10 Amazing Facts About Jaswant Singh Khalra That You Never Knew

admin September 7, 2013 26 Comments
10 Amazing Facts About Jaswant Singh Khalra That You Never Knew

On the 18 year Anniversary of S. Jaswant Singh Khalra, we share with you 10 amazing facts about this inspiring defender of human rights, that you likely never knew.

For example, did you know S. Jaswant Singh Khalra was many things including:


1.    The Best Friend You Could Ask For

Khalra 1

Jaswant Singh Khalra, a lawyer by education, was a bank employee in the city of Amritsar in Punjab. During the early 1990s, while working, Jaswant Singh realized his friend stopped showing up for work.  While searching  for a his friend who went missing, Jaswant Singh Khalra discovered files from the municipal corporation of the city of Amritsar which  contained the names, age and address of thousands of Sikhs who had been killed and later illegally cremated by the Indian security forces as unclaimed bodies. Further research revealed thousands of cases in three other districts in Punjab. In total, Mr. Khalra discovered approximately 25 000 cases of extra-judicial killings.

2.    A Fearless Traveler


To raise awareness of the human rights abuses in Punjab, at the invitation of the World Sikh Organization of Canada, Mr. Khalra travelled to Canada in April 1995. Mr. Khalra’s grandfather had earlier made the same journey on the Komagata Maru (only to be turned away by Canadian authorities).

3.    A Canadian & A Rebel Since 1914


Jaswant Singh’s grandfather Harnam Singh had migrated to Shanghai before the outbreak of the first world war in 1914. There, he became involved with a group of Indian revolutionaries under Gurdit Singh, originally from Sarhali village in Amritsar district and the founder of a group called Ghadr which translates to Rebel. Jaswant Singh Khalra’s grandfather Harnam Singh and Gurdit Singh began to work closely from the Far Eastern arena. In May 1914, both of them arrived at the port of Vancouver with 376 Sikh immigrants in a passenger ship called Komagata Maru. Due to racist policies they were refused permission to land, and the ship was compelled to return to Calcutta. Thereinafter, Harnam Singh Khalra became a Great Freedom Fighter and a Ghadar Party Activist, that helped overthrow the British Raj.

4.    A Human Rights Defender Recognized by Amnesty Intl


Jaswant Singh Khalra is one of the human rights defenders featured in Amnesty International’s campaign to promote the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” – (amnesty international)

5.    A Socialist


“The atmoshphere of intense political discussions at home and the frantic pace of political developments in Punjab and the rest of India shaped Jaswant;s early political orientations. By the time he joined college at Jhabal, Jaswant Singh Khalra called himself a “scientificsocialist” and became the instigator of several small agitations directed against corruption, abuse of authority and tha avarice of trading classes. (Reduce To Ashes, 24)

6.    A Feminist, Anti-Caste & Anti-Police Corruption Activist


Jaswant Singh also organized several small agitations against police officials who abused their postions of power to harass small, indigent people. Once, he organized the picketing of Khalra police station whose SHO had molested a women belonging to a low caste.

7.    A Student Activist & a Supporter of Student Unions


In Bir Baba Buddha College at Jhabal, Jaswant Singh Khalra became the spokesperson for the Punjab Students Union, a Left-wing group influence by the radical left-thinking as it evolved in Bengal’s Naxalbari region in the early 1960’s.

8.    A Pacifist


In his opinion, people’s struggles for substantial reforms within the established order could not be won by the use of violence.

9. Prophetic


In a handwritten press note dated February 25, 1995, Jaswant Singh Khalra had predicted his ‘disappearance’ at the hands of the Punjab Police (before his visits to Canada).  He had learned that his abduction had been approved by the Congress government in power at the time.  The press note written by S. Khalra’s shows his bravery and spirit of sacrifice.   Read the english version here

10.    And, an Inspiration…

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  1. SC September 7, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    What a shameless plug in of Jagmeet. Terrible. Amazing stuff about amazing man, Jaswant Singh ji though.

  2. Rebel September 7, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    Not Shameless, very relevant. 18 years later, Jaswant Singh Khalra, has continued to inspire an entire generation of Sikh Activists in politics and beyond that a room over thousands of non-Sikhs.

    SC, I see your comment shameless, attempt to bash Jagmeet.

  3. Pritpal September 7, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    A feminist, progressive, socialist. I love it!!!

    Also, great video – who is that speaking?

  4. admin September 7, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    NOTE: This article was approved by family members of Jaswant Singh Khalra before being posted.

  5. SC September 7, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    lol I was not bashing Jagmeet, I was actually calling the attempt by the admin, who wrote this blog to plug Jagmeet, as shameless. If I had to bash Jagmeet I would have asked why he would take young men and young women to support and campaign for somebody like Adam Giambrone. Because that was shameless. But I didn’t do that. :) Anyway, all respect to Jaswant Singh Khalra – he is indeed an amazing human being.

  6. Rebel September 7, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    SC your last post shows your bias, if the family of Jaswant Singh Khalra approved this article according to the admin and you truly respect the man, you’d have a little decency to not hijack this post for your personal agenda and attacks.

