Dhanni Ram (21 July 1961 – 8 March 1988) commonly known by his stage name Amar Singh Chamkila was a popular Punjabi singer, songwriter, musician, and composer. Chamkila and his wife and singing partner Amarjot were killed, along with two members of their band on 8 March 1988 allegedly by Khalistani militants. His best-known hits include "Pehle Lalkare Naal" and his devotional songs "Baba Tera Nankana" and "Talwar Main Kalgidhar Di". Though he never recorded it himself, he wrote the widely popular "Jatt Di Dushmani" which has been recorded by many Punjabi Early life and career Amar Singh Chamkila was born as Danni Ram Singh on 21 July 1961 in the village of Dugri near Ludhiana, Punjab, India.He was born into a poor family. The youngest child of Kartar Kaur and Hari Singh, he was educated at Gujar Khan Primary School in Dugri. His aspirations of becoming an electrician were unfulfilled and he found work at a Ludhiana cloth mill. With a natural aptitude for music, he learned to play the harmonium and dholki. Punjabi folk musician Surinder Shinda has said that in 1979, Chamkila approached him for the first time on a bicycle. When Shinda heard the 18-year-old Chamkila sing, he had finally found the protege that he had been looking for. Chamkila would go onto play alongside Punjabi folk artists such as K. Deep, Mohammad Saddiq and Surinder Shinda. He wrote several songs for Shinda and accompanied him as a member of his entourage before deciding to pursue a solo career. It is rumoured that Chamkila was happy enough writing songs, but he wasn't earning enough money to look after his family, so had to start singing. He was married to Gurmail Kaur with whom he had two daughters, Amandeep Kaur and Kamaldeep Kaur. Chamkila's second marriage was with his co-singer Amarjot Kaur, with whom he has a son Jaiman Chamkila. Rise to Fame Career in Music In 1980, Chamkila left Sonia and established a short-lived stage relationship with Miss Usha. He left Miss Usha in the same year in favour of teaming up with a female folk singer named Amarjot. Not much is known about Amarjot Kaur, except for the fact that she was previously married but left the marriage to pursue her dream of singing. Amarjot herself was a renowned singer and sang with Kuldip Manak. She would become Chamkila's permanent singing partner providing the female vocals for his duets, that is, the majority of the songs that he wrote. Chamkila, for the most part, wrote his own lyrics, the majority of which were boyish and suggestive, yet fluent, commentaries on extramarital affairs, alcohol and drug use. The couple's appeal grew not only in the Punjab, but they quickly raced to international stardom among Punjabis abroad. Around this time, Chamkila was receiving more bookings than his contemporaries such as Kuldip Manak, Gurdas Maan and Surinder Shinda. The biography "Awaz Mardi Nahin" by Gulzar Singh Shaunki found during its research that at the height of his popularity Chamkila had performed 366 shows in 365 days. By the early 1980s, Chamkila and Amarjot had recorded hugely successful LPs on the HMV label and they toured Canada, US, Dubai and Bahrain. They were also commonly booked for wedding parties, charging a reported Rs. 4000 per performance, an unprecedented amount for the time. Chamkila sold more HMV LP records in the world then any other Punjabi singer. He was also an accomplished player of the Tumbi instrument. Chamkila’s song Pehle Lalkare Naal was featured in the soundtrack of the 1987 Punjabi film Patola. He also recorded the song Mera Jee Karda for the Punjabi film 'Dupatta'. Both films fared averagely at the box office, but still increased Chamkila's popularity. He also recorded a music video for one of his songs for the state-owned Doordarshan channel, but after his death his video was taken off the air. Chamkila and Amarjot recorded in excess of ninety songs before they were killed in Mesumpur, Punjab in 1988. At the time of his death, he reportedly had 200 songs that had not been sung or recorded. Of these some were sung at stage shows including Dhee Mar Jai Badkar Loko, Jatt Di Dushmani and Akhiyan Di Maar Buri. Chamkila also sang another serious song on the folk hero Jeona Morh called Kaadha Soorma, which was remixed by Panjabi MC in 2007. * Due to the public’s declining interest in other Punjabi singers in favour of Chamkila, one or more of these artists may have planned for his killing. * The Khalistani separatist movement of the 1980s may have found Chamkila’s liberal and provocative lyrical content a threat to its conservative agenda. They may have arranged for his murder. * Amarjot’s caste Jat, was commonly viewed to be higher than Chamkila’s caste. Disgraced by Amarjot’s involvement with Chamkila, her family or others may have arranged for the couple’s killing. * Chamkila may have been murdered by an individual whom he rejected to perform for due to a scheduling conflict or otherwise.