Shaheed Bhai Jagdeep Singh Vakeel
The Sikh struggle for independence is often accused of being carried out by people who were mostly illiterate, but those people who wrote the chapters of the modern Sikh struggle with their blood, were true fighters, fully dedicated to the philosophy of the Guru’s from the bottom of their heart. To call them illiterate is the biggest sign of true illiteracy and lesser intellect.
To pull the public out of this true illiteracy, we present the life stories of those amazing Shaheeds (martyrs), which astonish even the biggest of the so-called scholars. Shaheed Bhai Jagdeep Singh ‘Vakeel’ is one of those highly intellectual soldiers of Sikh struggle.
Bhai Jagdeep Singh was born on June 27, 1962 at ‘Roope ka Agwad’ in Purana Moga in Punjab to Sardar Bikar Singh and Mata Jagir Kaur. He had an elder sister – Charanjit Kaur, and a younger brother – Gurmit Singh.
Bhai Jagdeep Singh passed his matriculation from Bhupindra Khalsa Higher Secondary School (Moga) in 1978. He passed his higher secondary in 1979 and in 1981 he completed his Diploma from National Engineering College in Ludhiana before joining Punjab University, Chandigarh for his graduation. In February 1982 Bhai Jagdeep Singh wed Virpal Kaur, daughter of Sardar Harbans Singh at village Khare in Faridkot.
Meanwhile, the Narkdharis (a fake religious sect) had performed the massacre of 13 Singhs at Amritsar with the backing of the Indian government. The Sikhs were restlessly awaiting the time when they could avenge the murder of their brothers. Bhai Jagdeep Singh had became a father of two children – Lovepreet Singh and Ravinder Kaur, but now he was more inclined to fulfill his duty towards his religion than towards his family. Bhai Sahib joined the ranks of Khalistan Liberation Force and worked closely with Bhai Kulwant Singh Khukhrana & Bhai Amar Singh Mann Kishanpura. Bhai Sahib preferred to remain undercover and performed his Panthic duties while still living at home.
In the course of the resistance movement many of Bhai Sahib’s companions attained Shaheedi, this often brought Bhai Sahib in a state of sorrow and he wished that he would be next to attain Shaheedi.
In 1989, the police found out about Bhai Jagdeep Singh’s activities and contribution to the Sikh struggle but before police could arrest him, he went underground. Bhai Sahib performed some great actions while being underground and was considered the right-hand person of Bhai Gurjant Singh Budhsinghwala. Among his companions Bhai Sahib was nicknamed him ‘Vakeel’ (lawyer) as he always backed his talk with logical arguments.
In order to capture Bhai Jagdeep Singh the Police started arresting torturing his family members but the torture on his family could not sway the determination of Bhai Jagdeep Singh. The letter he wrote to his wife while he was underground caused some stir in journalist circles.
It is often assumed that the people who pick up weapons must be very stone-hearted. But this is completely untrue. In fact, in many cases they are the most soft-hearted. When we hear stories of the highest ranked generals in the Sikh struggle, it is amazing to learn that those who performed such huge actions were so much soft-hearted. Bhai Beant Singh, who killed Indira Gandhi, was so much soft-hearted that he would become distressed when his children were sick. That is exactly why he could not bear the sight of massacre of small children in Operation Bluestar and decided to punish Indira Gandhi. Another gentle and tender hearted fighter of the Sikh struggle is known to be Baba Manochahal, who was not able to eat if he heard the news that an innocent person had been killed. It is said that sometimes he used to visit his home at night and as they were asleep, he would pick the sleeping kids up and hug them repeatedly. It was such an emotional scene that anybody watching would have tears in his eyes. There is one such incident about Bhai Jagdeep Singh which shows his emotional side and tender heart. Bhai Jagdeep Singh met his family only twice whilst he was underground. Firstly at Gurudwara Nanaksar (Jagraon). At that time his son Lovepreet Singh was 6 years old. He asked his son to bring him water. The boy went away, taking small steps, and brought back water for Bhai Sahib. Bhai Sahib drank some water and secretly, threw away the rest of it and asked his son to bring some more. When he did this again, for the third time, his wife asked him why he was sending the kid to get water repeatedly if he doesn’t want to drink it. Bhai Sahib replies “he looks so beautiful when he walks with his small steps. I want to see him walking like that to my heart’s content. I don’t know if I will get this opportunity again”
Bhai Jagdeep Singh met his family for the second time when he went to his house with his companions at night. He spent some time with his family and kids for some time and then went away. This was to be their last meet. About 2 months later Bhai Sahib achieved martyrdom.
On November 20, 1990, Bhai Jagdeep Singh was traveling along with a companion when their Maruti car was involved in an accident. The Singhs were armed at the time and stopped a bus going from Moga to Chandigarh and boarded it. Upon boarding the bus the Singhs came under fire from a plain clothed police inspector traveling on the bus. Bhai Sahib anticipated the bus would be surrounded very soon and asked his companion to leave. Bhai Sahib shared his final Fateh with the Singh and attained Shaheed in the fire-fight. The police inspector was also badly injured in the return firing.
