The traffic noise from the flyover outside the window was deafening and I could barely hear what Baljit Singh Brar was saying. Brar edits Jalandhar’s Aaj Di Awaz newspaper, aptly named, amid the din. “Where is Bhindranwale’s son?” I had to shout. He pointed at the man sitting quietly at the corner of his desk.
So this was the elder of the two sons of India’s most dreaded “separatist leader” from a quarter century ago. Light brown eyes, five foot ten, tight black turban, flowing salt-and-pepper beard, ready smile, his two cellphones blinking. Ishar Singh looked like your friendly neighbourhood realtor, somebody you could trust enough to buy your house from.
That is exactly what Ishar Singh does for a living. He buys and sells property just 80 kilometres from the Sikhs’ most violent and traumatic battle in centuries, if you do not include the savagery of India’s partition in 1947.
Ishar Singh is 37, the same age his father was the night he was killed in the...