Note: Sardar Gurtej Singh is a prominent Sikh ideologue and author. He resigned his commission in the IAS in protest of the genocide of Sikhs in 1984. He is the inheritor of the mantle of Sirdar Kapoor Singh who was the foremost Sikh ideologue and political theorist of his era.
[Mr. Kuldip Nayar often described as a veteran journalist, recently wrote a highly misleading article in The Tribune, It was used by the opposition in the Punjab Legislative Assembly to articulate the point of view of the permanent cultural majority. The article that follows is in response to it. Immediately reproduced below it in italics, is the original article written by Kuldip Nayar.
It will give the reader an idea of the lies being spread even now 28 years after the event when all aspects of the infamous attack are well known]
Kuldip Nayyar’s recent article is as disappointing as all his earlier articles are. It oozes hatred for the Sikhs –as always. A person from Bhatinda told me that he cut it out from The Tribune of the 18th instant, placed it in a sieve and left it over an empty bucket. The next morning he found the bucket full of pure and unadulterated mixture of contempt and hatred for the Sikhs and the Punjab. Nobody holds a brief for the soul selling Akalis but Nayar is not targeting them and is not concerned with the stated reasons for writing: he is exercising power without responsibility. That is what Harold Mcmillan (quoting Stanley Baldwin) would have called the ‘prerogative of harlots.’
From the very opening part of the article we gather that it is written in behalf of “we the people” of India and under the influence of the hindutava fatwa that the Sikhs are excluded from that fraternity which is high on verbosity but miserably deficient in truth, social responsibility, fair-play or human sympathy. Under that delusion of high moral grandeur, he presumes to possess the inherent power to admonish the elected chief minister of the Punjab and his deputy. It leads him to tom tom the official propaganda on the army attack in 1984. By now everyone knows that the army, in reality was sent to forty Sikh shrines to garner votes for Indira Gandhi and to secure her dynasty by polluting the shrines of a rival faith. It went to the Guru’s Darbar with an intention to kill the defenders exercising the legitimate right of self defence.
Those, like Goebbels who make propaganda their goal, meticulously avoid defining their terms. The self-respecting Sikhs in the Guru’s Darbar in June 1984 have rightly earned the epithet of martyrs by the general consensus amongst the some 28 million Sikhs all over the world. They had no political agenda separate from that of the Akali Dal and had no political party to support it. They instilled no fear among the Hindus for the simple reason that the Hindus were fed to surfeiting with hatred of the Sikhs, pumped into their bellies by the then prime minister ably aided by the media. There was no space left for fear. Sant Jarnail Singh is a martyr for the faith and by common consent the greatest Sikh of the 20th century precisely because he defied the might of a modern state to defend the Guru’s Darbar. He stands on the same pedestal as Baba Gurbax Singh who defied the hordes of the Afghan emperor Ahmed Shah Abdali in 1762. He today stands taller than all tyrants who have looked upon the Guru’s Darbar with an evil eye.
Sukhbir has offended Kuldip by not meticulously following his game plan. Consequently his advice to the government of India is to send a few dozen tanks and a couple of commando divisions to the Darbar again to destroy the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee that he believes, is the ‘root of the problem.’ He deems he is closer to realizing the dream of Hindu take over of the Sikh shrines than ever before. The Akalis, under that threat are asked to follow the ‘safe’ path prescribed by Kuldip. Will they oblige?
Every Sikh worth his salt knows that Manmohan Singh, Bikram Singh et al are entitled to their belief if they believe they are Sikhs. The world knows General Tiloka (the commander of forces that attacked Somnath) and Raja Man Singh as a proud Rajput and yet they were but slaves of Mahmud Ghazni and Aurengzeb. The Sikhs have no illusions. A prime minister who cannot apply the universally acknowledged riparian law enshrined in the constitution to the Punjab, has no word over the turban issue with France and shamelessly tells the world fora that the Sikhs in India are equal citizens despite being periodically massacred in thousands by the rulers, is much, much beyond such common emotions as embarrassment. A memorial to the ‘gallant defendants of the faith’ is a befitting tribute and the place for it is in the Darbar complex where also stands a memorial to Baba Gurbax Singh, Baba Deep Singh and Bhais Mehtab Singh-Sukha Singh.
General run of Sikhs regard Kuldip S. Brar no more than a shorn slave of hindutava forces. His only distinction is that he served a dynasty as slavishly as Tiloka and Man Singh had done. Whatever he says is just balderdash to Sikh ears. How the ‘chief minister and his deputy’ choose to deal with the wild threats delivered by Kuldip Nayar and Kuldip Brar is up to them, but the bogey of militancy and separatism has turned out to be a pan of wood and will not cook hatred again.
‘Non-political persons and Sikh organizations too cannot heed the rants of this author for the people being honoured are deliverers who put a stop to tyranny of the state by killing the pretender Beant Singh who had stolen the mandate to rule by employing a diabolical strategem. He ruled to the benefit of a hegemonic power and against the interest of the 6% who had voted for him. He had assumed the mantle of decimating the Punjab all over again after 1984. His victims were toddlers and women among others. The illegitimate desire of the 16% caste Hindus of Punjab (and Kuldip Nayar) to rule the Punjab by proxy may be correct as political strategy, but it is the root cause of most virulent violence that the Punjab has seen since the decolonization of 1947. It is the most virulent species of violence.
