Thursday, 15 February 2018

The five-handed Sikh General - An amazing tale of Valour

The Punj Hathaa Jarnail – Sardar Nidhaan Singh

Though Sardar Nidhaan Singh jee had only two hands but he was called “Punj Hath Jarnail” meaning the general with 5 hands. Sher-e-Punjab Raja Ranjit Singh gave him this title after the Nashaura war with the Pathaans.

It was the battle of Nashaura where one of the greatest Sikh leader – Akali Phoola Singh jee attained martyrdom. Akali jee was the Jathedar of Akali army of Khalsa Panth. He was also the Jathedar of Siri Akal Takhat Sahib.

When Akali jee moved forward with handful of his Akali Singhs, despite pleas from Raja Ranjit Singh to stop, the Khalsa army was having hard time standing there watching their Akali brothers fighting the enemy with much greater strength, on their own. Actually Akali jee had performed an ardaas to proceed to the battlefield but right after the ardaas, Raja Ranjit Singh got information from his spy about the real strength of the enemy. Raja Ranjit Singh at that time thought it was more prudent to hold on until more Sikh reinforcement from Lahore. But Akali jee refused to wait as he had performed the ardaas and wanted to honour ardaas at all costs.

Akali jee moved forward without caring for his life. His few thousand men were nowhere near the tens of thousands of enemy army. The Akali Singhs were greatly outnumbered by the enemy but Akali Phoola Singh jee had firm faith in Vaheguru and wanted to fulfil his ardaas at all cost. As they were galloping ahead, the enemy opened fire and the Akalis started falling. The Khalsa army that was waiting for the order of Raja Ranjit Singh, was getting increasingly impatient at the slaughtering of their Akali veers. They were having hard time being mere spectators and getting their brothers slaughtered by the enemy.

As the battle enraged, Raja Ranjit Singh could not hold himself back any longer. He ordered his general, Sardar Nidhaan Singh to move forward behind the Akalis. Sardar Nidhaan Singh jee’s happiness knew no bounds when he got signal from Raja Ranjit Singh to move forward. With full force he moved forward with his brave men. He fell on the enemy like lightening. They successfully opened the enemy encirclement around the Akalis. So strong was their attack that the enemy had to back off.

The enemy soon came back with reinforcement and a fierce battle ensued thereafter. From behind the mountains, the enemy was firing bullets like heavy rainfall. One of the bullets hit Sardar Nidhaan Singh’s horse and his horse died on the spot. Before he could move to a new horse, the enemy from all sides surrounded him and started attacking him. Such moments in battlefields result in sure death but Sardar jee was not an ordinary soldier. He was an amritdhaari tyaar bar tyaar Khalsa of Guru Gobind Singh jee. Before they could kill him, Sardar jee quickly took out his sword to defend himself.

At this time, he was surrounded by dozens of pathaan warriors. We should realize that Pathaans too are very brave soldiers. They are known for their valour. The Singhs were trying to get to their general but he had gone too deep inside the enemy force. Sardar jee fought with such splendid war skills and bravery that the enemy had to take a step back. Raja Ranjit Singh who was watching this fight from a hilltop was very pleased at Sardar jee’s performance.

As he was fighting, five Ghazees (Muslim veteran fighters) challenged him. It seemed that Sardar Nidhaan Singh had taken an embodiment of angel of death for Pathaans. His movements in this battle reflected the Taandav (Taandav is the dance that Shiva is said to perform before destroying the world) of Shiva. Sardar jee with a loud Jaikaara accepted the challenge of 5 Ghazees. The battlefield became still to watch the battle between Sardar jee and the 5 Gaazees.

Sardar jee was blocking their attacks very diligently and swiftly; at the same time attacking them. He killed the first Gaazee and placed his sword near his feet. Then he cut of the wrist of the second gaazee and placed that along with his sword too near the previous sword. This way, Sardar jee seized swords from all Gaazees and martyred all of them.

After killing the 5 great gaazees of Pathaans, Sardar jee challenged other pathaans for fight. No one moved forward. By this time the Khalsa army reached him and he was taken back to a safe spot. Khalsa won this battle but the price it paid was very heavy. Akali Phoola Singh jee attained martyrdom in this battle.

Sardar jee’s status in the Sikh army got elevated greatly after this battle. He was given the title of “Punj Hatha Jarnail” meaning the General with 5 hands.

