Friday, December 09, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

Shaheed Bhai Kewal Singh Ji


Shaheed Bhai Kewal Singh Ji was born on 9th March 1953, in the area of Premgarh in Hoshiarpur. His father's name was Sardar Amar Singh and his mother's name was Satia Kaur. He spent the first five to seven years of his childhood in Hoshiarpur and in 1960 moved to Calcutta with his father. His father ran a transport company in Calcutta, which was doing quite well. Here, he was put into school but he only passed four classes. His family tried to persuade him to continue studying but he was more interested in working. So in 1966 he went to Kishan Ganj (Bihar) to train in motor electrics, where he trained for a year and then returned to Calcutta.

As well as working he also became interested in reading Gurbani and in 1971-72 he received Amrit at an Akhand Kirtani Jatha Smagam. After completing his training he did not find a job but just did domestic work. One day he became seriously ill, he was vomiting blood and remained unconscious for three days. He was administered eighteen bottles of blood and seven bottles of glucose and the doctors said there was
little hope for him. But Waheguru has some other Sewa in store for him and protected him with his own hand. Bhai Sahib Jeevan Singh Ji Ragi from Ludhiana performed Ardas for him and he became well again. He then moved from Calcutta to Hoshiarpur and here he met Gursikh Sangat.

We both decided to learn Shashtar-Vidya (science of weapons) and we used to travel seven miles everyday to get training. With Satguru's grace we both acquired this skill. He knew the five Nitnem Banis by memory and also did Asa Di Vaar and Sukhmani Sahib daily as well as some other Banis.

One day, he became ill again at his home in Hoshiarpur and he started getting bad pains in his stomach. His mother said that she would call a doctor but he told his younger sister to start reading Sukhmani Sahib instead. He listened to the Gurbani for two or three hours and then fell asleep, and in the morning he awoke feeling completely well again. This is an example of his love and faith in Gurbani.

At his father's request, he went to Calcutta again to do some domestic work. He also spent a lot of his time reading Gurbani and living amongst other Gursikhs. According to God's Will, he again became very ill and started vomiting blood. His body became very weak and there was not much chance of him surviving. Bhai Kewal told me later, that when he was in this state he saw death standing in front of him and he prayed to Guru Sahib, "Sache Patshah Jeo, I know I am going to die one day, but do not give me this kind of death. This is the death of cats and dogs. Let me become a Shaheed in the battlefield so that I may get Mukhti from life and death. May my body be used for doing Sewa for you." He did this Ardas for a long time and Satguru Ji heard his Ardas and he then became well again.

He was very interested in Shastar-Vidya and Shastars. For example if he came across any Shastar he liked he would buy it no matter what the price and would read the following Dohira.

As kirpan khando karg, tupak tabor ar theer,
Saif sarohi sethi yehe hamarai peer
Theer tuhi sethi tuhi, tuhi tabor tarwar
Naam thuharo jo japai, pheo sind pav poor
Kaal tuhi kaali tuhi, tuhi teg ur teer,
Tuhi nishani jeet ki, aaj tuhi jag beer
(Shastar Mala, Pathshahi 10)

He not only learned Gathka, but also learned how to make his own Shastars. He would spend hours making them and would take them to Smagams and present them to Gursikhs as gifts. He also would teach Gursikhs how to look after Shastars properly, to ensure the Khalsa is always battle-ready.

Just as he was interested in Shastars, he also had a great love for Naam-Bani. If he did make any remarks to somebody in anger, then he would immediately beg forgiveness with folded hands. He very much loved his fellow Gursikhs. Sometimes his family members would ask him why he spends all his time with
the Gursikhs and does no other work. His family owned a large amount of property, but he still lived a very carefree life and was not at all interested in money. Once I said to him that you don't do any work, nor do you listen to any of your family, so they will not give any of their property to you. He replied that he did not need any property - what use would it be to him. He said he wanted to spend all his time with Gursikhs.

In November 1977 he again returned to Hoshiarpur. The Gursikhs would ask him to do some work so about two months prior to his Shaheedi, he started working. He promised that he would serve langar to the Singhs out of his first wages, but he was never able to carry out this Sewa. Afterwards his family carried out his wish and served Langar to Gursikhs.

Bhai Kewal Singh also enjoyed playing the tabla and performing Kirtan. Ten minutes before his Shaheedi, I saw him in Chardi-Kala. Bhai Fauja Singh and Bhai Kewal Singh were together during the peaceful protest. First Bhai Fauja Singh was shot and fell and then Bhai Kewal Singh lied on top of him so that the Nirankaris could not injure him further. But the Nirankaris then killed Bhai Kewal Singh.

Bhai Kewal Singh has one elder brother Bhai Jagjeet Singh who is a devoted Gursikh and Nitnemi and three sisters who are married. Even though his loss for the family is great, his Kurbani is a great example for future generations.

By Bhai Amrik Singh (Mehta)

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