Taken From Jasvant Singh Kanval's "Khoon Kay Sohilay Gaaveeaih Nanak"
Translated By www.tapoban.org
On Vaisakhi Day, the Nirankaris held their yearly smagam at Sri
Amritsar. In the open grounds in front of Gobind Garh fort, they erected
a large ten and virtually erected a new Nirankari town. First the
Nirankaris took out a procession through the town. In the procession,
they shouted out their own slogans like "Today's Nanak has arrived! The
saving-one has arrived!". Some Singhs who heard these slogans went and
informed Sant Jarnail Singh ji at Manji Sahib. He was the leader of
Damdami Taksal. Sant ji was very saddened to hear about all these
happenings. He could not tolerate anyone claiming equal status with Guru
Nanak and sacrilegious comments about Gurbani. He immediately appealed
to the Sangat to stop this sloganeering. At the same time, The AKJ
Singhs were having their yearly smagam in Ajit Nagar, singing
uninterrupted and pure kirtan. This attachment to kirtan was the gift of
the great patriot Bhai Sahib Bhai Randheer Singh ji. Because
colonialism was eating away at the Sikhs, Bhai Sahib wanted to bring
people back to the pristine path of Gurmat and follow it in high
spirits. To stop all kurehits, he relied primarily on kirtan of
Gurbani. So, Sant Jarnail Singh sent a Singh to Ajit Nagar to inform
The messenger too was a Tat-Khalsa and he went and told the stage
"Singh ji, Sant Jarnail Singh has sent me. In the
Nirankari procession, such slogans were shouted against Gurus and
Gurbani that they cannot be tolerated and are challenging the honour
of all Singhs. Come, let us all
stop this procession!" He then repeated the disgusting slogans.
"Such horrible slogans!" the announcer said in passion. He immediately,
without seeking any advice, said to the gathering "Beloved Sadh Sangat
Sant Jarnail Singh has sent a message that the Nirankaris are shouting
slogans against the Gurus in their procession. Come let us go stop this
procession. It is the Khalsa's responsibility to stop the disrespect of
Gurus and stopping their slander. We have been called to Manji Sahib."
One of the Kirtani Jatha's leading young men, Fauja Singh, was at that
time in the Langar kneading flour. He heard the call on the loud speaker
and immediately began to wash his hands of the dough. He said to himself
upon hearing all this "there is such a situation and you are still
Hearing the announcer's call, half the sangat rose
up. Again a voice from the mike spoke, "Children, the elderly and our
sisters will not go to stop the procession"
One Singnee, Bibi Gurcharn Kaur (Bibi Harsharan Kaur) was begging to go
but she was not allowed. Elderly Bhai Harinder Singh also decided to go,
to conduct any discussions. The Singhs did an Ardas and left with the
calls of Jaikaaray. The group moved towards Manji Sahib chanting Satnam
Vahiguru, Vahiguru, Vahiguru. Sant Ji was at this time not at Manji
Sahib but was in Guru Ram Das Saraa(n). The Singhs arrived there. Bhai
Avtar Singh began,
"You are Sant Jarnail Singh ji? You had sent a message for the Akhand
"Yes" said Sant ji
"Now what are your orders?"
"The Narkdhari procession has passed, but we should go stop their
"The come, rise. Will you lead the Singhs?"
"The Sangat has forbidden me from going. I am helpless. Bhai Sahib ji,
take the lead" Sant ji said, motioning to Bhai Harinder Singh.
One young man in the Sangat called out in anger "Then Bhai Fauja Singh
Bhai Harinder Singh too will not go! You are the ones that called us."
Bhai Avtar Singh silenced the young man with a motion of his hand.
"No problem, don't go" Sant Jarnail Singh said to Bhai Fauja Singh and
"But I have done an Ardas before Guru Maharaj. How will the Guru
one who backs down after an Ardas?" Bhai Sahib showed his
Some talk took place and then a group from both Jathas moved towards
Gobind Garh. Some men had long sticks. The Taksalis had two .303 rifles,
which served no use at the time of the confrontation. One rifle was
defective and did not fire and the person who held the other backed away
from the fight. In other words, these weapons did nothing in the fight.
While repeating Satnam Vahiguru, the procession reached the Railway
Crossing where they were stopped by a Police Inspector. The Police had
been informed that a group of 250 Singhs was coming towards the
"Where are you going?" the Inspector asked, shaking
his stick. Bhai Avtar Singh took the discussion into his own hands.
