In the rich history of Khalsa Panth, there have been thousands and thousands of Sikhs who have sacrificed their lives for the sake of the Panth. As the Dehli hakumaat started their atrocities on Sikhs, singhs with honour took to arms to counter the Zulam by the Hindu government. In the long list of those Singhs, one is of forgotten hero, Bhai Karaj Singh Sidhva.
Bhai Karaj Singh's Childhood
Bhai Karaj Singh's Childhood
Karaj Singh Sidhva was born in 1967 to Bibi Prakash Kaur, Bhai Sahib's father's name was Sardaar Chanan Singh. Bhai sahib was the oldest child in the family, with two younger brothers named Gursevek Singh, Gurjeet Singh and one younger sister Daljeet Kaur. Bhai sahib lived in the village Sidhva, Taseel
Patti, Jilla Tarn Taran.Bhai Karaj Singh studied at Khalra High School till 8th class. After that Bhai Sahib ji gave up his studies and started helping his father in farming. During that time (1980) Sikh movement was at its peak under the command of Sant Baba Jarnail Singh ji Khalsa Bhindranwale. One day Sant ji and jatha came to village Pikhiwind to do prachaar of Tatt Gurmat. A group of singhs from Sidhva Village including Jathedaar Bhai Gurbachan Singh ji came to meet Sant ji, in those singhs was Bhai Karaj Singh.
Meeting Sant Ji and Baba Daya Singh Ji Nihang
After hearing Sant Jarnail Singh’s speech, Bhai sahib was inspired and decided to become a son of Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj.Bhai sahib ji took amrit and became a Panj kakaree singh, seeing Bhai Sahib ji in a sikhi bana his family was filled with joy, but that was time where Bhai Sahib ji was needed in his real family (Khalsa Panth), that needed singhs like Bhai Sahib at that time. From that day Bhai Sahib ji and other singhs from their village often went to Sant ji and did their sangat.
Seeing this, Bhai Sahib ji’s family felt quiet bad because at that time being close to Sant Jarnail Singh ji was dangerous for entire family, due to the circumstances.Therefore Bhai Sahib’s father asked him to find a job and work.
Bhai sahib ji cleverly convinced his parents to be a akhandpathee. Bhai sahib was in deep meditation due to the santheya of Baani,which Bhai Sahib received from Sant ji. One of Bhai Sahib’s relatives was from village Sur Singh Wala. There Bhai Sahib met Baba Daya Singh ji, the Jathedaar of Baba Bidhi Chand Nihang Singh Dal. The relative introduced Bhai Sahib to Baba Daya Singh ji and asked if Bhai Sahib ji could get a job as a akandpathee in the Dal. When Baba ji saw Bhai Sahibs young age , Baba ji said “ Bhujangi bhot chota haaa…. Pelha isnu Japji Sahib to shuru karde haa.” .Bhai Sahib's relative said, Baba ji please see wat this bhujangi ( Bhai Karaj Singh) is capable of. Bhai Karaj Singh ji sat down and started doing path of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji, seeing a young singh do path so brilliantly Baba ji was amazed and accepted Bhai Sahib ji into the Dal.
Meeting Bhai Avtar Singh Brahma
Now Bhai Sahib ji became a Nihang Singh of Baba Bidhi Chand Dal, as a akandpathee and here Bhai Sahibb ji met Bhai Avtar Singh Ji Brahma ( KLF). Bhai Avtar Singh Bhrama was a great sikh, who lived his jeevan according to rehat of Puratan Nihang Singhs. Bhai Avtar Singh Ji Brahma had a deep vision to encounter the terrorism of the Hindu government. Through Bhai Avtar Singh Ji Brahma, Bhai Karaj Singh made his link even stronger with Sant Jarnail Singh Ji.
Now Bhai Karaj Singh hardly came to his village and spent most of his time with Sant Ji’s Jatha and stayed in Shri Darbaar Sahib complex with Nihang Singhs of Dal. During the attack on Darbar Sahib by the Brahminvaadi govt, on June 1st Bhai Sahib ji was at the complex., but came out to meet his friend at night who owned a shop just out side Darbar Sahib. Bhai Sahib ji was still at his friends shop when the CRPF surrounded Darbar Sahib, but Bhai Sahib ji's friend changed his clothes and took him out from there safely, and Bhai Sahib returned to his village to set a new aim for Khalistan.
