Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale’s Speech
2. Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale’s Speech June 1983
Guru’s Image, Guru Khalsa, assembly of God’s worshippers; constituted and blest by Satguru; all the congregation, say aloud:
Vaheguru Ji ka Khalsa, Vaheguru Ji ki Fateh (The Khalsa belong to God, Victory belongs to God.)
Guru’s beloved Khalsa Ji: sitting in the sacred lap of Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the True King, you have listened to nice views, regarding the present times, expressed by speakers who have spoken from this stage. You are fortunate.
In this struggle that has been going on for quite some time, there have been many arrests and martyrdoms. The Ministers of the Government of the time have started giving ever new statements. We should pay attention to all of these. Also, we have to be very alert to the attempts that are being made to alienate the public from the Akali Dal by going to various places, denying the separateness of the Sikh Nation, and denying the Sikh demands. Especially, this statement that Bibi Indira (Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India) has made that Pakistan has a hand in this struggle. Prior to this, Charan Choudhary (Charan Singh, Prime Minister of India 1977-1980) had made a statement that persons from Pakistan come to visit Bhindranwale in Nanak Niwas and return after discussions and making programs. (In doing this) that man showed bankruptcy of his mind, the death of his brain. (One might ask them): "If you know that persons from Pakistan come here to see me, you have so large a CID (Intelligence Division) why are those persons not arrested on their way? Then, they return from here. Why are they not apprehended at that time? If you (the leaders of the Government) know that they come to see me then you must be in league with them and they must be coming, getting out and returning with your permission." To this they have not given any reply in the newspapers. Sant Ji (Sant Harchand Singh Longowal) gave a very strongly worded statement today. (He said): "I shall resign the presidentship and even from the Akali Dal (if these accusations are proved to be true)." Although it has been said from this stage that Indira should resign her office, perhaps I am right when I say that only such persons do this (resign their office) who have some sense of dignity. But what is the use of saying anything to those who have no sense of shame at all? Occupying such high office, having become the Prime Minister of Hindostan, without thinking, she has herself started to accuses leading personalities. Which court will you turn to for justice? So, we have to keep our concentration to face these people. Work together. We cannot face the oppression that is being perpetrated at various places without unity.
Indira Gandhi Dismisses The Punjab Problem As A Handful Of Extremists Making Trouble.
Indira Gandhi has given a statement that the trouble in Punjab is caused by a handful of people. She has labelled them as extremists.
At first she used to say that the Akali Dal is getting it done and extremists are doing it under encouragement from the Akali Dal. When that formula did not succeed, she has given up one approach and taken up another, i.e., a handful of persons is responsible for it.
Perhaps she (Indira Gandhi) has forgotten that a Sikh does not believe in violence. Sikh does not believe in destroying life. A Sikh always upholds nAnK nAm CHRdI clA TERE BANE srbATdA BlA "Nanak says: God’s Name is glorious; there is good for all in accepting Your will". The Sikh follows this path. She has started to say so to give us a bad name. Either her CID (Intelligence Division) has given her this impression or she is deliberately being clever. 115,000 Have Volunteered To Die For The Faith. This Is Not A Handful.
There has been an announcement from the Akal Takhat regarding 115,000 volunteers ready to die. Among them I too have come to the stage on two occasions. I too have come to the Guru’s presence. All the mothers and brothers who have come there to the presence of Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the True King; I have preached at length to them all and got them to make a pledge to become extremists. She (Indira Gandhi) says there is a handful of people. She should carefully note that 115,000 raised their arms.
We are firm extremists but of what type? Those who act the way Government says an extremist does. Whom does the Government call extremists? A person who takes Amrit (is formally initiated into the Sikh Faith) and administers it to others; who reads Baani (Siri Guru Granth Sahib) and teaches others to read it; who preaches unity and exhorts people to work together; who turns people towards cooperation; who unites them under the saffron Nishaan Sahib (the Sikh religious flag); who unites them with Akal Takhat Sahib and Harmandar Sahib; who is desirous of seeking justice (retribution) for the dishonor to our daughters and sisters, for the spilt blood of innocent people, for the irreverence shown towards Siri Guru Granth Sahib, the True King, and exhorts others to do the same – and we have to get these rights – the present Government has started calling such people extremists. Only Sikhs Of The Guru Have Volunteered. They Are More Than A Fistful.
I had said these things when I asked people to raise their arms. He who is a Sikh of the spinning wheel and the goat, a Sikh of the Radhaswamis and Narkdharias (Nirankaris), a Sikh who waters the pipal tree and sprinkles sandhoor on the Jand tree, should not raise his arm in the presence of our Master (Siri Guru Granth Sahib). He who is a Sikh of Satguru Granth Sahib, is a friend of the Panth (the Khalsa Brotherhood), has respect for the honor of daughters and sisters, has respect for the spilt blood of the innocent and the brave, should raise his arms. This was the pledge I got from the stage. They were 115,000. She should think it over. They were 115,000. (One might say to her): "You are not the form of Guru Nanak that you can include all of them in your fist. Your fist could not even contain Jagjiwan Ram (a former Minister in the Government of India), not even Bajpai (a Hindu leader) and others. They left you and departed. How will you hold 115,000 Sikhs in your fist through mere talk?" She says there is only a handful! From one point of view it is even a good thing. So long as the fist is closed the fist is formed, it is there. When we open the hand, it becomes a slap. Fingers cannot hurt as much as a fist can. When the fingers are closed they call it a fist. You know, in our language, what the fist can do. So, Khalsa Ji, so long as our fist is closed, we are together. We desist from mutual criticism. We are Guru’s Singhs and work together. Let us stop saying "I am a Congressite, I am an Akali, I am Bhindranwala, I am so and so." Giving these up, one thing should penetrate the Sikh’s mind: "I am a Sikh, I want to live in Hindostan as a Sikh and not as a kesdhari Hindu (Hindu with uncut hair)." When this thing enters our mind (we shall succeed). She says "they are a handful." One hundred and fifteen thousand have made the pledge here. Some friends have registered their names with me too. Some say: "Why have they registered their names with you?" Some brothers talk like this too. I do not wish to name them, may God give them good sense. I pray to the Guru. I am not angry with them. That’s all the wisdom they have. Friends have registered their names with me too. Who are the people who have done so? These were those who said:
"We are not going anywhere without you." The President, Sant Baba Harchand Singh Ji Longowal, was asked. A request was made to him:
"Baba Ji, some Singhs think like this. You should tell us (what to do). If tomorrow there is going to be a talk that (Bhindranwale is) forming his own Akali Dal, then I shall request these people to go home. But if you so order, I can register them." He said: "Get them registered." Persons between sixteen and forty years of age have been registered. We have registered older persons as well but that (list) is separate. In this age group, the count with me is thirty thousand. She says they are a handful! Garja Singh and Bota Singh (Sikh heroes from 18th century who defied the Imperial rulers) were two. It will be good if the Guru has mercy, the Satguru is benevolent, and the job gets completed in peace. We definitely are supporters of peace, but if the train once starts then it will be known whether they are a mere handful or too many even for (enclosing in a blanket) wrap.
We have to be peaceful. We have orders to stay peaceful but peacefulness alone is not enough. Stay prepared as well. Carry weapons. Work in cooperation. Give up intoxicants. Today I like to request the young men. Some are going in the group of protesters and some had come to see them off. Out of them, about sixty Singhs have today (pledged to) keep beards and to give up alcohol. I thank them and shall request them too: "Don’t let things revert to what they were. Let it not happen that tomorrow you get out of jail and the day after you sit in front of a barber. You have made this pledge in Guru’s presence. You have been to the (Akal) Takhat Sahib. Keep your word. May Satguru have mercy and give us wisdom."
In conclusion, I like to address those persons who under someone’s instigation and to show the strengths of their brains have taken some such decisions that perhaps all this is Bhindranwale’s job. I like to warn those people that in Gurmat (the Sikh way) such attitude is not good. I shall only say this much. They will understand. Those who have sin on their minds, start shivering on their own. Standing on this stage, I like to tell them again: "Try as hard as you wish to, there are not going to be any differences between the two of us – I and Longowal." Those people who have concocted these plans over cups of tea and over cookies, sitting in their chairs, should ponder and desist from such mischief. Times are very critical. Whichever of the two parties (to the conflict) – the Akali Dal and the Government – wavers will be routed. But the Sacrificer of His Sons (Siri Guru Gobind Singh Sahib) will have mercy. The Panth will never flinch. We have to follow the path of: nishay kar apnee jeet karo ["Resolutely may I ensure my victory"].
