To ignore severe injustice results in spiritual death.
I’ve been sent an audio file of an interview from a Kharkoo Singh taken in 1992. The quality is quite bad due to how old it is but its an absolute gem if you would like to know about the jeevan of the Kharkoo Singhs and Singhnia. Unfortunately I can’t upload the audio because I’ve agreed to the source of where I got it from that I wouldn’t. But I am going to translate it into english and type it up.
Interview with gupt Kharkoo Singh (1992)
Interviewer: Tell me about your childhood and how you became involved with the movement.
Gupt Singh: I was born in Chandigarh in 1964. I come from an upper class rich family and have one sister. My parents were both employed by the govenrment and had decent jobs. My father has always worked very hard in order for us to have a good education and upbringing. He came from quite a poor background and always used to say ‘I don’t want my children to go through what I have been through’. Both of my parents were not very devoted to Sikhi, they used to go Gurdwara but there was no emphasis on reading Gurbani or doing Simran. We were like a typical modern Sikh family from Chandigarh.
My father was against Sant Ji (Sant Jarnail Singh Ji), he used to say “he’s uneducated, what does he know about Sikhi?” I never knew any better so I never thought much of it. My sister was really educated, she always used to get top grades in her whole class out of everyone. Thats how my childhood passed, I just wanted to get a good education.
I remember when Sant Ji started appearing on TV and on the cover of newspapers, I was interested into learning about what he stood for. I wondered is he really a Sant? I was speaking to a relative about Sant Ji and he said how Sant Ji had ordered the killings of innocent Hindus. This disgusted me, I thought is that what a Sant is supposed to do? i said some very harsh words, which I can’t repeat. This played on my mind for days how he is giving Sikhs a bad reputation!
I was sat on a bus on the way back home from College and this old lady walked towards where I was sitting. With every step she took she was saying ‘Waheguru’. there were many seats available but she sat next to me. As the bus was going she started doing paat, at the time I didn’t know what it was but i kept hearing her say Sant.
She kept repeating Gurbani for about 10 minutes, then she stopped and looked at me. I couldn’t look at her in the eyes, it felt as if she had power in her eyes. She looked at me and said “son, to slander a saint is a massive sin”
She then said “how can one who repeats the lords name and Gurbani all day and with every breath be in the wrong? The government is trying to give us Sikhs a bad name and make false accusations, where they are actually the ones carrying out these attacks. Only time will tell and the whole world will see who is true and who is false.”
My heart sank, i thought to myself how does she know I’ve been slandering Sant Ji.
At this point I realised that what a mistake I had made, this mother knew what I had been thinking. Such is the power of Gurbani! I asked her what she meant about only time will tell.
She replied “the future for Sikhs is going to be a struggle. Have faith my beloved son, you have been sent here also for a duty. Us sikhs are born from sacrifice, we shouldnt be afraid. Sant Jarnail Singh Ji is a beloved of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, never doubt this.”
She then patted me on my shoulder, when her hand touched my shoulder I felt some sort of power form her hand. She then said “As Sikhs we have a duty, we must oppose injustices, when you carry out your duty, remember this”
With these words she got off the bus, as I looked back to see where she had gone she was nowhere to be seen. Only now I know that she kept repeating the salok:
“sant saran jo jan parai so jan oudhharanehaar, sant kee nidhaa naanakaa bahur bahur avathaar”
“One who seeks the Sanctuary of the Saints shall be saved. One who slanders the Saints, O Nanak, shall be reincarnated over and over again.”
I was confused about her saying about my duty, however, I still feel to this day that when she patted my shoulder my whole life changed from that day onwards.
Interviewer: When did you meet Sant Ji
After meeting this mother on the bus, I had a great desire to meet Sant Ji. I knew he held diwans at Manji Sahib Gurdwara, so I decided to make my way to Sri Amritsar when I heard he was going to hold a diwan. I was nervous on the way to Sri Amritsar, I did not know what to expect. When I got there I remember it was a really hot day, I first paid my respects in Sri Darbar Sahib and did parkarma at all the Gurdwareh on the complex.
When I entered Sant Jis diwan, I remember exactly that Sant Ji was wearing a white chola with blue dastar. As i was walking to matha tek Guru Granth Sahib Ji I could feel there was something special about him. I had a ‘khitch’ (pulling feeling) in my stomach as I got closer, but I still remember the feeling was towards Guru Granth Sahib Ji. This assured me that Sant Ji did not want people to follow him, but to follow Guru Granth Sahib Ji. His voice was like thunder, there was silence as he spoke. Sant Ji had the roop (image) of a true Khalsa. I really felt I was in the presence of Guru Gobind Singh Jis fauj (army).
