Sikhism Time Line
April 15, 1469 The birth of Sikhism’s founder, Guru Nanak, at village Talwandi (Punjab, India; now in Pakistan).
1507 Guru Nanak proclaims, ‘there is no Hindu, there is no Muslim’ and Sikhism is founded.
1522 Guru Nanak establishes the town of Kartarpur (now in Pakistan) on the banks of the river Ravi and the first Sikh community begins to take shape.
1539 Guru Angad (1504–1552) takes over and, given Guru Nanak’s eldest son Sri Chand’s claim on Kartarpur (Pakistan), decides to run affairs from his hometown of Khadur.
1552 Guru Amardas (1479–1574) takes over, and with Kartarpur (Pakistan) still under Guru Nanak’s lineage, establishes the town and community of Goindval (also known as Gobindval or Govindval or Goindwal).
1574 Guru Ramdas (1534–1581) takes over and establishes the town and community of Ramdaspur or Amritsar.
1581 Guru Arjan (1563–1606) takes over and continues to run affairs from Amritsar. He also establishes the towns and communities of Kartarpur (Jalandhar) in 1593, Hargobindpur, and Tarn Taran.
1601 Guru Arjan completes the compilation of the Adi Granth (or the Guru Granth). Construction on the Darbar Sahib (or Harmandir; now also known as the Golden Temple) in Amritsar is completed.
1604 The Adi Granth (or the Guru Granth) is installed at the Darbar Sahib (or Harmandir; now also known as the Golden Temple).
1606 Following Guru Arjan’s execution and martyrdom in Lahore by Jahangir, Guru Hargobind (1595–1644) takes over and runs affairs from Amritsar (1606–1628) and Kartarpur, Jalandhar (1628–1634). Facing persecution from the Mughals, in 1634 he establishes the town and community of Kiratpur in the Shivalik foothills and remains there until his death.
1644 Guru Har Rai (1630–1661) takes over and runs affairs from Kiratpur until his death.
1661 Guru Harkrishan (1656–1664) takes over at the young age of five and remains in Kiratpur until his untimely death from smallpox at the location now marked by Gurdwara Bangla Sahib in Delhi where he was staying following a summons from Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
1666 Guru Tegh Bahadur (1621–1675) founds the city of Anandpur (near Kiratpur) in 1664.
1675 Guru Gobind Singh (1666–1708) takes over, following Guru Tegh Bahadur’s execution and martyrdom in Delhi.
April 13, 1699 Sikhism’s tenth and final personal guru, Gobind Singh, innaugurates Sikhism’s orthodox Khalsa order on Vaisakhi Day (marking the annual harvest season) at Anandpur.
1704 Following Guru Hargobind’s grandson Dhirmal’s refusal to let the Bir leave his possession (i.e. that of the Sodhi family of Kartarpur, Jalandhar), Guru Gobind Singh dictates the Adi Granth from memory to his scribe Bhai Mani Singh at Damdama Sahib in Talwandi Sabo, Punjab. Guru Gobind Singh releases a final edition of the Adi Granth and announces an end to the line of succession of personal Gurus to be replaced jointly by the Adi Granth and the Panth (the collective will of the entire Sikh community).
1708 Guru Gobind Singh is assassinated by Muslim enemies.
1716 Banda Bahadur and followers arrested, tortured and killed by the Mughals in Delhi.
1718 The Prem Sumarg is authored as sort of informal attempt to document a rahit (code of conduct) for the Sikhs.
1738 Jathedar (head priest) of the Darbar Sahib (or Harmandir; now also known as the Golden Temple), Mani Singh, is tortured to death by the Mughals.
1762 The Darbar Sahib (or Harmandir; now also known as the Golden Temple) in Amritsar is destroyed by Ahmad Shah Abdali (also known as Ahmad Shah Durani).
1783 The Sikhs take Delhi for eight weeks.
1799 Ranjit Singh establishes a kingdom in the Punjab with its capital in Lahore (now in Pakistan) and borders extending from Kabul (now in Afghanistan) in the west to the river Sutlej in the east and from Ladakh (now in Kashmir, India) and Lhasa (now in Tibet) in the north to Rajasthan in the south.
1800 Akal Takht’s custodian Akali Phula Singh awards a fine to Ranjit Singh for keeping a Muslim concubine named Moran.
1812 Balak Singh (1799–1862) from Rawalpindi is believed to have founded the Kuka Movement (also known as Namdharis). This Sikh sect, considered by some to be heretical, believes that Guru Gobind Singh died not in 1708 but in 1812 after making Balak Singh the 11th guru. Namdharis are recognizable from their all white attire and turbans tied horizontally across the forehead. They are strict vegetarians, fierce protectors of the cow, and conduct their ceremonies around the fire. They had a significant role in India’s independence movement, particularly for being at the forefront with their advocacy for the use of non-violent techniques (Balak Singh’s successor Ram Singh was banished to Rangoon, Burma by the British and died there). Namdharis are highly regarded for their rag-based kirtan. Their headquarters are located in Bhaini Sahib near Ludhiana.
1839 Ranjit Singh dies, triggering infighting amongst his heirs leading to the eventual fall of the kingdom.
1845–46 First Anglo-Sikh War.
1848–49 Second Anglo-Sikh War.
