Monday, June 06, 2016

6 June 1984: Shaheed Bhai Avtar Singh Parowal...

6 ਜੂਨ ਦੀ ਸਵੇਰ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਦਰਬਾਰ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਅੰਦਰ ਕੋਈ ਕੀਰਤਨੀਆ ਨਾ ਜਾ ਸਕਿਆ ਤਾਂ ਅਖੰਡ ਕੀਰਤਨੀ ਜਥੇ ਨਾਲ ਸੰਬੰਧਿਤ ਕੀਰਤਨੀਏ ਭਾਈ ਗੁਰਦਿਆਲ ਸਿੰਘ ਹੋਰਾਂ ਨੇ ਕੀਰਤਨ-ਹਾਜ਼ਰੀਆਂ ਭਰੀਆਂ। ਉਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਦੇ ਇਕ ਹੋਰ ਸਾਥੀ ਭਾਈ ਅਵਤਾਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਪਾਰੋਵਾਲ 6 ਜੂਨ ਨੂੰ ਸਵੇਰੇ ਕੀਰਤਨ-ਹਾਜ਼ਰੀਆਂ ਭਰਦੇ ਹੋਏ ਗੋਲੀ ਲੱਗਣ ਕਰ ਕੇ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਦਰਬਾਰ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਅੰਦਰ ਹੀ ਜਾਮ-ਏ-ਸ਼ਹਾਦਤ ਪੀ ਗਏ ਸੀ।

On the 6th of June 1984, when no other Kirtanis could go to peform Kirtan at Sri Darbaar Sahib due to heavy firing and bombardment by the Indian army, Bhai Gurdial Singh and his companions associated with Akhand Kirtani Jatha performed Kirtan duties. On the morning of 6th June, Bhai Avtar Singh Parowal had had a bullet fired at home whilst during Kirtan and attained martyrdom inside Sri Darbaar Sahib. 

Bhai Avtar Singh was born on 1st April 1950 in village Parowal, near Batala, Gurdaspur district. His parents were Sardar Gurbaksh Singh and Mata Bhagwant Kaur. Bhai Sahib was the fifth eldest of 8 brothers and sisters. From a young age, Bhai Sahib was attached to Sikhi and passed time by reciting Gurbani. While Bhai Sahib studied in 8th grade, the family had Parkaash of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj in their house and Bhai Sahib would do seva both times of Parkaash and Sukhaasan. In 10th grade Bhai Sahib had grown a beard and his friends would jokingly called him Giani (Priest). Bhai Sahib complained about this to the principal, who replied back to him, "If they call you Giani, then show them that you can be a Giani."  From then on Bhai Sahib made up his mind on attaining the happiness of Guru Ji and ignoring the attachments of this world. 

Sangat of Gursikhs from Akhand Kirtani Jatha
In 1966, Bhai Sahib passed his 10th grade from Lala Mussa Higher Secondary School in Fatehgarh Churian. Soon after Bhai Sahib opened a shop and earned an honest living. Bhai Sahib would regularly go to Sri Amritsar to the wholesalers and during these trips Bhai Sahib would also do darshan of Sri Harimandir Sahib. It was on these trips Bhai Sahib would meet Bhai Satnam Singh of Singh Brothers and Bhai Inderjit Singh Kirpana Wala. After which Bhai Sahib started doing sangat with the Akhand Kirtani Jatha, a group of devout Sikhs dedicated to Kirtan without worldly gain or money. In 1972, Bhai Sahib took Amrit from the Panj Pyare at the Vaisakhi Akhand Kirtani Smaagam in Amritsar. Bhai Sahib then stayed in Amritsar and learnt Kirtan from Bhai Inderjit Singh Kirpana Wala and Bhai Pala Singh, son of Baba Labh Singh Kaar Sewa Anandgarh Sahib. After the 1978 Amritsar bloody massacre, which resulted in 13 Gursikhs being shaheed by the Narakhdharis, Bhai Sahib continued to do sewa with the Chalda Vaheer group started by Shaheed Bhai Fauja Singh Ji.  

Hearing of the army attack on Sri Harmandir Sahib
Soon June 1984 came, government of India sent in tanks and cannons to demolish Sri Akaal Takht Sahib, the throne of the Sikhs. Bhai Sahib's father, Sardar Gurbaksh Singh was paying respects to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji in the Sri Harimandir Sahib complex at the time of the attack. On 3rd June 1984, news reached Bhai Sahib's family that an old man had been killed on the complex. Bhai Sahib quickly got ready and headed towards Sri Harimandir Sahib. On that day the Indian army did not allow Bhai Sahib to enter the complex due to a curfew, but the next day on 4th June 1984, Bhai Sahib managed to squeeze past the curfew and entered the complex. Bhai Sahib managed to locate his father who was still alive and made their way together to the room of Bibi Amarjit Kaur, wife of Shaheed Bhai Fauja Singh Ji which was situated near Sri Akaal Takht Sahib. 

Maintaining the Maryada of Sri Darbar Sahib
The Indian army was showering the Sikh pilgrims in the complex with a rain of bullets. On the evening of 5th June 1984, Granthi Giani Puran Singh, accompanied with Bhai Avtar Singh, made their way to Sachkhand Sri Darbar Sahib to do seva of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj. On 6th June 1984, Raagi Bhai Amrik Singh had finished the seva of Aasa Ki Vaar and just as he returned he was shot by the Indian army and made shaheed. Due to heavy firing no other Raagi Singh managed to make their way to Sachkhand Sri Darbar Sahib to do Kirtan sewa. During this time, keeping in mind the Maryada of Sachkhand Sri Darbar Sahib, Bhai Gurdyal Singh of Akhand Kirtani Jatha started doing Kirtan and after him, Bhai Sahib continued to do Kirtan to maintain the Akhand Kirtan (continuous non-stop Kirtan) Maryada of Sri Darbaar Sahib. 

Martyrdom of Bhai Avtar Singh Parowal
It would have been roughly 8 o'clock in the morning.  As Bhai Sahib did Kirtan, a bullet came and went through Bhai Sahib's right leg and into the left leg. Bhai Gurdyal Singh took the bullet out with his Kirpan and tied a cloth around both of Bhai Sahib's legs. After some time Bhai Sahib sat down and rested against a wall. On the evening of 6th June, when Giani Puran Singh touched Bhai Sahib, whose eyes were shut, it was realised that he become shaheed. Bhai Sahib attained shaheedi as he maintained the Maryada and respect of Sachkhand Sri Darbar Sahib. Giani Puran Singh wrapped Bhai Sahib's body in a sheet and bought it to Sri Akaal Takht Sahib. Some months before the attack on Sri Darbar Sahib, Bhai Sahib's sister had a dream in which an old man asked her, "If your brother attains shaheedi in Sachkhand Sri Darbar Sahib, would you accept it as an act of Waheguru?" Bhai Sahib's sister remained quiet but when asked the same question for the third time she answered, "Even if my son attained shaheedi in Sachkhand Sri Darbar Sahib, I would accept it as an order of Waheguru."

ਕਬੀਰ ਮੁਹਿ ਮਰਨੇ ਕਾ ਚਾਉ ਹੈ ਮਰਉ ਤ ਹਰਿ ਕੈ ਦੁਆਰ || 
ਮਤ ਹਰਿ ਪੂਛੈ ਕਉਨੁ ਹੈ ਪਰਾ ਹਮਾਰੈ ਬਾਰ ||੬੧|| 
"O Kabeer! I long to die; let me die at the Lord's Door. I hope that the Lord does not ask, "Who is this, lying at my door?"||61||"
(Salok Kabeer Ji, 1367)

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