• Welcome to all New Sikh Philosophy Network Forums!
    Explore Sikh Sikhi Sikhism...
    Sign up Log in

1984 Anti-Sikh Pogrom Bluestar: Breaking The Wheel Of Dharma


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Bluestar ‘84: Breaking the Wheel of Dharma

Here at Sikh Philosophy Network are many threads about the atrocity that occurred on June 4 1984 at Sri Harmindir Sahib. In fact we have a special section about 1984 full of accounts: timelines, photo essays, personal remembrances, political analysis, and much more.

This is not a year where I want to resurrect more Internet stories about Bluestar again. My reaction to the earliest broadcasts from India was one of pure horror. A small army, with tanks and heavy arms, had entered a sacred space. What could justify that? As history unfolds, and the fog clears, one often discovers, as one does with Bluestar, the story was bent.

Just as the axle of a wheel can be bent, its fulcrum can also be broken. Bluestar marks for me a landmark on the relentless march from the partition of India into the turbulence of 3 decades of politics in the Punjab. This year I thought to offer a Preface, a framework for understanding Bluestar, an event that represents the broken fulcrum of a rickety wheel, as different from the wheel of dharma as a wheel can be.

There is a Prologue to Bluestar that the young do not know. It is fundamental to understanding the history of Sikhism.

Let me therefore recreate history leading to Bluestar, in the words of 3 different authors, each an eye-witness in his own way. You are encouraged to respond from your own point of view, or to react to these articles. Once you know the preface, the story itself is all the more chilling.

First are the words of Kapur Singh, in his monograph “They Massacre Sikhs.” Optimism can be an illusion, just as any emotional attachment to a fixed state of mind can be. This is a page from his work. Kapur tells the story of the decades before ’84 as story of duplicity.

T. Sher Singh follows giving a personal account, witness to Bluestar and its history from the age of 15.

Finally, Sardar Gurtej Singh tells his story, relating the political history that culminated in horror. I won't say more.
Last edited:


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Nostalgia ...
or Déjà vu?


From Sikh Chic


It was 1965.
I was 15.

I remember India was in the midst of one of its perennial conflicts with its neighbours.

Only three years earlier, in 1962, India’s politicians had begun to needle neighbouring China. It short shrift, India was mauled and brought to its knees.

The price, however, for the himalayan blunder by Nehru and his Defence Minister, V K Menon, was primarily borne by Sikh troops who, somehow, always find themselves on the front-lines every time India finds itself in distress and dire straits at the mercy of a “foreign hand”.

In 1965, the enemy was Pakistan.

Again, India was in trouble. The initial weeks of the war were not going well for India.

So, very quickly, as in 1962, Sikhs were suddenly the saviours of the country. The government’s PR machinery was working overtime churning out songs extolling the bravery of Sikhs, the great history of the Sikhs, the unique leadership of the Sikh Gurus , etc., etc.

The Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri, was in some gurdwara or the other every day, honouring Sikh heroes, and reminding the nation of the great debt owed to Sikhs. He promised a quick resolution of all the festering issues relating to Punjab -- language, waters, Chandigarh, etc. etc. Yes, of course, Chandigarh was and is the capital of Punjab, he said. Things would be set right … soon as the war ended!

Under the leadership of Gen Harbakhsh Singh and Air Marshall Arjan Singh, Sikhs virtually single-handedly took over the front, pushed back the Pakistanis all the way to the outskirts of Lahore, and saved India.

Again, great sacrifices were made by Sikh soldiers.

Sikh political issues? With the war won and over, they were simply assigned to the back burner …

No problem. Six more years, and then there was another war. Again, with Pakistan.

Again, Sikhs suddenly became national heroes.

General Jagjit Singh Aurora and his Sikh soldiers liberated Bangla Desh.

India was saved.

Once secure again, the Prime Minister -- now, it was Indira Gandhi -- went back to relegating Sikh issues to the back burner.

And so on and so forth.

Another crisis … 1976. Indira Gandhi had turned into a dictator and suspended India’s parliament indefinitely. Her son, Sanjay Gandhi, led an army of goondas freely raping and pillaging the land. Literally.

A-G-A-I-N … Sikhs came to the rescue. Putting their collective weight behind Jay Prakash Narayan, while the rest of India whined and whimpered, sat on its collective hands and looked on helplessly, Sikhs helped bring down Indira Gandhi and end the dictatorship.

Indira Gandhi never forgot who had brought her to justice.
Once back in power, she would get her revenge.

In 1984.

