The recent riots of Gujarat State in India should be studied very carefully especially by the Sikhs. They in some way resemble the Delhi riots in which thousands of Sikhs were killed. The following are some of the highlights of those riots.
- The mob attacks on Harijans and Muslims were led by local leaders of all parties. It appeared all castes and communities were fighting against each other.
- The mob attacked the slum areas killing people who lived in them.
- Police who were trying to control the mob were heckled by obscene gestures by women demonstrators.
- The court intervention stopping certain police officers from entering certain areas were resented by the police.
- The courts constituted commissions of enquiries against the police even though the atmosphere was still very tense in Gujarat.
- The courts appeared to side with the opposition parties and were definitely against the police officers.
- The police revolted attacking middle class residences. For the first time the middle class agitators felt vulnerable to the police attacks. Even the press was not spared. Organized burning was done by the police in broad day light. :
- Harijans were killed in such places as Ambedkarnagar and Bapu Nagar. Muslims and Harijans had to fight together to save themselves from the mob.
- Army with great difficulty brought the situation under control after a great deal of social destruction,
- In spite of all this more seriously, what kind of models these politicians can become to the younger generations? How can a parent/teacher ask his children to use civilized language when the defenders of law of the country indulge in such “despicable” behavior. Psychologically speaking, the symbolic expression of these politicians shows the anger and violence their mind has to mediate. Unfortunately, these are the people who are shaping the reality of our country!
I felt like phoning Mr. John Crosbie to go brush his teenth; otherwise, I would put red peppers in his mouth. I hope it is not a criminal offense!
- S.Sodhi, Ph. D.
Rajiv Gandhi did not dismiss the Solanki’s government.
He even indicated that the demands which had led to the riots will be looked into.
- Delhi government is an ant minority government and one could expect more Acts, laws being passed to reinforce the sociopolitical behavior of the elite middle classes of India.
- When riots break out, all communities are vulnerable. Riots which started as Harijan Hindu riots turned Muslim Hindu riots. It is true that Congress (I) leaders brought this shift so as to point their fingers at the opposition parties.
- Police for the first time has turned against the middle class agitators. Mostly in the past, the police joined the middle class rioters to punish the minorities. It appears that to count on police help is a mystification. Those communities who were armed and organized were able to defend themselves.
4, Minority community individuals living in isolation in remote areas of India are taking a chance by staying there for the sake of their job or business. As the state collapses, there is nobody to defend them unless they can protect themselves by using firearms, etc.
5, No such thing should be done by any minority community individual that can give the majority community a chance to teach the minority lesson. It is the powerless people who suffer the most. The whole of India is suffering from the riot psychosis.
- M. A. MACAULIFFE IN 1893 (6):
Truly ‘‘wonderful” are the strength and vitality of Hinduism. It is like the boa constrictor of the Indian forests. When a petty enemy appears to worry it, it winds around its opponent, crushes it in its folds, and finally causes it to disappear in its capacious interior. In this way, many centuries ago, Hinduism on its own ground disposed of Buddhism, which was largely a Hindu reformation; in this way, in a prehistoric period, it absorbed the religion of the Scythian invaders of Northern India; in this way it has converted uneducated Islam in India into a semi paganism; and in this way it is disposing of the reformed and once hopeful religion of Baba Nanak. Hinduism has embraced Sikhism in its folds; the still comparatively young religion is making a vigorous struggle for life, BUT ITS ULTIMATE DESTRUCTION IS, IT IS APPREHENDED, INEVITABLE WITHOUT STATE SUPPORT.”
- J. D. CUNNINGHAM IN 1848 (2):
“The Sikhs do not form a numerous sect, yet their strength is not to be estimated by tens of thousands but by the unity and energy of religious fervor and warlike temperament. They will dare much, and they will endure much, for the mystic ‘KHALSA’ or commonwealth; they are not discouraged by defeat, and they ardently look forward to the day when Indians and Arabs and Persians and Turks shall all acknowledge the double mission of Nanak and Gobind Singh.”
Cunningham’s Views about the Evolution of Khalsa Raj
— Guru Nanak disengaged the Sikhs from Hindu idolatory and Muhammad an superstitions, and placed them free on a broad basis of religious and moral purity;
— Guru Ramdas preserved the Sikhs from falling into a sect of quietists or ascetics;
— Guru Arjan gave them written rules of conduct and a civil organization;
— Guru Hargobind added the use of arms and a military system; and
—Guru Gobind Singh bestowed upon them a distinct POLITICAL existence, and inspired them with the desire of being SOCIALLY FREE and NATIONALLY INDEPENDENT.
- MARX JUERGENSMEYER IN 1982 (5):
“So it appears that Sikhism as a world religion is at something of a crossroads not surprising for a tradition whose history is a series of crossroads, of challenges and encounters, of choices forced on it frequently by its contact with other religions. But there is enmething new about this particular juncture: it lies largely outside the Punjab, and those who are being forced to make the choices, and who are leading Sikhism into its own future, are those Sikhs who live abroad, in California and Kenya and Canada the frontline trenches in the skirmishes with other religious traditions. It is they, who will help the whole of Sikhism into making the choice of whether its role should be open, or protective, or expansionist, and how it will solve the problem of cultural identity versus universality. It is up to all Sikhs, but especially the Sikhs abroad, to decide. And because of its openness, the future of Sikhism as a world religion is certain to be lively, bright, and bold.”
Article extracted from this publication >> June 28, 1985