Only Option for a Honorable Survival
by: Kuldeep Singh,
Chairman, World Sikh Council America Region
As the Indian subcontinent celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of its decolonization from the British, the third heir (i.e. the Sikhs) of this subcontinent review their past history and its relationship with the history of those with whom they decided to intertwine their destiny (i.e. the Hindus).
Over a period of time in the political history of the Indian subcontinent, the British annexed a number of independent states and kingdoms. Sarkar-e-Khalsa – Punjab was the last of the free territories that was annexed by the British on March 29, 1849 that too due to the treachery of the commander-in-chief and the Prime Minister of the Khalsa Raj. Right after annexation, the intense desire of the Sikhs to free their country from foreign rule continued with the same spirit of sacrifice and vigor as was present in them in the eighteenth century. The Sikhs spearheaded the movement not only to free their homeland Punjab, but also the entire Indian subcontinent. In 1942, when the Indians living in Burma, Malaysia and Hong Kong organized the Indian National Army under the leadership of Captain Mohan Singh and Rashbehari Bose to liberate India, more than 60% of those who joined were Sikhs. Their share of the sacrifices during the freedom struggle was far more than their population proportion. Out of a total of 121 men that were sent to the gallows, 93 (76.8%) were Sikhs and out of a total of 2,646 people imprisoned for life by the British, 2,147 (81.1%) belonged to the Sikh Nation. Official figures indicate that a total of 2,004 people were killed by the British at Jallianwala Bagh, Budge Budge Ghat, Kuka movement and Akali movement to free India from the clutches of the British colonial rule, out of which 1,457 (72.7%) were Sikhs. Fifty years ago, Sikhs received their first reward for these innumerable sacrifices. That reward was in the form of a confidential memo dated October 10, 1947 sent to all the Deputy Commissioners instructing them how to receive these National Heroes who, according to their own report dated November 23, 1948, have been “deprived of many valuable lives and great material wealth” and are coming to the “free land” with high hopes. The words of that confidential memo were something like this:
The Sikhs, as a community, were a lawless people and were thus a menace to the law abiding Hindus in the province. The Deputy Commissioners are hereby called upon to take special measures against them. You are also instructed that no Sikh will cross Ambala. Keep these germs and bacterias contained between the Wagah border and Ambala.
Is this the way you would like yourselves to be addressed! Is this the treatment you envisioned from your so called Hindu Brethren! Even an enemy is not treated in this manner. Ever since the day of the so called “independence”, the new rulers have left no stone unturned to make the Sikhs politically, socially, economically, and spiritually subservient.
Long History of Betrayal by the Governing Class Hindus
In the present Hindu India or in the pre-partition Hindu society neither the Prime Minister, President nor the members of the Cabinet constituted the “governing class”. The real governing class is the Brahmins (only 5% of total Hindu population) and their close associates, who dictate the policies and terms to the rulers of India. So it does not matter which party rules India, the policies will remain the same as far as the non-Hindu population is concerned. Whenever I refer to this governing class Hindus in my article, I mean only this less than 10% Hindu elite who govern India from behind. If we flip through the pages of history, we will find a consistent history of betrayal by the governing class Hindus and there is a dire need for introspection.
From the year 1695 AD to 1705 AD, the twenty two Hindu Hill Chiefs tried their level best to block the growth of Khalsa Panth. They looked for excuses to oppose the mission of Guru Gobind Singh. They joined hands with the Moghul forces and attacked the great Guru a number of times because he refused to accept the discriminatory Brahminical principles on which the foundations of Hinduism are laid.
In the year 1746, Lakhpat Rai – a Khatri Hindu, who was the Prime Minister of Lahore under Governor Yahiya Khan, took a vow to completely finish the Sikhs. He was successful in persuading the rulers to issue a general proclamation for the extermination of the Sikhs. It was the 10th day of March, 1746 when all the Sikhs living in Lahore were arrested and executed. This was followed by a general massacre of Sikhs wherever they were found. In this campaign, which went on for nearly three months, at least 7,000 Sikhs were killed including men, women and children. This incident is known as a small holocaust (Chhotta Ghalughara) in Sikh history.