Attack on Darbar Sahib
After the attack on Darbar Sahib by Indian Army, many khadku singhs attained shaheedi and sacrificed there lifes for panth. Thousands of innocent Sikh men, women and children were martyred by the Army and many historical literature and Gurudwaras were damaged. In these days Bhai Avtar Singh Brahma left the Dera Sur Singh Wala and made his way to the Mand, with his hand on trigger. With Bhai Avtar Singh stood Bhai Karaj Singh, shoulder to shoulder to sacrifice their lives for the panth and lift up the Sikh Freedom movement.
Working in the KLF
Bhai Avtar Singh Brahma's group did many actions around the Mand area, and Bhai Karaj Singh was involved in almost all of them. When Bhai Brahma and other KLF singhs punished police offiecer Shiv Singh , Bhai Karaj Singh was with the singhs and carried the shoot himself. During a major operation by the Indian Forces, which was “Operation Mand”, Bhai Karaj Singh ji was with Avtar Singh ji and escaped the Mand area with such cleverness that Indian Forces felt themselves like fools. Bhai Karaj Singh ji got many deep cuts and injuries from the bushes and thrones from the Mand forest.
Bhai Karaj Singh And Brahma
After this Bhai Avtar Singh Ji talked to Bhai Sahib and advised him to stay home because of Bhai Sahibs young age,who was only 19. Bhai Sahib ji was to close to the movement, he had a fire in his heart for independence, this fire turned in to flames when Sri Akal Thakat Sahib was destroyed. Bhai Sahib ji refused Bhai Avtar Singh Brahma ji's benti and said he will die with him and will not leave.
Bhai Karaj Singh was a very intelligent young man, who could think out of box. One time Bhai Avtar Singh Brahma and some other singhs needed to get out of Punjab, Bhai Karaj Singh cleverly got his mother and massi ji to go with the singhs in the car, because during that time CRPF and Punjab police often stopped singhs at road blocks, and if there were only males in the car, that caused suspicions and would make things harder for Singhs.
Bhai Karaj Singh Jis family often stopped Bhai Sahib ji from taking part in the movement, because joining Sikh freedom movement was sure Death, but Bhai Sahib ji was blessed by Guru ji and never let his family's emotions come in his way. When Bhai Sahib ji came home sometimes, His mother used to say “ Karaj, je tu mar gaya ta asi kiddan jeeva ge, Etho changa ha tu sanu Pehla goli mar dey” Bhai Sahib normally used to laugh it off, but some times Bhai Sahib ji said “ Bibi jeri goli mere vaste bani ha oh at mere he bajni hai, Hor kisse de kidda baj jau? “ Then Bhai Sahib ji would say “ Bibi hor inniya mava de putt marde ne, oh vi ta mavaa ne “ . Bhai Sahib ji never told anyone his name or village name, only Bhai Brahma knew Bhai Sahib jis original name, this is the reason why no policemen could ever get to Bhai Sahibs family, till the end.
After Avtar Singh's Shaheedi
Just few months later after Bhai Brahma's Shaheedi, Bhai Sahib ji made a plan to lift the movement in other areas, so singhs spread out around Punjab in to other towns. Bhai Sahib ji decided to go to his Aunt's village, Bhalanda which is near Mitthepur ( Jallandhar}. Bhai Sahib ji now lived with his maasi and worked as a milk man and also did work for the panth. Recognizing touts and punishing them and other enemies, here Bhai Sahib ji also made new recruits, who fought with him in the battle field.
Later on Bhai Karaj Singh also called his whole family there, now his younger brother worked as a milk man and Bhai Sahib as a full time soldier of Khalistan. Bhai Sahib used to say that ''when I get caught,that will be my last Sat Sri Akal, and I will not get the people caught who gave me food and shelter” . During Bhai Sahib jis time , he met a Singh called Tarlochan Singh Viring, who became his close friend.
Arrest and Shaheedi
During an operation by Punjab Police and CRPF, Bhai Karaj Singh and Tarlochan Singh got caught near Jallandhar and were extremely tortured, Bhai Karaj Singh ji stayed on his words and never opened his mouth, but Bhai Tarlochan Singh couldn’t bear the torture and opened his mouth. This lead to Bhai Sahib's Maasi and parents being arrested and also Bhai Sahib jis weapons also seized by the police.
On 29 December 1988, Bhai Karaj Singh and Tarlochan Singh ji were shot dead in a fake encounter. Bhai Karaj Singh ji took on him 3rd degree tortured peacefully, but never opened his mouth. Here a forgotten dimaond of the Sikh panth left his physical form, but his views, ideals and Soch is still alive and it will live till we have our Freedom.Today if you go to Bhai Sahib ji's village, Sidhva, there stands a Nishan Sahib in the memory of Great Soldier Bhai Karaj Singh Sidva.