By: Jatinder S. Hundal

When measured and compared with any other revolution, the Green Revolution of Punjab stands tall and speaks for itself. It is time to look back at the benefits of this Revolution. The Green Revolution set in motion feelings among Sikhs that has shaped the last three decades of their history in Punjab. The forces that came to dominate the Punjabi politics during the last 30 years will continue to create problems until it can be under- stood what caused this revolution to go wrong and where. It was hoped and predicted by many social scientists in and out of Punjab that the prosperity brought about by this revolution will change the future of all Punjabis and Sikhs in particular. It was expected to bring Punjab into the mainstream Hindustan. Unfortunately all of the above predictions and theories of social scientists have come true. Punjab has become a part of the Hindus and

Mainstream Hindustan Many Sikhs, especially those who benefited the most from this revolution, have gone closer to Hinduism than Sikhism. It should be of no surprise to see present Akali leadership following and practicing rituals and believes that I can in no way accept to be part of Sikhism. It is the same part of population that has reaped the fruits of this revolution. Economic prosperity, without social boundaries and built in cultural checks, has set the new generation into a swing with no scandal thread to control.

It has become a tragic fact of life that despite economic success, Punjab has not seen peace for the last 3 decades. Whether it was the Punjabi Suba or the Khalistan, Sikh institutions had to consistently wage war on all fronts of safe- guard Sikhism from erosion. In order to keep Punjabi masses interested in the Sikhism, leadership had to raise the slogan of “Sikhism in danger,” again and again. It is this slogan that was used to secure Punjabi speaking Suba. People were promised that by getting Punjabi Suba it can be ensured that the language and social structure of Sikhism will remain intact. It did not happen. An emerging middle class, prosperous but un- educated did not see itself as the defender of the faith and started moving away from orthodox Sikh leadership. This was taken as a sign of dwindling faith by the Akali leaders and the more concerned among them needed some charismatic leader who could take Sikhs back to roots. Most Sikhs became more interested in economic advancement and did not bother with the politics of Punjab, leaving a vacuum in the ranks of Akali leadership the only representatives of the Sikhs. It was this vacuum that the fundamentalist, as they were called, came to fill. It started with the All India Sikh Students Federation. The enlightened among the leaders of this institution recognized the plight of the Sikh community and started organizing camps to bring Sikhs back to roots. The plans of the Federation worked well and many young Sikhs finally became aware of the Hindu game and answered the call of the time under the leadership of Jamail Singh Bhindranwale. This was seen as a threat by the Indian Government because until then their plans to weaken Sikhism has worked well. In the end it can be concluded that had Sikhs recognized the Hindu plans earlier they would have avoided the crossroads at which stands this bewildered and confused community. It is still not too late and Sikhs should recognize that the economic development of Punjab due to the Green Revolution took place in an environment that can only be de- scribed as a Spiritual Desert. A desert that must be challenged otherwise it will destroy the spiritual greenery of Punjab.

Article extracted from this publication >>  October 28, 1994