1849 Punjab becomes the last kingdom in India to be annexed by the British. The Adi Granth dictated by Guru Arjan and scribed by Bhai Gurdas in 1603–104 (also known as the Kartarpur, Jalandhar Bir) is discovered by the British at the Lahore Court and subsequently returned to the Sodhi family in Kartarpur (Jalandhar) in 1850 following a petition from Sadhu Singh Sodhi. As a token of thanks, in 1859 Sadhu Singh Sodhi delivers a copy to Queen Victoria, which is now held at the India Office Library.
1857 Sikhs assist the British in supressing the Hindu/Moghul Mutiny.
1873 The first Singh Sabha is founded in Amritsar under the influence of the Sanatan Sikhs, thereby launching the Singh Sabha Movement, as a response to organizations such as the Arya Samaj attempting to bring Sikhs back into the Hindu fold.
1903 Max Authur Macauliffe writes about Ernest Trumpp’s (1828–1885) great arrogance when he describes an incident when Trumpp lit a cigar in the Darbar Sahib (Amritsar) and blew smoke at the Guru Granth. Trumpp published a translation of the Adi Granth. Although the translation represents a milestone in Westerners studying the Sikhs, it was poorly received.
1905 Sikh attempts to regain control of gurdwaras from their mahants (hereditary custodians) result in the removal of images of Hindu gods from Darbar Sahib (also known as Harmandir or Golden Temple) in Amritsar, Punjab.
1900–1901 The Land Alienation Act is enacted in Punjab to prohibit the transfer of land from the agriculturist to the non-agricultural moneylender.
October 22, 1909 India’s British rulers pass the Anand Marriage Act, thereby reinforcing a distinct Sikh identity.
1913 Ghadar Party is founded in California by Sikh immigrants.
April 13, 1919 Troops commanded by the British Brigadier-General Reginald Edward Harry Dyer fire 1,650 rounds on over 20,000 people, gathered to protest the Rowlatt Act. British official figures list 379 dead and 1200 wounded. Sikhs estimate much higher casualties. Rabindranth Tagore, winner of the Nobel Prize in literature (1913), renounces his knighthood (1915) in protest. Golden Temple’s sarbrah (manager) Arur Singh receives much critique for honoring Dyer.
1920 Gurdwara Reform Movement (G.R.M., also known as the Akali Movement or the Third Sikh War) is formally launched to regain control of gurdwaras from mahants (hereditary custodians). Lower caste Hindus convert to Sikhism in large numbers but don’t typically get access to all privileges, such as entry into the Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple), Amritsar.
1921 Over 100 Akalis are killed by the mahant’s (hereditary custodian) hired thugs while participating in a morcha (mass campaign) to regain control of Nankana Sahib (Guru Nanak’s birthplace).
1925 Gurdwara Reform Movement (G.R.M.) is concluded with the Sikhs regaining control of their major gurdwaras from mahants (hereditary custodians) via the passage of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, the formation of the Akali Dal and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (S.G.P.C.), an elected body responsible for the management of major Sikh gurdwaras.
August 9, 1928 Teja Singh Bhasaur, co-founder of the the Bhasaur Singh Sabha and the Panch Khalsa Diwan, and his wife, Niranjan Kaur, are excommunicated by the Akal Takht for, among other things, excluding sahaj-dhari (unorthodox) Sikhs and removing the ragmala section from the Adi Granth. Bhasaur’s motivation in removing Ragmala can be understood from the fact that it follows Guru Arjan’s Mundavani (Adi Granth, p. 1429), which is a hymn that is meant to signify the seal or the end, i.e. nothing more can be added subsequently. It should also be noted that Ragmala describes the puberty rites executed for Guru Arjan’s son Guru Hargobind, which follow a standard Hindu pattern in which the boy’s head is shaved (and this is contrary to injuctions developed later in Sikh history about the prohibition around shaving or cutting hair or kesh).
1931 Left-wing Sikh activist Bhagat Singh is hanged at Lahore for terrorism.
April 25, 1935 The Religious Advisory Committee, consisting of Kahn Singh Nabha, Jodh Singh, Teja Singh, Ganga Singh and Mohan Singh, passes a resolution stating, “In Europe and American countries, where the other religious groups have chairs in their places of worship, there is no impropriety to sit on the chairs in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib provided Guru Granth Sahib is installed at a higher stage.”
1944 G.B. Singh, a high-ranking offical in the postal services department of the Government of India with a scholarly disposition, publishes his labor-of-love ‘Sri Guru Granth Sahib Dian Prachin Biren’ (with assistance from Harkrishan Singh, editor of ‘Punjabi Sabha’) which explores historical manuscripts of Adi Granth recensions and arrives at contested and controversial conclusions, mostly revolving around the authenticity of the Kartarpur Bir that had long been viewed as foundational to the Adi Granth and is, allegedly, beaten with shoes at the Golden Temple (or Darbar Sahib or Harimandir) in Amritsar.
February 3, 1945 The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee releases an official Sikh Rahit Maryada document.
1946 The Akali Dal floats the idea of an independent Sikhistan or Khalistan but is unable to gain the attention of the departing British.
August 15, 1947 British India’s independence from Britain is accompanied by its partition into the countries known today as India and Pakistan. Lahore goes to Pakistan, Amritsar to India.
1948 Patiala and other princely states of the Punjab are amalgamated to form the Patiala and East Punjab States Union (P.E.P.S.U.) with a Sikh majority.
1949 Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (S.G.P.C.) releases it’s first authorized version of the Sikh Rehat Maryada (S.R.M.) or code of conduct.
1956 P.E.P.S.U. in merged in with the Punjab.
1963 Damdama Sahib becomes the fifth to be added to the list of Sikh takhts (seats of authority).
1966 The Indian state of Punjab is reconstituted along linguistic lines based on flawed census figures after carving out Himachal Pradesh and Haryana, representing allegedly Hindi-speaking areas.
1969 Former finance minister of Punjab and medical doctor Jagjit Singh Chauhan proclaims the ‘Sovereign Republic of Khalistan.’
1969 Darshan Singh Pheruman fasts to death to secure the award of Chandigarh to Punjab.
1970 The Guru Harsahai Pothi, considered by most scholars to be the earliest of the extant pothis is stolen from the Sodhi family while returning via train from a public display of the pothis in Faridabad (near Delhi), during which monetary offerings are received.
January 1970 Fateh Singh threatens a fast resulting in the award of Chandigarh to Punjab in exchange for the transfer of two ‘Hindi speaking’ (Hindu majority) areas (Fazilka and Abohar) from Punjab to Haryana. However, the deal is stalemated as neither side shows a willingness to implement its part.
January 22, 1970 Victor Harvey Briggs (Vic Briggs), formerly of the famous rock group The Animals, attends one of Yogi Bhajan’s classes in Los Angeles and decides to adopt Sikhism (or, more accurately, Yogi Bhajanism). His name morphs to Vikram Singh and later, upon baptization in November 1991, to Vikram Singh Khalsa. In 1979, he becomes the first non-Indian to perform kirtan at the Darbar Sahib (Harimandir Sahib, Golden Temple) in Amritsar. He later changed his name to Antion.
October 16–17, 1973 Anandpur Sahib Resolution (A.S.R.) is authored.
1974 Fauja Singh Bajwa of Punjabi University in Patiala puts forth an alternative viewpoint on Guru Teg Bahadur and his execution/martyrdom in the innaugural issue of The Journal of Sikh Studies. This invites the wrath of traditionalists such as Sirdar Kapur Singh. It would seem that traditionalists are unaware of Ainslie Embree’s viewpoint that ‘history must constantly be rewritten’ (Sikh Studies, 1979).
August, 1977 Jarnail Singh Brar (Bhindranwale) takes over as head of the Dam Dami Taksal (Sikh seminary) and launches amrit parchar (Sikh baptism campaign).
April 13, 1978 Thirteen Sikhs belonging to the Akhand Kirtani Jatha and the Damdami Takhsal perish in clashes with a gathering of the Sant Nirankari Sikhs in Amritsar when they interrupt the proceedings to protest against negative language employed against the Adi Granth and the Sikh Gurus.
June 10, 1978 A hukamnama (order or edict of excommunication) is pronounced from the Akal Takht (Amritsar, Punjab) against Sikhism’s Sant Nirankari sect.
October 28–29, 1978 The 18th All India Akali Conference of the Shiromani Akali Dal (S.A.D.) held in Ludhiana (Punjab, India) adopts a softer version of the Anandpur Sahib Resolution (A.S.R.).
September, 1979 The Akali Dal (the primary Sikh political party) splits into two factions, one led by Harchand Singh Longowal with support from Prakash Singh Badal, and the other led by Jagdev Singh Talwandi with support from Gurcharan Singh Tohra, president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (S.G.P.C.).
April 24, 1980 Gurbachan Singh, the leader of Sikhism’s Nirankari sect, is assassinated while on his way to the mission headquarters at the Nirankari Colony in north Delhi, a result of the sixth and final attempt on his life.
August, 1980 Jagdev Singh Talwandi is expelled from the Akali Dal (the primary Sikh political party) for “anti-party activities” including collusion with the Congress (I), the political party in power at the federal level.
March 20, 1981 The flag of the ‘New Republic of Khalistan’ is hoisted at Anandpur Sahib (Punjab, India).
September, 1981 New Delhi receives a list of forty-five demands from the Shiromani Akali Dal (S.A.D.).
September 9, 1981 Jagat Narain, proprietor of the Hind Samachar group of newspapers, is assassinated on the Grand Trunk Road near village Adian, while traveling home from Ludhiana in his car.
September 20, 1981 Jarnail Singh Brar (Bhindranwale) surrenders to police at Chowk Mehta (district Amritsar). He is arrested and jailed.
September 29, 1981 An Indian Airlines plane flying from Srinagar to Delhi is hijacked to Lahore by five members of the Dal Khalsa, including Gajinder Singh and Satnam Singh Paonta Sahib. The hijackers’ demands include Jarnail Singh Brar (Bhindranwale)’s release from jail and $500,000.
October 15, 1981 Jarnail Singh Brar (Bhindranwale) is released from jail.
October 16, 1981 The first round of talks between New Delhi and the Shiromani Akali Dal (S.A.D.). The list of forty-five demands has been replaced with a list of fifteen demands. The top demand is the unconditional release of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.
November 26, 1981 The second round of talks between New Delhi and the Shiromani Akali Dal (S.A.D.). The list of forty-five demands has been replaced with a list of fifteen demands. The top demand is the unconditional release of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.