Sant Ji was talking about the importance of taking Amrit in that diwan and how a Sikh should look like his father. When the diwan finished, I wanted to go say Fateh to Sant Ji but there was too much rush. I stayed that night in Sri Amritsar in the niwas. The next day I went back to Chandigarh. I did not tell my family that I saw Sant Ji, they would have got worried. From that day onwards I started doing my Nitnem. Sant Ji was my inspiration, he was the inspiration of many Sikhs in Punjab at the time. As days increased I increased my Nitnem to the extent where I started developing a love for Sikhi. I wanted to take Amrit, but my parents said “you are at the age where education is important, you can do that sort of stuff after. I was heart broken that my parents did not allow me to take Amrit. I did not have the courage to go against their will.
Interviewer: So how did you become involved in the movement?
My sister was coming home from college one day on the bus. She studied quite far away and used to arrive home after me. I was waiting and noticed she was later than usual. Suddenly she came home running crying and screaming. I asked “sister whats the matter?” I went to touch her to try and comfort her but when I got near to her she screamed really loud. I kept asking “sister whats the matter?” She would not talk to me, she locked herself in her room. I could hear her crying for a while. My parents had come home by now. My mother managed to get her to open the door and went in to her room. My mother also started crying, I thought maybe someone had died.
My mother came out and told me and my father…
(Editors note: The Singh breaks down into tears as he tells what happened to his sister.)
Two policemen had stole my sisters izzet (they raped her). They dragged her into a police jeep and raped her! My sister was an innocent good girl, why would someone do this. As they raped her they reffered to her as ‘Sardara di Kurri’. They said “if you tell anyone we will kill you”. From this day my sister could not even go near any men, it took a while for her to even go near me. This changed my life! These things changed many peoples lives in Punjab. Many of our sisters izzet was taken by these dogs. I thought to myself, she was raped because she was the daughter of a Sikh, these sons of cowards will pay! Sant Ji used to say in his diwans “those that take the izzet of women should be punished!” This event led me to join the movement to take justice for all those that were oppressed by the government.
Interviewer: How did you come into contact with other Singhs in the movement?
This disrespect to my sister changed my life, it drove me to Amrit. I did not care what my parents thought anymore, my ‘dil’ (heart) was telling me to take justice. In the days leading upto the Amrit Sanchar I used to do an ardas everyday to Guru Gobind Singh Ji that please bless me with your Amrit, please give me the ‘himmat’ (courage) to take justice for our people, I am nothing and can only succeed if you bless me. The day I tasted Amrit was the day I promised to take justice. When we take Amrit we should become fearless because we become immortal. If we keep faith then Guru Gobind Singh Ji shall bless us with this ability.
I was listening to Sant Jis katha on ‘ab mein apni katha bakhano’. Guru Gobind Singh Ji says that they have come to the earth to spread ‘Dharam’ (righteousness) and destroy the tyrants. When we take Amrit we have to understand our duty. If we live and watch injustices happen then we are not Khalsa! When I became Amritdhari I made it my duty to oppose injustice!
When the government attacked Sri Darbar Sahib, that was it, I left home and joined the Singhs. This woke alot of people up, it made everyone really sad that our Sri Darbar Sahib was attacked. Why did they kill women and children aswell? They wanted to eradicate Sikhi, if no one stoop up we would be finished! We have no emnity for Hindus, our fight is with the government.
I had to learn my Nitnem off by heart, we are always on the run. We do not have time to sit in one place. We get about 3-4 hours sleep a day. If you read Gurbani, it gives you the ‘shakti’ (power) to live in these conditions. The fight is not over. Many Singhs have become Shaheed but this makes us stronger! The government has picked a fight with the wrong people.
Interviewer: Which group are you a part of and who is your jathedar?
I am a part of Guru Gobind Singh Jis army and Guru ji is my jathedar. You can never ask this question to any kharkoo. Even if our Singhs are tortured we still do not give this information. To be a Kharkoo, you have to be loyal to your group and never reveal information to anybody, it can effect the running of our mission.
One thing I can tell you is that, we made them police officers pay! We watched them for many days, it was frustrating because as soon as I saw them I wanted to kill them. But a Shere doesnt pounce straight away, he watches his prey then kills. Once we figured out their daily pattern we attacked. This strategy is the most effective when you are fighting underground. Its the first time I’ve killed someone, but I do not regret it. My sister’s life is ruined because of those dogs. Me killing them policemen has not changed my sister but atleast they can’t do that to someone else’s sister. We ambushed their jeep and bombarded them with our ‘baarra bore’ (12 bore Shotguns). There were four of us on two motorcycles, we left the scene shouting ‘Raj Karega Khalsa!’
