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FUTURE OF SIKHS



FUTURE OF SIKHS

  Will Sikhism continue to float on the all absorbent ocean of Hinduism? Successive Congress Governments since independence have done every thing possible to see that the Sikh identity symbols do not get any projection. Under the mask of secularism, they have deployed every possible tool to degrade Sikhism. Promotion of mercenary type of Sikh leaders like Buta Singh, Beant Singh, Giani Zail Slngh etc. is now too well  known. lt is being alleged that about 300 ritualistic saints in the garb of Sikh form are being given covert support-financial and otherwise. The mainstream media is also as a rule discouraging projection of Sikh symbols. According to 1991 census, while population of India has dangerously increased, the Sikhs have shown a negative growth rate. This is a serious threat. Khushwant Singh a famous columnist once wrote that Sikhism will vanish from this sub-continent while Hari Ram Gupta saw emergence of Sikhism in a century. DR. SANGAT SINGH in his book, ‘Sikhs in History’ tackles this vital question i.e. whether Sikhism will be able to survive as a vibrant force or be extinct like Buddhism.

  It is now almost a decade and a half, that Indira Gandhi initiated a considered policy of genocide of the Sikh people. To Justify that in the eyes of her countrymen and to the world, she at first sowed the seeds of violence in the Sikh community. She initiated the policy of state terrorism against the Sikhs as a people. Terrorism by the police and the security forces was supplemented by the rise of state-sponsored terroristic groups under the auspices of the security agencies.
 To provoke the Sikhs as a people, Indira, after a lapse of over two centuries, borrowed a leaf from the Mughal administration and revived the policy of religious persecution of the Sikhs. lt, at first, took the form of tonsuring of keshas of the Sikhs through instruments of the state. Then it took the from of unprovoked and wanton attack on the Sikh places of religious worship.
 The Operation Blue Star and its timing to coincide with Guru Arjan's martyrdom anniversary were pointers lo a resolve to inflict maximum damage on the Sikhs. The armed force's terming of Guru Gobind Singh as the fountainhead of, terrorism, defined the contours of the objectives. Every baptized Sikh was a terrorist, or a potential terrorist, or the one who looked like a terrorist.
 Indira thought like Adi Shankaracharya and acted like Mir Mannu. Her mass scale Sikh-genocidal plan  Operation Shanti, encompassing in a broad sweep the Sikhs all over India was thwarted by her assassination. Pre-empted, the Sikh genocidal plan petered out in the form of Sikh-pogrom in November 1984, of serious  character, in Congress ruled Hindi or cow belt areas.
 This policy was carried forward by her son and successor Rajiv, and wily nilly later by V.P. Singh and Chandra Shekhar governments. lt has been intensified with the induct ion of P.V. Narasimha Rao an old war horse of Indira Vintage, as the Prime Minister. The oppressive machinery was perfected by K.P.S. Gill, Director General of Punjab Police, who introduced a graded system of prizes for killing of the Sikhs, termed terrorists.
 The goings on in Punjab since 1980 are to be seen in this light. Grave' provocation and persecution of the Sikhs caused a back lash. lt gave rise to militancy, the way the government had foreseen and wanted it. lt gave birth to numerous militant groups, and individual acts of heroism. Accounted for more than a 100 members. And, of the total acts of terrorism, militants accounted for hardly 15 percent of them. The police and security forces, and state- sponsored terroristic groups, accounted for the bulk 75 percent, with smugglers and criminal elements mainly aligned with Congress (l) leaders, for the residue.
 All these incidents, attributed to militants by the State through its media management, have enabled the government to indulge in mass scale killing of the Sikh youth. The police and security forces have excelled in two things-fake encounters and involuntary disappearance of the Sikh youth while in custody.
 In a decade in between the two census of 1981 and 1991, anything between (10 to 12 lakh) Sikh youth have been liquidated one way or the other. In the post-  1991 census period, thanks to killings, only Punjab has registered a negative growth rate in population.
 The rise of Bahujan Samaj party led by Kanshi Ram, and later Janta Dal's Mandal Plan, articulating the community of interests of back ward and the downtrodden people as well as the minorities,. constitutes a serious threat to the upper caste Hindus.
