Share on Facebook

Main News Page

Truth of so-called Damdami Taksaal (Jatha Bhindran-Mehta)

 by Dr. Harjinder Singh Dilgeer


The Bhindranwalas have their origin in Giani Sunder Singh (1883-1930) of Bhinder Kalan village (in Firozpur district). Sunder Singh was known as ‘Sri Maan 108 Giani Sunder Singh Nirmala’; he was a student of Pandit Jawala Das Udasi;[1] Giani Sunder Singh’s mission was a combination of Udasi andNirmala activities and they used the weapon of khanday-di-pahul and series of akhand path to attract crowds of people; and they achieved tremendous success. Giani Sunder Singh was succeeded by Giani Gurbachan Singh (1902-1961); now the jatha (which had come to be known as ‘Jatha Bhindran’ because Giani Sunder Singh belonged to Bhinder Kalan village) was divided into two factions: one headed by Giani Kartar Singh and the other by Giani Mohan Singh;[2] Giani Kartar Singh (1932-1977) died in 1977 and was succeeded by Giani Jarnail Singh Bhindranwala[3] of Rode village (in Moga district).

Clashes between the Nirankaris and the Bhindran-Jatha

The clashes between Nirankaris and the Jatha Bhindran-Mehta began when (on the 13th of September 1973) the former began holding functions in the village of Chowk Mehta and the other areas which the Jatha Bhindran regarded its exclusive monopoly zone; hence the Jatha Bhindran considered the entry of the Nirankaris in that area as ‘pouncing upon its market’ which would have meant losing some, if not several, followers and the Jatha declared it as an invasion. The Jatha Bhindran-Mehta is an extension of the Udasi-Nirmala ideology which is a semi-Hindu Movement but as the field of functioning of this Jatha was the Sikh Homeland, like other Udasi-Nirmala deras they too used akhand paths of Guru Granth Sahib and amrit parchars (giving initiation) to attract people. They regarded Guru Granth Sahib as their Scripture but also gave equal, if not more, respect to the Hindu mythological books like Ramayana, Mahabharata and the so-called dasamgranth (90% of which is translation of Hindu fictional and mythological writings). The preachers of this Jatha, in their exegesis and discourses, use more from the Hindu fictional works than even Guru Granth Sahib; and, their religious, ritual and social practices are almost wholly Hindu in nature.


Professional and business interests, zonal monopoly and cult interests were the root cause of clashes between these two groups. Between 1973 and 1978 these clashes remained on very low scale; Giani Kartar Singh succeeded in using the SGPC to pass (on the 18th of November 1973) a resolution against the Nirankaris.[4]This resolution remained buried in the achieves of the SGPC and there was no follow up; but on the 13th of April 1978, when the Nirankaris held a function at Amritsar in the religious capital of the Sikh Homeland and it resulted into killing of 13 Sikhs by the Nirankari ‘army’,[5] the Jatha Bhindran - Nirankari dispute became a Sikh - Nirankari dispute. At that time the Punjab was being ruled by the Akali Party under the chief minister ship of Parkash Singh Badal; the Congress Party cells among the Sikhs and the pro-Congress Indian Intelligence Agencies manoeuvred to provoke common Sikhs to create a Movement against the Nirankaris; they also began patting and promoting Jarnail Singh Bhindranwala though different sources. These Agencies had no grudge against the Nirankaris (rather they had been collaborating with them and had a soft corner for them) but their target was the Akali Government; neither Bhindranwala nor the Sikh elite could understand the game of the Intelligence Agencies.


The acquittal of the Nirankari chief and all the 60 accused persons (in 1980), in the April 1978 murder case, became the starting point of the chapter of neo phase of militancy; now Bhindranwala and some other groups of Sikh radicals began thinking of planning to kill the Nirankari chief; though he could not achieve it but two individuals (Ranjit Singh and Kabal Singh) did accomplish it; Bhindranwala too had contributed to this militant action by providing Ranjit Singh a carbine to kill the Nirankari. Murder of Nirankari boosted the morale of the Sikhs, especially the Sikh youth and the Sikh elite, and with this began the militant movement (which engulfed the Sikh Homeland for the next fifteen years) and Bhindranwala had become the leader of this Movement. Once the Sikh youth and the Sikh elite accepted Bhindranwala as their leader he became emotionally involved in the Sikh national movement; now he was not a cult leader but a Lok Nayak (hero of the masses) of the Sikh mainstream; and, due to the manoeuvrings of the Intelligence Agencies the Movement went on turning more and more serious as well as complicated; and in this scenario Bhindranwala resolved to fight for the Sikhs’ rights; he swore not to backtrack or run away from the field.


