3. BABA JARNAIL SINGH BHINDRANWALE'S SPEECH : September 20, 1983
(Speech delivered at the annual conference of the All India Sikh Students' Federation, held on the second anniversary of the martyrdom of 18 Sikhs at Chowk Mehta.)
Seated in the sacred presence of Satguru Ji, supporter of the humble, the True King; Guru's Image, Guru Khalsa Ji: all the congregation, say aloud:
Vaheguru Ji ka Khalsa, Vaheguru Ji ki Fateh (The Khalsa belong to God, Victory belongs to God.)
Dear Khalsa Ji: Today we are assembled here in memory of the
martyrs. What was the reason for the martyrdom? What was the need for the young men to spill their blood in Mehta?
Lala Jagat Narain used very bad language against the venerable, resident of the True Region (deceased), Singh Sahib Giani Gurdial Singh Ji Ajnoha Sahib, Jathedar of Siri Akal Takhat Sahib, and the current President of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Gurcharan Singh Ji Tohra. He even went to the extent of saying that both these Singhs, these Sikhs, were traitors to the nation and that the passports issued to enable them to go abroad should be revoked, should be canceled. Young students, on whose special invitation we are here today touching the feet of Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, students of the Federation, got together and considering the paper on which these mischievous comments were written to be polluted, desired to burn it. Angered by this burnt piece of paper, intoxicated by power, overcome by pride of being the rulers, these students were beaten up and cases were registered against them (by the Government). But no action was taken by us in a united, organized way. Personal differences might exist among people. But for the Sikhs, these are two positions of exalted status. One has to do with the management of the Gurdwaras and even ahead of it, at the first place, is Siri Akal Takhat Sahib. A Lala (Hindu), hardly worth a dime or a nickel, should get up and call the chief official of Siri Akal Takhat Sahib and the President of the Shiromani Committee, the religious organization, traitors to the country and we do not even notice it! We must understand that, perhaps, we are burnt with jealousy. Time went by. Again, the news came that Lala Jagat Narain wrote in his newspaper that Siri Guru Gobind Singh Sahib used to live like a prince and was very fashionable and fun-loving. We still slept over it.
When he started to repeatedly and maliciously malign the Gurus and Singhs, some son of his mother could stand it no longer and put him (the Lala) on the train (killed him). After he was put on the train on the 9th (September 1981), on the 12th warrants for my arrest were issued. I came to know about it and arrived here in Mehta at five o'clock, early in morning, on the 14th. The cruel Government went into Chando-Kalan (the place where Sant Bhindranwale was camping on the 12th) and set fire to two busses belonging to the congregation and not to me. I was a grass-cutter at home (a poor man), the Guru's congregation had given them to me for preaching and going place to place. Both those busses were set on fire and burnt down. There were books (containing segments) of Siri Guru Granth Sahib, the True King, in them (the busses). The Singhs tried to take them out but were unable to do so because of the circumstances. The (religious) books were burnt in them (the busses) and goods worth three hundred thousand rupees were looted from the village Chando-Kalan. In Mehta, on the 16th at 4 p.m., I was served with the warrants. Upon receipt of warrants, I immediately announced that I shall surrender myself (to the authorities) for arrest on the 20th September. These words have been tape- recorded. After that announcement, people started gathering there. The police too surrounded the Gurdwara Sahib and set up positions for their sten-guns, bren-guns, and light machine-guns. In due course, responsible friends also arrived. They all came. The 20th day of (September), the day on which we are assembled here today, arrived. That day, the way I had dressed was somewhat different. Some brothers commented on it one way, some another way. The friends had each his own views. Some said that I had changed my dress out of fear. Others made other comments. Someone asked me; "What is the matter, why have you changed your manner of dress?" I humbly replied: "When someone goes to get a young man married he carries a piece of saffron cloth and wears a saffron turban. This is the normal practice in Punjab among the Sikhs. I am going to wed my bride, death. If the Chief Minister of Punjab, Zakariya (Darbara Singh), and Indira, the Queen of Hindostan have some granthi (reader of Siri Guru Granth Sahib) to read the marriage prayer, they can send him to the jail where they are going to keep me. If they want the marriage solemnized, they should send him there, I am going there fully prepared for it." That day the gathering was many times larger than it is today. All the leaders and many other responsible friends had assembled there. After making a speech at midday, in the afternoon I offered myself for arrest.
