Thursday, January 16, 2020

Sakhi Series :- 269 (Sardari, Sabar & Shukar)

*Sardari, sabar & shukar in Sikhi – A story*

This story is set in the mid-18th century in the north-east of the vast Indian subcontinent – today's Punjab up to Delhi and covering Pakistan, Baluchistan and Afghanistan. It is that period when Sikhs virtually lived on horseback – just after the passing on of Guru Gobind Singh Ji (1708) up to the Khalsa Raj of Maharajah Ranjit Singh (1799)

Ehmedh Shah Abdali, the marauder from the north-east, Afghanistan, arrives in Lahore on his way back. He was on his way back after one of his marauding and looting trips into north-east India and after many skirmishes with the elusive Sikhs who kept relieving him of his loot and slaves.

All of modern-day Pakistan and north India was under Muslim rule in this period. He asks a question of his host the Subedar (Administrator) of Lahore: Who are these warriors who keep robbing me? After all he did not consider himself a thief! The Subedar answers – these are SIKHS.

"Who is their leader?" He asks. "I beat the Marathas in Panipat just once and they have never been able to raise their heads again. But who are these Sikhs and who is their leader? Whenever I return after gathering bounty and slaves up to Delhi, they attack me with ferocity. Sometimes I hear Charhat Singh. Sometimes Baghel Singh. Sometimes Karam Singh. Sometimes Jassa Singh. And others. Some of them or others of the same mob relieve me of a great amount of my bounty!"

The Subedar answers: "Shahenshah khud hi ko bhaakhat. Kaan na kahoo kiye raakhat. -They are not afraid of any earthly king and yet, all of them are Kings. There is no lesser one amongst them. Each of them takes on the responsibility of a leader in battle, because all of them consider themselves kings."

"Where do they stay?" asks Abdali.

"In the jungles. Virtually on horseback. Ever ready."

"Who is their Guru?"

The Subedar answers: "Their Guru? I can only tell you this. Murshidh inka velibheyo hai. Inko aape hayaat diyo hai - Their Guru has given them such an 'amrit', that we are tired of trying to eliminate them, but they are undefeatable They cannot be wiped out."

"What do they eat?" he asks again.

Subedar: I do not know what they eat, but I can tell you how they eat. They prepare food called 'langgar' wherever they rest for a couple of days because they are mostly on the move. Then they sound the war drum and announce loudly, "Bhookha dait avaza koyi. Ao degh tyar Gur hoyi." (We wish to announce that Guru Ka Langgar is ready and if anyone is hungry, come and eat!)

Ehmadh Shah Abdali was bemused. "Strange people! They prepare the food and offer it to anyone and everyone, including enemies! They are fugitives on the run, yet when they have food they announce that to everyone to come and eat!"

"Yes," says the Subedar, "and even enemies are welcome!"

"And what if the enemy comes?" Abdali asks.

"Yes, they sometimes do," says Subedar.

"What if the enemy is hungry and actually takes them up on their offer and eats all their food, leaving them nothing?" asks Abdali jokingly.

The answer, as written in the Sikh historical 'Panth Parkash' is symbolic of the character of a true Sikh. "They then eat whatever, if anything, is left over, or do not eat at all as it is all eaten already, yet they do an Ardaas thanking Waheguru that at least their enemy has eaten."

"Bache to dana aap khale hain, neheen to langgar mast fateh hain".

Not only in peacetime but also in war, a Sikh will 'vand ke shako' – share the food with others, even enemies. This is the 'sabar and shukar' – gratitude of one's lot, that Sikh practices.

Hence, the eternal legend of 'langgar' of the Sikhs globally today.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Sakhi Series :- 268 ( Mere Show of Devotion is of No Use)

Mere Show of Devotion is of No Use
(Source : [Book]The Gospel of the Sikh Gurus ) 

Bhai kalu, Nanu and Haari Kohli came to Guru Arjun Dev ji, prostrated and prayed for clarification that some devotees hear and recite 'Gurbani' and indulge in noble deeds. Yet
others indulge in evil deeds even after reciting 'Gurbani'. If the Guru's word is nectar, why are only some benefited and not others?