"We are going to request the Nirankaris to stop
speaking ill of Gurbani and the Gurus. You too are a Sikh, tolerating
the slander of the Gurus is very hard."
"You want to do something illegal? You're going to
disrupt a religious smagam?"
"No sir, we are going to preserve religious
sentiments. To disrupt is to insult religion, and that is what the
Nirankaris are doing. You did not hear what kinds of slogans they were
yelling in that procession. Our hearts are hurt by those awful slogans.
We are going to express our outrage at their words."
"You stop here, I'll go stop them myself"
"We have to stop their smagam" Bhai Fauja Singh said.
Seeing the enflamed passions of the group, the
Inspector took a softer approach.
"Ok young man, I'll try my best" and the Inspector
began to walk towards the smagam.
The Sangat sat down on the road and began to repeat
"Vahiguru". The meditation continued, while waiting for the Inspector to
return. Fauja Singh was sure that the Inspector would do nothing. This
was like rubbing salt on an open wound. "They are trying to cool our
passion. He probably is gone to warn the Nirankaris."
Both Jathas understood the government was behind the
Nirankaris, supporting them. The Inspector returned,
"Bhai Sahib! This is not in my control, but you too
"We had listened to you so that no one would think
that we were being extreme" said Bhai Avtar Singh calmly, "But no Sikh
can tolerate the slander of Bani or the Gurus."
"You stand aside, only that will happen now, that the
Guru wills" said Bhai Fauja Singh moving past the Inspector. He drew a
line on the road with his kirpan. "Whichever Singh wants martyrdom can
cross this line. Whoever values his life should go back."
About 125 Singhs crossed the line: 150 stood there
like statues. Some amongst them were gawkers as well. The Police could
not calm the Singhs passion. The Singhs moved forwards shouting Jaikaras.
The Inspector sent an urgent message for reinforcements.
Around the smagam, countless trucks and cars were
parked. When the Singhs neared the smagam, many Nirankari youth dressed
in police-like uniforms came out. They were all armed. They called to
the Singhs: "Turn back! Go back! You have no work here!"
"We have come to speak to your leader. Why are you
slandering the Gurus?" Bhai Avtar Singh replied.
The Nirankaris opened fire. In the first burst, three
or four Singhs fell. The Singhs too unsheathed their swords. The Singhs
advanced and began to cut at the Nirankari guards. But what match is
there between guns and swords? The Nirankaris had started their smagam
with full preparation. They had arranged for weapons and fighters.
The Singhs had not thought they would have to play
Holi of blood with the Nirankaris. Such was the clamour and confusion
that all lost their senses. A lot of Nirankaris left the tent. The
Singhs had bricks, arrows, stones and bullets rain upon them. But the
Singhs did not lose heart and continued to move forward. Some Singhs,
afraid of death, began to run back. Bhai Fauja Singh called them, "No
one will call you Singhs of Guru Gobind Singh! Come back and fight!" But
they did not stop.
"At least give us the two rifles??!!"
But they did not hear any of this and ran away. Bhai
Fauja Singh was a Gatka fighter and using different Pentras, he was
fighting the gunners. One burst of fire hit him in his eye. He fell. And
then again he immediately rose and continued to attack. Two more bullets
hit him the head and again he fell. At that time, Bhai Keval Singh came
and lay on top of him
"Brother Fauja Singh, you can't leave all alone! You
have to take me with you!"
Two bullets also struck Bhai Keval Singh and he was
martyred on the spot. Bhai Avtar Singh had already passed on.
Bhai Fauja Singh was still alive and a river of blood
was coming from his body. Bodies were lying all around, of which most
were the wounded. The tent was emptied by those running away. The
Rickshaw drivers left their cars and ran. Both sides had lost about
15-20, but the injured could not be counted.
The gun fire slowed. Two Singh children of about
12/13 years recognised Bhai Fauja Singh. They pulled him aside. Bhai
Fauja Singh's body was like that of an elephant. With bravery, those
boys put his body below the rickshaw seat. While one held the body, the
other began to pull the rickshaw. Once they had started to move, a
Police party arrived. At the Hall Gate the Police stopped the rickshaw
"Oi, this body? Where are you taking it?"
"To the Hospital. This is Bhai Fauja Singh, he's
still alive." The boys said fearlessly.
"Get out of here or we'll beat the hell out of you!"
said the officer swinging his staff.