Surprisingly, ignoring the fact that the Bhartiya Janata Party is composed of even more hard boiled fascists of the kind Kuldip Nayar is, he still seeks absolute adherence to his views by even that party. It is a classic example of a snake biting a snake. His incitement to them to quit the ministerial posts is however welcome. The realization that both the Akalis and his brothers in the BJP are bowing to the will of the electorate, comes to him but he draws no conclusions from it. So much for his sagacity, under the cover of which, he presumes to issue advisories to all and sundry.]
The Badals are quite capable of dealing with his invectives, his threats and his curses. They have swallowed too many camels to squirm at this gnat. He ought to realize also that those who attacked the Guru’s Darbar, also killed temple servants, children (the youngest one being five weeks old), raped pilgrims, murdered young boys in cold blood, pierced the scriptures with bullets, looted the Guru’s treasury and the quarters of sewadars. Such defenders of India’s integrity their stooges, eulogists or apologists have no locus standi to invoke the concept of integrity. They held humanity to ransom when they burnt the Sikh Reference Library in the fashion of the barbarians of bygone ages.
The ghosts of ‘radicals and insurgents’ are refusing to rise again. The witch’s cauldron out of which they came last time is not as yet on the boil. Many bats wings, cows’ tongues and crows’ throats need to be added to it. Instead of raising such nonexistent threats, why doesn’t the Intelligence Bureau advice action on the Maoist and the Chinese front? Much more than the failure of the constitution, the very existence of the country is at stake. Why is there no one to take on the real threats in flesh and blood? ‘If you are such a clever person’ Nayar, ‘don’t pen black and ignoble’ incitements, says the Sikh scripture (Farida je tu akal latif kaale likh naa lekh)
The Damdami Taksal was a religious seminary, it is now a conglomeration of time servers. The position of Dal Khalsa is too transparent and according to law to invite sanction. No Hindu chauvinist can challenge that with any slight degree of credibility. If Nayar thinks, the credentials of the Punjab government are not above board he may not give them a dime (as he pretends to control the purse strings of the central government). Do it and face the music if you can. Better still it is to dismiss the government involved in the gross criminal act of dispensing siropas in the holy precincts. Criminality of the act stands fully ‘proved.’ You are right Nayar, this government no matter how hard it strives, cannot guarantee peace of the graveyard. Get rid of it instantly. The business of governing for you has nothing to do with the expression of popular will, it must carry out Kuldip Nayyar’s diktat, that is the new doctrine of neo-fascists.
Kuldip Nayar has sown the wind many times before and his country has had to reap the whirlwind. He feels that this process must continue until the Sikhs accept abject total defeat. He will of course want to do that for the feigned purpose of bettering the lot of Sikhs and maintaining the goodwill of people (read Hindus). He will ignore that the ‘incarnation’ Sri Ram could not earn goodwill of these people and had to attack Sri Lanka with an army of monkeys and bears. The Sikhs may fight the country’s battles for centuries, may feed its teeming millions for better part of a century and may have saved the country many bankruptcies, despite being two per cent of the population of India yet they can never earn goodwill for the sentiment is alien to an eternally ungrateful people. It is natural for them to instinctively believe that the Bhakti saints and not the Sikhs visibly confronted the Mughal and Afghan empires while unknown devotees of Shiva who performed the sarpmedhyajna actually got rid of both dispensations. The belief is extended to imagining that the Sikhs fought the British in vain while the mritanjayyajna performed by M. K. Gandhi with his spinning wheel actually forced the decolonisation. The Sikhs cannot be even allowed to live in peace, because the faith of country’s permanent cultural majority in pluralistic society is barely skin deep. It can never allow full application of the written constitution to the Punjab or the Sikhs.
Secularism for it is also a fig leaf. If repeated decimation of Sikhs, Dalits, Muslims, Christians and tribals does not bear it out then nothing else can, except the dominant perception of all the above mentioned people. The permanent cultural majority that is nurturing dreams of becoming a world power wishes to achieve political domination by imposing its cultural will upon the hapless people with the help of the armed might of a modern state. The process is summed up by a single word- hindutava. Those who are still not convinced may refer to the demolition of the 500 year old Gurdwara Gian Godri in Haridwar, an equally ancient Babari masjid, complete control of many Buddhist stupas, the destruction of several churches and the killing of several missionaries. As a modern equivalent of the fate dished out to Buddhits a millennium ago, it hopes to wipe out Sikhi, Islam and Christianity from India with the help of state power. This is the burden of the words ‘secularism’ and ‘pluralism’ in the dictionary of the likes of Kuldip Nayar.