All these have potentialities to push the man in the street to the end of the precipice, and cause an explosion which may ignite a revolution.
 The Soviet Union, based on the Marxist concept of a welfare state, which universally influenced even the capitalist societies, could not last three quarters of a century. Over-centralization was the main enemy. The Gandhian system of polity, based on the principles of deceit and fraud, has completed its half century in 1997 in great turmoil, and will be overthrown if still extant.
What about the attitude across the borders towards the Sikh aspirations in India? The Pakistani leadership would have been less than human if it had not seized the opportunity to fish in the troubled waters, especially when it offered low cost operations. The fleeing of the Sikh youth, across the borders because of state terrorism virtually amounting to genocide in 1980s, presented Pakistan with untold opportunities.
Theologically speaking, lslam been closest to both Judaism and Sikhism. But because of historical processes, there has been a state of hiss between the Muslims in the sub-continent and the Sikhs. Though this was upshot of Brahminical manipulation, both the Muslims and the Sikhs fell into the  trap, and the 18th century left behind a bitter legacy. The liberal policy adopted by the Sikh Misls and the Kingdom under Ranjit Singh did not help bridge the gap. More so, as the Muslims had feelings of their being former rulers while the Sikhs themselves fell into the Brahminical wile and identified themselves as sword-arm of a decadent Hinduism. The caste Hindus, when it suited them, pampered the Sikhs by acclaiming them as their protectors. This had the Sikhs to develop woolly ideas as to the real character of Brahminical Hinduism which throughout history, when politically in ascendance, has been intolerant of non-conforming faiths, and betrayed its imperialist character.
 The Hindus' distancing themselves from the Sikhs in post-independence era, as in their disowning of Punjabi language, and denying them a place under the Sun in the Indian set up. Caused an undercurrent of sympathy for the Sikhs among Pakistani Punjabis. In the developing situation in 1980s, to the Sikh youth the Pakistanis seemed to be enemy's enemy. Could not they be friends? - But, what has been the ground reality?
  Firstly,  Pakistanis- the  establishment, the drug and Mafia barons, the arms merchants have been helpful to the Sikh groups to equip them with small arms available in plenty on Pakistan-Afghanistan borders, but on payment of funds mainly canalised through the Sikhs in U.K and North America. The Pakistan authorities has seen to it that the Sikh groups, like the Afghan Mujahedeen, do not get united, but maintain their distinct entity, and often work at cross purposes, May be, a splintered movement falls an easy prey to manipulation; but it also gets vulnerable to infiltration and subversion. One can give the Pakistani authorities the benefit of doubt because of their knowledge of large scale infiltration of the Khalistani set ups by the Indian intelligence agencies. Sikh youth's fleeing across the borders to Pakistan and getting a receptive treatment, helped to bolster a number of organised Pakistani groups in the United Kingdom to entice the impressionable,  teenage, Sikh girls into a facade of a marriage; and these girls have by and large end up in prostitution houses in pakistan or have been sold to elderly Arab Sheikhs. This has the work of organised gangs, who have at their disposal limitless funds. Such incidents cast dark shadow over the real Pakistani intentions vis-a-vis the Sikhs.
 Three, no govenment in Pakistan, has lent support to the Sikh aspirations, much  less the concept of Khalistan  or raise its voice against grave human rights violations of at any international forum or otherwise. They have kept a scrupulous silence. Rather, Benazir admittedly extended Rajiv Gandhi help against the Sikh militants in 1989. She repeated the performance in 1993 when she came back to power.
A future India-Pakistan armed conflict would pose a grave threat to the Sikhs. The Pakistanis may use the Sikh card in a future conflict, while the Brahmin-Bania establishment may seek implementations of Indira's 'Operation Shanti' to stamp them out. The Sikh strength in the armed forces has now been reduced to just four percent. The Sikhs shall have to guard themselves from being caught in the jaws of a nut cracker. That emphasises their need to have a wise and enlightened leadership, well versed in power politics.
 Dr. Hari Ram Gupta, a down to earth historian of the Sikhs, has surmised that " Sikhism will emerge as one of the world's greatest religions at the turn of the century.' He must have been moved by his reading of the Sikh history.
 Guru Nanak proclaimed his universal mission in 1499. Guru Arjan started compilation of Adi Granth in 1599: that gave the Sikhs their scripture. Guru Gobind Singh created the Khalsa in 1699 and brought to fruition Guru Nanak's mission. Ranjit Singh captured Lahore in 1799 and laid the foundations of the Sikh Kingdom. Bhai Kahan Singh of Nabha wrote his work, Hum Hindu Nahin (We Are Not Hindus) in 1899: that, rather that anything else, did the most to de-Hinduise the Sikhs and Now, they are heading towards 1999. That would mark completion of 500 yeans of Guru Nanak's proclaiming his universal mission. Are the Sikhs going to attain their objectives for which they are struggling, as of now? ls Sikhism heading towards a new era of 'hope and progress? This brings us to the state of present Sikh leadership.
 It must be stated at the outset that during the present century, the Sikh leadership has shown a critical lack of capability to do strategic thinking, much less strategic policy planning.
 It can be stated without any fear of contradiction that the present leadership  derives its sustenance and inspiration from the Gurdwara reform movement  1920-25. It is a matter of fact that the movement did not throw up a man of vision to charter the Sikh Panth. Incidentally, that was in sharp contrast to the Singh Sabha movement in last quarter of the last century's throwing up Prof Gurmukh Singh whose vision, dogged determination and pragmatic approach led to the Khalsa rehat maryada, code of conduct, emerging as the focal point of Sikh revivalism. To a discernible observer, it would be obvious that the present Sikh leadership is as fractured as it was in mid-1940s, on the eve of Indian independence-rather decolonisation of the sub-continent when the infiltrators and time servers were on the top. lt can not deliver the goods.
 Surprisingly, the Sikh polity continues to be managed by semi literate, Jathedar types, that have now for long outlived their utility. The Japanese samurai in 1869 renounced their privileges and ushered Japan as a modern state. Would the traditional Sikh leadership do so, and pave the way for emergence of a new leadership? The All India Sikh Students Federation which was devised to serve as a nursery for the Sikh polity, has failed to shape up to the design. There is a big void all around. Broadly, the Sikh polity today revolves around two Akali Dals Badal and Amritsar. Then, there are mayaki (Vikau) Sikhs, who are rather a permanent fixture.
 Akali Dal (Badal) is, verily, the premier Sikh organisation. lt carries the mantle of traditional Akali leadership, and has the strength and weakness of that heritage. The Sikhs have passed through frustrating times not because of their cause not being just, or lack of any sacrifices, but because the leadership has been oblivious of the change in time that assumption of levers of power by Brahminism in 1947 entailed. Seen in that context, Akali Dal (Badal) falls far short of requirements of the time. Akali Dal (Amritsar) is a conglomeration of contradictory forces, mainly a get together of self-seeking persons moving in different directions.
  Now something about the class of what Kesar Singh Chhibbar (Gurbilas, 1765,), aptly called 'mayaki Sikhs' materialist or mercenary Sikhs. They, for pelf and Power and state patronage, would go to any extent to stab the panth in the back without any qualms or pangs of conscience. This class has throughout has been and continues to be beyond redemption. lt is remarkable that Congress has been able to attract a body of them right from Gandhi's forage into Sikh polity in 1921. For insttance, the quantum of damage to Sikhism caused by Giani Zail Singh and Buta Singh during the last two decades is astounding. Presently, it serves the Delhi Durbar to continue to play havoc with political processes in the Sikh community. Such elements are to the knowledge of every one. But more dangerous are those in league with them and wear a mask.
 Tohra and Talwandihave already done tremendous harm to the Sikh polity. lt is doubtful that they would go into voluntary retirement. They should be shown the door, the way it was shown to Barnala. Tohra was an infiltrator from undivided CPI and still maintains his links with CPM with Surjeet serving as the focal point. That is also applicable to Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee. That was the main reason why the governments agreeing to the enactment of All India Gurdwara Legislation, did not do so. The Brahminical leaders would prefer to bring about disintegration of India rather than permit consolidation of Sikhism.
