On July 28, 1984 a great event of far reaching significance took place in the Madison Square Hall, New York. A new chapter was added to Sikh history a chapter that holds a promise to transform Sikh destiny and redeem Sikh dignity. More than four thousand Sikhs from America, Canada, England, Europe and India had assembled in the spacious hall to deliberate over the grim situation arising out of the Indian Army’s wanton assault on the Golden Temple. The sinister destruction of the holy Akal Takht and the ruthless massacre of thousands of innocent pilgrims had unmasked the deep-seated hatred and animosity that the Indian Government had been nurturing against Sikhs ever since independence. Each face there was tense with anger and resentment anger at the meanest betrayal in history by the Brahmin rulers of Delhi, and resentment at the callous indifference of the free world to the Sikh predicament.

To their utter dismay and chagrin Sikhs found themselves alone, isolated, friendless, stigmatized, and ironically on the defensive. The Communal Indian Government through its vast resources and clever media manipulation had succeeded in putting the systematically persecuted religious minority in the dock. The bitter experience made them ponder. It was a moment for introspection. Sikhs began to realize that they had come to that sorry state of affairs primarily because of their own criminal neglect and chronic disunity. It was a painful realization and out of this realization arose a nebulous idea that finally crystalized into what now is known as World Sikh Organization.

Expectedly, right from the moment of its formation, concerted efforts to strangle it in its infancy were set in motion through motivated rumours and malicious character assassination. Saboteurs started working on disgruntled Sikhs, Sikhs with ego problem and Sikhs with vested interests to make them accomplices in their vicious plots against the organization. Every conceivable strategy has been tried by them, but so far all their attempts have failed before the mass upsurge. In just one year the organization has developed into a grand apex body of the Sikhs world over. Popular national councils have come into being and thousands of Sikhs are enthusiastically working to make it the most effective International Organization of the Sikhs whose voice would be listened to with respect and who would be able to counter government of India’s insidious plans against the Sikhs.

In the past year WSO has taken a remarkable stride forward. It is still a sapling and needs to be assiduously nourished and protected from rampaging wild ‘animals,’ It must be remembered that Sikh institutions have, in the past, suffered more because of internal dissent than anything else. Dissent is an integral feature of a free society and must be accepted as such and not driven to destructive postures. Dissenters must also develop a correctional and constructive approach rather than resorting to opposition for the sake of opposition only. At this critical juncture, when Sikh identity is at stake, it would be suicidal to indulge in internacine quarrels. Sikhs need to shed narrow, subjective approach and instead revive their old spirit of service and sacrifice if they wish to survive with honor. This would be the most befitting pledge that we can take on the 1st   anniversary of WSO.

Article extracted from this publication >>  July 26, 1985