The legend of Baba Harbhajan: Revered ghost of Sikkim

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by Sabir, Sep 17, 2010.

  1. Sabir

    Sabir DFI TEAM Senior Member

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    LATE SEPOY Harbhajan Singh was enrolled into the Punjab Regiment on Fbruary 9, 1966. Born in the village of Browndal in Kapurthala district of Punjab, he enlisted in the army at an early age and found himself posted on the misty heights of the Sino- Indian border near Nathula Pass.



    The year 1968 saw heavy rainfall and vicious floods in the region. On 4 October, 1968, while escorting a mule caravan from his battalion headquarters at Tukla to Deng Chukla, he fell into a fast- flowing stream and was washed away. The search for his body continued for a couple of days but was abandoned due to inclement weather.

    And one day, Harbhajan Singh appeared in the dream of one of the sepoys in his unit. In the dream, he informed his colleague that he was no longer alive and told him the exact spot where his body would be found. He asked him to construct a Samadhi at the spot where his body would be found. After saying that he will always patrol in the area and never give up being a soldier, he disappeared. The man woke up and dismissed the dream as a manifestation of his grief for Harbhajan Singh’s loss.

    It wasn’t until another member of the same unit had the same dream down to the last detail that suspicions were aroused. It seemed an incredible coincidence that two people could have dreamed the same sequence of events. When a search party was dispatched to the spot that had been described in the dream, late Sepoy Harbhajan Singh’s body was found. He was cremated with full military honours and a Samadhi was made at Chhokya Cho as per the wishes that he had expressed in his dream. The first part of the dream had been accurate and what about the second half about remaining a soldier forever?

    Soon reports of a man seen patrolling the area began filtering in. Soldiers deployed in the area would talk of a lone uniformed man on horse patrolling the region. Forces on the other side of the border confirmed these reports and claimed that they too had seen the ghost rider. Over the years, soldiers in the area began seeing Harbhajan Singh in their dreams where he instructed them of loopholes and unprotected areas from where the Chinese could attack. His instructions generally proved to be accurate and the legend of Baba Harbhajan Singh grew.

    Meanwhile, the popularity of the shrine was also growing. It gained significance as a religious spot and people came with the faith of having their problems solved or their infirmities cured by the Baba who had come back from the dead. The Samadhi dedicated to Harbhajan Singh consisted of a three room complex where a bed would be laid out for him and his uniform and boots would be displayed for the visitors. Caretakers of the Samadhi would swear that each morning the bed sheets would be crushed as if someone had slept in the bed the previous night and the carefully polished boots would be soiled and covered with mud. This conundrum only added to the Babas followers, who came in truckloads.

    The Indian army realised the importance of Late Sepoy Harbhajan Singh and in honour of his contribution, he was promoted to Honorary Captain. A pay check would be sent home to Kapurthala every month and more interestingly, he would go home on annual leave on September 14 every year.

    Soldiers would pack his trunk with basic essentials and ‘Capt Harbhajan’ would be accompanied by two soldiers all the way to Kapurthala by train and brought back after a month the same way. This tradition continued for years until he was retired a few years back.

    Following the twisting narrow roads at a steep incline, taxis and cars snake their way to 14000 ft to visit Harbhajan Baba every year. Devout believers from all over Sikkim and Bengal visit the Samadhi bringing the sick and the elderly in the hope of a miracle. They bring bottles of water and take back those lying there. It is believed that water left at the Samadhi over a period of time turns to holy water and is capable of curing ailments. Food is served to the devotees who make the arduous journey by the soldiers looking after the Samadhi.

    The Samadhi dedicated to Harbhajan Baba is located amidst a beautiful panorama of high mountains broken in places by gushing waterfalls and dotted by multi-coloured shrubs. En route, one crosses beautiful lakes and hamlets that resemble something out of a picture postcard. One such village is Kyangnosla. The ascent is steep and often takes skilled driving. In order to reach the Samadhi, a detour must be taken along the road that leads to the Sino- Indian border post of Nathula which was opened for trade recently. The Samadhi attracts people from all religions – In its own way, it has promoted a certain secular equanimity in the region – a rare feat in today’s world.