After the arrest, when I had gone from the place, a few minutes later, to ruin the peaceful atmosphere, the cruel Government (fired upon the Singhs). Mud is thrown at me that I am too "hot". Mud is thrown at me that I am quarrelsome. Mud is thrown at me that I am an agent of the Congress (Mrs. Gandhi's party). One can only learn (the truth) when one is being broken on the wheel - whether one recites God's name or hurls abuse. It is very easy to say these (bad) things. On 20th September, I went from that place. Some brothers say this too, our poet brothers have written poems too. I have, on many occasions, humbly said this. Either we do not have enough reverence for the Guru or we are under some awkward influence. All say Jarnail Singh has done a lot. He has woken up the Nation. Many poets have also written poems about it. I humbly appeal to these poets. Instead of making poems in my name, you should first of all write poems in praise of Siri Guru Granth Sahib. Why should you do it? If the Nation is awake today it is because the day of martyrdom of Siri Guru Granth Sahib. September 14 marks the awakening of this Nation. Guru Sahib has offered himself to the fire. If the books had not been set on fire, if copies (of Siri Guru Granth Sahib) had not been set on fire, I am prepared to say with confidence we could not have achieved such an awakening. Khalsa Ji, to preserve reverence for Satguru, the Singhs reached there and peacefully served the congregation. But the cruel Government fired at them and killed the Singhs. There is a Singh, an old man from Buttaran, Channan Singh by name. His son, was a student of the 12th grade. All day he served food and milk to the congregation. When he was going home, he passed in front of the police station. He was shot and killed while sitting in the trolley (of a tractor). We do talk and rightly so, about our Hindu-Sikh unity. We have to live together. The young son of Kartar Singh of Dharde village, was sitting in his trolley when he was shot. Another was from Bolewal - Bolewal is a village near Mehta - all these villages are near Mehta. He, too, was shot and killed. The time came. The dead bodies reached Amritsar. I was not here but all of you who are sitting here must have been. It is possible that you were not here but at Mehta Gurdwara. You were not anywhere else. This happened in that time frame.
The dead bodies were brought. You know how the post-mortem examinations (autopsies) were conducted and how the bodies were disposed off by the Government. It is not proper for me to talk about it, it is more appropriate that you speak (because Sant Bhindranwale was in jail and could not have first-hand knowledge).
Time passed. I went to jail. The Nation got together. Guru Sahib had mercy. Bhai Gajinder Singh and others, sons of the Guru, hijacked a plane to protest (Sant Bhindranwale's arbitrary arrest).
I appeal to our young men. Last night you had a big gathering.
You were asking as to what we are and what we have to do? The responsibility for taking decisions belongs to the Panth (the Sikhs collectively) but I shall certainly give my personal opinion. I shall not hesitate. Last night I humbly said to the young men that first I have to tell them that we are slaves. No matter how much we talk, no matter how much we boast, until it is ingrained in the mind of every son of a Sikh, of every old man, of every mother and sister, that we are slaves, we shall not be able to throw off the yoke of slavery and achieve freedom. Freedom from slavery is achieved only when a person starts to feel and understand that he would prefer death to life as a slave; when he does not consider living (as a slave) worthwhile. Only then one gets rid of slavery, never otherwise. How are we slaves? I shall devote only a small amount of time to this because it is getting quite late and the congregation has been patiently sitting since early morning. I shall tell you only the principle signs of slavery and not go into detail.
You all read the newspapers. (One news is about) the holding of the Asian Games in Hindostan and a line being drawn for the Sikh. The word Sikh is used, be he one wearing the Sikh shorts, or a sheet, or even clean- shaven. If his name is Singh, he cannot cross the line and go to Delhi through Haryana. A topiwalla (one wearing a cap), a Hindu can.
