Shaheed Bhai Sukhdev Singh Babbar (Part 1 of 9)
Author/Source: Bhai Zorawar Singh
Shaheed Jathedar Sukhdev Singh Babbar was the iconic leader of the Khalistan movement between 1978 to 1992. He ranked among senior Generals like Bhai Gurjant Singh Budhsinghwale, Bhai Avtar Singh Brahma and Baba Manochal. However his impact was legendary, and was considered the backbone of the struggle. Such was the calibre of this Gursikh, that everyone referred to him as “The Jathedar…”. (one and only).
This is his story………
Shaheed Bhai Sukhdev Singh Babbar was born on 9th August 1955 in the house of Sardar Jind Singh and Mata Harnam Kaur, in the village Dhassuwal. This is in the Amritsar area of Punjab. Bhai Sahib had three brothers, Angrej Singh, Rashal Singh, Mehal Singh, and three sisters, Swaran kaur, Charan kaur, and Jeet Kaur.
Bhai Sahib studied till level 8 in Punjab. He worked on his own land as a farmer with his brothers. From an early age, Bhai Sahib had a religious mind, and a warrior spirit. Bhai Sahib met Jathedar Bhai Fauja Singh (Shaheed). He was highly impressed by Jathedar Fauja Singh, and with his guidance took Amrit at an Akhand Kirtani Jatha Smagam in 1977. Both became inseparable friends.
Many youth were highly influenced by Jathedar Bhai Fauja Singh. Not only Bhai Sukhdev Singh, but Bhai Anokh Singh, Bhai Wadhawa Singh, Bhai Sulakhan Singh, and countless others Great Sikhs were students at Bhai Fauja Singhs Khalsa Farm, where they undertook Spiritual education and Gathka education in a camp-like atmosphere. It was at this camp, that the ideologue by which all these Singh lived their lives was instilled. Bhai Fauja Singh taught the Gursikhs that doing Naam Simran, Paath, Kirtan was just as important as becoming fearless Sons of Sahib Siri Guru Gobind Singh.
Bhai Sahib wed Bibi Sukhwant Kaur in an Anand Karaj Ceremony on Vaisakhi, 13th April 1978. After the wedding, the couple arrived back at their house to receive distressing news. On the sacred land of Amritsar, a new-age sect called Nakli Narankaries had mercilessly killed 13 Sikhs protesting against their anti-Sikh activities. A further 150 Sikhs had been injured. From the 13, many close companions of Bhai Sahib had been Shaheed, including Jathedar Fauja Singh. Bhai Sahib was greatly shaken by this event. Early the next morning, he caught a bus for Amritsar, and after the Saskar (funeral) of the 13 Gursikhs, he returned a changed person.
The Punjab Government brought a murder case against the leader of the Nirankaries called “Gurbachana”. However this case was intentionally moved from Punjab to Karnal, in Haryana. This sect called Nirankaries enjoyed the patronage of Indira Gandhi, who wished to use it to destroy the strangehold of Akali party control in Punjab. She viewed Sikhs as the biggest threat to her ambitions of power. They were the only group who would be prepared to raise their voice against her. Hence she devised many strategies to weaken Sikhs internally and externally. The Nirankaries were part of this plan.
Parkash Badal, the leader of the Akali Dal in Punjab, was also secretly helping “Gurbachana”. Praksah Badal`s role in the History of Punjab has been very dubious, and it can be stated he has been the Sikh version of Gangu Brahmin, who sent many Khalsa youth to their deaths. Parkash Badal further ensured that “Gurbachana” walked free from the courts. Previously it had been Parkash Badal who had smuggled “Gurbachana” out of Punjab on the night of the murders on Vaisakhi 1978.
Youth Get Organised…
The charismatic leader of the Damdami Taksal, Baba Jarnail Bhindranwale was infuriated by this. He also held Jathedar Fauja Singh in high esteem. He called for Sikhs nationwide to oppose all Nirankari activities.
Bhai Sukhdev Singh was by nature very quiet, and very spiritually inclined. But at the same time he was also a man of action. He had realised while these Nirankaries enjoyed the patronage of Indira Gandhi, Sikhs would never get justice for the murder of Gursikhs. By now a further 13 Gursikhs had been killed in Kanpur by Nirankaries, and also two in Delhi. Another close associate of Bhai Sahib, and very spiritual Gursikh, Bhai Jagjit Singh was one of those Shaheed in Kanpur.
In a quiet manner, with the help of Bhai Anokh Singh, Bhai Sulakhan Singh and Bhai Amarjit Singh Daheru, they began plotting and assassinating the leadership of the Nirankaris. “Gurbachana” had held himself up as a modern “Guru Gobind Singh ji”, to infuriate Sikhs. As Sikhism had “Panj Pyares” (5 beloveds) , the Nirankaris set up their “Sat Sitares” (7 stars). Bhai Sukhdev Singh began with them, and completely annihilated the Nirankari leadership. The main target was always “Gurbachana”, but he eluded them yet.
Bhai Sukhdev Singh always lead from the front. He was involved in every action, and always behaved to highest ideals of the Khalsa.
However the Indian Security Forces, and right-wing Hindu groups were providing protection to the Nirankaries, and also helping them hunt young Sikhs who were standing up to the Nirankaries.
The trail led them to the house of Bhai Amarjit Singh Daheru. He was a very Chardi Kala Gursikh, who was providing all the Sikh youth with weapons training. His house was surrounded by the Punjab Police and Security Forces. Bhai Sahib was very skilled in fighting. He wanted to make sure he was not caught, because he did not want the youth he had trained to be exposed. So he fought with great courage. When he was eventually Shaheed, his Singhni demonstrated how miraculous Guru Ji`s daughters are….. She single-handedly fought the Police and Security Forces for 48 hours. Only when all her ammunition finished did she also attain Shaheedi.
Continued in "The Jathebandi: Shaheed Jathedar Sukhdev Singh Babbar Part 2"