The great holy saint soldier SANT JARNAIL SINGH BHINDRANWALA who was born this day 67 years ago(born in 1947), He resisted mighty Indian army in it’s invasion on Golden Temple in 1984 Sikh nation. The whole Sikh nation pay it’s tribute and bow their heads in due respect before PRIDE OF SIKH NATION (ANAKH-E-QAUM).
To make the attack acceptable to the general public in India, the Sant had to be shown up as a Frankenstein. When governments have to kill popular persons they have to first criminalize them in the eyes of the public. Even in the case of Siri Guru Tegh Bahadur Saihb, the government at that time described him as a dacoit engaged in plunder to justify his beheading. In the case of Sant Bhindranwale, this was systematically done with cooperation from the Akalis. The massacre of Sikhs that followed was to teach a lesson to this troublesome minority. According to Joyce Pettigrew: “The army went into Darbar Sahib not to eliminate a political figure or a political movement but to suppress the culture of a people, to attack their heart, to strike a blow at their spirit and self-confidence.”
Is it reasonable for a government to send in the Army to devastate a religious place because it is allegedly controlled by a person against whom it has no legal charges?
Is it criminal to be popular? Should a person and all his associates be condemned to death for this crime? We need to ponder over it.
In fact Indira had animosity with Sikhs in general as they were the only community who opposed the emergency in 1975 when all his opponents were terrorized by her. Sikhs protested in large numbers and filled jails in Punjab.
The Generals of Indian army had assured the then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi that they will get control of Akal Takhat sahib within just half an hour only. And shall arrest Sant Jarnail Singh ji Bhindranwala dead or alive. Indira Gandhi had given such orders to General Vaidya, the Commanding officer in chief of Indian army as;
“I don’t give a damn if the Golden Temple and whole of Amritsar are destroyed, I want Bhindranwale dead.” (Indira Gandhi, Indian Prime Minister, communicating with Gen. Vaidya during “Operation Blue Star”)
Through this we get a glimpse of Indira Gandhi’s stubborn nature, but she was also a figure among ciphers. It was revealed by none other then by President of Bhartiya Janta Party in his book, ‘ My country my life’ as…. “He persuaded Indira to attack on Golden temple”
Sant Ji never ordered murder of any innocent person and he consistently condemned violence against innocent people. However, he did name certain police officers who had been guilty of torturing and killing innocent people whose only crime was that they belonged to the Bhindranwale Jatha. In this context, please permit me to quote from my book “Struggle for Justice” my conversation with I.K. Gujral in 1987 by a Sikh scholar Ranbir Singh Sandhu.
“Hindu leaders were content to go along with the Government or indeed to demand more strict action against the Sant. They paid no heed to the Sant’s complaints of violation of human rights in Punjab. Typical of this attitude was a statement by Gujral who said, in the course of an eloquent speech, that the Sikh struggle had been peaceful but was taken over by violent elements. This writer (Ranbir Singh Sandhu) asked him if he was referring to Sant Bhindranwale as the violent elements’. He agreed. This writer reminded him that Sant Bhindranwale, in one of his speeches, had mentioned that over 140 persons had been killed and another one thousand crippled in police torture up to that date and that the Sikhs had tried persuasion with the police, legal action in the courts and appeals to the national leaders and the press but that nobody had made any effort to stop the torture and the killings in custody, and that the Sant had then gone on to ask the public as to how long the Sikhs should continue to quietly suffer without defending themselves? This writer asked Gujral as to whether, in his opinion or according to his information, Sant Bhindranwale was lying and if not, what did leaders like him do about the killings and torture by the police and what should the Sant have done in the face of this oppression? Gujral replied that he had never thought about the problem from that point of view.”
Incidentally, RS Sandhu sent Gujral a copy of the above with a request that he may correct him if his notes of the conversation were not correct. he did not get a reply.
Then why did the President of Bhartiya Janta Party persuaded Indira? There are may be many reasons behind it but there is no doubt that he fuelled in fire just because of his biased thoughts of anti Sikh views. The effect of Sant Jarnail Singh was noticed upon Sikh youths, they dropped use of intoxications and followed true path of Sikh religion by embracing Sikh religion through Amrit initiation. Thousands of youths flocked for Amrit initiation daily in Sikh Gurudwaras, it increased tension on fanatic Hindu organization—the Rss (Rashtriya Swaynsewak Sangh) because it wanted to merge Sikh religion as sect of Hinduism, and because the conflict between true (Radical) Khalsa and Brahminic Hindus (high class Hindus) was on high esteem, both are against each other.
The Sikh religion de-recognize its high class status in society and opposes idol worship. Hence these fanatic Hindus found their grip loosing on Sikh youths. Thus the Lal Krishan Adwani got a golden opportunity to avenge from Sant Jarnail Singh ji Bhindranwale and incited Indira Gandhi to invade on greatest Sikh shrine —-the Golden Temple by Indian army.
However, it must be admitted that he was a devout Sikh and baptized thousands of people into mainfolds of Khalsa.
“The Sant’s following grew as he successfully regenerated the ‘good’ life of purity, dedication and hard work by reviving these fundamental values of the Sikh religion’s way of life.” (Vandana Shiva: The Violence of the Green Revolution, Research Foundation for Science and Ecology, Dehra Dun, 1989.)
I hope I have made clear that Sant Bhindranwale did not get involved in politics. He was a simple preacher and had no political ambitions. On the other hand, it was politicians who surrounded him and, in killing him, also destroyed all the good work he had done in his parchar. I understand that today Punjab leads every other state in India in consumption of alcohol and drugs. Sant Bhindranwale was a scapegoat dubbed as Congress agent by the Akalis while he lived and eventually killed by the Congress government along with the revival he had so ably led.
Even his critics admit that. Talveen ‘Nashey chaddo, Amrit chhako, Gursikh bano’. (to drop usage of drugs, initiate Amrit to be pure Khalsa and be a true Sikh of Guru)Singh tells us that he preached.
And Sd. Khushwant Singh writes: ‘Bhindranwale’s amrit prachar was a resounding success. Adults in their thousands took oaths in public to abjure liquor, tobacco and drugs and were baptized. Video cassettes showing blue films and cinema houses lost out to the village gurdwara. Men not only saved money they had earlier squandered in self-indulgence, but now worked longer hours on their lands and raised better crops. They had much to be grateful for to Jarnail Singh who came to be revered by them as Baba Sant Jarnail Singhji Khalsa Bhindranwale.’
In the end, if Sant ji ws a terrorist, as Indian govt. label him, then if the attack was to take place regardless Sardar Gurdev Singh, District Magistrate at Amritsar until shortly before the invasion, is on record (letter addressed to I.K. Gujral, dated 26 January 1996, published in Abstract of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh, October-December 1996, pp. 106-111) as having assured the Governor of the state That he could arrest anyone in Darbar Sahib at any time. When Sardar Gurdev Singh told Governor Pandey that if the object was to arrest Bhindranwale, there was no need for the Army to act and that he could do it; the Governor is said to have replied: “That is not the point”.
In any case, at the time of the attack, there was no court case or summons against Sant Bhindranwale.
Ajmer Singh Randhwa.