EVER since the simultaneous attack on 43 Sikh Temples (including the Golden Temple) on June 5, 1984. Throughout Punjab by the Indian army; Punjab and Sikhs have received unprecedented news Coverage. While many objective books have been written on this Hindu/Indian Government versus Sikh conflict, gross misunderstandings and deliberate distortions continue. A popular, but wrong, perception (diligently planted by Indian Government) in the Western media is that a small minority of “separatist” Sikhs have been waging a violent war for many years to liberate their homeland (Punjab) from India. Armed with this misconception, the media dutifully defends the right (indeed the obligation) of the “largest democracy” to take any and all possible actions against these “militants”. Unrelated, but recently publicized acts of terrorism in the Western world provided an ideal backdrop for oversimplifications and blaming the ghost “Sikh Terrorists” for almost everything, In fact, the media stopped reporting the Sikhs’ side immediately after the furor over excessive coverage of the terrorists related to the TWA plane hijacking.
A recent Editorial in the Houston Chornicle, “There is a limit”, even praised the Indian Government/Hindus for their alleged “patience” and magnanimous “peace accord” and blamed the Sikhs for pursuing “ancient grievances,” “Selfish goal’, and disobedience of the “civilized law”. This Editorial boldly implied that any use of violence by the Indian government now against the “extremist” Sikhs would be justified. No doubt, many Sikhs, Muslims from India and Pakistan, and other sensible readers were offended and shocked by its ignorance and bias. What is the problem? After all, it only pleaded peace on the sound basis that “violence begets violence”. How any could civilized person, let alone a Sikh whose brethren are being killed like flies, argue against restoring peace in the “battleground of Punjab”? The problem is that the solution offered would promote the ongoing genocide of Sikhs, not peace.
CONFLICT: Well, what is the real reason for this conflict? In one sentence: Hindus consider Sikhism as a part of their religion and the 15 million Sikhs abhor the idea! As long as the hypocritical “secular’ state of India continues to force the religion of its majority (Hindus) on one of its potent minorities (Sikhs), there can be NO PEACE. Hindus insist on describing Sikh religion as an offshoot or a sect of Hinduism. However, this is equivalent to saying that Christianity and Islam are offshoots or sects of Judaism. Many non-Hindu religious scholars (including British, German, French, Americans, etc.) have conducted in-depth comparative studies and concluded that Sikhism is NOT part of or related to Hinduism any more than to Islam. All scholars and arguments aside, Hindus continue their vigorous attempts to absorb Sikh religion. Of course, Hindus have been emboldened by their success in eliminating Jainism and Buddhism in India.
HISTORY: Limitation of space precludes any real coverage of history, but some milestones must be mentioned to establish the true context. The Sikh Republic (parts of India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Kashmir 1748 to 1848) was annexed by the British in 1848. Sikhs declared their support of the Indian Independent movement in 1877 and made supreme sacrifices from then on to liberate India. Out of the 121 “freedom fighters” hanged by the British 93 were Sikhs. Similarly, over 81% (2147 out of 2646) of those imprisoned for life “were Sikhs. In 1919, the British killed 1302 peacefully assembled Indians on one day in the Jalhianwala Baag (Amritsar); 799 or over 61% of these were Sikhs. The Sikhs constituted merely 1.2% of British India’s population. Clearly, their share of sacrifices for gaining India’s freedom vastly exceeded their proportion of the Indian population.
All Indian Nation “Congress‘(political party) met in Lahore in 1929 and set “Complete Independence” as its goal. Baba Khatak Singh led the 500,000 strong Sikh processions the day before about which THE TIMES of London wrote: “A most impressive spectacle of human congregation that put the Congress show into shame and shade”. Mahatma Gandhi, Motilal Nehru, and Jawaharlal Nehru met the Sikh leader at his home. They gave the Sikhs their “solemn assurance” that after India achieves independence, no Construction shall be framed by the majority community unless it is freely acceptable to the Sikhs. The promise was then formalized as a Policy Resolution of the All India Congress. The Congress also decided to include the Sikh flag’s “Kesari” (Saffron) color into the free India’s national flag.
During his visit to the Sikh Temple Sisganj (where the 9th Guru was beheaded for protecting Hindu’s religious freedom), Mahatma Gandhi was asked about the guarantee for this “Policy Resolution”. His reply was published on March 19, 1931, in Young India: “. I ask you to accept my word and the Resolution of the Congress that it will not betray a single individual much less a community…..” When further pressed to describe the Sikh action in case of betrayal by the Hindus, Mahatma Gandhi replied: “The Sikhs could, in that case, take their Kirpans (swords) in hand with perfect justification before God and man”. Again, on July 6, 1946, All India Congress Working Committee met at Calcutta and reaffirmed these earlier assurances. Jawaharlal Nehru categorically stated: “The brave Sikhs of the Punjab are entitled to special consideration. I see nothing wrong in an area and a set up in the North wherein the Sikhs can also experience the glow of freedom”.