Today I have also learnt about the property belonging to the family of Balwant Singh of Mukerian. Members of the Congress Party (Indira Gandhi’s Party in Government) who listen to Kewal Krishan, not all but those who have become his touts just as they did at the time of (the case of) the Babbar Akalis, have harvested five acres of wheat, that had been sown (by Balwant Singh and his family), and taken it to their homes. The field has been ploughed. I did not make much mention of it thinking that from five acres perhaps they got 150 maunds (about 6 tons) and when the time comes we shall get it back. But today I have learnt that Kewal Krishan, in his pride and to assert his influence in the area, has had advertisements issued for auction of (Balwant Singh’s) house and the household effects. Perhaps after two or four days bids will be accepted. I shall request the newspapermen too to try to publish this information. If they do not, then the Singhs who have come from there should definitely let people in that area know: "God’s men, we have no enmity with any of you, with any Punjabi; it is out of the question with any Sikh; not with any other caste either. But I like to say this. Those people who had put a price on the heads (of Sikhs), among them were Lakhpat and Jaspat, from among the ancestors of the present day (tyrant) Kewal Krishan. They had resolved that they would completely exterminate the Sikhs from the world. Kewal Krishan is acting the same way in the region around Mukerian – that he is not going to let even a brick remain in the foundations of Balwant Singh’s property. But he should remember. Who does he think he is? Lakhpat and Jaspat made a pledge. The time came. Satguru had mercy. Those who nowadays are contemptuously described as backward classes, from among these harijans, Bhai Nibhaoo Singh was motivated by Satguru Ji. When circumstances permitted, Khalsa Ji, holding on the elephant’s tail, climbing from the rear onto the elephant, he beheaded the oppressor of the times just as a gourd is cut from its vine. He did not think.(inaudible) whatever happened to the property(inaudible) I like to tell Kewal Krishan specially and those of his touts who are getting ready to bid and I humbly request those who have the Sikh appearance: "Don’t poke your hand into the (inaudible) of this faith. You won’t be able to take it out. Love the Sikh appearance. Talk about Sikhi. Have faith in Satguru and give up greed. But if, surrendering to the power of the Government, if you bid at the auction of the homes of the Singhs and try to take over their property, I give you this warning that only such brother should make a bid who was born with two heads. If anyone with one head makes a bid, he can think for himself."
Some people say I am saying this in anger. No, this is not anger. I say this with hurt in my heart. The Government has never stripped any Hindu’s daughter or sister, only those of us Sikhs are stripped; no daughter of a Hindu has been stripped and her father laid on her, only those of us Sikhs were subjected to this humiliation; no Hindu’s Beloved (object of worship) has been set on fire, if there has been such a fire in this regime, it has been set to only our Beloved (Siri Guru Granth Sahib); no son of a Hindu has been detained or hung upside down, only Sikh students have been so hung; no shop belonging to any Hindu has been set on fire by the Government, only the homes of the Sikhs have been burnt down. (I speak) keeping all these things in mind. No government official has forced a cow’s bones into the mouth of a son of a Hindu, tobacco has been sprinkled and cigarettes forced and tobacco spat into the mouths of only Sikh young men; if police officials have shaved off beards only Sikh boys were shaved and they were sent to Amritsar saying: "Go and tell Bhindranwale to do what he can." First they have been sent and later when they reached here there are efforts to get someone to intercede.
I have learnt today about our Bhai Bua Singh and Narinder Singh. The sentence for both was one year in detaintion. They were to be released on the 20th. On the 19th they were taken out of jail and taken to the police station and again detained for another year. They have been detained and have been assigned to the grindstone mills (where prisoners are required to grind grain in manually driven grindstones). If they have to get out of the grindstones then, Khalsa Ji, what is the restriction? We shall have to think about it. It is a challenge to us. During British times it was said that a Sikh could not keep his turban. There is one Gajjan Singh, I do not know this friend. Only Satguru knows the sort of temperament he has. He has used such bad words towards both of them that I cannot repeat them from this stage. Why did he use them? He said: "Why do you have saffron colored scarves on your heads? If you wish to stay here in comfort, you will have to take off the saffron colored scarves. If you wish to wear saffron colored scarves, orange scarves, then you will be confined to the grindstones." So, (I like to say to him). "My friend:
This regime is not going to last forever. I shall only say that you are a son of the Sikhs – I have learnt this – you should not attack the turban and the beard and hair. The punishment for this will be very heavy. The Government may last two days, four days, or ten days. These people have to step aside some day. But keep in mind that if you think that destroying Bua Singh and Narinder Singh, or my associates, or Longowal and Bhindranwale or another few leaders will rid you of problems, it is never going to be so. So long as slavery is not shaken off the neck of our Sikh Nation, this struggle will continue."
Khalistan Issue. Sikhs Are Labeled As Communalists.