In the years 1845 – 46 AD, the Sikh Army, inspite of its best fighting skills, suffered a defeat at the hands of British, because of the treachery of Misar Lall Singh and Misar Tej Singh, the Prime minister and Commander-in-chief respectively of the Khalsa Raj. According to the report published in the June 1849 issue of the Calcutta Review:
“Lal Singh was not only in close communication with British Agent Capt. Nicholson but also understood to have sent a plan of the Sikh position at Sobraon to Colonel Lawrence.”
Tej Singh, on the other hand, is believed to have been instrumental in tampering with his own artillery, thus rendering it completely useless. It appears as if the conversion of both these Brahmins into Sikhism was, perhaps, preplanned in order to infiltrate the inner circles of the Sikhs and thus destroy the Sikh Raj. We lost our sovereignty and independence in the year 1849 because of our trust in them and faith in the wisdom of Dogra Gulab Singh.
According to the Census Report of 1931 compiled by Khan Ahmad Hassan Khan, Superintendent, Census Operation of Punjab and Delhi, a reference was made to a Handbill, which clearly depicts the mentality of the extremist Hindus. They openly campaigned in Punjab convincing people to lie about their mother tongue, which affected the Sikhs the most. They repeated the same bias in the first census after 1947. This Handbill was distributed far and wide on the eve of the preliminary enumeration. The contents of this Handbill are reproduced below:
REMEMBER! CENSUS OPERATIONS HAVE BEGUN
|Question||You should Answer|
|Language||Arya Bhasha (Hindi)|
– The Census Committee, Arya Samaj Wachhowali, Lahore
Warnings by Intellectuals to Beware of Brahminism
Many intellectuals who have studied the Sikhs and their religion have written their observations about the threats to the Sikh religion by the society surrounding them. Mr. Max Arthur Macauliff in his introduction to his monumental work – “Sikh Religion” published in 1899 warned the Sikhs in the following words:
“A movement to declare the Sikhs Hindus in direct opposition to the teachings of the Gurus is widespread and of long duration.”
Mr. D. Petrie, Assistant director of criminal intelligence, Government of India in his intelligence report of August 11, 1911 gave another such warning:
“Hinduism has always been hostile to Sikhism whose Gurus powerfully and successfully attacked the principle of caste which is the foundation on which the whole fabric of Brahminism has been reared. The activities of Hindus have, therefore, been constantly directed to the undermining of Sikhism both by preventing the children of Sikh fathers from taking Pahul and by reducing professed Sikhs from their allegiance to their faith. Hinduism has strangled Budhism, once a formidable rival to it and it has already made serious inroads into the domain of Sikhism.”
Where Did We Go Wrong?
As we look back and try to analyze the facts, we find all fingers pointing toward the majority community with whom we decided to commingle our destiny. Before the British transferred the power, the Hindu leaders made a number of promises just to trap us to join them as co-partners so that they could use this as a leverage to bargain for more territory for India. Had the Sikhs not joined the Hindus, all of Punjab would have gone to Pakistan. We fell into the trap of the pre-partition Caste Hindu society once again as all these warnings fell on our deaf ears. We trusted them inspite of their repeated betrayal. Here are a few of the many solemn promises made by them:
The first commitment was made by the Indian National Congress (A Hindu organization) in 1929 when, at their Lahore session, they, passed the following resolution:
“ The Congress assures the Sikhs that no solution in any future Constitution will be acceptable to the Congress that does not give them full satisfaction”
– Indian Constitutional documents by A.C. Bannerji, Volume II, page 317
Just a year before Independence on July 6, 1946, Jawahar Lal Nehru, the leader of the Congress party and later the first Prime Minister of India, in his press statement in Calcutta, repeated his promise in the following words:
“ The brave Sikhs of Punjab are entitled to special consideration. I see nothing wrong in an area and a set up in the North wherein the Sikhs can also experience the glow of freedom.”
– Statesman, Calcutta, July 7, 1946
The late Jawahar Lal Nehru himself moved the first resolution of the Constituent assembly, which was the most eloquent endorsement of these repeated promises. The words were:
“ Adequate safeguards would be provided for minorities in India. It was a declaration, a pledge and an undertaking before the world, a contract with millions of Indians and, therefore, in the nature of an oath, which we must keep.”
