P.O. Box 180, 1400 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, Ca. 94709
A.THE GENESIS OF SIKH POLITICAL WEAKNESS SINCE AUGUST, 1947:
The Sikhs were the least satisfied, and a powerful section determined to fight in any case, but they were the weakest party of the three and suffered from divisions and poor leadership. The least common denominator of Indian power politics had at last been discovered”.
Spear, Percival; The Oxford History of Modern India, P. 389 The Clarendon Press, London, 1965.
At its Yuba City meeting in early November 1987, the National Council of W.S.0. Resolved to publish a monthly bulletin in order to keep the membership informed regarding all major activities of the organization. This effort is undertaken with the hope of fostering coordination and discipline in the organization for more effective work,
Any news of upcoming events or recent activities should reach this office as soon as possible to guarantee inclusion in the next issue. Only matters pertaining to W.S.O. can be considered for publication. New projects, ideas, proposals etc., should be mailed to the address at the top of this page. Please do not telephone.
- REVIEW OF ACTIVITIES:
YUBA CITY: The annual “Sikh Parade”, or commemoration of the Gur Gaddi, took place on November 1. 1987 with an enthusiastic gathering of over 5.000 Sikhs from many countries. Not ably U.K., Canada, Fiji, and Australia. Local authorities reported few onlookers, and no problems of any kind associated with the 8th annual parade, Yuba City is well known as the largest Sikh community in the U.S., and possibly North America, with over 6,000 Sikhs. All participants in the parade and related activities were in high spirits, and showed a sense of friendship and unity.
On the Friday evening preceding the parade, W.S.O. had a significant meeting, during which crucial matters in the following areas were covered:
- Reports from other chapters of W.S.O.
2, Coordinating with Canadian W.S.O.
- Financial review of the Organization
- Operational review of the Washington, D.C. office.
5, Proposal for participation in the major meeting on Human Rights to be held in New York.
- Facilitation of smooth operations within W.S.O.
The efforts made by Didar Singh Bains. Gurnam Singh Pamma, and their local associates were recognized as it was very challenging to handle the coordination of three days’ activities. Their excellent work, which fostered Sikh unity, can make us all proud
October 24 and 25, 1987, saw the convening of a conference on the UCLA campus focusing on “Crisis in Punjab”. The conference was organized by Professor Stanley Wolpert of the History Department, UCLA
Invited speakers such as Gen. Jagjit Singh Arora, Mr. Inder K. Gujral. And Prof. M.K. Rasgotra stimulated lively discussions, in which the position of the Government of India was thoroughly challenged, everyone seemed anxious to resolve the Punjab crisis, but the problem seemed to become more complex when analyzed. Most Sikh community members, including W.S.O. members, vigorously advocated that without an independent Sikh state, no comprehensive solution can be possible. Many speakers from the audience stated that the grievances of the Sikhs in Punjab are beyond curing, and little trust between Hindus and Sikhs can remain under the circumstances.
The weekend of October 10 and 11 an impressive meeting on Human Rights Violations in the Punjab was held. Several professors and attorneys spoke, including many distinguished Sikh community members. Gian Singh Sandhu, President of W.S.O. —Canada, managed the meeting very well. The Monday following the conference, (Oct. 12) a demonstration of over 3,000 Sikhs created quite an impact ‘on the heads of nations attending the Commonwealth Nations Conference. The most pointed messages were of course directed to Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, who seems to have turned a deaf ear to Punjab and its problems, Clearly, he either has no intention of solving the Punjab crisis, or he doesn’t know how to do so. In any event, the situation continues to worsen. There by attacking a heavy Karma to Rajiv’s head.
In early Fall, a group of W.S.O. leaders and Sangat Members converged on New York’s United Nations Plaza and the Ritz Hotel to demonstrate their opposition to Rajiv’s policies against the Sikhs. Provocative posters such as “Rajiy, killer of Sikhs”, were displayed very effectively. Such demonstrations are very essential to raise the voice of the Sikhs against oppression.
BOSTON: Press release by the Boston chapter in June, July and September brought the focus of the world press to the suppression of the Sikhs. Such worthy efforts are needed in every area of the country. In particular, their handouts (Oct. 19, 1987) at the time of Rajiv’s visit were extremely appropriate in elucidating the Sikh plight. Particular handouts showing the tortured bodies of young Sikhs can bring tears readily to the eyes.
The candlelight vigil of Sept. 21-25. In front of the U.N. Plaza, held in order to draw the attention of the world community on the opening day of the United Nations, was an impressive effort by the Sikhs of New York and surrounding areas,
The letter of October 7, written by Dr. Manohar Singh, President W.S.O. and Dr, Naunihal Singh, Dir. Admn. W.S.O. demonstrated a bold and to the point protest by the Sikhs to the President of Harvard University. Derek Bok.
The participation of our active Sikhs in the International Ethnic parade of American July 1987 was a remarkable example of the universality of Sikhism, All people are part of one Humanity, and the Sikhs willingly and joyfully took part in the festivities. The efforts of Amarjit. Buttar to work with both New York and Boston chapters is noteworthy. His telegraphic message to several heads of state in bringing forth details of the suppression of the Sikhs is an extremely important effort. His active and efficient work is very highly recognized.
WASHINGTON, D.C. On October 20, 1987 many W.S.O. chapters took part in a vigorous protest against Rajiv Gandhi’s governmental suppression of the Sikhs. A good sized section of Lafayette Park became a sea of saffron turbans and dupattas, as Sikhs from W.S.O and other Sikh organizations came together to draw attention to the plight of their fellow Sikhs back in India.
Dr Rajinder S, Bajwa’s sincere efforts are in the right direction, and should be fully supported, Let us all think positively and do whatever is possible to support his coordination efforts among important elements in the nation’s capital.
CHICAGO: Since last year, the Sikhs of Chicago chapters have shown great organizational maturity, discipline and have had a set of accomplishments worthy of note. The success of the Sikhs’ right to wear turbans in the military service, civil service, and even while in jail shows the cohesiveness of Sikh tradition under adverse circumstances. The support of the Chicago area Sikhs for those in difficulties due to their religion race, or unfortunate circumstances is a shining example of how Sikhs protect their own,
ORGANIZATION BEYOND INDIVIDUALS:
‘The issues facing the Sikhs in India are far too serious to be left to the emotional outbursts of a few individuals. An approach on a sophisticated level beyond individual whims and work TOGETHER to develop strong organization. The world Sikh Organization thus becomes the utmost responsibility of the politically conscious Sikh where ever he or she may be ~ in order to foster full.