The rest is history.
Last edited:


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Excerpted from Sardar Gurtej Singh

It is incomprehensible why it should be so. In 1984, it was a war (howsoever, unequal). The Indian Media characterised it as the Third Sikh War. ‘Prisoners of war’ included children of five to women, elderly persons, temple priests, temple servants and of course, pilgrims. Everything that a conquering army does to a defeated people was done in the Darbar complex. One of our noblest persons, Bhagat Puran Singh recorded some aspects of it.

One side to the war was backed by the might of the modern state. It employed trained army, air force, navy, artillery, helicopters, anti-aircraft guns, armed personnel carriers, battle tanks, stun grenades, poisonous gases and all else that it had in its {censored}nal. The other side had David’s sling, in comparison. If you don’t count the innocent non-combatants that were killed, we lost some forty-five of our noblest and the most motivated men and women. Masada happened once again; the story of Chamkaur was repeated. The enemy on the other side had at least seven hundred dead (according to Rajiv Gandhi) and unspecified but innumerable casualties. The other side has been crowing about its ‘victory’ for the past twenty-five years –in contrast, the truly victorious have not even started writing their battle despatches.

Two and a quarter century earlier, similar contest had taken place at the same Darbar. We were then just twenty-two soldiers. On the other side was the most dreaded general of Asia, Ahmed Shah Abdali who had a huge army at his back. But we defended the Guru’s Darbar to the last man – to the last serviceable sword. Our general in the field then was Gurbax Singh Nihang. Abdali, the usurper pretended to legally own the Punjab because it had been ceded to him by the Mughal emperor Ahmed Shah of Delhi. But it was the Guru’s Darbar and since we did not recognise the Delhi pretender or his beneficiary, it was our Punjab that we then defended. In the earlier encounter, the then most powerful empire of Asia failed to defeat us – it just killed a handful of our soldiers. We acquitted ourselves gloriously. This time we fared better. This time a representative of the sovereign panth Sant Jarnail Singh fought besides our general Shabeg Singh.

Death is in the hands of Almighty and will come when it will come. It is not for mortals to determine the time or the mode of their death. Victory, however, is a matter of perception it is the ornament of the ever unconquered psyche. In both the situations, the invaders hoped to scare us to death. Their might counted for nought with us. Our soldiers in both situations died defending the Guru’s Darbar and took a heavy toll of the invading enemy. In both cases the frustrated enemy destroyed holy shrines. In 1984, Indira Gandhi was one up on Abdali. She burnt down the Sikh Reference Library. She surpassed Abdali in many other ways also.

Abdali had a semblance of justification because legally the country belonged to him. In a democratic republic, however, every inch of the land belongs to every citizen. The Sant and his companions were in the Guru’s Darbar as a matter of right. The invaders had no locus standi. As was admitted by a person who was later the law minister of the Indian Union, the Sant had the right of self defence. The forces had gone there to kill him. Before man and God he was fully justified in resisting the invasion.

The other side did not discover the WMD’s there, did not unearth any political resolution demanding Khalistan, and could find no political party supporting secession. Ever since, its representatives have been sheepishly filing past the reckoning post of history, expressing sorrow at the wanton destruction they caused. But the expressions of sorrow have been marred by their insistence on dancing with the veil on their faces. Let them remove their veils and admit freely the enormity of the dastardly act. They must fully and graphically describe what they are apologising for. They must point out the guilty ones to us. We need to see their faces that have been blackened by their deeds. They must atone properly for their sins, must compensate generously and must cap their regret with a solemn public promise never to repeat their folly.

So far the sanctity of their apology and expressions of regret are marred also by the continuity of repression that shows no signs of abating. The police are as brutal as ever. Innocent people continue to die in police firing. Custodial deaths keep happening in a sickening routine and the lawless custodians of law go unpunished as has been the practise of several decades. End to the people’s misery and humiliation is not in sight.

The Sikhs too need to spell out what kind of apology is acceptable to them and what future safeguards are deemed adequate. If I had their ear, I would advise the Sikh people to come together in a solemn gathering on the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan to give a full throated, free, fair and frank expression to what they have learnt from the event and what they make of the half-hearted expressions of regret that they hear off and on – sometimes in words, at other time in gestures. They must freely spell out what, in their opinion, the future holds for them under a dispensation in which they have no voice. They owe it to posterity to answer the question, whether their faith and progeny is safe in a country in which no law, no law court, no legislature, no Media, no human rights organisations can protect them in the hour of their need. It is not enough that when the chips are not down, when the going is smooth, all these institutions and organisations exhibit themselves in myriad pleasing colours – one brighter than the other.