Interviewer: Do you want Khalistan?
Of course we do, there is no other option. We can’t live like slaves, we want to be free. We want to live in a place where there is justice. Our homeland is the only solution. The government will not provide us with equal rights, we have no choice but to fight for Khalistan.
Interviewer: When do you think we will get Khalistan?
That is up to Guru Gobind Singh Ji, we can’t decide that. Our duty is to fight for it even though it may take many years. I have studied alot of history of revolutions from other countries. It took some of them many years, but in the end they still succeeded. I have studied Che Guevara and his revolution in Cuba. If you look at their movement, they started from just 80 people. They over powered a whole country. In their first battle they were left with about 20 people. They had the fighting spirit but most of all they had the support of their own people. Che Guevara and his men were soldiers, but we are saint-soldiers of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. We have the ‘shakti’ (power) of Gurbani on our side.
There are many families that have supported us, but our politicians have let us down. I speak to many Kharkoos from other groups and they all say this too. We do not want credit, we do not want people to worship us. But all we ask is that if we become Shaheed just please look after our families. Has any organisation supported the families of Shaheeds? Have they ever even bothered to ask if they are alright? I feel so much ‘dukh’ (pain) when I hear how the families of some of the great Shaheeds of our panth are mistreated.
Interviewer: Have you ever been arrested or imprisoned?
Many times I have been arrested. I am currently wanted for the killing of those two dogs (police officers). The last time I was arrested was because someone informed the police of a safe house we had. Before they even asked me anything, I was beaten for hours with sticks. The police men ripped my dastar off my head and pulled my hair, threatening to cut it. They then started asking me where the rest of my group was and what our plans were. I didn’t reply, I just kept repeating Chaupai Sahib as they beat me.
That night I thought they were going to kill me. When a child gets scared in the night he cries out for his mother. That night I cried out for my mother. I did an ardas to Mata Sahib Kaur Ji “dear beloved mother please help me, I am your child, please help me”. As I finished my ardas, I said Fateh then lay down on the floor. Mata Ji had heard my ardas, I could not feel any pain in my body anymore. I felt as if I had been given a fresh body. Such is the greatness of our mother; Mata Sahib Kaur Ji. That night I had such a beautiful sleep. I had a dream of the establishment of Khalistan, a place where there was no ‘dukh’ or injustice. All I could see in my dream was peace, love and happiness. Singhs and Singhnia were reciting Gurbani, there were children learning how to read and write Punjabi. I will never forget that dream, I hope one day it becomes a reality.
In the morning, the officer in charged came to see me. He said I think there has been a mistake and you are free to go. I thought this was there plan to kill me and say I tried to escape. I was then released from the police station. I have full belief that it was my mother that had saved me that night. I was wanted by the police, how could they have suddenly thought they had made a mistake? These events that have taken place in my life have built my faith in Gurbani, without Gurbani we can never achieve anything.
Interviewer: What do you plan to do now?
Many of our members are now Shaheed, we need to recruit more people. Not just militants, in each group you need a mixture of people. We used to have a Doctor in our group, when anyone was ever wounded in an encounter he would see to them. We also have support from some rich people, who help finance our group. Theres many ways in which people can help. We also used to have a policeman who used to inform us of any wrong doings carried out by other police officers.
One day we will get Khalistan. We do not want to be rulers. Gurbani Says:
“Raj na chao, mukht na chao, man preet charan kamalare”
(do not desire raaj, do not deisre salvation, may my mind be in love with your lotus feet)
We do not desire raaj, we want freedom so we can express our love for our Guru in a just manner. Sant Ji said when the Indian government attacks Sri Darbar Sahib then the foundation for Khalistan will be laid down. They’ve attacked so the foundation has now been laid.
Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ke Fateh
End of translation
The Singh who was interviewed became a Shaheed in 1994. The police carried out a fake encounter and shot him. The three Singhs who were with him when they killed the policemen who raped his sister are still alive. No information is known of there whereabouts. The Shaheed Singhs family still live in their house in Chandigarh. Before anyone asks anymore questions thats all that can be said. The reason is that these Singhs families face alot of hassle from the government still to this day. Even if the Singh becomes Shaheed they hassle the family so no one follows in the footsteps of these beloved Khalseh.
Bhul Chuk Maaf Ji. posted by Soho Roadie on Sikh Sangat.