Why Sikhs Must Establish Khalistan

Surjan Singh

It has been observed by the American theologian, Dr. C. H. Loehlin, who spent a lifetime in the Punjab, that the orthodox Hindu evinces little interest in human history. With the possibility of 184,000 incarnations, the Hindu had little interest in this transitory life. In sharp contrast was the Sikhs' emphasis on history. Dr. C. H. Loehlin narrates that a noted Sikh historian has said that, in India, only the Sikhs, the Muslims and the Christians are interested in human history, for they have only one life to live on this earth and so wish to make the most of it. Dr. Loehlin agrees that the Sikh does have a keen sense of the importance of history. And if it comes to a Jat-Sikh, Dr. Loehlin correctly observes that:

"In his boisterous sense of humour, as in so many other - things, he seems closer to the West than to the East."

"That the Khalsa is a State is the earliest clear idea that has emerged in Sikh epiphany and that has been accepted as the true Sikh postulate for the last 300 years.

This was much before Hegel stated that 'only those people can come under our notice which form a State.'

What counts in history is continuity and fecundity. Sikhs must multiply and expand and they must remain at all costs in the vanguard of political activity.....

They (Sikhs) are facing the mortal danger of being pushed out of the main stream of History and of eventual extinction.

Their duty, therefore, is firstly to carve out and establish for themselves a congenial habitat and milieu wherein the guiding impulses and postulates of the Sikh society can freely operate and fructify.

Their second task is to so organize and equip themselves as to play the vital role of being a cultural and political bridge between the Aryan and the Semitic western Asia.

Guru Nanak has warned that 'when the focii of holiness, the spots of sanctity and the areas of pride of a people are violated, desecrated and degraded, then the people sink down into despairing gloom and a state of abject surrender...

Why must the Sikhs be such simpletons as to recommend for themselves renunciation of political power, against all canons of common sense, against all lessons of history, against the historical experience of the Sikh community, against the traditions set by their ancestors, and against the teachings of the Guru?".

In her address to a joint session of both houses of the Canadian Parliament, in Canada, on 19th. June, 1973, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, on an official mission to promote India abroad, succeeded, by a certain omission, in misrepresenting to Canada that Sikhs and Sikhism are not of any significance in India.

The incident is of deep political significance. In modern times, it elucidates what S. Kapur Singh, Ex. M. P., in his memorable thesis, "Sikhism and Politics," was warning against. The episode exemplifies how inwardly the majority Hindu community of India regards Sikhs as a menace to their own security. It shows that India indeed dreads Sikhs as its only surviving political contenders.

Mrs. Gandhi told the Canadian Parliament:

"…India has people belonging to every conceivable faith."

And she went on graphically to name and discuss the presence of Hindus - the majority community - the Moslems, the Buddhists, the Christians, and even the microscopic group of Zoroastrians living in India. But Sikhs? No! Never! They must never be admitted to exist in India, or elsewhere! Her list of Indian religions and peoples was shrewdly chosen, as her speech showed she never mentioned Sikhs.

What must have been closer to truth is that the word "Sikh" disturbs, if not hurts, the Indian Prime Minister. It was painful to admit that there are twelve to sixteen million Sikhs in India; that Sikhs were third rival community during negotiations preceding the transfer of power by the British; that the bothersome Sikhs were still withstanding the efforts of the Hindu steam roller to demolish Sikh religious institutions in India, It must have been too frustrating for Mrs. Gandhi to attempt to admit that, even as she spoke in the Canadian Parliament, Sikhs were steadily agitating in the Punjab, and Sikh political prisoners were jamming the jails in the neighbouring Haryana province, in their perpetual struggle to attain political freedom from the Hindu majority of India.

Really, was "Sikh" necessary at all when "Hindu" had been spoken of by the lady Brahmin Prime Minister? Wouldn't it be a piece of classic Indian statesmanship to persuade the gullible Canadians that Sikhs are a non-entity apart from Hindus?

However, never mind those bearded and un-bearded, turbaned and non-turbaned, male and female, demonstrating Sikhs in Vancouver, B. C., who on June 23rd.1973, imparted to Indra Ji and her ex-journalist High Commissioner that nauseous, sinking feeling, that dragged into shock, from the minute she emerged from the airport. The Akali blue on saffron-yellow placards, carried by Sikh demonstrators, saying, "Make Sikh Homeland," "Free Sikh Prisoners" and "India Unfair to Sikhs," that bugged Mrs. Indira Gandhi in Canada were televised on Canadian and American networks.

To quote S. Kapur Singh, ex. M. P. again:

"The ultimate intent of national 1 integration, as it is implemented today is the Hinduization' of all minority religious, cultural and ethnical groups in India."

Since the Independence, a new era of fanaticism against Sikhs is unfolding. History has over-emphasized the fanaticism of Muslim rulers against Sikhs, while totally missing the Hindu intoleration of Sikhs. However, in the post-Independence years Hindus are catching up with Muslims in directing their relentless fanaticism against Sikhs. The following was a news item in The Vancouver Sun, dated 24th. September 1973:

"New Delhi (Reuter) Mulkhi Ram Saraswate, a 65 year old retired government official burned himself to death here Sunday because local authorities handed over a small park in his neighbourhood to a Sikh temple."

