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Sardar Tujhe Salaam


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http://www.bangaloremirror.com/article/36/2010031020100310193156415fd301a73/Sardar-tujhe-salaam.html

Sardar tujhe salaam

Vijay Nair is an organisational coach, consultant, fiction writer, critic and theatre director. A collection of his plays and a novel have been published

Vijay Nair

Posted On Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 07:31:56 PM

Nothing has saddened me more in recent times as the brutal slaying of the two Sikhs by the Taliban and their subsequent vicious gesture of sending the mutilated bodies to a gurudwara in Pakistan. Sikhs have always been a part of my life from the time I was growing up in a cosmopolitan town. We had Sikh neighbours, Sikh classmates and Sikh friends. Bad jokes about Sardars were our staple diet and we usually cracked the Barah baj gaye ones in their presence. It’s all kind of baffling in retrospect. For I have never met a dumb Sardar in my life.

I have known hard working Sardars, Sardars with business acumen, mild and affable Sardars, sturdy and macho Sardars who opted to be in the police or armed forces and Sardars who own dhabas that serve yummy food. And yes, I know of a Sardar who is undoubtedly the most civil and upright Prime Minister this nation has known. You can have difficulty in comprehending some of Manmohan Singh’s policies, but I doubt if even the opposition parties can find fault with the gentleman’s personhood. A Sardar is also an integral part of the literary background of this nation and sometimes we find it difficult to separate him from the history of Indian writing in English. I am talking about the irreprisible Khushwant Singh of course, who at 95 continues to be an icon and his book, Train to Pakistan, a must read for any aspiring novelist.

It’s difficult to understand when and why other religious affiliations started alienating the Sikhs, not just as it turns out in this country but in the sub continent as well. We all know about the festering couldron Punjab had turned out to be in the 80’s and the bitter aftermath that resulted in Operation Bluestar and the assassination of Indira Gandhi. But surely the policy of the ruling Congress party that created a Frankestein like General Bhindaranwale was responsible for the misguided aspirations. And then of course the plot played out in familiar ways.

The separatists received training across the border and yet the government of the day displayed little patience and understanding as compared to what fundamentalists and separatists of contemporary times seem to enjoy. The recurring argument to counter all this is the horror of the two bodyguards gunning down the Prime Minister to retaliate against the descration of the Golden Temple . But the entire community paid for it with the son of the slain leader egging on the rioters with statements like “When an enormous tree is felled, there are bound to be tremors.” Some secular statesmanship that!

Despite the persecution, the Sikhs have continued to pour into the public and armed services and do their bit towards strengthening the country.

We only need a bit of history to understand and value this community. The first hymn of the Guru Granth Sahib, the revered holy text of the Sikhs, says, “There is one supreme eternal reality; the truth; imminent in all things; creator of all things; immanent in creation. Without fear and without hatred; not subject to time; beyond birth and death; self-revealing. Known by the Guru’s grace.”

The Gurudwaras welcome non Sikhs and members of any religious affiliation or socio economic background to participate in all their ceremonies. Can there be a better testimony to the inclusive nature of this religion and its members?

The paradox is the ninth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Tej Bahadur Singh lay down his life to protect Hindus from religious persecution in this country and the Hindus turned against the Sikhs a few centuries later. What is not as well known is that during the numerous Hindu-Muslim communal riots this country has witnessed, the Sikhs have very often risked their lives to give shelter and protect their Islamic friends and neighbours. And now the Islamic terrorists are targeting them. A community that evolved to settle differences between two feuding religions now finds itself at the receiving end of the ire from both of them.

The Sikh gurus were mystics. They preached affection and tolerance. The community has internalised it. They are charitable, fun loving and gregarious. They also have one unique quality other Indians don’t have. They can laugh at themselves. Since we Indians are masters of subversion, we have used this commendable quality of theirs against them by evolving a set of jokes in bad taste against them. Little do we know the joke is on the rest of us.

After all what is more heart warming in this country than meeting a young turbaned sardar burdened by his school bag and smiling at you in your child’s bus stop?

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The separatists received training across the border and yet the government of the day displayed little patience and understanding as compared to what fundamentalists and separatists of contemporary times seem to enjoy.

I've thought this too.

I don't see why there shouldn't be an amnesty for Sikhs involved in the 80s conflict if Muslims involved in the Kashmiri conflict are to be given this option. What is it?

Are Sikhs considered more of a threat? They shouldn't be. Khalistanis seem spent as a force compared to other people fighting for regional autonomy in India right now.

Or is it that 'our own' leaders are reluctant to fight for this incase the political balance is disturbed by certain athvaadi's return?

One thing is for certain though, anyone actively pushing for Sikh autonomy without considering the ground level situation in Panjab right now as well as the truth about many, if not most diasporic Khalistanis (in that they are unlikely to leave their western comforts if a Khalistan ever emerged), is demonstrating the heights of ignorance and possibly naivety. Many of them (people who jumped over teh border and are on the blacklist) would probably be shocked at the fragmented state of the quom compared to when they left. It's easy to blame external forces for this but the truth is that many of the causes emanate from within, not outside.

