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Ludhiana during Blue Star – As witnessed by a 14 year old
								

I was 14 years old in 1984, when the Indian army attacked Siri Harmandir Sahib and Siri Akal Takhat Sahib. Written below are my memories of this unfortunate and atrocious event.


(Siri Akal Takhat Sahib damaged during Blue Star)


(Unforgettable scene of ungrateful Namak-Haraam Hindu officers who handled Blue Star)


LUDHIANA DURING BLUE STAR – AS WITNESSED BY A 14 YEAR OLD

I was in Punjab during the Operation Blue Star i.e. the army attack on Siri Harmandir Sahib – Amritsar Sahib. I was 14 years old at the time of the attack. We lived in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar of Ludhiana district of Punjab.

Before the attack, a revolution had come in Punjab. Sant Bhindranwale was ruling the hearts of Sikhs. Sant jee was a Sikh who had the heart of Khalsa from 1700s. When people questioned him how Sikhs were going to fight the government that has millions of soldiers and even an atom bomb, Sant jee used to reply that Sikhs had Guru Gobind Singh jee on their side. Such arguments that were full of faith, were unheard before and it greatly impressed the Sikhs. I feel that I am very unfortunate that I did not witness Sant jee's Darshan even though he came to our village (maternal village) in Siri Amritsar Sahib.


(Our Hero, our heartbeat, our Shaan, our Aan, our Maan - Sant Jarnail Singh jee Bhindranwale)

I remember that during the attack, the Sikh emotions suffered a lot. I did not come from a religious family but everyone I knew condemned this attack. The surprising side was that the non-Sikhs, especially the Hindus and the Jains, expressed open happiness at this attack. During the last week of May, there was a news that CRPF fired thousands of rounds of bullets in Darbar Sahib. The Singhs mostly kept restraint but as a result of their fire, 9 or 10 CRPF soldiers were killed. At that time we all knew that something very bad was about to happen in Punjab.

On the first of June or so, we noticed heavy presence of army all over Punjab. Then in a day or so, curfew was imposed in whole of Punjab. All newspapers were banned and the radio gave little indication of what was going on. This was my first time witnessing a curfew. Basically police could shoot anyone who came out of their houses. It was a very frightening sight. We would see military vehicles armed with machine guns marching through the streets. No one was allowed to get out.

The curfew came without a notice or pre-warning and as a result of this, people did not get any chance to stock up food and other necessities. There was a severe shortage of food. All schools were shut and kids had to stay home. People were very worried about what was going to happen next. We all had some idea that there would be a massacre at Siri Darbar Sahib. I remember that all shops were closed and many people were desperate, as there was no food available. After two days, they gave one hour relaxation of curfew and everyone flocked on the roads to talk about what was going on.

As people started talking about the curfew and the political activities in Punjab, fierce debates ensued on the roads. Hindus and Sikhs were openly clashing (only verbally as far as I have seen). The Hindus were very happy that finally something was being done about Sant Bhindranwaale. The Sikhs were hurt as they felt that the government should have never attacked Siri Darbar Sahib. Punjab was rife with rumours like Pakistan was going to attack India, and that they were going to throw bombs in Punjab to destroy the Sikhs etc. Others were claiming that Pakistan would come in to help the Sikhs get Khalistan and this way avenge the Bangladesh episode. Everyone was just plain scared.

During this one hour relaxation of curfew, I met other teenagers of my age. I remember that my Hindu friends were openly supportive of the military action and this was enraging me and my Sikh friends. We were all standing in the park in form of a circle when the Jain guy and the Hindu guys were spitting venomous comments about the Sikhs. These venomous comments were causing even moderate and non-religious Sikhs like me to get angry. I was not even a keshadhaari back then and used to cut hair. Even I felt anger. I honestly believe that the negative attitude of the Hindus was a big contributor to the rise of militancy in Punjab. The humiliation was just too much for the Sikhs to sustain.

On the nights of June 5 through June 10, several interviews were relayed by TV, trying to pacify the Sikhs who were angry at this action. I still remember that the first edition by Punjabi Ajit newspaper in India, was so emotionally-moving. The editor Sardar Sadhu Singh Hamdard literally wrote the article in his blood. It is said that he was deeply moved by the plight of the Sikhs and the destruction of Siri Akaal Takhat Sahib. Few weeks later he breathed his last.

