Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale



At one time, Punjab was considered the most fertile land for recruitment in the British-Indian Army. It is a strange coincidence that the person who was considered the father of Sikh extremism in the 1980s, his parents named him Jarnail Singh.

Bhindranwale was associated with the name of Saint Jarnail Singh when he was elected the president of Damdami Taksal, an institution that teaches about Sikhism and scriptures at a relatively young age. This rural youth did not receive a formal education. His enigmatic but extraordinary manner of prominence tells a lot about the most fierce battle of 'liberation' in Punjab. And this fight is also seen by connecting with the Sikh community at the international level.


Saint Jarnail Singh never demanded the formation of Khalistan. He talked about the proposals of Anandpur Sahib passed through Akali Dal in Anandpur Sahib in the year 1973. But these proposals talk of autonomy, not of a separate nation. Senior journalist Jagtar Singh This movement failed to fight the strength of the Indian government. However, the personality and thinking of Sant Bhindranwale are still alive.

"Saint Jarnail Singh never demanded the formation of Khalistan. He talked about the proposals of Anandpur Sahib passed through Akali Dal in Anandpur Sahib in the year 1973. But these proposals talk of autonomy, not of a separate nation".

Bhindranwale and Bhagat Singh The two leaders whose pictures have been sold the most in the last few years are Shaheed Bhagat Singh and Sant Bhindranwale. There is no doubt that these two leaders cannot be compared. While Shaheed Bhagat Singh is identified as a thinker, Bhindranwale is associated with 'gun culture' or gun culture. Apart from this, there is another big difference. Shaheed Bhagat Singh is respected for all, at least in South Asia, while Sant Bhindranwale is identified as the leader of a particular community. In such a situation, the number of people who love them or have reverence for them is probably as many or even more than those who hate them.

A person is a hero or a fanatic, it is a relative thing. At that time, no one could imagine that Bhindranwale, who took the office of the chairman of Damdami Mint at the age of 30, would give rise to such a new hypothesis in the next few months that an unprecedented upheaval would arise in this border province Will go. At the time of the appointment of the head of Damdami Taksal, Tohra and Badal again with Bhindranwale lasted for more than a decade, during which thousands of innocent people were killed. Ironically, at a time when India is once again at the risk of extremism, it seems that the Punjab incident has almost been forgotten. In this situation, the role of Sant Bhindranwale, which is considered the source of extremism in Punjab, needs to be properly analyzed in this case.

Witnessing his appointment as the head of the Damdami Taksal in 1977, then Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Gurcharan Singh Tohra, president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, the largest religious organization of the Sikhs, were there to offer their best wishes. Soon after the appointment of Damdami Taksal and Nirankari Sant Bhindranwale, political discourse began to change in that area. At the time Bhindranwale assumed the position of President of Damdami Taksal, at that time, Damdami Taksal had a direct confrontation with the Nirankaris. The protesters belonged to Damdami Taksal and Akhand Kiratni Jatha. After the incident of the bloody Baisakhi of 1978, Punjab changed forever like never before. Within a few days, Sant Bhindranwale took a new path. As was evident from this incident - the judicial system had collapsed and a sense of revenge was taking shape.

On 13 April 1978, 13 Akalis were killed in a clash between Sikhs and Nirankars in Amritsar. After the incident of the bloody Baisakhi of 1978, Punjab changed forever like never before. Being a senior journalist Jagtar Singh Journalist, after having many formal and informal conversations with him, it seemed that at the same time, Bhindranwale made up his mind that he would make the supreme sacrifice for his creed, that is, the sacrifice of life. This completely separated him from traditional Akali leadership.

'Never demanded Khalistan'

Later the situation turned into a struggle against India, even though the purpose of these circumstances was unclear before Operation Bluestar. But it is clear that Saint Jarnail Singh never demanded the formation of Khalistan.

It is true that he talked about the proposals of Anandpur Sahib passed through Akali Dal in Anandpur Sahib in 1973. But these proposals talk of autonomy, not a separate nation.

Bhindranwale's identity was further enhanced when Gurubachan Singh, the president of the Nirankari sect and later Lala Jagat Narayan, editor of Hind News- Punjab Kesari newspaper group, was killed. Lala Jagat Narayan used to support Nirankari Saint.

When Saint Bhindranwale reached the Damdami Golden Temple complex from Taksal, he started getting an influx of people. After this, Bhindranwale did not leave the Golden Temple until his violent end.

The people of the Sikh community believed he was active in various positions and areas in society. These included retired generals of the army, bureaucrats, academics and common people. What made him charismatic was his direct talk to the Sikh community and his credibility in the Sikhs.

His life was frugal and he did not believe in duplicity. He could have run away from the Akal Takht at the time of the operation but he chose another route. His personality turned out to be even more powerful.

"Could not make money corrupt"

This writer met him on 26 May 1984 when it is believed that the army was cleared for the operation. It was a face-to-face meeting for over an hour. They knew what was going to happen and were aware of the situation.

It is only that he was not against finding a respectable solution to the issue. His colleagues were cleaning the gun in the side room.

Money and power could not make him corrupt and the same can be said of SGPC President Gurcharan Singh Tohra who gave him moral support on many difficult occasions even though he did not agree with his path. He found greater acceptance among the Sikh community, especially in rural areas.

His falsehood began in 1981 when he tricked the police in Mumbai and reached his headquarters at Mehta Chowk in Amritsar.

Damdami Taksal has been promoting the existence of Operation Bluestar for two decades on the basis of this falsehood.

In 1981, the writer interviewed Sant Bhindranwale, which was published by an Indian English newspaper with the title - 'In search of martyrdom ....'. It was his first interview to be active and gain prominence in Sikh society at that time. The path he chose took him to the end that he was probably looking for long back.

(Jagtar Singh is a senior journalist who spent nearly 25 years reporting for the Indian Express from Punjab. His book on the politics and Sikh problem of Punjab in the last 30 years is going to be published soon.)