Second, I have the urge to provide information about "The Greatest Sikh of the 20th century" according to a referendum and nomination process that swept the Panjab villages 5 or 6 years ago. I am urged to do this based on a posting of a dynamic Sikh blogger-sangat member - Prabhu Singh - who was nominated Sikh Youth of the Month on www.sikhsangat.org.
In order to understand the great Baba Jarnail Singh who hailed from the village of Bhindran, it is important to read (or listen to) his speaches. Fortunately, we don't have any excuse any more that we cannot understand Panjabi because almost ALL his talks were recorded in a book. Please hunt down, purchase and read - Struggle for Justice: Speeches and Conversations of Sant Jarnail Singh Khalsa Bhindranwale, by Ranbir Singh Sandhu, Sikh Educational and Religious Foundation, P.O. Box 1553, Dublin, Ohio. 1999, ISBN 0-9672874-1-3
In the preface to the book, Ranbir Singh quotes Khushwant Singh (who we all know is a psuedo-moderate Sikh academic, more of a proficient fiction writer who according to Vahguru's Magnificent Drama took birth in a Sikh family, who clearly stated in his early life that he is agnostic and only has association with the Sikh community, not the Sikh faith...anyway, I digress.). This is what Khushwant says
'On a later visit to Amritsar I got an inkling into the reasons of Bhindranwale's popularity. I will narrate two incidents to illustrate this. One day a young girl came to see Bhindranwale. ..... She clutched his feet and sobbed out her story of how she was maltreated by her husband's family for failing to extract more money from her parents and of her husband's unwillingness to take her side. Bhindranwale asked her name and where she lived. "So you are a daughter of the Hindus," he said. "Are you willing to become the daughter of a Sikh?" She nodded. Bhindranwale sent a couple of his armed guards to fetch the girl's family. An hour later a very frightened trio consisting of the girl's husband and his parents were brought to his presence. "Is this girl a daughter of your household?", he demanded. They admitted she was. "She tells me that you want money from her father. I am her father." He placed a tray full of currency notes before them and told them: "take whatever you want". The three fell at his feet and craved forgiveness.'Every time I read that...I choke-up...I pray for an ounce of conviction like that.
Also see, for a good background of the post-colonial Sikh history and a brief history of Babaji - http://www.sikhcoalition.org/SantJarnailSingh.pdf
Also see one of my previous posts "I knew not then". The mention of Baba Jarnail Singh there is a result of my personal encounter at a Sikh youth retreat with an eye-witness of the battle of Sikh vs. Indian Army, June 1984 (I don't like calling it by the Indian hegemonistic name of Operation Bluestar).
There are tons and tons of information about Babaji, some very confusing that may potentially cause for distraught. But over the years that I have been a cognizant Sikh and becoming aware of our scripture, history and discpline, I am convinced that he was indeed the greatest Sikh of the 20th century. And for the popular media that didn't take heed to the nomination process and referendum in Panjab...he was nominated by an overwhelming majority.
I end with the the famous motto of Baba Jarnail Singh which is so apt even today
"Nasha chado, Singh sajo, Ammrit chako."