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
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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.