Opinion

Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale was a Saint, Subramanian Swami in a 2018 Interview

“I can say that I call him a Saint. He was a saint at 35 years of age” – Subramanian Swami

Subramanian Swami, the bold and popular BJP Rajya Sabha MP appeared on News18 Punjab on 16th of July 2018 where, among a plethora of questions, the host asked him about Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. Swami had called Bhindrawale his friend and a saint at a seminar in April 2018. In the interview, the host gives a brief introduction about how Swami knew both Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India at the time of Operation Blue Star as well as Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale closely. Swami says that he had met Bhidrawale before but since the meetings had been very short, he wanted Swami to stay with him a little longer, leading to Swami’s 5-day long stay at Akal Takht in April 1984. He further says that the meeting was well reported along with a photo of the two together.

“How do you see Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale? – Asked Host

Since polarization today has led to the formation of many schools of thought around him, for some, he was a terrorist while others call him a soldier, a saint and a martyr”, asks the host. “I stayed with him for five days, I participated in the sermons he gave, I spoke to him about personal things at length and I saw him talking to and advising people who came looking for guidance. I can say that I call him a Saint. He was a saint at 35 years of age and he was short-tempered for whenever he came across injustice”, Swami says in answer to the question. He further narrates an anecdote from his time at Akal Takht with Bhindrawale wherein a girl came to him complaining of harassment at the hands of in-laws for dowry. Swami says that Bhindrawale directed Amrik Singh to call her in-laws, who arrived at the Takht next day. “Bhindranwale asked them if they knew the girl and they nodded in affirmation and then he said she’s my daughter if you want a dowry, here is the first instalment. He said while taking Rs.10,000/- out of his pocket and offering to them. They got terrified and he made them promise that they’ll not harass her further, ever”, narrates Swami.

The Harbhajan Singh Bhindrawale Controversy

In a recent Instagram video, cricketer Harbhajan Singh paid tributes to Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and others killed inside the Golden Temple during Operation Blue Star. While Singh did not explicitly name Bhindranwale, his photo is featured prominently in the former’s Instagram story on June 6. 

Posted on 6th June 2021, the 37th anniversary of Operation Bluestar, the post begins with the caption ‘Salute to the martyrs’. The text in the image written in Punjabi reads, “Heartfelt tribute to those martyred in Operation inside Shri Harmandir Sahib on June 1- June 6, 1984”. So far, Bhajji is yet to retract the post or tender an apology.

The Digpu News Bottomline

While Subramanian Swami has in clear words, called Bhindrawale a friend and a saint on more than one occasions and gotten cheered for it, Harbhajan Singh’s video has been widely attacked on Twitter, with Twitter IDs born as recently as 2021 calling for action against the Cricketer. One cannot help how the former India cricketer is being made into a soft target for something that a member of the ruling party has reiterated time and again.

Why the double standards?

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