March 18, 1982 Kuldip Singh Samra enters courtroom 4 at Osgoode Hall, armed with a revolver, and commits a double murder and two attempted murders after a judge rules against him in a disputed election at the Shiromani Sikh Society (gurdwara) at 269 Pape Avenue in Toronto. He flees the building and the country. A Canada-wide warrant is issued for Samra, who is charged with two counts of first degree murder and two counts of attempted murder. He is eventually arrested in India in 1990. Although Canada refuses India’s request to exchange Samra for Talwinder Singh Parmar, who is wanted in India, Samra is eventually extradited to Canada in 1992.
April 5, 1982 The third round of talks between New Delhi and the Shiromani Akali Dal (S.A.D.). The Akalis unilaterally announce that the talks had failed.
April 8, 1982 The Shiromani Akali Dal (S.A.D.) launches the Nahar Roko Morcha, an entrenchment/agitation aimed at obstructing work on the Yamuna Sutlej Link (Y.S.L.).
April 26, 1982 Two severed heads of cows are found hanging at two Hindu temples at Amritsar. (Cows are sacred to Hindus.) The Dal Khalsa issues a statement claiming responsibility.
May 1, 1982 India bans the Dal Khalsa and the National Council of Khalistan. The Dal Khalsa had been formed as a counterweight to the Akali Dal in 1978 with the support of Zail Singh, then a senior cabinet minister in the Indira Gandhi-led Congress (I) government in New Delhi.
June 27, 1982 Joginder Singh Sant, the propaganda secretary of the Nirankari Mandal, is shot and injured at Dhabuji (district Amritsar). Amrik Singh, Bhindranwale’s right-hand man and president of the All India Sikh Students Federation (A.I.S.S.F.) is implicated.
July 19, 1982 Bhindranwale launches a morcha to protest Amrik Singh’s arrest.
July 20, 1982 Jarnail Singh Brar (Bhindranwale) moves into Room 47 at Guru Nanak Niwas, located at the periphery of the Darbar Sahib complex (a.k.a. the Golden Temple) in Amritsar (Punjab, India).
August 4, 1982 The Akali Dal launches the Dharam Yudh Morcha (religious war). An Indian Airlines flight from Delhi to Srinagar with 126 passengers on board is hijacked to Lahore by a Sikh. The plane lands in Amritsar after Lahore refuses permission to land. The hijacker is arrested.
August 20, 1982 An Indian Airlines Boeing 737 is hijacked while on a flight from Bombay (now Mumbai) to New Delhi via Jodhpur (Rajasthan). The plane lands at Amritsar after Lahore refuses permission to land. The Sikh hijacker, who identifies himself as “Museebat” Singh, is shot dead by commandos during a shoot-out at the Amritsar airport.
September 11, 1982 Thirty Akali Dal agitators are killed when the vehicle carrying them rams into a moving train at an unmanned railway crossing at Taran Taran. Bhindranwale implicates New Delhi. Longowal issues a statement supporting Bhindranwale’s claim.
November 19, 1982 The innaugural day of the Ninth Asiad (Asian Games) in New Delhi. The Akali Dal vows to protest. All Sikhs attempting to enter Delhi are searched and, in many cases, humiliated, especially in the state of Haryana.
January 19, 1983 Gurcharan Singh Tohra resigns as president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (S.G.P.C.) in response to pressure from the Akali Dal president, Harchand Singh Longowal.
April 4, 1983 The Shiromani Akali Dal (S.A.D.) launches the Rasta Roko Morcha, an entrenchment/agitation aimed at obstructing road transportation in Punjab.
April 25, 1983 Deputy Inspector General (D.I.G.) of Punjab Police, Avtar Singh Atwal, is assassinated at the entrance to the Darbar Sahib (Amritsar).
June 17, 1983 The Shiromani Akali Dal (S.A.D.) launches the Rail Roko Morcha, an entrenchment/agitation aimed at obstructing rail transportation in Punjab.
August 29, 1983 The Shiromani Akali Dal (S.A.D.) launches the Kam Roko Morcha, an entrenchment/agitation aimed at obstructing work (i.e. a call for a general strike) in Punjab.
October 6, 1983 Punjab’s Congress (I) government, headed by Darbara Singh, is dismissed and replaced with President’s rule, a euphemism for direct rule from New Delhi.
December 23, 1983 Jarnail Singh Brar (Bhindranwale) shifts from Guru Nanak Niwas to the Akal Takht, located at the core of the Darbar Sahib complex (a.k.a. the Golden Temple) in Amritsar (Punjab, India).
February 22, 1984 Sumeet Singh ‘Shammi,’ a shaven Sikh with a Hindu wife and editor of the most widely read Punjabi monthly Preetlari is assassinated.
April 2, 1984 Harbans Lal Khanna, a former M.L.A. and B.J.P.’s Amritsar district president, is shot dead along with his bodyguard. Eight people are killed and nine injured during the funeral procession the next day.
April 3, 1984 Vishwa Nath Tiwari, a Hindu professor of Punjabi with a Sikh wife, is assassinated.
April 13, 1984 Longowal and Bhindranwale groups each publish Vaisakhi pamphlets accusing the other of betraying the Sikh Panth.