After we went back to school after a week or so, we witnessed seriously bad attitude from our Hindu veers. The Christians, Hindus, Jains all sided against the Sikhs and supported the government. Many fights occurred in the schools as a result of this. Punjabis were divided into two groups – Sikhs and non-Sikhs.

The Sikhs were very angry that Santa Singh Nihung had taken over the repairing of Siri Akal Takhat. The Sikhs were very angry at this decision. Three Sikh students at my school got so upset that they decided to beat up Santa Singh. They ran away from their homes in Ludhiana and went to Amritsar Sahib. Their parents were looking for them and came to me. I did not know of their plans but indicated that they were going to Amritsar to beat up Santa Singh. Their parents went to Amritsar Sahib and caught them just outside Darbar Sahib. This is just one incident to prove how upset a common Sikh was. Thousands of such incidents occurred in Punjab.

What kind of Sikh are you; you don't have Kesh

The incidents of 1984 pushed all Sikhs towards their roots. I came from a non-religious family but I got interested in Sikhi too. I can never forget one incident. I am going to narrate it as it happened. Reader discretion is advised.

Sometime in July of 1984, I along with other youth of our area were standing and chatting. We used to chat after playing cricket. The crowd was a mix of Sikhs, Hindus, Christians and Jains. We all started talking about religion and castes. There were about 4-5 boys from Sikh background and about 10 or so non-Sikhs. I was from Sikh background but a Monna. One guy said that he was a Jatt-Sikh. Others too boasted about their religious and family background. I too proudly said that I was a Jatt-Sikh (I didn't realize back then that caste plays no role in Sikhi). The other Sikh guy who was a Sardar (i.e. a Keshadhari) and couple of years older than me said, "Saaliya, tu kaahda Jatt-Sikh hain; tu taan Laala hai; kyonke tere kolay Kesh nahi" (You are not a Sikh, you are a Laala (Hindu who owns shops, Baaniya) because you have no Kesh). For a Sikh, to be addressed as Laala is pretty insulting. Everyone started laughing at me. I was so embarrassed that I got drenched with sweat, and I could feel the heat coming out of my ears.

I started wondering why I was not keeping Kesh. This incident always remained with me and it was a contributing factor for me to keep Kesh, 3-4 years later.


ASSASSINATION OF INDIRA GANDHI

After the Blue Star, a lot of Sikhs were predicting that God would punish Indira. Not even a thought of doubt came in our minds. We all knew that Mrs Gandhi would be punished by Vaheguru. After she was killed by her body guards, a very strange situation was witnessed by the Sikhs. At first there was a outbreak of celebrations by Sikh. I saw that the Sikhs were openly celebrating her death but this celebration was only short-lived. The celebrations turned into mourning withing couple of days. News of the massacre of the Sikhs in Delhi and Kanpur took away all happiness of her death. Then the Hindus were celebrating. Yes, Hindus celebrated the massacre of Sikhs. For months following the riots, we saw an influx of Sikhs from Delhi and Kanpur, into Punjab.

All schools and colleges were shut and we went back to school after a week of government mourning and a very interesting incident happened there. The whole school was assembled in the park and the teachers asked us to rise and pray for the soul of Indira Gandhi. I kept sitting and many other Sikh students did not get up either. The principal and the teachers saw all this. They ordered us to get up but we continued to stay seated. Later we were called in the principal’s office and were severely reprimanded. I told the principal that I did not think Indira Gandhi deserved my prayers. They never forgive us for this and we started getting into trouble for little things. Eventually, I along with 3 more Sikh students were thrown out of the school. We had a hard time because no school was willing to accept expelled students. I gave my 10th class board examinations without attending the school. The school allowed me to write exam on its behalf but I was not allowed to attend the school.

The eighties were the years from hell. Punjab probably never saw such communal atmosphere after 1947. May Guru Sahib do kirpa on Punjab. I think many Hindus have now realized that it was wrong for them to celebrate the attack on Siri Darbar Sahib. Punjabi Hindus realize that being Punjabis they are more close to the Sikhs of Punjab than they are with non-Punjabi Hindus. Sikhs have been protecting the Hindus for hundreds of years and for Hindus to return this favour by celebrating the attack on Darbar Sahib was plain wrong. They should have been mourning like the Sikhs because many Punjabi Hindus believe in ten Gurus, Siri Darbar Sahib and Gurbani. But so long as communal parties like BJP are alive, Punjabi Hindus will never recognize Sikhi as a separate faith. May Vaheguru bless them with wisdom.