If a Sikh comes here from America, he is sent back from the airport, but a Hindu travelling by the same plane can reach Delhi. This is a sign of slavery. Indira Gandhi Warns Punjab Sikhs Of Reprisals Against Sikhs Outside Punjab. (Consider) the Prime Minister of India. Didn't Balbir Ji (Bharpur Singh Balbir, Editor, Akali Patrika, who had spoken before Sant Bhindranwale) say that cases have been registered? More will be registered. If the Prime Minister of India says that she likes to tell the Akalis, or to tell the Sikhs of Punjab, that they have started this agitation and are making demands for such things, they should think of what might happen to Sikhs outside (Punjab). No case is registered (against her). This is because she is born in the home of pundits. But if, from this stage or from Samundri Hall, Bhindranwala says: "Bibi Indira, intoxicated with power, there is so much pride in you that you like to warn Sikhs to think about what might happen to those outside (Punjab), you should remember too that there are only 20 Hindus to every Sikh and no more." (Congregation shouts the Jaikaara.) Singhs, don't shout the Jaikaara. I like to appeal to those who shout the Jaikaara: "What do you get out of it? You can shout the Jaikaaras after we are done and get up. First listen to all I have to say. We are slaves and (how inappropriate it is that we) are shouting slogans of victory! First get freedom. Do not cause distraction. Try to listen as to how we are slaves." I am not speaking merely in anger. I have been accused (of many things). They say: "He makes strong statements. He wishes to create trouble in the country. He wishes to destroy the relationship of nails to the flesh under the nails (reference is to Hindu-Sikh relations)." But I like to ask you today what is our relationship? Is the Prime Minister's responsibility towards the nation more or less than mine? I am an ordinary servant of the Sikhs. She has become (what she is) by your votes. I have not become a Sant by the votes of any of you. Thanks to the mercy of our Father, Guru Gobind Singh Sahib Ji, thanks to the kindness of the great man, the late Sant Baba Kartar Singh Ji Khalsa, it is due to them that I have come today on this stage. She has become (the Prime Minister) by getting the votes of the Indian public. If she says that the President (of Shiromani Akali Dal, Sant Harchand Singh Longowal) and the leaders should think about the women who wear turban or chuni (scarf) or have Kaur in their name, we are not eunuchs that we shall not respond. We Are Sons Of Guru Gobind Singh, The Unique Man.
I am illiterate but you are many well-educated philosopher friends sitting here. If you have seen, in any book, in any historical text, in any writing, the word "man" used with the name of any founder of a faith (one who shows the way), show it to me. This word has been written solely in reference to Siri Guru Gobind Singh Sahib. "The incomparable man appeared, the unique warrior. Wonderful, wonderful is Gobind Singh. He is the Guru and, himself, the disciple as well." If a boy is not like his father, what do people call him? You can figure that out for yourselves later. People suspect the boy who does not take after his father. If the Father is Guru Gobind Singh Sahib and he is taunted, insults are hurled at Him, and words full of hate are used for Him, for example, that you are born out of us, you are born out of us, (reference is to the Hindu contention that Sikhs are a sect within the Hindus), that you are Brahmins; our Father has expressed Himself very firmly telling the Brahmin not to say the wrong thing and: "I am the son of a Kshatri and not of a Brahmin." They want to depict the Tenth King as a Hindu with unshorn hair. Maharaj (Guru Gobind Singh Sahib) says this will never be.
If I say that there is a count of twenty for each of us, a case is registered (against me) under clause 506 but not against her because she is born in the house of the pundits. If the Home Minister of Hindostan says: "Turn this Bhindranwale out of Guru Nanak Niwas within eight days," no case is registered because he is born in the house of a Brahmin. If Bhindranwala or any other (Sikh) leader says from this stage: "We are not wearing bangles. We shall make you eat iron gram (a figure of speech), you can come with all preparations," a case is registered. If Bhattacharya, born in the house of Hindus, makes a statement in the Parliament, while the case is being heard in the court in Ludhiana, that Nachhattar Singh should have been hanged, no case is registered against him. If Swami Dityadesh, a Hindu from Haryana, says: "Pick up your shorts and towels and get out of here, you Sikhs have no business to be here," no case is registered against him. The Finance Minister of Punjab, Kewal Krishan, born in the house of Brahmins, says: "We shall destroy all organizations (of Sikhs)," no case is registered. This news is about six months old. I read it myself in the Akali Patrika. If it is said: "We shall crush the Sikhs, we shall grind them up, rub them out" no case is registered. If Harbans Lal Khanna says here, on the sacred soil of Amritsar: "We are not going to let there be two or three (different religions). We shall not let a turban stay on any head. The shorts, steel bangle and kirpaan, send these to Pakistan," no case is registered.
A Sikh gave a jeep costing 80,000 rupees, for the use of the Five Beloved Ones (Five Sikhs authorized to perform the initiation ceremony for a new Sikh). On July 17 last year, the police forcibly took it. The Singhs who were arrested in that connection, Jagir Singh, Ajaib Singh, Mangal Singh, Amrik Singh and Thara Singh, those Singhs are here sitting on this stage but the jeep is at the police station. The congregation gave a bus costing 300,000 rupees, for use in preaching. We go to bring Mata Ji Labh Kaur Ji, revered mother of our respected father (spiritual teacher, Sant Kartar Singh Ji Khalsa) Brahm Giani, great man who left us (for his heavenly abode) in the prime of his life as was ordained (by God), from Jhindwala in Muktsar, and the cruel Government catches that new bus in Muktsar, brings it to Amritsar and keeps it for a year in the police station! I want to ask those of you who say: "He says wrong things. He is hot-tempered." It was after all these excesses that I said: "If our bus is not returned by five o'clock, I shall kill five thousand Hindus in one hour." It was after we had suffered so much loss.
Why did I use the word "Hindu"? Many (people) say the word "Hindu" coming from the lips of a Sant does not sound nice. When did I give a certificate that I am a Sant? To whom did I give in writing that I am a Sant? I am Jarnail Singh and my pen-name is Khalsa. But why did I use the word "Hindu"?
I have no enmity with the Hindus as such. If I were their enemy, why would I rescue the daughter of a Hindu from Jalalabad. A Hindu young man forcibly kidnapped the daughter of Hukam Chand, a Hindu. In an assembly of ten thousand persons, coming to the stage, he started crying and said: "Sant Ji, you are the sewadar (servant) of the Damdami Taksaal. In old times, Sikhs used to rescue the daughters of Hindus. A Hindu has kidnapped my young unmarried daughter." If I discriminated (against Hindus), I would have said: "Get off this stage. Go and tell the Hindus (to help you)." But no, the duty of a Guru's Sikh is (expressed by the phrase): "Nanak says: Through God's Name one is ascendant; there is good for all in accepting Your will." We have always followed this. It was about 12 noon when I told him from the stage in Jalalabad, which is near Fazilka, that by five o'clock his daughter would reach his home, if his statements were true and there was no other confusion. I assigned this task to Mohinder Singh Sahianwala. Khalsa Ji, the girl was brought and handed over to the Hindu by quarter till five.
Kailash Chander owns a retail shop here. His shop was burnt down. The Retail Merchants Union asked him: "Name Bhindranwale." He did not do so. The Hindu along with two Sikhs, the three of them, came to see me in my room. He came and started to cry. I asked him: "What is the matter? Why are you crying?" He said: "My shop has been burnt down." I asked him what he wanted from me. He said: "If you give me about a hundred rupees, it will give me the excuse for making a collection." I gave him five hundred rupees.
In Kapurthala, a copy of the Ramayana (a Hindu holy book) was burnt. The leaders of that place know about this. The Jatha (Bhindranwale's) spent 5,000 rupees in litigation over that (to get the culprits punished).
On the 4th (April 1983), two Hindus were martyred in connection with the "Stop the Traffic," campaign. Shiromani Akali Dal and the Shiromani Committee paid (their families) 10,000 rupees each and the Jatha gave another 5,000 to each family. If I was an enemy of all the Hindus, where is the need for me to pay all this money? But I challenge any Hindu, any son of his mother, who might be present here today, to raise his hand if, out of the 600 million Hindu population of India, any one Hindu has gone to the home of any Sikh martyr and given a new five rupee bill to the family.
