Mr. Surjit Singh Barnala’s threat of resignation on the question of erroneous terms of reference of the Mathew Commission is, in our view, a natural corollary of the manner in which the Punjab accord was devised. We objected to the timing, the contents and the selection of negotiators and signatories and predicted a none too bright future for the accord. Notwithstanding Mr. Rajiv Gandhi’s tall claims that the Punjab problem stands resolved, We are still of the view that the issue is nowhere near solution even if the Mathew obstacles are somehow removed. Let this be known to the world particularly to the public opinion in the rest of India.

We sincerely feel that the Union Government headed by Mr. Rajiv Gandhi has no comprehension of the Punjab realities. It is under tremendous pressure from a psyche which is imbued by imperial thoughts and is influenced by the thrill of internal neocolonialism. Application of Delhi’s designs in relation to Punjab is causing conflict because the State has its own psyche which is intolerant of socio religious hurt and politico economic exploitation. Born out of this basic contradiction is the use of State apparatus by the Centre. Instead of producing the “desired” results, Delhi’s policy of oppression is proving, viewed far sighted, counterproductive.

In his heart of hearts Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, we regret to note, is anti-Sikh. He hates even Giani Zail Singh and treats him shabily and does not allow him to undertake any tour abroad. He has a soft corner for Sikh baiters like Mr. Jagdish Tyter and Mr. H.K.L. Bhagat. He promoted Mr. K. Sunderji as Chief of Army Staff. The Prime Minister should have thought twice before making such an appointment. He makes it a point to buck up Mr. Buta Singh excommunicated from Sikh Panth.

If the police has entered Darbar Saheb four times after the operation ‘blue star,’ the blame lies almost wholly with the Centre. It is well known that the Punjab Government has no independent role to play in the State’s law and order. The Centre is manipulating the State administration through the Chief Secretary and other I.A.S and I.P.S. bureaucrats. Mr. Surjit Singh Barnala is not free even to change his senior officers. Mr. Rajiv Gandhi and his coterie of managers is having a hand in every pie the State Cabinet, the Dal (L) organization and even the S.G.P.C. These are the harsh realities of the present day political scene in Punjab.

“No compromise” stance this anti-Sikh trend is further borne out by Mr. Rajiv Gandhi’s statements such as the one that he would not compromise on the release of those arrested from the Darbar Sahib complex in June, 1984. Even pretensions have been given up. It is for the judiciary to release or convict those lodged in Jodhpur jail but evidently the Prime Minister has terrorized the judiciary as well as the Opposition parties so that he can get away with such brutal statement.


Mr. Gandhi’s attitude is at total variance with the Sikh psyche. Such an attitude cannot bring about harmony or settlement. It can only create more and more trouble. Unless the Prime Minister boldly makes up with Sikhs there is no question of stability in the Indian sub-continent. Already the established balance in the region has been disturbed. Pakistan has never been as bold in its dealings with India as it is today.

Sikhs seek nothing more than what was promised to them by Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru. Taking away Punjab’s irrigation and power resources and talking of water as “national wealth” is the language of robbers and not those who have any respect for the country’s existing Constitution, much less a constitution of the autonomous Punjab. Through such statements the Prime Minister is trying to project the Hindi States’ colonial interests over non Hindi States like Punjab.

Contrast Mr. Rajiv Gandhi’s attitude with the behavior of certain foreign powers towards Sikhs. Pakistan is reported to have recruited Sikhs to its air force. Canada is offering Sikhs a pride of place in its army. Equador is ready to offer land almost free of cost to Sikh farmers. Other Latin American nations are also vying with each other to win over the Sikhs.

Sitting in distant America a member of U.S. House of Representatives, Mr. Gene Chappie, observed that the failure on the part of the Indian Government to conduct its own investigation into the Golden Temple incident of June 1984, or to allow an independent investigation of this “is only creating deeper tension between Sikhs and Hindus, the Sikhs must be provided with complete religious and Political equality.”

But Mr. Rajiv Gandhi is content to engage himself with petty minded actions to manipulate the terms of reference of the Mathew Commission and is “managing” Dal (L) Government and the S.G.P.C. He can manage a few hundred Sikhs but he cannot “manage” 1.03 crore Sikhs of Punjab and other self-respecting Punjabis, They are determined to get their rights and free themselves from the neocolonial bondage.

Courtesy Dignity, Chandigarh

Article extracted from this publication >>  December 13, 1985