Shaheed Bhai Anokh Singh Babbar

Taken From So Kaheeat Hai Soora, Sept. 2004 &
Tay Deeva Jagdaa Rahaygaa By Amardeep Singh Amar
Translated By


Shaheedi (martyrdom) is the lifeblood of a community. Shaheedi revives dying communities and creates the thirst for freedom. But martyrdom only goes only to blessed souls. A normal person is born, lives life and in the end dies. But a Shaheed chooses his own death and for the sake of his people, abandons a life of pleasure and goes on the path of the gallows. To give a selfless Shaheedi is perhaps the greatest task in the world. Very few warriors vow to become shaheeds, but among these was the brave warrior of the Sikh Kharkoo movement, Bhai Anokh Singh Babbar.


Bhai Anokh Singh Babbar was born in the home of Bapoo Makhan Singh and mother Niranjan Kaur in village VaRing Sooba Singh in Amritsar district. Bhai Sahib was one of four brothers: Bhai Joga Singh, Bhai Santokh Singh, Bhai Anokh Singh and Bhai Hardeep Singh. The entire family was amritdhari and Gursikh.

Bhai Anokh Singh was from childhood of a quiet and spiritual disposition. While working around the house he would recite gurbaanee. Bhai Sahib graduated and after his education, become and inspector in the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. According to his companions, where Bhai Anokh Singh did his duty with integrity and commitment, he used to also encourage those near him to do their jobs without greed (without embezzling or taking bribes). Bhai Sahib believed that money from the Guru Ghar was like poison for a Gursikh (and thus could never take it). It was meant for helping society and serving the poor only.

Meeting Bhai Fauja Singh

While doing his job, Bhai Anokh Singh came into contact with Bhai Fauja Singh. Bhai Fauja Singh’s personality had a major effect and Bhai Anokh Singh also became a traveller on the Gurmukh path. He used to take training in gatka at Bhai Fauja Singh’s Farmhouse (Khalsa Farm), along with other young Singhs. Bhai Sahib had a deep love for Bhai Sulakhan Singh.

Before going underground, Bhai Surinder Singh Nagokay had an akhand paath sahib at his home in which Bhai Anokh Singh sat for the entirety in one position and listened from start to finish.

The bloody massacre of April 13, 1978 was like a storm that shook Bhai Anokh Singh and his companions to the core. During the 1978 massacre, Bhai Sahib was with Bhai Fauja Singh. The martyrdom of Bhai Fauja Singh and his companions had a deep effect on the saintly Bhai Anokh Singh.

After the 1978 massacre, Nirankaris were punished in Patti and Tarn Taaran in which the name of Bhai Anokh Singh began to be mentioned.

Bhai Sahib And The Panth's Property

One of Bhai Anokh Singh’s greatest qualities was that he never misused the Panth’s money. Bhai Sukhdev Singh Sakheera’s sister was married to Bhai Anokh Singh’s brother Bhai Santokh Singh. When Satguru jee gave Bhai Santokh Singh the gift of a son, Bhai Anokh Singh went to see the newborn. He took two rupees out of his pocket and gave it as a gift to the baby. Bhai Anokh Singh’s sister-in-law was surprised and said jokingly to Bhai Sahib, “Brother Anokh Singh, you’re such a big Jujhaaroo Singh and at the birth of your brother’s son, all you’re giving is two rupees??”

Bhai Anokh Singh, recognizing his sister’s annoyance replied, “Bhabee jee, even this money seems too much to me. These two rupees are the Panth’s property and I don’t want that my family’s newborn should use any of the Panth’s money.”

When Bhai Anokh Singh was first arrested by the Daehlo(n) police, his brother Bhai Santokh Singh came to meet him at his court appearance in Ludhiana. Bhai Anokh Singh called him close and told him one thing: “If the police make me a shaheed, don’t sell my blood [don’t try to profit from my death].” Not only that, he used to visit home to take the dasvandh from the family’s crops. If Bapoo Makhan Singh or another family complained of the family’s money-situation, and asked that the dasvandh not be taken, Bhai Sahib would reply, “Keep a full account, to every penny. Dasvandh is the Guru’s and you have no right to it.”