Government Is Unconcerned About Sikh Deaths.What is our relationship (with the Hindus)? Why have I used the word "Hindu"? I have not used it in anger. I shall convince you with arguments. Nearly two hundred Singhs have achieved martyrdom, perhaps the number is a few short (of 200), tell me if any servant of the Government has come to inquire. The President (of the Shiromani Akali Dal) has given a statement. There had to be an inquiry at Mehta. I do not know whether it took one or two months after (the incident) that the order for the investigation was issued. The order was given and it is three months since it (the report) was accepted. They do not release it because it goes against the police. An eighty year old Lala (Jagat Narain) died. He died on the 9th. After (only) three days, on the 12th, warrants were issued for my arrest. It is over two years since copies of Siri Guru Granth Sahib were burnt, the inquiry is still stymied. How long are we going to maintain unity? Why did I use the word "Hindu"? Nearly two hundred Singhs have died, tell me if any government official has come to any of you to inquire about it. All of them, our men, died at the hands of the police. Ashok Kumar, son of a Hindu, was killed by a police bullet in Patiala. The Home Minister came running, Indira Rani also came running. If she is so concerned about the death of one person in a count of 600 million (Hindus), why is she not concerned over the death of 200 in a count of 20 million (Sikhs)? Should one touch the place where it hurts or where you do not feel any pain? It was under these circumstances that I used this word "5,000 Hindus". You tell me, should I have used this or not? You, Guru's congregation, should give your decision. Then why do they say: "Bhindranwala speaks harsh words." Why do they say he causes division? Sikh Who is going to wail? One whom people go to and cry or one to whom they never go?
Jagir Singh son of Tara Singh of village Ittanwali, has been here today. His thigh was cut up and (the wound) filled with salt. These are signs of slavery that I am telling you. I had said in the beginning (I shall tell you) how we are slaves. If a Hindu dies, there is an inquiry, if a Sikh dies there is no inquiry. If a Hindu dies, the body is returned (to the family), if a Sikh dies, the body is not returned. If a Hindu dies, the Sikh is punished, if a Sikh dies, the inquiry is stopped.
A girl born in a house of pundits, Bibi Indira Gandhi, getting the votes of the people, became the Prime Minister of India. In 1977, a court sentenced her (to jail). She went to jail to serve time. Her associates, Pande and others, hijacked a plane. One of them was given a ticket (to contest election) for a seat in the U.P. Legislature and the other a ticket for a seat in the Bihar Legislature. But if Guru's sons, Gajinder Singh and others hijacked a plane, they are exiled. And they say our (Hindu-Sikh) relationship is like that between the nails and the flesh under them. If a plane is hijacked for a daughter of the pundits, a Hindu gets a room in an M.L.A. flat. If a Sikh hijacks a plane for the sake of his Beloved (Siri Guru Granth Sahib), while the entire Panth (united Sikh community) had unitedly started a peaceful agitation on the 4th of August (1982), like Gurbakhsh Singh did, he was given an injection to paralyze his leg. He is still in jail. Manjit Singh alias Museebat Singh, who was born in village Mehta and lived here in Amritsar, was shot and killed at the Raja Sansi airport. Tell me, Guru's Sikhs, if our Beloved Guru Granth Sahib does not have even as much respect as a daughter of the pundits, what faith do we have in our Guru? If a plane can be hijacked in protest for a daughter of the pundits, why can one not be hijacked for the sake of the Guru of the Sikhs, for the Sikhs' beards, for the Sikhs' kirpaan, and for the Sikhs' Harmandar Sahib? Of course, if the plane is burnt, if the plane is damaged, if the plane is set on fire, if any passenger on the plane is killed, if any passenger has been robbed, then all of us are sinners. Our leaders too are sinners. If a Sikh boards a plane and hijacks it to demonstrate his grief, it is called treason; if a Hindu strips a Sikh woman naked, it is patriotism! Tell me how long are we going to endure slavery? How unjust it is? How many examples of slavery have I given you? The responsibility for this is going to devolve on you.
ANANDPUR RESOLUTION: DO WE WANT IT?
