For those interested in learning the truth behind the horrifying events during and leading up to Operation Bluestar in 1984, AR Darshi’s book “The Gallant Defender” is a must read. Written by a man with an impeccable resume, including serving as a magistrate and Joint Secretary to the Punjab, he had access to behind the scenes knowledge of Bluestar. Unfortunately, those who wish for the truth to remain hidden attempt to explain away explanations of the events, claiming that they are written by Sikhs and therefore must be false. If it matters to anyone, Mr. Darshi is a Hindu.
The entire book is available at: The Gallant Defender
This is the prologue:
I have ventured to make a humble effort to write this book for some compulsive reasons and meaningful purpose. The first reason is that during my long service in Punjab in the capacity of Judicial Magistrate, Sub Divisional Magistrate, Additional Deputy Commissioner and Joint Secretary to Government of Punjab, I have carefully watched and monitored all politico-religious agitations and consequent developments right from the reign of late Partap Singh Kairon to the present day government of Parkash Singh Badal which is still crumblingly lurking on till this last day of 1998. The second reason is that during the long stint of my service in Punjab I have developed very close and cordial relations with the top leaders of all the political parties especially with the leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal. I have the privilege of having “personal close relations with late Baba Joginder Singh, father of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee and Jathedar Jagdev Singh Talwandi, who had been the President of the Shiromani Akali Dal from 1977 to 1980. He at present is the Senior Vice President of Shiromani Akali Dal. Thirdly, being a post graduate in Political Science and Psychology I have developed very keen interest in political affairs and day to day politics. And, therefore, I have been keenly observing all political developments for the last three decades. However, my service in the capacity of PCS officer in Punjab was simply incidental. Therefore, whatever matter I have included in this book is either based on my personal conversations held with the political leaders or my direct knowledge derived from political and other events. These events include intra-contradictions prevailing among the Akali leaders; their confrontation with the discriminatory Congress governments; their conflicts with Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale; and last but not the least, Sant Bhindranwale’s’ struggle against the offensive launched by the Nirankaris headed by Gurbachan Slngh, to subvert the Sikh religion.
Activities of the Akalis carried out behind the scene were confided to me by Jathedar Jagdev Singh °Talwandi, Gurcharan Singh Tohra }ate Balwant Singh and others while Congress leaders such as Darbara Singh and Beant Singh, both late Chief Ministers, leaked out their own strategies and tactical manoeuvres. Comrade Harkishan Singh Surjit, with whom I have had the oldest relations, kept me feeding with political wheel-deals and other developments that had been taking place at the national and the state levels. Comrade Surjit, who is a very shrewd politician and always keeps himself at the centre stage, has been maintaining close relations with Badal, Tohra, Talwandi, Surjit Singh Barnala till today. Late Balwant Singh and Longowal always sought his advice on all matters. Very often than not these leaders of all hues and shades discussed subjects of political interests among themselves collectively and severally. So I used to get continuous feedback on the latest political developments through all these leaders.
So when I touched a delicate and sensitive subject of the agreement that had been reached in 1977 between Badal, Tohra and Talwandi that Tohra would be the Chief Minister of Punjab, it is not in any way a hear say story: Both Tohra and Talwandi confidentially but separately revealed and confirmed this episode of trust and mistrust. Tohra was treacherously deceived and deprived of his just right to ride the chair of Chief Minister. Unfortunately he is still being kept at bay by Badal and his supporters. Similarly when I referred to the agreement that had been reached in respect of Punjab in 1983 in the tripartite meeting held at Delhi, from which agreement Indira Gandhi had later resiled, is also not a newspaper story. It was confided to me personally by Comrade Surjit who had participated in that tripartite meeting.
The purpose of writing this book is twofold. Firstly, it is to recall and commemorate the outstanding contribution made by Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale who had raised the emaciated spirit of the Khalsa. Secondly, it is for the loving memory of Sant Bhindranwale who had made an unparalleled and unique sacrifice in defense of the faith and the philosophy of the Khalsa so fondly created and nourished by Guru Gobind Singh.
Although this book was written in 1985, after assassination of Longowal, yet it could not be published then, Now I am prompted to publish it so that it may precede or coincide with the tercentenary celebrations of birth of the Khalsa. I am deeply pained to observe that those leaders whose role during the Bhindranwale time was anti-panthic, have now come to the forefront to farcically celebrate this auspicious event. And none of these failed leaders has bothered to remember or even mention his name.
They have conveniently forgotten the outstanding services rendered by Sant Bhindranwale who has resuscitated the dead spirit of the Khalsa with his blood. Hence this book is being published on this auspicious occasion to refresh and revive the forgotten memory of the gallant defender.
A.R. Darshi B-XX-2939,
Gurdev Nagar, Civil Lines,
Ludhiana-141 001, Punjab, India.
January 1, 1999
Some items of interest related to the 1984 attack on the Sikh community:
-Documentary on the effects of the attack on British Sikhs
–Examination of the fortifications used in defence of the Akaal Takht complex (note that defenders were aware of plans for the attack well in advance as the Indian army had been practicing the assault on mockups for months beforehand).
Some informative websites: