Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Kanwarpal Singh, a one-time aspiring IPS officer, took to arms after Operation Bluestar

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Once an active member of Babbar Khalsa, he gave-up militancy and joined Dal Khalsa to espouse the cause of a sovereign Sikh state

I believe that the Sikhs want to be the masters of their own destiny. SikhBut this aspiration should not be judged in isolation. The very view that the Sikh religion was created as a sword arm of the Hindus to protect the Hindu religion is distorted, undermining the Sikh Gurus. This skewed perspective must be attributed to the conspiracy by Hindu hegemonists forcing the Sikhs to protect and assert their exclusive and separate identity. The religion, which is based on the concept of welfare of all (Sarbat da bhala), could not be against any other religion.

The Sikh Gurus justified ‘adoption of violence’ as the last resort for conflict resolution but always fought state repression. The Sikh Gurus have set extreme examples of supreme sacrifices; peacefully and by taking to arms in order to fight for justice. Even in the case of Khalistan, the groups fighting resorted to armed struggle only after the government responded by attacking the Golden Temple complex crushing the peaceful agitation launched by the Sikhs for protecting their honour and dignity.

When the Indian Constitution was formed, it attacked the very concept of sovereign Sikh identity by clubbing the Sikhs with the Hindus under Section 25 B. This forced the Akali Dal to articulate the Sikh aspirations and launch a peaceful agitation in the early 50s for a Punjabi-speaking state, but even this was denied by the government. The government further provoked Sikhs by encouraging some sects and sub-sects like the Nirankaris, which resulted in a confrontation in 1978 in which 13 Sikhs staging a peaceful protest were killed.

The Sikhs opted for violence only after the judicial system of the country failed to provide justice to them. Though I admit, this radical leadership couldn’t convert the militant struggle into mass movement the way leaders like Nelson Mandela achieved.

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