Guru ji said that those disciples who listen to 'Gurbani' with the noble intention of terminating their birth and death cycle are liberated. Other who recite 'Gurbani' to enhance
their ego or achieving objects of enjoyment, how can they be liberated? They are like a snake that attracts other insects with the light of the proverbial jewel on his head (mani)
and then swallows them. Similarly, evil persons who recite 'Gurbani' make a show of it to others and cheat them. They  are not benefited.

Those who meditate on 'Narayan', the Unmanifested Lord with dedication and one-pointed mind are liberated.

A Real Warrior is One Who Battles His Own Mind

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji


We treasure a beautiful story of a Sikh of Agra who was a humble grass-cutter. The tents of the two kings being pitched side by side in the fields, the poor Sikh approached Jehangir's tent wifh an offering of two copper pice out of his wages, and desired to know where was "the True King" "Whom do you wish to see ?" said Jehangir. "I want to see the True King," said the grass-cutter. "I am the king," said Jehangir. The grass-cutter placed his offerings before him, bowed down to him, and rose and said, "0 True King! save me, thy slave, from this sea of darkness, and take me into thy refuge of light that is All Knowledge." On this the Emperor told him that he was not the king sought, and that the saviour's tent was pitched yonder. The grass-cutter hastily took back his offerings, and went running to the Guru.

The queen, NurJehan, took a deep interest in the Guru, and had many interviews with him. Also, with the poor frequenting the place, he was in much repute as a comforter.

During these days, Jehangir fell ill; and, following the barbarous advice of his Hindu ministers, he invited his astrologers to tell him of his evil stars that brought illness on him. These astrologers were heavily bribed by Chandu, who was always seeking to detach the Emperor from Guru Har Gobind. The astrologers accordingly, prophesied that a holy man of God should go to the Fort of Gwalior and pray for his recovery from there. Chandu then advised the Emperor that Har Gobind was the holiest of men and should be sent to Gwalior. Jehangir requested Guru Har Gobind to go; and though he saw through the plot of his enemies, he left for Gwalior immediately.

While Guru Har Gobind was at Gwalior, great was the distress of his Sikhs in Delhi and at Amritsar, who suspected foul play at the part of Chandu. In fact, Chandu did write to Hari Das, the Commander of Gwalior fort, urging him to poison the Guru or kill him in any way-and promising a large reward. Hari Das was by that time devoted to the Master; so he laid all these letters before him, who smiled and said nothing. The Guru met many other Rajahs who were prisoners in this fort, and made them happy. •

When Jehangir recovered, he thought of Guru Har Gobind again. Undoubtedly, Nur Jehan, who evinced a disciple-like devotion to the Master, had something to do with his recall from Gwalior. However, the Guru would not go unless the Emperor agreed to set all the prisoners in the fort at liberty. The Emperor at last gave way; and, on the personal security of the Guru, all the prisoners were released. The Guru was hailed at Gwalior as "Bandi Chhor" - the great deliverer who cuts fetters off the prisoners feet and sets them free. There remains, in the historic fort at Gwalior, a shrine of the Bandi Chhor Pir, worshipped by Hindus and Mussalmans alike, where they have lit a lamp in memory of the event, and where a Mohammedan Faqir sits in hallowed memory of some great one of whom he knows only the name-Bandi Chhor. 

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Sakhi Series :- 267 ( Bhai Tara Singh ji Vaan)

Bhai Tara Singh ji
(Source :

Bhai Tara Singh Wan was an eighteenth century Sikh. He was from the village of Wan, also known as Wan Tara Singh or Dall-Wan now in Amritsar district of the Eastern Punjab.

His father, Sardar Gurdas Singh, had received the rites of the Khalsa in the time of Guru Gobind Singh Sahib, and had taken part in the Battle of Amritsar (April 1709), in which Bhai Mani Singh led the Sikhs and in which Har Sahai, a revenue official of Patti, was killed at his (Gurdas Singh's) hands. Baba Gurdas Singh took martyrdom in Bajwara (Hoshiarpur) when he went along with Baba Banda Singh to fight for Sirhind.

Bhai Tara Singh was the eldest of the five sons of Gurdas Singh and was born around 1687. He took Amrit from Bhai Mani Singh. Receiving the rites of initiation, he grew up to be a devout Sikh, skilled in the martial arts.

During Moghul rule, the village heads (Chaudhary) used to have considerable authority over local population. They often exercised these powers most mercilessly in order to awe the subjects into submission.

One such fellow Sahib Rai was head of village Naushahra. He was a hot headed and cruel person. He would often let loose his horses in the green fields of farmers of the village, causing extensive damage to their crops. If the aggrieved farmers complained to him about it, he used to abuse them, instead of sympathizing with them or redressing their grievances.

Once the sikh farmers of the village together requested him to keep his houses confined to the areas meant for grazing and not let them graze in their fields thereby destroying their crops.
Instead of giving them any assurance, Sahib Rai turned them saying, "I will definitely tie my horses but with the ropes made out of your beautiful Keshas (Hair)." Such insulting words were unbearable for the Sikhs who valued their Keshas more than their lives. Deeply hurt, they narrated the incident to S. Baghel Singh and S. Amar Singh of the nearby village, Bhusay.

A few days later, S. Amar Singh and S. Baghel Singh caught hold of Sahib Rai's horses, while those were destroying the crops of Sikh farmers of village Naushehra, and sold them to S. Aala Singh, the then ruler of State of Patiala. The proceeds were donated to S. Tara Singh, a saint of village Waan for free Kitchen (Langer).

Bhai Tara Singh was God fearing devoted Sikh saint. He owned considerable agricultural land and had established a Gurudwara on his land. Sikhs passing through his village were provided shelter and free meals at this Gurudwara apart from other facilities required by them. S. Tara Singh, apart from being a saint, mostly absorbed in meditation, was a brave Sikh conversant with use of arms. He had fought many a battles under the leadership of Banda Singh Bahadur.

Chaudhary Sahib Rai found out through his agents that S. Baghel Singh and S. Tara Singh had caught and sold his horses. Accompanied by some of his supporters, he entered Bhai Tara Singh's residence unannounced, and uttered insulting remarks towards Sikh community. Bhai Tara Singh tried to pacify the Chaudhary, but failed to do so. At this, the Sikhs at the Gurudwara thrashed Sahib Rai and his men, making them run for their lives.

Thus infuriated Sahib Rai went straight to the police chief of the area based in the town Patti in Amritsar District and narrated to him the exaggerated version of the humiliation suffered by him at the hand of Sikhs. Jaffar Beg, the police chief, assisted by a contingent of 200 policemen proceeded towards the residence of Bhai Tara Singh to teach Sikhs a lesson.

S. Baghel Singh who had gone out of Bahi Tara Singh's residence to answer call of nature very early in the morning, noticed the raiding party. He asked them to stop and shouted, "BOLE SO NEHAL SAT SRI AKAL" at the top of his voice to alert other Sikhs. At the same time, he started firing at the invaders from his gun.

Bhai Tara Singh, on hearing gun shots, along with other Sikhs rushed to the assistance of Baghel Singh. They engaged the invading soldiers in a fierce battle. Despite superiority in numbers and better equipped, two nephews and ten other soldiers of Jaffar Beg were killed at the hands of brave Sikhs. S. Baghel Singh also attained martyrdom in that battle. He had engaged the raiders single handedly and by sacrificing his own life, managed to alert other sikhs.

Jaffar Beg could barely save his own life by beating a hasty retreat. Jaffar Beg went straight to Lahore and narrated the incident to Zakaria Khan, Governor of Lahore. He sought his support to avenge his humiliating defeat at the hands of Sikhs. Zakaria Khan was a sworn enemy of the Sikh community. He ordered his commander, Moman Khan, to immediately mount an attack on S. Tara Singh's abode and produce him dead or alive before him.

One of the Sikh residents of Lahore rushed to village Waan and informed Bhai Tara Singh of this impending attack by a huge Mughal force and advised him to go elsewhere. When Singh jee heard this, his face became red with Bir Rass. He said that he could not wait to combat the Mughals and declared that the bodies of Singhs and warriors get pure and sacred when they are cut by the weapons in the battlefield. In Panth Parkash, it is quoted as follows:



Bhai Tara Singh accompanied by about fifty sikhs present at that time in his dera (house), decided to stay and face the inevitable, bravely. The Sikhs planned their strategy and took up positions at vantage points to face the enemy and inflict maximum casualties on the raiders. Momin Khan, mobilising more forces enroute and accompanied by another commander Tara Beg, mounted attack on village Waan, much before Sunrise. The Sikhs were waiting and answered the attack by a deadly shower of bullets from their guns, felling the front row enemy soldiers dead.

