Editor’s Note: This write up was submitted as a comment under Pathankot Attack: Sikh Activist Exposes Deep Rooted Conspiracy to Malign Minorities. It is being published here for the benefit of our readers.
Punjab situation is terrible but it cannot be said to be unpredictable. Whilst we remain part of the union we will remain under attack, whilst we regard ourselves as a nation we will remain incompatible with the Indian state.
Changes in political leadership will not be able to overturn this fact. India is and was a colonial construct, this is something the Indian establishment are acutely aware of, which is why they are at pains to construct a homogeneous Indian identity, nothing can be allowed to stand in the way of this, certainly not a tiny minority community.
The architects of the ‘Hindu nation’ project view the Sikhs as a problem to be overcome. We can either adopt a new Hindutva inspired identity which sees us as part and parcel of the wider Hindu tradition or we can perish. I genuinely believe that either solution works equally well for them.
The arrest of two GurSikhs in connection with the desecration of SGGS last year was a master stroke on the part of the Indians. Hearing the news was like a punch in the gut.
The Indians used two international phone calls as the basis for the charges. They contended that the two Sikhs were motivated by offers of money and the plan had Pakistani origins, aim being to upset the communal harmony of Punjab.
One very obvious question that comes to mind – whenever these religiously focused attacks take place in Punjab, it is exclusively the Sikhs religious sentiments and symbols that are attacked, why should this be the case?
Given that this was one of around 15 attacks on Sikh places of worship over a huge area in a six day period, do they contend the two Sikhs are responsible for all the attacks?
If the ISI wanted to ferment communal strife in Punjab would it have not been more effective for them to attack a Hindu religious target? Further to this, since they were employing Sikhs to commit the crimes, would they not be logically more likely to attack a Hindu target rather than their own? It goes without saying that any such attacks on any faith are rightly condemned by Sikhs and are entirely against Gurmat.
We must not forget that even though the whole story of Sikhs being responsible is a complete fabrication, it achieved a number of objectives –
- Injection of doubt amongst Sikhs to prevent a consensus forming which could have united most Sikhs in a common cause.
- Defamed Sikhs on the international stage, sadly the mere accusation is enough to allow western governments to side step the issue.
- Allowed them once more to raise the spectrum of ISI involvement, guaranteed to strike a chord with most Indians and unfortunately some Sikhs too.
- Removed the onus on the state to investigate the real culprits, and their organisations, who are in fact state actors.
I hate to use the word strategy because it seems to endow undeserved respectability but this ‘strategy’ proves that the nation state of India has no moral compass whatsoever, that there is no depth to which they will not fall in order to achieve their aims.
This is not because they are more inherently evil than others but because they can justify any and all actions as being for the greater good of India or their Hindu rashtra, depending on the individuals leanings.
This is an important point, whether the individual is a religious Hindutva zealot or a staunch Indian secularist, preservation of the mother land – ‘Bharat Mata’ supersedes all other concerns.
Sikhs do not believe that the ends justify the means but the Indians do adopt such thinking. It is critical we understand this. Growing up in the west we are conditioned to accept authority and we see governments as largely benign, we apply the same measures to India but they are not applicable.
The reason we seem so powerless at this time is because we are unable to collectively identify our enemy. The enemy is not another community or people of a different faith.
Our enemy is the structure/system we call India. It is said that hate is a negative emotion.
I think that there are certain things we should hate, we should hate tyranny and injustice as example, and we should hate those structures that inspire and support it. In short we should hate the nation state of India, whose ultimate aim with regard to Sikhs, is the complete destruction of our Guru given identity.
We need to reject at every opportunity the Indian nation and to make it clear to all that we aspire to leave the union. After all, we chose to join, we can choose to leave.
We no longer need to make the case to Indians, we should in fact turn the question to the naysayers – ‘Why should Sikhs be denied the fundamental human right to self-determination’?
Our goal should be to build a spirit of resistance to all India stands for, we should deny its symbols and refuse to take part in anything that associates us with that state. We should teach Sikh children their contemporary history, encouraging them to reject association with India.
In short Sikhs should view the nation state of India with the same degree of hostility that Palestinians have for the state of Israel. This is not about encouraging hate amongst people, many Jews are anti-Israel/anti-zionist and there are many Indians who are very disillusioned with the Indian state. To be clear we hate the system not the people.
It strikes me that had the June 1984 attack on Sri Harmandir Sahib, led to the burning of Indian tricolours in every Gurdwara car park, every year for the past 31, we would not be in this calamitous situation.
United in resistance we would have by now raised a generation of Sikh activists with the zeal of those from an oppressed nation. Instead we have created a generation that is confused and frustrated, unable to distinguish truth from lies. We have even adopted the labels foisted upon us by our oppressors – moderate, extremist, Khalistani, loaded terms that are simply divisive, as was their intention.
Many of the youth are unwittingly acting as pawns of Indian policy by drawing distinctions between 1978/Bluestar/Pogroms/Woodrose/Prisoner Sangarsch/dera attacks/cult recruitment/economic disenfranchisement/environmental crisis/drug epidemic/current beadbi situation, when in fact they are all fronts in the same ongoing war.
The pervasiveness of the Indian anti-Sikh independence propaganda is shocking. Seems as though many recoil in horror at the suggestion of Khalistan whilst simultaneously protesting the treatment of Sikhs by the Indian state!
How have a once sovereign people become so convinced that they do not have the right to be sovereign?
The whole situation is pretty bleak but the real tragedy of the Sikh situation is that most still don’t realise they are subject to a war against them.