A recipient of Shaurya Chakra, a top gallantry award, Amrik Kaur of Amarkot is a legend in Punjab for having fought militancy by arming herself after her husband’s brutal death at the hands of Khalistani ultras in 1991. Now, her life is set to be depicted in a biopic, titled ‘Sardarni’, that goes on the sets next year.
Amrik, who died in 2014, was once known as the ‘lioness of the border areas’. She engaged militants in night-long encounters at the peak of militancy. While she lost her husband in 1991 to militants, her sons died in 2007 and 2010 because of ailments.
Rupinder Kaur, her daughter-in-law, said she stood out since childhood. “She once left school after her teacher slapped her because her thinking was that it was an atrocity on children,” Rupinder said.
Amrik was married to Subeg Singh of Bahadurpur in her teenage. She started helping her husband in agriculture in Valtoha area near the India-Pakistan border.
On September 12, 1991, her husband, a domestic help Mukhtiar Singh and she were coming back from the fields when militants attacked. Her husband and the domestic help were killed. “She made the vow that she would eradicate militancy in Punjab, and she started keeping guns,” Rupinder said. “She had three guns in her name alone.”
About the award, Rupinder said, “Once when she was on her way back from the gurdwara in the morning, she saw a police inspector being shot by militants. She immediately rushed to the police station, and a panel later recommended her name for Shaurya Chakra in 1995,” she said. “During her life, she killed at least 18 militants, and around 24 surrendered before her.”
As for the biopic, it has been reported that Sunil Manchanda is producing the Hindi feature and is jointly being written by him with Raman Kumar, Amrik Gill and Abhishek Dudhaiya. The film will be directed by Dudhaiya. Manchanda under his banner Mad Films has produced ‘Tere Naam’, ‘Cheeni Kum’ and ‘Pa’ among others.
Dudhaiya has earlier assisted directors on feature films and made short films and documentaries. He has also directed episodes for TV serials such as ‘Tara’, ‘Sindoor Tere Naam Ka’, and others. He has directed Hindi and Gujarati plays too.
He has been quoted as saying, “We have stayed in Punjab for six months and done full research on her and met villagers and spoke with them. We will begin shooting next year in Punjab and will release it too in 2018.”
But Rupinder has a grouse with the government, “Since her death, we haven’t received a single penny from the state or the central government. They should at least give us pension.”