April 14, 1984 Bhindranwale’s close associate Surinder Singh Sodhi is assassinated. The alleged assassin is killed immediately. Bhindranwale publicly takes credit. The assassin’s accomplice, Baljit Kaur, is tortured and killed. Her mangled body is found in a gunny sack three days later near village Walla in district Amritsar.
May 12, 1984 Ramesh Chandra, who succeeded his father Jagat Narain (previously assassinated) as proprietor of the Hind Samachar group of newspapers, is assassinated in his office at Jalandhar (Punjab).
June ?, 1984 The June 1984 issue (Serial Number 153) of an Indian Army bulletin called Baatcheet refers to amrit-dhari (initiated) Sikhs as “terrorists.”
June 6, 1984 The Indian Army enters Darbar Sahib (Amritsar) to expunge Sikh militants from its premises resulting in the deaths of hundreds including Jarnail Singh Brar (Bhindranwale) (1947–1984), Lt.-Gen. Shahbeg Singh, and president of the All India Sikh Students Federation (A.I.S.S.F.), Amrik Singh. The action is labelled Operation Bluestar.
June 7, 1984 About 500 soldiers belonging to the 9th Battalion of the Sikh Regiment stationed at Ganganagar (Rajasthan) mutiny upon hearing reports about Operation Bluestar. Smaller revolts involving Sikh soldiers are reported at Ramgarh (Bihar), Alwar (Rajasthan) Jammu, Thane and Pune (both in Maharashtra). Mutineers at Ramgarh shoot and kill their commander, Brigadier S.C. Puri.
July 10, 1984 Government of India’s White Paper on the Punjab Agitation is released and receives a lukewarm reception from independent critics in India.
September 2, 1984 Under the supervision of Akal Takht Jathedar Darshan Singh Ragi, a Sarbat Khalsa (Sikh gathering) convened under the auspices of the World Sikh Convention excommunicates President Zail Singh (for his role as Chief of the Armed Forces for signing the order to initiate Operation Blue Star), Home Minister Buta Singh (for undertaking a government-sponsored, as opposed to Sikh-sponsored, rebuilding of the Akal Takht following Operation Blue Star), and Buta Singh’s collaborator Santa Singh, chief of the Nihang Sikh sect. It is worth noting that Zail Singh (a Ramgarhia) was exonerated shortly afterward whereas Buta Singh (a Mazhabi or Scheduled Caste or lower caste) was exonerated 9 years later after having to jump through hoops.
October 31, 1984 India’s prime minister, Indira Gandhi, is assassinated by Satwant Singh and Beant Singh, both Sikh members of her security staff. Beant Singh is shot and killed by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police shortly afterward. 5,000 die in anti-Sikh pogroms led by members of Indira Gandhi’s Congress party and aided by the complicity of local security forces. 1,809 men are arrested for the crimes but later released on bail. The twenty years that follow bring only ten convictions, none of which punish those who actually led the pogroms.
December, 1984 The Congress party led by Indira Gandhi’s son Rajiv Gandhi, campaigns on the issue of India’s territorial integrity. Campaign posters depict Sikhs in uniform shooting at Indira Gandhi and pose questions such as “Why should you feel uncomfortable riding in a taxi driven by a taxi driver who belongs to another state [i.e. a Sikh from the state of Punjab]?” While campaigning in Rajiv Gandhi’s constituency, supporters employ the following slogan against his opponent and Sikh sister-in-law Maneka: “Beti hai Sardar ki, Qaum hai gaddar ki” (She is the daughter of a Sikh, She belongs to a race of traitors).
May, 1985 The F.B.I. claims to have foiled assassination attempts on Bhajan Lal and Rajiv Gandhi.
June 23, 1985 Air India Flight 182 (Kanishka) downed off the coast of Ireland, killing 329. Inderjit Singh Reyat eventually pleads guilty to building the fatal bomb.
July 24, 1985 Harchand Singh Longowal and Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi sign a Memorandum of Settlement awarding, among other things, Chandigarh to Punjab.
August 20, 1985 Harchand Singh Longowal is assassinated while speaking at a gurdwara (Sikh place of worship).
September 25, 1985 Akali Dal wins elections in Punjab. Surjit Singh Barnala becomes chief minister with a sweeping majority (73 out of 117 seats).
1986 The (Justice) Bains Committee secures the release of over 2,000 Sikhs in detention for alleged militant activities.
January 22, 1986 Control of Darbar Sahib is returned to the S.G.P.C.
January 26, 1986 Khalistan, an independent Sikh state, is proclaimed amidst a Sarbat Khalsa gathering (a large gathering of Sikhs, figuratively representing the entire Sikh community) at Darbar Sahib (Amritsar). A Panthic Committee is charged with the leadership of Khalistan.
April, 1986 “Sikh militants” attempt to assassinate Punjab Chief Minister Surjit Singh Barnala.
April 29, 1986 The Panthic Committee announces the “Declaration of Independence of Khalistan” from the Darbar Sahib (Amritsar, Punjab). The Committee consists of Gurbachan Singh Manochahal (first among equals), Dhanna Singh, Wasson Singh Zaffarwal, Arur Singh, and Gurdev Singh Usmanwala.
April 30, 1986 Operation Black Thunder I is conducted to purge armed Sikh militants from the Darbar Sahib (Amritsar, Punjab). The operation fails to capture a single Sikh militant.
