The Story of Amarjit Kaur – Part One

November 22, 2022 |

Categories: 3HO HistoryOur Stories

Amarjit Kaur playing kirtan at a wedding in 1975

Guru Fatha Singh interviewed Bibi Amarjit Kaur, the ragi who lives in Virginia (who has been part of the 3HO community since the early 1970s).  She met the Siri Singh Sahib and his family in 1964 when she was ten years old.  He recognized her bright soul and brilliant musical gift right away.  On the spot, he elevated Amarjit Kaur and promoted her before thousands of people.  She became friends with his family, visiting frequently.  Then, in the spring of 1973, she drilled the ladies and Bhai Sahib Dayal Singh (teaching Gurbani Kirtan) from 8am to 10pm each day for three weeks so they could play Gurbani Kirtan and wow the world – at least in Punjab – which is what they did.

Here is the story of Amarjit Kaur – Part One – how she met the Siri Singh Sahib Ji:

Amarjit Kaur was a bright ten-year-old living in New Delhi with her parents, brother and sister.  Together, the siblings would perform the Guru’s hymns, she and her sister on harmoniums and her brother keeping time on tabla.  So it was that they went one day to perform at the Lodi Garden Park near Nizamuddin for a function of the Sikh Student Federation. 

As she was sitting in the congregation, Amarjit could not help noticing a striking-looking man as he came to bow before the Guru, followed by his sari-clad wife.  Then they turned and melted back into the burgeoning congregation.

The keertan performance went on for two or three hours, then the program ended with the usual prayer and prashaad and Guru-ka-Langar.  As Amarjit Kaur sat with her family awaiting the distribution of the Guru’s meal, she looked up.  Just a couple of rows away, was the Sikh who had caught her attention earlier.  He saw her too.

“Hey you, come here!” said the Yogi Sikh.  Amarjit defensively grabbed hold of her father’s arm and froze.  When he assured her it was okay, she slowly let go and walked over to the Sikh uncle sitting with his wife and family.  He made room and motioned for Amarjit Kaur to sit on his right, next to him.

When they had finished eating, Harbhajan Singh rose to his feet and made an announcement to the gathered host.  “Now we will have a light music program.  It will be a competition.  Anyone who can beat Amarjit Kaur, I will award a prize.”

The congregation buzzed and soon two or three groups of musicians came to the stage for the competition.  In turn, they performed the traditional ghazal and qawali forms of devotional music associated with the Sufis and familiar to everyone.  They sang.  They crooned.  They trilled.  But no one could beat Amarjit.  She had indisputably put on the best performance.

In the end, Harbhajan Singh made another announcement, “There will be keertan once a month at our house on Nizamuddin and Bibi Amarjit Kaur will do it.”

Harbhajan and Inderjit brought Amarjit Kaur and her family to their home afterwards to relax and to share their hospitality.  For her part, ten-year-old Amarjit was enthralled by all the attention, love, and respect she had been shown.  A connection, spiritual and deeply personal, had been forged between her and the tall Sardar, a bond that would endure a lifetime.

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