Today, it is hard to find warriors of Sardar jee’s level. The Khalsa Panth is known for it martial skills and if we lose these skills, I am afraid we will lose our distinctiveness.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Sikh Theology: Why Sikhs Wear a Turban

The dastaar, as the Sikh turban is known, is an article of faith that has been made mandatory by the founders of Sikhism. It is not to be regarded as mere cultural paraphernalia. When a Sikh man or woman dons a turban, the turban ceases to be just a piece of cloth and becomes one and the same with the Sikh's head.
The turban as well as the other articles of faith worn by Sikhs have an immense spiritual as well as temporal significance. The symbolisms of wearing a turban are many from it being regarded as a symbol of sovereignty, dedication, self-respect, courage and piety, but the reason all practicing Sikhs wear the turban is just one - out of love and obedience to the wishes of the founders of their faith.
The turban's importance can be found in just about every culture and religion, starting with the ancient Babylonians to western religions such as Judiaism, Christianity, and Islam, as well as eastern traditions. The Old Testament proclaims, "Once they enter the gates of the court," implying God's court, "they are to wear linen vestments. They shall wear linen turban." Elsewhere in the Old Testament, the significance of the turban is further highlighted: He put the turban upon his head and set the gold rosette as symbol of holy dedication on the front of the turban as the Lord had commanded him. Moses then took the anointing oil, anointed the Tabernacle, and all that was within it and consecrated it. (Leviticus 8,9) Set the turban on his head and the symbol of holy dedication on the turban. Take the anointing oil, pour it on his head and anoint him. (Exodus 29-6)
The turban, since ancient times, has been of significant importance in Punjab, the land of the five rivers and the birthplace of Sikhism. There was a time when only kings, royalty, and those of high stature wore turbans. Two people would trade their turbans to show love or friendship towards each other. At the time of Sikhism's birth, the majority of people in India and even today comprised the lower castes, mainly composed of peasants, laborers and servants. Many were literally owned by the upper castes and were severely maltreated.
The Sikh Gurus (prophets/teachers) sought to uplift the downtrodden and make them the equals of the highest of the high. Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh faith, states in his divine revelation: Nanak seeks the company of the lowest of the low class, the very lowest of the low. Why should he try to compete with the great? Where the lowly are cared for, there lies the Grace of the Merciful Bestower.
The Sikh Gurus sought to end all caste distinctions and vehemently opposed stratification of society by any means. They diligently worked to create an egalitarian society dedicated to justice and equality. The turban is certainly a gift of love from the founders of the Sikh religion and is symbolic of sovereignty that is of Divine concession. According to Sirdar Kapur Singh, a Sikh theologian and statesman, "When asked by Captain Murray, the British Charge-de-affairs at Ludhiana in about 1830, for the captain's gallant mind was then wholly preoccupied with the Doctrine of Legitimacy, recently evolved or rediscovered by European statesmen at the Congress at Vienna, as to from what source the Sikhs derived their claim to earthly sovereignty, for the rights of treaty or lawful succession they had none; Bhai Rattan Singh Bhangu [a Sikh historian], replied promptly, 'The Sikhs' right to earthly sovereignty is based on the Will of God as authenticated by the Guru, and therefore, other inferior sanctions are unnecessary.'" (Parasaraprasna, by Kapur Singh, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, 1989, p. 130-131.)
The turban has been an integral part of the Sikh Tradition since the time of Guru Nanak Dev. Historical accounts relay to us that all Sikh Gurus wore turbans and their followers --Sikhs-- have been wearing them since the formation of the faith. The turban serves as a mark of commitment to the Sikh Gurus. It distinguishes a Sikh as an instrument of the Guru and decrees accountability for certain spiritual and temporal duties. It is a mark of the Guru and declares that the Sikh wearing a turban is a servant of the Divine Presence. Wearing the turban gives much inner strength as well. Sikhs take this gift of the Guru with them everywhere they go. Just by being exposed to this regal quality, their attitudes and psyche get shaped in a certain way.
At the same time, there is a great deal of responsibility accompanied by the turban. A person's actions are no longer just tied to him or her. Since Sikhs who wear the turban represent the Guru, their actions too reflect on the Guru and the Sikh Nation. In this sense, the turban serves to increase a Sikh's commitment to Sikhism and lends to his or her becoming a more disciplined and virtuous person. The turban certainly deepens the connection between the Sikh and the Guru. The turban proclaims the followers of Guru Nanak as Sikhs but at the same time, it is not what makes them Sikhs.
Prophet Mohammed in one of his hadiths states that the turban is a frontier between faith and unbelief. This aptly describes the significance of the turban for a Sikh as well. It is a true mark of sovereignty and a crown.
Due to its distinguishable nature, the turban has often been a target during times of persecution. There have been times in the relatively short history of the Sikh nation that if one wore a turban, it was reason enough for his or head to be cut off by the tyrannical regimes of the time. The collective response of the Sikh Nation was "You may take off my head but not my turban." When many discarded their turbans, those that proudly adorned them in those times, even though it meant certain death, fully appreciated its significance. After all, it is in times of adversity that faith is tested and one must prove true to core values. By adorning their turbans, Sikhs serve as ambassadors of the Sikh faith and commit externally to following the path laid down by the Sikh Gurus. True submission, of course, occurs internally.
The next time you see a Sikh, greet him or her and know that the turban you see is the same turban that stood up against oppression against those identified as lower castes in India, tyranny in WWI, and the Nazi empire in WWII. As Sikhs tie their turbans each day, they should be heedful that it represents a very real commitment to the founders of the Sikh faith. The turban is deeply intertwined with the Sikh identity and is a manifestation of the mission given to all Sikhs - to act as a divine prince or princess by standing firm against tyranny and protecting the downtrodden.
Originally from:

