To err human but not to learn from the mistakes and to keep repeating the same mistake over and over again is to demonstrate complete bankruptcy of the rational faculties that distinguish human beings from the dull driven herds of cattle, Late Sirdar Kapur Singh, the former I.CS. Officer and National Professor of Sikhism, in a booklet entitled “The Stupid Sikhs” lamented over the follies of the Sikhs in throwing away excellent opportunities for the reestablishment of the Sikh power and glory. Notwithstanding his laments, the Sikhs refuse to learn from their mistakes. Consequently they find themselves sinking deeper and deeper into the mire of confusion and chaos.

It has become increasingly clear over the years that the Sikh problem is not limited to the denial of their legal and constitutional rights nor does it flow from their misplaced trust in and betrayal by the post-independence rulers of Delhi but has much wider dimensions. It is rooted in the chronic hostility of the majority community against the Sikh religion. This hostility had remained generally dormant during the Mughal period and the British rule and surfaced only in stray utterances and individual actions. But after independence, it assumed the character of a State policy culminating in all its nakedness in such monstrous actions as the Operation Bluestar and November 1984 antiSikh riots.

Yet the Sikhs, today, find themselves in total disarray. The political scenario is shockingly dismal. The Sikhs seem to have shelved their problem with Delhi. All their energies are directed to question and undermine the bona fides of one another. Charges and countercharges are traded, vulgarizing the movement and making a mockery of the vital issues at stake. No Sikh organization or leader, either in India or abroad, has formulated a political strategy to match the subtle maneuverings of Delhi or worked out a pragmatic plan to accomplish its objective.

Nothing is being done to counter the insidious moves of the government that aim at alienating and isolating the freedom fighters. It has been discovered that plain clothed policemen kill innocent Sikhs and put the blame on the freedom fighters. Such killings are widely publicized to arouse anger and revulsion among the unsuspecting common people. Plain clothed policemen go to villages and seek shelter, posing as freedom fighters. Those who offer shelter are arrested and tortured, thus discouraging people from showing their proverbial hospitality and comradeship. These moves do not bother all those who claim to be espousing the Sikh cause. They have different priorities.

It has suddenly become important for some organizations to determine whether a Sikh really qualifies to be a Sikh as per their code and understanding of Sikhism, whether a particular kind of food is permitted in the Rehat Maryada or not etc. etc. It does not interest them that Delhi has evil designs and treats all those who happen to be born in Sikh families as enemies of India. These organizations need to recognize that Sikhs are victims of injustice and oppression and the primary task before each Sikh is to strive to end this injustice and oppression. Those who evade or avoid this fundamental issue cannot claim to be true Sikhs, whatever their outward style of living.

The Sikhs can ill-afford to indulge in distracting debates when their religious identity is seriously endangered. The brave talk and slogan shouting without a logical follow up action never lead anywhere. It is imperative that each Sikh should look within himself and ask a simple question: Am! Performing my duty as a Sikh of Guru Gobind Singh? An honest answer will surely dispel all doubts and help to create greater unity and cohesion among the Sikh ranks.

Article extracted from this publication >> January 1, 1988