May 25, 1986 Punjab’s planning minister and a member of the moderate Akali Dal political party, Malkiat Singh Sidhu, is shot and seriously injured while visiting the vancouver area to attend a family wedding. Four members of the International Sikh Youth Federation (I.S.Y.F.), including Jaspal Singh Atwal, are convicted and awarded twenty-year sentences. Atwal had earlier been charged and acquitted in the case involving the severe beating of Canadian politician Ujjal Singh Dosanjh who had voiced moderate views on the situation in Punjab. The charges are stayed after it is revealed that C.S.I.S. falsified an affidavit to obtain a wiretap warrant against one of the suspects. Sidhu and his gunman Nachhattar Singh are shot dead in Moga, Punjab on April 27, 1991.
May 31, 1986 A conspiracy to blow up an Air India plane leaving New York on this date is unearthed at Montreal and two members of the Babbar Khalsa are convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.
June 14, 1986 Seven members of the Babbar Khalsa International (B.K.I.) allegedly on their way to India to blow up the Indian Parliament are arrested in London, England, tried in Canada, and acquitted for lack of evidence.
August, 1986 Retired General Arun Shridhar Vaidya, who was India’s Chief of Army Staff during Operation Bluestar, is assassinated near his home in Pune. The Khalistan Commando Force assumes responsibility.
October 2, 1986 Karamjit Singh attempts to assassinate India’s Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi during Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s birth commemoration at Raj Ghat in New Delhi.
October 3, 1986 Julio F. Ribeiro, Punjab’s director general of police (D.G.P.), is shot at and slightly wounded in an assassination attempt.
February 11, 1987 Under the supervision of S.G.P.C. President Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Akal Takht Jathedar Darshan Singh Ragi in Amritsar excommunicates Punjab’s Chief Minister Surjit Singh Barnala (Akali Dal) for refusing to resign and form a new Akali Dal party (thereby uniting the moderates with the desertering militant factions) rather than team up with the Congress, led by Rajiv Gandhi.
May 11, 1987 The Akali Dal government headed by Surjit Singh Barnala is dismissed. President’s rule is imposed via Governor Siddharth Shankar Ray.
October 10, 1987 The Panthic Committee establishes the Council of Khalistan and names Gurmit Singh Aulakh as its Washington, D.C.-based president.
March 4, 1988 The Jodhpur detainees, including Jasbir Singh Rode, arrested during Operation Blue Star, are released. Rode is appointed jathedar [head-priest] of the Akal Takht (Amritsar, Punjab).
May 11–18, 1988 Operation Black Thunder II is conducted to expunge armed Sikh militants from the Darbar Sahib (Amritsar). According to K.P.S. Gill, the Khalistan movement never recovered from this “loss of the Golden Temple [a.k.a. Darbar Sahib] and the gurdwaras as [a] shield and sanction” (Knights of Falsehood, p. 100.). When the dust settles, the original Panthic Committee has splintered into three factions led by Gurbachan Singh Manochahal, Wassan Singh Zaffarwal, and Sohan Singh Boparai respectively. The Zaffarwal faction names Jagjit Singh Chauhan as its representative abroad via a competing Council of Khalistan office based in London, England. The Boparai faction comes to be represented abroad by the Washington, D.C.-based Khalistan Affairs Center (founded in 1991 by Harpal Singh Cheema and Pritpal Singh and eventually run by Amarjit Singh) and the Vancouver-based Charhdi Kala weekly newspaper (Cheema and Daljit Singh Bittu).
April 21, 1988 K.P.S. Gill is appointed Director General of Police (D.G.P.) for Punjab.
July 12, 1988 Labh Singh, head of the Khalistan Commando Force (K.C.F.), is killed in “an exchange of fire with the police.” (Faultlines, May 1999, vol. 1.1, p. 29, New Delhi: Institute of Conflict Management.)
January 6, 1989 Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh are hanged for their roles in Indira Gandhi’s assassination.
February 5, 1989 Rajinder Kaur, daughter of Tara Singh and former member of Rajya Sabha, the upper house of India’s parliament, is gunned down by unidentified assassins.
August, 1989 122 kilometers of fencing is erected along the 533 kilometer border between Punjab and Pakistan.
November, 1989 Then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi orders the release of a) Simranjit Singh Mann, president of the United Akali Dal, b) Harminder Singh Sandhu, president of the All India Sikh Students Federation (A.I.S.S.F.), and c) Atindar Pal Singh. Mann is elected to parliament.
December 6, 1989 V.P. Singh takes over as prime minister. Harminder Singh Sandhu, president of the All India Students Federation (A.I.S.S.F.), declares Khalistan as the exclusive goal of the A.I.S.S.F. (Indian Express and Faultlines, May 1999, vol. 1.1, p. 40, New Delhi: Institute of Conflict Management.)
January, 1990 Harminder Singh Sandhu, president of the All India Sikh Students Federation (A.I.S.S.F.), is assassinated.
March 15, 1990 The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is granted approval to have turbaned Sikhs join its ranks.
May 14, 1990 Assassination attempt on Gurcharan Singh Tohra, president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (S.G.P.C.), while his car is travelling on the Ludhiana-Patiala highway near village Pahwa. Tohra, ex-M.L.A. H.S. Rajia, and a gunman are injured. The driver is killed on the spot. Rajia succumbs to injuries in hospital. (Faultlines, May 1999, vol. 1.1, p. 47, New Delhi: Institute of Conflict Management.)