    Taxi drivers and soldiers passing through the area generally stop at the Samadhi to pay obeisance to the revered Baba. Not doing so is supposed to bring bad luck. In a society that is dictated by tradition and supported on the pillars of superstition, it is not uncommon to find a legend of this kind. Perhaps the Chinese are just as superstitious as we are because at the monthly flag meetings between the two nations at Nathula, the Chinese set a chair aside for Harbhajan Baba.

    And as the red flag bespeckled with stars flaps in the icy wind next to the tricolour, a lone figure perhaps stands and watches- ever alert, ever watchful, ever zealous, and ever protective of his country’s honour. A zeal that has lasted beyond death.

    The legend of Baba Harbhajan: Revered ghost of Sikkim

    Baba Harbhajan Singh - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
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  3. Sabir

    Sabir DFI TEAM Senior Member

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    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
  4. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Nice story but it just a legend created based on superstitions.
     
  5. Sabir

    Sabir DFI TEAM Senior Member

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    superstition Plus tribute to a lost soldier....even the Chinese guards believe in the legend...
     
    venkat likes this.
  6. neo29

    neo29 Senior Member Senior Member

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    India must be proud to have a soldier who still performs his duty in the afterlife. But the superstition is debatable.
     
  7. A chauhan

    A chauhan "अहिंसा परमो धर्मः धर्म हिंसा तथैव च: l" Senior Member

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  8. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    If chinese also believe it, then we now know why the legend has been kept alive by Indians. ;)
     
  9. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    Interesting article, especially for me. I never knew (ironically) this existed and I salute the soldier for serving our country even after his death

    Well if the Chinese have seen him, then surely there is an element of supernatural in this. Those who declare such signs as superstitions are the ones who cannot accept anything beyond what scientific data has limited matters to show to the world. Supernatural to some extent can be explained in terms of science. For example, the elder Bodhi Bhikshus and mainstream Hindu Rishis are capable of using much more than the ordinary man's 10% use of human brain, which is why they are able to project their minds in the outward world. This they achieve through meditation, penance and austerities. Science has no definition of this power but it still exists.
     
  10. Admirable India

    Admirable India New Member

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    You must have seen many young people serve their country . But you will be totally shocked to know that somebody’s soul is still serving his nation and this can happen only in India. Yes, in Indian Army the soul of “Baba” Harbhajan Singh who died in 1968, still does his duty on Nathula Pass in eastern Sikkim, India. The story goes like this……

    LATE SEPOY Harbhajan Singh was registered into the Punjab Regiment, Indian army in 1966. Baba Harbhajan Singh was born in a Sikh family on August 3, 1941 in the village of Browndal in Kapurthala district of Punjab. He was posted on the smoggy heights of the Sino- Indian border near Nathula Pass.

    The year 1968 saw heavy rainfall and floods in the region. On 4 October, 1968, while escorting a mule caravan from his battalion headquarters at Tukla to Deng Chukla, he felt into a fast- flowing stream and was washed away. The search for his body continued for a couple of days but due to inclement weather, it was abandoned. Everyone had lost the hope, then it was Harbhajan Singh himself who helped the search party to find his body, by coming in the dreams of his mates. His body was recovered after three days and was cremated with full military honours.

    It is said that many of them have seen him patrolling the area. Soldiers deployed in the area started to talk of a lone uniformed man on horse patrolling the region. Forces on the other side of the border confirmed these reports and claimed that they too had seen the ghost rider. Over the many years, soldiers in the area began seeing Harbhajan Singh in their dreams and instructed them of loopholes, unprotected areas from where the Chinese could attack. His instructions generally proved accurate and the legend of Baba Harbhajan Singh grew.
    And later, he had appeared in his friend’s dream and asked him to build and maintain a shrine for him at the place where he was cremated. Army myth holds Baba is a stickler for discipline.

    In the camp at Nathula Pass, a bed is kept for him and his boots are polished and uniform is kept ready every day. The sheets are reportedly crumpled every morning and boots muddy. The Ghost soldier continues to draw a salary and takes his annual leave also. Legend also shares that in the event of a war between India and China, Baba would warn the Indian soldiers three days in advance.

