AMRITSAR SAHIB, Punjab—Armed struggle for Sikh sovereignty claimed lives of thousands of Sikhs in the last two decades of 20th century. After the holocaust of 1984, a number of armed Sikh bodies emerged which inspired the youth to continue the struggle for Sikh sovereignty. Unfortunately, none of their leaders could extend care for the families of those who sacrificed their lives for the cause of Sikh nation. The families of martyred Sikh fighters had to endure extreme poverty as well as the atrocities of Punjab police.
Bibi Sandeep Kaur was a teenager when she joined the armed Sikh struggle, after getting married to one of the Babbar Khalsa Generals, Bhai Dharam Singh Kashtiwal. After some time she was captured y the Indian authorities.
When she was released from jail in 1996, she realized her duties towards the families of martyred Sikh fighters and began working for the nourishment and education of children of martyred Sikh freedom fighters.
She was interviewed by Sikh24 about her struggle and future plans on November 14.
Question: Bibi Ji, when did you join Sikh struggle?
Answer: I grew up in an environment enriched with Sikhism and in my childhood I expressed my wish to my mother to become baptized. My mother apprised me of the Sikh code of conduct to be followed after becoming baptized. I started preparing myself to become capable for following the Sikh code of conduct and started reciting Gurbani scriptures. After two years, I again started asking my parents to become baptized and this time they agreed to my wish.
After the Indian army attack on the sanctum sanctorum Sri Harmandir Sahib in June 1984, I decide to join the armed Sikh struggle for which I had to struggle hard to have my family agree to it but I succeeded. The organization advised i could join after marrying one of it’s fighters and in March 1989 I got married to Bhai Dharam Singh Kashtiwal.
I remained active in the armed struggle for about 3 years before getting arrested on July 21, 1992. My husband S. Dharam Singh Kashtiwal got martyred on December 28, 1992.
After four years of imprisonment I got released on May 5 1996, and started struggling for the education, nourishment and well-being of families of Sikh martyrs. A detailed elaboration of my struggle could be read in my book ‘Bikhra Painda’ (ਬਿਖੜਾ ਪੈਂਡਾ).
Now, we are struggling for the higher education of the children of Sikh martyrs and helping their families via our Bhai Dharam Singh Khalsa Charitable Trust.
Question: What are your achievements until now in facilitating higher education to the children of Sikh martyrs?
Answer: After release from jail, my primary focus was to facilitate higher education to the children of Sikh martyrs who sacrificed their lives for Sikh sovereignty. Unlike in Delhi, (where the state didn’t let the children of Sikhs massacred in 1984-Sikh genocide receive higher education) we didn’t let the ill-plans of the state against Sikhs become successful.
Some of our children are practicing as lawyers after completing their education, while many others have settled abroad after completing education in nursing. One of our students got selected in the merchant navy. All of them are living their lives as per Sikh tenets.
Question: What would be your next plan after the children of Sikh martyrs complete their education?
Answer: We have started working against the rising female infanticide in Punjab. Some families don’t care about the education of girls while the girls themselves have interest in study. We have started accepting the girls saved from female infanticide and from those who are fatherless. One of our girls is pursuing MBBS while the some others have completed education in nursing. One of our girls has also received certification as an ‘International Chartered Accountant’.
Question: Would you like to give convey a message to the Sikh community at large?
Answer: Yes, Sikh families need to focus on instill Sikh spirit into their children, alongside ensuring standard education for them. The rising trend of female infanticide needs to be ended in Punjab.
If there are families who don’t wish to nurture female children, they can contact us, instead of murdering these girls within their wombs.
OH HOW BEAUTIFUL ,BRAVE INCREDIBLE DAUGHTERS OF SACHE PATSHAH SHRI GURU GOBIND SINGH JI .
I AM A MOTHER ,IN MY FIFTIES AND I FEEL SO SO PROUD OF YOU SWEET ,BRAVE KIDS .
THE WHOLE PANTH IS SO PROUD OF YOU .
WAHEGURU JI KA KHALSA
WAHEGURU JI KI FATEH
May Waheguru bless you for all the good work you have done.