June, 1990 Former Punjab finance minister Balwant Singh is assassinated in Chandigarh.
June 21, 1990 Narasimha Rao of the Congress party takes over as prime minister riding a sympathy vote following Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination by Sri Lankan Tamil separatist militants.
December 18, 1990 K.P.S. Gill is transferred to New Delhi consequent to demands by Sikh militant groups for him to be removed from Punjab. (Faultlines, May 1999, vol. 1.1, p. 64, New Delhi: Institute of Conflict Management.)
May 28, 1991 Gurmit Singh Aulakh, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Council of Khalistan, addresses the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., arguably the largest and most prestigious press club in the world.
June, 1991 Punjab elections are cancelled.
August, 1991 Punjab’s former director general of police (D.G.P.), Julio Ribeiro, is shot in an attempted assassination while walking with his wife in a suburb of Romania’s capital.
October, 1991 Romanian charge d’affaires in New Delhi, Liviu Radu, is kidnapped. The kidnappers demand the release of three Sikhs facing the death sentence for their role in Gen. A.S. Vaidya’s 1986 assassination.
November 11, 1991 Director General of Police (D.G.P.), K.P.S. Gill, is transferred back to Punjab as D.G.P.
February, 1992 Beant Singh of the Congress party becomes chief minister of Punjab following elections boycotted by the Akali parties.
August 9, 1992 Sukhdev Singh Babbar, chief of Babbar Khalsa International (B.K.I.), is “killed in an encounter with the police.” (Faultlines, May 1999, vol. 1.1, p. 64, New Delhi: Institute of Conflict Management.)
May 27, 1992 M.L. Manchanda, director of the All India Radio (A.I.R.) station in Patiala, Punjab, is abducted by members of the militant organization Babbar Khalsa. They demand that electronic media adhere to a code of conduct, which includes broadcasting in the local language of Punjabi rather than Hindi. Negotiations for Manchanda’s release break down after the government fails to meet the deadline set for complying with Babbar Khalsa’s demands. Manchanda’s children appeal to the militants in vain. On May 27, the militants behead the journalist and put his severed head on display at a chowk in Patiala.
May 27, 1992 Gurdial Singh Babbar, a Babbar Khalsa International (B.K.I.) leader, is “killed in an encounter with security forces at village Rataul in Tarn Taran.” (Faultlines, May 1999, vol. 1.1, p. 65, New Delhi: Institute of Conflict Management.)
November 24, 1992 Piar Singh and Guru Nanak Dev University publish the 534-page ‘Gatha Sri Adi Granth’ which contains a foreword by Vice-Chancellor Gurdip Singh Randhawa and evaluates 44 pothis (compilations) and birs (recensions) of the Adi Granth and generates controversy for casting doubts over the authenticity of the Adi Granth (primarily by virtue of questioning the status of the Kartarpur Bir as the foundation of the Adi Granth). With the Akal Takht in the hands of acting Jathedar Manjit Singh, S.G.P.C. President Gurcharan Singh Tohra is actively involved in the proceedings (some say to distract from problems at hand and prop up the Akali Dal’s reputation as protector of Sikh interest) and goes as far as to bracket Piar Singh with Pashaura Singh and W.H. McLeod. Others who joins hands in the denouncement include Surinder Singh Kohli, J.S. Mann, Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon, Daljeet Singh and Gurtej Singh. Piar Singh, 78, suffers a mild heart attack just three days after receiving a summons from the Akal Takht. Akal Takht fails to respond to Piar Singh’s requests for a chargesheet detailing the objectionable portions of his book.
December 25, 1992 Gurdev Singh Kaunke, acting jathedar (head-priest) of the Akal Takht is arrested from his home and subsequently “disappeared.”
January 7, 1993 The S.G.P.C. bans research on the Guru Granth. In subsequent years, the ban is mostly ignored in the West but perhaps has a negative impact on scholarship within the Punjab as well as within India.
January 24, 1993 Gurmit Singh Aulakh and Paramjit Singh Ajrawat, president and member respectively of the Washington, D.C.-based Council of Khalistan, sign the covenant of Khalistan’s admission into the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (U.N.P.O.) at the U.N.P.O. General Assembly in the Hague, Netherlands.
April 1, 1993 Akal Takht Acting Jathedar Manjit Singh excommunicates Piar Singh for casting doubts on the authenticity of the Adi Granth via the publication of his book ‘Gatha Sri Granth Sahib’.
June 27, 1994 Pashaura Singh, who had previously been excommunicated, apologizes for and receives tankhah [religious punishment] for “objectionable” contents in his Ph.D. thesis entitled “The Text and Meaning of the Adi Granth,” supervised by W.H. McLeod. Most of the opposition to the research work being performed by scholars like Piar Singh, Pashaura Singh, and W.H. McLeod tends to originate from retired-professionals-turned-scholars united under the umbrella of the Institute of Sikh Studies (I.O.S.S.) in Chandigarh.
February 27, 1995 Jaswant Singh Khalra calls a press conference in Amritsar (Punjab) and appeals to the public to “hold the police chief K.P.S. Gill and chief minister Beant Singh” responsible if anything happens to him.