 The only qualification d Bhai Manjit Singh to claim leadership in post 1984 era was the principle of heredity as brother of Bhindranwale's chief lieutenant, Bhai Amrik Singh. The principle of heredity played havoc even during the period when Guruship became hereditary in the family of Guru Ram Das. Who were Prithi Chand, Dhir Mal and Ram Rai? 
Bhai Manjit Singh is presenfly a prisoner in the hands of Mayaki Sikhs and has no independent existence of his own. He has already been used as a pawn in the decision leading to boycott of elections by the Panthic organisations in 1991-92, giving a cakewalk to Congress (l) in Punjab. His mentor and principal architect, Gurbachan Singh Manochahal has been eliminated in cold blood. Could one expect Manjit Singh to see the writing on the wall? Could he sever his links with 'Mayaki Sikhs' and renounce his political ambitions? That also applies to Kartar Singh Narang of Babbar Akali Dal of dubious character.
  The Sikhs at present need a leader who can come up to international standing. From among the present leaders, only Sirmranjit Singh Mann stands apart. He speaks of the Sikh problem in terms of international conventions and covenants, of human rights and dignified living. He talks of solution of the Sikh problem within the framework of artlcle 51 of the Constitution. His statement that the Sikhs would not participate in the event of war with Pakistan, and his intervention in the Babri Masjid Ram Janam Bhoomi imbroglio reflected the depth of his understanding of the issues involved. His apparent inconsistency reflects characteristics of a great mind. These were the qualities which at the time of Indian independence both the Congress and the Muslim League leaders had, and not the Sikh leaders.
 Mann's emerging as a full fledged leader of the Panth was thwarted by V.P.Singh government’s deliberate decision not to hold Punjab elections in early 1990. BJP, CPM, Congress (l) and a section of Janta Dal, combined to prevent blossoming Mann on Punjab scene, as he was trailing a new light on the political horizon. He has, by now, committed some tactical mistakes in showing critical lack of characteristics of some of the Sikh leaders. That may have been upshot of the ground situation. He has since been special target of the police and security forces, and detained for unnecessarily long periods on trivial matters. There has been a conscious effort to ground him.
As of now, the Sikh polity is in need of a realignment of forces. One can thinko f Badal, Mann, Sukhjinder Singh to be men ideologically working on the same wave length. They have been propelled by the same objective the good of the panth. They together with men like Justice Ajit Singh Bains and a host of others, could constitute a Presidium to charter the Sikh polity through the difficult period that lies ahead.
Now, as to the party plank. Mann Akali Dal had adopted a correct attitude in defining its goal in 1990 within the framework of the Anandpur Sahib Resolutions.
The Cabinet Mission Plan held out certain assurances to the Sikhs as a people, not to Punjab whatever its shape. Jawaharlal Nehru, the modern day Chanakya had, inaugurating the Constituent Assembly in end-1946, spoken that:-
 “Adequate safeguards would be provided for minorities. It was a deliberation, a pledge and an undertaking before the world, a contract with millions of India nd, and therefore in the nature  of an oath, which we must keep."
Of course, these types of Brahminical oaths on gayatri and mother cow were taken in post-Khalsa period before Guru Gobind Singh by the hill Chiefs and broken. The commitments under the Cabinet Mission Plan were not frcnorred. Hence, the Sikh representatives did not sign the Constitution adopted in November 1949. Nehru's solemn undertaking, however falsely undertaken, before the world. Patel had lurking fears of the injustice done to the Sikhs in violation of solemn commitments being taken up by the United Nations Organisation. The Sikhs have an impeccable case to take up at the international level.
