Disclaimer:- I hereby would like to apologize for any unintentional hurt to any individual, community or sect, for i have tried to best of my cognitive abilities to represent the truth as i could concur. Being a Part of Free Country which ensures individual freedom rights as to thought and expression. These article is gathered,collective work after researching from various resources made available in Public domain. This article neither indicates nor claims to be conclusive in any sphere.
Readers, Don’t forget the drill, for this article is way too long to be read without your favorite choice of beverage.
Most of Indian state bifurcation movement comes from poor and marginalized regions or sections citing underdevelopment of certain ethnics say the demand of Gorkhaland in West Bengal, Bodoland in Assam, Vidharba in Maharashtra but The Sikh challenge is quite different, not just for being separatist movement as in creation of new country rather than just bifurcation of state boundaries. The Sikhs are among the prosperous of all the peoples of India. They are first-rate farmers, soldiers, sportsmen, self-reliant, with a well-developed work ethic,with Puritan virtues. Punjab is the richest of all the provinces of India. It is because of the Punjab that India has not needed to import food and has been able to mark self reliance in various sectors of Food. The wealth of the Punjab is partly due to its natural resources as in the great rivers and partly due to the skill and industry of its farming population.
According to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)’s
2019 Annual Report, religious freedom has come under attack in recent years with the growth of exclusionary extremist narratives—including, at times, the government’s allowance and encouragement of mob violence against religious minorities—that have facilitated an egregious and ongoing campaign of violence, intimidation, and harassment against non-Hindu and lower-caste Hindu minorities. Both public and private actors have engaged in this campaign. (US 29 Apr. 2019)
The same report adds that Hindu nationalist groups have contributed to a “rise of
religious violence and persecution,” where the targeted religious minorities,
including Sikhs, “face challenges ranging from acts of violence or intimidation, to the loss of political power, increasing feelings of disenfranchisement, and limits on
access to education, housing, and employment” (US 29 Apr. 2019, 2). According to
an article by Indian online newspaper The Citizen, a “lynch mob phenomenon”
where “mobs have lynched Muslim, Christian, Sikh and Dalit Indians over rumors
and suspicion” has been occurring in India, with 77 lynchings reported between
March 2017 and July 2018 (The Citizen 30 Mar. 2019). The article states that
the perpetrators have all been Hindus. Often the police have stood by and watched. Politicians have come out in support of the attackers, often found to be political workers themselves. Cases have typically been filed against the victims and not the mob. The lynchings have occurred disproportionately in states governed by the BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party]. (The Citizen 30 Mar. 2019)
The primary dikkat comes from the fact that Indian federal law provides minority community status to Sikhs, which allows access to government assistance programs, while legislation refers to Sikhs under the same category as Hindus. Article 25 of the Indian constitution deems Sikhs to be Hindus, and even for Personal laws like Marriage, The Hindu marriage act only governs Sikhs. This creates an environment in which Hindu nationalists view Sikhs as having rejected Hinduism and as being enemies of India because some Sikhs support the Khalistan political movement, which seeks to create a new state in India for Sikhs and full legal recognition of Sikhism as an independent faith. Although, We don’t have Statistics for ground reality from Indian Soil, but there has been starling statistics to prove other wise as in, When there was cry in Uk, by the separatist that Sikhs should not be denoted by Indian origin, to which around 87 % of Sikhs rejected the claim.
The map of Khalistan includes to be Present India minus Jammu and Kashmir, as covered with markings in the Gurmukhi script, the written language of the Sikh scriptures, even though the Sikh population is just around 2 percent(Census,2011)
The attachment of Punjab with Sikhism was made around in 1940’s. Historically, Sikhism was pan-Indian, with the main Sikh scriptures Guru Granth Sahib drawing from works of saints in North as well as South India, and the several others parts such as Nankana Sahib in Pakistan, Panj Takhts Takht Sri Patna Sahib in Bihar, Hazur Sahib Nanded in Maharashtra outside of Punjab.
After the death of Govind Singh, in 1708, the Sikh Khalsa flourished exceedingly for a while, as an efficient and highly motivated armed brotherhood operating in the propitious conditions of the disintegrating Mogul Empire. By the nineteenth century the dominions of the Sikh Maharajah Ranjit Singh extended over the whole Punjab, a designation that then applied to a large part of northwest India, including territories that are now part of Pakistan. But in 1849, after two hard-fought Anglo-Sikh wars, Britain annexed the Punjab, thus completing its empire on the subcontinent.
The British, impressed by the courage and martial prowess demonstrated by the Sikhs during the Anglo-Sikh wars, took great pains to conciliate the Sikhs and were largely successful during the heyday of the Raj. The British showed respect for the Sikh religion, which was more compatible with Victorian Protestant values than any of the other faiths of India. Sikh recruits to the British forces were sworn in on the Sikh scriptures, and were actually required, as a condition of their service, to conform to the requirements of the Sikh religion, as laid down by Guru Govind Singh, as regards personal appearance and behavior (turban, beard, abstinence from tobacco, and so forth). From very early on Sikhs responded to the conciliatory British approach, and they took the British side, against fellow Indians, in the great Indian mutiny of 1857. Although Sikhs were never more than two percent of the population of India, Sikh soldiers amounted to 20 percent of Britain’s Indian Army.
The Sikh religion was able to accommodate itself to the British Raj partly because the British authorities had placed their nominees in control of the Gurdwaras(Sikh temples), including the Golden Temple complex, but also because the Sikhs came to think of themselves less as subjects of the Raj than as partners in it, “favorite sons of the Empress Mother.” In such ways the Sikh religious principle of Raj Karega Khalsaadapted itself to the realities of the actual British Raj.
