H.S. Shergill

Seven months ago Sikhs woke up from sound sleep when they heard «the blasts of cannons and tanks and cries of thousands of men, women, and children coming out of Amritsar. Still some Sikhs, especially those living outside Punjab, ignored their cry. They were awakened by bloodshed of thousands of innocent Sikhs, throughout India in Nov. Everybody thought it could not be possible in a democratic country, but it has happened. There is not much hope that conditions will change under Rajiv Gandhi. He promised to carry on the same policies established by his mother. The policy is Hindi, Hindu and Hindustan. Under this policy minorities have no rights.

Under these circumstances, can the Sikhs live in India? Yes they can if they want to. They can renounce Sikhism, who knows they will be accepted as Kesadhari (with hair) Hindus or live as they are living now and be prepared to lose their family members and prosperity now and then. India Government does not guarantee their safety in case of loss they will be compensated by giving them a few hundred rupees. After all that is all a Sikh is worth in India.

Or Sikhs can create a new home land. Before 6th June 84 only a few Sikhs were demanding

Khalistan (persons like Sardar Kapur Singh and Dr. Jagjit Singh Chauhan). Even Sant Bhindranwale never asked for a separate Sikh state. Though this was the allegation made against him by the Indian Government. But now every Sikh dreams of Sikh homeland. Due to the propaganda over the years some Sikhs do not like the name of Khalistan. Let us not argue about the name. You may call it by any name. Since our existence is threatened, we have to have a homeland for our religious survival. Some educated Sikhs say that Khalistan is not a practical proposition. They give you hollow reasons like that it is a land locked state. Indian Army is too strong to be challenged by a 2% minority. There is no doubt that our enemy is very powerful and cunning. Their number is very large. This is not the first time that some power is trying to finish the Sikhs.

Let us look back at history.

Guru Gobind Singh Ji created Khalsa to raise voice against injustice. In Anandpur, when he was surrounded by the army, he seemed to have no chance of winning. He should have given up but he did not. A few days later he was surrounded by a large army in Chamkaur. He fought with only a few Sikhs and then shifted from there. He did suffer reverses in this battle but he did not accept defeat. This was evident from his letter to Aurangzeb (Zafarnama) the letter of victory.

He went to South and from there he sent Banda Bahadur to Punjab to punish the enemies. Banda did not ask him a single question as to this was how he was going to do it. He came back to Punjab. Punished the culprits and also established a small empire. After Bada Ghalughara (the holocaust) Abdali declared that no Sikh was left. Only a few years later Sikhs reasserted themselves and established a powerful empire under Maharaja Ranjit Singh. When Gadarites like Sarabha left California for India to liberate it from Fh ee eh al the English, the so called educated Sikhs must have thought that they were crazy. They did not immediately achieve freedom but they ignited a powerful movement for freedom. Their contribution towards freedom proved decisive and is recognized as such today.

When Massa Ranghar occupied the Golden Temple and started smoking, drinking and

Dancing. Sikhs could not tolerate that insult. Two Sikhs, Sukha Singh and Mehtab Singh, left Bikaner to punish him. They not only killed him but were able to escape alive.

During a recent attack on Amritsar, most of the Sikhs did not think it was possible to defend the Golden Temple but Bhindranwale and his companions did. After the attack everybody believed, including Mrs. Gandhi herself, that it was not possible to kill her. But it was done by Beant Singh and Satwant Singh. So when you look at history, you find that odds have been always against the Sikhs. By all logic Sikhs should not have continued to exist after so much violence against it. But not only are we existing as a separate religion entity but also excelling wherever we are. For whenever they have made up their minds, they have always achieved that goal. They never accepted defeat even after facing serious set-backs. They don’t consider anything as impossible. Perhaps that is why one Sikh is called ‘‘Sawa Lakh” (1, 25,000) because he. is ready to fight against that many odds. We can achieve our goal if we are determined and are sincere. Nobody ever gives up his throne. It has to be acquired by power and is kept as long as you are strong. Unfortunately, we are poor bargainers. We always pay too much price for whatever we get. We easily forget and forgive our enemy. We paid too much price for India’s freedom. Now we have already paid the price for Khalistan. We will be stupid if we settle for anything less. In the past our leaders sold us very cheap for their personal gains. I hope that our current leaders learn from historical mistakes and do not repeat them again.

One thing is for sure we cannot get Sikh homeland by slogans. We have to ask ourselves what we have done so far? What is our contribution as individuals so far?

Any movement to succeed needs devotion, money, good leaders, good planning and above all unity. No doubt we are more united than ever. Trust your leaders you have now; be prepared to replace them if they do not work for you. Only thing we can do is to raise our voice, let the world know what is happening in India under the name of democracy. Give moral and financial support to those who are suffering. Leave up to them what they want, for this purpose money has to come from every Sikh. No single person can do that.

June 84 — Freedom is the dream of every Sikh now, the realization of which is not very far. It is not the Sikhs who want Khalistan; it is the Indian Government which is forcing them to do so. It pushed Sikhs in this direction by first attacking our Golden Temple then by killing them in thousands throughout India. Indian Government already has declared Punjab a separate country. One can get visa for India but not for Punjab because it is not Indian Territory anymore.

Remember — June 6, 1984

Remember — November 1-4, 1984

Remember — Akal

Takht Sat Sri Akal.

Article extracted from this publication >> January 18, 1985