The Sikh case for Khalistan is not merely emotional either. It is said that the idea of nationhood stems in every country from emotion. The Punjab Sikhs are now occupying a frontier or border state separating Pakistan and India. The present Indian Punjab is only about one-third the size of what had been the British Punjab, which consisted of thirty-two administrative districts, corresponding to counties." The Indian Punjab, since its "reorganization" by India in 1966, has some thirteen administrative districts, of which the principal ones are districts or parts of districts, of .the old Punjab. These are Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Ferozepur, Jullundur, Hoshiarpur, Ludhiana, etc. By inclusion of the adjoining territory to the east and south of the Sutlej River, formerly comprising the Sikh princely state of Patiala and a couple of other smaller Sikh states, a new "Punjabi-speaking" Indian Punjab has been demarcated. In the new unit, Sikhs for once are in a 60 percent majority.

However, following the partition of India in 1947, the Delhi government schemed an upset of the Sikh majority pattern in Patiala. Large numbers of Hindu emigrants from Bahawalpur, now part of Pakistan, were settled in the Sikh state of Patiala where today they are concentrated in colonies. And the newly formed "Hindi" states of Haryana and Himachel that now gird the "Punjabi-speaking" Punjab, on its east and north, respectively, each have an appreciable population of Sikhs, especially in the Haryana where Sikhs are also land holders. The area now called Haryana State in fact all belonged to the British Punjab. It was taken out of the Punjab in 1966. The religious and cultural discrimination against Sikhs in the two neighbouring states, since 1966, surrounding the mini-Punjab, is a phenomenon that was highlighted by barbarous desecration of the Sikh holy book and Sikh shrines. This refers to the recent (June 1973) mass civil disobedience demonstrations at Karnal, in Haryana, when over fifteen hundred Sikhs were arrested and jailed.

In September 1973, when Indira Gandhi went to Amritsar, the Sikh capital of Punjab, she was met by over one thousand un-employed demonstrators who hurled rocks and stones at the Prime Minister in heightened protests. Five thousand Sikhs were taken into custody. Despite police and military precautions, an unfriendly crowd were broken up by police squads in Ludhiana (Punjab), also.

The forced isolation of Sikhs in the Indian Punjab, girded by Hinduism, when the counter-balance of Islam has been driven across the border into Pakistan, is a sinister and unprecedented political change in the national life of Sikhs. Of unquestionable significance, at the same time, is the fact that a considerable number of Sikh religious and historical centres, and a cultural investment of Sikhs, is left with their neighbour to the west, the Pakistani Punjab. The birthplace of their founder, Guru Nanak, is at Nanakana Sahib, Pakistan, a well-known Sikh sacred centre. With the border between the Indian and Pakistani Punjabis tightly guarded by Indian army, Sikhs are, thanks to the Indian contempt of Pakistan, foreigners to their own sacred shrines and ancestral spots across the border.

In November, 1972, when a small band of Sikhs, headed by S. Harguranad Singh, ex M.L.A., who was spearheading the Khalistan movement in the Punjab, tried to cross into Pakistan at the Wagah border for the observance of Guru Nanak's birthday at the Nanakana Sahib Shrine, they were taken into custody by Indian government, not by the Pakistan authorities. Months later, they were discharged.

India now sees to it that Sikhs do not gain any access to Pakistan. There are hardly any Sikhs in Pakistan, but there are over seventy different Sikh sacred Gurdwaras and a great many historical and spiritual edifices there dear to the Sikh memory. As far as Indian government is concerned, any association between Sikh and Pakistanis is suspect and intolerable.

A United Kingdom Sikh, with British passport, Giani Bakhshish Singh, visiting Punjab in 1972, was arrested by Indira Gandhi's government and was kept in political detention in the Bhatinda jail for over a year. Upon his release, he returned to Birmingham, U.K., where he was well received by local civic dignitaries and the local British members of Parliament.

Freedom of speech and personal liberty, amongst other civic liberties, are at the lowest level in the allegedly democratic India of Indira Gandhi today. But when she comes abroad she can rise to address a parliamentary assembly, such as the Canadian House of Commons, and pretend the existence in India of those freedoms of which Canada is a leading advocate. General de Gaul, visiting in Montreal, can shout and raise his arms to "Vive Quebec" and "Libre Quebec" and we Canadians are not too upset by the act. But if you are visiting in India, be careful what you utter, especially if you are a Sikh, because your articulation undermines the throne of Delhi and your presence in India, and particularly after a visit to Pakistan, constitutes a clear threat to Indian national security.

In the sovereign Sikh, state of Khalistan Sikhs will be free to practice and preach their religious, political and cultural heritage - a part of which is enshrined in Pakistan. Thus, for obvious reasons Sikhs have to cast off the fetters under which India now keeps them.

