This is what the Times had to say about his life:
Chauhan was the leading force behind the creation of the movement for an independent Punjab called Khalistan (Land of the Pure). He claimed never to have been involved in, nor to have supported, violence. But the Khalistan movement set Punjab, the relatively wealthy breadbasket of India, on the road to violent self-destruction as thugs and criminals murdered and raped in the name of Punjabi nationalism. Soon, ordinary Punjabis came to loathe the separatist movement, as its ideology succumbed to bloody battles between rival groups for power and money.
But Chauhan’s romantic vision of a Sikh homeland continued to inspire wealthy Sikhs abroad, who were largely responsible for funding the terrorism that pitted Sikh against Sikh as much as Sikhs against India.
Akali Dal, the traditional Sikh party, split into competing factions as peasant farmers watched their livelihoods collapse and their sons disappear, often under duress, to fight for the cause. By some accounts the death toll in more than a decade of violence was about 20,000, including 2,000 security forces. Mostly, nobody knew who was doing the killing.Among the casualties was India's prime minister Indira Gandhi, who was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards in 1984.
While all the killing was going on, Chauhan was outside of harm's way in London where he was was calling himself the president of Khalistan.
By the 1990s, the Khalistan movement had been crushed and in 2001, the Indian government even let Chauhan return to his native Punjab. Unable to give up his dream, he again tried to rally support for a separate Sikh state.
But the young generation was no longer interested. As the Times writes:
Chauhan’s death represents another decisive stage in closing Punjab’s ugliest chapter. [He and his fellow militants] are fading away largely unmourned by young Punjabis driven more by new economic opportunities than dusty dreams of Punjabi secession.