The Sikhs must also say whether they are comfortable with the memory of the thousand upon thousands of their people having been killed in India by state action since 1947? Or, does their fate rankle in their hearts and their pyres are constantly burning in their mind’s eye? Are they reassured that no one will have to die such deaths in future?

For articulating all this they need to formulate their own theory of why things have always taken an ugly turn in relation to them. It must be based on the hardest of hard facts we know, for we are to perform the sacred duty of informing the right minded persons of conscience. ‘Truth above all else,’ is our motto preached to us by Guru Nanak. Hitherto, it was difficult to speak aloud on the subject for the fear of being dubbed a terrorist sympathiser if not a terrorist. The risk now is considerably reduced as the realisation of the wrong done to the Sikhs has percolated to the mind of every reasonable person. The Sikh writers, historians, ideologues, theorists, social and political scientist and leaders, must gather courage and must give expression to their wholesome ideas in a dignified and becoming manner of those who have lost much since 1947. We waited for twenty-five years after Banda to express ourselves. Twenty five years have lapsed since the martyrdom of Sant Baba Jarnail Singh Khalsa Binderanwale.

By way of a humble contribution to the exercise and just to provide a preliminary working paper for the expected debate, the article which follows is being written. It is on all fours with the facts as I know them. It is hoped that much better informed much more enlightened views will find expression during the June 2011 congregations all over the world. Let this be our year of introspection and articulation. A Sikh expression is overdue. - Author]

The assassination of Sant Baba Jarnail Singh Khalsa Bhinderanwale by the Congress (I) was planned well and much in advance to the event. In an article written in December 1982 and published in April 1983. this author had predicted that the Sant would be killed. The assassination and the decimation that followed, was sold to the rest of India as the most effective tool of chastising a turbulent nation that continued to insist that it had certain rights under the constitution of 1950 and would not tolerate their curtailment. Every other party and individual acquiesced to the plan. Indira Gandhi was able to rope in almost all individuals who mattered in the body-politic of India. It was a perfect chakravyuh – with the highest in the land playing their part. Not all of them though – Chandra Shekhar, Subramaniyan Swami and Acharya Rajneesh were the only ones who had the tremendous courage to disagree. Of course, they could not stop the juggernaut of rapidly unfolding events and failed to prevent many a tragedy. Since the June 1984 event, the Sant has been re-assassinated several times in an attempt to cast a veil over the dark designs of the rulers. That has not helped. The truth continues to exist in such a sublimely luminous state that constant denials and persistent obfuscations become necessary every now and then. A mind-boggling variety of tricks and canards have been churned out by the official propaganda mill. This is just to ensure that the truth is rendered unrecognisable.

This year’s trick is very ingenious and is being stated officially for the first time. An official volume of the history of the Congress is being thrown up for the Media and the public to lap up as uncritically as it has been accepting the official propaganda on the subject, so far. There are however, valid reasons and known facts that militate against the proposed theory and need to be brought to the attention of the public so that it can make up its mind without succumbing to the canard sought to be popularised. The print Media (Indian Express, May 8, 2011) has carried the story about the fifth volume of the history of the Congress Party that is scheduled to be shortly released – just in time to influence the June anniversary discussions about the attack on the Darbar in 1984. An advanced copy has been made available to the Indian Express. The reporter appears to believe it makes a startling revelation. “In a party where no one questions the leadership in public, linking the rise of “Frankenstein monster” of Sikh militancy to Indira Gandhi is a startling concession,” writes Seema Chisti. If it were indeed that, it would certainly be a strange deviation from a well established and scrupulously followed tradition of the Indian National Congress. The tradition remained in place when M. K. Gandhi, J. L. Nehru and V. B. Patel were not called upon to explain why they caused the partition of India. It was blamed on Jinnah who sought it the least. They escaped scrutiny again when they failed to agree to exchange of population in 1947 and became responsible for the violent uprooting of more than ten million people and brutal deaths of a million Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus. Truth is stranger than fiction. Gandhi and Nehru who, inflicted immense violence upon the Sikhs and Dalits by consigning them to position of slaves and additionally gifted India with the permanently festering sore of Kashmir are not called upon to answer for their sins at the bar of history but are worshipped as the “apostles of peace.” Their mugs can be seen on the republic’s currency.

According to a perception Indira Gandhi was the Frankenstein of Indian politics and her ascent followed the death of Lal Bahadur Shashtri in exceedingly suspicious circumstances in Russia. On the occasion of attack on the Darbar it was rumoured that Russian hordes were present in India providing the background support and advice.

