HOW GENERAL SHABEG SINGH DIED & A RARE INTERVIEW BEFORE SHAHEEDI
In the night of 5-6 June 1984 Gen Subeg (or Shahbeg) Singh was guiding the Sikhs defending Golden Temple. He was at Jhanda Bunga where two flags hoist in front of Akal Takhat and Darshani Deori. His planning was such that what ever troops came to Golden Temple through parikarma could not return back. Finally in the dead of night the army realised it was impossible to gain control over Golden Temple complex. Infuriated the Chief of Army Gen. Vaidya stated that the army could go to the extent of using atom bomb. The fighting Command of Gen. Suderji and Gen. K.S.Brar then brought the tanks in the parikarma. Gen. Subeg was guided the Singhs how to immobilize tanks with grenades. Then 2-3 bullets hit the General. The General realised his end was near and thus went to Sant Bhinderanwale at Akal Takhat to say good bye. He told how the parikarma was then full of bodies of the Army men. He said, it is victory to the Guru and that the world will know it. He informed the Sant that tanks were now brought in and we were left with only a few Singhs. He said, "I feel I have accomplished my duty and please pray for me now as I am departing." He wished the Khalsa will rule one day. He regretted for having served the thankless nation. Profusely bleeding as he was, Bhai Amrik Singh helped him to lay. There he bid final goodbye with the greeting "Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh". Please read the details in Punjabi.
The next day his body was found from the basement of Akal Takhat sahib.
Major General Shahbeg Singh, whose body was found in the basement of the Akal Takht on June 6, 1984 along with that of Bhai Amrik Singh was interviewed by The Telegraph four weeks before he died.
Q: How long have you been living here (Golden Temple)?
A: For about three weeks. You see, after winning these two cases we had `sukhoed’ (vowed) a certain amount of prayers. So every Sunday, for three Sundays, we have had to go to Gurdwara Baba Deep Singh for six hours of meditation and recitation of the Sukhmani Sahib. Then we have done an Akhand path here at the Darbar Sahib and we still have an Akhand path and langar to do at Baba Bakala. And a certain amount of prayers I still have to do here. I wake up everyday at 3 am, have a bath and then at 4.30 I am there for the palki Sahib Sewa. When the Guru Granth is carried from the Akal Takht to the Gurdwara. I stay on there for my normal path. My Sukhmani Sahib I do either there or come back here. Then I go back for the Rehras (sunset prayers).
Q: So you’ve been here for some months?
A: No, only three weeks. As my village is here next door, I go and live there. It’s just about 10 miles from here, a village known as Khayala, where I was born. You people suspect that I must be here for this and that reason. But it’s only because of these path (prayers) and my wife’s illness, which is a gift from Mrs. Indira Gandhi. I have been living in non-family stations on active service continuously for 12 years. She was diagnosed as having a tumour in the bladder, an infection which has never properly healed. In my appeal to Mrs Indira Gandhi I said, look, we are getting old and, if not for me, then for the sake of my wife who has done so much for this country, you should look into my case and give me justice.
Q: Are you a supporter of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale?
A: As far as my relations with Sant Jarnail Singh are concerned, there is nothing to suspect. I’ve told you that I am a patriot. Probably in a finer mould then the Prime Minister herself. I have met Bhindranwale. There is no doubt of it and I also feel that there is a strong touch of spiritualism in this person. He is a man who stands by the truth. The Government is deliberately terming him a traitor because his brand of politics probably doesn’t suit them. But the fact is that there is hardly a Sikh in this world who does not accept him as a leader. I also accept him as a leader. I firmly believe that he is the only Sikh born after Guru Gobind Singh who can get justice for the Sikhs as a community in this country where we have been persecuted ever since independence. We are suspected individually and as a community.
A: No, we don’t believe in violence. We have proved it by courting arrest last year and staying in jail for three months. I think that is probably why they decided to put me out and not give me my pension. The orders were received when I was in jail. Having served this country with gallantry and distinction, this Government thinks it necessary to deny me even my pension.
I became a Bengali for the sake my country. I cut my hair and then I took amrit again. I trained General Zia-ur-Rahman. He and his wife Khaleda saw me when they came here. He was with me as one of the sub section commanders responsible for victory in Chittagong. I am the only General to have been treated in such a shabby manner. I cannot even afford medical expenses when I had a massive heart attack last year.
Q: Why were you removed from the army?
A: You should ask the army. I’m the only person whom they did not even put on trial. If they could put other Generals on trial, if they could take them to court martial and frame charges against them, why couldn’t they do the same for me?
Q: Why didn’t they give you a trial?
A: Because they had nothing against me and they just wanted to throw me out. Leave alone a fair trial, they didn’t give me any kind of trial. They threw me out under a special clause which has never been invoked in the British army and has been invoked in the Indian army only in my case. This is a special power given to the Army chief under which my services were “administratively terminated” one day before they ended. Then they started two other cases against me : one was that I got a truck in somebody else’s name and the other was that I built a house costing Rs. 9 lakhs. I told them that I had built the house for Rs.1.75 lakhs. Vigilance valued it at Rs.1.8 lakhs or something. In the court it came down to exactly what I had said.
Q: So you won the cases?
|While in East Bangal as head of Mukti Bahini|
Q: But how did you suddenly fall out of favour after being a hero in the Bangladesh war?
