It was a hot summer month of June but was not of 1984. It was June 1746 when the first holocaust (so called Ghalughara) struck the Sikhs. Yahya Khan, son of Zakriya Khan had succeeded as Governor of Punjab earlier that year. (On March 10th, that year, all the Sikhs of Lahore were arrested and executed.) People were warned with the beat of the drum that no one should read the Sikh scripture and anyone taking the name of Guru be arrested and his belly ripped open. Even the word ‘Gur’ (jaggery) which sounded like ‘Gurw’ was not to be uttered. Many volumes of the Holy Granth were burnt. The holy sarovar of Amritsar was filled up with the filth and earth.

Sikhs were hounded by a huge army commanded by Nawab, Yahya Khan and his Hindu Diwan, Lakhpat Rai. While trying to cross the river Beas at Sri Hargobindpur, the army fell upon Sikhs. Seven thousand Sikh men were killed and another 3000 arrested and brought to Lahore to be executed with great torture. Their heads were piled up to make pyramids and their bodies buried under the walls of a mosque. All this suffering did not lowdown their spirit; instead it inspired them to bid for sovereign power.

Sixteen years later in 1762, they had to suffer a worse disaster at the hands of Ahmad Shah Abdali, the Afghan conqueror. About 30,000 Sikhs were camping at this time with their families at a village, called Kupp, near Malerkotla. Nawab of Sir Hind with his army attacked them from the front, while Ahmad Shah Abadli himself took care of the rear. The Sikhs fought recklessly under the leadership of Sham Singh Karorsinghia, Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, and Charat Singh Sukarchakiya. No one gave them food or shelter. Even Baba Ala Singh, the raja of Patiala Riyasat refused to give them refuge. On Feb. 5, 1762, a wholesale massacre ensued and over 20,000 Sikhs lost their lives in this terrible blood bath. The sacred volume of their Holy Book called Damdama Bir which was dictated by Guru Gobind Singh personally to Bhai Mani Singh was also lost in this carnage. In spite of this big loss of lives and suffering, by 1799 Sikhs became a _ sovereign power in their own right and not as a result of submission to a foreign conqueror or compromise of principle.

The Third Holocaust struck the Sikhs again in 1984 with all its might. It was again the hot summer month of June. A Hindu widow ruled the land with all her tyranny and undeclared war against Sikhs. Once again an army attacked the holiest of holy, The Golden Temple of Amritsar. Modern weapons _including tanks were freely used to demolish Akal Takhat. All Sikhs were ordered to get out of the temple and once out they were gunned down. Warrior Sikhs, led by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale fought on heroically. Over 3000 Sikhs lost their lives in this terrible carnage. The sacred volume of their holy book, Guru Granth Sahib, was also shot at and is still preserved with a bullet in it. Orders were issued to arrest and torture any Sikh, who uttered a word against the army action. A large contingent of army was deployed to quell any upheaval and to demoralize the humiliated Sikhs. The widow ruler Indira was praised, cheered and applauded equally by ruling as well as opposition Hindu politicians.

Two brave Sikhs took the challenge and on Oct. 31 that year killed the widow ruler to avenge the demolition of their holy temple. Hearing this, her son was inflamed with rage. He ordered that every Sikh in the capitol be burnt alive in front of his womenfolk, and his property looted. Three day carnage ensued in which more than 3000 Sikhs were killed or burnt alive in Delhi alone, and property worth Rs 25 million burnt or looted. One hundred seventy Sikh gurdwaras were burnt. This third holocaust infused terror among a small number of Sikhs who lived outside Punjab. Subsequently thousands of Sikhs migrated to Punjab.

To Sikhs, it seems one holocaust (Ghalughara) follows the other. The third holocaust had again inspired in them a bid for sovereign power, a need for freedom, and a need for their own land, Khalistan. History is witness to the fact that unmitigated tyranny or uncompromising hostility against a person, a principle, or a people has led only to one result REVOLUTION. And no matter how long drawn out the struggle (for one must wait for the right opportunity), if the cause is just, the result has always been a sure victory for the seemingly helpless victims.

Let us stop another holocaust. Let us work for freedom. Let us work for our homeland Khalistan.

German radio artiste! Rene Wolfgang described| la women’s encounter with a drunkard in a train. When the stench and his murmurs became much for her, she started ugly. “I would be sober tomorrow but you will remain ugly,’ he argued.

Article extracted from this publication >> March 1, 1985