In the article “How to achieve Khalistan” by Daljit Singh of Topeka, Ks. published in World Sikh News of July 5, 1985 the writer touched a very cogent, important and sensitive point of Unity amongst Sikhs in North America. He has emphasized the importance of eliminating differences amongst Sikhs based on birth and physical appear between the Amritdharis and Sehajharis to achieve Unity. Further as our number is so small we cannot afford to split into smaller groups. The leaders of Sikh Community in North America have, recently, come to insist on physical appearances of “Khalsa” to qualify as a Sikh, an assertion quite contrary to the Spiritual Content of Sikhims. The Sehajdhari Sikhs have come to be ostracized and debarred from playing their rightful role and to enjoy brotherhood and religious kinship. The leaders have by this discrimination of Sehajdharis alienated themselves from the great majority of Sikhs who are as much devoted to Sikhism as those bearing the external appearance of Khalsa. Some of these Sehajdharis possess the educational background, experience, skill and leadership qualities equal to, if not better than the present leaders. It is high time we face the facts and reality of life in North America and overcome our prejudices against greater majority of Sikhs welcome them into our fold and invite them to serve the cause of Sikh Community. Their positive support in a united community is strength conducive to productive and fruitful results in the right direction.
Historically the events have been very interesting about the place of Sehajharis in the Sikh Community. In 1940 S.G.P.C., the supreme authority of Sikhism, passed a resolution to give equal status to Sehajdharis with Amritdharis. This was just before the National Census in early 1941. I received a copy of this decision by S.G.P.C. with a request from this body to canvass this amongst the Sehajdharis so that they would register as Sikhs. At that time I was posted at Hissar (then in Punjab) as Famine Relief Medical Officer and in a position to guide and influence people. This vital historical decision by the S.G.P.C. has, as far as I know, not been rescinded, and I am sure, will never be rescinded. It is incumbent upon all Sikhs to accept the authority and abide by the decisions of S.G.P.C. yet the Sikh leaders of North America flout the decisions of that authority; a clear paradox.
In his interview with World Sikh News after his election as President of World Sikh Organization Ganga Singh Dhillon is reported to have said “we cannot afford the luxury of pulling in different directions in the history of Sikhs.” Yet it is precisely what he is advocating when he insists on striving to create Khalistan. Neither Akali Dal nor any other responsible Sikh political organization in India has ever demanded a separate State for Sikhs. Anand Pur Sahib Resolution whose implementation is the demand of Akali Dal does not even mention the demand of Khalistan. Those leaders of 14 million Sikhs in India know better what is good and right for them. Yet the Sikh leaders of North America go on shouting loud for the creation of Khalistan. Isn’t it a Paradox?
I see only one similarity between the Sikh leaders in North America and those in India; both are equally divided into infighting factions and Unity has eluded them both. Yet we know that without unity nothing can be achieved either here or in India. Recent events and Government of India’s successful propaganda has earned the Sikhs a bad reputation as Terrorists not only in America but all over the world and our leaders’ outburst, here have reinforced that image of Sikhs. Sikhs have always lacked in skillful educated dynamic and politically shrewd politicans who could guide the community towards building a political clout with gains. Unfortunately, our people being gullible and misguided by rhetoric the leadership was snatched by politically ignorant and the result of their leadership is visible to all, disastrous and deadly and to the misfortune of the brethren who live in Punjab. We need, in India as well as here, astute politicians to steer the course of our ship to a safe and secure destination. Our No. 1 priority here should be to cancel out the image of Sikhs as Terrorists and create a positive picture of respect, sympathy and support of our cause as enunciated by Akali Dal in India.
To achieve this we must enlist the support of all sections of our religious community and guidance by those of us who posses the requisite knowledge backed by experience to successfully convince the world about our just demands as laid down in the Anandpur Sahib resolution. Further I would advise caution, restraint and wisdom coupled with political acumen in the use of words when advocating our cause on Television and other communication Media.
Unless this is done with speed we will utterly fail to achieve any worthwhile gains. Simply shouting aloud is already proving counterproductive and harmful to the cause of Sikhs in India. By indiscreet action we are jeopardizing the lives of 14 million Sikhs in India.
Bay City, Texas
Article extracted from this publication >> July 26, 1985