Youtube has become the main source of many videos regarding the Sikh revival movement in the early 1980s under the leadership of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in Punjab. I was supposed to be studying my biology tonight, but instead I decided to pay a visit to youtube to see if there were any new inspirational Sikh videos out. It soon lead me to watching a documentary on 1984 which once again opened up a Pandora’s box of anger, grief, and frustration. This was not my first Sikh grievance binge watching session, because I was first introduced to the Sikh genocide and injustice in Punjab through youtube many years ago. It made my blood boil back then, and I became a very angry and resentful young man. I read every possible book on the Sikh movement and became mesmerized by Sant Jarnail Singh’s charisma and devotion. I became what most moderates label as a “fanatic.” I could not get the whole situation that happened to the Sikhs out of my mind, and I felt so helpless being a Sikh. With that said, it also created a thirst to learn more about Sikhism, and Sikhi’s focus on an active and disciplined lifestyle rather than passive word.

Throughout the ensuing years my views mellowed out, and soon the movement began fading as our own leaders like Badal in Pujab began sucking the blood right out of it. Gurdwara brawls became the scene of my new found frustration, young Pujabi youth acting like gangsters was a new epidemic, and the obvious complacency and ignorance of our own Sikh people left me stranded with views incapable of coping. I was sick of caring for a cause that had died. Sikhs were now over it, and the movement and events in the eighties became an issue for wannabe terrorists or fanatics to discuss or feud about over gurdwara politics leading to conflict and drama. I did not want to be tangled in a mess of pointless political ideals nor did I want to keep living in the past. I decided after caring, worrying, and stressing over the injustice done to the Sikhs by the central government that all this extra worry was not worth it. My own people did not seem to want to hear about it anymore and my own mother told me that it was not to be discussed at any indian functions or parties, because it might hurt the sentiments of Hindu family friends. I told her repeatedly that the need for justice was not an anti-hindu cause but an anti-government one. “Stop talking like that, and no you are not going to the 1984 rally because you never know who will take your name. When you go back to Punjab they will arrest and torture you,” she would tell me in an alarmist voice. There was no solution to the problem, and no way for me to voice my opinion, so I just moved forward with my life by giving it a very small place in my heart.

I still deem Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale as one of the greatest martyrs of the Sikh panth. I know that this statement in itself is a controversial topic for many, but I am not going to get into the details of my arguement, because I am sure many have already heard why some Sikhs believe this. However, tonight as I began watching those Sikh genocide videos on youtube, I cried. I could not help it for the old wound was now opened once again and the pain came jolting back. The pain and grief of mothers watching their daughters get raped, sons torched alive, husbands burnt after their hair was cut, little babies being thrown on their heads, and countless families losing every single Sikh male in their families. This whole atrocity in Delhi happened as the police watched it all occur in plain daylight. What kind of democracy is this? Twenty years later no apology for the Delhi riots, Darbar Sahib attack, burning of the sacred library, killing of over a hundred thousand amrithari Sikhs in fake encounters. I remembered today why I am a Sikh, and never an Indian.

Some may argue that the movies and videos posted on youtube only instill hate in the youth, but I disagree by stating that they merely instill within the youth the truth of India’s fruitful injustice. Punjab bled heavily during the early 80s and into the late 90s, and no government of India or Punjab has ever apologized for the torture and genocide of Sikhs. I understand that this happened in the past, but try telling that to a widow in Delhi who watched her family burn and is still living with trauma. Try telling a woman in Punjab that all her five sons, the youngest eight, were murdered only because they were Sikh, but it would be better if she got over it because it happened in the past, and India is getting better. I live in California and I am safe from riots, killing, and government kidnappings but I am not safe from my guilty conscious of being a Sikh and accepting what happened.

The future of Sikhs in India may seem bright right now on the surface, but ask yourself why Ram Rahim is not in jail yet. Many Sikhs have died in clashes. Ask why the RSS is so easily infiltrating Sikhism with fake propaganda of the Gurus holding hands with Krishna in educational brochures teaching that Sikhi is under the umbrella of Hinduism. Ask yourself why the Khalsa Action Committee was unable to peacefully protest against Ram Rahim as opposed by Badal. Ask yourself if Badal or the Sikh panth has any leadership with Sikhism as its pillar. Why are Punjabi farmers irrigated without water when our rivers are being diverted by other states? Why are Punjabi farmers given less money for crop compared to other states? Why is not Punjabi an established language in Punjab? Why is Chandigarh not in Punjab? Why is the government afraid of Sikh autonomy in Punjab? Ask yourself how long Sikhism will survive. Finally ask yourself why Sikhism is doing better in pardesi countries like the UK and America instead of India. India is not the home of Sikhs after all the atrocities it has committed, hence I can never be an Indian while being a Sikh.

I am neither a separatist nor an Indian, I am merely a Sikh residing in a country that provides me a safe life of free expression and practice. I don’t want to hear politics anymore as long as I have the Shabad in my mind and Waheguru by my side. I pray just as Guru Gobhind Singh Ji did in the Chopai Sahib that all the Sikhs throughout the world find peace and prosperity. I am a lost soul with much anger and frustration without a place to go or a place to call home. I have the Guru and that is it. I pray for the shaheeds that died in India after the partition through countless acts of government lead genocides. Where is the glow of freedom and justice Nehru and Gandhi promised? I pray to Waheguru that he keeps Sikhi alive and the thirst for the word of the Guru ever present. We have survived the mughal raj when a Sikh’s head was exchanged for little rupees. However, today the khalsa seems to be broken and weak without leadership, a path, or allegiance but I am certain that Waheguru’s light will guide the way in the future, and in his mercy I trust.

I am sorry if I offended anyone or was out of line, but I feel compassionately about the topic of my fellow sisters and brothers being killed without an ounce of pity. Ignorance is bliss, but truth is infinite.

Advertisements