 Those who talk of Khalistan must understand its background. lt was a plank put forth by the Brahminical Hindus in the mouth of the Sikhs to deny them there dues. History justifies that reading  Jawaharlal Nehru offered Tara Singh a Khalistan right in September 1947, to retard their rehabilitation. Again, when the Sikhs asked for Punjabi Suba purely based on language, Nehru would wantonly put it forth as a demand for Khalistan. That happened in l950s and 1960s. His basic plank was refusal to treat he Sikhs as equals in Hindu dominated India. It was in that light that Indira did the mischief of centre's maintaining its stranglehold over Punjab's resources when Punjabi Suba became inevitable in 1966, With a view to plan and justify the massacre of the Sikhs of genocidal proportions, Indira propped up the movement for Khalistan on the lines laid down by Jawahar lal Nehru:
 The beginnings were made in 1971 when Dr. Jagjit Singh Chauhan raised the slogan of Khalistan. That helped Indira to cause schism in Hindus and Sikhs, and between Jan Sangh and Akalis in Punjab. Bhindranwale said that he was not for or against Khalistan, but would accept it, if offered. Though he stated that the day the army enters the Golden Temple would mark the foundation of Khalistan, he did not make a formal declaration, despite facing the armed might on June 5-6, 1984.
 Shaikh Mujibur Rehman in East Pakistan formulated the well known six point plan for autonomy. That was not acceptable to the established elite of Pakistan. They chose to throw him, as also the Eastern part, out of Pakistan. The Brahminical Hindus have not treated the Sikhs on the basis of equality right from 1947. Would they agree to a decentralisation, as envisaged in the Cabinet Mission Plan, to let the Sikhs a breathing space? Would not they prefer to throw them  out of the union rather treat them as equals? The Sikhs should let the onus of breaking the Indian unity rest upon the intolerance of Brahminical Hindus.
 The Sikhs must first understand the 'enemy'. The word here is used in the same sense that the Indian army used it on the eve of Operation Bluestar. Guru Gobind Singh had spent over a decade for an in-depth study of ancient Indian lore, for a different purpose. But when Senapati presented him his translation of Kautilya' or Chanakya's asking for right thumb of Eklavya as his dakshina, offering, the Brahmins have not viewed equanimously the exercise of power by non Brahmins. And, Daroncharya justified his act, firstly, that the sort of perfection attained by Eklavya in archery was beyond the competence of Arjuna whom he wanted to make the foremost archer of his times; and, secondly, that such attainments would make tribals like Eklavya to aspire for sovereignty. That must be nipped in the bud.
In short, the Sikhs must deeply study the ancient shastras Mahabharta, Ramayana, Manu Smriti, Kautilya or Chanakya's Arthshastra and others to get at the roots of Brahmins guile and chicanery. They must make a deep , study of Brahminial Hindu psyche. For instance they must have on fingertips the characteristics of the main actors in Mahabharta. The Sikhs position is that of Pandavas: they have been cheated out of their rights by numerous kauravas led by Duryodhana and Dushasana, who were not willing to yield the Pandavas in inch of land. Men like Bhisham Pitamah who understood Pandava position to be just, continued to sit by in the Darbar when Daropati was being disrobed, and in the final battle sided with the Kauravas the forces of evila nd injustice. Once the Sikhs realise their positions to be that of Pandavas in the ongoing struggle, issues will automatically frame themselves, and everything will fall in its perspective. The Sikhs must get out of the rut. They must learn from the currents of history. lt suits them to present their case before west, particularty the Americans, in to terms acceptable to them. This is all the more so as ethnic and racial violence, especially against the minorities has become part of international life. Who knows, if lndia chooses to go the Yugoslav way in the next half a decade or so, the Sikhs would need internationat sympathy and support to evolve a viable  place for themselves. Even otherwise the need for international surveillance seems must, to escape from the Hindu stranglehold which is getting tighter. And, they can get international support on the plank of greater autonomy, not secession. The Cabinet Mission Plan (with Defence, Foreign Affairs, Communications, and necessary Finance which Gandhi and Nehru were willing to accept as an Award, leaves sufficient scope for the states to emerge as viable units. Or, may be American pattern of Presidency with devolution of powers and all powerful Governors in states being elected directly by the people.
 But the Sikh people in USA and Canada are caught up in the web of Khalistan woven by the infiltrators or agent provocateurs of Indian intelligence set ups. This is a common knowledge that there are as of now, about 400 agents of Indian intelligence agencies, mainly from Punjab police, functioning in USA and Canda. It must be understood that when one declares for Khalistan, one declares war on India. The declarations of Khalistan managed by Indira and Rajiv were with a view to show to the world that atrocities whatever they were perpetrating on the Sikhs were with a view to uphold the integrity and sovereignty of the Indian union, and hence justified.