– Framing of Indian Constitution by B. Shiva Rao, A Study page 181
When the government of India was reminded of their pre-partition promises and asked to make provisions in the new Constitution to fulfill them, the following reply was given:
“The circumstances are now changed.”
The speed with which the congress turned their backs on the words that they have repeatedly uttered was appalling.
Sinister Attempts at Dividing the Sikh Philosophy
On May 2, 1905 Sardar Arur Singh, the Manager of the Golden Temple, after realizing that idol worship is against the fundamental principles of Sikhism, ordered the removal of all idols from the precincts of Harimandir Sahib. The biggest opposition came not from the Sikhs but from those who had nothing to do with Sikhs and Sikhism – Arya Samaj, a Hindu organization. They dispatched a petition to the British administration with 13,000 signatures, pleading retention of the idols.
– Khalsa Samachar on June 21, 1905, page 4
In the year 1908 our right to have a distinct Sikh marriage ceremony was challenged by none else than the Hindu community of India.
“Hindus vehemently opposed the Anand marriage bill introduced by Tikka Sahib on October 30, 1908 in the interior legislative council for the protection of Sikh sacred rights.”
- Tribune of September 16, 1909
After a hard struggle of more than two years, we finally got a separate Sikh marriage act on October 22, 1909.
Trying to separate our fifth and ninth Gurus from the sixth and the tenth and further separating Guru Gobind Singh from the rest of the Gurus was a sinister attempt at dividing the Sikh philosophy by the rulers of India. The fundamental doctrine of Sikhism is that their religion and politics (Meeri and Peeri) are inseparable. This is challenged by those, who look like Sikhs but are actually agents of the Indian Government. The Government of India has cleverly utilized the services of a very well respected Sikh of stature, Principal Jodh Singh to get their message across. Bhai Jodh Singh spoke at the Government sponsored All Communities Convention at Patiala on the tercentenary celebrations of the martyrdom of Guru Teg Bahadur on July 20, 1975 and said:
“In celebration of Guru’s martyrdom, a vigorous campaign should be launched against the wrong belief that state power was necessary to sustain any religion. Politics, he emphasized, must be insulated from religion. ” – Daily Tribune, Chandigarh, July 21, 1975
Principal Jodh Singh also suggested in 1955 that there was no harm if the Punjabi language is written in Devnagri Script – a script in which Hindi and Sanskrit are written.
Policy And Tradition of Hindu India
India has proved in the past fifty years that it has a policy of breaking promises and using violent means to solve all internal and external problems. When India was divided in 1947, India had withheld the agreed share of Pakistan in Indian Reserve Bank’s cash balances amounting to some Rs. 55 crores. There was hardly any money to meet the day-to-day expenses and the position was really critical. India believed that this very first blow would finish Pakistan. The Nizam of Hyderabad came out as the savior of Pakistan.
“…Tears rolled down his cheeks several times as he spoke of the mass human misery. … Soon after that the Nizam sanctioned a loan of Rs. 20 crores to Pakistan. Mr. Jinnah lost no time in publicly announcing that Pakistan had received a loan of that sum from Hyderabad and… had no further financial problems… the leaders of India were just wild and furious over it.”
– Reminiscences of the Quaid by Mir Laik Ali, Ex Prime Minister of Hyderabad on pages: 61-70
It is a mind boggling story as to how the Hindu Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir was so conveniently used to accede to India and then dumped. Here is the story: Pandit Kak was the Prime Minister of Kashmir at the time of negotiations. India, very cleverly planted Mehar Chand Mahajan as the Prime Minister of Kashmir, who, alongwith Mr. V.P. Menon, was responsible for persuading the Maharaja to sign the instrument of accession with India on October 26, 1947. This favor of Mr. Mahajan was returned later on by giving him the position of a judge in the Supreme Court of India and then a promotion to the exalted post of the Chief Justice of India.