In this portion of its official history, the Congress party is ostensibly blaming Indira Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi for the rise of Sant Jarnail Singh Khalsa Bhinderanwale. It will appear strange to the surface reader that the book containing the “scathing criticism” is edited by well known family loyalists, namely, Pranab Mukerji the present Union finance minister and Anand Sharma who is the industries minister. It is calculated to permanently channelise future discussions on these least harmful lines. Such mind control exercises and obfuscations have not been unknown to history. The book is not yet out. Advance copies of it have been made available to journalists who are considered most likely to toe the official line on the subject or are considered dumb enough to do so. Such pre-views coming just before the June anniversary of the armed forces’ attack on the Guru’s Darbar are calculated to influence discussions that will inevitably take place.

The theory is not new either. Earlier it was hurled at the conniving Congress (I) in the nature of an accusation by others. It is now presented in the form of a critical self-analysis and is propagated as an explanation for the killing of thousand upon thousands of innocent Sikh women, children and gurdwara functionaries then and since. It is to serve as an explanation also of the army attack on the Guru’s Darbar, the destruction of the Akal Takhat and the burning of the Sikh Reference Library. It is being palmed off to unthinking authors and uncritical journalists. Inder Malhotra, author of the second chapter “Indira Gandhi: a Review” is one of the earliest journalists to have been attracted to the hypothesis. That Zail Singh and Sanjay Gandhi picked up Sant Jarnail Singh is old hat now being dusted for the new occasion.

The description of the Sant as a “relatively obscure, young and fundamentalist lay preacher” picked up “with a view to building him up as a rival to the Akali leadership” is a mixed bundle of absurdities, misstatements, illogical assertions and of course, lies. Such assessments only confirm that Inder Malhotra has become a willing victim of a clever ruse made current by the Congress. The Sant duly succeeded the predecessor at a solemn ceremony in which the entire Akali leadership of the times participated. So much for being ‘picked up’ by the two politicians. That the Sant was built up to embarrass the Akalis to render them readily available for destruction is a canard with gaping holes. On the surface, the Akali Dal was then the most well established political party with a chequered history. It had already formed three governments in the Punjab. That the Sant was the new head of one of the most popular religious seminaries without the slightest intention of moving into politics, has not been taken into consideration. He had no political party to back him and created none during his short meteoric public career. The Sant also was not a ‘lay preacher.’ He had been trained at the seminary for much of his life and was at that time thirty years old. He had received education in his field for a larger number of years than Zail Singh, Sanjay Gandhi and Indira Gandhi put together had spent in educational institutions.

To call him a fundamentalist and using the term impliedly in the Semitic, mainly Christian sense is also misleading. The term, in the context of Sikhi, has no connotation that it conveys in the original faith. There is no fundamental stance of Sikhi that clashes with human rights, scientific inquiry, liberalism, pluralistic thought or individualism. Neither is Sikhi in conflict with rational thought or human tendency to progress, innovate and to adapt upon which all advancement depends. Fundamentalism in Sikhi connotes absolute adherence to universal values. Such ‘fundamentalism’ cannot promote conflict with any other human being much less with a society or a nation. The matter of ‘amity with all’ is the fundamental doctrinal stance of Sikhi.

The most pronounced phenomenon of the times was that the disenchantment of the people on account of the refusal of the Akali Dal to address Sikh issues was growing and was gnawing at the inner strength of the party. Ideologists like Sirdar Kapur Singh were spending much time and energy to give new direction to Sikh politics. Young people were disgusted with the Akalis and were organising themselves. Initial attempts at throwing up alternate leadership were becoming pronounced and numerous. It then appeared that Sant Jarnail Singh would be an important leader of the future. In such circumstances the Akalis and the Congress colluded to destroy the new leadership that was naturally emerging amongst the Sikhs. Some of the correspondence of the Akalis with Indira Gandhi’s secretariat is a compelling evidence that they invited the ‘thunderstorm to destroy the Sikh garden’ as Iqbal would have put it.

This is the reason why the Akalis were not destroyed as a result of the Congress (I) misadventure. The most prominent Akali was Parkash Singh Badal who had been elected chief minister of the Punjab for two terms before 1984 but had functioned only for about forty-six months. Since 1984, he has been elected chief minister for another two terms and is scheduled to complete the full term of 120 months. All the people available to politics in his family have been cabinet ministers and his son is currently the deputy chief-minister as also the obvious successor. The next most important leader was Gurcharan Singh Tohra who was the president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee for fourteen years after 1984 until his death separated him from his beloved post. The third man in this respect is Surjit Singh Barnala who had been a minister for short periods before 1984. He became a chief minister for about nineteen months afterwards. He is currently ensconced in the Tamil Nadu Raj Bhawan in the fourteenth year of his gubernatorial office. The likes of Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Kanwaljit Singh similarly progressed. Their next generations now occupy equally important positions in the Akali hierarchy and have been tipped to take over the future. Incidentally, the net worth of all the Akalis has increased to a phenomenal extent. The only two Akalis who could not benefit from the bonanza are Sant Harchand Singh Longowal though he was much lauded and Balwant Singh who deserved to be ignored and was ignored. They were both assassinated some quarter of a century ago. Longowal has a memorial erected to him at government expense. It is apparent that the Akalis were not destroyed. In fact the Congress (I) built them up into colossuses (albeit with the feet of clay). If this is destruction then what is re-vitalisation, rejuvenation and the grant of eternal life?