Monday, 17 February 2014

What A Young Army Officer Saw In 1984

(Colonel (retd) Bhupinder Malhi joined the army in 1983. He retired in 2009. He now runs a security agency in Delhi)

We, a group of young Army Officers of Armoured Corps, were on board the Jhelum Express to attend the Young Officers Course at Armoured Corps Centre and School (ACCS) at Ahmednagar and happened to witness the anti-Sikh riots at very close quarters.

I boarded the Jhelum Express at Ambala Cantt early morning on 01 Nov 1984 along with few other course-mates. By the time our train reached outer Delhi near the Sabji Mandi area, we could see that Delhi was burning. Lots of trucks were on fire and smoke could be seen rising from buildings.

When the train reached the New Delhi Railway Station, we got down to enquire about the situation. We spotted many Sikhs lying injured on the platform and no one was willing to provide any first aid or help. We tried to help a few of the injured but our train was immediately moved out of the station.

The train was forcibly stopped near the Nizammudin Railway Station by an unruly mob. They started pulling out Sikhs from the train and there was chaos all around. We all quickly put on our uniforms and got down to help the Sikhs. We could not help most, though we managed to save a few. Some Sikhs had been set on fire; cycle rubber tyres were placed around them.

Some of us tried calling the police using the railways phone but there was no response. We also tried calling the Army headquarters' Duty Officer but could not reach them. We spotted an injured Sikh who was thrown on the railway track; two of us rushed to help him, but by the time we reached him, an approaching train over-ran him and we saw his body cut into pieces. We collected his body parts in a bed sheet and brought it to the railway platform to be handed over to police.

The train moved a bit and was again stopped near the Okhla slums. Another group of mob entered our AC 2 tier compartment by breaking the window glass as there are no iron grills in AC compartment. The mob systematically started searching the compartment and pulling Sikhs out of the train. We tried to reason with rioters and managed to save few fellow Sikhs. Unfortunately we could not save all. Capt Gill of 89 Armoured Regiment was stabbed at a distance of 1 ft from me. We requested rioters to spare his life as he was a soldier but the rioters argued that the person who killed Mrs Indira Gandhi was also a soldier.

We handed over Captain Gill's body to Army authorities at the Mathura railway station at night. Another Sikh officer named Sahota from GREF (General Reserve Engineer Force) was made to hide under the berth in our compartment. He was spotted by the mob and was killed there itself after he was hit by iron rods.

We were lucky to save my course mate Harinder (86 Armoured Regiment) who was being pulled out of the train but some of us held on to him and managed to free him from the clutches of death.

Another newly-wedded young officer from Artillery who was travelling with his wife was saved by shaving his beard and cutting his hair.

We repeatedly requested railways authorities for help but no one was willing to oblige. On the contrary, one TTE was seen indicating to the mob about the location of Sikhs hiding in the compartments.

Two officers Yadav (75 Armoured Regiment) and AP Singh (9 Horse) managed to get hold of a 12 bore rifle which was being carried by a soldier proceeding on leave. They fired a few rounds at the mob and the mob retreated. They were awarded subsequently for this bravery.


Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Khudawand Karim: Bestower Of Bounties

A mother was so heart-broken on losing her son, that she stayed by his grave and refused to leave. She cried bitterly the whole night. 
By morning her cries had turn to rage. "Why have You done this to me? You are no loving and caring Lord, I don't need One like You! How dare You take the life of my dear, darling son?" 
Ignoring the entreaties of her family, she carried on venting and raging. The second night, her poor husband went to the village Qazi for help. He promised to intervene in the morning. 
The next morning, the Qazi approached the mother lying by her son's grave. He had a very noticeable limp, and seemed to be nursing his body. He joined the lady in her wailing. 
She stopped abruptly and asked him what his problem was. 
"Oh mother! The Lord visited me last night. Without a word, what hard kicks gave He this old man. What have I done wrong, O Khudawand Karim? I asked." 

"A woman from your village has kept me awake all night, with insults" said He. 
Four sons had He given her over the years and only taken back one. Not only was she getting no more, but He has half a mind to take back the remaining three!" 
"O Qazi, ask Him to forgive me" sobbed she. "How blind have I been!" Hugging her family, she went home, still entreating the Qazi. 


dhas basathoo lae paashhai paavai 
He obtains ten things, and puts them behind him; 

eaek basath kaaran bikhott gavaavai 
for the sake of one thing withheld, he forfeits his faith. 

eaek bhee n dhaee dhas bhee hir laee 
But what if that one thing were not given, and the ten were taken away? 

tho moorraa kahu kehaa karaee 
Then, what could the fool say or do? 
- Sukhmani Sahib

Bhai Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa Hunger Strike

For updates please view the page:

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Prof. Davinderpal Singh Bhullar to be hanged: Breaking News

Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar plea for innocence rejected by Indian Supreme Court. 

Bhai Davinder Pal Singh has been taken from hospital to Tihar Jail where he could be hung any time soon.

Request for all panth to Unite. 

Protests being arranged for Birmingham and London in UK. 

Please use this page to provide further information of protests etc in your local areas.

Update on protests and latest news on this case coming soon.

Request for all sangat to do what they can in creating awareness of this long running issue of injustice towards the Sikhs by the Indian government. 

15 April 2013

Protest out side High Commission of India London at 12 Noon Today.
March from High Commission to Houses of Parliament at 2pm.

According to various media outlets there is a possibilty that Prof Bhullar may be hung in secret due to the fear that Panjabs authorities may be unable to cope with the consequences of public opposition to the sentence there.
We do not want what happened with Afzal Guru to happen to Prof Bhullar.#

Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Badal now gone to Delhi to meet Prime Minister of India to have death sentence repealed.


Tomorrow is going to be a Rainsabai in Central London at 10 Downing Street (PM's Office).
(7pm onwards outseide Downing St.)

In Punjab, a Massive ''Insaaf March'' starts on 18th April from Fatehgarh Sahib to New Delhi to demand Prof. Bhullar's release. It will reach New Delhi on 19th April.

17 April

Margaret Thatcher's coffin is to pass by Downing Street on its way from Westminister to St.Pauls. The Sikhs have been allowed to continue their protest opposite Downing Street.

18 April

Kirtan again took place over night outside Downing Street.

Sangat will continue to gather outside Downing Street all day and all night.

Video from Protest in form of Keertan which took place 16th April.

Tamils showing support for the call for Justice.


19 April
Continued protest by sangat outside of 10 Downing St.

-Tonight Rainsbhai Kirtan outside of 10 Downing St. Please Attend.

**Request to all, Require more sangat to gather outside of 10 Downing Street during the day time during weekdays otherwise they will not allow us to stay there if sangat falls too low**

Their is a rally organized for Bhai Davinderpal Singh this Friday April , 19 2013 from 6 pm to 8 pm. The rally will be at South Fletcher's Sports Center near Sheridan College. We urge the sangat to wear kesri (orange) and to bring others along.

20 April

Join the FreeBhullar initiative:

Twitter: @FreeBhullar 
FB: FreeBhullar

*All Sangat requested to make their way to Downing Street to continue the protest throughout the weekend. 

**Benti to Birmingham sangat to attend the following:

Video From Kirtan from 19th April

***Benti to all sangat to attend all day tomorrow outside Downing St. This is possibly the last day of the vigil/protest until next weekend so please all attend.

Some photos and Videos being share on a journalists twitter @Londonfriend

21 April

Video from 20th April. In evening Kesri Lehar meeting took place with sangat followed by kirtan. 

23 April

**Morcha/protest outside of Downing Street continuing. All please attend. 
Sangat required 9am-5pm so that it can continue as long as possible. 

21 May

With Waheguru's Kirpa the protest/morcha/vigil is continuing outside Downing Street 24/7. Over 1 month! 
Further report required...Please attend when possible.
If you are unable to attend during the week - Large Kirtan Darbar each Friday evening. 

05 June - Final Update