    The video is unbelievably amazing, a standing ovation for Jaswant Singh Khalra exhibiting a growing challenge to the darkness with each clap and person that stands, shows how inspirational he was.

    If you can’t appreciate that, you’ve clearly lost the plot of Jaswant Singh Khalra’s last international speech and have no respect for his family.

    Grow up.

  7. SC September 7, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    Rebel, If you notice the time of the post that admin made mentioning the approval of Jaswant Singh ji’s family and then my comment below it, the time is same on both of them. So apply your brains before you accuse me of all that. I clearly didn’t see that comment before I wrote mine.
    Anyway, you are the one who hijacked it by saying I was bashing Jagmeet, which I clearly wasn’t, so I explained. But now you are not even replying to the point I raised and again blaming it on me. lol Also, is your beloved Jagmeet going to do anything to provide ‘justice’ or at least resign from the provincial NDP because of such things happening

  8. SC September 7, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    Imagine if Conservatives or Liberals had treated a physically disable, union organizer, Sikh girl like this, what would all of you have done?! And also to support a 90 year old lady who quit the party? It is shameful when nobody says anything when NDP does it to a young Sister and allegedly helps a white boy with an alleged scandalous past. YEAH, SO AGAIN, SHAMEFUL!

  9. Rebel September 7, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    Um, the focus here is Jaswant Singh Khalra. Don’t know what you’re on about and I’m not sure why you’re trying to turn this into a political debate.

    The video and the response is great and it’s relevant. You haven’t been able to explain otherwise.

  10. SC September 7, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    lol yeah exactly, finally you get it, the focus is Shaheed Jaswant Singh ji and not an MPP of a certain political party. Now when you have nothing to say and you are probably ashamed of not doing what is right, you are reminded of the focus lol you started it remember?

    I am sure Jaswant Singh Khalra ji would have totally supported the physically disable, union organizer, young Sikh woman and also the 90 year old woman who spent all her life to support socialism and he would have resigned from the provincial NDP along with the 90 year old or at least would have supported them big time, which none of you who claim to be following Jaswant Singh ji is seemingly doing. It is still not too late I say Jagmeet should take a public stand to support these two women and apologize for taking young men and women to support and campaign for Adam Giambrone.

    Also, I would think that Jaswant Singh ji’s family would also approve of me requesting all of you, especially Jagmeet, to support these two women the same way they approved the video of Jagmeet for this article. It is the same party NDP after all. If conservatives and liberals had done the same thing, some of you might have been singing a totally different tune lol again, SHAMEFUL!!!

  11. Rebel September 8, 2013 at 12:04 am

    Give it up. I hope you do realize that Amarjeet (the woman you’re referring to) said she plans to run again for the NDP, which would mean she’s still a member of the party.

    The video posted reflects how Jaswant Singh Khalra continues to inspire. It’s unfortunate you can’t see that, really.

    Nice try though.

  12. SC September 8, 2013 at 3:59 am

    “Give up”? WOW WOW just WOW! Do you realize how RIDICULOUS you sound when you ask somebody to give up talking about standing up for justice on the very page that is dedicated to a great human rights advocate who sacrificed his life to for the sake of justice? SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!

    Instead of you working with your friends to write letters to NDP MPs and MPPs, to get signatures on a petition and maybe organize a peaceful protest, to rally behind these poor women, telling the world that instead of a woman of colour, an ethnic minority, who is a union organizer and physically disable, NDP allegedly supports a WHITE MALE WITH A SEX SCANDAL in his back pocket?

    Do you have no shame, do you have NO CONSCIENCE at all?

    And Jagmeet Singh who talks about Shaheed Jaswant Singh’s ideals and life actually took young men and women with him to support Adam and has said absolutely nothing in support of these women leave alone resigning from such a political party. (That 90 year old woman seemingly has an amazing conscience and no political greed that she resigned in protest against what she perceived as injustice).

    You ask me to “give up”? WOW! Really, SHAMEFUL!!!

  13. Rebel September 8, 2013 at 4:05 am

    Give up on trying to hijack the thread, Jaswant Singh Khalra was a great man and the resolution to recognize him was a tremendous success. If you have a problem with Jagmeet send him an email. :)

    Can I get a Wowza! :)

  14. SC September 8, 2013 at 4:52 am

    How could talking about justice and helping women on this page be an attempt to hijack this thread? You probably have no conscience, you are the one who is trying to derail my effort to request all the readers to do something against this alleged injustice by NDP. why are you hijacking it, it will be a good tribute to Shaheed Jaswant Singh.

    Let us get together and organize a petition for NDP to get this investigated through an independent agency or maybe let us go to Conservatives and Liberals to help and support these women. And also ask all NDP MPPs and MPs to apologize for being totally silent on this issue especially after a 90 year old woman who has spent all her life dedicated to the party wrote them letters.

    Please let us stop arguing here and support each other in sending a message to the NDP that they can’t ignore women from ethnic minorities and nominate sex-scandal mired white males.

    Also, it looks extrememly bad when the same party passes a motion in the honour of our beloved Shaheed Jaswant Singh ji.