Yesterday four or five persons came to me. They asked: "Sant Ji, if Jagjit Singh Chauhan attacks Hindostan with assistance from England, America, and Canada, whom will you help?" I asked them: "Why do you have doubts?" They said: "Our business is to ask questions." I replied: "We shall support the Sikh appearance and the victim." He had thought that I would say "Jagjit Singh Chauhan or Hindostan." I had replied: "We shall support the Sikh appearance and the victim. Whoever is the victim, we shall certainly embrace him. Whoever is the oppressor, we shall destroy." Emergency was proclaimed (during 1975-1977). During the emergency, Hindus who were occupying chairs (were in power, Indira Gandhi and her party) arrested and jailed those who were victims and were just going about their ordinary business. Not even a single one of Akali workers had been arrested. But what transpired? Hindu-Sikh unity has taken deep roots in our minds, perhaps with time it will go away. But (at that time) it was very strong. With that in view, or may I say, not with that in view but following naanak naam charrdee kall tere bhaane sarbat daa bhallaa ["Nanak says: God’s Name is glorious; there is good for all in accepting Your will"], a struggle was launched from Siri Akal Takhat Sahib that we are not going to let any victim remain under oppression. No Sikh had been arrested. Only Hindus had been arrested by (other) Hindus. But starting the struggle from here we got Hindus out of jail. Those whom we got out of jail we even made into Prime Minister (Reference is to Chaudhri Charan Singh). Our leaders also gave him cars and bags (of money) because we considered them (Hindus) our brothers. Today people like Charan Chaudhri (Charan Singh, Prime Minister of India 1977-1980) and others who are his associates, say that Akali Dal should be banned. Guru’s men: think it over. Who is a communalist, we or they? Their people arrested them and, considering them to be your own, you went to jail to get them out of jails. Today, the Sikhs, and may I say especially the Akali Dal, have started this struggle for all Punjabis, tell me how many Hindus have gone to jail? Have even forty hundred, out of a count of 660 million gone to jail? Forty thousand of you out of a total of 17.5 million went to jail during the emergency. And they call you communalists!
GREETINGS TO THE GROUP OF PROTESTORS GOIONG TO COURT ARREST
So, I humbly submit that we have to march together, stay together, give up intoxicants and stoutly, fearlessly support the Panth. All these things that are secretly going on, don’t let them create doubts in your minds. Beware of these. We are together and all of us have to march together. Detractors Within The Akali Dal.
In conclusion I like to say this once again to these people who on their own link various things with me and have made up their minds that Bhindranwale has done this and someone else has done that. (The damage done by this) will be known when the consequences of this have to be faced. In 1979 (when Sant Bhindranwale opposed the Akali Party in Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee elections), besides Longowal (Sant Harchand Singh Longowal), who is there that did not call me a lecher, a vagabond, a bad character, a debauch, a Congressite and Indira’s henchman? Has (anybody) made me one? Has anyone succeeded in making me (a henchman of Indira Gandhi)? Even today I shall ask these foolish people to desist from such acts. I shall never in my life seek a chair (public office). I haven’t sought it in the past and am not desirous of it in the future. I desire but one thing that those who have Singh as their name should have beards on their face and (unshorn) hair and kirpaan in their gaatras. The ladies too should have kirpaans in their gaatras. You should be perfect in Sikhi, should abstain from intoxicants, believe in the Panth’s (the Khalsa Brotherhood’s) glory, and maintain reverence for the saffron Nishaan Sahib (the Sikh religious flag). If you engage in the kind of things I have mentioned earlier, you will be the losers. I lose nothing. (I am like) a bird without a tail that has no fixed home. I can pick up my shorts and move on. Our business is preaching Sikh faith. If you do not stop making accusations, no harm will come to me but if you don’t, someday, sitting on the stage, I shall hold you by the ear and make you stand up (and answer). At that time you will not be able to call someone’s mother your aunt. I do not take tea, I do not eat meat. There is no question of my taking alcohol or Kuttha (meat prepared by slow killing of animals). Of what will you accuse me on the stage? I haven’t said this off-handedly. I say this with a sense of responsibility. I have said this after thinking over it for ten months. Don’t get into similar things again.
I offer my heartfelt thanks to Bibi Jaswant Kaur and Bibi Joginder Kaur Ji and all the Singhs, all the friends, in the Jatha (group of protestors) that is going. Reading false stuff in newspapers don’t fall victim to doubts. The Panth is united. Sometimes it is asked: "What is the need to say the Panth is united?" It arises when, from amongst us, some brothers falling victims to newspapers, considering them to be divine voice start thinking along wrong lines. It is then that we have to say. I must also request our workers – not only mine but of the Panth – and our elders and brothers, and our speakers regarding this feeling that is creeping into our minds; that we shall give further clarification. We do not have a contract that ever since the Sikh Nation came into being till the end of the universe, we should keep providing clarifications to these people. We should now stop doing this. Any cap-wearer (Hindu) who comes to us, we should ask him: "Are you with us or not." Now we should not say: "We are with you." Now we should start asking this of everyone: "Do you wish to keep us with you or not? If you want to keep us with you give us our equal rights. If you do not want to keep us with you, give us our land. We have given 93 heads and you have given seven. If there is some hill corresponding to seven, keep it for yourselves, and leave the rest for us.
Vaheguru Ji ka Khalsa, Vaheguru Ji ki Fateh (The Khalsa belong to God, Victory belongs to God).
(Translated from the original in Punjabi by Ranbir S. Sandhu, Sikh Religious and Educational Trust, P.O. Box 1553, Dublin, Ohio 43017)