Based on these public “oaths”, written “Resolutions”, and continued “personal assurances” to the Sikh leaders (Hukam Singh, Baldev Singh, Master Tara Singh, etc.) the trusting Sikhs opted to join India and rejected two superior alternatives: (1) All India Muslim League offered the Sikhs an autonomous State within Pakistan (areas between the rivers Ghaggar and Chenab) and (2) The British Cabinet offered the Sikhs a sovereign state (Khalistan, if you will) with a 10year defense treaty.
The British granted independence to India and Pakistan (East and West) in 1947. Since the Sikhs went with India, their homeland was also divided into West (Pakistan) and East Punjab (India). Very bloody and mass migration of Sikhs from West Pakistan and Muslims from India ensued. Millions of homeless Sikhs and Muslims became dependent on their “new countries” even for their survival,
BETRAYAL: Jawaharlal Nehru (Indira Gandhi’s father) took charge of India in August 1947, and began to consolidate all political power. Contrary to all assurances cited above, Indian Constitution was enacted in 1950 wherein Sikhs were declared as Hindus (Article 25). All Sikh members of the Constituent Assembly rejected the Constitution and refused to sign it. However, it was forced upon Sikhs anyway! When the Sikh leader, Master Tara Singh, reminded Nehru in 1954 of the majority communities’ “oaths” to safeguard Sikh interests, he tersely replied: “The circumstances have now changed”.
All Sikhs “Personal Laws” have been abolished and Hindu laws such as “Hindu Marriage Act1955.” “Hindu Succession Act1956,” and many others have been imposed upon Sikhs. All Indian states were reorganized in 1956 on the basis of language (1951 Census), but the Punjabi speaking state was rejected thus, openly discriminating against the Sikhs. In fact, the Indian government refused to publish the 1951 Census for Punjab, effectively promoted communal hatred against Sikhs, and manipulated at least five to six million Punjabi Hindus to lie about their mother tongue (Punjabi to Hindi) during the 1961 census.
The Akali Dal (Sikhs? political party) had to launch an agitation for a Punjabi speaking state in 1960. Mr. Kapur Singh (distinguished scholar and elected Member of the Parliament) documented’ the deception and betrayal of Sikhs by the Hindu government in his speech on September 6, 1965 in the Indian Parliament. He warned the “secular” and “democratic” government to mind its true substance and the political realities rather than fool the world with its. “form” and “constitutional provisions”. Indira Gandhi finally created the current Punjab in 1966 using the falsified data (1961 census), withheld the capital city Chandigarh and other Punjabi speaking areas, and set up systems for oppression of Sikhs,
Frustrated by the nonstop religious, economic, political and social devaluation of Sikhs by the Indian Government, a Sikh leader, Dr. Jagjit Singh Chauhan, declared the need for an independent Sikh homeland Khalistan in 1969. However. showing enormous forgiveness, patience and patriotism, almost all Sikhs (including Sant Bhindranwale) supported “Anandpur Sahib Resolution in 1973” (seeking an autonomous Punjab within India the same as promised by the Indian Constitution Act of 195U). Indira Gandhi rebuffed and ridiculed many peaceful attempts by Sikhs from 1966 to 1984 to resolve their differences with her Hindu government.
WAR: In lieu of political solution, Indira Gandhi declared war on Sikhs in 1984. She attacked 43 Sikh temples (including the Golden Temple at Amnitsar), Akal Takht, Sikh Reference Library and Museum, Sikh Psyche and Sikh Religion. June 4 to 6 period (major Sikh holiday) was selected to maximize loss of Sikh life and terrify the Sikh nation into complete submission. At least 10,000 innocent Sikh pilgrims were killed during this “Operation Blue Star”. To hide these heinous crimes from the world view, Indira Gandhi expelled all news people from Punjab two days before the “army action”. To this day, all independent observers remain banned from entering Punjab. So, the “news” on Punjab, and Sikhs continue to be what the Indian government wants it to be!
The “anti-Sikh rots” in Delhi and elsewhere, after the mysterious assassination of Indira Gandhi, were reported by many independent sources. Again, thousands of innocent Sikhs (not from Punjab) were killed mercilessly and Rajiv Gandhi has promoted some of these killers into his cabinet positions. In fact, nobody has been prosecuted for those well documented crimes.
While Rajiv Gandhi made some superficial overtures towards “peace”, he never stopped the religious, political and economic persecution of Sikhs in India. Actually, he has improved upon the art of holocaust! While Hitler was a “dictator” in a hurry to destroy all Jews, Rajiv is taking his time in exterminating Sikhs “democratically”. The slow speed lets him employ the “private sector” (Hindu mobs) and therefore, makes the holocaust of Sikhs more acceptable to the Western World.