Sucha Singh Soorma

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The story of Sucha Singh is now one of the famous Punjabi Kisse (a folk legend). Morality and family honor are very important to the people of India.

Sucha Singh arranges his brother Naraina's wedding to a widow

Balbir Kaur (also Balbiro or just Biro) had been the wife of Juaarh Singh. The story goes that Juaarh failed to satisfy his wife'd lusty appetite and then their was her desire for worldly things, let's just say that lobh had a good hold on her heart. After his unexpected death, rumors spread that she had poisoned him in such a manner that his death seemed natural. As Sikh women are allowed to re-marry she and her parents soon invited other marriage proposals. But, as you might understand, she would not be expected to attract a very able or desirable person because of her widowhood, given the traditions in Punjab.

For many years before Guru Nanak and even recently among their Hindu neighbors, the early death of a husband, even and old one, let along a healthy young one, had everyone blaming the death on the widow's karma. Now, Sikh's have given such silly superstitions up years ago, but they still hang around in any village. What man would want to marry a wife whose bad karma would surely strike again? Well it just so happens that hearing about the invitation, Sucha Singh Jawanda and his best friend Ghukkar Mall Chahal, residents of Samaon a village near Sangrur, where the widow lived, rushed to see her with the intention of getting Sucha's elder brother Narain married.

(This old superstition and the custom of Sutee were both aimed at making sure that a woman would never poison or kill her husband, the social stigma and chance of being burned alive allowed untold evil behavior to continue unabatted.)

So you're probably wondering why would any man do this to his brother? Well, it just so happens that Narain was addicted to afim or opium (even Biro whold complain of that later). She accepted the offer of marriage to Naraina. (They kept quite on the afim and we can be relatively sure they didn't hear of the rumors spreading through the village about Biro). She did however, impose a few conditions asking that they load her with jewellery during the wedding and give her freedom to manage her home as she wished; adding that she would be eating and drinking what she wanted to. See, it seems, she was fond of liquor and even ate meat and chicken. (These, you might again understand, were not things quite unusual for women folk in Punjab). Set upon geting Narain married they agree upon all her conditions.

Did I forget to mention that she was beautiful as well.

Growing Relationship With Ghukkar

After their marriage, she was provided with whatever she desired within the families social and financial limits. As Sucha and Ghukkar were very close friends they would often meet at Sucha's place. As Ghukkar began to frequent his visits, he decided to propose to Balbiro. She was hesitant because of her brother-in-law Sucha but at the same time was attracted to Ghukkar, who was a landlord, a wrestler and an influential person in the village.

Ghukkar's Wily Scheme

As per the scheme, Ghukkar sympathised with Sucha on his financial plight and suggested that they should join the army in Multan. As they went to enlist, Ghukkar pretending to be homesick returned to his village, leaving his friend to join the army. Returning to his village, he and Biri (now his best friends wife), non too discreetly, had sex and drunken revelries with Biro.

Sucha Singh's Return

Aware of the rumors now spreading around the village Biro’s husband, a submissive person, wrote to Sucha explaining the situation to him. Sucha came back with the intention of resolving things, he conveyed messages to Ghukkar, and asked some of the wiser folk of the village to do the same, but Ghukkar ignored all their advice. In the meantime, Biro tried to pacify Sucha from taking any extreme step.

Juaan deor de khauf se, paein naar nu haul, Rafal dunaali vekhke, Biro kare makhaul. [ needs translation]

Sucha usually responded by beating her up for bringing such trouble to his house. Biro tried everything, from changing her story -- saying that Ghukkar had forced her into doing this --

Biro ro-ro deor nu kahaani dassgi, jaal vich gheri vi bateri fassgi. Baahle dukh katte nikkal bhambaur se, mallo-malli aanwda ghukkar zor se.

She and Ghukkar hatched upon a plan, they tried to convince their friends to explain it to Sucha that she and Ghukkar were star crossed lovers, like the famous Heer Ranjha, or Leili and Majnoon. They even threatened Sucha with dire consequences as the majority of the village had sided with Ghukkar’s the landlord.

Balbiro and Ghukkar's Killings

Ghukkar organized a singing programme (Akhara) and on this pretext called upon his various allies from other villages as well.