Bhai Anokh Singh Babbar had a great desire to die for the Guru’s cause. Bhai Anokh Singh used to say, “May I be a Shaheed and may the enemy even cut me piece by piece, but no cry of pain should come from me.” When Bhai Sahib’s companions freed him from Ludhiana, Bhai Sahib used to say, “After so long Shaheedi came near and I had to run. I was tested and I failed…” Bhai Sahib used to tell his father Bhai Makhan Singh, “Bapoo jee, when the Sikh Sangat does a road block or surrounds a police station (called a Ghirao in Punjabi), you too should go. If you are hit by a bullet, then you will achieve martyrdom, which only comes with great luck.”

Finally, this warrior who welcomed death was arrested while riding his bike by the Jalandhar Police. After bringing him to Vairovaal Police Station (dist. Amritsar), Bhai Sahib was unspeakably tortured. For many days Bhai Sahib was kept hanging upside down in the police station. Foot-long metal rods were heated up and hammered into his legs, from the heels upward. A pin was put through his private parts and an electricity connection was attached to it so that he could be shocked. Hot metal rods were also passed through his chest. But the Guru's Singh took the tortures calmly. All the torturers heard was "Vahiguru". No cries of pain, no screams.

His hip was broken and using a bayonet, his eyes were removed. While he was doing simran, Bhai Sahib’s tongue was cut out. Two foot long bars were heated and then hammered from the soles of his feet up to his knees. Heated rods were put through his chest and one was put through his skull. But this brave son of Dashmesh Pita kept doing ardaas that his kesh and Sikhi would remain intact till his final breath.

After the torture, Bhai Sahib was left on the ground, unable to move. The time for Rehraas arrived. Bhai Sahib opened his eyelids but the sockets that held his eyes were hollow. His beautiful beard was soaked in blood. Those eyes which were once lost in deep meditation had been taken out by the dushts.

Bhai Sahib called out, "Sentry! Bhai Sahib jee, what time is it?" He felt around himself with his hands to find the guard.

"It's 7.15 Babio. What? What has happened to your eyes?"

The Sentry looked at Bhai Sahib's face and felt frightened.

"Oh, it must be time for Sodar then. Sodar tera kayhaa..." Bhai Anokh Singh began to recite Rehraas Sahib lying on the ground. Even though his body was shattered, Bhai Sahib recited the paath in a sweet voice. The Sentry too felt the vairaag.

After Sodar, Bhai Sahib, still lying on the ground began Ardaas. It was a daily part of his routine. "Ten Gurus, Punj Pyaaray, Chaar Sahibzaaday, The Guru's Jhanday and Boongay..." Bhai Sahib then began his personal ardaas: "Hay Akaal Purakh Suchay Paatshah Guru Nanak dev Gareeb Nivaaj Satguru, the day which rose in your bhaanaa has passed in happiness, meditating on your naam. Suchay Paatshah, night has arrived, may it too pass while remembering your Naam and in your BhaaNaa....Satguru, May I be a Shaheed...Suchay Patshaah, save me from becoming a traitor...Satguru, may the Sikhi and kesh you have given me last with me till my final breaths...Such Paatshah, have mercy on all....Bolay So Nihaal...Sat Sree Akaal"

The Jaikara Bhai Sahib sounded echoed throughout the police station.

The Sentry ran to the station-head and surrendered his rifle and tabled his resignation.

"I can't do this job that forces people to kill saints...I can't..." He kept repeating himself.

The SSP cursed, "They are all magicians...another of our officers has left the service because of this paath"

And then another atrocity was committed. Bhai Sahib's tongue was cut off using a metal cutting saw. Streams of blood flowed from Bhai Sahib's mouth but the faithful Singh raised his hands in Ardaas and thanked Vahiguru.

Seeing Bhai Anokh Singh’s avasthaa of doing simran with every breath, a well known butcher police official SSP Azhar Alam was shocked. In the end, the police became tired of all this and shot Bhai Sahib in the station. When the shot was fired, a motor cycle was started so that the gun could not be heard. Over night, Bhai Sahib's body was thrown into the river Beas. But the Shaheed’s soul had already, with the power of naam, been liberated from the body.

Bhai Anokh Singh Babbar’s amazing Shaheedi proved that even today in the Sikh community, there are still the souls of the shaheeds of the 18th century. (It should also be noted that after Bhai Sahib’s Shaheedi, his father Bapoo Makhan Singh was also abducted by the police and martyred after heavy torture).

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