Momin Khan ordered Takki Beg to engage Bhai Tara Singh. Bhai Ji, in a swift action, thrust his spear into Takki Beg's mouth. A shower of blood flowed from Takki Beg's mouth, who ran back to save his life. Momin Khan added insult to Takki Beg's misery by asking whether Takki Beg was chewing Paan in the battle field. Takki Beg, reacting sharply, told Momin Khan 'Yes I am eating Paan. Tara Singh is giving out free paans and if you want one, you too should move forward to get it. Why are you talking standing so far from the battlefield?'

Momin Khan, instead of himself moving forward, sent forward his nephew Mureed Khan, whose head was cut off with a sharp blow of sword, by S. Bhomi Singh, in a swift attack.
Losing so many men and patience, Momin Khan ordered his entire force to attack the Sikhs at the same time. Thus ensued hand to hand fight. The Sikhs put up a brave fight, killing hundreds of enemy soldiers before laying down their own lives as well.

When Bhai Tara Singh jee entered the imperial army, he created a storm. He killed countless before he was shot from a distance. Yet, he still would not fall and kept fighting and slicing the soldiers. It was felt as if he was accompanied by thousands more hands. He sent several to Dharam Rai before finally attaining shaheedi there. Not a single Sikh surrendered to the enemy.

This is how the Sikhs tried to uproot the cruel Mughal regime from Punjab, lock, stock and barrel. They fought to the finish, inflicting very heavy casualties on the enemy forces.  We should be thankful to the Sikhs because of whose bravery and sacrifices the mighty Mughal rule finally came to an end in Punjab towards the end of eighteenth Century

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Sakhi Series :- 266 ( Jathedar Gurdev Singh Kaunke)

Jathedar Gurdev Singh Kaunke

In the Jagraon District of Punjab is a very blessed village called Kaunke. The Master of Miri Piri, Sahib Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji blessed this village stating the diamonds would be born from this village. Guru Ji stated this when he rested at the village on his journey to the Sind region. When he stayed at Kaunke village, one of its resident Gursikhs, Bhai Hira Ji did keertan seva. Guru Ji was very moved by the keertan and at this point stated in a 'Bachan' that many more diamonds would be born here.

So it happened, aswell as Bhai Hira Ji, Sardar Sham Singh Attari, the Great Mata Kishen Kaur Kaunke, Bhai Gurdev Singh Kaunke, and many countless young Gursikhs who have given all to the Sikh struggle, all were born in the village Kaunke.

The list of names that stood by the mission and ideologue of Sant Jarnail Singh Khalsa Bindranwale from this village is long, but one name stands out. That name is Jathedar Gurdev Singh Ji.

Bhai Gurdev Singh was born in 1949 in house of Bhai Gurdial Singh and Mata Chand Kaur Ji. Bhai sahib's grandfather was Jathedar Totha Singh, who was a companion of Baba Nand Singh Ji of Nanaksar. Hence Gursikhi was a part of the family tradition.

At a young age, Bhai Sahib was blessed with Amrit at the Sri Akal Takhat Sahib. Bhai Sahib's worldly education was only up to level 6. However he continued to study in his religious study at the Damdami Taksal. He was tutored by Baba Vir Singh Madoke and Giani Inder Singh Badni Wale, both of whom were companions of Baba Gurbachan Singh Khalsa. From here Bhai Sahib began to do seva of katha of Sahib Sri Guru Granth Sahib and Dasam Granth.

Due to the fact that Bhai Sahib inherited considerable land, his family needs were always satisfied, and therefore Bhai Sahib always did katha without selfish desire.

Bhai Sahib was very strict in his Amrit vela, rising everyday at 2am. From 2am to 8am, Bhai Sahib would do his nitnem, and would not speak to anyone during this period.

