Here's a mind dump of my thoughts as fast I can get them out as I should be doing something else when I write this post!!! (i.e. work!!)
The importance of AmritVela can't be under estimated
There wont be any "progression" without it
Progression only comes from Guru's grace but Guru jee is looking for your effort
That said executive orders/Nadar/glances of grace from Maharaj can waiver all situations
but to depend on this should be frowned upon as Maharaj wants effort
I heard in a katha once that a person who bows before the Guru, physically or mentally, during Amritvela wont have to bow/seek the help of others
The ultimate way to get up at AmritVela is have to a huge amount of Prem for Maharaaj
However, sustaining Prem and therefore AmritVela in my experience is very hard and depends on your circumstances
- e.g. where you are in your journey, your environment, your habits/lifestyle/the company you have etc
the day before AmritVela plays a big part on whether you'll wake up and get up at AmritVela
e.g. watching Game of Thrones at 10pm the night before will have an impact!!
How hungry are you for it?
I would try to avoid the question of is AmritVela a requirement.
Try your best to "do" AmritVela in whatever way you can. Don't be lazy but don't beat yourself up about it either as it could hamper motivation.
Ultimately Maharaj knows your situation.
I agree that the older lot were more clued up and also thought ahead as opposed to the younger kharkoos being short sighted and ready to become shaheed. From what I know of Sohan is that he later on stage possibly in 98 addressed the GOI type of crowd with 'Jai Hind' while he also retracted that he ever was a Khalistani.