Full one year has receded into the pages of history since the wanton army attack on the Golden Temple. Army was used to crush Sikh identity, to strangle Sikh aspirations and to silence Sikh voice against injustice and oppression. It was ordered to blast out of existence an essentially political problem by cunningly projecting it as merely a ‘law and order’ issue. To prove its contention, the government kept injecting liberal doses of violence through its party functionaries and ‘law enforcing’ agencies. Sikh young men were brutally murdered in stage managed ‘encounters’ and peaceful agitators were ruthlessly gunned down. Simultaneously the government raised a deafening crescendo, charging Sikhs with harboring ‘criminals’ and ‘murderers’ in the holy precincts of religious places.

Thousands of innocent Sikh pilgrims were mercilessly massacred and the sanctity of Sikh shrines was wickedly outraged to accomplish the dubious objective of restoring ‘law and order.’ It was given out that the army action had become inevitable for establishing peace and normalcy. Today Sikh shrines stand ‘flushed’ and the countryside presents a grim spectacle of a victorious army engaged in the task of teaching a bitter lesson to the ‘enemy’ population. There is not a diabolic atrocity or a bestial barbarity known to the world that is not being shamelessly perpetrated against the Sikhs. Sikh young men are being tortured, hunted and killed in cold blood, yet the ‘law and order’ problem is assuming frightening proportions. What a colossal waste and a stupid gamble!

A perfectly just charter of constitutional demands has been forced to grow into a separatist’s instrument partly by the communal arrogance of the majority community and partly by a government run by those who are more anxious to perpetuate dynastic rule than to evolve a secular society committed to national integration.

It is no coincidence that right from the days of Guru Nanak, Sikhism has been facing the wrath of one imperious tyrant after another with only a brief respite during Ranjit Singh’s rule. Mughals used all their might to wipe it from the face of earth; British, after the initial placating patronage, resorted to a ruthless series of operations to subjugate the valiant Sikhs and after 1947 Indian Government took upon itself the task of teaching Sikhs a lesson.

What is it that brings Sikhs in direct clash with despotic rulers? The answer is simple. Fighting against oppression and injustice is an article of faith with Sikhs. Oppression and Sikhism cannot coexist. Rulers tend to dominate and discriminate. Sikhism demands of its votaries to challenge and fight all such aberrations. Sikhism is opposed to escapist renunciation or slavish resignation before unjust authority. It does not recoil from the ugly sociopolitical realities, rather considers it a religious obligation to weed out the evil and the wicked. Consequently Sikhs would never submit to tyranny or slavery. It is a religion wedded to freedom, equality, brotherhood, love and truth. Its shrines open on all sides and to all the people. It is a religion that embraces the mankind as a whole.


In this commemoration week, we recall the glorious role of Sikh men and women in defending the sanctity of the Golden Temple and Akal Takht particularly of Sant Jarnail Singh Khalsa, Bhai Amrik Singh and Gen. Shubheg Singh. Their supreme sacrifices will forever beckon us to follow in their illustrious trail. We must again rededicate ourselves to the noble task of carrying out the mission ordained for us by the Great Gurus. This is the finest tribute that we can pay to our heroes.

Article extracted from this publication >>  June 7, 1985