Comment posted by Abhay under Shaheed post,

“I am happy that you were not there during the days of Op. Bluestar, sounds like you are pretty trigger happy too.

Your blog post also gloats on how you stood up against sikh morality and what not in the face of your pal talking about his uncle’s being a part of the armed forces flusing militant elements out of the temple.

I am also pretty sure that apart from your forays into Punjab once every 3 years or so your connection to Punjab is through these blog posts only. Thats understandable, you know why….

Because no matter how or what you do, it takes more than a swashbuckler to do deeds that help your own people. You can prate about Operation Bluestar and all that, which even the hindus, muslims and sikhs know was a botched operation but you absolutely can’t come here and contribute to the development of Punjab.

I am a Hindu and a minority ethnic group from Kashmir, who were all on the run from internal strife there but I can’t blind myself with irrartional logic by going on a killing spree in my homeland. I have studied for a decade in Punjab, Chandigarh and then heartland of Punjab, Patiala. I graduated with wonderful sikh and non-sikh pals, discussed these very issues with them but I have never seen such venom spilled by them. you know why?

Because they all are in punjab and know that mistakes were committed from both sides post 84 and moreover it was a decadent political establishment that was at blame. No bosy passed a national consensus to persecute sikhs and neither could any group stop this on their own once it got mobilised by some depraved hindus.

On the contrary, you guys who plan to study in the Carribean and Grenada and yakety yak and very conveniently write about your allegiance to sikhi in your blog posts, do you ever plan to invest the time or resources to at least for god’s sake know what had happened by delving deep into the subject?

Ever heard of authors who wrote on all aspects of sikhism, and insurgency, and socio political conditions: like Pettigrew, Jurgensmeyer, Patwant singh, WH McLeod, Brar, Oberoi, Khuswant Singh etc.???

Its time you armed your spite and anger, some of which I can claim to understand, with some intellect.”

My humble response to Mr. Abhay,

Well first and foremost, I would like to thank you, Mr. Abhay, for discussing this matter properly instead of being extremely impolite and disconnected. Some of your points are relevant and taken to heart, but unfortunately you have mostly failed to see why so many Sikhs around the world are particularly hurt about the situation leading to the Sikh massacre during the 80s and mid 90s. We have falsely been targeted as being fanatics, radicals, and terrorists because we demand justice for the genocide in the fields of Punjab and other Indian states during this volatile time in Punjab’s history. I have learned being a Sikh that there are many routes and paths to God whether it be Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, or Hinduism. In a beautiful Sikh Shabad, the Guru uses a metaphor of a garden to explain how beautiful the diversity of people and faith are in the world in which we live. In our Ardas every night in all gurudwaras throughout the world, we ask for the well being of mankind before our own.

Sikhs have a long history of fighting injustice. Our founding Gurus died for righteousness and justice rather than convert or bow their heads to defeat. The Sikhs fought when the Mughal raj threatened both Sikhism and Hinduism while protecting the Hindu women from being picked up at night. We fought when the British invaded South Asia sacrificing the most shaheeds in India while being less than two percent of the population. In the battle of Kargil, Sikhs put down their lives more than any other religion in India once again. Why were we not labeled terrorists and “trigger happy” then Mr. Abhay? I will tell you why, because when we die for your rights and life we are heroes and shaheeds, but when we die for our own people for in the name of justice we become terrorists. Sant Jarnail Bhindranwale, president of Damdami Taksal, used to preach Sikhism throughout Punjab before he was raised by the Indian government in a political move to entice the parties. Thus you are right that it was a politically stirred event which cascaded into the mass murder of Sikhs throughout India.

We want the promised glow of liberty, justice, and freedom in India because we paid so heavily for its independence. We want our brothers and sisters in Punjab to be able to live without fear. Is that too much to ask Mr. Abhay? Let me put the Indian governments quotes directly in front of you so you can have a taste of our oppression in India.