If blacklisted Sikhs return and work on strengthening cohesion in the panth (especially in Panjab), they would be doing a much needed service.

Edited by dalsingh101
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I've thought this too.

I don't see why there shouldn't be an amnesty for Sikhs involved in the 80s conflict if Muslims involved in the Kashmiri conflict are to be given this option. What is it?

Are Sikhs considered more of a threat? They shouldn't be. Khalistanis seem spent as a force compared to other people fighting for regional autonomy in India right now.

The cetral govt of India has already said that they could consider amnesty scheme for sikhs too but Punjab Govt should frame the scheme first.

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http://sify.com/news/let-punjab-frame-amnesty-scheme-chidambaram-news-national-kcuuudagadc.html

Let Punjab frame amnesty scheme: Chidambaram

2010-02-20 20:20:00

, Feb 20 (IANS) Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram Saturday said that the centre could consider amnesty for Sikh youths, who had taken to militancy earlier, if the Punjab government drew a scheme on the lines of Jammu and Kashmir.

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The problem is That Badal will never frame such a scheme because these ex khalistani's are going to be big political threat for him

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The problem is That Badal will never frame such a scheme because these ex khalistani's are going to be big political threat for him

Figures....

I think even the ex-Khalistanis would struggle with the ground level changes that have taken place since their exodus in any case.

So asking the Panjab Government to frame the scheme was the master stroke......very chust.

I'm wondering if a nonviolent campaign for autonomy by ex-Khalistanis would have any effect on Panjab today?

Edited by dalsingh101
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I'm wondering if a nonviolent campaign for autonomy by ex-Khalistanis would have any effect on Panjab today?

The first thing these ex khalistani's or well wishers of sikhism to do is actual sewa of Panth.Only after that they can win hearts ,effect of their on People of Punjab could happen.But it will take time.Meanwhile sikhs should actively watch two things

1) Naxalite movement

2) Population explosion and migration of UP bihari's.

These issue's are going to play a very important role in Indian politics as regional conflicts will rise.

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Meanwhile sikhs should actively watch two things

Brother, globally I could add another two dozen to that list! lol

Seeing as no strong progressive leadership has emerged anywhere (other than in Canada), I say we'd all better be ready for a rocky ride....

I think numbers may shrink significantly in the coming years. But we've been there before as a panth...it's just that we haven't got the fearless soormey or prudent leadership we had before - this time. Let it unfold.

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The reason I stated 2 things because these 2 are most important.there was a report in media that maoists have plan to take over India around 2050.The second day their leader statement came that we will do it much earlier.If that will happen do you think capitalists state like Gujarat,maharashtra, haryana Punjab etc will be part of communist India?They will definately declare their independence

I mentioned about migration because people UP BIHAR'S are migrating at crazy rate .again this will provoke regional sentiments everywhere and some kind of laws to safe guard interests of locals should have to be done.

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Don't worry! I know you were highlighting what you thought were the 2 top concerns from an Indian Panjab perspective. I think we are (globally) going to see a slow down of Sikh numerical growth for a while.

I don't know much about Maoists, are they the same as naxalites/communists?

Where are they strong? What are their aspirations?

It is really strange but the same argument is happening in the UK via the BNP, that 'British' rights are being eroded and White British people should get preference for jobs etc. over others here.

Panjab seems to be drifting aimlessly without any direction right now. I hope the type of knobs that help keep Badal in place...you know who you are...are happy now. We need totally new leadership...someone from another cloth altogether. Akali Dal are just a large landowners party.

Maybe the ex-Khalistanis coming home might stimulate some good change? I doubt it though.

You know what I've realised...for the vast majority of Panjabi Sikhs (and probably all humans) today, the most important thing is prosperity. All other things, be they spiritual, cultural etc. seem to come second for the majority. Once an apna has a cushy number, wherever it is in teh world, they generally don't care about much other than preserving it. Outside of our creature comforts we are very apathetic by nature it seems?

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I don't know much about Maoists, are they the same as naxalites/communists?

Where are they strong? What are their aspirations?

naxalites/maoists are same.Recently they have already overthrown Govt of Nepal the last officially Hindu country and taken over it.

In India they are quite strong at present especially in Tribal areas of Jharkhand,Chhatisgarh,Bengal ,orrissa and states where there is extreme poverty .Day by Day they are getting stronger.Estimated 1-3% of Indian area is under their control Where they are already running parallel.

Governments.Indian Government has no control over that Area

Their aim is to overthrow Indian Govt and establish communist state.Their influence is also increasing in Hindu belt of UP and Bihar.So a civil war is very much possible

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It is really strange but the same argument is happening in the UK via the BNP, that 'British' rights are being eroded and White British people should get preference for jobs etc. over others here.

The difference between BNP and regionalism of India is that migration in Some Indian states is uncontrolled.

People in UK are not flocking in Millions and BNP is against everybody that is not White even the 2nd and 3rd generation Asians.

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