Pogrom of Sikhs after assassination of Indira Gandhi laid the foundation of today’s Hindutva Fascism: Sikh Intellectuals

Chanchal Manohar Singh | November 04, 2020 07:09 AM
Chanchal Manohar Singh

Chandigarh: The Sikh Intellectuals have appealed to the Sikhs that there was a  need to join the struggles of socially and politically depressed and other like-minded peoples striving to establish a truly federal set-up tuned to pluralism and nationalistic aspirations of different cultural entities living in the Indian sub-continent.

Recalling of 36th year of the genocide of Sikhs in Delhi and other cities/towns in 1984 invariably makes the democratic people realize that the pogrom had initiated the transformation of the Indian liberal democratic polity into a majoritarian regime, these views were expressed by a group of Sikh intellectuals.

The joint statement further states in 1984, the Sikhs suffered two lethal and humiliating blows –first the army attack on the Golden Temple in June and then their massacre after four months as consequent to the assassination of Indira Gandhi. 

In the first week of November 1984, the communalized Hindu gangs hunted the Sikhs on streets, trains, bazaars and everywhere and burnt them alive, raped their women and destroyed their homes/establishments in broad-daylight under the watchful eye of the collusive police and administration. Their gurdwaras were burnt down publicly setting ablaze copies of Guru Granth Sahib in the organized ethnic cleansing of the Sikhs. Such killings of the Bosnia Muslims in 1995 has been described as ‘genocide’ and ‘crime against humanity’ by UNO. Around 5000 Sikhs were then slaughtered in three days.

These views were expressed in a joint statement by Gurtej Singh IAS and Sikh Professor of SGPC, , Sukhdev Singh senior Journalist, Jaspal Singh Sidhu Author and Journalist, Gurbachan Singh, editor Des Punjab, Bhinder Singh (GM Industry), Dr. Kuldip Singh Surgeon Patiala, Rajinder Singh (Khalsa Panchayat, Chandigarh), Ajaypal Singh Brar (author), Prof Manjit Singh, Panjab University, Chandigarh,  and Gurpreet Singh, president Global Sikh Council, eminent Punjabi writer Rajwinder Singh Rahi. The statement was released by Khushhal Singh, General Secretary Kendri Singh Sabha, Chandigarh on Tuesday.

This joint statement is in fact a brief document conceptualizing the fascist character of the Indian State built since 1947. Though the statement does not mention the name of Rajiv Gandhi incumbent Prime Minister of India who was at the back of state sponsored massacre of the Sikhs in Delhi and other cities of India.

The joint statement further states in 1984, the Sikhs suffered two lethal and humiliating blows –first the army attack on the Golden Temple in June and then their massacre after four months as consequent to the assassination of Indira Gandhi. As a face-saving exercise, Congress and BJP regimes instituted a dozen inquiry commissions and committees purportedly to punish perpetrators of the massacre. But none was penalized and no justice was delivered to the victim families with indifferent and collusive state machinery shirking its moral responsibility. Those blows, however, awakened the nationalistic Sikh elite from the deep slumber to rephrase their faulty understanding of the 1947 Partition massacre when Sikhs and Hindus together fought politico-religious campaigns against Muslims. Such an apathetic attitude of the Indian State emanated from the fact that since 1947, it has been patronizing Hindu nationalism which aggressively pushing ahead ‘one religion, one language’ campaign and passing it off as ‘legitimate’ Indian culture. Consequently, minorities have been discriminated against and living in fear.

A group of widows of Sikh massacre in Delhi

Viewing the Sikh massacre in political terms, one can easily conclude that after the transfer of power from the British in 1947, the Indian State rather than accommodating the Sikhs embarked upon a project of building a majority community-based Nation-State. Suppression of Sikhs was, in fact, the continuation of the Hindutva’s crusade against the minorities. That is why Hindutva elements and RSS actively associated with Indira Gandhi in the army attack on the Golden Temple and later staging of pre-planned organized massacre of Sikhs. That political agenda later saw the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 to be followed by the 2020 Delhi riots and lynching episodes. The present majoritarian regime under Narendra Modi has now been inching forward to formally declare India as ‘Hindu Rashtra’.

With hopes of getting justice dashed to the ground, the Sikhs, a tiny minority have been forced to examine their present and future place in the Indian polity. Their survival practically hinges around how they constitute a morally upright and socially egalitarian society as per the ideals of Sikh Gurus and Sikh scripture to fight against ‘manuwaadi’ and morally debunked custodians of the Indian State.

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