[Playing with fire in Punjab Akalis owe an explanation to the nation
by Kuldip Nayar
(The Tribune 18 June, 2012)]
WHEN the Akalis are out of power, they indulge either in a dharam morcha or some act which would evoke religious passions among the Sikhs. But when they adopt the same tactics while in authority, it means that they want to divert attention from problems like unemployment, drug trafficking and farmers’ lessening incomes.
To the horror of the country, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal filed the other day a mercy petition on behalf of Balwant Singh Rajoana, the killer of former chief minister Beant Singh. Now Badal’s son, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh, is among those who have honoured the insurgents and a few others involved in resisting the Army which was deployed to flush them out from the Golden Temple at Amritsar. Both Badals are in charge of law and order. In a way, they are the custodians of the state. They have not realised even yet that they cannot carry out their duty if they side with militants.
I have been told they had to bow before “pressure”. If the rulers have to act under the direction of insurgents, the state is in for uncertain times. Punjab has been through the phase from the mid-’70s to mid-’80s when the extremists had the upper hand and instilled fear among the Hindus that they were not safe in the state. A hiatus between the two communities began to be visible from that time. The insurgents have now founded a memorial for Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale who, once sponsored by the Congress, challenged the state from within the precincts of the Golden Temple.
Sukhbir’s explanation that the memorial was laid by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) is not credible. The Akali Dal itself controls the SGPC. In fact, the Government of India should get at the root of the problem and scrap the Gurdwara Act. Let the entire Sikh community, not those who are on restrictive electoral rolls, run the gurdwaras.
The problem with the Akali Dal is that it does not differentiate religion from politics. Bhindranwale committed the same mistake and Punjab paid the price. I do not know what the Akalis have in mind because they are traversing the same dangerous path.
How embarrassed must have been Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a Sikh and the new Chief of Army Staff, Gen Bikram Singh, also a Sikh, over what the ruling Akali Dal did to glorify the insurgents who polluted the Golden Temple, the Sikhs’ Vatican? The government had to employ the Army to destroy the barricades and the bunkers that Bhindranwale’s men had built to fight against the Army. How can a memorial be built to perpetuate those who wanted to disintegrate the country and give a bad name to the Sikhs who are proud citizens of India?
Lt-Gen K.S. Brar, who led the force during Operation Bluestar, has spoken in pain about the operation. In an interview to a daily, he has said: “The Akalis are allowing a move to revive terrorism. Siropas are being offered to the kin of terrorists. Militants and their families are being garlanded. Are the Akalis attempting to get the sympathy of militants by allowing such activities?” Brar’s question should better be addressed to both the Chief Minister and his deputy who have not yet understood that they have to crush the divisive forces which believe in separatism.
I do not know why no Sikh organisation or a non-political person of consequence from the community has condemned the honouring of a killer and the laying of the foundation. The Akalis are creating a Frankenstein which will one day devour the peaceful citizens of Punjab.
The silence of the Bharatiya Janata Party surprises me. It is a partner in the state government. The BJP is either giving its tacit support to the radical fringe or sticking to ministerial postings for their personal gain. Both ways, they do not serve the interest of the party or the country. If they are really “unhappy”, as some reports say, they should quit the government. But then they too, like the Akalis, have electoral considerations in view. And the victory at municipal polls must have strengthened their decision to stay with the Akalis.
Whether the Akalis realise it or not, there is a wave of indignation against what they have done at the Golden Temple. But the main anger is directed against the Badals who have gone along with those who had held the integrity of India to ransom. Both the Akali Dal and the Chief Minister owe an explanation to the nation.
It would be, however, pertinent to know whether the Intelligence Bureau warned Punjab about what the radicals and insurgents were up to. Although Home Minister P. Chidambaram is pre-occupied, he should have pointed out in writing to the Punjab Chief Minister about the ramifications of what was contemplated at the Golden Temple. It amounts to the failure of the Constitution, and the state government should have been taken to task.
The Punjabis are oblivious of why the Akalis are supporting groups like the Damdami Taksal and the Dal Khalsa, both known to be extremist organisations. On the one hand, the party is talking of development and requesting the centre for a special package and, on the other, it is endangering peace without which no development is possible. The Akalis should not forget the second innings the people have given them in the recent polls. The reason why they preferred it to the Congress was the promise of development which the Deputy Chief Minister made at every election meeting. People are so puzzled over the presence of the same person in the ceremony at the Golden Temple. His projection as the future CEO of the state is being doubted. How can he guarantee social harmony and development when he himself presented siropas?
The Akalis are playing with fire which may push them to a point where they may feel the heat. The party has too much at stake. It cannot afford to fritter away the goodwill it created in its earlier innings. Faith in a pluralistic society is a commitment which cannot be diluted for placating the radicals.
Secularism is not a fig leaf to be used by the Akalis for their wrong belief that religion and politics are two sides of the same coin. Even otherwise, the ideology of theology is archaic and outdated. Not long ago, it looked as if the Akalis were changing their outlook to imbibe progressive ideas and modern thoughts. The loss is that of the Akali Dal if it wants to cling on to gurdwara politics. The Punjabis will assess them and vote accordingly at the general election in 2014.n
(The Tribune 18 June, 2012)]