The aggression of Hindu India against the smaller Sikh nation, trapped within its power, is portrayed by other events also. While the Muslims of Pakistani Punjab are proud to own and extol Punjabi as their mother tongue, the Hindus of Indian Punjab, in a brazen about face, disclaim their mother tongue, Punjabi, and instead misrepresent that they are Hindi speaking people. The Hindus fear that by their being counted as Punjabi-speaking citizens, larger areas might go into a Punjabi province wherein Sikhs would have majority rule.

It may sound ridiculous, but it is a fact, that both in Haryana and Himachel provinces, adjoining the Indian Punjab, Punjabi is not recognized even as the second official language. In Haryana the second official language is "Sanskrit", a classical written language, like Latin, that is not spoken at all. And in Himachel the second language officially is Urdu or Tamil-Nadu, which is spoken somewhere in remote southern India.

It would appear that India has been aware for some time that Punjab might break away from it someday (i). For all the industrial development that India can boast of since Independence, parts of India other than the Punjab invariably have been chosen for the location of new industry. The national government could not risk investing one cent for industrial development in the Punjab. Other Indian border states have received industrial investment, but not Punjab. It was more expedient to keep the Punjab undeveloped and depressed. The best use, for Delhi, was to use Punjab as a colony for raw materials. Even the world famous Bhakra Dam, built on the Sutlej River in Hoshiarpur district of Punjab, was, by nothing more than a rope trick, taken out of the Punjab and joined to the territory of newly formed Himachel state of India. The electricity produced by Bhakra is distributed to provinces of India other than the Punjab. It is cheaper in those parts of India than in the Punjab where it is generated. When the Punjab farmer is ill the midst of his harvesting or irrigating season, power is suddenly cut off, because the needs of Mrs. Gandhi's India, outside the Punjab, come first.

As India once was a colony of Imperialist Britain, so is the Punjab a colony today of the new Imperialism of Hindus at Delhi. The policy and effort has been to denude Punjab, politically and economically, because of the presence of foreign element of Sikhs who will claim and hold this territory as their own, eventually. Because of the fertility of Punjab and the resources of its Sikhs, Punjab is still the most prosperous and agriculturally rich state, though being continually drained by Delhi. It costs the Punjab farmer more to produce the wheat which the government takes away from him at lower than cost prices. The land holdings in the Punjab, long the backbone of the Sikh people, have been broken up by new laws of Delhi under which Sikhs cannot hold more than ten acres or less per head. The excess land holdings are taken away from Sikhs and distributed to the Punjab low-castes or "Untouchables" who in turn readily return the Hindu favour by proclaiming that they are not Punjabi-speaking but are instead "Hindi-speaking" people of the Punjab. A more apt illustration of killing two birds with one stone could hardly be found. For obvious reasons the apprehensions of Delhi as to the political future of Punjab are well founded.

For Sikhs to give themselves up to these intolerable conditions in India is out of the question. That they will break loose to freedom from such sordid political,' economic and religious sub-jugation is only a question of time and opportunity. The sooner the Khalistan Government, with a Sikh majority rule, is established the better for the Sikh people and for humanity at large. In the case for Khalistan, the advantages that accrue to the Sikh people far out-weigh any disadvantages, in any analysis of their position with the federal state of India of which they are at present a part. This point, affecting minority people in a federal state, was very interestingly discussed by Mr. Pierre Elliott Trudeau (now the Rt. Honourable P.E. Trudeau, P.C., M.P., our Canadian Prime Minister) in "Federalism and French Canadians."

The Mahzbi Sikhs, that is those who formerly belonged to the Hindu system's menial castes, are not recognized by the Government of India as eligible to privileges for their uplift as the "scheduled castes" (under the Indian constitution). This is patently because they have converted to the Sikh faith. But the same castes, "scheduled castes", who have not gone over to the Sikh religion are granted all the privileges. These privileges include a reserved number of admissions to professional schools of training, such as Medical colleges, reserved number of positions in Employment, reserved number of seats or ridings for election to parliament, and every other facility to ensure the "scheduled castes" (referred to by late Mahatama Gandhi as 'Harijans') get ahead of ordinary citizens and do not meet the same competition with others. This surely makes the government popular with this mass of voters, the "scheduled castes". But it is an open affront and injustice to other citizens, especially the Sikhs. The Sikh "scheduled castes" cease to be so once they declare on the forms that they are Sikhs. In this manner, Sikh scheduled castes are severely discriminated against by government policy. People are thus pressured and discouraged openly to stay within the Hindu fold, and not to convert to other faiths, particularly the Sikh faith. It is no wonder that a sizable body of Sikh scheduled castes thus either revert to Hinduism or do not declare Sikhs. In a free Republic of Sikhs, Khalistan, this outrageous treatment of Sikhs will end. All Mahzbi Sikhs, "scheduled castes", will receive fair and equal treatment that they deserve. Thus economically Khalistan would be preferential to many Sikh classes who are now disadvantaged.

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