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Extracts From An Interview With Bibi Bimal Kaur, Shaheed Beant Singh’S Wife


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Extracts from interview with Bibi Bimal Kaur, Shaheed Beant Singh’s wife (published in Vangaar 1993):

Did you know that Bhai Beant Singh was going to assassinate Indira Gandhi?

No. He did not divulge this information with me. However looking back in hindsight, all the pieces of the jigsaw fit together. After the attack in June 84, as all Sikh at that time, we were all hurt, shocked and confused by the actions of the government.

Sardar ji took leave from work and we visited Sri Harmandir Sahib. The extent of the devastation, the number of innocent Sikhs killed and atrocities committed was incomprehensible; it shook Sardar ji (Bibi ji referred to Bhai Beant Singh as Sardar ji throughout interview) to his core. He felt that it was done to suppress the Sikhs. He spent hours walking the Parkarima, through the blood soaked rubble, trying to absorb what happened that day.

He was inspired and in awe of the defence put up by the handful of Sikh Freedom Fighters who fought to protect the sanctity of Sri Harmandir Sahib, and also evacuate as many pilgrims as possible. Inspired by how they stood up against oppression, later on when he became more religious, I would always note his voice tremble during his Ardaas, when he would come to the reference to the Shaheeds “Jehna ne Sikhi layee kurbanitaan dittiyaan” (blessed are those martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the survival of Sikhi).

The earliest and most significant clue as to his later actions and intentions was when at Sri Harmandir Sahib, he randomly stated “I want to become a Shaheed”. I asked him what would happen to our children, the youngest of whom was two at the time. He responded “what about the young children that were made Shaheed here, what about the children that lost their parents here, they will have to manage, and so would our kids”. He didn’t say much else, and I didn’t take it serious, for after all people say a lot in grief.

Shaheed Bhai Kehar Singh

Bhai Kehar Singh was a very spiritual and religious man. The two had a lot of affection for each other. During the last few months he would go and see Bhai Kehar Singh a lot, and he would frequent our house regularly. I later learnt that one day when they went to the Gurdwara to listen to keertan, a prominent Keertani had performed keertan in Bairaag (deep and emotional mood), and had done Katha (sermon) about the attack on Sri Harmandir Sahib. Sardar ji broke down in tears, then Bhai Kehar Singh turned to him and said “Singh Soorme (warriors) do not cry, they fight oppression to get justice”.

He had a very strong role in getting Sardar ji prepared spiritually for the mission he had chosen to undertake.

Bhai Satwant Singh

Bhai Satwant Singh was a very young and sincere man. It is highly commendable that at a young age (early 20’s) he took full responsibility and issued a statement as to why the actions had to be carried out.

He and Sardar ji were very close and he would come over to our house every other day, they would spend most of their time in deep and serious conversations. I later learned that Sardar ji and Bhai Satwant Singh had been trying to assassinate Indira Gandhi since August and that there had been many attempts which were unsuccessful.

Leading up to the assassination

From June 1984 he was never the same again. His thoughts and actions became slowly more religious. He started to wear his Kachera again, go more regularly to the Gurughar, and keep company with more religious people like Bhai Kehar Singh.

One day he came from work and said that a Baaj (Falcon) was seen circling the Prime Ministers quarters and settled on a tall tree. All the security staff were amazed and even bowed to it in reverence, even when one started a motorcycle to see if it would be frightened; it stayed; only later flying off. I said to him that he never believed in such things before, but he didn’t reply.

(The tenth master, Guru Gobind Singh Ji was referred to as ‘Chittay baaja wala”, the keeper of the white falcon. From time to time a white baaj is seen in the mountains of the Himalayas in the surrounding areas of Hemkund Sahib where Guru Gobind Singh ji performed much meditation. After the attack on Sri Harmandir Sahib, many saw a white baaj, seen by many it circled and perched on a branch, Sikhs took this as a sign that the Guru was with them.)

Around September 1984 (just under a month before his Shaheedi), he would go to the Gurdwara every day, he became disinterested with worldly affairs and became very sincere and passionate in his Sikhi.

One day he came home and said “I am going to take Amrit”. I was surprised by this and said that how come he didn’t discuss it like we usually discussed things. His reply was “you know how I used to drink with my friends before, and sometimes I would drink a bit too much, you used to get angry”. I thought to myself well at least he won’t drink again and was pleased.

(On 24th October 1984, Beant Singh and Satwant Singh took Amrit at a Gurdwara in Delhi.)

Your opinion on the assassination, and the Sikh Freedom Movement

When a tyrant is born, his killer is also brought into this world. Sardar ji was not coerced, neither did he act in a moment of madness. Instead he bettered himself religiously; believing that by becoming a more spiritual Gursikh he would be gifted the Seva (boon) of following his Guru's Hukam (teachings) by standing up against oppression, and delivering justice for thousands of Sikhs who were killed, and for the desecration of Sri Harmandir Sahib.

I'm very proud of being his wife, the government can say what they want, because at the time of Shaheed Bhagat Singh he was treated as a terrorist by his own government. They did not support him then, but today there are statues of him all across India, and government ministers queue up to adorn him with garlands of flowers.

I believe everyone in Punjab should join together and join the movement. The Indian government is an oppressive regime, despite what is said in its constitution, false imprisonment, torture and illegal killings are rife. The Sikh freedom movement is for greater financial, religious, social, cultural and political freedom for all Punjabis. The Congress government has amended the constitution 65 times yet it cannot change it once to acknowledge the Sikhs as a separate religion. They want us to stop our movement and compromise, but they do not wish to change, they do not wish to deal with the root issues, our grievances.

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