Had Indira Gandhi just aimed at destroying the Akalis, she would have kept others at par with them during the period of 1980 to 1984 at least. If the Sant was to be built up as a rival to the Akalis, he would have been represented at the numerous parleys conducted with the Akali Dal. He was scrupulously kept out of the exercise. It is also a known fact that the Sant was not keen on politics and formulated no political agenda of his own. He kept a copy of the Anandpur Sahib Resolution under his pillow and would pull it out for reference on every conceivable occasion.

The Akalis, on the other hand, had deviated from the original purpose of representing the Sikh point of view in Indian polity with the advent of Sant Fateh Singh, known to be the protégée of Mohan Lal Sukhadia, Partap Singh Kairon and Jawahar Lal Nehru. By the time the Badal-Barnala-Tohra trio took over, the Dal had drifted at least a thousand miles from the Sikh political purpose or psyche. During the time of Sanjay Gandhi and Zail Singh, their trusted comrade Harkishan Singh Surjit was already advising the Akalis through Balwant Singh, Gurcharan Singh Tohra, the unlettered Jagdev Singh Talwandi and others including Surinderpal Singh Mann. They freely acknowledged him as “guruji.” He was behind the scene president of a committee of the Akali Dal entrusted with revising the original Anandpur Sahib Resolution. It will be remembered that this document was used both by Indira Gandhi and her son as hub of the secessionist propaganda against the Akalis.

The situation of the Akalis may be contrasted with the fate of Sant Jarnail Singh Khalsa who was ostensibly chosen as an ally by the Congress (I). He was martyred in the same complex from which several prominent Akalis were pulled out with tender care. About half a dozen members of his family, most of his trusted lieutenants and companions also became martyrs. Of those who survived, none is prominent in political field. None, not even Bhai Jasbir Singh, has made the kind of economic progress that sevadars in the Akali Dal have made. Association with the Sant has proved sufficient in the last quarter of a century to condemn a person to derision or at least immediate dislike and oblivion.

It is obvious that reasons for the long planned attack on the Darbar complex have to be sought elsewhere. It is to block that realization from the mind’s eye that the mayajal of the Zail Singh-Sanjay tale has been woven. It is the equivalent of a dense fog that prevents the sight from falling upon the ground (realities).

By now it is well known that Indira Gandhi like her father before her was no stickler for faiths and had journeyed through more than one faith while remaining an agnostic at heart. But suddenly, early in her last stint as the prime minister she started supporting signs of being a good Hindu. Saffron saris, rudaraksh bead garlands, visits to shrines of Hindu deities, warming up to Hindu saints and so on were some of the more pronounced lakshanas of her new incarnation. She had been turned away from a holy place or two for the obvious reasons but she persisted. This was her way of harvesting the fast spreading communal sentiment amongst the permanent cultural majority of the country. She had realised that in order to perpetuate the dynasty in the emerging scenario, it was imperative for her to incarnate into a Hindu deity. She hoped to emerge as the Mehshasurmardini of Indian imagination. Integral to this was the need to designate some entity as the Mehshasur. The hunting of heads in the northeast region had been going on since the middle of the century and had become a routine matter. The Neillie massacre did not yield results beyond slightly pushing her up the communal ladder. The killing of Muslims was inconvenient because of the existence of about fifty Muslim states who were keen observers. Besides, the average Hindu has lived in the mortal dread of Muslims for centuries and it is not possible for him to imagine that India is capable of delivering a final solution to the ‘Muslim problem.’ The fact that the Muslims formed about a fifth of the Indian population and were fast growing, had also to be taken into consideration. The day is not far when it will again be difficult to ignore numbers. To convince the masses about a conclusive victory over a potentially powerful foe who has been the master for centuries, was a hard to sell proposition.

