Growing Sikh Apathy in India (?)
Sikhs have been one of the best communities working towards a prosperous and strong India since their inception. Martyrdom of their fifth Guru by the Mughal emperor was a changing moment for the Sikhs. Thereafter too, numerous eminent Sikh leaders and some Gurus were brutalized and done to their martyrdom by the later Islamic rulers; a fact that is amply displayed in the Sikh museum of the Golden temple. The Sikhs were then asked to keep swords with them and fight for the Sikh Panth and justice.Sikh Gurus had taken a resolve to fight for the rights of his disciples and the motherland as a whole…and this resolve continues even today. There are numerous instances of valor of the Sikhs as highly loyal and dedicated force within our Armed Forces. There were some minor aberrations in their approach before the partition. However, in the independent India, their contributions are immense. Our traditional foe Pakistan always tries to incite some of the disillusioned Sikhs in the name of a separate State of Khalistan; to avenge their own breaking into two (Pak and Bangladesh) in the 1971 war.However, the Sikh Panth as a whole, is committed to the strong Indian nation and no one has any dilemma in it. Punjab in past has suffered a lot…in the hands of Pak Muslims over the years after partition…with Pak sponsored terrorism in the early 80s and recently with Pak supplied opium and drugs that did it to the youth.
Of late however, there are a few new trends emerging among Sikhs which is disturbing. These include some opposition against the CAA for the minorities of Pak/Afghan/Bangladesh who had to flee due to their religious persecution. They did indicate some support for anti-CAA protests. Dal Khalsa, one of the factions of Akali Dal had also criticised the NDA govts repealing of art 370 in Kashmir. This faction continues its sympathy with the Khalistani sympathisers abroad and the party president HS Cheema has been vocal about it. Farm Acts are being vehemently opposed by the Sikhs and they even supported attack on the Red Forte. They have also sounded their opposition to the possible NRC in future. Hence, there have been many voices emerging from the community which seems to be against the interest of the nation.
India as a nation, has always been open to accept religiously persecuted minorities from the Islamic Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who had earlier chosen to remain there during partition. The Sikh persecution by the Muslims in Pak & Afghanistan have horrific tales. Hence, the Indian govt right from the days of Mahatma Gandhi downward, have shown their commitments to rehabilitate and accord citizenship to all those who suffered religious persecution in the hands of the ruling Muslim Nations. The persecutions were of such extent that they were made to flee from those nations. Sikh women in those nations have become targets of abduction and forced marriages to the Muslims. Several attacks against the community has taken place in Afghanistan killing many. Hence, in order to save their lives and honours, many of them have fled to India. Same is the case with many Hindu and Christian families in Afghanistan and Pakistan too.
These migrants have been living in India for decades without citizenships, promised by all union govts of past but fulfilled by none. It seemed to have become a hollow promise made by none other than Mahatma Gandhi. Therefore, when the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was brought in by the present Modi Govt, it was a golden day for all religiously persecuted migrants. However, some political parties played a divisive politics who wanted their vote-bank, the illegal migrant Muslims too, to be included in the CAA. Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra along with Communist leaders thriving on Muslim Vote-Bank gave a call to boycott CAA and as a result, the mob-minded radical Muslims came to the streets in protest. This was expected as many radical groups of Muslims want India to house all >4 Cr of illegal Muslims from Bangladesh and Myanmar. The months of Muslim protests received huge monetary donations and support from the Islamic nations abroad. What was surprising to all, was the sympathy of some of the Sikh groups for these radicals. Many Sikhs also started whispering as to why the illegal migrant Muslims too, should not be offered citizenship. The Gurudwaras offered the Langar Services to their continuing protests (which they say, is their charity for all). There were langar offered by Punjab farmers as well as by a Sikh man DS Bindra, a member of the AMIM party of Asaduddin Owaisi who made headlines that he had sold-off his Delhi flat to serve Langar. Was it willingly on his own or on Owaisi’s order who surely would have compensated him adequately with money coming from abroad? It’s not known. Muslims too had reciprocated with Langar (?) to the Sikhs in the Farmers protest. There seems to be a good understanding between the two community. As has been the tradition, the Muslims of Afghanistan from where the religiously persecuted Sikhs were to be offered with citizenship through CAA, reciprocated the Langar efforts of the Sikh in Delhi with another Jihadi attack in which 25 Sikhs incl women and children lost their lives while attending a Gurudwara function. The animosity is huge. All Jihadists are highly intolerant bigots. It is up to us to realise otherwise, keep suffering. History will keep repeating.
All Indians know that Muslims of undivided India had consciously carved out the states of Pakistan and Afghanistan for Muslims; initially promised on Secular values but later changed to Islamic ideology. Thereafter, committing heinous crimes and religious persecution of the others became a rule, making them to flee to save the honors of their women. It was Indian obligation to award citizenship to them. On the other hand, illegal migrant Muslims from mostly Bangladesh and some from Pakistan do not qualify under this CAA. They came to India for their convenience of better livelihood, straining the already scarce resources of the Indian Govt. Yet, they are entitled to seek Indian citizenship under the existing laws. Of course, Pakistani ISI would like to have more radical Muslims on Indian soil so as to use them for disruptive activities when needed. The large numbers of Muslims of India too have soft heart for their brethren Illegal migrant Muslims, ought of Islamic consideration. However, for the majority Hindu and the govt of the day, the illegal Muslim Migrants pose numerous problems. It is a fact that wherever dominant Muslim ghettoes are established, the Hindu living in that society are made to flee. Today Hindu has become minority in several districts of India and the number is growing… esp in Assam, Bengal, Kerala, UP and Bihar. Hindu also see it ‘Red’ after the radical Islam’s call for ‘Global Islamic Caliphate’ through their numerical strengths. Otherwise, why should the already poor Indian Muslims fight for the illegal migrants draining our resources with their huge numbers?