The happy symbiosis of the British and the Sikhs did not long survive the impact of the First World War -as disillusioning an experience for the Sikh soldiers as for other survivors. In the wave of unrest that swept over India in 1919, Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs appeared for a time to be united in a common cause. For the Sikhs, the most enduring legacy of this period is the recovery of Sikh religious autonomy: the ending, a generation before the coming of Indian independence, of British control over the Sikh Gurdwaras,and so over the means of registering Sikh religious and political opinion.
As independence neared, Sikhs living in the borderlands between the two emergent states of the subcontinent — did not exactly have to choose between India and Pakistan, because Pakistan, being a Muslim confessional state, did not want the Sikhs, whereas secular India offered them equal citizenship. If the Sikhs had refused the Indian offer and insisted on their own state, Khalistan — meaning the state of the Khalsa, “the pure,” the Sikhs — they would have had to fight alone, greatly outnumbered, against Pakistan, which laid claim to the Punjab, where Muslims were the largest community. So the Sikhs elected to join India, and Muslims and Sikhs fought it out in the Punjab, in 1947, through hideous inter communal massacres, which left more than half a million dead and about two million homeless. The old Punjab was partitioned into West Punjab, part of Pakistan, and East Punjab, part of India.
Sikhs seem to have expected to enjoy some kind of autonomous status for themselves as a religious national community within a confederal India. Sikh political leaders soon convinced themselves and their followers that thev had in fact been promised such a status and then cheated out of it. Sikhs, though the largest community in East Punjab, were a minority of its total population.
The Indian government was concerned about the Sikh discontent but unable to concede what the Sikhs were actually looking for: autonomy for themselves as a religious community. To yield on that would be to accept the principle of communalism, an acceptance that would lead to the dissolution of India. Still, it was hoped that the Sikhs could be placated bv arranging majority status for them, not through a religious criterion but through a linguistic one. The old Punjab had already been partitioned, between Pakistan and India. Now India’s Punjab – East Punjab was itself partitioned, on the basis of a linguistic survey. The northern part, speaking Punjabi, retained the name Punjab. In this new Punjab the Sikhs are a majority. The southern part of the old Punjab became Haryana, a state of Hindus, mostly speaking Hindi.
The government of India hoped that the Sikhs, having acquired majority status in their homeland, would be content. But the Sikhs were not content.
In the heyday of the British Raj their appetite for martial glory had been satisfied by a sense of participation, and an illusion of partnership, in the world’s greatest empire. Later, glory was to be found in the struggle against the British Raj. The Sikhs claim that 90 percent of those who fell in India’s struggle for independence were Sikhs; of course, the struggle in question, in the rest of India, was designed to be nonviolent. But to the Sikhs, brought up in the teachings of the tenth guru, the idea of a nonviolent struggle was incomprehensible.
During an internal struggle within the Sikh community in 1982, separatist leader
Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his followers moved into the Golden Temple
complex in Amritsar. In June 1984, the Indian government ordered the army to
eject Bhindranwale and his followers from the complex in an offensive known as
“Operation Blue Star”. The army bombarded the Golden Temple complex, inflicting
serious damage. Bhindranwale and many of his supporters were killed during the
operation. Apart from the shattering of the Akal Takht, Operation Bluestar did little damage to the temple complex. In late May these immigrant Hindu workers became the main targets of Sikh “revenge” killings following the reoccupation of the Golden Temple complex.
Some commentators suggest that there are more “practical” reasons for Sikh unrest, high unemployment chief among these. But the question of employment — acceptable employment, that is inseparable from the question of honor among Sikhs. Working on your own farm is honorable; so is working for the government, especially the defense forces. But working as a factory hand is not honorable, and therefore not acceptable. For the industrialization of the Punjab the factory workers have had to be brought in from the outside, from poor provinces like Orissa and Bihar.
Central to the present Sikh unrest is the excess in the numbers of young male Sikhs over the amount of honorable employment available. To own even a tiny farm is honorable, but the subdivision of the farmland appears to have reached its limit. Sikhs are conspicuous in the armed forces of India, but the proportion of Sikhs in the forces is significantly lower than it was under the British. There are Indian officials who would like to increase the number of Sikhs in the armed forces of India; others resist, believing that the Sikhs would be an unreliable element in the armed forces. (There were some mutinies among raw Sikh recruits immediately after Operation Bluestar.) What career is open to a young male Sikh who doesn’t have a farm of his own and hasn’t been able to get a place in the defense forces or any other branch of government service? That question remains unresolved, and in the meantime there are too many young Sikhs who find no suitable outlet within the law for their abundant energies.
In the present generation a number of Sikhs in this category have decided to take up arms and fight for Khalistan. Those who make that choice don’t necessarily have to believe that Khalistan is attainable. Whether it is attainable or not, the fight for it remains a thoroughly honorable pursuit sanctioned by the Sikh religion through the concept of the Khalsa (military brotherhood) and by the general value system of the Sikhs.
This explains the riot against Farmer bills, as in removing MSP and introduction of Corporate sectors would imply the owners would be made workers, which not only violates there core principle and which has been already highlighted several times by various researchers as the reasons for discontent . Also, Since various local political parties leaders directly own business aligned to earlier MSP based systems, the coin-jointed agenda has further aggrieved the situation.
According to Australia’s DFAT report, “since the late 1980s and early 1990s, Sikhs
have lived peacefully in India and the majority of Sikhs do not experience societal
discrimination or violence” (Australia 17 Oct. 2018, para. 3.19). According to the joint response by the WSO representative and the Associate Professor, Sikhs may encounter difficulties integrating in areas where a Sikh community does not exist and, especially for practicing Sikhs, “in other Indian states that are not as familiar with the Sikh identity” (WSO and Associate Professor 3 May 2019).