BEFORE INDEPENDENCE DURING SIKH FREEDOM FIGHTERS IN INDIA

“…in future, the Congress shall accept no constitution which does not meet with the satisfaction of the Sikhs” (The Lahore session of the Congress Party. December 31, 1929)
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“…the brave Sikhs of Punjab are entitled to special considerations. I see nothing wrong in an area set up in the North of India wherein, the Sikhs can also experience the glow of freedom.” (Jawahar Lal Nehru, Lahore Bulletin, January 9, 1930)
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“I ask you to accept my word and the Resolution of the Congress that it will not betray a single individual much less a community. Let God be the witness of the bond that binds me and the Congress with you (the Sikhs).
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When pressed further Gandhi said that Sikhs would be justified in drawing their swords out of the scabbards as Guru Gobind Singh had asked them to, if Congress would renege on its commitment.” (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Young India, March 19, 1931)
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“You (Sikhs) take my word that if ever the Congress or I betray you, you will be justified to draw the sword as taught by Guru Gobind Singh” (M. K. Gandhi).”

AFTER INDEPENDENCE THE SIKHS WERE LIED TO BY THE HINDU LEADERS

(TIMES HAD CHANGED)

To preserve the unity of India, if we have to eradicate 2-kror [ 20 millions ] Sikhs, we will do so. (Balram Jhakhar, a colleague of P.V. Narsimharao, the former Indian Prime Minister)

” The Sikhs are a lawless people and a menace to the law abiding Hindus … The [Government] should take strict measures against them.” (Pandit Nehru, Indian Prime Minister, on Sikhs)

“Kya main taqat dushman (the enemy -the Sikhs) ke haath main de dun (How can I entrust power into the hands of the enemies).” (Jawahar Lal Nehru, 1961)

” I hate the very physique of a Sikh because of the turban and beard. ” (Vallabh Bhai Patel, late Indian top politician)

“I don’t give a damn if the Golden Temple and whole of Amritsar are destroyed, I want Bhindranwale dead.” (Indira Gandhi, Indian Prime Minister, communicating with Gen. Vaidya during “Operation Blue Star”)

“We have broken the back of the Sikhs and we will get them elsewhere.” (M. M. K. Wali, Indian Foreign Secretary, June 7, 1984, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Radio 740, As It Happens)

“Let us teach these bastards (the Sikhs) a lesson.” (Rajiv Gandhi, October 31, 1984)

“… a threat to the villagers that all males would be killed and their women taken to army camps to breed a new race if there was any militant activity in their village.” (Brig. R. P. Sinha, Indian Army, March 8, 1991)

“You do not know the might of our armed forces. We will eliminate 10,000 Sikh youths and the world will know nothing about it.” (Chander Shekhar, former Prime Minister of India, CK, 21st October, 1991)

“Raj Bina Nahin Dharam Chale Hain, Dharam Bina Sab DalleMalle Hain” which literally means that sovereignty is a must in order for a religion to survive; otherwise religion perishes (Guru Nanak).

Mr. Abhay I cannot call India my home or Hindustan a secular country. There is hatred and terrorism in the central government against the Sikhs, Muslims, and other minorities. I urge you to ask the Jews of Nazi Germany to get over what happened? Sikhs have fought oppression and tyranny in the past and will continue to fight it today. Many Sikhs left India in the 1980s because living in India was no longer possible as blood was being split on the Guru’s dharti again, and this time by the country we fought for. Our own country became a foreign land of intolerance. The injustices continue in Punjab as the state has been refused equal state funding,  Chandigarh was split from Punjab, its water is being diverted to other states, its commerce is given less value, and suicide by Jatt Sikh farmers are going unnoticed. Cults like the Dera are being funded and let loose by the anti-Sikh elements in the Indian government. The RSS are adamant on distorting Sikhism as Hinduism with false brochures, posters, and books.

When India in June of 1984 decided to invade the Golden Temple on that fateful day when thousands of devotees were present, India made the mistake of turning its back on its must loyal constituents the – the Sikhs. The Sikh library was burned to the ground although there were no “militants” within it. Hundreds of other gurdwaras were invaded during that time also. Then during Operation Woodrose, over 250,000 Amrithari Sikhs were tortured and killed in fake encounters. The pure disgust by which this whole incident happened, is why India cannot be a true democracy. No human rights organization was allowed to enter nor was the media. In Delhi the government sponsored the killings of Sikhs on the streets.

