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Punjab and Sikhs’ just demands remain unresolved


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Punjab and Sikhs’ just demands remain unresolved

Sikh Nation needs support for Sikh Homeland

During the struggle for transfer of power in India from the British in 1947, the leading Moslem party, the Moslem League, contended that since India had been seized from the Moslems, they were the natural heirs to the political power after British withdrawal. The Indian National Congress claimed India on behalf of all the communities. The British, as the colonial power, recognised three political groups- the Indian National Congress, the Moslem League and the Sikhs, as having the locus standi to negotiate Indian independence. This reduced the status of the Congress to a party representing the Hindus only. The British had originally set June 1948 as the date for India’s independence. However, because of political manoeuvring by the various parties, communal riots broke out in Punjab, North West India and Bengal as early as in March 1947, causing much loss of life, particularly Sikh life in the Sikh heartland in West Punjab. Upon Indian Viceroy Lord Mountbatten's advice, the British government decided to bring forward the transfer of power to August 1947. In order to induce the Sikhs to side with them, Hindu leaders made all sorts of promises, which resulted in the allocation to India a larger portion of the Indian sub-continent than would have been the case if it was to be a tripartite division. Seduced by Hindu assurances, Sikhs decided to throw in their lot with the Hindus.

The Indian authorities, in 1966, divided Punjab into three parts: Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and the mini-state of Punjab. This came about because the Punjabi Hindus disowned their mother tongue, Punjabi, and instead voted for Hindi, a language a very small minority of the Hindus understand even today. Thus, linguistic aggression was used to undermine the Sikh claim to a united East Punjab. To understand the importance of language as a political factor in the Indian political and democratic tradition, it is significant to note that today Haryana chose Hindi as its first language and Telegu as the second; by like token, Himachal Pradesh boasts of Hindi as its first and Urdu as its second language. Thus, for the Sikh in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, language was used by the Hindu to push him out of his hearth and home. In the numbers game, the Hindu holds all the trump cards. Being swamped by Hindus is a constant fear in Sikh hearts. Long back Mrs. Thatcher, the then Prime Minister of England, expressed fear of 60 million white Britons being 'swamped' by three million coloured people. China has perfected swamping as a political weapon by settling enough Chinese in Tibet to turn the Tibetans into a minority in their own homeland. It is conceivable that given the corruption of Indian politics, Indian authorities can move enough Hindus into Punjab to turn the Sikh majority into a minority. After all a large number of Hindu casual labours from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, do find employment in Punjab during the harvest seasons. But, now, the authorities have started offering to them inducements to put down roots in the Punjab.

Sikhs had even articulated their fears of Hindu domination in the Anandpur Sahib Resolution passed at Anandpur Sahib, the birthplace of the Khalsa, in 1973. The initial draft was perfected and finally passed in October 1978. In addition to propagation of the Sikh faith, the resolution called for the "creation of such an environment where Sikh sentiment can find its full expression." It also demanded the transfer of Chandigarh and other neighbouring "Punjabi speaking areas" to Punjab. The resolution also called for self-autonomy whereby Punjab would have effective control over all government departments and all areas of Punjabi life save for the portfolios of defence, foreign affairs, communications and transport and currency.

The resolution, in practical terms, seeks a Sikh homeland within India where the Sikhs can be master of their own destiny. Jawaharlal Nehru himself had suggested such a homeland in July 1946. It also seeks that in this region the paramountcy of Sikh interests should be constitutionally recognised. Nehru had given an assurance, endorsed by Mahatma Gandhi, that "the brave Sikhs of Punjab are entitled to special consideration." Hence, in political terms, the resolution breaks no new ground.

The second demand is that this autonomous region should include the adjoining Punjabi speaking areas of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan to constitute a complete Punjabi speaking region. This is in accordance with the pre-independence resolutions of the Indian National Congress, which provided that in a free and independent India; Congress will recognise provinces on a linguistic basis. This principle has been implemented in the rest of India, for example Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, just to give two examples.

The resolution also seeks to bring the main contiguous Sikh population areas into a single Sikh region within the Union of India. In principle, one can see no objection to Indian rulers allowing Sikhs to converge on such a national or ethnic region if diversity of India and Indians is to be maintained. But alas, the reality is elsewhere, not at the Centre (Delhi). It hardly matters whether Congress or BJP rules the Centre. The attitude towards Sikhs remains the same. Not only that, now the BJP has started claiming that the Chandigarh (UT) should be made a State on the lines of the Delhi UT has been converted into a State.

“See, we are very clear that Sikhs need a separate state, which we all call Khalistanâ€, says Bhai Daljit Singh, president of the Shiromani Khalsa Dal (SKD), now in jail, adding, “we have our own identity, our own culture, our own ideology which our past experience have shown, can not co-exist in India. While most of the so-called Sikhs have dumped this agenda for their personal gains, we will turn to the masses for support.†And to boost this Sikh agenda, Shiromani Akali Dal (A), SKD, Dal Khalsa and Khalsa Panchayat, all constituents of the Punjab Rights Forum, are holding parleys these days to get united. They are likely to succeed in their mission of converging on a common platform to achieve their goal. Let us hope for the best.

D S Gill

Chair IHRO

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You forgot to mention that it was the Akali idiots who pushed for Punjabi suba. They were so stupid that they had no idea as to which areas they wanted in this new Punjab, so they lost Punjabi speaking areas to Haryana.

Good job as well. My family ended up in Haryana and each time we cross into southern Punjab it opens our eyes as to how good we have it in Haryana (Hissar). Southern Punjab is very much neglected. People claim about the state of roads being poor in Punjab over the last few years, well the southern areas have never ever had good roads. As soon as you cross the border it is like stepping back to some third world country.

I would not like our area to go back to Punjab. Let Punjabis sort out southern Punjab rather than asking for more territory. Very few Punjabis living in Haryana care about being part of Punjab.

The SGPC has ignored Sikhs in Punjabi speaking areas of Haryana. Do you think we now want to be part of Punjab ? NO.

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DKI,

i agree that sikhs need support to establish khalistan...

i also want khalistan but the crunch of it is, is that when u talk 2 the majority of sikhs in punjab they don't want khalistan anymore...

in fact it is sikhs abroad in the uk, usa, australia, canada etc who ask 4 it.

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DKI,

i agree that sikhs need support to establish khalistan...

i also want khalistan but the crunch of it is, is that when u talk 2 the majority of sikhs in punjab they don't want khalistan anymore...

in fact it is sikhs abroad in the uk, usa, australia, canada etc who ask 4 it.

i think that many have them have been through so much hell and seen so much happen to the ppl they love that they have pushed the injustices our community has suffered and is continuing to suffer to the back of their minds.

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the SGPC does not represent the whole of the punjabi community stop singh

They do not represent Punjabis full stop. But they do claim to be the mini parliament of the Sikhs etc. They like to take the golak money from Gurdwara in Haryana but fail to open any colleges etc for the good of the Sikhs in Haryana. In the last SGPC elections the majority of those elected for the SGPC in Haryana were people who want an independent Haryana Prabandakh Committee.

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  • 2 weeks later...

DS Gill of the IHRO is from Ludhiana and this is where his organization is based. Some months back he floated a loose platform of a large number of political, human rights, kisan and khalistan groups called the "Punjab Rights Forum".

They have been campaigning for years to resolve the outstanding issues but it is the Indian government that refuses to enter into dialogue on the Punjab problem.

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