I shall appeal to the young men here. In the beginning I used these words: "If a son does not take after his father, very bad words are used in referring to him, in remembering him." After I say one more thing, I am going to ask you to raise your arms. I shall have to ask you to raise your arms twice. Tell me, all of you who are assembled here, do we want the Anandpur Resolution in its entirety or not? (Congregation shouts the Jaikaara.) That is enough. It will suffice for me. If you want the Anandpur Resolution, (tell me this). If a Sikh, having been born in his home, never again steps in it, can his home ever stay lived in? All of us sitting here, where were we born? The birthplace of the Khalsa is Anandpur Sahib. It is not only the birthplace of the Khalsa, it is also the place where the Sacrificer of His Sons (Siri Guru Gobind Singh Sahib) gave His word to the Sikhs in return for the gift of Amrit. He requested: "Khalsa Ji, give Amrit to me as well." Blessed was the Guru's Sikh. He was no flatterer. What fearlessness has He given to His Khalsa! The son (spiritual son, Bhai Daya Singh, the first Sikh initiated by Siri Guru Gobind Singh Sahib) tells the Sacrificer of His Sons: "My Beloved Father, You are welcome to take Amrit. We do not refuse it to You. But kindly tell us, bless us with an answer. You gave us Amrit in return for five heads, not for peanuts. What will you give us in return for the gift of Amrit?" Blessed is the Sacrificer of His Sons, the True King, Guru Gobind Singh Sahib. Maharaj (Siri Guru Gobind Singh Sahib) replied: "Bhai Daya Singh Ji, you have come from various places and given me five heads. If you give me the Amrit of the Khanda (double-edged sword) and Baataa (bowl of steel), the Timeless, Omnipresent (God) be my witness that I shall sacrifice all my family for you." (Congregation shouts the Jaikaara.) Khalsa Ji, a resolution has been passed at the place where the Sacrificer of His Sons gave us His word, the promise to sacrifice His biological children for the sake of His spiritual ones, then, all of us, and I shall specially say this to all the young men assembled here, to go over your faces with your hands. Have we ever entered Anandpur, our home? Are our beards intact? Have we got our kirpaans? Do we remember Guru's Word (the daily prayer) by heart? Do we avoid alcohol? If a person has never entered his home, how will anyone allow him to fit it up with boards, lay chips in the floor and install windows? If you want the Anandpur Resolution, first enter your home, Anandpur. Take Amrit, then you will certainly get it (the Anandpur Resolution).
Do not let the newspapers get you into doubts. I submit to you that many efforts are being made to take off the Taksaal's turban (to malign the Taksaal). One trick has especially come to my attention. What is it? It is one of letters. Letters have been received in Delhi, Calcutta, Bombay, Qadiaan, Mianwind, Taran Taran Sahib, at all these places. Yesterday or perhaps it was the day before, Dilgir Singh Shah, and Hari Singh Arewala came to me in the form of a Panchayat (deputation of respectable persons). They brought along one Dilaram, a pundit. They said: "Sant Ji, he has said nothing." I said: "What have I said to him?" They said: "He received a letter." I asked: "What is the matter?" They said: "The letter came and nobody could eat after that." I asked: "Were there any signatures on it?" They said: "Long live Bhindranwale was written on it." Khalsa Ji, this is out and out a mischief. These are attempts to insult the Taksaal.
Who is it that keeps calling me an agent of the Congress, a traitor (to the nation)? The Government has initiated these plots to create dissensions and divisions in the Panth, to make us fight among ourselves, in order to preserve their own chairs (positions of power). We have to guard against these (schemes). Tell me if administering Amrit (initiating people into the Sikh Faith), teaching people to live by the Rehat (Sikh code of conduct), teaching them to read Guru's Word, getting them to unite under the saffron Nishaan Sahib, uniting them with Siri Guru Granth Sahib, uniting them with Akal Takhat Sahib and Harmandar Sahib, to be desirous of demanding, and urging the young men to demand, justice for the lost honor of our daughters and sisters, for the blood of the innocents, and for insults against the Satguru, and declaring support for the Panth, not surreptitiously but openly, if all this is the work of an agent of the Congress, then what is the business of the others? If this is the work of an agent, I am an agent. If this is the work of a bad man, I am bad. If this is the work of a Jan Sanghi (a member of the Jan Sangh, a radical Hindu political party), I am a Jan Sanghi. If this is the work of a Kali, I am a Kali. If this is the work of an Akali, in that case, I am already an Akali to start with. Joining the service of the Five Beloved Ones, I have administered Amrit to up to ten thousand perso