That is where the next most favourite whipping boy, the Sikh, entered the scene. The Sikhs were a simple God-fearing people who had been slated for slow elimination anyway. They considered themselves patriots and had made more contribution to the welfare and security of the country and more sacrifices for common causes that they were not likely to become aware of the changed circumstances for a long time to come. They plotted against none and were unaware that anyone else would conspire to eliminate them outright. They had the additional advantage of being wide open to manipulation because their leaders had joined the Congress bandwagon since Fateh Singh became president of the Akali Dal. The Sikhs also had no media support. Such people were deemed more suitable for role of Mehshasur.

The exercise to cast them in such a role had started in the constituent assembly itself where Patel had accused them of aspiring for separation from the country because they wanted separate electorate in accordance with the Objective Resolution of the Assembly. M. K. Gandhi had contributed to that image by projecting them as violent and unruly in the ‘prayer meetings,’ he used to hold during his last days. They had more or less reconciled to their lot because they had been mourning their dead and their leadership, never too wise, had been successfully outmanoeuvred and was lying in a shambles. The prejudices of the pcm against them had never abated and were unlikely to ever cease. It had never forgotten the revolt of the Sikhs against the manavdharmashastra and had ever been keen to see them destroyed. These were the lessons learnt from the five hundred years of pcm – Sikh relations from the earliest times.

The argument advanced by the Congress (I), either from behind the veil or officially as it now transpires, is specious. It is advanced just to hide much that is relevant to the plight of the Sikhs. The strongest evidence against that line of thought are about half a dozen letters that the Akali leaders wrote Indira Gandhi’s office that show that Bhinderanwale was the common enemy and both entities were colluding in eliminating him. A telephonic conversation heard by Sant Singh Tegh is to the same effect. Sant Harchand Singh and Gurcharan Singh Tohra were heard conveying to Indira Gandhi in May 1984 that the Sant had grown too strong for them and must be got rid of. The present explanation is calculated to lead the country astray on the real causes prompting the government of Indira Gandhi. The famous saying, ‘nothing may be considered unequivocally denied until it is officially confirmed’ applies to the present proposition.

Had she intended to destroy the Akali Dal, then it stood completely shattered when most of the Akali members of the legislative assembly including the most trusted man of Parkash Singh Badal, namely, Gurdev Singh Badal had publicly defected and gone over to Sant Bhinderanwale in the full view of the Media. The Akali Dal almost did not exist that afternoon (27th April 1984) . Instead of taking advantage of the situation to finish it, Indira Gandhi moved swiftly to curb the ever growing influence of Sant Jarnail Singh.

It would also be too simplistic to believe that she merely wanted to assassinate the Sant after having erected him into a demon of desirable proportions by government action and orchestrated Media support. Had the Sant alone been on her mind, there was nothing easier than killing him. There were para-military outposts on roof-tops all around the Darbar complex and it was the easiest thing in the world to kill him because he moved about freely and openly in the Darbar premises. On April 29, 1984, the present author spent several hours with the Sant on the roof of the Langar building. They sat on the floor in the shade of the central cupola. He saw a police post on his right atop the then existing Sindhi hotel. It was less than sixty yards distant. From where he sat, he could see the eyes of the armed policeman manning the post. The other post on another Akhara (Sangal wala) was in front of him. It was even nearer. While sitting there a thought crossed his mind that they were sitting ducks for the police personnel. The guns of the Central Reserve Police Force were always trained in the direction of the Darbar Sahib. All that was required was to take aim and to pull the trigger. In a moment the Sant would be no more. With the well oiled propaganda machine that was ever willing, the Sant’s assassination could have found a hundred ingenious explanations.

Indira Gandhi had a much more sinister design. There are several circumstances to suggest that she was not gunning for the Sant alone. Taking advantage of the predicament in which she had thrust him, she aimed at destroying the entire Sikh nation and at wiping out the Sikh legacy altogether. She deliberately ignored all chances of reconciliation with the Akalis. Comrade Surjit who was in the know of things has confirmed that at least on three occasions, agreements had been reached through her accredited representatives but she reneged on them every time. Evidently she was blowing the balloon out of proportions so that she could ***** it for spectacular effect.

Almost up to the last minute she kept on solemnly affirming that her army had no plans to enter the shrine. The Darbar was invaded on Guru Arjan’s martyrdom day (June 3) when the crowds of pilgrims were expected to be the thickest. The curfew imposed around the shrine was lifted for a few hours to let crowds in before it was finally clamped again. Indira Gandhi hoped to inflict maximum damage so as to demoralise the people. Forty other shrines all over the Punjab were also invaded where there was no Bhinderanwale. Her canvass was much larger, her designs more sinister.

No warning was given to the Sikhs inside the shrine that the army attack was imminent. This much has been admitted by president of India Giani Zail Singh who was also the commander-in-chief, in his memoirs. The authorities clearly did not want anyone to escape from the carefully contrived death trap into which they had led the people. The intention of the government became clear from the house journal of the Indian army. Baatcheet, that advised targeting amritdhari Sikhs.