As the police arrived they took custody of Bhai Sahib’s body and after his identification, Bhai Sahib’s wife was brought in for confirmation. Bhai Sahib’s 5-year old daughter, who thought that her father was sleeping, walked towards the body but was not allowed to go near the body. The small child kept crying but the police did not allow her to meet her father for the last time and the police themselves cremated the body. The police declared that by killing Bhai Jagdeep Singh, they have cut the right hand of Bhai Gurjant Singh Budhsinghwala.
The letter of Bhai Jagdeep Singh, addressed to his wife, still reminds the freedom fighters and their families of their responsibilities.
Letter of Bhai Jagdeep Singh to his wife
IkOnkar SatGurParsaad (One God. He is attained through the grace of true Guru)
Jau Tau Prem Khelan Ka Chau, (If you want to play the game of love)
Sir Dhar Tali Gali Meri Aau, (Place your head on your palm before coming my way)
It Maarg Per Dharije, (If you set your foot on the path I show)
Sir Deeje Kaan na Keeje (Be prepared to give you head, and pay attention to nothing else)
The path that I have chosen for myself, I know its destination. Walking on this path, we may help our nation to attain freedom, or we may also have to accept the death.
When a man marries a woman, he promises to be with her throughout his life. When a person decides to marry the bride of freedom, he also promises to be faithful to this cause until the last breath. I married you and in no way, I have ever been unfaithful to you. Life has brought me to such a scenario, that I have to leave you alone now. But this is also not the unfaithfulness since the Bani of Guru Granth Sahib, in front of whom I promised to be on your side forever, has motivated me to walk on this path.
You should also not have any kind of remorse. I expect a strong determination from your side too. I hope that you will never be hopeless or in low spirits and will always remain true to the path shown by Dashmesh Pita (The Tenth Guru/father). Following His orders, I may have to break up from the worldly relations but the relationship that I have formed with my nation seems much bigger.
I know that walking on this path, you, and kids, will have to face even more troubles than me; but anybody who decides to serve his nation has to leave his personal worries behind. Like you and more than you, countless women and children of our Sikh nation are facing many troubles. I have chosen this path for the betterment of all of them.
You have always been a great partner in our personal life. I expect you to be in high spirits in the future too. However huge the troubles, I cannot see you in despair. I can never be happy if you are not in high spirits. So I hope that you will always be optimistic, and keep the children in good spirit too. Our children have their mother, there are so many children in this world who are devoid of the love of both father and mother, but grow up as great personalities. I hope that you will also take good care of our children and make them into good personalities, capable of walking on the path of truth.
Whenever you feel disheartened, there is no other support bigger than the Bani of Guru Granth Sahib. You should recite Bani, and ask the children to do that too. All the troubles in this world can be cured by the Bani of Gurus. I have many small religious books in the cupboard at our house. Take them with you and read them when you get time. They will give you strength. You should never cry in front of children. Make them into strong, brave persons. If we have left everything to fight for the respect of our nation, we expect our families to never do anything that brings us dishonor; since we are the Singhs of Guru that has taught us to live with respect. I hope that you will never do anything that brings me dishonor. Whatever the hardships, life should be spent in the will of God and the principle of Sikhism should never be comprised.
I understand that you may also face financial troubles. Even if you have to sell the property or jewelry in such times, do not ask for money from anybody and try to keep these worries away from children. Pray to the Timeless Being (God) and never beg of any worldly authorities. Because any know that in this selfish world, nobody except the God is going to help you out.
When two countries fight, there is usually no objective other than the mad hunger for power. And the soldiers fight for some money and their monthly salaries. Still the families of these soldiers send them off with pride. We are not fighting for money and our struggle has an objective too. We are fighting for the independence of Sikh nation. You should not be remorseful, but proud.
Everybody is eventually going to die. Life should not only consist of spending time eating and having fun. We may live for a few days less, but we will die with pride instead of living in servitude. The coming generations will not call us bootlicking cowards. Life of slavery and cowardice is akin to a cup of poison, while our death for the pride of our nation will be like the blessed wine of martyrdom. Agreed that we will be no more, but our nation will never forget us. In our absence too, we will be present by the side of not only our families, but also our nation. Our souls will be blessed seeing you breathe in the air of freedom. We are but a grain of soil at the feet of Dashmesh Pita, who martyred his entire family for upholding the religion and nation. Walking on his path, if I had to leave you, it was nothing new or out of the ordinary.
No doubt, I will consider my struggle to be successful only when I will be able to uphold the principles of Sikhism to my last breath. I have also not forgotten you, but you are always there in my eyes and in my heart. But this historic struggle for freedom has left me with no option but to leave you. Life is full of hardships, do not take them to heart. Whatever has been written by the Timeless Being cannot be changed. So do not worry about the hard times and spend your life in the will of God with patience and gratitude. Never compromise on the pride of the Sikhism for anything. Otherwise I can never be happy in this life and after death.
Servant of the Guru’s panth,
Jagdeep Singh Moga
Article by Baljit Singh Khalsa, printed in Khalsa Fatehnama magazine (November 2007).
Translated by NeverForget84.com Sewadar