 A declaration of Khalistan or a declaration of war is not needed for a people to fight for their liberation. A Hungarian scholar, lstvan Kende, after considerable research has observed that since the Second World War, over a period of thirty years, 1945-76, 120 wars have been fought in 71 countries involving the forces of 84 countries, and not in a single case formal declaration of war was made. India has fought wars with Pakistan without making a formal declaration of war. In recent times Russia and Chechenya have fought a full fledged war without making a formal declaration.
 The self  styled Panthic Committees, or individuals who made formal declarations of Khalistan have done so either under external inspiration or without much deliberation or even basic knowledge as to how such struggles are organised and conducted.
 lf the Sikhs miss the opportunity which will be presenting itself to them in the second half of this decade, because of continued treachery from within and inherent incapacity of their leadership, Sikhism might well be on its way out in India. Already,  considerable cowardicing has taken place among the Sikhs all over lndia including Punjab which has seen killings of genocidal proportions. In the face of actual and incipient violence and state terrorism, a sizeable section of the Sikh youth especially school going children have cast off their keshas.
 Guru Gobind Singh at the time of bringing the mission of Guru Nanak to its culmination by embodying the Khalsa, had, sought and obtained God's benediction. Was that benediction limited by the time framework, say three centuries the benediction was not circumscribed by limitations of time, would exterminating the  Khalsa from the face of India, contradict that? The extermination of the Khalsa from India would inevitably have its adverse impact and chain reaction on the Sikh communities all over the world, and lead to their extermination. Or, perhaps, their identity would be beaten out of shape. Harbhajan Yogi's bringing Tantric fetishes in Sikhism is a case in point. What will survive would be something different that what the Gurus had envisaged.
 Didn't Guru Gobind Singh envision circumstances when the Khalsa could lose God's benediction? Didn't he say that when the Khalsa ceases to maintain its distinctive (niara) character, and when it adopt bipran ki reet, characteristics of non-conformers, he would not look after their state of existence?
 Would the Sikhs realize the gravity of the situation in viewo f the persistent and considered onslaught by the crafty Brahminical Hinduism underpinned by the state power? Right from the Guru period, opposition from within has been the bane of the Sikh Panth. Notwithstanding that, the Sikhs have stuck to the main path and rallied around the connect leadership. That puts an added responsibility on the mass of the people as well to disown leaders of questionable integrity and doubtfuI capacity. The Panth is in need of an enlightened and committed leadership to charter clear from the goals that lie ahead.
 Who knows that the tumults of the next few years may throw up a man of destiny who would assert his undisputed leadership to the Panth unhindered by Brahminical contrivances and internal dissensions. That would be an extreme situation, needing extreme answers. The Sikhs should be mentally prepared for that. Let us await the turbulent drama as it unfolds itself.
 
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2 comments:

DILEEP said...

A human rights case against Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has been dismissed by a US court because the Sikh advocacy group that filed it did not correctly serve Badal with a subpoena; instead, they allegedly served it to someone else.. http://www.americanbazaaronline.com/2013/12/02/us-court-dismisses-case-punjab-cm-parkash-singh-badal/

Anonymous said...

The Sikh religion will flourish in the western direction (prophesy of 10th Master) - one Sikh goes down, 100 000 take birth! (in good decent Sikh families) Let's not forget that one Sikh (male or female) is a fauj (army) of seva lakh (125 000) We need to marry carefully and be ethical: no invitro. No euthanasia. Vegetarian diet. Naam Japna Kirat Karni and Vand Chakna (meditate on Naam, Earn living ethically, and Share with fellow Sikhs.) No intoxicants - stay away from allopathic medicine. No gambling. No dating/dancing. We are all guests on this planet. Treat one another as Gods! Reject caste! Anyone who says canines are bad needs a reality check - man's best friend - dog.
Khalistan Jindabad!!!

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