After receiving the signatures of the Maharaja, V.P. Menon came back to his Delhi residence late on the evening that same Sunday, October 26, 1947, where Alexander Symon, Britain’s Deputy High Commissioner joined him for a drink. Then, he pulled a piece of paper from his jacket pocket and waved it gaily toward the Englishman.
“ Here it is,” he said. “ We have Kashmir. The bastard signed the Act of Accession. And now that we’ve got it, we’ll never let it go.”
– Freedom at Midnight by Larry Collins & Dominique Lapierre on page: 365-367
On 20th June, 1949, The Maharajah of Kashmir – Sir Hari Singh , whose anti-Muslim attitude was responsible for the misery and suffering of the citizens of his State, was forced to unceremoniously leave His State for Bombay, unwept and unsung. The following comments of Lord Birdwood are very pertinent to prove the point:
“Having used the ruler conveniently to satisfy legal obligations, India lost interest in his fate. He may not have merited State mourning, but his departure does lend the legality of accession a somewhat artificial appearance.”
– Lord Birdwood in “Two Nations and Kashmir” on page: 62
Even though all parties (British, Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs) agreed that the states of British India might opt to stay independent or accede either to India or Pakistan, the state of Hyderabad was forcibly annexed. In his speech to the House of Lords on July 16, 1947, Lord Listowel, Secretary of State for India clearly pointed out:
“…. the States will be the masters of their own fate. They will then be entirely free to choose whether to associate with one or the other of the Dominion Governments or to stand alone, and His Majesty’s Government will not use the slightest pressure to influence their momentus and voluntary decisions.”
The most shocking thing was that the Indian policy makers decided to invade Hyderabad – a Muslim Hub only a day after the great Muslim Leader and Governor-General of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali.Jinnah passed away. Mr. Jinnah passed away on September 11, 1948 at 10:20PM. The burial rites were just performed when the state of Hyderabad was attacked in the early morning hours of September 13, 1948. The army proceeded towards the capital of Hyderabad selectively killing thousands of Moslem men, women and children, raping women, and looting places, inspite of clear radio broadcast by Mir Laik Ali, the Prime Minister of Hyderabad, appealing to the advancing Indian troops to stop killing innocent people and inviting India to discuss the terms of accession.
After the fall of Hyderabad and annexation of Goa, the next act of violence committed by India was in 1971, when they started propagating that the Mukti Bahini – a group of Bengali volunteers were out to liberate Bangla Desh. As a matter of fact it was the Indian army which had infiltrated into East Pakistan posing as Mukti Bahini to destabilize that troubled region by exploiting the local population. India always had the policy to weaken Pakistan right from the day it was created. They finally succeeded in breaking up the State of Pakistan through this mischievous act. A new country – Bangladesh was created on December 16, 1971, which was already recognized by them on December 6, 1971, ten days in advance. Inspite of all this, India maintains its claim as being a non-violent and non-aligned country. Are they really?
What Is the Solution?
Under these precarious circumstances, when you are not free to practice your own religion; when the Hindu philosophy has made serious inroads into the domain of Sikhism and is trying to change the Sikh value system; when all the promises that were made before the partition are broken; when a long history of betrayal is warning you to watch out; when it is obvious that these two nations – Hindus and Sikhs can not live together peacefully; what else could be the solution except the one that was suggested by these very Hindu leaders. On the question of staying together with Muslims in a United India, Mr. Jawahar Lal Nehru commented on June 3, 1947:
“Nehru said he and his colleagues did not like that India be vivisected, but they had finally come to the conclusion that it was better to perform a surgical operation than to allow India to bleed continuously.”
– Quaide Azam Jinnah, Story of A Nation by G. Allana, page: 450
Another staunch Hindu leader and the first deputy Prime Minister of India , Mr. Vallabh Bhai Patel suggested a similar solution, which was recorded in the following words in Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s famous book “India Wins Freedom”:
“I was surprised and pained when Patel said that whether we liked it or not, there were two nations in India . He was now convinced that Muslims and Hindus could not be united into one nation. There was no alternative except to recognise this fact. In this way alone could we end the quarrel between Hindus and Muslims. He further said that if two brothers cannot stay together, they divide. After separation with their respective shares, they become friends. If on the other they are forced to stay together, they tend to fight everyday. It was better to have one clean fight and then separate than have bickering everyday. I was surprised that Patel was now an even greater supporter of the two nation theory than Jinnah. Jinnah may have raised the flag of partition but now the real flag bearer was Patel.”
