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Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Khalsa Bhindranwale (Shaheed)

Sant Jarnail Singh Khalsa Bhindranwale (February 12, 1947–June 6, 1984) was the leader of the Damdami Taksal, a great Sikh organization having three century long history. Bhindranwale carried heavy influence among Sikhs in all around the world during his time. He tried to spread the original values of Sikhism and persuaded young people to follow the original rules and tenets of the Sikhism. Sant Jarnail Singh Ji attracted the youth with his warrior like appearance. He asked Sikhs youth to return to their faith and stop from cutting their heirs. His speeches attracted all Sikhs and many returned to Sikhi. In 1981, Bhidranwale was arrested for his suspected involvement in the murder of Jagat Narain, the proprietor of the Hind Samachar Group. Although he willingly surrendered to police and later released due to lack of evidence, Bhindranwale was kept on close watch by Indian police officials. Sant Ji opposed discriminatory policies of Indan State and asked the government to stop discrimination with Sikhs. He argued that Sikhs want to live in India but as equal citizen and not as citizen of lower grade. Sant Ji made it clear to Sikhs that we are politically slaves in the Indian System. Dharm Youdh Morch Started by Sant Jarnail Singh Ji on 19 July 1982 received tremendous support from Sikh Masses. Sant Ji was martyred along with Bhai Amrik Singh Ji (President AISSF), General Subeg Singh Ji and other Sikhs in an attack on Darbar Sahib and Sri Akal Takhr Sahib by the Indian Army during June 1984. In year 2000 Sikhs from all around the world found and declared him as “Great Sikh of Twentieth Century”.

Early Life:
Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Khalsa was born on 12 February, 1947 in village Rodey (District Faridkot) Punjab. His father Bapu Joginder Singh was a Sikh Farmer and was affiliated to Damdami Taksal. Once Sant Gurbachan Singh Ji, then head of Damdami Taksal, came to village Roday and asked Baba Joginder Singh to admit one of his seven sons to the Taksal. In this way Jarnail Singh, who was younger of all, became a student of Damdami Taksal.

14th Head of Damdami Taksal:
The successor to Sant Gurbachan Singh Khalsa Bhindranwale, Sant Kartar Singh Khalsa Bhindranwale, who died in a road accident on August 16, 1977, mentioned Sant Jarnail Singh Khalsa Bhidranwale as being the new head of the Damdami Taksal. Sant Ji was formally elected as 14th Head of Damdami Taksal at a bhog ceremony at Mehta Chowk on August 25, 1977.

His Mission:
In Punjab, Sant Bhindranwale went from village to village as a religious missionary talking with Sikh people. He asked Sikhs to live according to the rules and tenets of Sikhism. He would give long speeches and encourage numerous youths to take Amrit, the holy nectar. Bhindranwale preached to young Sikh men who had lost their path, encouraging them to return to his path of Khalsa by giving up vices like women, drugs, addictions, etc. His focus on fighting for some cause made him a hero in the eyes of young Sikhs. Sant Ji realized that Sikhs are not treated at par with Hindus in India and we are Slaves under Indian System. So he made Sikhs, especially the youth, awair of this fact. He lead to a long struggle against opressive and discriminatory policies of Indian State.

Saka ’78 and Aftermath:
Indian Government, lead by Indira Gandhi, was committing planned attacks on Sikhs and Sikhism. Nirankari Mandal’s anti-Sikh preaching was also a part of this plan. Sant Kartar Singh Ji had earlier identified this problem and tackled it in a peacefully. On April 13, 1978, Nirankari Mandal was holding a function at Sri Amritsar, where Nirankari Head personified himself as Guru Gobind Singh Ji and did such other acts which outraged religious feelings of Sikhs. Sikhs protested against this function peacefully and were attacked by Nirankaris with fire-arms and sharp-edged weaponsThe confrontation led to the murder of thirteen Sikhs. Legal Proceedings against the Nirankaris resulted in nothing. On April 24, 1980, the leader of Nirankaris, Gurbachan Singh, was killed.

On September 9, 1981, Lala Jagat Narain, the proprietor of the Hind Samachar Group which was play anti-Sikh role, was shot dead near the Amaltas Motel. Lala Jagat Narain was a prominent opponent of Bhindranwale. Two days after the assassination, police issued warrants for the arrest of Bhidranwale. A police search in Chando Kalan, a Haryana village, failed to produce an arrest but burned buses of Damdami Taksal. Gurbani was also burnt there. Sant Bhidranwale publicly announced that he would surrender on September 20.

On September 20, 1981, Bhindranwale was arrested on charges of orchestrating Lala Jagat Narain's murder. Over the next 25 days while Bhindranwale was held in custody, sporadic fights erupted in areas where Bhindranwale's accomplices had gathered. Bhindranwale was released on bail on October 15 as India's Home Minister; Giani Zail Singh announced in the Parliament that there was no evidence against Bhindrawale.

On 19 July 1982, Bhai Amrik Singh (President of All India Sikh Students Federation) was arrested by Punjab Police. Sant Jarnail Singh Ji launched a morcha after performing Ardas at Sri Akal Takht Sahib. This morcha was latter joined by Shiromani Akali Dal and all other Sikh organizations. Demand of implementation of Anandpur Sahib Resolution became goal of this struggle. This struggle was peaceful but government many times tried to outrage Sikhs and give a violent turn to the morcha. Governments’ planning was to make an attack on Sri Akal Takht Sahib (the highest Political Authority of Sikhs) as the base of Dharm Youdh Morcha was at Sri Akal Takht Sahib Ji.

Martyrdom:
On June 03, 1984 Indian Army attacked on Sri Akal Takht Sahib Ji. This was the day of Martyrdom Anniversary of Fifth Sikh Guru, Sri Guru Arjan Sahib Ji. Sikhs in a large number was gathered at Sri Darbar Sahib. Army used tanks and heavy Guns in this attack. Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale, Bhai Amrik Singh Ji, General Subegh Singh Ji and some other Sikh warriors defended Sri Akal Takht Sahib and Sri Darbar Sahib till their death. Heavy loss wes caused to Indian Army during this attack which showed how bravely Sikh repeated their history in protecting their religious places. Sant Jarnail Singh Ji was martyred on 6 June 1984.

Legacy:
Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale was praised by many Sikhs as a matyr of common time. Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale is hailed by some for his efforts to preach the philosophy of the Guru Granth Sahib to the Sikh people. In 2003, at a function arranged by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, Joginder Singh Vedanti, the present jathedar of the Akal Takht made a formal declaration that Bhindranwale was a "martyr" and awarded his son, Ishar Singh, a robe of honor. Harbans Singh's The Encyclopedia of Sikhism describes Bhindranwale as "a phenomenal figure of modern Sikhism."

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