“India is ablaze with hate and anger. In city after city from one corner of the country to the other enraged mobs have gone and are going about systematically burning and looting Sikh properties and assaulting Sikhs without discrimination.” 1The Times of India

“Sikhs were sought out and burned to death. Children were killed, shops looted, cars burnt, markets destroyed, houses gutted. Trains were stopped and Sikhs were picked out and murdered.” Akbar M.J.

“Around 300 Sikh officers and men in uniform were done to death in the presence of non-Sikh soldiers, who stood as silent spectators.” 2 Economic and Political Weekly

Police officers “stood by and watched arson, rape, looting and murder, without making any attempt to intervene to protect citizens brlonging to the Sikh minority, without attempting to dissuade the attackers to call for reinforcements or other support, or even to inform the fire brigade.” 3 Independent Report

“Many people complained that, in some cases, the police were not merely hanging back, but giving active support.” 4 The Times

Mr. Abhay erase your nationalistic feelings and bias against the movement for just a moment, and pretend if you will, that you were a Sikh in Delhi during the riots. You were born in Delhi, and lived there your whole life. You were visibly a Sikh as symbolized by your kara, kirpan, and turban. You also strongly disagreed with Bhindranwale and the Sikh movement in Punjab, because you believed it was political nonsense. Then suddenly after the assassination of Indira Ghandi the Delhi police promise to protect you, and order you to give up all your weapons including your kirpan. Your house and business location are given to the mob via the congress party of India. Soon after, mobs come into your home and force your whole family onto the street and you now have no weapons for self-defense. Your elderly father is taken into the street and doused in petrol with a tire around his neck. You watch him burn alive as the police and mob watch and laugh. Your son is cut into pieces and also lit on fire. Your wife raped in front of your eyes. Somehow you escape with all the trauma, and find yourself twenty years later without an ounce of justice and no longer the energy needed to live nor die. You have become a stone. Their voices have been suppressed Mr. Abhay, and there are only a select few voices in the world left that remember and try to tell their stories. If I am called a fanatic for telling their stories years later so be it. I will not be silenced like they once were.

No government of India or Punjab has ever apologized for the torture and genocide of the Sikhs. I understand that this happened about twenty years ago, but try telling that to a widow in Delhi who watched her family burnt alive and is still living with the 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. Pictures speak a million words, and the pictures of Sikh youth killed and dogs eating their body parts says it all in India. I live in California and I am safe from rioting, killing, and government kidnappings but I am not safe from my guilty conscious of being a Sikh and accepting what happened.

I am glad that you reference Khushwant Singh, because he was one of the biggest critics of India during the Delhi riots and the attack on the Golden Temple. He even wrote about it. AR Darshi was a Hindu politician in Punjab who wrote about the incidents in favor of a simple and generous, Bhindranwale, in his book the Ghallant Defender. The other writers you have listed have been strong advocates against Sikhism from the beginning so please do try and be fair.

“Pug bunkay koi sardaar ne bundaa.” By wearing a turban on does not become a Sikh or a sardaar. A true sardaar is one who lives like the Gurus did before him and in their hukum, will, he lives. Very few are actually true Sikhs. KPS Gill is theoretically a visible Sikh, but the amount of torture and killings he prompted in Punjab equates him more with Hitler or Stalin than a servant of humanity and God. A man who has spilled so much Sikh blood is hailed a hero in Hindustan today, just as Aurangzeb was in the Mughal raj when he put a small bounty on a Sikh’s head. Sant Giani Maskeen Ji in his Japji Sahib Viakiyha explains the line, “Asunk jor haram kor, asunk papee…” (There are many cheats, many sinners…). Maskeen Ji states that circumstances given to men really indicate there inner desires unearthed and the malice within is truly revealed when given a chance to surface. Men like Hitler were given supreme power, hence they committed so many crimes for they were given the opportunity. KPS Gill was given the whole police force and directed it toward cruelty and inhumanity. He was not a Sikh, but instead a mass murderer. Even in the Sikh morcha and movement some Sikhs were probably not in the movement for the right reasons or intentions. Some just wanted to loot, steal, vandalize, and fluster circumstances.