During this period Indira Gandhi decided to attack Darbar Sahib in order to get lion’s share of Hindu votes and under this planning she operated a movement of terror in the Punjab; Giani Jarnail Singh had nothing to do with the terrorist actions which were in fact were acts committed by the Third Agency of the Indira Gandhi; however, when he and General Subeg Singh got information about Indira Gandhi’s planning they decided to create history by giving an unforgettable reply to the intentions of Indira Gandhi; Jarnail Singh Bhindranwala and Subeg Singh accomplished what he had proclaimed; and, this battle exalted them (Bhindranwala and Subeg Singh) to the status of the greatest war heroes of the past two centuries of the Sikhs’ history.

The third role of Jatha Bhindran-Mehta began after 1985 when it, with the help of Sikh youth, led a militant campaign; in the struggle for Khalistan, major role was played by the activists of this Jatha, Babar Khalsa (established by Jathedar Talwinder Singh) and its second faction (under the command of Sukhdev Singh Babar, which became much more powerful after 1986). At that time Thakar Singh was the caretaker of the Chowk Mehta Dera; he was an illiterate and simple man whom any one could lead and mislead; he was, however, a show-piece and the major role was played by Mohkam Singh, Gurbachan Singh Manochahal, Manbir Singh Chaheru, Gurnam Singh Bundala etc; these people knew that Thakar Singh was a simple person so they did not declare him as chief of the Jatha; at first they presented him as the caretaker of the Dera but later they declared him as Acting Chief of Jatha Bhindran-Mehta. During all this time all of them continued asserting that Giani Jarnail Singh Bhindranwala did not die during the attack by Indian Army in June 1984; even in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib they would declare that they were in touch with Giani Jarnail Singh; this was sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib. So much so that when one very active Sikh youth, a valuable asset of their group asserted that Bhindranwala embraced martyrdom, he was killed by Gurnam Singh Bundala in cold blood; this killing gave him a new name ‘Jallad’ (literally: executioner). By the September 1992 most of the militant leaders of the Khalistan Movement had been killed by the police in fake encounters.


The fourth role of this Jatha began in 1992. On the 14th of October 1992, K.P. Gill the police chief visited Chowk Mehta Dera and held secret meeting with Thakar Singh, Mohkam Singh and Harnam Singh Dhumma etc. Sarup Singh, a lecturer in the Evening College of the Panjab University Chandigarh, who was one of the closest friends of K.P. Gill, mediated friendship between the police chief and the Chowk Mehta Dera officials. After this Harnam Singh Dhumma became friendly first with K.P. Gill and through him he made understanding with the Indian Intelligence Agency and finally the RSS. Thakar Singh died in 2004 and the Indian Intelligence brought Harnam Singh Dhumma (who had become a citizen of the USA by that time) to India[6] and on the 2nd of January 2005 he was installed as the chief of the Jatha through Jasbir Singh Rode (an agent of the central agencies).[7] Those who were present at Chowk Mehta to attend the ceremony of installation of Harnam Singh Dhumma included Sarbjot Singh Bedi (President, Sant Samaj), Simranjit Singh Mann (President SAD Amritsar), Mohkam Singh, Sucha Singh Chhotepur MLA, Dr Jagjit Singh Chauhan, Harcharan Singh Dhami (President Dal Khalsa), Bhai Ranjit Singh (former caretaker of Akal Takht), Karnail Singh Panjauli, Wassan Singh Zafarwal.[8]


On the other hand, on the same day, Ram Singh, a nephew of Giani Kartar Singh (predecessor of Giani Jarnail Singh), declared himself as the new chief of Bhindran-Mehta Jatha (earlier he had served asgranthi in Darbar Sahib but has resigned when he was transferred to Jind); all the five major priests, Awtar Singh Makkar (president SGPC) and other senior leaders of Badal Akali Dal attended his installation ceremony in Gurdwara Gurshabad Parkash at village Sangrai (near Batala).[9]


As the chief of this Jatha, Harnam Singh Dhumma first exhibited himself as an anti-Badal person, developed relations with radical Akalis but soon, under instructions from the Intelligence Agencies he began changing his stance; and, within just 13 months he had secretly shook hands with Badal;[10] the first revelation of this new relationship came to surface on the 26th of February 2006 when he chaired ‘Virsa Sambhal Sammelan’;[11] this gathering had been arranged in collaboration with Ravi Inder Singh, Surjit Barnala’s supporters, Parmjit Singh Sarna, Ranjit Singh Dhadarianwala and other anti-Badal Akalis, but, in this function Lakhbir did not say even a single word against Badal; in fact they (the organisers) did not know that he (Harnam Singh) had already established secret liaison with Badal. In the middle of this function Ravi Inder Singh and Surjit Barnala group smelt the conspiracy and left the stage before the passing of the resolutions;[12] open declaration of union between Badal and Harnam Dhumma was announced in August 2011 when both joined hands to contest the SGPC as one group.


