Delhi’s Attempt to Sabotage Sikh Studies Chair in Canada “It is shocking”, “it is scandalous”, “it is downright malicious”, etc. etc., will, in all probability, be the indignant reaction of the free world to the manner in which Indian government is pressurizing the Canadian External Affairs not to allow the release of $300,000.00 multiculturalism grant for a Chair in Punjabi Literature and Sikh Studies at the University of British Columbia.

The application for the grant was moved by the Federation of Sikh Societies in March, 1985. The grant has not been approved as yet because of the Indian pressure. As required by the rules, the Federation has already raised $300,000.00, through its own efforts, to match the grant. The grant is being sought under a federal multiculturalism program that provides up to $350,000.00 towards an endowment for a program at a Canadian university. The grant and the matching contribution from the ethnic community enable a university to hire a fulltime professor for studies in history, language, and culture. The university retains full control over the program, regardless of the financial support it receives from the ethnic community.

Delhi’s anxiety to sabotage a purely academic program reflects its deep-seated hatred and animosity towards Sikhs. Nothing is more unpalatable to it than a fair prospect for the growth and development of Sikh religion and Punjabi language and it has always been plotting to destroy both. But it overplayed its game in 1984 when the grim events unmasked its villainy. Haunted by the fear of reprisals, Delhi has developed an incurable paranoia and looks upon every Sikh activity as a danger to its flickering rule. Plagued by its own guilt-ridden obsession, it has come to identify Sikhism with “terrorism”. It will not be any surprise if, in the event of the institution of the Chair, it starts describing the academic programs as the hotbed of “extremists” and “terrorists”.

Indian government’s despicable behavior in objecting to the Sikh religious flag at the International Immigrants Parade in New York and its conspiracy to sabotage the Sikh Studies Chair at British Columbia University has totally disillusioned all those Sikhs who still had some faint hope for an honorable life for Sikhs in India. Now only self-seekers who have sold out their conscience for petty material gains are left to parrot like repeat the praises of their arrogant patrons.

What atrocity is there that Delhi will not be perpetrating on the innocent Sikhs in India if it feels so incensed with such noble projects of the Sikhs living abroad as institution of an academic chair. The Western World, therefore, can imagine full well the extent of Sikh slavery in India as well as the Indian hypocrisy called democracy and secularism. It must realize that Sikhs deserve as much concern and help as the Afghans fighting the Soviet imperialism or the Blacks fighting the South African apartheid. Let no extraneous issue cloud the truth, Let no trade interest strangle justice and freedom.

Since Indian government is attempting to influence Canadian government’s commitment to multiculturalism and seeks a step motherly treatment for Sikhs, the responsibility to dismiss with the contempt it deserves the uncalled for interference in Canada’s internal matters has devolved squarely on the shoulders of the Canadian External Affairs. Lovers of liberty and democracy will not ever forgive Canada if it succumbs to Indian pressure.

Article extracted from this publication >>  January 2, 1987