Dalbir Singh, "Nayrayon Dithay Sant Bhindranwale"
Poor Sikhs Or Simpletons?
It was Sunday and I had arrived at Amritsar from Bathinda
early in the morning. At the Guru Ram Das Langar, in the room
built underneath the stairs, I ran into Bhai Amrik Singh. He
asked how I was and said to me "Bhaji, a lot of Sangat comes
to meet Sant ji and there's not enough time. Sometimes he
doesn't care about the foreign Sikhs who've especially come to
meet him and he embraces the Simpletons and wastes so much
time with them. Help us out. Bring Sant ji's attention to this
matter, because despite all my effort, he doesn't pay any
attention to this.
According to my own nature, I told Sant ji exactly what Bhai
Amrik Singh had said to me. Right away Sant ji became upset
and called Bhai Amrik Singh and Bhai Rachpal Singh near him.
He said "I need my "simpleton" friends much more than your
friends with their dollars and pounds. Be Warned! No one
should say anything unbecoming about these poor Sikhs.
The Giving Of "Medicine"
It was noontime. I was sitting alone with Sant ji. A very
simple looking, middle aged Sikh couple from the villages came
in. Their poverty was quite apparent. They gave their Fateh
and put a cardboard box in front of Sant ji. The Sant asked
"what is this?" They replied "it's medicine". Sant j then
asked "Is it for me or someone else?" The poor Sikh replied "I
don't know about that. If you want to keep it, you can. If you
want me to give it to someone else, I'll take it there."
The Sant opened the lid of the box and emptied it into his
lap. His lap filled with revolver and stengun bullets. Sant ji
very lovingly thanked the villager couple and asked his
sevadars to arrange for refreshments for them. Throughout this
entire episode, Sant ji kept looking towards me and smiling.
(note: in Punjabi "goli" means both bullet and medicine
Not An Ordinary 'Sant'
It was noon time. In Sant ji's room in Guru Nanak Nivaas, we
(I, Bhai Amrik Singh and Bhai Rachpal Singh) were sitting on
an extra manja beside Sant ji's bed. The Sangat was coming in
to say Fateh one by one. In those that were coming, most were
women and a bit of a crowd had formed. Without warning, Sant
ji jumped onto his bed and stood up and was about to hit a
very large woman with his teer (arrow). I, in a bit of panic,
grabbed his hand and asked "What has happened?" I was of
course a bit shocked.
He spoke in anger and said "You know what she was saying? She
was asking for a son!"
There was no need to say much more. We told the Singh at the
door to stop the flow of sangat for a while.
But this is clear, we usually hear about traditional 'Sants'
giving children and women come to them to ask for boys. This
is a pity for the entire society and this was and continues to
be a very big problem in the Sikh world. Sant Bhindranwale was
not only away from such practices, he was strongly against
The days of Blue Star were approaching and people with various
views often met Sant ji on the roof of the Langar Building.
While I was standing there, two retired Sikh Brigadiers came
and said "We wish to speak with you privately". Sant ji said
"There is no shyness here, please speak" The Brigadiers said
"We have seen and evaluated all the outposts and defences
around Harmandar Sahib and we feel that there is a weakness in
the fact that the Singhs don't have binoculars. There is a
need for at least two binoculars (per outpost)" Sant ji said
to Bhai Amrik Singh, who was standing nearby "Come and listen
to these people". The Brigadier then said "To understand your
full power, if you could tell us how many weapons you have
exactly, it would be good"
Putting his hands on the mid-sized Brigadier's shoulders, Sant
ji said "General Sahib, You've commanded very large armies.
I'm a stupid Jat. What do I know about these things? You
should read Gurbani. Doing that gives power."
An Important Meeting
It was a Sunday in May 1984. I arrived at Harmandar Sahib at 9
AM, and noticed an odd sadness everywhere. I came to the
Parkarma and saw about 25 young men in yellow dastars with
kamarkasas marching. In the room underneath the stairs of Guru
Ram Das langar, Sant ji's companions used to plan out strategy
and have meetings. All outsiders used to enquire here first. I
arrived there and asked Bhai Amrik Singh about the 25 men
marching in the Parkarma. He answered "These Singhs are from
Hazoor Sahib. They told the Kar Seva Babas that until the
existing Gurdwaras are secured and protected, there is no need
to build new Gurdwaras." Today I think that these young men
had arrived from all over after receiving training, all
according to Sant ji's strategy. Their march was to give
warning to the government.