– Maulana Abul Kalam Azad in India Wins freedom on page: 201
As the Sikhs have never been treated as equal partners in “free” India by their Hindu co-partners, there is no other option left to the Sikhs except to create an Independent and sovereign state of their own. In her study of the problems of Sikh Leadership in Punjab from 1965-67, published in the December 1968 issue of the Sikh Review, a British anthropologist, Professor Joyce Pettigrew (formerly Joyce Chaudhri) concluded that the only feasible solution to Sikh problem is the creation of Khalistan, which “should comprise of the present Punjabi Suba alongwith Himachal Pradesh, Hariana, include Delhi and extend along the Rajasthan canal.”
In the year 1946, Quaid-e-azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, however, has used the most appropriate words while proposing the solution to the Muslim problem of those days, which is very much similar to the Sikh problem today:
“Muslims never desire partition of the country nor separation from Hindus. The Hindus do not wish to defile themselves by the Muslim touch and are determined to turn them out of the Country. The future historians will support me on this.”
Role of Sikhs Living in North America
We live in free countries and we have learned to think freely and independently. As such it is our duty to educate the Sikh masses about the need to have an independent sovereign state of Khalistan to safeguard the interests of the Sikhs and to pioneer the cause of Human rights.
We are to act as attorneys for our brothers and sisters living in Punjab whose mouths are sealed by the bureaucratic government of India. We should follow the example of a Cambridge University Moslem student Rahmat Ali, who, living in United Kingdom thought about the welfare of his people – The Muslims. It is very well described below:
“The idea that India’s Moslems should set up a state of their own was formally articulated for the first time on four and half pages of typing paper in a nondescript English cottage at 3 Humberstone Road in Cambridge. Its author was a forty year old Moslem graduate student named Rahmat Ali, and the date at the head of his proposal was January 28, 1933. The idea that India formed a single nation, Ali wrote, was “ a preposterous falsehood.” “ We will not crucify ourselves,” he concluded, in a fiery, if inept, metaphor, “on a cross of Hindu nationalism.”
– Freedom at Midnight by Larry Collins & Dominique Lapierre on page: 29
Inspite of all this, there are a number of Sikhs who have taken important positions in the Indian Government to stab their own Sikh brethren in the back. The way to treat such individuals, who betrayed the Sikh cause should be according to the advise given by Mr. Mohammad Ali Jinnah in his letter of July 8, 1940 to Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the then President of the Congress:
“I refuse to discuss with you by correspondence or otherwise, as you have completely forfeited the confidence of Muslim India. Can you not realize you are made a “Muslim Showboy” congress president to give it color that is national and deceive foreign countries? You represent neither Muslims nor Hindus. The Congress is a Hindu body. If you have self respect, resign at once…”
– Quaide Azam Jinnah, Story of A Nation by G. Allana, Page: 325
When Will You Speak Up?
Mr. Martin Niemoller, a German pastor, who was a witness to, and ultimately a victim of, Nazi holocaust has cautioned us to speak up for our rights even if we have to sacrifice our life. His famous words were:
“First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the communists and I did not speak out because I was not a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics and I was a Protestant, so I did not speak up.
Then they came for me… and there was no one left to speak out for me.”
Those of us who think that the wounds of 1984 holocaust have healed are living in a dream world. We should never turn our backs on Guru Gobind Singh by not giving up our right to sovereignty and independent living. The following words were spoken by Sir Winston Churchill to boost the morale of the people of Great Britain in the World War II, but are equally applicable to us during the present time of crisis:
“…we shall not flag or fail, we shall go to the end; we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be; we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight on the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”
– Sir Winston Churchill in World War II by Charles Fade on page: 226
May Vaheguru-Akalpurakh grant us strength to continue our struggle for an independent sovereign Khalistan and may the spirit to maintain our separate identity and independent nationality stay alive among us.