The Seminar held recently (WSN 12/9) may be viewed, by some optimists, as a landmark of restoration of “Peace & Sanity” in Punjab, but I ‘see it only as another exercise in futility. I do not doubt the sincerity of the conveners, nor do I question the genuineness of the desire for good will.
The purpose of the seminar, at best can be to divert, for some time maybe inadvertently, the attention of the public and the so-called militants from their pursuit. In fact, this seminar is a less promising to the public than the Munni/Ragi dialogue for at least two: good reasons. One, Munni was believed to be enjoying Government’s Rajiv Gandhi’s backing, which of course later, backed out and let down Munni and the negotiations resulted in a fiasco. Secondly, it outlined positive remedial measures to redress the Sikhs grievances, which though never met Government’s consent, for obvious reasons. The seminar, though spots out the grievances fairly, feels shy to articulate how to heal the open wounds. Ram Jethamalani has only excused himself of going into the unpleasant task of evolving a possible consensus, as it is a difficult and time consuming job. Learned Jathamalani has skillfully equated Hindus with Sikhs as one. But I say, the whole mankind is one as we all are children of the same one God Almighty. But it does not solve the problem at all. The thankless chauvinistic Arya Samaji Hindus still look down upon Sikhs and other minorities as second class citizens, as they themselves have been treated for centuries by the Muslim rulers.
80% Fanatic Hindu majority has lately formed a “Hindu Vote Bank” to be utilized by power hungry politicians, who support the Bank’s demands, irrespective of the merits of the demands. So most of the troubles in the country today, including the Punjab crisis, are self-created, in support of the said demands of the bank. Ironically if the Govt. herself is responsible for initiating the trouble, for pandering to the wishes of the “majority” community of the country, how can there be normalization?
Congress (I), in order to keep glued to their seats, have opted to buy the Bank’s support, on their terms, which jeopardizes the basic interests of the minorities, and hence the confrontation. So long as the fanatic Hindu Vote Bank is at work in league with the ruling party, minorities will keep feeling their liberties and basic rights strangulated. No seminar or negotiation etc. can ever be meaningful, unless genuine “will” of the government is behind it, to evolve a reasonable solution on equitable Justice. Pakistan was not inevitable in the first place, nor was Khalistan. If Sikhs were ever so keen, they would have had it in 1947. But power hungry short sighted and immature leadership made Pakistan a reality, and might as well make Khalistan a certainty again. The Sikhs were not for Khalistan. But all other avenues having failed and the basis of coexistence having destroyed, “Khalistan” is probably the only course left open for both the parties. Maybe it is a sacrifice by the Sikhs, but no sacrifice is too great for a lasting peace and cannibalistic sabotage pride and injured prestige. Maybe the thankless fanatic Hindus, often down-trodden and repressed in history, want it that way out of vengeance. It may however not be quite out of place to remind that Sikhs alone could and did protect Hindus from forced conversion to Islam, and that they alone can still save the country from further balkanization.
NARENDER SINGH AURORA, COLORADO
I hope that November 11, 1988 issue of the World Sikh News had the same impact on the Sikhs that it had on me. My heart is angry and crying out to the plight of the Sikhs who suffered all those inhumane atrocities at the hands of Hindus, under the protection of the Hindus dominated Governments’ so called “Law”, in India.
The abuse of Human Sikh Rights has escalated since November 1984 following the execution of Indira Gandhi. Despite continued efforts to educate the World about Sikh Nation’s plight in India, the rest of the World has stood in silence as a spectator. Sikh brothers and sisters, it is time to wake up and unite, There is no other option left for the Sinks, except UNITY, and forget all the differences we have had in the past. Time is slipping from our hands while the enemy is gaining strength every day that passes by.
November 1984 Anti-Sikh Holocaust will go down in History books as a period when a Mass Genocide took place against the Sikh Nation. Let Rajiv Gandhi take notice that he will have to answer for hoarding money, accepting bribes from foreign Governments, opening accounts in Swiss Banks, selling the future of our children to the hungry plunderers. The Cosmetics applied by Rajiv’s Government to present a different picture to the rest of the World are going to peel off at the first ray of truth. Truth shall prevail and when the World sees the extent of lies spread against the Sikhs and atrocities committed against them, RAJIV will not find a place or a Country that will be willing to give him shelter.
The Sikhs who laid down their lives defending India without realizing that it was “India for Hindus” sacrificed their lives for nothing. That is why today after continued betrayal of trust by the Hindus, a Sikh doesn’t want anything more to do with India or the Hindu dominated Government of India. Sikhs want their own Independent State of Khalistan. Rajiv, can mend this tragic and escalating situation by letting the Sikhs have their own State of Khalistan. There is still time to back off and prevent the impending tragedy.
Safford, AZ 86546.
Punjab in 1988 where are we going wrong?
While our hearts continue to bleed as thousands more fellow Sikhs got brutally slain in the ongoing struggle for the freedom of “Punjab” India celebrated “Diwali” the festival of lights in November and also forced “Darbar Sahib” to light up the holiest shrine for the first time since Indian army’s attack on the Golden Temple in 1984.
No we have not forgotten the atrocities, nor the desecration of “Sri Akhal Takht” nor the slaying of Sikh leader Sant Bhinderwale jee and we never will.
So what did P.M. Rajiv Gandhi offer Punjab in 1988? Wasn’t it 2 mixed bag of more of the same; few carrots for the moderates and more wipes and sticks with bullets for the militants?
Carrot: “Pepsi collaboration” for Punjab was given and goes ahead after five years of holding the state to ransom and thereby impending economic development of the state. And it may take another 5 years to clear other hurdles before the project becomes operational and offers employment to the Sikh youths in Punjab.
Sticks: Centre was largely successful in pitting the Sikhs against Sikhs in order to weaken them and buying more time to procrastinate the problem of autonomy for Punjab. Punjab was made to drown in manmade floods from the water of Bhakra Nangral Dam, crops and properties worth billions were destroyed.
For the Sikhs living outside India, pressure was kept through its diplomatic centers all over the world, threats, international political and economic muscle. Trade and contracts with India was used a bargaining tool to curb the activities of Sikhs supporting autonomy via peaceful means. Visa for Punjab continued to be used as another scare tactic.
Western officials and politicians were bribed to reward them for their services of suppression. (Ms. Judy Russel), a U.S. prosecutor in case of 2 Sikhs being held in N.J. on fake charges is a classic example of this.) Many other such cases may have gone unnoticed or uncovered.
What have the militants accomplished in Punjab? And what good is Khalistan if we lose millions of our young like Bangladesh did where millions were butchered and millions of young women dishonored by fellow Muslims of West Pakistan in 1971. Surely freedom is a cherished dream of all but in today’s age it must be gotten in more intelligent ways rather than sacrificing all our native Francophone and yet managed to gain autonomy under the leadership of late premier Renee Leveque from Canada. It is time to go back to the drawing boards for 1989!
Harbir Singh Little Ferry-NJ
Article extracted from this publication >> December 30, 1988