Ignorance, they say, is bliss; so perhaps to some extent is insanity, for the insane like the ignorant dwell in their own ‘‘world of wonders.”’ It would be all right if their preoccupation were to remain restricted to their self-created ‘“‘world of wonders,” and if they refrained from interfering in the lives of those who of necessity must contend with the down to earth realities of life. Because like the insane, the ignorant can also pose dangerous problems especially when they are exploited by artful manipulators who often flatter and sometimes ensnare them into pursuing a course that spells not only their own doom but that of the people around them also. Trouble with the ignorant as also with the insane is that neither is aware of his malady. Ignorant won’t ever admit of his ignorance, nor would the insane wake up to the reality of his affliction. Both stubbornly hold on to their respective sense of ‘wisdom.’ Both are sick, yet both violently deny their disease, hence the problems.
It is the ignorant among the Sikhs who have been seduced to subscribe to the cunningly contrived myth of what they call ‘‘moderate Sikhs.’”’ Motive behind the myth is to divide and rule, and to recruit a sizeable number of well-to-do Sikhs who either out of the complexes artfully drilled into their psyche or because of their narrow vested interests take up cudgels and blindly go about destroying their own community or country. Though it is fairly difficult to unconvince those who like the proverbial bear obstinately refuse to entertain each and every sensible suggestion, still it is worthwhile to keep making efforts to retrieve them from their unfortunate plight. Who knows some suppressed Chord of good sense may accidentally be touched and they be brought back to the fold they belong to.
To label a Sikh as a moderate or an extremist is altogether irrelevant and contrary to the spirit and concept of Sikh religion. Rising to the occasion and boldly facing the situation, howsoever terrible or perilous it may be, constitutes an integral attribute of the Sikh ethos. In Guru Nanak we have a visionary seer, a philosopher-poet, a radical reformer and a rational iconoclast; in Guru Arjan and Guru Tegh Bahadur, we have the ultimate in non-violence and pacifism; and in Guru Hargobind and Guru Gobind Singh, we have the resounding martial spirit fearlessly challenging the tyranny and injustice of a mighty imperial authority. Sikhism advocates a vibrant, pulsating and pragmatic philosophy, the essence of which runs unhindered, unchanged and unambiguous through each inspired utterance of all the ten Gurus from Nanak to Gobind Singh. A Sikh, therefore, is a saint soldier. In normal, peaceful times, a saint; and in moments of trial and crisis, a valiant wielder of sword. A true Sikh is a pacifist and an extremist rolled into one; his reactions are determined by the situation and influenced by the teachings of his Gurus and not by any utilitarian expediency as is the case with some misguided Sikhs who are more anxious to earn hollow encomiums from inherently antagonistic quarters than to project the correct view of their religion.
It is always wise and profitable to study and analysis a problem with a mathematician’s logic and objectivity rather than be carried away by impulsive, passing emotions, particularly in a situation where reality is undermined and eclipsed through an artificially raised dust of false propaganda.
Sikh leaders in 1947 were beguiled into giving up their legitimate claim for a sovereign state through a well enacted drama of making ‘“‘solemn’’ pledges. No sooner did the imperialist Whiteman board his native ship, than all the ‘‘solemn’”’ promises were conveniently stacked into the remote recesses of some forgotten go down. Instead Sikhs were branded as a criminal tribe who required a chastising treatment rather than freedom and equality. Every time Sikhs attempted to remind the new rulers of their pledges, they were snubbed as extremists and separatists and mercilessly butchered or put behind the bars. During the thirty-seven years of Indian independence, more Sikhs have suffered death and imprisonment than were subjected to gallows and jails by the British rulers during their over two-hundred years of imperialistic colonization of India. It would be pertinent to mention that not a single freedom fighter was eliminated through dubious methods during the foreign rule, whereas hundreds of innocent youth have fallen to the police bullets in false encounters. Due process of law has been consistently denied to the Sikhs agitating for their just and constitutional rights that were snatched through executive orders or unilateral awards. The truth is that Sikhs never demanded a separate state and never resorted to any innocent killings, yet they stand stigmatized as separatists and terrorists. Whereas there are enough pointers and sufficient evidence insinuating a congress (1) conspiracy in the series of innocent killings including the bus passenger killings, not a single case against the Sikhs could succeed in the law courts. The drastic ordinances were purposely introduced by the government of India to circumvent the due process of law. Now the enlightened leaders of the opposition openly accuse the government of engineering violence in order to defame the peaceful Dharam Yudh Morcha and also to create the climate that would justify army invasion of the Golden Temple.
Sikhs have been gradually pushed to a point where only that set up would satisfy them in which they can also feel the glow of freedom, in which they can feel secure and have pride in their distinct identity, in which no communally deranged ruler can ever embark upon a military operation to destroy their Gurdwaras and all that is sacred to them.
Government of India kept up a relentless crescendo through every conceivable media that there were only a handful of extremists holding the whole of Panjab to ransom. Six divisions of the army were moved and ruthless martial law was clamped all over the Panjab state in order to apprehend the miniscule trouble shooters. But even after killing over 20,000 Sikhs and nearly six months of extended martial law, the situation in Panjab seems to be getting worse and worse. What does it prove? Who would ever believe the stray puppet-voices that surface from time to time to parrot-like repeat that only the mischief mongers among the Sikhs are clamoring for full freedom. Such prompted observations as ‘Sikhs won’t know what to do with their freedom’ only demonstrate the utter bankruptcy of self-respect and should be dismissed with the contempt they deserve. It is a pity that some so called ‘‘moderates” can still be deluded into playing a self-defeating game; lessons of mass massacre of Sikhs and destruction of the Akal Takht notwithstanding.
I am puzzled, saddened, ashamed, and outraged as to how we Sikhs could have displayed so much ignorance? As late as June 6th, 1984 vast majority of us Sikhs were not even aware that we are lumped as part of Hindu religion and subject to Hindu laws. I shake my head in disbelief and anger runs through my veins. How could we fail to educate ourselves of our rights and let ourselves be treated as second class citizens. We who have too proud a heritage to be matched by the Hindu religion.
The fascist Hindu Majority has been too clever, it first used us and finally abused us. This ungrateful, treacherous majority can talk big today because of Sikhs. We have kept them free to talk and led them to stand against us. When dealing with the Hindu Majority we also should learn just not to read the fine print but between the lines also. It is time to wake up to the reality before this majority completely succeeds in replacing our Turbans with Topis, Swords with Janju and address us as Shri instead of Sardar.
I cannot imagine any right minded Sikh with a sense of pride, ever looking for a substitute to a sovereign Sikh Nation. We can only cherish the fruit of our hard work and preserve our identity in such a nation as we will always be short changed by the Hindu Majority. Let us educate our self of our rights and Khalistan is bound to be liberated.
Yours Truly, Statwant Singh Kohli