With the 2017 assembly polls approaching, there is a blurred view of the election landscape from the Sikh perspective since the Sikh voters are in confusion. On behalf of Sikh24, an interview with Sikh Intellectual Baljit Singh Khalsa was conducted. S. Baljit Singh Khalsa is the Chief Editor of the monthly magazine ‘Vangaar.’
The purpose of this interview is to apprise the audience with and clarify the scene of the current Punjab polity from the Sikh perspective.
Question: How do you see the current Punjab polity from the Sikh perspective?
Answer: After watching the upsurge of Sikh masses in October-2015 following the desecration incidents, the mainstream political parties of Punjab started addressing the Sikh issues. This transformation needs to be considered as a new phase of Sikh awareness.
Question: The mainstream media of Punjab always highlights the mainstream parties of Punjab during the elections. Currently, the media is highlighting SAD, Congress, AAP or ‘Awaz-e-Punjab’ as claimant of the forming government in Punjab. How do you see it?
Answer: The mainstream media of India works under highly deliberated policies directed by the Government agencies. Only mainstream parties having faith in the national integrity of India are highlighted by the media.
We can’t deny that a large section of the Punjab masses is committed to the ideology of the great Sikh of 20th century, Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Khalsa Bhindranwale. But the tragedy is that the mainstream media always succeeds in diverting the mind of the Sikh voters towards the mainstream political parties during the polls. The Sikh voters choose to vote for the one having the low degree of worseness among the three or four main parties.
Question: Before considering about the party committed to the ideology of Sant Bhindranwale, every Sikh voter keeps it in his/her mind that Simranjit Singh Mann didn’t enter the Parliament despite winning the election with an exemplary lead in 1989. What would you say about it?
Answer: See, a lot of Sikh Parliamentarians succeeded to move into Parliament since 1989 and we need to see what they have achieved until now. We need to accept that the pro-Hindutva Union government of India is intentionally treating the Sikhs as second class citizens. Our yelling or screaming in the Parliament of India would leave no impact on them. Instead, Simranjit Singh Mann was right in his decision of not entering the Indian Parliament in 1989. At least he conveyed a global message that the Sikh Parliamentarians were not given the basic rights in India.
Question: Aam Admi Party is being projected as a pro-Sikh party. What’s your opinion about it?
Answer: Any party that hails from Delhi, either AAP, Congress or BJP, could never deliver justice to Sikhs or Punjab.
Question: But AAP leaders are openly talking about putting drug dealers behind bars to end the drug menace in Punjab. What would you say about it?
Answer: The drug menace in Punjab is not as simple as we are considering. There is a proper hierarchy of people involved in the drug menace from its manufacturers to peddlers. Holding only a single person responsible for the drug menace in Punjab won’t be justice.
AAP leaders, especially Arvind Kejriwal, always criticizes the Akali Minister Bikram Majithia, by terming him the kingpin of the drug mafia. Majithia can be part of a drug mafia; however, we can’t say anything without any proof of what Majithia’s position is in the drug mafia. We need to accept that drugs were sold in Punjab even before Majithia and the truth is that artificial drugs were thrown into Punjab in the 1990’s. So, high level planning is needed to deal with the drug menace, instead of playing the blame game to woo the vote bank.
Question: Having experienced the Congress and BJP, a section of the Sikh community is considering the AAP as a far better option, what do you think?
Answer: Expecting support for Sikh sovereignty from any mainstream political party is like expecting milk from a bull. None of the mainstream parties will address the Sikh issues at the cost of ‘national integrity’.
Recently, when Advocate Prashant Bhushan of the AAP said in an interview that the masses of Kashmir should be given the right to decide about deploying the Paramilitary forces in J & K, AAP’s national convener Arvind Kejriwal separated himself and the party from Bhushan’s statement by terming it as his personal view.
Question: Then, what do the Sikhs need to do?
Answer: The path to our goal was enlightened by Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Khalsa Bhindranwale more than three decades ago. Sikh sovereignty is the ultimate solution to all the Sikh problems and we need to pay attention to achieve Sikh sovereignty instead of getting entangled in the day to day challenges.
Currently, we are entrapped to the symptoms of a disease named ‘slavery’. The drug menace and cultism are symptoms of this disease, and, unfortunately, we are too entangled to cure the symptoms. But, when we decide to break the chains of this slavery, all these symptoms will disappear automatically.
We need to support every organization or individual that is committed to achieve Sikh sovereignty by keeping aside our personal rivalries and differences.