However, the Sikhs in the Golden Temple and other dangerous locations that stayed and fought for hours on end despite impossible victory, are the true shaaheds and heroes of the modern Sikh struggle for justice. Those were the true Sikhs who lived out the history of the Gurus before them like Guru Arjan Dev who sat on a hot plate and burned to death, Guru Tegh Bahadur who fought until his head was torn off, and Bhai Mati Das Gur da pyaara who was split in half. Guru Gobhind Singh Ji lost his whole family and his own life while fighting for Sikhi and human justice. Although he lost so much to the Muslim raj he was still so Godly to exclaim, “Manas Ki Jaat Sabhe Ek Pehchanbo” (All humanity is the creation of one God). These are the true Sikhs who would rather shed their heads than suppress their voices and actions for righteousness and the truth, “Sirr Jaavey Taa Jaavey Meraa Sikhi Sidak Na Jaavey” (If my head goes so be it, but I will not leave my Sikhi).

This Shabad is by Guru Nanak Dev Ji in Salok Vaaraan Thay Vadheek on Ang 1410 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj:

jo tho praem khaelan kaa chaao ||
If you desire to play this game of love with Me,

sir dhhar thalee galee maeree aao ||
then step onto My Path with your head in hand.

eith maarag pair dhhareejai ||
When you place your feet on this Path,

sir dheejai kaan n keejai ||20||
give Me your head, and do not pay any attention to public opinion. ||20||

This Shabad is by Guru Arjan Dev Ji in Raag Maaroo on Ang 1102 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj:

salok ma 5 ||
Salok, Fifth Mehla:

pehilaa maran kabool jeevan kee shhadd aas ||

First, accept death, and give up any hope of life.

Perhaps the most ironic twist in our history is that Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji died for both the protection of Sikhs and Hindus during the Muslim raj. The Hindu community that he sacrificed his life for was of Indira Ghandi’s direct ancestry. Our Gurus and Sikhs have sacrificed so much for humanity, but Mr. Abhay when we demand justice for those who were slaughtered by the government, our Hindu brothers and sisters turn the other way. If our Gurus had done the same to the Hindus during the Mughal raj we would all be living a Muslim lifestyle today.

Your rationale for Sikhs being too angry and radical is truly unwarranted. You will never understand our pain and anguish mainly because you are a Hindu living in Hindustan. We are Sikhs living in Hindustan, a country that denies us our religion in the Constitution and our very right to live. I live in America, because this is the true Khalistan where I can speak, write, and express myself on whatever I will. I have rights. I will not be killed for believing something that is against the majority. The government allows us to practice Sikhism in peace and we have no complaint. This is my new home, but Punjab will always be the dharti of my Gurus and my beliefs, hence I cannot forget about it either.

Milan Kundera, “The first step in liquidating a people is to erase its memory. Destroy its books, its culture, its history. Then have somebody write new books, manufacture a new culture, invent new history. Before long that nation will begin to forget what it was… The struggle of man against power is the struggle against forgetting.” I will never forget Mr. Abhay, and I plead for you to see the humanity in all of this terror, and deem whom the real terrorist entity was and is. Lets stop labeling men as Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims and just see for one moment humanity, because only then can we feel the hurt of death and despair. “Kudrat ke saab banday… Ek jot mai saab jugh objaiya (Men are all One, each with the light of the Lord). In a highly emotional and nationalistic song Rabbi Shegill asks Indians during the Gujarat riots, “Jinhe naaz hai hind par vo kahan thay, Jinhe naaz hai vo kahan hain.” The Pope of Catholicism has also denounced the killings of Christians in India and Iraq. Nationalism becomes very dangerous and divisive when equated with the unwarranted murder of minorities.

I could write a million volumes if I were to give and rightfully so all the horrific accounts that occurred in Punjab and India in the last two decades. I move on with my life, but continue to remember and demand justice. I will surely write many books about the Sikh Struggle after finishing my MD degree. Mr. Abhay I do not have to live in Punjab to care, but I do agree instilling hate is not the solution but providing awareness is.

-God Bless

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