A: Because I made a statement, not a statement really, I just said, during the Emergency, that nobody was indispensable in the service of this country. This to me was a patriotic statement. But this statement was carried through the backdoor to the Army Chief and the PM, and God knows what they thought that I was a rebel, or whatever. The aim was to deny me my promotion because I was a Sikh. This is how Sikhs are being persecuted in the army.
Q: Do you feel that other Sikhs in the army are also discriminated against like this?
A: Of course. It is not just a question of being discriminated against. We are suspect. It has been stated by no less a person than Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh on TV that Sikhs as a class should not be suspected.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the Mukti Bahini, how you went in and set it up.
A: These are all top secret things about which I am not supposed to talk. I’m not even allowed to write a book. (If I talked) I would be called unpatriotic and I don’t want that.
Q: But can’t you tell us about the first time you went in and what it was like?
A: You can ask General Jagjit Singh Aurora. He was my boss. I’m not in the habit of talking about these things.
Q: But since you’ve been victimised….
A: Of course, I’ve been victimised. I even appealed to Mrs. Indira Gandhi. I said, let me be court martialled now, or put me up before a civil court, or a tribunal headed by an eminent legal man. As a last resort I even suggested that my case be looked into by someone like Mr Arun Nehru. I also stated in my appeal that I was unwell and that my wife was suffering because I had continuous active service for 12 years with only a six months’ break in between. I was serving in Jammu and Kashmir when I went for the Chinese War. There, again, in General Kaul’s book I am mentioned because, at a time when people were retreating and bringing dishonour to the country, I was going forward and bringing honour. Read Untold Story, page 419, I think.
Q: What was your rank at the time?
|His last abode as sewadar at Golden Temple|
Q: But do you really think it was because were a Sikh? General Harbaksh made it to a higher rank and so did General Aurora.
A: Well, they probably denied promotion to me because there would have been too many Sikh Generals.
Q: But were you a supporter of the Sikh cause in those days?
A: I have always been spiritually inclined. My mother taught me Japji when I was only five years old. And then I was in the habit of always organising an Akhand path wherever I went. When Gyaniji has a picture taken carrying the Granth Sahib on his head he is considered a devout Sikh. But when I did it as a General they spoke of me as a religion-oriented man.
What General V.K. Singh says today:
My father resigned along with three other brigadiers because he felt he was unfairly ‘passed over’. One of his compatriots from his cadet days, General Arun Vaidya, went on to become Army Chief and ended up being killed by Sikh terrorists because they held him responsible for the attack on the Golden Temple.
In that battle was another General who fought on the side of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale because of his bitterness against the way he was treated by the army and the government. General Shabeg Singh was helping Bhindranwale’s ragtag army build fortifications in the Golden Temple when I met him in the weeks just before Operation Blue Star. When I asked him why he was preparing to fight the very army that he had served with dedication for so many years, he said it was because false cases of corruption were made against him and he was dishonourably discharged a day before he was due to retire. As the man who helped create the ‘Mukti Bahini’ he was among the biggest heroes of the Bangladesh war, so the humiliation of his discharge was especially painful.
General Shabeg Singh went to court against the army and won his cases and it was to give thanks for this that he came to the Golden Temple and met Bhindranwale. He was killed by his side on June 6, 1984. What I can say with certainty is that he would not have been helping Bhindranwale had he been treated better by the army and the Ministry of Defence.
-------as quoted by Tavleen Singh
Maj.Gen.Shabeg Singh:- A Mystery.
While reading the book "Operation Bluestar- Inside Story" penned down by Lt.Gen.K.S.Brar, my eyes are zeroed in on one character i.e.Maj.Gen.Shabeg Singh who fought along with Sant Bhindranwale against India army in the battle of Golden temple, Punjab, in 1984. I have made in detail study of his personal background on the basis of information available. It has just shocked me that this person during the course of his service in the Indian army, fought in every war that India particiaped in. Maj.Gen.Shabeg Singh, AVSM and PVSM, was an Indian army officer noted for his service in training of Mukti Bahini volunteers during the Bangladesh liberation war. He also shaved his hair to maintain the secrecy, for this national cause which was against the principles of Sikh religion. Besides Hindi & English, he was fluent in persian, urdu, gorkhali. However, Major General Shabeg Singh was discharged from Indian Army without court martial one day before his retirement, thus losing part of his pensions.They didn’t give him any kind of trial. They threw him out under a special clause which has never been invoked in the British army and has been invoked in the Indian army only in his case. He was implicated in false corruption cases,& discharged from the service but courts cleared him of all charges. After retirement also he faced lot of humilation from the government, even he has no sufficient money to treat his wife for cancer. A monster of Sant Bhindranwale was created by Indira Gandhi to counter the influence of Akali Dal in Punjab, same was turned against her. Many times he was released on the orders of central government. Bhindranwale has created the terror in Punjab with the help of Pakistan. It is very sad that national hero like Maj.Gen.Shabeg Singh has to face humilation & terrorist like Bhindranwale enjoyed the patronage of government. Maj.Gen.Shabeg Singh was killed in 1984,What I can say with certainty is that he would not have been helping Bhindranwale had he been treated better by the army and the Ministry of Defence.
(PLEASE FORWARD THIS ARTICLE TO YOUR FRIENDS WHO COULD ALSO READ ABOUT THE SIKH HERO WHOM THE INDIAN ARMY TREATED AS MIRACLE.)
(PLEASE FORWARD THIS ARTICLE TO YOUR FRIENDS WHO COULD ALSO READ ABOUT THE SIKH HERO WHOM THE INDIAN ARMY TREATED AS MIRACLE.)