Operation Bluestar in 1984, had a deep impact on Bhai sahib. From this period, Bhai Sahib in his katha openly started condemning Brahmin Authorities, and their devious practices. Due to the sincere nature of Bhai Sahib's character, the parchar that Bhai Sahib did had a lot of influence on the sangat. Bhai Sahib was against all types of self-appointed Guru's & Sant's, and as a result of his parchar in the Jagraon area many deras, businesses of Brahminvaad, blind worship and ritualism were removed from every village and town.

Due to Bhai Sahib's parchar, the drug-ridden area of Jagraon, witnessed many Amrit Sanchaars, and kesri dastaars and black gatras could be seen everywhere. Once again the Malwa region strangled by drugs, witnessed a Khalsa revolution. At weddings, where previously dirty songs were heard, now Gurbani Keertan was heard. In buses, the Bollywood songs were replaced Dhadi Vaars and religious songs. Much of this social change was credited to Bhai Gurdev Singh Ji.

As a result of this, in January 1986, Bhai Sahib was chosen to the highest Seva in the Khalsa Panth, the Seva of Jathedar of Sri Akal Takhat Sahib.

hese times were difficult, but Bhai Sahib did this Seva as a fearless General. It was only the first two days of Operation Black Thunder. Jathedar Ji's first action was to remove all the Government agents dressed as Sikh youth jujharoos from Sri Darbar Sahib. Next he ensured that the corrupt kharkoos who were having langars in their rooms in the Darbar Sahib complex were stopped, and everyone was made to have langar only in the Guru Ram Dass langar hall. Throughout his period as Jathedar, Bhai Sahib ensured he had only from Guru Ram Dass langar hall to ensure the Maryada of Sangat and Pangat remained.

At this time, the Kar Seva (building) of Sri Akal Takhat Sahib was happening. Jathedar Ji took control of the Golak to ensure it was not being siphoned off by unscrupulous characters. Bhai Sahib was completely sympathetic to the Khalistan cause, and felt that the Khalsa needed to fight for its independence. In his lectures, Jathedar Ji would say, those who have internal differences, kill innocent hindus, give threats like gangsters, they are traitors to the Sikh struggle and cause. He would often speak about the need to Sikhs to develop a revolutionary Spirit.

In his Katha, Jathedar Ji would often speak against the ill's of Punjabi society, and encouraged social change. In his period, he helped thousand's of poor girl's who were abandoned by their husbands because of the greed of dowry. Bhai Sahib would himself become involved in individual cases and ensure the girl's were accepted back into their homes. As a result of this parchar, in the Jagraon area, social ill's such as dowry, alcoholism, domestic violence were reduced dramatically.

Such was the impact of Jathedar Ji's sincere nature, that the population stopped taking their disputes to court's and police stations. Instead they would come to the Kaunke village, to Jathedar Ji, where they felt they would get justice. The sweet words of Jathedar Ji would leave both parties walking away happy.
As a result of this social change, the Police and other Sarkari (government) agents saw their incomes significantly decrease, as they were unable to get money as bribes or extortion from the disputes. They became dangerous enemies of Jathedar Ji, and started to plot against him.

In 1989, some kharkoo Singhs fired on the Ludhiana headquarters of the RSS (a right-wing Hindu fascist group). Jathedar Ji's enemies saw their opportunity. At that time, Ludhiana was under the control of an extremely vicious and brutal SSP called Sumedh Saini. To get Bhai Sahib to admit responsibility for the attack, he was hung upside down, and tortured for many hours.

Then later on, Jathedar Ji was one again arrested and was falsely implicated in the Bidar attack. But after one year, Jathedar Ji was again released. Then on 19th May 1991, Bhai Sahib was again arrested and tortured. He was imprisoned for another 18 months.

Jathedar Ji would never allow the sangat to bail him out, and always fought his cases with truth and full faith in Guru Maharaj, which always resulted in his release. In fact, the Government were often forced to admit in court that the charges against him were false. This led to great embarrassment for them. For the mud they slung at Jathedar Ji, he always came out whiter than white. The population witnessed the difference between the character of the Khalsa Singh, and the devious nature of the Brahmin authorities. As a result, the aura of Jathedar Ji's revolutionary Khalsa character was a huge thorn for the Brahmin agencies.

On 20th December 1992, the cowardly Police forces at 4am came to arrest the Lionheart Jathedar Gurdev Singh. However due to body of Bhai Sahib young nephew being at his house for cremation, they had to release Bhai Sahib after a few hours.

