Sister, I give courage to many Khadku Singhs to carry on the movement, if I am to leave the battlefield then that would be cowardly off me to think about myself”.
Bhai Sahib would get the money from home for the treatment of his leg, Bhai Sahib would never use the money of the movement for his personal reasons. Bhai Sahib would note every penny he spent within the movement in his dairy. Till the last days of Bhai Sahib, every penny he had spent was in the dairy. Bhai Sahib sold some of his land and injected the money into the movement. Bhai Sahib also worked hard to bring all freedom fighting groups under one roof, Bhai Sahib managed to get 5 freedom fighting groups to merge into one. It is said that if Bhai Sahib had stayed alive a little bit longer the more freedom fighting groups could have merged into one. As Bhai Sahib started a mission 20 days before his shaheedi of bring as many Khadku Singhs together as possible.
Bhai Sahib had contacts in all places, Bhai Sahib was also close to the Mujhedeens of Afghanistan, as they were also fighting for freedom at that time. Bhai Sahib also said that Pakistan is helping Sikhs to damage India, they don’t have the sympathy for the lost lives of innocent Sikhs. Bhai Sahib would say, “We are not making Khalistan, we are making the foundation strong of Khalistan. Who’ll make Khalistan, we’ll have to see”.
When Bhai Harjinder Singh Jinda and Bhai Satnam Singh Bawa were arrested in Delhi due to an informant, Bhai Sahib was also staying in Delhi. The same informant had Bhai Balwinder Singh Baba arrested too, but Bhai Sahib had freed Bhai Balwinder Singh Baba by carrying out an action plan. Bhai Sahib also punished the informant for his betrayal on the Sikh people.
Bhai Nirmal Singh Nimma Mianwind was older than Bhai Sahib, but Bhai Mianwind would call Bhai Sahib ‘Bhau Ji’ with respect. Bhai Sahib had asked Bhai Mianwind not to call him that, but Bhai Mianwind said, “Bhau Ji, I may be older than you, but you are wiser than me”.
18th October 1989, Bhai Sahib, Bhai Nirmal Singh Nimma Mianwind and a Sikh student from Lailpur Khalsa College were in Jalandhar waiting for a meeting to take place at the house of a Sikh, but someone had informed the police about this meeting. The police arrested Bhai Sahib, Bhai Nirmal Singh Nimma Mianwind and the Sikh student. The police did not know who these singhs were and were taking the singhs to the police station to get their identity. Bhai Sahib knew as soon as the singhs reached the police station, they would be recongnised and tortured to death. As the singhs were being taken to the police station, Bhai Sahib knew he could not run due to Bhai Sahib being shot previously, Bhai Sahib gave Bhai Nirmal Singh Nimma Mianwind the sign to jump out of the gypsy and run to escape and Bhai Sahib himself to a Sy-Nyde capsule and attained shaheedi. As Bhai Nirmal Singh Nimma Mianwind jumped out and ran the police shot him in the back with their LMGs and Bhai Nirmal Singh Nimma Mianwind also attained shaheedi. From the Sikh student the police found out that they had killed two brave lions of the Sikh Freedom Movement.
The family was called to identify the shaheedi saroops of the singhs and later the cremation took place. The question was raised at the cremation, that which singh should be cremated first? Someone said, it should be Bhai Nirmal Singh Nimma Mianwind as he was older. Then one of Bhai Mianwind’s close family member said, “No, Nimma would regularly tell me that he may have been older than Bhau Ji, but Bhau Ji was wiser than him. So, cremate Bhai Kanwarjit Singh Sultanwind first as that is what Bhai Nirmal Singh Nimma Mianwind would want”.
After the fire of the cremation hugged the singhs, the sangat had tears flowing in their eyes. But one question of Bhai Kanwarjit Singh Sultanwind remains unanswered,”We are not making Khalistan, we are making the foundation strong of Khalistan. Who’ll make Khalistan, we’ll have to see”.
Purja Purja Kat Maray – Baljit Singh Khalsa via 1984tribute.com