  15. vickram September 8, 2013 at 6:47 am

    Inspiring man of the sanctuary

  16. AnonSingh September 8, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    Beautiful post, great video! Jagmeet Singh rocks.

  17. Jeevan September 8, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    Great vedio 22G,, Jaswant Singh is hero

  18. SC September 9, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    Rebel, where have you disappeared? You were too quick to comment on my first comment about the apparent plug of a certain politician. Why have you gone silent now, please read my last post.

    You don’t want to support two poor women who think they have been wronged by NDP and no elected representative from that party is even saying a word in their support?

    Please jolt your conscience and be proactive to help them as much as you are in commenting on articles. Please, please, please get some inspiration from Shaheed Jaswant Singh ji to stand up for justice, for women, for minorities, for union workers, for student activists, for socialists which apparently both these women are.

    Let us not just reduce Shaheed Jaswant Singh ji’s legacy to just making speeches on his death anniversary as some Punjabi politicians might have done or still do :-(

  19. Rebel September 10, 2013 at 12:18 am

    I prefer to allow Amarjeet Chhabra a perfectly competent young woman make her own decisions. She said she’s running for the NDP again.

    Unlike you, I prefer not to speak for her.

    As for the video, looks like the family signed off on this video. Again, I’d prefer not to speak for them.

    If you have an issue I suggest contacting Amarjeet or the Khalra family and that way you can tell them that you believe you know whats better for them. You can in fact explain that you think know their experience better than they do.

    As for this post, have the decency to respect it for what it is – an ode to Jaswant Singh Khalra.

    Let’s also have the decency not to use others names to further a personal bias and agenda.

    Lastly, the Khalra family approved this post according to the admin and Amarjeet Chhabra continues to work with the NDP.

    I’ll conclude with my final words of wisdom that I borrow from Apu of the Simpsons:

    “Thank you, come again”

  20. SC September 10, 2013 at 1:46 am

    I have always wondered how do people with no conscience are able to sleep at night?!

    Why should I contact anybody, when you are the one who has changed his tune totally. You charged at me with allegation of bashing a politician (who knew somebody named Rebel would get so offended at hearing something slightly and indirectly negative about a politician lol) and now you have resorted to cheap insensitive imitation of a fictional character that embodies stereotypical accent degrading an entire sub-continent.

    Anyway, instead of asking me to contact certain people, why don’t you take inspiration from Shaheed Jaswant Singh ji and contact NDP elected reps and ask them why they are completely silent?

    Do the right thing Rebel, otherwise you are just going to look like a hypocrite who jumps in to comment to talk positive about a politician but says nothing for people who are seeking justice.

    I am curious, why do you think all the NDP elected members are silent over this or for that matter why you are not commenting or offering to help these women? Or even the Admin of a website focussed on Sikh issues hasn’t yet written an article to talk about how NDP allegedly did all this to a Sikh woman? Again, what would have happened if Conservatives and Liberals had done something like this?

    1) Do you think the reason could have something to do with them being women?
    2) Or that one woman is really old?
    3) Or one woman is a Sikh, an ethnic minority?
    4) Or one woman is physically disabled?
    5) Or they were union organizers?
    6) Or they could be feminists?
    7) Or one of them was a student activist and a leader?
    8) Or they have believed staunchly in socialism?
    9) Or they could have been fearless travellers?
    10) Or they believe in human rights?
    ……………… just like Shaheed Jaswant Singh ji did?

    Care to shed some light on why your conscience allows you to change the topic and asks me to “give up” or contact somebody, every time rather than showing support for these women? :-)

    Seriously, please at least change your name at least. You give bad name to all the revolutionaries.

  21. Singhsta September 10, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Who is this SC character? This is a post about Khalra, get out of here.

  22. SC September 11, 2013 at 1:31 am

    aaah you must be really proud of the name Singh in singhsta! It took you a lot of time to crawl out of the pine beetle dead woods. But as they say, better late than never! lol
    Thanks for making all the Singhs in the world proud with your standing up for poor women. A reall Singhsta you are! Yay!!
    Just a little correction, this article is about justice, human rights defender, a socialist, a feminist, a union supporter who sacrificed his life for the rights of fellow human beings.
    Please show some respect by addressing him with a little more respect than just “Khalra”. But then that might be a little too much to ask from a “singhsta” lol

    And then people complain about political parties like PQ and NDP treating ethnic minorities in such a manner

  23. SC September 11, 2013 at 1:37 am

    What a wonderful site this is!

    One person named “Rebel” asks me to “give up” hahaha nothing can be more ironical, Rebel: “Give up”.
    I can’t stop laughing and the other named “Singhsta” asks me to get out of here lol and not even a single word in support of those women lol
    that too right below an article about one of the biggest heroes that the world in general and the Sikh nation in particular has seen in our times.

  24. SC September 14, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    First they came for the communists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

    Then they came for the socialists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    Then they came for me,
    and there was no one left to speak for me.

    – Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

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  26. Health Recipes February 11, 2014 at 9:12 am

    Rebel, where have you disappeared? You were too quick to comment on my first comment about the apparent plug of a certain politician. Why have you gone silent now, please read my last post.

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