Daas,
Kulbir Singh

 
 
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I was 14 years old in 1984, when the Indian army attacked Siri Harmandir Sahib and Siri Akal Takhat Sahib. Written below are my memories of this unfortunate and atrocious event.


(Siri Akal Takhat Sahib damaged during Blue Star)


(Unforgettable scene of ungrateful Namak-Haraam Hindu officers who handled Blue Star)


LUDHIANA DURING BLUE STAR – AS WITNESSED BY A 14 YEAR OLD

I was in Punjab during the Operation Blue Star i.e. the army attack on Siri Harmandir Sahib – Amritsar Sahib. I was 14 years old at the time of the attack. We lived in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar of Ludhiana district of Punjab.

Before the attack, a revolution had come in Punjab. Sant Bhindranwale was ruling the hearts of Sikhs. Sant jee was a Sikh who had the heart of Khalsa from 1700s. When people questioned him how Sikhs were going to fight the government that has millions of soldiers and even an atom bomb, Sant jee used to reply that Sikhs had Guru Gobind Singh jee on their side. Such arguments that were full of faith, were unheard before and it greatly impressed the Sikhs. I feel that I am very unfortunate that I did not witness Sant jee's Darshan even though he came to our village (maternal village) in Siri Amritsar Sahib.


(Our Hero, our heartbeat, our Shaan, our Aan, our Maan - Sant Jarnail Singh jee Bhindranwale)

I remember that during the attack, the Sikh emotions suffered a lot. I did not come from a religious family but everyone I knew condemned this attack. The surprising side was that the non-Sikhs, especially the Hindus and the Jains, expressed open happiness at this attack. During the last week of May, there was a news that CRPF fired thousands of rounds of bullets in Darbar Sahib. The Singhs mostly kept restraint but as a result of their fire, 9 or 10 CRPF soldiers were killed. At that time we all knew that something very bad was about to happen in Punjab.

On the first of June or so, we noticed heavy presence of army all over Punjab. Then in a day or so, curfew was imposed in whole of Punjab. All newspapers were banned and the radio gave little indication of what was going on. This was my first time witnessing a curfew. Basically police could shoot anyone who came out of their houses. It was a very frightening sight. We would see military vehicles armed with machine guns marching through the streets. No one was allowed to get out.

The curfew came without a notice or pre-warning and as a result of this, people did not get any chance to stock up food and other necessities. There was a severe shortage of food. All schools were shut and kids had to stay home. People were very worried about what was going to happen next. We all had some idea that there would be a massacre at Siri Darbar Sahib. I remember that all shops were closed and many people were desperate, as there was no food available. After two days, they gave one hour relaxation of curfew and everyone flocked on the roads to talk about what was going on.

As people started talking about the curfew and the political activities in Punjab, fierce debates ensued on the roads. Hindus and Sikhs were openly clashing (only verbally as far as I have seen). The Hindus were very happy that finally something was being done about Sant Bhindranwaale. The Sikhs were hurt as they felt that the government should have never attacked Siri Darbar Sahib. Punjab was rife with rumours like Pakistan was going to attack India, and that they were going to throw bombs in Punjab to destroy the Sikhs etc. Others were claiming that Pakistan would come in to help the Sikhs get Khalistan and this way avenge the Bangladesh episode. Everyone was just plain scared.

During this one hour relaxation of curfew, I met other teenagers of my age. I remember that my Hindu friends were openly supportive of the military action and this was enraging me and my Sikh friends. We were all standing in the park in form of a circle when the Jain guy and the Hindu guys were spitting venomous comments about the Sikhs. These venomous comments were causing even moderate and non-religious Sikhs like me to get angry. I was not even a keshadhaari back then and used to cut hair. Even I felt anger. I honestly believe that the negative attitude of the Hindus was a big contributor to the rise of militancy in Punjab. The humiliation was just too much for the Sikhs to sustain.

On the nights of June 5 through June 10, several interviews were relayed by TV, trying to pacify the Sikhs who were angry at this action. I still remember that the first edition by Punjabi Ajit newspaper in India, was so emotionally-moving. The editor Sardar Sadhu Singh Hamdard literally wrote the article in his blood. It is said that he was deeply moved by the plight of the Sikhs and the destruction of Siri Akaal Takhat Sahib. Few weeks later he breathed his last.