August 31, 1995 Punjab’s chief minister, Beant Singh, is assassinated. B.K.I. claims responsibility. Harcharan Singh Brar takes over as chief minister.
September 6, 1995 Jaswant Singh Khalra disappears while washing his car outside his home in Amritsar (Punjab).
April 20, 1998 Ranjit Singh, jathedar (head-priest) of the Akal Takht (Amritsar, Punjab, India), issues a hukamnama (edict) declaring langar (community meal) partaken of while being seated on benches and chairs as apostasy.
July 25, 1998 Ranjit Singh, jathedar (head-priest) of the Akal Takht (Amritsar, Punjab, India), excommunicates Tara Singh Hayer and others who criticize the April 20, 1998 edict.
November 18, 1998 Tara Singh Hayer, 64, founder of the Indo-Canadian Times (founded in 1978, the oldest and largest Punjabi-language weekly in Canada) and an outspoken critic of Sikh militancy, is shot dead in the garage of his Surrey, B.C. residence as he is transferring himself from his car into the wheelchair he had been using since an assassination attempt on August 28, 1988 left him partially paralyzed. In 1988 he was excommunicated by a Sikh high priest in Amritsar, India, in an edict that also forbade all Sikhs from buying or reading the Indo-Canadian Times. Hayer was a recipient of the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian award.
April 13, 1999 To mark the tercentenary of the birth of the Khalsa, the Anandpur Sahib Foundation headed by Shiromani Akali Dal president and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal awards the Order of Nishan-e-Khalsa to 80 most prominent Sikhs of the century.
Legendary heroes: Bhagat Singh, Ajit Singh, Gurdit Singh, Sohan Singh Bhakna.
Akali leaders: Fateh Singh, Harchand Singh Longowal, Kartar Singh, Tara Singh.
Religious leader: Kharak Singh.
Freedom fighters: Udham Singh, Kartar Singh Sarabha.
Sikh scholars: Sewa Singh Thikriwala, Randhir Singh, Ram Singh, Ditt Singh, Gurmukh Singh, Gurmukh Singh Chabal, Darshan Singh Pheruman.
War heroes: Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon, Gian Singh, Gurbux Singh, J.S. Arora, Mohan Singh Kohli.
Former Union Cabinet Secretary: S.S. Grewal.
Scientist and administrator: M.S. Randhawa.
Financial expert: Montek Singh Ahluwalia.
Doctors: Prithipal Singh Maini, Daljit Singh, K.S. Chug, J.S. Bajaj, Jagjit Singh Hara, Mohan Singh.
Writers: Khushwant Singh, Kartar Singh Duggal, Harbans Lal, Jodh Singh, Teja Singh, Vir Singh, Puran Singh.
Legal luminaries: Ranjit Singh Sarkaria, R.S. Narula, Surjit Singh Sandhawalia, Sukhdev Singh Kang, Savinder Singh Sodhi.
Industrialist: Raunak Singh.
N.R.I. writer: Raghbir Singh Bains
March 20, 2000 35 Sikhs are massacred in Chattisinghpora (Jammu and Kashmir, India) on the eve of U.S. President Bill Clinton’s visit to India.
2001 Jagjit Singh Chauhan and Wassan Singh Zaffarwal return to Punjab after years of exile.
April 1, 2003 Gurmit Singh Aulakh retires as president of the Washington-D.C.-based Council of Khalistan. No one steps forward to take over.
July 10, 2003 The Akal Takht in Amritsar excommunicates Gurbakhsh Singh Kala Afghana for suggesting, via his writings in the multi-volume series in Gurmukhi entitled ‘Biparan Kii Riit Ton Sach Daa Maarag’ (From the Practice of Ritual to the Path of Truth), that the Dasam Granth ought not to be accorded the same respect as the Adi Granth.
February 6, 2004 The Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti in Amritsar excommunicates Joginder Singh Sawhney, editor of the monthly magazine The Spokesman published from Chandigarh, for supporting Gurbakhsh Singh Kala Afghana. Additionally, the Akal Takht also striped Gurtej Singh of the title ‘National Professor of Sikhism’, also for supporting Gurbakhsh Singh Kala Afghana. Other than his mentor Kapur Singh, Gurtej Singh was the only person ever to have been awarded the title.
August 11, 2005 Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar resign as Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs and Chairman, Rural Development Board (Delhi) respectively in response to the Congress government’s Action Taken Report in response to the Nanavati Commission Report on the 1984 Sikh massacres in Delhi and elsewhere.
November 18, 2005 Six Punjab police officals are convicted and sentenced to seven years imprisonment for the abduction and murder of Jaswant Singh Khalra.
October 16, 2007 A division bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, chaired by Justices Mehtab Singh Gill and A. N. Jindal, extended the sentence to life imprisonment for four of the Punjab police officials (three sub-inspectors and a head constable) convicted for the abduction and killing of Jaswant Singh Khalra.
January 29, 2010 The Akal Takht in Amritsar excommunicates for Akal Takht Jathedar Darshan Singh Ragi for supporting Gurbakhsh Singh Kala Afghana’s thesis against the Dasam Granth, thereby reaffirming the preliminary excommunication of December 5, 2009.
Post inspired from https://livekirtan.wordpress.com/2015/09/23/sikhism-time-line/