    Chinese also worship him & during the flag meetings between the two nations at Nathula Post, the Chinese Soldiers, in fact, set a chair aside for the saint. Soldier Baba Harbhajan Singh is today honoured with the rank of Honorary Captain. Ghost Soldier gets two months annual leave every year. Every year on September 14, a jeep departs with his personal belongings to the nearest railway station, New Jalpaiguri. A First Class berth is booked in the train in his name and his portrait, uniform and other belongings are brought by army officials to his native village Kuka in Kapurthala district to avail of his leave.
    As a tribute, small sum is also sent to the mother of this Ghost Soldier each month. Ghost Soldier’s name still continues in the army’s payrolls, his mother has still been getting his salary cheques and he has also been given all due time bound promotions. Though it may look weird but it’s true & Indian Army still pays homage to this soldier.

    Taxi drivers and soldiers passing through the area generally stop at the Samadhi to pay obeisance to the revered Baba. Not doing so is supposed to bring bad luck.
    This year also under an annual drill, belongings of “Baba” Harbhajan Singh were brought to Jalandhar from New Jalpaigudi by Dibrugarh Express on Thursday night. A JCO and a Subedar orderly accompanied the belongings. The family of the late soldier received the belongings at the railway station and later proceeded for their native village. On completion of the leave the same team of the army personnel will escort back the belongings to the Nathula region.

    Admirable India
     
  11. nainabjj

    nainabjj New Member

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    It is not a story...i too visited in feb 2015 & whatever the people are saying about the place & baba g is truth. I too had the holy water when i came back to home after a week & found my all health problems finished.
    I too have faith in baba g....he is not only protecting all of us (who went there or doing there jobs) but it is speechless. The way to baba g temple is not so good but by the grace of baba g no one faced the problem yet to go there. everything there like snow, baba g ka banker, place it is most amazing place in world. I also carry his one of the photograph with me which i kept in my temple to worship him.
    not only me my family & my husband too have faith one him...
    baba g ki jai ho !!
     
  12. Chinmoy

    Chinmoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    Well.... I too had visited the temple on Dec 2012. Although its not the original site, which is around 1.2 km further down the track (as per local guide). But the serenity and pleasure along with the peace which one gets after visiting the site is second to none. I don't know whether the holy water from there does have any medicinal value or not, but the environment itself works as a medicine to people.

    Same sort of divinity could be observed in NE circuit too. I am sure that many of us must be well aware of Jaswant Garh on way to Tawang at the height of 13000ft. But may be very few people might know of the shrine of Baba Joginder Singh and another Gurkha warrior better known as 'Bidi Baba' on Bumla axis.

    Armed forces along with tourists, does never fail to pay there homage on there way to Bumla and Tawang on these shrines. Baba Jaswant Singh too is known as the eternal guard of the North East Frontier along with Bidi Baba.

    Here let me state the reason behind the curious name of Bidi Baba. Although I am not been able to get his real name(extremely sorry about it), but the Bidi Baba name came to because he was very found of smoking 'bidi's' in his life time. It is said that, when Chinese aggression took place and after crossing Bumla and Grolethang sector they were advancing, this small platoon fought valiantly against them. But very soon the ammunition and people were out. He being the last man standing kept on firing till the last bullet, then in a very clever manner hid himself in a small cavern along a ridge which happened to be the way of marching Chinese army. Now this point was in such a position that only one person could come down through that ridge and the Chinese did accordingly. But interestingly, none of the soldier who came down never made it to the mountain base and the enemy soldiers in the top came to know about it only after losing around 20 odd man and not getting anything from below. Later when they changed track, they saw there bodies lying in that area. Bidi Baba single handly slaughtered them with his Khukri. Later they sprayed the cavern with bullets after flanking him. Thus came to end the story of his valour. So out of respect and his love to 'Bidi's' people do offer Bidi in front of the cavern till date. Thus the name 'Bidi Baba' came into existence.

    One more instance I would like to figure out here. If anyone had visited Jaswant Garh or planning to visit someday, then there is curious scene where, pictures of fighting Chinese soldiers has also been displayed at the shrine. I forgot the words written beneath it, but it was something like 'respect the brave warriors, for they too have fought and lay down there life for their motherland'. I believe no one could view such respect by one army for its enemy anywhere in world. I am proud to be an Indian and proud of our Army who knows how to respect soldier of another army.
    :india:
     
  13. punjab47

    punjab47 महाबलामहावीर्यामहासत्यपराक्रमासर्वाग्रेक्षत्रियाजट Banned

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    until we get confirmation, from pure WHITE christian priest this must be considered as superstition.
     

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