Swaran Singh Sivia: Who Was Amar Singh Chamkila’s Friend? How Did He Die?

In times of confusion, fear, and hopelessness, we all need a guiding light or a guardian angel; for Amar Singh in Netflix’s ‘Amar Singh Chamkila,’ that guide emerged in the form of Swaran Singh Sivia. When Chamkila receives life-threatening letters, seemingly from dangerous militant groups, he runs into Swaran Singh Sivia, an income tax collector, and begs him for help. A caring and kindhearted man, Sivia ignores Chamkila’s black money, and sets about making arrangements for a meeting with seniors of the Sikh groups.

After helping him improve relations with the Sikh leaders, Sivia turns out to be a capable lyricist, penning many of Chamkila’s religious songs that break all his previous sales records. Even when the situation worsens again, Sivia begs Chamkila to stay in Canada until the tense situation in Punjab cools down. Sivia’s advice would have probably saved Chamkila’s life, had he heeded it. Seeming like a godsend and becoming a partner and genuine well-wisher of Chamkila, the character of Swaran Singh Sivia seems too good to be true.

Swaran Singh Sivia Was Chamkila’s Close Friend and Lyricist

In real life, Swaran Singh Sivia was a government servant with a passion for songwriting, which was similar to how he was portrayed in the film. He was a true friend to Chamkila, helping him out of the direst situations while penning some of his most famous religious songs. After the singer’s tragic death, Sivia was appalled at the lack of police inquiry into his friend’s assassination and conducted his own investigations into the case.

Born in a village in Ludhiana, Punjab, Swaran Singh grew up in a small Zamindar (landowner) family, and his father provided loudspeakers for weddings and events. Listening to the famous musicians of the time through the loudspeakers, Sivia developed an interest in music, even going on to perform at a few local events. When he gained employment as a stenographer in the courts of Ludhiana, he gravitated towards writing songs as a hobby. Over his career, he wrote more than 500 songs for prominent artists such as Surjit Binderkhia, Durga Rangila, Sardool Sikander, Jazzy B, Malkit Singh, and, of course, Amar Singh Chamkila.

Swaran Singh was especially close to Chamkila, and remembered him with reverence after his death, framing a large portrait of the late singer in his house. The lyricist was pivotal in Chamkila’s foray into religious music and penned more than 10 songs for his bhakti (worship) albums, including “Naam Jaap Le” and “Baba Tera Nankana.” In the film, Swaran Singh helping Chamkila with the threatening letters is portrayed as close to reality as possible, with the songwriter confirming the events in an interview.

“He wanted me to see if those letters were true or if someone was trying to fool him,” said Sivia in Punjabi. “He showed me all the threatening letters. One was from Bhindranwale Tiger Force which was signed by Rashpal Singh Chandra. The other letters were from Khalistan Commando Force and Khalistan Liberation Force.” Sivia then showed the letters to the village’s Kharku members and ascertained that the letters were genuine. The revelation rattled Chamkila, causing him to visibly shake in fear.

Through a contact in Amritsar, Swaran Singh arranged a meeting with the leaders of the Khalistani groups behind the letters. Upon reaching the gurudwara in Amritsar, Chamkila was petrified, paranoid that Swaran Singh may have set a trap for him to be killed inside. Sivia told Chamkila that the elders had sworn to his safety at the meeting and that they would not break a vow in front of Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh holy book). This calmed the singer down, and the two went on to reach an agreement with the elders, as seen in the biopic.

Swaran Singh Sivia Died of A Heart Attack in 2023

The beloved songwriter and civil servant, Swaran Singh Sivia, died from a heart attack on January 2, 2023. Sivia had been facing health issues leading up to the fateful day. A loving father and husband, Swaran Singh’s life and family were steeped in their passion for music. His legacy is carried on by his son, Sukhi Sivia, who is a singer and has worked with the likes of Dr. Zeus on music videos and albums.

Read More: Where Are Amar Singh Chamkila’s Kids Now?