Published On: Tue, May 14th, 2013

The Sikh struggle

golden-temple-sikh-cc-claude-renault-565Khalistan is one of the outstanding issues the Sikh community of the subcontinent regards as legitimate struggle. From grandeur of Sikh rule in the subcontinent to bitter memories of Operation Blue Star and desecration of Akal Takht in 1984 (which resulted into a mutiny in Indian Military) Khalistan has remained a dream for the Sikhs of India as well as their strong Diaspora around the entire globe.

The recent court acquittal of  Congress MP Mr Sajjan Kumar,who was allegedly involved in perpetuating massacre of Sikhs in Delhi and other parts of India and promulgation of Sikh Congressional Caucus in the US are new trend setters in Indian polity where revival of Khalistan movement in India and within Sikh Diaspora may be taking place with more vigour albeit with softer face. The Times of India remarked with a frustrated tinge as, “the Indian effort to sensitize lawmakers to New Delhi’s concerns began even before the launch of the caucus, but much to the Indian embassy’s surprise and dismay, pro-Khalistani Sikhs succeeded in getting the caucus off the ground. In the process, they are said to have sidelined mainstream nationalist Sikhs”. Indian establishment and mainstream media labels any Sikh organisation or individual as pro-Khalistani who is ready to talk of rights of Sikhs in a proactive tone, those who submit to establishments definition of being Sikh are accepted as mainstream nationalist Sikhs.
With awareness of their glorious past and dynamic culture, the new Sikh generation has effectively used social media and international forums to voice their views in galvanising the Khalistan movement; that is why SJS Bhindranwale is their hero and Sujjan Kumar the ultimate villain.

A snap shot of this great freedom fighter is quoted here from Wikipedia,  “Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale  was a Sikh leader that devoted his life to Sikhism, and is notable for his support of the Anandpur Sahib Resolution. He called for a return to what is considered to be the “pure” roots of Sikhism. He advocated against the consumption of liquor, drugs and laxness in religious practices, such as the cutting of Kesh by Sikh youth. He strongly condemned the Indian constitution’s Article 25 declaring minorities such as Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists as part of Hinduism. In August 1982, Bhindranwale and the Akali Dal launched the Dharam Yudh Morcha (battle for righteousness), with its stated aims being the fulfilment of a list of demands based on the Anandpur Sahib Resolution. Thousands of people joined the movement in the hopes of acquiring a larger share of irrigation water and the return of Chandigarh to Punjab. Bhindranwale has been noted for strongly opposing prime minister Indira Gandhi for alleged policies against Punjab during Dharam Yudh Morcha, or the “battle for righteousness”. Later that year she ordered the attack on Golden Temple, Sikh’s most sacred shrine, in Amritsar on the martyrdom day of Sikh’s 5th Guru, Guru Arjan Dev ji when the complex was full with innocent pilgrims. Since his death, Bhindranwale has remained a controversial figure in Indian history. While the Sikhs’ highest temporal authority Akal Takht describe him a great martyr of the Sikh Nation, who made supreme sacrifice for the sake of faith, the Indian government views him as an extremist”

With recent acquittal of Sajjan Kumar the Sikh community in India, Pakistan and their brethren around the world were badly heart and psychologically wounded, the press reports from India specially Punjab and Indian Occupied Kashmir reflected the general mode of the Sikh community. As per The Hindu, Sikh groups in Jammu held protests over the acquittal of Kumar and blocked the Jammu-Kashmir Highway. Activists of several Sikh organisations led by Harjeet Singh sat on a dharna and took out demonstrations at Digiana on the outskirts of the city. Raising anti-government slogans, the protesters termed the acquittal of the Congress leader as an “injustice” to the Sikh community in the country. “Injustice has been done to us – the judgement has shown that Sikhs are second class citizens of the country”, Mr. Singh told reporters here.“3000 Sikhs were killed on the roads of Delhi – they were brutally murdered – their houses were burnt down,” he said, adding the judgement has shocked the entire Sikh community, who were hoping for justice.“We will fight back. We want justice. We don’t have any faith in the Congress government”, he said. In Talab Tiloo area of Jammu, a group of Sikh youth held demonstrations against the acquittal of Mr. Kumar.
The Sikh youth has found solace through the medium of social media as well as other social organisations around the world to carry out a struggle for Khalistan, the Sikh community in Canada, US and UK has been very active in galvanising support for the cause of an independent state where Sikhs could live with peace and honour. With fertile lands and an enterprising community Khalistan could become an independent and thriving state in the region and could also act as a bridge between Pakistan, India and the prospective state of Jammu and Kashmir.

It may be interesting to mention about hundreds of social networks run by Sikhs and their Diaspora in India and entire globe. The Sikh youth castigated by the Indian government and RAW have migrated online to vent their views on the Khalistan issue. Few examples are the Khalistan.net,Sikh Freedom.com,Sikh Lionz.com and the Roadtokhalistan.net, these nets give a complete history, culture and struggle of this great community, urging the international community and Sikhs all around the globe to rally for their genuine cause. A strategy of struggle for making Khalistan a reality is also tabulated for the benefit of the youth. The news of Oct 2012 attack on a retired three star Indian General Brar in London was not properly highlighted or investigated by Indian or British media for obvious reasons;, General Brar led a ruthless 1984 operation against Sikh freedom fighters right in the heart  of the Golden Temple in Amritsar, and was stabbed in what may have been a targeted attack by Sikh youth in the UK.

Adeela Naureen and Umar Waqar

The writers are freelance columnists based in Zimbabwe.