Five days later, under the command of Inspector Gurdeep Singh, the Police arrested Jathedar Ji when he finished Katha at Gurdwara Sahib in the early hours. Bhai Sahib asked them if he could go home first, then he would accompany them. Bhai Sahib walked home, followed by the Police party, and many local villagers. Once he arrived home, Bhai Sahib did ishnaan (bathed) and changed his clothes, and then went and sat in the Jeep. The whole road was filled with villagers. Jathedar Ji rose to address them. In his sincere nature, he asked the sangat to accept his final Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!!. Jathedar Ji was aware his time had come, and sweetly accepted the will of Akaal. Fearing the wrath of the sangat, the police quickly sped off.

Jathedar Ji was tortured by the infamous and brutal Head of Jagraon Police, Swaran Gotna. Thus named for his use of the 'Gotna' in interrogation. This is a large log placed on the legs and rolled up and down them while two policemen stand on each side. He was assisted by Harbhagwan Sodhi and Inspector Gurdeep Singh, who today is a DSP in the Punjab Police. Then Jathedar Ji was further interrogated by CIA staff of Jagraon.

Jathedar Gurdev Singh Kaunke 3 Shaheed Jathedar Gurdev Singh Kaunke
Shaheed Jathedar Gurdev Singh Kaunke

In them days, a rumour spread through the villages of Jagraon. When Swaran Gotna swore at Jathedar Ji and told him to remove his Kirpan and gatra. Jathedar Ji in a state of Bir-Rass (warrior spirit) replied, 'Stop, who are you threatening. This is worn because of the many Great Sacrifices.. A dog of the Brahmin like you will never understand its value..' A scuffle broke between the two and it took 5-7 commandos to restrain Bhai Sahib. His Kakkaars were removed and he was mercilessly beaten and tortured.

Jathedar Ji due to keeping Gurmat Bibek would never eat at the Police station. Everyday his family would bring prepared meals for him, but the brutal Police always refused to let him eat, and sent the family away. As a result, Bhai Sahib health became weak, but he never compromised of his religious principles of Gurmat Bibek.

In a nearby village Chaharchuk, an old bibi stated she had gone to the Police Station in relation to a case. She saw Bhai Sahib and he was in a very fragile state. At this point local villagers and Akali Leaders began putting pressure for Jathedar Ji's release. When local villagers with Akali leader Captain Harcharan Singh Rode met with Police officials, they were told that Bhai Sahib would be charged and sent to prison.

However on 1st January 1993, Swaran Gotna got his revenge. As a result, on the 3rd January 1993, the newly appointed SSP Harinder Chahal stated to newspapers that Bhai Sahib was leading them to the cache of arms used by militants, when on there way they were attacked. He said Bhai Sahib had escaped. However everyone knew that these stories by Punjab Police were always made up. In reality, Bhai Sahib was Shaheed on 1st January and thrown into a river.

Anger grew throughout Punjab as the news of Jathedar Ji's Shaheedi spread. Panthic Leaders throughout the world gathered at the bhog. However the Police and Army sealed off Kaunke village. Even the photographic cameras of the press were broken and removed. Akali leaders in attendance were beaten with lathi's (wooden sticks). Even the highly dubious Akali leader Parkash Badal demanded an investigation into the murder of Jathedar Ji, but decades on, nothing has happened. Whenever the family raises the issue, many more innocents became victims of Police excesses. Through infiltration of dubious people, fear, threats, and bribery, the case is always held up or shelved.

Even Jathedars Ji's young son, Hari Singh was not spared. A false case of a bomb explosion was placed on him, even though on that day he was at school, and the register confirms his attendance, which eventually led to his release. Bhai Sahib's elder son, Bhai Ram Singh was also picked up and tortured by Police on many occasions.

The Akali party fought the next election stating it would investigate the period of 1984 onwards and produce a white paper. It won the election by a huge landslide, but Badal soon forgot every promise and used his time to expand his own wealth.

When Bhai Sahib's family approached the Akali party for a full investigation, Police Officer Tiwari held an investigation. However just as the report on the investigation of the massacre of the 13 Singhs in 1978, the report of the murder of Bhai Sahib mysteriously disappeared somewhere in Badals administration, and was never seen again.