Govt of India sees it a little differently. Firstly, the intelligence agencies have already pointed out that many illegal migrants have dubious background of belonging to the radical Islamic groups and numerous others are highly susceptible to the Jihadi & Pak ISI exploitations. Secondly, India is not a signatory to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) 1951 convention or the 1967 protocols. It is not receiving any aid for it. So why put financial constrain for own citizens? Muslims, as any other groups or individual are already entitled to seek Indian citizenship under the existing regulations. CAA is exclusively for those having national obligation of Mahatma Gandhi and all the successive governments. Thirdly, India cannot be made to become the ‘Illegal migrant’ capital. No nation can afford to have illegal migrants on their soil and that too, in such huge numbers of over 40 million approx. No one knows their exact number as India has no ‘National Register for Citizens (NRC)’. Fourthly, the numbers of Indian Muslims are proliferating at an average rate of 150% of the Hindu…with over 500% in some pockets of Kerala and West Bengal. Hence, there is a very high possibility of changing the religious demography of India which is bound to cause unrest among the majority Hindu who have reduced from 83% in 1951 to nearly 77% by now; at the cost of the legitimately living Muslims whose numbers gave gone up from ~9 % in 1951 to fast approaching 18% by now…almost doubling. Some radical Muslim groups are already chanting for another partition of India…something highly unacceptable to India and all its majority communities. Punjab has only 1.9% Muslims so surely they have no threats in the coming decades if illegal Muslims are given citizenship rights. However, that is not the case with several other states like Assam, Bengal, Bihar, UP, Kerala, Maharashtra, MP and Gujarat where substantial numbers of illegal migrants Muslims will change the religious demography, disrupting cordial living.
Coming back to Sikh views, some sections do feel sympathy for illegal migrant Muslims. This was expressed by Akali Dal and Akal Takht too. The recent Pakistani efforts in wooing the Khalistan supporters on Pak soil and extending support to the like-minded Sikhs of India who are far and few, is well known. There are already good numbers of Khalistani sympathisers in Canada, UK and elsewhere abroad. They earlier joined the Muslims in protesting against the CAA…and now against Farm Acts, again we find the Khalistani groups abroad…supporting both financially and through anti-India propaganda. They even desecrated and damaged Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in USA. Although the recent Farms Acts are not at all against the Sikhs, most in Punjab receiving the middlemen commission in the ‘Mandi procurements’ are affected (elaborated in ‘The Counterviews’ issues 3:01). This includes ex-servicemen as well as the family members of the serving soldiers. There are attempts by some to link soldiers’ support to the Farmers agitation but that is not the true. Most if not all, serving soldiers know that new Farm Acts are only an additional option to the farmers to increase their income and does not take away any of the existing provisions. It is purely the adhatiya group and the commission agents on roads to deny the marginal and mid-level farmers the benefit of a direct online market to their produce. This will increase the income of the farmers but cut-off the commission of the middlemen. The stakes are very high, worth 1000s of Crores of rupees. Hence, even the Badals belonging to Akali Dal decided to break alliance with the NDA. There is no doubt that the ruling Modi govt has grossly mishandled the Farm Acts, but it is also a fact that the protests are more of politically motivated and that some among the Sikh community has somehow made it an emotive community issue. They have endangered their elders, women and children by putting in the front rows of the continuing protests on the roads. They don’t realise that the new Farm acts are for the entire nation, not only for Punjab and Haryana…a separate issue in itself.
The worst dilemma before the nation is as to why the Sikhs, the Punjabis are reacting this way? A similar Farm Act is already in-force in Punjab with some worse provisions of contact farming. Why such protests did not take place earlier in Punjab? Further, the ruling Congress in Punjab has already passed a bill to negate the union govt Farms Acts. Then why this whang-ho? Surely it is politics at its worst. In the recent Punjab panchayat elections, there were worst-ever violence between Congress and Akali factions. They also behaved with BJP in somewhat a similar way that radical Muslims do in Kashmir. There seems to be huge intolerance growing among the Sikh Community. There must be some reasons that our eyes are unable to see, that the political analysts are unable to perceive.
There seems to be a deep division within the Sikh community on the issues pertaining to their support to the illegal migrant Muslims, the CAA and the Union Govt Farm Acts. It was for the first time that the Sikhs have desecrated the Indian Tricolour at Lal Qila. The vigil eyes of the citizens can see the growing apathy among the Sikhs…both in India and abroad although Pak ISI supported Khalistani groups; highly active in the present times. It is a matter of serious concern. We must not make the Sikhs to alienate from the main stream India. Govt must act to calm the emotions, earlier the better.