FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES
The history of our faith is resplendent with trials and tribulations. The faith came into existence as to force to combat tyranny. During 1984 we have been subjected to the gravest persecution I can remember. There has been bloodshed and loss of life. Let us, for a minute, stand before the creator and pay our homage to those who died for the cause or because of it.
I have listened very carefully to the reports made by the various delegates to this Convention. I have also listened to the opinion of many people about many things. Most of all, I have listened to what people might have to say about us Sikhs in the scheme of things.
Those who tell me that the problem of the Sikhs is a local problem, a domestic problem, learned and well informed as they might be, shut their eyes to the reality of the times we. Live in. They don’t read the world map. They do not see the imminent changing geography of nations and peoples. And those people who tell me that the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, has offered us an olive branch by releasing some of the Sikh leaders from his prisons and declaring that he is willing to resolve the question of Punjab within the framework of the Constitution choose to ignore the well documented history. It will be apposite here to look at both the issues. I could perhaps pose briefly before you the issue of history which is being forgotten.
As the time of the withdrawal from South Asia of the British Raj, three nation proposals were discussed. A nation for the Muslims; another one for the Hindus; and a third one for us, the Sikhs. In order to prevent us from seeking an independent Sovereign identity, promises were made to our leaders of that time by the Leaders of the Indian National Congress of a special status in the con-glomeration of States which 1S now called India that is Bharat. Those promises have never fulfilled. What Seen has been denied that learned text by any standards, and to which Mr. Rajiv Gandhi refers when he talks about the problems of Punjab, in my submission, is the biggest fraud played upon the largest number of people in human history. I will give you just one example. By one single sentence that Constitution abolishes _un touch ability — a unique Hindu phenomenon. A noble sentiment expressed equally nobly. But what is the reality of Indian society? The high caste Hindus, it would appear, interprets that Article of the Constitution in a very strange manner. They believe — and there are numerous instances of the expression of that belief — that if you annihilate the untouchables, you will be able to abolish UN touch ability. And it is the protection of that Constitution that the generous Prime Minister of India offers us! It is a document which not only did not have our approval, it was objected to by the Sikhs. Intrinsically, it reduces the Sikh identity to a level of subservience because it does not even recognize us. It does not recognize our customs, our personal law and, the events of 1984 prove, it does not even recognize our freedom of faith. The bogey of constitutional talks has been a favorite past-time of all Indian Prime Ministers. Mr. Rajiv Gandhi’s mother before him and his grandfather before her _ indulged in that past-time. He has inherited the skill. The only difference I can perceive in the situation today is that the Sikh is no longer willing to be taken for a ride. I have held the belief for over a decade that the Sikhs cannot meet with justice in a Hindu India because injustice against them has been constitutionalized there.
And while on the issue of Constitutions, I would also like to point out that in 1947 when Pakistan came into being, it had two parts — the West and the East. Today, there 1s one Pakistan. And there is one Bangladesh. Currently I am being projected internationally by vested interests as a terrorist because I stand firm on my demand for the right to breathe free air and to have a country that I can call my own. Refer back to the files of some of the most respected leaders of the world. They have all been called terrorists, at one time or another, by the forces of imperialism. Sheikh Mujib. Pandit Nehru. Mr. Menachem Begin. George Washington. Lenin. Garibaldi. Danton. And poor me. What a list! What an irony! But if Bangladesh could come into existence as a legal sovereign nation, if Israel could be created as a sovereign State, if Syria and Transjordan could be reshaped and remolded and if the land mass of South Asia could be truncated, then it is my earnest claim that Khalistan can become a reality too. You may call it a Sikh homeland. You may say it is the Sikh nation. I give it the name of Khalistan, which derives from our faith in Khalsa.
Let us look at the issue of changing geography. The Soviet Union is almost on the door-steps of India. It needs effective facilities to create a presence in the Indian Ocean. It does not have a Navy capable of policing the area by, what one would call remote control. The Soviet Union needs strategic bases in that region. It has already been thrown out of Egypt. The Middle-East equation is changing already. China has made an entry into the drama. The American might surrounds the Soviet land. And India, the golden trophy, the jewel of the Empire, a ripe pear, is almost ready to fall under the Soviet spell. And the Sikhs oppose that. If the Sikhs could be discredited, demoralized and even liquidated, Visakhapatnam could be a, Soviet controlled port. The Sikhs are an important farming group they produce nearly 65% of marketable surplus in — agricultural products. They are in the defense forces. They are in business and in industry. And they are opposed to the godless incursion of the Soviets in South Asia. When Mr. Rajiv Gandhi so glibly promises talks — under whatever ground rules — one must ask a question. Is he free to arrive at a solution? In my judgment, within the political and geographic boundaries of India, that is Bharat, the question of Sikh identity cannot be settled satisfactorily because it is a hindrance to the Soviet designs in that region. However, if the Sikhs had their Khalistan, a sovereign nation with full legal capacity to negotiate and conclude treaties in the family of nations, it could as it would, work as a buffer between opposing interests and bring about a semblance of stability into. The region, be a torch-bearer of faith in humanity and in justice.
As you all know the word justice has no meaning. It is the act of justice that carries weight. In the wake of the assassination of Mrs. Indira Gandhi, which is blamed on the Sikhs and which I feel had become a historical inevitability after the events of June 1984, India, where the Prime Minister offers the protection of the Constitution, had become a mad slaughter house for the Sikhs. The official figures may be what they are; my information is that nearly 30,000 Sikh men, women and children were mercilessly butchered. Some were even burnt alive. Right in the midst of civilized people of Delhi, the capital of India. And the Constitution-waving Prime Minister of India denies that this is an event serious enough to deserve a judicial inquiry? Such brutal killings remind one of Nazi and Soviet methods. How could one be reassured of good faith in these circumstances?
I am reminded of a scene that was enacted in Delhi a long time ago. There was a massacre ordered by Taimur, the tyrant. The invading armies were at it all day. When the sun began to set, Delhi streets were littered with countless bodies. Just then an old fakir came to the main square, approached the tyrant and looking straight into his eyes, he said:
KASEH NA MAAND KI DIGAR BATEGHE NAAZ KUSHI
ZINDA KUNI KHALK RA VOH BAAZ KUSHI
You have put the creation to your sword but if your thirst for blood is not quenched yet, breathe life into these corpses so that you could kill them again.
I believe and have always believed that to combat tyranny in any shape or form; no tyrant is needed to breathe life in the corpses. They will rise of their own accord again and again and yet again.
The Panth did not die when our Gurus were persecuted, tortured and put to death. I am _ being branded a terrorist. Demands. Are being made for my being turned out of Britain. Her Majesty’s Government has made their stand clear. Although a policy of appeasement towards India will no longer be effective, should there be a change of heart and of policy, it is more than possible that I shall be removed from the scene. That, however, is not going to make any difference. The idea and the ideal of Khalistan will gain strength from my blood. It is the only alternative left to the Sikhs for them to live in peace and with dignity. It is my hope that non-cooperation with the Government of India, such economic sanctions as are possible from outside including withdrawals of foreign exchange deposits in nonresident accounts and a policy within Punjab of GROW ONLY WHAT YOU EAT, would yet awaken the Indian people and their government to our ideals. We do not want bloodshed. We want to live in peace with all our neighbors. We want a stable, progressive, prosperous South Asia contributing its might to the cause of world peace. But we can do nothing until we have our’ identity. Until we have our Khalistan 7th April, 1985.