Another major dera had been established by Giani Amir Singh (1870-1954) at Gali Sattowali Amritsar; Amir Singh was succeeded by Giani Kirpal Singh (1918-1993); the latter had also served as caretaker of Akal Takht; he was detested by the Sikhs for his collaboration with the Indian regime after the latter’s attack on Darbar Sahib and destruction of the building of Akal Takht in June 1984.Sucha Singh (1948-2002), another student of this dera, also established a dera at Jawaddi (near Ludhiana).

[1], Dr Sher Singh Giani, Amrit Jeewan, p. 37.


[2] When Giani Kartar Singh was installed as the chief of this Jatha, the family of Giani Gurbachan Singh rejected him; so much so that that Giani Kartar Singh was not allowed even to sit on the dais during the ceremony of final prayers of Giani Gurbachan Singh; people were so angry with Giani Kartar Singh that he had to flee the village to save his life on that day. The family installed Mohan Singh as Giani Gubachan Singh’s successor. According to Hardeep Singh Dibdiba (forner PA to Jasbir Singh Rode), Jathedar Jagedev Singh Talwandi was so aggressive that he declared ‘How can we bestowMalwa’s honour on a man from Majha’ (Giani Gurbachan Singh and Giani Mohan Singh belonged toMalwa and Giani Kartar Singh belonged to Majha region of the Punjab); Giani Kartar Singh could not visit Bhinder Kalan again and he established his dera at Chowk Mehta and also renamed the jatha as Bhindran-Mehta Jatha; later, in 1977 this group began calling itself Damdami Taksal. (Hardeep Singh Dibdiba: Saka Neela Tara ton baad Tabahee ki Twareekh, pages 58-60).


[3] Giani Jarnail Singh Bhindranwala headed a great militant movement against the Indian regime and fought one of the greatest battles of the history of the world; among the leaders of the Sikh nation he is considered as the greatest hero since Banda Singh Bahadur (1670-1716).


[4] For details see: volume 7 of this Sikh History, pp 16-29


[5] Ibid


[6] For more information: Hardip Singh Dibdiba, op. cit., pp 129-134.


[7] On this day the Chowk Mehta Dera and Jatha Bhindran Mehta acknowledged the martyrdom of Giani Jarnail Singh Bhindranwala (in order to establish Harnam Dhumma as full-fledged chief of the Jatha); this also implied that they had accepted that Thakar Singh and other persons associated with the Jatha and the Dera had been telling lies for 21 years and had been committing sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib by saying so.


[8] He had returned to India on the 11th of April 2001; his relative Sucha Singh Langah had managed his return with the help of Badal.


[9] The Tribune, dated 3.1.2005


[10] Rajinder Singh Mehta too played a mediator Badal and Harnam Dhumma (The Tribune, dated 3.1.2005).


[11] Most of the Sikh organisations boycotted or  ignored this function; prominent Sikh leaders and organizations, including Bhai Ranjit Singh, Simranjeet Singh Mann, Jathedar Ram Singh (chief of the other faction of Jatha Bhindran-Mehta), Dal Khalsa, Akhand Kirtani Jatha, Khalra Mission Committee, International Human Rights Organization (IHRO) and several others boycotted it. Many of the critics billed it to be nothing more than “a meaningless show and gathering of (so-called) Babas of variousderaas and maryadas”; Bhai Ranjit Singh (former caretaker Akal Takht) called it “a conclave of “Saadhsand police cats”, while others have labelled it “an orchestration of the Indian intelligence agencies.”


[12] For more information: Hardip Singh Dibdiba, op. cit., pp 135-143.



From the book “Sikh History in 10 volumes”, vol 9, pp. 165-71

Disclaimer: does not necessarily endorse the views and opinions voiced in the news । articles । audios । videos or any other contents published on and cannot be held responsible for their views.  Read full details....

Go to Top