Sant Jarnail Singh
The most determined, charismatic, the 20th century’s great General, the heart of the Sikh youth, charismatic personality, Sant Jarnail Singh Jee Khalsa Bhindranwale was born on February 12th 1947 at village Rode, Dist Faridkot to Baba Joginder Singh and Mata Nihal Kaur Jee.
Sant Jarnail Singh Jee took Amrit at the tender age of five; from this very young age, being committed to his nitnem (daily prayers), became his lifelong aim. Until the age of 11, he remained in village Rode and would recite 110 Jap Jee Sahibs and the Panj Granthi, daily; all whilst undertaking his farming duties. He remained at his village and was engrossed in meditation for 11 years. He had little formal education, but his memory was astonishing; Sant Jee managed to recite and remember so many bani’s, including, Dakhani Oankar in 1 day, Sukhmani Sahib in 13 days, Sidh Gost in 1 day and Asa Di Vaar in 8 hours.
Every year Sant Gurbachan Singh Jee Khalsa Bhindranwale would tour the villages of Punjab delivering sermons on Gurmat. When Sant Gurbachan Singh Jee arrived at village Rode he asked Baba Joginder Singh Jee for one of his seven sons, Baba Joginder Singh Jee told Sant Gurbachan Singh Jee that they had free will to choose whichever son they wanted; they chose a young boy, Jarnail Singh.
Sant Jarnail Singh Jee was educated in the knowledge of God, by Sant Gurbachan Singh Jee Khalsa. Within a year they learnt the correct pronunciations of Gurbani and the history of the Guru’s. In 1966, Sant Jee was married at Village Bilaspur with Sardar Sucha Singh’s daughter, Bibi Pritam Kaur. He has two sons, Ishar Singh and Inderjeet Singh, born in 1971 and 1975 respectively.
After Sant Gurbachan Singh Jee Khalsa ascended to Sachkand, Sant Kartar Singh Jee, Bhindranwale, was appointed the Jathedar of Damdami Taksal. Sant Kartar Singh Jee, Sant Jarnail Singh Jee and Sant Baba Thakur Singh Jee were very close and would discuss issues of the Panth together.
In 1977 Sant Kartar Singh Jee was involved with a serious car accident which resulted in them being admitted into hospital. Sant Kartar Singh Jee was advised to undergo an operation, which involved removing their Kes, Sant Kartar Singh Jee refused this operation, opting to keep their Kes and their Sikhi intact. Sant Jee told Baba Thakur Singh Jee to appoint the next Jathedar.
Baba Thakur Singh tied the Dastar of Jathedari on Sant Jarnail Singh Jee, after which Takhat Sri Patna Sahib Jathedar, Bhai Mohan Singh Jee presented Sant Jee a Siropa on behalf of the Takhat Sahib.
Rise to popularity
In Punjab, Sant Jarnail Singh Jee Khalsa Bhindranwale followed the footsteps of the previous 12 Jathedars of Damdami Taksal and travelled from village to village preaching Sikhism. He asked Sikhs to live according to the rules and tenets of Sikhism. He would give speeches to encourage numerous youths to take Amrit and keep Rehat. For eight months, Sant Jee’s parchaar was continuous, touring villages and cities, including U.P, Bombay, Calcutta and other areas. In 1978 Sant Jee was about to embark on their second tour of parchar, when the Nirankaris had announced a large gathering in Amritsar, in which the leader and his wife would actively defame the Sikh Guru’s. With consultation with the Akhand Kirtani Jatha, Sant Jee sent representatives of Damdami Taksal to peacefully protest against the Nirankaris, but the Nirankaris replied with gun fire and 13 Singhs were martyred with many more injured.
On 24th April 1980 the Nirankari leader, Gurbachan, was assassinated, Sant Jarnail Singh Jee was made the prime suspect. On 9 Sept 1981, Lala Jagat Narain was assassinated and a warrant for arrest was issued for Sant Jarnail Singh Jee. Sant Jee voluntarily courted arrest on 20th September 1981. For 25 days he was questioned on many issues whilst in custody, but no evidence was produced against Sant Jee and he was released without charge.
Dharam Yudh Morcha
On 26 April 1982, a Morcha (campaign) was started to get Amritsar ‘holy city’ status. Some Singhs of the Jatha and Bhai Amrik Singh Jee, of the All India Sikh Student Federation, (AISSF), were arrested. Sant Jee began the Dharam Yudh Morcha on 19 July 1982 to secure the release of the innocent Singh’s.
The Shromani Akali Dal also adopted the Dharam Yudh Morcha philosophy and declared that the Morcha would continue until all demands of the Anandpur Sahib resolution were met. In the first three months of the Dharam Yudh Morcha 40,000 Singhs courted arrest. However, due to the press coverage and mass participation in the Dharam Yudh Morcha, the government began to criminalize and persecute the Sikh community through its propaganda and tools of state machinery. The government propagated the view that Sikhs wanted the whole of the India to be divided into many nations and that Sikhs were enemies of Hindus. They propagated the view that the lives of Hindus in Punjab were under threat and that an exodus of Hindus from Punjab had begun. On the contrary Sant Jarnail Singh Jee never promoted violence towards anyone of any religion, gender, caste or creed. He insisted that every Hindu should be a true Hindu, every Muslim should be a true Muslim and likewise every Sikh, should be a true Sikh.
In March 1983, Sant Jee learnt of the Governments plans to wipe out the Sikhs and the possibility of an attack on Sri Harimandar Sahib. In June 1984, this became a reality when Indira Gandhi gave the approval for the Indian army to storm the Golden Temple complex and another 37 Gurdwaras. It was widely reported by Lt. Gen. Kuldip Brar and other army officials that Sant Jee did not survive the attack was killed. The reliability of the army’s claims of Sant Jee being martyred in the attack are contradicted by other officials, R.K. Bajaj, a correspondent for Surya magazine, claimed to have seen a photograph of Sant Jee in custody, while a Governmental doctor claimed that Sant Jee was alive when captured.
The inconsistency of reports released by the Police, Government and Army officials is still shady to this day and although they all claim Sant Jee to have been killed they never released pictures, videos or statements regarding the capture, torture or funeral of Sant Jarnail Singh Jee Khalsa Bhindranwale.
It must be noted that before residing at Guru Nanak Niwas in the Darbar Sahib Complex, Sant Jarnail Singh Jee stated that should anything happen during his time there, everyone should follow the bachan given by Sant Baba Thakur Singh and that whatever Baba Jee says is true. For 20 years Baba Thakur Singh maintained that Sant Jarnail Singh Jee was not Shaheed and was infact in Charrdeekalaa (high spirits) and would return one day to re-launch the Dharam Yudh Morcha.
Whatever your views, whatever your thoughts, Sant Jarnail Singh Jee Khalsa Bhindranwale is the most influential and prominent figure of the Sikh freedom movement, who to this very day rekindles Sikh spirit amongst the Sikh youth across the world.