Bhai Amrik Singh said that in a little while the Jatha (Jatha
Bhindran) would be having an important meeting on the roof of
Sri Akal Takhat Sahib. "Sant ji has asked that you (Dalbir
Singh) should certainly come to this meeting." I said that "I
am neither a member of the Jatha, nor even Amritdhari, how can
I go to this meeting?" Bhai Sahib asked Sant ji on the
intercom and said Sant ji wanted to speak to me in person.
After answering my Fateh, he forcefully said "Gurmukha, you
must come to the meeting." Answering my concerns, he said "I'm
the head of the Jatha, and it is my decision to make about who
can attend the meeting and who cannot".
At around 10 AM, I, Bhai Amrik Singh and others went to the
highest roof of Sri Akal Takhat Sahib where the meeting was to
take place. Because there were too many Singhs and not enough
room, they had made an "L" shape around the dome.
Tyaar-bar-tyaar Singhs with yellow dastars, yellow kamarkassas
and knee length cholas and kachheras, with their weapons
facing sky-ward were giving an amazing sight. This sight can
be seen in paintings of puratan times. I took a place in the
corner facing Harmandar Sahib.
Sant ji came and stood in a corner. He could see all the
Singhs form this spot. In his pure Punjabi, Sant ji said
"Singho, I have called your meeting because the situation is
very serious. A Jatha has come from Sri Hazoor Sahib and you
should arrange weapons for them. Whoever amongst you have two
weapons, should return one. You may choose which weapon you
want to keep, because later on, there will be no changes.
After this, Sant ji's assistant Bhai Rachpal Singh took his
small diary and began to take an account of the 100 Singhs'
weapons. This took about half an hour.
Then Sant ji resumed his speech. He said "Singho, the
government will according to its strategy surrounded us with
100,000 soldiers. It is possible that jets and helicopters
could be used and parachute soldiers could be dropped onto the
parkarma. But until then, you will not fire any weapons, until
the soldiers fire. Let the government fire first. Until the
soldiers jump from the planes, do not fire. But when they do,
not one parachutist should land alive. Don't waste ammunition
and you should take one life with each bullet at least. If the
enemy comes very close, distribute the Ladoos (hand grenades).
This will be a very terrifying incident but taking the support
of Guru Ram Das ji's feet, we will pass this test."
Sant ji said some other things and then finished his speech.
He stopped for a while and then according to his habit, he
took his lower lip into the left side of his mouth and began
to think of something. He would do this when he was
double-minded about something. After a minute or two of
silence he spoke in very drawn out voice "Singho, I have to
speak to you about another issue as well." He looked towards
me and said "Bhaeeyaa, should I do it?" I understood what was
in his heart and said he should do it.
In a very serious mood, Sant ji said "Singho, that which is
going to happen will be very shocking and we should go
according to the will of Akal Purakh. I can't say that at that
time what the status on my life will be. If at that time I
have breaths, I will tell the name of the next head of the
Jatha, if this is not what pleases Akal Purakh, then the next
head should be chosen by consensus. My body should be cremated
at Gurduara Gurdarshan Parkaash Mehta, on the street in front
of the gate. Taking his right elbow onto his left palm, he
said "Put a Nishan Sahib of about this size there. Don't make
any memorial. I want my cremation on the road so that the
Sangat can continue to pass over my pyre and I'll get the
touch of their feet." Everyone's eyes were teary after hearing
Sant ji's words.
In his clear voice he said, "Don't lose heart. Remain
steadfast. The time has come when the Dharam cannot be
protected without giving our heads."
After this, all the Singhs quietly went to their own resting
spots. When walking, Sant ji put his hand on my shoulder and
said "Brother, keep your duty of friendship to the end [yaaree
After this, Blue Star happened and it remained a very big
weight on my mind that who should I talk to about all this?
After a lot of thought I shared this with the late Sd. Jagjit
Singh, the respected scholar of Gurbani and Sikh principles
and the author of the book "Sikh Revolution". I asked why the
Sant had called me into that meeting. He said very softly to
me, "Dalbir Singh, the reason is quite simple. The Sant had
given a spoken final testament and without writing it down, he
made you a witness to it."