Nerre-terre baasak nagar Chahalaan de, daru maas veswa patte ve vailaan de, Chobar bulaale saare deke vaadhi ai, ghukkar pind waale ne sadaale dhadi ai. [again translation needed]

Basically, the stage was now set for a face to face confrontation between these one time best friends. The moment came when Biro was passing by and was commented upon by Ghukkar as being his property/possession/mistress. And he asked Biro to comeover, sit down and enjoy the company of his friends. Biro obliged. Meanwhile Ghukkar and his friends got drunk and made audible threats on Sucha's life. Hearing of this, Sucha loaded his rifle and showed up and challenged Ghukkar and his yaars (buddies) to face him in this battle of egos. Ghukkar’s allies seeing the weapon and Sucha’s high spirits, sheepishly turned tail and ran away.

Sihtt jaan chhaviyaan gandaase chhodge, pal vich saare hi yaaraane todge. Belt gale ch kaartoos sann ge, vekh ke rafal nu hawayiyaan bann ge. [translation]

Sucha seeing Ghukkar’s friends running for their life now faced down Ghukkar, who pleaded for his life. Ignoring his pleas Sucha, fired his rifle at point blank range into Ghukkar's face. Seeing this one of his companions, who had run, bravely returned only to be killed, as well.

Modhe naal laawe chakk ke machine nu, dabbke stud bhare magazine nu, Mall vanni chhadde jor-jor shistaan, der na lagawe taahr deve kishtaan. [ ]

Filled with rage and vengeance, Sucha then tracked down and killed his sister-in-law who had, in the meantime, run home.

Goliyaan de naal bhann sitte pathhe ji, Biro te ghadola digg paein kathhe ji. Pai geya bhadaaka kaun jhalle sajjno, sarad-sarad goli challe sajjno.

Now a mass murderer Sucha headed towards Muktsar. The Police came really close once while looking for him, then they posted a reward for his capture. One pathan caught up with Sucha and challenged him. Again Sucha, the first to shoot, killed the pathan too.

Jor leya rafal nu andar khes de, hune naam likh deyaan marabbe es de.

Later Exploits

One cow too many

It was a year later when Sucha surfaced again. This time, on his way back to his village to see his brother, he came across an old Hindu woman in tears, sitting outside her house in her village of Bargaadi near Kotkapura. Inquiring, he came to know that some savage Muslims in the village had been ill-treating the Hindus. They had even killed and butchered their cattle. As if that wasn't enough for the cow worshiping Hindus to watch, they then cooked the meat (usually, as is their custom, leaving it half raw) and had a feast which they forced the Hindus to join. Now for those of you who do not know, this for a Hindu and one who has been a lifelong vegetarian is a deed which puts a serious deed in their 'karma', effectively they are then no longer a Hindu.

Sucha was outraged, his Khalsa blood boiled, if Guru Teg Bahadur could die to stop such torture of Hindus, well with three murders already under his belt, the prospects for these nefarious Muslims didn't look good. Finding the scoundrels just as they were about to kill another cow he unleashed a verbal barrage upon them. His interference infuriated them but they started to kill the cow anyway. In a flash Sucha dropped five of them, while a few others managed to run away.

Sahib Kaur's Murder

Later, Sucha joined a group of dacoits and running havoc in the area. Soon enough, another situation very familiar arose and required his discretion. A widow and a mother of two sons, Sahib Kaur (the elder of the sons, Basant Singh was in his early teens) in village Gehri in Bathinda, started hanging out with another influential man from the same village. Her kids tried to stop her but she would not listen. On the contrary, she got her elder son beaten up by her lover Gajjan Vaili. Basant made contact with his paternal uncle, Ran Singh, who was coincidentally in the army too (just like Sucha). This infuriated Ran but he although had heard the story of Sucha, did not feel he was brave enough to carry out justice there. But he knew that Sucha was around in the area making loots and all. He managed to convey the message to Sucha about the problem his sister-in-law (Sahib Kaur) had put his family in. Sucha responded quickly and killed both Sahib Kaur and Gajjan Vaili.

Capture of Sucha Singh

Police tracked Sucha down in Kotshamir, a village close to Gehri, after this incident. He was hanged in Gehri.

Khich lainde phatta jeya lagge na phattka, vajjeya hulaara dhaun khaagi jhatka, Suche de nikkle praan pal mein, bolke jaikaara tandi paali gal mein