All through the period of the agitation, she drummed up most virulent propaganda against the Sikhs in the compliant Media. The Media willingly prostituted itself to her policy. The aim was to maximise the perception of danger to the country so that she could come down heavily on a handful of sitting ducks. It was not merely against the Akalis or Bhinderanwale as has often been made out. President of the Akali Dal, once on the matter being brought to his notice in early 1983, constituted a committee under Surjit Singh Barnala with instructions to go to all the provincial capitals to explain the Sikh point of view. Sant Jarnail Singh had taken his own precautions.

Indira Gandhi kept in touch with all the prominent people in the struggle through a set of different emissaries and kept on misinforming them of her intentions. She shuffled their concerns as one sitting at a game of chess, arranging matters as she exactly wanted them. She used her contacts to keep the cauldron with bat’s wings, owl’s blood and chicken’s neck on the boil, until the appointed day. In any other democracy this kind of manoeuvring would be considered a base stratagem, and crass opportunism at the cost of the nation. Here it was deemed as the hallmark of statesmanship.

These inputs must contribute to any realistic assessment of the situation then prevailing. More credible and truly objective construction of events to assess the exact nature of Sant Jarnail Singh Khalsa Bhinderanwale’s relationship with the Congress (I), is possible only after taking these and other attending circumstances into account. It is not a matter of mere assertion by one interested party or the other.

The Nirankari sect in Punjab is bolstered up by the Congress government in recognition of and in deference to the deep set prejudices of India’s permanent cultural majority. The Nirankaris were considered an efficient instrument towards achieving the ultimate aim. The obvious motive of the pcm is now well documented. It is to destroy the Khalsa ethos from amongst the Sikh people as a precursor to wiping out the legacy of the Gurus from India. In 1984 and subsequently, the operation conducted against the Sikhs is much on the lines of the efforts made by Shankracharya to eliminate the Buddhism from India. The census figures of four successive decades tell the story of what Indira Gandhi and her father had achieved. The growth rate of the Sikhs from 1961 to 1971 was 32%, from 1971 to 1981 was 26.2%, from 1981 to 1991 was 25.5% and from 1991 to 2001 it suddenly dropped to 16.9%.

During the 19 month suspension of civil liberties in India, Indira Gandhi was incensed by the formal daily political protest registered by the Shiromani Akali Dal in the form of courting arrests in large numbers for restoring civil liberties. But she was dismayed by the open religious protests marches lead by Sant Kartar Singh Bhinderanwale specifically against the heretical Nirankari sect patronised by the government subservient to the wishes of the pcm. The Sant had organised thirty-six mammoth protest marches all over the Punjab and one in Delhi. The Nirankari sect was being used as an effective check against the rapid spread of the Sikh faith as is obvious from the census figures. According to a perception, Sant Kartar Singh was eliminated by the Nirankaris in a contrived road accident. His young successor, Sant Baba Jarnail Singh Bhinderanwale now had two weighty reasons to oppose the Nirankaris. They were perceived to be enemies of his faith as well as the murderers of a holy man held in high esteem by the Sikh people.

Both the Congress (I) governments in the province as well as the centre continued to give support to the Nirankari sect in recognition of its ultimate design. So universally was the project approved by the pcm that the interim governments of Desai and Charan Singh had also continued to support them even more vigorously. After her return to power in 1980 Indira Gandhi felt there was no alternative to the elimination of Sant Jarnail Singh if protest against the Nirankaris was to be silenced. In addition she wanted to do it in a manner such as would go a long way in achieving the primary object of also destroying Sikhi root and branch. This would necessarily weaken the hold of the Akalis on the Punjab since they relied upon the Sikh votes at that juncture. Besides being most plausible in the circumstances, this construction fits in neatly with the history of the pcm-Sikh relations over the centuries. It also most satisfactorily explains subsequent events.

