The more I think on this issue the more I get convinced that Sikhs can no longer live with India. There is no choice except to withdraw their option that they exercised in 1947 to join India. Let us review our 388 years long partnership.
- In all these years the Hindu majority never trusted the Sikhs. Immediately after the Independence Government of India issued a circular to all District Heads (Deputy Commissioners) that the Sikhs be treated as criminal tribe. Sardar Patel, the then Home Minister, made it clear that Sikhs should be made to recognize the new reality as to “who are the slaves and who the masters.” In spite of their merit and seniority the Sikh generals were never promoted to the top position of commander-in-chief. Yet the Sikhs did not lose faith in the majority community and continued to honor their commitment of partnership.
- India being multilingual country it was decided to divide it into states on the principles of linguistic units. While all other states like Karnatka Tamil Nadu Andhra Pradesh Maharashtra were created on the linguistic basis, Punjab was denied this right. A long peaceful struggle for 10 years forced the central government to concede this right of Punjab. To make Punjab weaker and smaller Punjabi speaking areas were left out of Punjab. Even Chandigarh capital of Punjab where Punjabis spent a fortune was not included in Punjab.
- Punjab was further denied the constitutional right to Sutlej and Beas river waters. The central government in violation of the constitution created Bhakhra Board (a central government controlled body) through an award by a self-appointed Tribunal. Further Punjab was denied even the right to appeal against this decision to Supreme Court, the highest judicial body. The dispute between M.P. & Maharashtra was decided differently. There the principle of ‘Right to water with the Riparian State’ was acknowledged.
- In India permission by the central government has to be obtained for starting any major industry. The basis for granting this permission is not economic viability or availability of raw material but is always political. Punjab has been consistently denied the permission to start any major industry like fertilizers, automobiles, electrical goods (even wineries), sugar factories, in private or public sector. This has seriously hurt the Punjab’s industrial progress.
- Punjab’s Hydro Electric Power (which is cheaper), is diverted to other states (at 5 paise per unit) and Punjab is asked to install thermal power to meet its own needs. Thermal power is dependent on supply of coal from Bihar and Bengal and is also very expensive 28 paise per unit. There is no rationale in this move except to make Punjab dependent on other states and hurt it economically.
- Sikhs are not allowed Kirpan (sword) their religious symbol which a must for all is baptized Sikhs, eyen on internal flights. No hijacking has ever been done by the use of this Kirpan.
When a peaceful agitation for basic rights and just demands was launched and which continued for two years. Thousands of Sikhs courted arrests. Government of India got worried and directed state owned (T.V.) Door Darshan Radio (AkashVani) and newspapers (through censorship) to paint Sikhs as separatists, terrorists and extremists. Statistics show more murders were committed in U.P. M.P. and Rajasthan than in Punjab in those two years. All this Goeblic propaganda was launched to justify the attack on the Golden Temple and forty other Sikh shrines.
Government of India never declared Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale as a wanted person and never issued warrants of arrests against him. If the purpose of Government of India had been to arrest forty fifty people, the Martrydom day of Guru Arjan Dev (GURPURB, when thousands of pilgrims had assembled, would not have been selected. It was to subdue the Sikhs and tell them “Who are the Masters’ (V.B. Patel). Tanks and armored cars rumbled through the Golden Temple complex and entered the Prakarma and destroyed the Akal Takhat the seat of Sikh Temporal Authority. The Sikh Museum was destroyed after it was occupied. The Sikh pilgrims were shot dead after tying their hands at their back. Doctors and nurses were threatened not to give food or medical aid to Sikhs injured during the Army attack. Children between the ages of 214 years were arrested and women were raped and army looted the Sikh homes.
After Indira Gandhi met her logical end a general massacre was started with the connivance of government officials, Congress (I) political bosses and police. Sikh men were burnt alive Sikh women raped Sikh property looted and burnt. Sikhs were not entitled to an enquiry. All requests for an enquiry were rejected. And this action was endorsed by the Brute majority community who voted the culprits, the perpetrators of the massacre, to power.
The Sikh psyche is wounded beyond repair. How can we live in India where our faith is attacked our holy shrines are desecrated. Where our Akal Takhat is destroyed, where our only museum containing rare manuscripts, historical paintings and unique old valuable collections were deliberately burnt after occupation. How can a Sikh work with a Hindu who has raped his mother, sister or daughter? How can he sit with a Hindu who has killed his father or son? How can a Sikh walk with a bowed head where he once held it high?
Again, what guarantee is there that the 85% Brute majority will not reenact the ghastly scenes under another mad ruler. What guarantees is there that even fraudulent accord will not be discarded and thrown away in a wastebasket by someone like Sardar Patel who, when reminded of the promises of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaher lal Nehru said, “Such political promises have no value and cannot be honored.”
No man in his senses on this earth will agree that Punjab and India partnership can any more survive. The only solution to the Punjab problem, howsoever painful it may be, is separation a Sikh Sovereign State Khalistan.
Let us create Khalistan through good will and not hatred so that we can live like good neighbors in the future.
Article extracted from this publication >> September 13, 1985