Thursday, December 03, 2020


1997. Border - J. P Dutta’s magnum opus on 1971’s Battle of Longewala is released. Theatres all over India are jampacked for weeks. In one of the scenes, as the battle is about to start, Sunny Deol as Major Kuldip Singh Chandpuri leading about a hundred soldiers thunders Wahegur ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh. The actor playing the officer leading the Pakistan attack says with a surprised look - we have wrong intel, there is full battalion of 600plus here. The Indian audiences feel the patriotic fervor take them, they clap and whistle and can barely remain seated. Khalsa’s greeting here invokes passion and patriotism.

1999. Kargil. Operation Vijay. Brigadier Ravindra Singh who led one team narrates ‘after an attack by us and few counterattacks by Pakistani soldiers, there came a time when we were running low on ammunition. Subedar Nirmal Singh (posthumous Vir Chakra) came and said ‘Sahab, no need to worry. We will now say jaikara of Sikh regiment and you will see the power of its words, the enemy will cower and there will be no counterattack. And that’s what we did. The whole valley rang with the war cry ‘Jo Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal’. The sound gave fresh vigour to our soldiers, even those who were tired and injured and the enemy was too afraid to counter-attack.’

Sikh regiment’s War Cry: Jo Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal. ‘Sat Sri Akal’ (Truth is eternal)  shouted in unison, responding to the call, ‘Jo Boley So Nihal’ (whosoever pronounces shall prosper) is a call to action, or an expression of ecstatic joy or an invocation for Divine help.

JP Dutta helps again. In his 2003 release LOC Kargil, as the Indian soldiers launch the final assault, they keep the josh with the war cry. Jo Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal.

Khalsa’s clarion call (jaikara) here provides strength to our soldier’s. it uplifts them with the spirit of divine and takes them to their victory. To us, the audience, it gives goosebumps of patriotism.

Maybe we don’t have to go this far back. Only to the beginning of this year and Galwan Valley clash. Following the clash Defence Minister Rajnath Singh visited some of the forward posts. At a forward post near LoC in Kupwara the soldiers of Sikh Regiment greet him with their war cry. He joins them in the shout and after the soldiers had followed up with Bharat Mata ki Jai, Rajnath Singh asks the soldier’s - ‘Ek baar Sat Sri Akal jara fir se.’ And the mountain’s echo with Guru Gobind Singh’s clarion call.

The nationalists got goosebumps of patriotism when Rajnath Singh tweeted the video captioned ‘Jo Bole So Nihaal.’ They saw it as a loud message to China – not to mess with us.

Every Sikh prayer ends with this jaikara. Before we start on any important work, a prayer is organized and concluded with jaikara. Not only soldier’s the sportsmen uplift themselves with the jaikara.  So, this clarion call is part of the culture and when the whole community marches out in protest to fight for their rights one is bound to hear the jaikara. And when on their march they encounter hurdles erected by state – then they will invoke strength with these words of power.

So, when those self-declared nationalists declare those shouting the jaikara as separatists, take a moment to pause and think.

May be that little pause will be sufficient to convince you that in future when you hear Jo Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal, you will be hearing the sound of valour, of love for the land, of true patriotism.



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Sukhdev Singh is milking a buffalo when I call him. We are speaking after a long gap. His voice carries the same cheerful energy I remember....