The Frankenstein of Indian politics paid the price of her misadventure in accordance with: ‘God said take what you like from the world and pay for it.’ Anyone willingly blindfolded (like Gandhari) and struck stone-deaf by prejudice (like Dhritrashtra) was rendered incapable of realistic evaluation of the risks involved in such a macabre undertaking. All history and mythology tells us that hatred, contempt and insatiable thirst for human blood often materialises enemies from the most inhospitable environment. Bhagat Prahlad went ahead to embrace the red hot iron pillar when he saw an ant sauntering about it leisurely. Narsimhan appeared from within the pillar and tore down the arrogant anti-God tyrant with its claws. This must be recognised in all humility instead of making false explanations current to hide the truth. It must be understood that the sinful and sacrilegious acts hardly become heads of secular, democratic polity. These must be abandoned publicly before they do more harm to the country. Unless a solemn statement to that effect is made, the Sikhs will remain locked in the time bind, unable to move forward. Employment of atrocities upon the Sikh constituents of the polity with the support of ‘bought slaves,’ constitutes the worst mode of governance in modern times. Efforts at trivialising the martyrdom of Sant Baba Jarnail Singh Khalsa is an invitation to a storm in the psyche of honest observers of events and must be forthwith abandoned in the interest of probity, humanity and country’s welfare.

Last edited:

Tejwant Singh

Jun 30, 2004
Henderson, NV.
Operation Blue Star - The Untold Story by Kanwar Sandhu - 1 - YouTube - Operation Blue Star - The Untold Story by Kanwar Sandhu Episode 1

Operation Blue Star - The Untold Story by Kanwar Sandhu - 2 - YouTube - Operation Blue Star - The Untold Story by Kanwar Sandhu Episode 2

The Jews remember the Holocaust with the call, Lest We Forget. The aim of this thread was to remember from the vantage point of history how the past is prologue to the present and the future - lest we too forget. The thread presents hard-to-find historical documents and historical accounts of the period from 1947 "Independence" and "Partition," because, like a planetary map, they chart the progression into duplicity and disarray that will be easy to forget when this generation of elders has died and gone. Such are the stories that led to 1984, BLUESTAR, the Genocide and political oppression of Punjab to follow, and eventually to the controversies and bitter disappointments of today. Until Tejwant ji offered these videos and the coverage of 2013 observances of 1984 reported in the following article from Sikh Syasat, no one responded. Therefore I express my thanks to forum member Tejwant Singh ji for his contributions.
Last edited by a moderator:

Tejwant Singh

Jun 30, 2004
Henderson, NV.
Genocide Remembrance Parade hits Amritsar roads
By Parmjit Singh


Amritsar, Punjab (June 5, 2013): “Twenty-nine years ago, with the attack on Darbar Sahib, the then government of India laid the foundation stone for independent state. The sentiments of sovereignty that was strengthened by army attack on Darbar Sahib have not been buried with the passage of time and change in political scenario. There may not be any public manifestation of such sentiments but all Sikhs desire to be self-ruler”.
Genocide Memorial Prade by Dal Khalsa, Amritsar (June 05, 2013)

Dal Khalsa passed this resolution on the eve of 29th anniversary of the attack at Amritsar on June 5, 2013. Activists of the group carrying Sikh Flag marched on the lanes and streets of the holy city cursing the Indian state for attacking their most sacred place with tanks and bombs butchering thousands of Sikhs. Carrying placards and signboards on which it was written, “remembering the Genocide of Sikhs at the cruel hands of India” along with the damaged photographs of Akal Takht Sahib, they chanted slogans in favour of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and denounced the government of India for committing what they called the “crime against the humanity”. The protestors pledged to keep the aspirations and mission alive and kicking for which the martyrs of June 84 laid down their lives.

The march that started from Dal Khalsa office concluded at Akal Takht in the evening where Ardas was performed at newly constructed Gurdwara in the memory of those who were killed during the attack.

The president of the Dal Khalsa Harcharanjit Singh Dhami who led the long procession demanded from the Badal led Akali government to release the list of all those men, women and children killed by the army in the Golden Temple complex during Operation Bluestar. Law and order being the state subject, the state government must have this list. In case the list is not with the state government or it can take refuse in this argument, we would like to know whether any Akali Dal government has sent any formal communication to the government at the centre demanding the list at any time? He said the people have a right to know the names of these who were martyred by the army during Operation Bluestar.

He said wounds of June 84 has not healed and we still nurse agony and anguish against the tyranny of the Indian state and the role of the Congress party in particular.

Spokesperson of the party Kanwar Pal Singh said the aim behind today’s ‘Genocide Remembrance Parade’ was to reiterate the cause for thousands Sikhs who laid down their lives in 1984 while defending the attack on their faith. Twenty nine years have passed, thousands have died & equal numbers have suffered long imprisonments but no problem, no issue of Sikhs has been solved till date, he said.He said the sacrifice of the June 1984 martyrs would never be allowed to go in vain”.

“Wounds are still simmering, even after 29 years. Especially the scars, which have been left to neglect, said Harpal Singh Cheema of SAD (Panch Pardani),. KAC chairman Bhai Mohkam Singh said Sikhs would never forget or forgive the crimes of June 1984″.