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Sikh Contributions to India


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Jasbir Singh Sethi

Houston, TX

Sikh Contributions to India

1.80 % of the persons who gave their lives for freedom of India were Sikhs.

2.For Freedom of India, partition took the heaviest toll in lives, property, businesses, and institutions of Sikhs. 1.5 million Sikhs died, 80% of Sikh assets were lost and 60 percent of Sikhs became refugees.

3.The first serious problem for the unity of India was the “statesâ€. There were 584 Rajas, Maharajas and Nawabs with varying degrees of autonomy. The “Freedom of India Act†gave each one of them three options, to join India, Pakistan or stay independent. Most of the Princes of Rajasthan, Saurashtra, and Central India were seriously toying with the idea of becoming independent. It was the patriotism of Maharaja of Patiala, who in the “Council of Princes†proposed the resolution to join India. The Kashmir problem is troubling India so much, imagine if there were 584 such problems?

4.Maharaja Patiala was the first and only one who opened his state for the refugees from W. Pakistan. His foresight of setting up refugee camps saved millions of lives; his moral support gave the confidence to the refugees to stand up once again. There was hardly any financial burden on national exchequer. Sikhs solved their problem themselves. All the refugees were settled in couple of years, whereas, Calcutta was swarming with refugees for decades.

5.Pakistan attacked Kashmir in 1948 to forcibly annex it to Pakistan. The bickering of the state ruler (A Hindu) and majority leader (Sheikh Abdulla – 90 % of population being Muslims) and negotiations for special status for Kashmir brought the attacking forces to within 4 miles of the capital, Srinagar with its airport in the artillery range and the only means of transport was by air. At that juncture it was not the Indian Army but Patiala State Forces took the suicidal job of flying in under artillery shells and regrouping in matter of minutes to fight back and save Srinagar and then push the attackers back. When Patiala Army had secured key positions, then the Indian Army moved in. The heaviest toll and the initial burnt were taken by Sikhs of Patiala Army to save Kashmir. Even, in the Indian Army the majority was of Sikhs, but Patiala Army was 100% Sikhs.

6.Green Revolution: After Independence, India was perpetually in famine conditions. USA under PL480 gave lots of food grains to India FREE of COST. Only charges were shipping. Even that accumulated to such a huge amount that India could not pay it. Finally USA wrote it off. See Guinness Book of World Records for the picture of a check written for highest amount ever (that was USA forgiving India the shipping charges of PL480). The Sikh farmers, having lost the most productive land to Pakistan and more than 60% of Sikhs being refugees, transformed the barren and desert land of E.Punjab into fertile productive land, by hard work, by innovation and by adopting to latest technology available at high cost and turned Punjab into a bread basket for the whole of India just in one decade. This Green Revolution by Sikh Farmers was taken as a model by World Bank and UNO’s FAA as a role model to be duplicated in many Asian and African countries.


At partition, Pakistan was in two parts, W.Pakistan and E.Pakistan, separated by 1500 miles of India. India was not a piece of cake either. Main land India was virtually unconnected to its Eastern States of Assam and numerous other eastern territories. Physically they were linked by a landmass. But there was no link either by rail or road and terrain was right in the foothills of Himalayas, thick forests, hills and thousands of torrential rivulets. Only link to Assam was through E.Pakistan. Assam Rail Link was built in record time of two years at a tremendous cost of human life too. S. Karnail Singh and his 100% Punjabi Sikh labor and technicians built all this. In the history of Railroading, Assam Rail Link Project has no equal. The Confidential Report in the archives of Railway Board has pictures of many Sikhs who died in the construction of this project in extremely treacherous conditions.

8.In the 1965 war with Pakistan, Sikh soldiers captured and disabled Pakistani Patton Tanks. There was a huge display of “Graveyard of Patton Tanks†near Patti, Distt. Amritsar. Later it was closed to public on US govt. request.

9.In 1965 war with Pakistan, In Tarn Taran and Khem Karan Sectors, Sikh civilians kept feeding the front line soldiers at their risk of lives.

10.Recent disclosures, show that the High Command at Delhi, in 1965 War had already accepted partial defeat and issued orders for the army to withdraw and regroup after Sutluj, but Gen. Harbakhsh Singh and other Sikh Generals defied those orders and defended India’s border and even advanced in Pakistani territory right up to Lahore.

11.In the Olympics, India has been winning Gold in Field Hockey, till S.Harbail Singh was the coach, after that ZERO.

12.1971 war with Pakistan has been termed the only decisive war since WWII. Gen. Jagjit Singh Aurora (A Sikh) won it.

13.Nobel Prize Winner, Friedman states that it is not possible to experiment in the field of economics because it can have dire consequences. The only radical change in the history of Economics (Besides Fascists and communists) is the courageous turn around by Dr. Manmohan Singh; he saved India from certain bankruptcy. His genius created a huge reserve of foreign exchange to give India a breathing spell to reorganize itself. Other wise India’s fate would have been just like many Latin American Countries with triple digit inflation.

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