To serve as sacrificial goats looks to be the exclusive lot of the Sikhs in India. Whether it is the struggle for independence or defending the borders against aggressors or fighting the Tamil guerrillas or putting down internal uprisings that keep breaking every now and then, it is invariably the Sikhs who find them-selves facing all such hazardous situations. Nearly eighty percent of those who died for India’s independence were Sikhs. The Sikh troops were used to subdue insurgents in Nagaland and Mizoram and now Sikh troops have been deployed to wipe out Tamil guerrillas and to chastise Gurkhas. Every year hundreds of Sikhs lay down their lives in making others submit to the authority of Delhi. Ironically, in their own homeland, Punjab, they are hunted like mad dogs by largely non-Sikh paramilitary troops.

Sacrifice is inherent in Sikh religion. The Sikhs stake their lives not for narrow, selfish gains but for nobler, altruistic ends. Guru Arjun Dev sacrificed his life to uphold the principle of individual liberty and Guru Tegh Bahadur embraced martyrdom for the principle of religious freedom. In fact Sikh history presents a un-parallel saga of sacrifices made to liberate the groveling multitudes from political, social and religious servility. But from the way Sikhs are led up the altar of “martyrdom”, today, in protecting and promoting the interests of Delhi, one can’t help comparing them to the poor turkeys of North America that are raised and bred to be sacrificed to celebrate the Thanksgiving Day.

On the other hand in fighting the Sikh freedom fighters, the clever Brahmin Bania combine in Delhi is using Muslim and Christian Commanders who are made to lead Hindu troops, thus giving them little discretion to’ act independently and judiciously. The Sikh troops are generally deployed far away from the bleeding soil of the Punjab. They are seldom allowed to visit their homes lest they should learn about the horrible plight of their coreligionists. Even their regular annual leave is denied to them on one pretext or the other and strict watch is kept over those who by pleading extenuating circumstances succeed in getting some leave sanctioned.

The Sikh soldiers are frequently sent to what the authorities describe as “training centers” where Russian methods of indoctrination are used to falsify truth. They are told that the Sikh freedom fighters constitute a “demented fringe” with no popular backing who dance to the tune of their “foreign masters” and pose a serious threat to the national unity and integrity. The Moscow trained specialists labor hard to pervert the psychology of Sikh soldiers but seldom succeed in negating their unflinching commitment to the teachings of their Gurus and their trust in the basic sincerity of the fellow Sikhs.

Indian rulers have now come to realize that deep down a true Sikh remains committed to his Guru and almost instinctively react against injustice, oppression and slavery. It is this commitment that makes every Sikh a suspect in the eyes of the communal rulers. And as a suspect his presence is a constant source of discomfort to them. This discomfort is further aggravated by the glorious Sikh traditions of bravery and chivalry that stand in sharp contrast to BrahminBania cowardice and cunningness. Historically, they suffer from a tremendous inferiority complex and have always been jealous of the Sikhs. Their antagonism reached its climax when Sikhs, even though two percent of the Indian population and despite all the discrimination, began to excel in almost every field of national activity through their intelligence and hard work.

To end this trend Delhi resorted to the unconstitutional plunder of the Punjab resources and physical elimination of the Sikhs through “martyrdoms” for “national glory” and through direct killings for the so called “antinational” acts. One way or the other, in India every Sikh is exposed to the bullet. Only by carving a sovereign state of their own, they can now hope to survive the Brahmin Bania onslaught.

Article extracted from this publication >> January 22, 1988