The boys left the rickshaw and the police took the
body to the hospital. Other bodies were also arriving there. All of
Amritsar was gripped in fear. All faces were blank and could say
nothing. The Nirankaris took some of their dead, loaded them on trucks
and took them to some unknown location. All the hired thugs were told to
run away to avoid arrest. The Nirankari leader himself left for
Jalandhar in a government car. A high official had advised him to run
away. The collusion between the Hindu Press, the Police and Nirankaris
was clear to all of Amritsar. It was the talk of the town, "did the
Vaisakhi massacre just happen, or was it orchestrated?"
The news of this massacre had also reached Ajit
Nagar. All of Amritsar had been shaken like a tornado. Bhai Fauja
Singh's wife and the wife of a Col, Bibi Gurcharan Kaur (Harsharan Kaur)
had insisted on accompanying the Jatha but all women were restricted
from doing this. Bhai Fauja Singh's wife had said to her husband,
"I won't let you go alone. Keep me with you"
"It's not your turn yet. You have many other tasks to
accomplish yet" Said Bhai Fauja Singh with a laugh. "Try picturing my
"Hai! I'll die with you!"
"No, you don't have the order for that"
"I want to follow your order" she said, standing
"And that's why I'm saying you will not go with us"
Bhai Fauja Singh already had one murder case going on
him and he was out on bail.
In Deena Nagar, a youth had raped a Sikh woman. Bhai
Fauja Singh tried to talk with him,
"All daughters and sisters are the same. You didn't
do the right thing"
"Who are you to explain anything to me?" Said the
"I've just come to make this request. There are bad
results for acts like this"
"I'll do this again. Who can stop me?" Said the
increasingly argumentative youth.
"No, this isn't right. You should keep the community
in mind too"
"You can use your force and do what you want. I'll
keep doing this"
"Fine, remember your maker then." Said the Singh as
he dug his spear into the youth's chest. "keep doing what you want now".
The young goon died on the spot.
Bhai Fauja Singh's wife sighed.
"One case hasn't finished, and you're ready for a
"All have to act according to Hukam, you will not
come" Fauja Singh forbid his wife.
She stayed back in sadness. Bibi Gurcharan Kaur too
could not do anything. Upon hearing news of the massacre, both were
shocked. They took a rickshaw to the hospital. Dr. Harcharan Singh was
looking after all the wounded. All the nurses began to climb aboard
trucks to give blood to the wounded. Once the blood was attached, the
wounded were slowly lowered on stretchers. There were many wounded, but
Dr. Harcharan Singh and his staff were not fazed. He kept taking care of
all patients with speed. Every minute counted in evaluating the wounded.
After some time, a Nirankari came out of a Mercedes
car. He looked like the local Nirankari leader. He was dressed in silk.
On his robes he wore a silk khaki jacket. Without looking anywhere, he
went to Dr. Harcharan Singh and said "Dr. Sahib! You are looking at the
Akali wounded first. You aren't even looking at the Nirankari wounded?"
Dr Harcharan Singh, who was totally immersed in his
service was enraged. How could this person doubt his integrity? He
looked at the guest from head to toe.
"Who are you? Get out of here! Such a low accusation
on these medical workers?"
The Nirankari leader lost his attitude and turned
back. No Nirankari then came to check on their wounded. The Hospital's
blood supply finished. The Doctor requested Bibi Gurcharan Kaur to give
"Dr. Sahib, don't worry about blood." She sent a
Singh to Ajit Nagar to give the message that blood was needed. The young
Singh ran on foot.
"First take my blood Dr. Sahib" said Cpt. Gurbaksh
Singh, uncovering his arm.
The Doctor motioned to the nurses to take blood from
the Cpt, Bibi Gurcharan Kaur and another brother. The young men who had
accompanied the bodies also came forward. A long line formed of people
from Ajit Nagar. Bibi Gurcharan Kaur and Bhai Harinder Singh led the
blood donors. Gurcharan Kaur requested the Doctor to see the bodies.
Harcharan Singh replied:
"Bibi, the bodies aren't really see-able. They're
badly cut apart. Leave this thought" said the doctor, shaking his head.
"No sir. It doesn't matter what they're like, we must
The Dr. took Bibi Gurcharan Kaur and Bhai Fauja
Singh's wife to the morgue. Seeing Bhai Fauja Singh's face cut and
wounded in so many places, his wife fainted. Gurcharan Kaur gave her
support. She said with force, "Come to your senses sister! You're the
wife of a great martyr! You are the daughter of Guru Gobind Singh! Wipe
your tears and control yourself. You won't be able to serve the wounded
here, you go home" And with this, Gurcharan Kaur forced her onto a