After we went back to school after a week or so, we witnessed seriously bad attitude from our Hindu veers. The Christians, Hindus, Jains all sided against the Sikhs and supported the government. Many fights occurred in the schools as a result of this. Punjabis were divided into two groups – Sikhs and non-Sikhs.

The Sikhs were very angry that Santa Singh Nihung had taken over the repairing of Siri Akal Takhat. The Sikhs were very angry at this decision. Three Sikh students at my school got so upset that they decided to beat up Santa Singh. They ran away from their homes in Ludhiana and went to Amritsar Sahib. Their parents were looking for them and came to me. I did not know of their plans but indicated that they were going to Amritsar to beat up Santa Singh. Their parents went to Amritsar Sahib and caught them just outside Darbar Sahib. This is just one incident to prove how upset a common Sikh was. Thousands of such incidents occurred in Punjab.

What kind of Sikh are you; you don't have Kesh

The incidents of 1984 pushed all Sikhs towards their roots. I came from a non-religious family but I got interested in Sikhi too. I can never forget one incident. I am going to narrate it as it happened. Reader discretion is advised.

Sometime in July of 1984, I along with other youth of our area were standing and chatting. We used to chat after playing cricket. The crowd was a mix of Sikhs, Hindus, Christians and Jains. We all started talking about religion and castes. There were about 4-5 boys from Sikh background and about 10 or so non-Sikhs. I was from Sikh background but a Monna. One guy said that he was a Jatt-Sikh. Others too boasted about their religious and family background. I too proudly said that I was a Jatt-Sikh (I didn't realize back then that caste plays no role in Sikhi). The other Sikh guy who was a Sardar (i.e. a Keshadhari) and couple of years older than me said, "Saaliya, tu kaahda Jatt-Sikh hain; tu taan Laala hai; kyonke tere kolay Kesh nahi" (You are not a Sikh, you are a Laala (Hindu who owns shops, Baaniya) because you have no Kesh). For a Sikh, to be addressed as Laala is pretty insulting. Everyone started laughing at me. I was so embarrassed that I got drenched with sweat, and I could feel the heat coming out of my ears.

I started wondering why I was not keeping Kesh. This incident always remained with me and it was a contributing factor for me to keep Kesh, 3-4 years later.


ASSASSINATION OF INDIRA GANDHI

After the Blue Star, a lot of Sikhs were predicting that God would punish Indira. Not even a thought of doubt came in our minds. We all knew that Mrs Gandhi would be punished by Vaheguru. After she was killed by her body guards, a very strange situation was witnessed by the Sikhs. At first there was a outbreak of celebrations by Sikh. I saw that the Sikhs were openly celebrating her death but this celebration was only short-lived. The celebrations turned into mourning withing couple of days. News of the massacre of the Sikhs in Delhi and Kanpur took away all happiness of her death. Then the Hindus were celebrating. Yes, Hindus celebrated the massacre of Sikhs. For months following the riots, we saw an influx of Sikhs from Delhi and Kanpur, into Punjab.

All schools and colleges were shut and we went back to school after a week of government mourning and a very interesting incident happened there. The whole school was assembled in the park and the teachers asked us to rise and pray for the soul of Indira Gandhi. I kept sitting and many other Sikh students did not get up either. The principal and the teachers saw all this. They ordered us to get up but we continued to stay seated. Later we were called in the principal’s office and were severely reprimanded. I told the principal that I did not think Indira Gandhi deserved my prayers. They never forgive us for this and we started getting into trouble for little things. Eventually, I along with 3 more Sikh students were thrown out of the school. We had a hard time because no school was willing to accept expelled students. I gave my 10th class board examinations without attending the school. The school allowed me to write exam on its behalf but I was not allowed to attend the school.

The eighties were the years from hell. Punjab probably never saw such communal atmosphere after 1947. May Guru Sahib do kirpa on Punjab. I think many Hindus have now realized that it was wrong for them to celebrate the attack on Siri Darbar Sahib. Punjabi Hindus realize that being Punjabis they are more close to the Sikhs of Punjab than they are with non-Punjabi Hindus. Sikhs have been protecting the Hindus for hundreds of years and for Hindus to return this favour by celebrating the attack on Darbar Sahib was plain wrong. They should have been mourning like the Sikhs because many Punjabi Hindus believe in ten Gurus, Siri Darbar Sahib and Gurbani. But so long as communal parties like BJP are alive, Punjabi Hindus will never recognize Sikhi as a separate faith. May Vaheguru bless them with wisdom.

Daas,
Kulbir Singh

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