Shaheed Bhai Avtar Singh Parowal


The continuous singing of Kirtan and sacred hymns that have been recited around the clock for centuries was brought to a stand still. Sri Darbar Sahib, the sanctum sanctorum, holy of the holies, was riddled with bullets. Inside, one of the bullets had pierced the centuries old handwritten saroop of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. The hazoori Ragis, minstrel priests, Bhai Amrik Singh and Bhai Avtar Singh Parowal had also been shot and killed. The ramalla cloth that covered the sacred embodiment of God was soaked in the blood of the dead attendants.

Bhai Avtar Singh Parowal was born on 1st April 1950 in village Parowal in Batala. His father’s name was S Gurbaksh Singh and mother was Mata Bhagwant Kaur. He was fifth of the eight brother-sisters. In 1966, after passing his secondry education from Moosa Higher Secondary School, Fatehgrah Churian, he started working in his own village shop and often had to visit Amritsar for work reasons. During this time he met Bhai SAtnam Singh ji, Singh Brothers and Bhai INderjit Singh ji Kirpana wale of Akhand Kirtani Jatha, And this way, he started attending smagams of Akhand Kirtani Jatha. In year 1972, he took Amrit di daat during the first Vaisakhi smagam held in Amritsar. He then learnt kirtan from Bhai Inderjeet Singh ji Kirpana wale and Bhai Pala Singh ji S/o Baba Labh SIngh ji Anandpur Sahib.

How he would do keertan for many hours, all of which was memorised. he was a regular keertani in Rainsbhais and at smagams. Bhai Sahib mentioned how when he was not doing keertan, he would often be seen do seva at the water stations in the Darbaar Sahib complex.

When the attack began, many Raagis were reluctant to do the seva. However Bhai Sahib insisted on doing it. He did not want the keertan to stop and knew it it was vital for the spirit of the Gursiks fighting this oppression. He had been doing keertan for many hours that day. It was very hot. Eventually a sniper shot him in the chest. Gursikhs providing him with jaal (water) as he was bleeding from the chest wound. and then he said vaheguru, breathing his last….

So many wonderful Gursikhs were shaheed on these days. In life, there is only one thing that is inevitable… and that is that one day we will die. Some of us will die from heart attacks, others from diabetes, or other illness. Blessed are those who died not only fighting on the battlefield for the Khalsa Panth, but even more blessed to have breathed thier last in the Charan of Sahib Siri Guru Ram Das ji in the holy Siri Darbar Sahib complex. There is no more perfect a place on Earth, and no more noble a death following in the tradition of so many Gursikhs of the past.